Broadway actors/actresses brought in to help virtually teach students while Williamsville theater academy is closed

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — As kids are out of school and extra-curricular activities are canceled, a local theater company is making sure young people have something to look forward to during this difficult time.

About a week-and-a-half ago, students at the Academy of Theatre Arts in Williamsville found out they wouldn’t be able to go to their beloved studio to train anymore. The academy teaches children and young adults acting, vocal performance, and musical theater dance all year long. But instead of canceling the classes, academy leaders decided to take everything online… and they bought in some big names to help teach.

Monday night, Broadway actor Adam Kaplan was doing voice lessons for the students. He was in Newsies on Broadway. Morgan Wood and Keven Quillon, who are also on Broadway, also showed up to give their insight. There were about 60 students in the virtual class from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and one of those students told News 4, training from these big stars was a highlight of her month so far.

“We’re so used to being at all our after-school activities, and being in school in general, that to have all of that ripped away is just heartbreaking,” Mattie Harvey said. “But to have this one solid thing that we can all come together and do at least once a week is super cool and super special for us to have. It’s a really emotional experience really.”

Syndee Winters, who played Nala in Broadway’s The Lion King, also taught a breathing technique class on Tuesday.

But that’s not all.

The owner of the academy said she has even more big Broadway actors and actresses lined up in the weeks to come. The academy plans on continuing this until they can get students back in the studio.

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