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Improvising Musical Theater

Few performers know the incomparable thrill of singing fully improvised songs in front of a live audience, and those that dare to try it are often hooked from the start! Come let disciples of Improv Boston’s acclaimed Musical Improv program, Rachel Hischak and Maxie Davidson, and accompanist Malcolm Granger immerse you in a world of epic possibilities for your acting, story-telling and song-styling interests.

Actors, singers, comedy writers, and musicians will all benefit from discovering how their particular skills can easily be honed to create fully improvised musical scenes, mini-musicals, and musical games for performance. Experienced actors will benefit from inspiration derived from live musical accompaniment to create bolder, more recognizable characters that develop as the music moves them to dig deeper, expanding emotional, physical, comedic, and melodic possibilities.

We'll cover the basics of crafting typical musical numbers, and the ins and outs of troupe based musical scene formats. We will take time to include exercises that slowly and gently eases nerves and stage fright associated with solo and on the spot singing. This is a great class for casual singers to discover voices and musical ears they didn’t even realize they had!

Most importantly, we'll be collaborating as a troupe from the very first class, working together to build group mind, trust and support for our bold and committed choices to work towards the goal of presenting our work in a final 30-40 minute showcase for friends and family. The showcase is optional for all students, but we will support and encourage each other to show up and experience the group achievement of putting on a show.

This is an immersive class for experienced musical theater performers, but also a class that will support and accommodate beginners. The ability to carry a tune is in no way a requirement to joining this class. If you can talk you can sing!

About the Instructor

Rachel Hischak has been “nerding out” and performing in Musical Theater for 31 years. She is more than comfortable with the notion of characters suddenly bursting into song and is frequently heard to utter, "THAT should be a musical." Her studies with Improv Boston are ongoing. Last year, she was part of their regular Comedy Lab lineup and guest performer for the Main Stage as a member of the musical indie troupe, Agent Superball.

Rachel is from up-state New York, where she grew up acting in community and high school musicals. This lead to an early decision to major in Theater/ Voice and Film Studies at Denison University in Granville, Ohio and complete a BA in Theater with SUNY Brockport. Post-college, she studied voice with Eastman School of Music and was a founding cast member of acclaimed long-form and sketch troupe, Unleashed! Improv in Rochester, NY. She next moved to NYC upon acceptance into Circle In the Square’s Musical Theater Program. She lived in NY for three years, acting and directing with The Working Theater, and sang for the cabaret series, Bound For Broadway at The Duplex Piano Bar. She also furthered her scene studies with Barrow Group Theater and Improv with Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

Now based in Cape Cod, Rachel collaborates frequently with her singer-songwriter husband, Gregory Hischak. She actively auditions for both community and professional theater and has so far worked locally with Orleans Academy Playhouse, HJT, and Cape Cod Community College and in Boston with Praxis Stage, Hub Theater Company of Boston, Burlington Park Playhouse, and Theater Co of Saugus.

Our classes and workshops are open to students of all abilities and needs. We are currently unable to provide one-on-one instruction, though we will make every attempt to address accommodations for full and successful engagement whenever possible.
If a student requires individual supports, parent/guardian/PCA/teacher/ABA Therapists/etc are welcome to attend.
Please contact Christine Ernst, Director of Education, for more information at christine@cotuitcenterforthearts.org.