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All the World’s a Stage: An interview with a real-life Broadway star

It seems that every Tuesday night, our Facebook and Twitter accounts blow up with Glee episode updates; people are addicted to the Broadway tunes and remixed hits performed on the primetime show.
 
While we wish dancing around in our dorm room singing “The Eyes of Texas” on key would magically transform us into musical sensations, we realize that the cast of Glee went through years of training and preparation to get where they are today.
 
Natasha Davison, a musical theater professor in UT’s Theater and Dance department, is a real life musical theater star. Just like Lea Michele, she’s been dancing, acting and singing since she was a child. She tells Her Campus Texas about her Broadway experiences and tips if you plan on being Glee’s next guest star.

 
HC Texas: How did you get involved in the arts?
ND: I started my dance training at Atlanta School of Ballet with Robert Barnett. Then I started boarding school at 14 years old, and I began studying at Boston Ballet and Walnut Hill Ballet School. I was always encouraged to pursue a more “reliable” career path, so I got a degree in journalism – but I always dance and sang on the side.
 
My love for musical theater really came from myself – the love of the community, working with other theater artists at that level. Although I worked in journalism, I was just always inspired and excited about musical theater, so when I had an opportunity to move to NYC with my roommate, I sold my car, and those proceeds helped when I studied dancing, acting and singing intensely!
 
HC Texas: What was your first successful experience in the industry?
ND: My first successful audition/role was for a TV special celebrating the centennial of the Statue of Liberty in 1986. It was phenomenal and really fun because I was working with all of these big musical theater names. Dee Dee Wood was there (Mary Poppins and Sound of Music’s choreographer). There was also Michael Peters and Danny Herman, who worked on Michael Jackson’s choreography. I even got to dance with Gene Kelly, and Liza Minelli worked on the project as well.
 
HC Texas: What has been your favorite role in your career?
ND: CATS National Tour was my first big break in a major musical, because it was a big hit show at the time. We played every single major city in the United States, so we had lots of opening nights. It was really fun being in the musical early on.  We got to work with the original creative team; we got to work with Andrew Lloyd Webber himself! My character was one of the only prominent female dance roles at the time, and it wasn’t easy getting there – I had to audition six times for the part!
 
HC Texas: What is your advice for other aspiring theater artists?
ND: To put it in three words: preparation, preparation, preparation! You have to understand that you can do the best you can do, and something will come along that suits what you have to offer. Utilize auditions to build relationships; let the important people know who you are and what you can do. Show them you would be a good citizen of the cast and that you can make interesting, brave choices. You have to have that little magic.

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