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Student Spotlights

Anna: Music, Dance, Theatre

Anna Tanner had such a great time at Open Jar Studios, a company with rehearsal rooms near Times Square that gave Anna a little glimpse of Broadway.

What was your internship experience?

Some of the daily activities each day during the Institution weeks at Open Jar included meal prep for breakfast and lunch, daily grocery shopping trips, learning how to log receipts, participating in workshop classes with Broadway artists, setup/takedown of technical equipment, and organizing students/parents into groups for mock auditions. Some of the problems I encountered initially have been with meal preparations. As interns, we have had to make sure that we purchased the right amount of food to feed about 70 people, students and staff included. We did inventory each day after the meals to check what we needed to get the same amount of or maybe get something more of a certain food. With the mock auditions, potential problems had to be addressed with parents who wanted to record their children’s performances. The purpose of the mock audition was to put these students in an authentic situation, like an actual audition. We had to help parents understand that they could record their children later on at the showcase performance. In the classes held this week, I was able to gain acting, singing, and dancing insights to help me in my own career of pursuing performing as a participant observer

What is something you have learned during this experience?

Angelique Ilo who was in the first cast of A Chorus Line inspired me by her words-Bring your best today and every day. I think that often people don't have the motivation to reach their limits. As I have been participating in the workshops and learning from these different artists each week, I’m learning how important it is to work hard in order to see what doors will open for you. You never know what your own limits are if you aren't willing to try. At my internship I feel like I have really learned what it means to be confident in your own abilities and to try your best every single day.

How did your courses at BYU prepare you fro this experience?

My courses at school prepared me for this internship because of the skills I have learned. I think we have a really good program with professors that push us to work at our craft. Already having the skills I do, helped me apply the things that were being taught in each area dance, singing, and acting much faster. Also it just really hit me that I am grateful for moral standards I have been raised with. Being in many BYU courses has helped me find who I am and what I stand for. I am grateful for parents who have taught me good morals and a knowledge of what I stand for. I seek to make appropriate choices and be strong in my beliefs and actions of what I will or won’t do. I think it is so important to be aware that some shows have these elements in them before you put yourself in a situation where you are questioning what you are willing to do for the art. I am grateful for these learning opportunities to help me grow as a person and to open my eyes to the fact that being a Broadway performer requires more than excellent skills in singing, dancing, and acting. One also needs to be aware of what the roles require for costuming, language, and behavior. I know I will need to make good choices as I develop my skills.

What professional skills did you develop during this experience?

Professional skills developed-decision making skills, organizational skills, being productive with your time and taking initiative, communication skills, being dependable, punctual, motivation to work hard even when the hours are long, confidentiality in the skills you have, the importance of your relations with others

Would you recommend this internship to other students?

Yes, I would recommend this internship. It gave me the opportunity to learn the reality of living in New York City and make connections with people in the industry. I enjoyed participating in the workshops with the students and learning from many different Broadway Artists each week.

What else would you like to say about this experience?

​Another thing that has been on my mind from this experience keeps coming back to what I learned from one of the dance instructors. I got to take class from was Drew King who is currently in the Broadway show Tootsie. He said one of the biggest things to learn from auditioning is that you shouldn’t beat yourself up so much.
Rejection is part of the performing industry day in and day out. You should strive to learn from your experiences, but don’t let it tear you down. A big take away from this session with the college students is that no matter how you choose to pursue your career and music passions, you need to learn that it is your job to make the music real. You can be directed in all the technical aspects, but if you aren’t enjoying what you are singing and making it mean something to you then your performance isn’t going to feel genuine. This really stood out to me because I think it is so easy to get down on ourselves especially in the Musical Theater world rejection is a real thing. You have to learn to pick your feet back up and keep going.

Anna Tanner
Anna Tanner standing n front of Open Jar Studio's mural in New York City.

Anna Tanner 2
Anna Tanner pictured with other interns at Open Jar Studios in New York City.