By Ryan Yousefi
Even amid the Coronavirus pandemic, a handful of young Parkland residents were recently able to continue to chase the dream of one day making it onto Broadway.
Since 2005, Jodie Langel, founder, and CEO of Making It On Broadway, has run a musical theatre training program where students explore the realities of what it means to be a modern Broadway professional. Students from all over have taken her intensives in preparation for future auditions.
Langel herself is a self-described “Broadway baby,” who, in her career, has auditioned for Les Miserables on Broadway and landed the role of Cosette in the Broadway Company. She’s also starred in the Broadway ‘National Tour of Joseph’ and the ‘Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ as the Narrator, and CATS as Grizabella the Glamour Cat.
At the end of the Making It On Broadway event, students are given a real audition from casting directors and other industry professionals. It’s all about practice makes perfect and gained experiences in settings children may not be so accustomed to.
Up until this year, Langels’ classes had taken place in New York. In the age of the Coronavirus, however, everything is different. For Making It On Broadway in particular, that meant moving the camp to a ballroom at the Marriott in Boca Raton.
According to Langel, while challenging and different at times, the move was to ensure the students received a sense of normalcy during these times.
“I hope children find their joy of performing again after being isolated in their homes since the pandemic started,” Langel said.
“Just seeing their faces light up because they were able to do what they love again and being surrounded by others who enjoyed it just as much as they do is an irreplaceable feeling.”
One of the students that attended this years’ camp was Ellie Pulsifer, 10, from MiraLago. According to her mother, Angela, the week-long camp was precisely what Ellie needed in her continued pursuit of a career in drama.
“Overall, this experience was 10 out of 10 — five stars!” Angela said. “Ellie was living her best life and on cloud nine the entire week. This was just what she needed for her mental mind frame and her Broadway loving soul.”
Angela said Ellie — who found Langel and the Making It On Broadway program through a voice coach on Instagram — has been singing and dancing since she was three-years-old, and always stood out as a performer on the stage.
In addition to Ellie, Bailey Sheridan 10, another MiraLago resident, and Jack Rodman, 10, a resident of Parkland Golf & County Club, were in attendance at this years’ Boca-version of the Making It On Broadway event.
Langel said the safety of Making It On Broadway students was a constant priority. Social distancing measures were taken, and temperature checks were performed.
“It is always a bizarre sight to see children wearing masks,” Langel said. “After students sang, I ran up to the microphone with a Clorox wipe and sanitized it, and during the pause tried to entertain the Broadway celebrity. I think they were amused by it.”
Langel added the camp was such a success; they’re doing it again later this Fall.
“The next camp we are looking at the Thanksgiving break. Langel said. “This camp was so successful that we are already getting sign-ups.”
Angela said Ellie would be at the next Making It On Broadway event, adding, her daughter is hooked on the experience she gained in Boca, and will be coming back for more, no matter where Making It On Broadway is next.
“Ellie will definitely be attending again, and she will be attending everything Jodie has to offer,” Angela said. “When Broadway opens back up, and Jodie holds her training in New York, we will be there also.”
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