The Northern Lights Arts Council’s community theater program has a new face in the director’s chair as Emily Braunberger directs her first show in Langdon.
Posted on 11/20/15
By Melissa Anderson
Braunberger isn’t new to the community theater program as she has a history with this troupe.
“It was on the Roxy stage that I fell in love with musical theatre. It was in this community that I found my passion in performing,” Braunberger stated.
The upcoming show is called “Lights, Curtain, Broadway: A Musical Revue”, and it features some of the most memorable songs that have graced the Broadway stage. For those who don’t know what a revue is, it is a show with a collaboration of songs under a general theme.
“So it isn’t necessarily a musical with a story line and characters, but it will feature songs from Broadway that everyone knows and loves,” Braunberger said.
The song list hasn’t been narrowed down quite yet as Braunberger wants to keep her song options open depending on who auditions.
“But what I can tell you is that you will hear songs from some of Broadway’s biggest and most beloved musicals,” Braunberger stated.
Those musicals include Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, Wicked, Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods, and many more.
Anyone can audition from Grade 5 (about age 10) – adult. This show is open to everyone with auditions taking place on Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m. on the Roxy stage. Exact dates for public performances have been determined, but Braunberger believes performances will most likely be the last weekend in February.
For those interested in auditioning all you need bring is yourself, a big smile, a good attitude, and lots of excitement.
“I really want to see people go all out at auditions and just have fun,” Braunberger said.
Other than yourself – Braunberger advises those who audition to bring a song, preferably a Broadway tune, to sing and some shoes that are comfortable dancing in as there will be a little dance audition as well. Don’t let that dissuade you as it will be simple and fun. Also, be sure to bring a list of any dates that you are already aware of that you will be unavailable in the months of January and February 2016.
For Braunberger, those she would like to see audition include the “veterans” of the community – those who have been in musicals and dinner theaters in the past. Not to be one to play favorites, however, Braunberger also would like to see lots of middle and high schoolers.
“Most importantly, I want to see people audition who have never been in a musical or play but have always wanted to try it. You never know what you’re good at until you give it a try,” Braunberger said.
Because the show doesn’t have a story line that must be followed or set number of characters, the amount of roles available is limitless.
“Whether we have 10 audition or 100, although I don’t think the Roxy stage could hold that many,” Braunberger stated.
Can’t see yourself performing on stage but would still like to take part? Braunberger has a job for you. Beyond performing in the show other jobs that will need to be completed include helping out backstage and in the light/sound booth during performances. Have a knack for costumes? The production will need people to help with costumes and props.
“There are plenty of opportunities for people who want to help out but don’t want to be center stage,” Braunberger stated.
Braunberger has history with the NLAC community theater as it was a production of theirs that she first saw and subsequently fell in love with musical theater.
“I remember sitting towards the back of the Roxy when I was in the seventh grade when the NLAC put on their first musical, Damn Yankees. I just remember being so enthralled by the music and the dancing. My dad and I told each other that the next musical they did, we would audition,” Braunberger recalled.
When the father-daughter duo heard about auditions for The Wiz the following year, they decided to audition and were cast as the Cowardly Lion and the Yellow Brick Road respectively. Following her first role as the Yellow Brick Road, Braunberger was hooked.
“I performed in many musicals and dinner theatres in high school here in Langdon, and when I went to college at NDSU, I pursued a minor in musical theatre,” Braunberger explained.
Ever since that first role in the The Wiz, Braunberger has performed in countless shows on countless stages making musical theatre and performing are her biggest passions in life.
“I think about the little girl sitting in the audience of Damn Yankees at the Roxy Theatre all those years ago who, in that exact moment, fell in love with musical theatre, and I want nothing more than to give that exact same experience and moment of clarity to another young girl, boy or even adult,” Braunberger stated.
This production will be Braunbergers second time in the director’s chair as last year she directed the One Act Play at Central Cass High School in Casselton. The team took second place at Regionals and went to the State One Act Play Competition.
“So directing is still a relatively new experience for me, and I’ve never directed a musical before, but I am excited for the opportunity and know that it will be a great experience,” Braunberger stated.
For Braunberger, having her experience with theater come full circle from performing on the stage at the Roxy to directing them is a very worthwhile experience. She is the first to admit that while directing is an exciting new opportunity and experience, performing is her first love.
“My heart will always be in performing on the stage. So who knows? You just might see me up on the stage for Lights, Curtain, Broadway!,” Braunberger said.
Braunberger can’t imagine what her life would be like if she had decided not to audition for The Wiz and has some advice for those who are still on the fence.
“So if you are debating whether or not to audition; if you don’t know if singing, dancing and acting is your thing, I say this to you: just come out and give it a try! Maybe you’ll find that musical theatre or acting in general isn’t your forte, and that’s OK. But maybe you will find, just like I did, that it is one of your biggest talents and passions. Either way, I can guarantee a fun and exciting experience.” Braunberger said.