Twiggins went backstage at Bring It On: The Musical and sat down with MMC alum Jason Gotay (’11). The two talked broadway, and Jason gives advice to aspiring performers.
Thanks to Jason Gotay, Jujamcyn, and The Hartman Group
Below is a press release by Marymount Manhattan College:
New York, NY, September 6, 2012 – The Marymount Manhattan College experience is as individual and varied as each of its students. Faculty and students, alike, value the small, yet tightly connected community in this city of nine million. Students are encouraged to mirror NYC’s rhythm and “personality diversity” and to combine them with their own newly honed talents to serve as a springboard to success.
Recent alumni Adrienne Warren ’09 and Jason Gotay ’11 made their Broadway debut as stars in the hit musical “Bring It On,” which is currently playing at the St. James Theater. Both Adrienne and Jason have, with dedicated passion, worked hard to achieve this milestone and acknowledge Marymount Manhattan College for preparing them well.
Jason Gotay ’11
Jason Gotay, says his family is “over the moon” to see him perform on the Broadway stage in the hit musical, Bring It On. A dream come true for them (as well as for Jason), his sister has seen the show 14 times, his mother has been there for 11 performances and his brother has attended the production a “mere” seven times.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting major makes his debut on the great white way, after touring with the show for eight months. Jason says the experience is like nothing else. “It’s wildly different. The stakes are so high. There’s something about New York and Broadway that is just incomparable.”
The Brooklyn-born and raised performer attended the Special Performing Arts School in the heart of Times Square. During his high school days, he was exposed to incredibly talented kids working in the industry. He initially went on to pursue his undergraduate studies in Boston, but soon thereafter realized he needed to be in New York City. “I felt empty and unsatisfied. I craved the energy of the city and ideally wanted to pursue professional work while getting my degree.” That’s when he discovered Marymount Manhattan College.
Jason attributes his early success to MMC and its proximity to so many NYC opportunities. “If you want to survive in this business, you have to be opened and adaptable to an array of working styles. The college faculty is so talented and diverse, that I was prepared for whatever was thrown at me during professional auditions.” Jason recalls, “In my classes, one day I was doing Chekhov and Shakespeare scenes and the next day, it was Carousel!”
In addition to the faculty, Jason is extremely grateful to the school’s diverse student community. Though a native New Yorker, it was Jason’s MMC friends that came to the college from other states and countries and exposed him to places he had never discovered before. “These kids were so hungry to learn, discover and soak in everything the city offered, I traveled along to new parts of the city with them and had the best time. This group is still part of my closest circle of friends.”
His message to current undergrads is to take advantage of every opportunity. “It’s the constant doing – small shows, concerts, local community theater – that gives you worthwhile experiences to grow and develop your skills. The chances are out there. It’s what you make of it.”
In his Bring It On Broadway debut, Jason’s role as Randall, the love interest of Campbell, the female lead, helps the challenged young teen realize what’s really important, and encourages her to find herself and find her way. One of the show’s musical numbers, “Do Your Own Thing” captures MMC’s uniqueness and Jason’s own experiences while there: “Do your own thing, your own thing / Comin’ though, I ain’t followin’ you, do what you gotta do/ Do your own thing, do your own thing.”
Jason elaborates, “Marymount is a place where you don’t have to be the same. It’s okay if you march to the beat of a different drummer. You don’t have to conform or be linked with one particular group. I was able to be an independent thinker at MMC and really do my own thing.”
Adrienne Warren ’09
“Learn as much as you can and always stay enthusiastic about being a student,” are the words of advice from Broadway star and ‘09 MMC graduate Adrienne Warren to the incoming Marymount Manhattan College Class of 2016.
Now appearing in the recently extended run of Broadway’s musical hit, “Bring It On,” Adrienne explains that her education and several of her Theater Performance professors played a pivotal role in preparing her for the “real world.” The 25-year-old actress clearly recalled one professor in particular. “Working with John Znidarsic during my junior and senior year was amazing. He broke me down in my musical performance classes by telling me the truth. Boy, he was blunt, but honest.” She continues, “The plus side of his directness was that when he gave you a compliment, you could be proud that you actually did a good job.”
Now living on the Upper West Side, Adrienne initially came to study in New York City from Chesapeake, Virginia. While studying in a master class under Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn, she was strongly encouraged to continue her studies in Manhattan. Adrienne discovered and fell in love with Marymount Manhattan College because it was the perfect fit for her needs: it was small; it was private; and it had a great curriculum for a theater major.
During her sophomore year, Adrienne was scouted by an agent who caught her performance in Marymount’s production of “Ragtime.” Despite theatrical offers, Adrienne promised her parents she would stay in school and only accept roles during her summer break. Within two days after her MMC graduation, she landed a role in Encore’s City Center production of “The Wiz.”
For students currently studying musical theater, Adrienne recommends that they learn all the trades associated with the performing arts. “Don’t be afraid to work a lighting board or breakdown sets.” Appreciating and understanding what other components go on behind the scenes is the foundation to team work. “Marymount classes gave me the opportunity to learn much more than just being on center stage. Because of that exposure, I really value the work and contributions of everyone associated with putting a show together.”
In her current role as Danielle in “Bring It On,” Adrienne compares the personal similarities to the character she plays. “Danielle has to work really hard to accomplish her goal with the cheerleading squad. I, too had to work really hard during my senior year at Marymount Manhattan. I completed my whole year in one semester so I could still graduate with my class and go on tour with the rock ‘n roll arena concert group, Trans Siberian Orchestra.”
Among the best things about performing on Broadway now, other than the obvious sense of achievements, Adrienne beams, “I actually get to go home at night and sleep in my own bed rather than a hotel room while on-the-road.”
Marymount Manhattan College (MMC), founded in 1936, is an urban, independent, liberal arts, four-year college. Located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the College provides an intimate academic and artistic environment in which intellectual achievement and personal growth are fostered within its student body. MMC enrolls more than 2,000 undergraduate students, from 42 states and 60 countries, and offers a student/faculty ratio of 12-1.
For more information about Marymount Manhattan College, please visit www.mmm.edu