“It’s not just a song; it’s not just lines. It’s about human connection,” said actor Jarid Faubel, who is currently playing Ray Court in the touring production of The Bodyguard at the Hippodrome.
Faubel led a musical theatre masterclass yesterday for the junior acting ensemble, focusing on helping the actors enhance their storytelling techniques. The theme for musical theatre this year has been gender reversal—selected by the students themselves last spring—and Faubel worked with the students on the songs “Once in Love with Amy” from Where’s Charlie, “17” from Heathers, “Bosom Buddies” from Mame, and “Summer Nights” from Grease.
After the students were finished warming up, Faubel encouraged them to be comfortable, saying there was no judgment and the class was “just a conversation.”
“There are roles you do that are totally different from who you are,” Faubel said. “By playing that character, you can learn new things.”
“Once in Love with Amy” was the first scene the students presented. It was a piece with many bystanders observing the action, and Faubel provided insights to help every character on stage come alive and react to the lead character, Mr. Worthington, played by BSA student Emily Reed.
“The world you guys have on set does interact with her and you need to be changed by that. If not, you’re just pictures,” Faubel said.
Reed said Faubel helped her change her understanding of her relationship with fellow actor Tea Rogers. Rogers plays a man who is leering at Amy, the woman Mr. Worthington loves. Faubel helped her understand how the two characters share a mutual admiration and a new way to develop the character.
Faubel was struck by the impact the gender reversal had on the power and meaning of the song “17” from the musical Heathers.
He also thought “Summer Nights” was an excellent piece through which to explore more themes from gender reversal. He exhorted the “ladies” to be romantic, soft, and loving, and the “men” to be brawny, raunchy, and boisterous.
Most importantly, he told the students: “Know what you’re trying to tell and figure out how to do it. You have to allow yourself to fail. That means next time it will be a little less awkward or bad.”
“It was an incredibly valuable masterclass,” said faculty member Becky Mossing, who teaches the class. “Jarid was able to pull so much out of these students in such a short amount of time.”
“We’re especially grateful for the generosity of the Hippodrome Foundation, for providing wonderful programming like this for our students,” said Mossing. “This masterclass was free for our students and a crucial experience for our young artists.”