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Take It From The Top 

Attention Broadway dreamers, are you looking for an opportunity to hone your skills?

Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity and Take It From The Top have created a brand new virtual educational program allowing students to advance their skills from home.

How better to strengthen the core disciplines of singing, acting, and dancing than learning from Broadway professionals?  This season's Take It From The Top (TIFTT) virtual session is filled with more Broadway professionals than ever before. Students will hear from teaching artists who know what it takes to make it in the business. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with TIFTT Co-Founder Paul Canaan and his team of professionals. 

Questions about any of our TIFTT offerings? Contact Kelly at [email protected] or (517) 884-3166.

Virtual 2020-2021 Programs

Join us every month as Paul Canaan and a team of Broadway professionals instruct virtual musical theatre master classes in various topics (Auditioning, rehearsing, performance, individual coaching, and much more). These courses are structured for all levels and designed to inspire and connect students with other artists and their own passions.  

For participants in grades 5-college, these classes will engage everyone from beginners to seasoned performers. You can drop into a single class or register for the entire series.


Due to the nature of the ever-changing schedules of our Teaching Artists, special guests for the spring will be announced after the new year!


Sign Up

Virtual Intensives Schedule

Tuesday, October 13, 6-8 pm: The Actor. $45 (Max 70 students total)

  • Beginning with a brief theatre history with a focus on the greats of musical theatre, the student will work through the audition, rehearsal, and performance process, role preparation, improv, 30-second monologues, and more. This session will wrap up with a brief Q&A and advice for aspiring actors.
  • Special guests (subject to change): Leslie Kritzer

Tuesday, November 10, 6-8 pm: Acting Audition. $45 (Max 70 students total)

  • Students will take a deep dive into auditions, including where to find them, what to prepare, best practices in the room, and more. Participants will then perform sides for casting directors for feedback.
  • Special guests (subject to change): Sean McKnight (agent, The Hybrid Agency)

Tuesday, December 8, 6-8 pm: The Singer. $45 (Max 70  students total)

  • Vocal anatomy, health, technique, and exercises will be taught, along with a brief history of Broadway singers and influential singers. Students will work through a set of warm-up and cool-down activities and explore registration and placement.
  • Special guests (subject to change): David Dabbon (music arranger and vocal coach)

Tuesday, January 12, 6-8 pm: Vocal Audition. $45 (Max 70  students total)

  • With a focus on the vocal component of auditions, students will learn how to build their books (finding the right song, how to cut, diversifying material), the importance of storytelling and character, and audition room etiquette. Students will also learn about the role of a music director, what they’re looking for, and have the chance to perform 32-bar audition cuts for professionals.

Tuesday, February 9, 6-8 pm: The Dancer. $45 (Max 70 students total)

  • A history of influential dancers and a dance vocabulary sheet will kick off this course, and it will continue with a look at the life of a dancer, health and conditioning tips, and how to maintain an 8 show a week schedule. Students will also work through dance terminology basics, form, and positions.

Tuesday, March 9, 6-8 pm: Creative Course (Choose One) $45 (Max 70 students total)

  • The Songwriter: Gain a better understanding of the songwriting process by learning basic tools and song structure so you can write your own music and lyrics. 

  • The Choreographer: A look at influential Musical Theater choreographers who have shaped the way style, technique and movement can tell a story on stage. 


    Special Guest: Composer/Lyricist team Jacob Yandura and Rebekah Greer Melocik share the writing, development, and collaboration process. 

Tuesday, April 13, 6-8 pm: Self-Tape Audition Workshop $45 (Max 70 students total)

  • Every casting office, director, and production has a different way they’d like to have self-tapes filmed and uploaded. The goal is to present your best self and show versatile performance ability and overall range. This intensive will cover tips and practices to assure that your self-taped auditions are the best they can be.

TIFTT Virtual Program FAQs

What technology will I need?
To be most successful, each participant will need access to a device (preferably a laptop, desktop, or a tablet) during the synchronous learning sessions. There will be times when participants will need to access two devices- recording from one while playing a backing track from another.

What is the requirement for parent involvement?
Parents/guardians won’t need to participate in an of the sessions, beyond what’s needed for tech/device support.

What safety protocols are in place for this program?
Wharton Center staff is working closely with MSU’s Youth Program department as we make this switch to virtual learning. All sessions will be recorded and available for participant/family review and download. Further, Wharton Center staff will be “logged on” to each Zoom meetings as well.

Take It From The Top Company

Monthly beginning on October 15 | $500 

For students in grades 5-college, The TIFTT Company is aimed toward students with a serious interest in musical theatre performance, and that are looking for a more personal, in-depth training program. Students will meet virtually once a month for classes, coachings, talks with industry pros, and more. This will require a full-year commitment, and in the spring, students will have the opportunity to perform for Broadway and TV/Film agents and casting directors for feedback on their growth and their skills. 

  • All company members will be registered for the monthly Intensive class series and will meet on Thursdays from 6-8pm, on the following dates: October 15, November 12, December 10, January 14, February 11, March 11, and April 15.
  • Junior Company: Grades 5-8.  Max 40 Students
  • Senior Company: Grades 9-college. Max 40 students

Interested in registering for TIFTT Company? Email Kelly Stuible-Clark at [email protected].

Questions? Please contact Kelly Stuible-Clark at [email protected] or (517) 884-3166.

All grade requirements are for the 2020-2021 school year.

Registrations are filled on a first come, first served basis for all above classes. Apply early to guarantee your spot.

Take It From The Top is a national arts alliance dedicated to providing quality education enrichment through music, dance and theatre to students and other organizations worldwide. Our primary goal is to serve as a catalyst for creativity for aspiring artists through professional mentoring, workshops and structured programs that will inspire confidence and provide students a pathway to attain their highest potential. 

Our generous sponsors ensure the cost of participating in Take It From The Top is as low as possible. Sponsored by Karyn's Dance Place with additional support from Linda Arens; Bonnie Knutson; and Rich Sneary.

Photos by Harley Seeley