The extraordinary opportunity to learn from some of the hottest male voices on the New York stage almost didn’t happen for about 11 Zachary youths who paid to be part of a master class workshop taught by members of The Broadway Boys.
A flight delay from New York caused a two-hour late start to the class Dec. 5, but that didn’t sway the youth, who harmonized their parts in the Jackson 5 song “Give Love on Christmas Day” until they were perfect.
Under the direction of Mike Backes and Tim Young, cast members of The Broadway Boys, the students received one-on-one critiques, industry feedback and tips during the workshop presented by the Regional Arts Council of Zachary.
Backes’ credits include “Footloose,” “Jersey Boys” and “Rock of Ages,” while Young lists “Next to Normal” among his credits.
“After learning the notes, let’s consider the dynamics of the song and the soul of the singer,” Young said. “I want you to learn where you’re going to put your voice in the house.”
The talented theater and play production students, ranging in age from 12 to 17, worked on vocal techniques, choreography and stage presence, and were included in a Broadway Boys’ group number the following night at the Zachary Visual and Performing Arts Center on Zachary High’s campus.
“This was a wonderful educational opportunity for area youth and part of the RACZ mission to serve the community by nourishing young talent,” said Margaret Harmon, interim president of RACZ.
This was the second master class presented by RACZ. In 2013, members of The Broadway Boys focused on dancing with master class participants and rehearsed a number from “All That Jazz,” which they performed onstage the following night, said Jacob Warren.
“They try to do conduct different workshops everywhere they go,” Warren said.
Most of the class participants on Dec. 5 also were part of the 2013 workshop, Harmon said.
The Broadway Boys began in 2005 after a single night’s performance at a New York City club. They began with overwhelming success after the response they received and have continued to perform across the country in groups of six.
Warren said the cast chooses different venues while always looking for new projects.
The Broadway Boys’ sound combines musical genres — pop, rock, gospel, jazz and folk — with show tunes and classic pop songs for an unconventional presentation of material.
The Zachary show was holiday-themed and included Christmas classics in a whole new light, Harmon said.