L-Way East senior a finalist in musical theater awards
June 14, 2012 1:50PM
Lincoln-Way East High School senior Ryan Smetana plays the role of Harold Hill in the school’s spring musical, “The Music Man.” | Supplied Photo
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:02AM
An aspiring actor from Lincoln-Way East High School has caught a rare glimpse into Broadway.
Ryan Smetana, who has been involved in the spring musicals and Madrigal program at Lincoln-Way East, was one of 24 high school students from Illinois picked to participate in the 2012 Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards and audition for a chance to participate in a performance-enrichment program on Broadway.
He was selected after submitting an application, resume, headshot and video of himself performing two songs in March.
“It was a great honor,” said Smetana, a senior.
Smetana and 23 other finalists traveled to Chicago to learn the closing number from the Broadway hit “Jersey Boys” and to audition for the next phase of the competition.
“I was thrilled to work with the (cast members of ‘Jersey Boys’) and kids my own age who are going into similar college experiences and work experiences,” Smetana said. “It was such a great experience.”
The 12 boys and 12 girls spent a few hours working with the music director, two dance captains and the female lead from “Jersey Boys,” perfecting their deliveries of the song “Oh What a Night” and learning dance steps from the show.
They performed the piece that night during the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards ceremony.
Earlier that day, they took turns singing an audition piece in front of a talent agent, the vice president of Broadway in Chicago and the actor who plays Frankie Valli in “Jersey Boys.”
Smetana sang “76 Trombones” from “The Music Man,” which Lincoln-Way East students just performed as their spring musical.
The audition in front of a talent agent and professional actor was “a little nerve-racking,” Smetana said, but he decided to look at it as a learning experience rather than a competition.
“I went in with the mentality that I’m not losing anything,” he said. “I’m only gaining.”
Provided to the SouthtownStar