Broadway performers from Capital Region share knowledge with young protégés

July 06, 2018 06:12 PM

We've heard plenty of stories of people who grew up in the Capital Region and went on to find fame and success in other parts of the country or even the world. Sometimes they come back home to share their knowledge with the next generation. However, every now and then, these successful people are the next generation.

Making it as a performer isn't easy. That's why some budding artists are spending their summer sharpening their skills -- hoping they'll have a leg up on the competition.

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It wasn't long ago that their instructors on this day -- Jacob Clemente and Christopher Flaim -- were young protégés themselves. They were among the lucky talented few who made it big, when they were little -- heading off to Broadway before heading off to high school.

"I started in a show called 'Gypsy,' and I was a newsboy. Then, after that, I went through several rounds of auditions for a show called "Billy Elliot" and after the final callback, I ended up landing the role when I was 12," explained Clemente.

"I was in Mary Poppins, as Michael Banks. I did it for eight months on tour and then seven months on Broadway," recalled Flaim.

It's been about 10 years since the duo last enjoyed the applause of the "Great White Way." Clemente returned home to North Greenbush – Flaim to Clifton Park. However, what they learned on those Big Apple stages has never left them, including the music and choreography. Now, they're teaching their old Broadway routines to eager area upstarts.

"I'm going to teach it to them how I learned it and the instruction that I got and not dumb anything down," avowed Flaim.

"I think I've thrown about 2 ½ minutes of choreography at them and they picked it up like that," pointed out Clemente.

When they were contacted by the folks behind the Broadway Sings Young Artists Program and asked to share their knowledge, they jumped at the chance. It might have been more of a flap ball change.

"It's weird to be asked to be a teacher already and say I have all this wisdom, but then when I think back, I do have something to offer," acknowledged Flaim.

Not just dance steps or vocal exercises. Their young apprentices are also looking for advice on making it as a performer.

"When I first started dancing, I would do probably about three hours a day. When I wasn't dancing, I was dancing in the shower, I was dancing at my house. So I think the two things that I would really stress is discipline and hard work," explained Clemente.

Flaim says above all else -- believe in yourself.

"Then you can let go and say, okay, what I have is what I have and hopefully it's enough," he explained.

The "Bound for Broadway" show opens this weekend at Schenectady Light Opera.

MORE INFORMATION: Bound for Broadway


Jerry Gretzinger

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