Two of musical theater's biggest stars will sit down with Montgomery County's aspiring music students to educate and inspire.
Tony-nominated Jonathan Groff of "Spring Awakening" and the Fox hit show "Glee," and Anthony Rapp of Broadway's "Rent" fame, will appear at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School for ArtSpeak! on Oct. 2 to talk about their careers, sign autographs, answer questions and sing a few songs.
ArtSpeak! is a DC-based program that brings artists to high schools in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, to raise interest in theater and arts. Events include panel discussions, with the opportunity for students to ask questions and compete in contests and games.
"For theater students in this area, to have the opportunity to see and hear professional actors speak about their careers is a special gift," said Lynda Scionti, a theater teacher at Winston Churchill High School. "Although enamored at first by their celebrity status, the students soon become engrossed in hearing about the real–life challenges and rewards of a career in theater. It really becomes an energizing event for them."
Students are already excited about the event, and working hard to promote it through word of mouth.
Leah Platt, a student leader for the B-CC theater department, says the star-studded guest list has theater students and non-theater students alike asking about the program.
"When I found out that Jonathan Groff and Anthony Rapp were coming to my school this summer, I literally couldn't contain my excitement," Platt said. "'Spring Awakening' is my absolute favorite musical -- bordering on obsession -- and I grew up watching the 'Rent' movie and listening to the soundtrack."
Mark Shugoll, CEO of Shugoll Research that founded ArtSpeak! programs, will likely lead the Q&A session, Platt said. B-CC theater students are hoping to have a couple of hundred event-goers in attendance, and expect many of the questions to focus on career advice for students.
"Of course, students will be starstruck, including me," Platt said. "But it's important to remember that [Groff and Rapp] really are normal people who support the development of young artists like us. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from such successful people."
The event starts at 7 p.m. in the B-CC High school auditorium. No tickets are required, though admittance is first come, first served. The event is free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to attend.
Are you planning to attend the event? Which actor are you most excited to see?