Reggie Steele ’12 – Imagine going to class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, where your performance skills are tested and elevated each day. Imagine singing intensely for 4 consecutive hours, leaving rehearsal and going directly to learn choreography for 2 songs that you have learned the same strenuous morning. Imagine acting out a musical that you have never seen with limited time and resources. Imagine a “Southern Gentlemen” learning to sing with a British accent for many songs. Thanks to the Kenneth Rudolph Scholarship and a supporting family, this imagination has become a reality.
I am currently in the Performing Arts Program at the University of Sunderland, where I am learning intense vocal performance, drama, musical theatre, and dance training from the best academic tutors in England. The reason I chose the University of Sunderland’s Performing Arts Program is to discover if I had what it takes to become a Broadway Performer. Thus far, I am learning more about my talents and ability to hold an audience attention.
On the very first day, my colleagues and I learned and performed a song during orientation. This experience was a bit shocking because at “The Bash”, we rehearse for an entire semester before we have our end of the year concert. But if you know me well, you would know that I live to perform and I was excited to begin this challenge.
During my first week of performance, my dance academic tutor shared with me a harsh and brutal reality of Broadway. This reality is that a body cut takes place and if an audition-er do not fit the costume, he or she does not audition. My eyes opened and gazed for a very, very long time. As I asked her more questions about this reality, she then told me that two-thirds of the cast of the musical “Lion King” showing in London are Asian. It was shocking to her at first when she was told, but she later stated this is the real world, and the world of Broadway does not have time to make new costumes that cost nearly $500 each. As I continue to face this reality, my vocal teacher told me that there are many roles that fit my body type, and I shouldn’t give up the faith. The other thing that he told me was to be the best, and someone will take a chance on me.
So, what am I going to do now? I have chosen to be the best! In order to be the best, I believe that I must continue to have outstanding vocals, improve my acting skills and dance technique, and loose just a few pounds. The steps that I will take my senior year to improve all of these skills are to continue my voice lessons with the best vocal instructor at Wabash, audition and perform in at least 1 play at Wabash and at least 1 musical at the Vanity Theater, continue dance at Dance by Deborah, and to stay focus and optimistic.
One quality that all of my academic tutors agreed that I have is “star potential.” I have a quality to keep people interested, and I have the talent that makes people want to invest in. They confirmed this quality after my interview with 107 Spark FM which could be heard with this link: http://sparksunderland.com/.
I cannot express how important it is to study abroad, and how it could really assist in career opportunities. This short program has been a stepping stone in my career path. It has shown me what I can do in musical theater, and has given direction to ensure that I make the proper steps to success. I would like to thank once again the family of Kenneth Rudolph and my loving family for your financial and caring support through this journey. When I return there will be a presentation with footage of my performances, and live songs, so watch for an email. Although this program has given me the harsh realities, I am grateful. I know what it takes and what I need to do to make my dreams a reality!