And you thought your Goldman internship was a big deal… In this new series, Summer WIN-ternships, we talk to CU students who are having crazy real world success in their time off. If you or a friend is doing something you find noteworthy, toss us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow, Rebekah Lowin, CC’14, and Sean Walsh, CC’14, will be performing in MINT’d, a concert series, at an off-broadway theatre as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Rebekah, famous for playing Niamh O’Brien in V118, has been having quite the summer. Last month, she won first-place in a singing contest called the Callback at 54 Below, a cabaret club in Midtown and just today she announced she’ll be performing at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in October.
In August, Rebekah will be in a production of “Lydia and Tom,” which was first performed in the Columbia Black Box last year, but will be performed on a much larger stage at the New York Fringe Festival. “Lydia and Tom” was written by Solomon Hoffman, CC’14, who did music for V118 and orchestration for V119, and Nick Parker, CC’14, who did the lyrics for V119 (interview with them forthcoming). And one of the songs from “Lydia and Tom” will be performed at MINT’d. It’s all very confusing but bottom line: these VShow stars are starting to have some crazy real-world success.
Here, we talked to Sean and Rebekah about all of it.
Bwog: What is the Callback?
Rebekah: The Callback is a cabaret competition hosted by 54 Below, Broadway’s nightclub. The first two rounds of the contest are decided by audience vote, and then a panel of celebrity judges and industry executives is added, who ultimately decide the winner at The Final Callback. I first heard about the competition way back in winter, and decided to submit an audition video totally on a whim. A few weeks later, I got an email informing me that I was accepted to compete!
Bwog: How many people did you beat out and who are they?
Rebekah: First there were the video auditions, which were screened by the 54 Below staff, and after that the contest branched off into brackets of preliminaries and semifinals. Within my own bracket, I competed against about 20 people, and there were 4 of us left in the finals. They were mostly professional singers and musical theatre actors, and I’m trying to keep tabs on all of them now, because they were awesome.
Bwog: What did you sing and how did you choose?
Rebekah: I ended up singing so many different tunes as the competition continued, but my favorite came as part of my semifinals set, when I sang a sort of abridged version of the Billy Joel song, “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel).” I just love him, so it was fun to cover that one.
Bwog: What was the prize?
Rebekah: The prize is a cabaret engagement at 54 Below sometime this coming year, which is huge and so exciting! I’ll be getting more details on that soon. I’ll als be appearing on Sirius XM with Seth Rudetsky to publicize the show.
Bwog: What are you involved in now?
Rebekah: This summer I’m enrolled at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s summer conservatory, and I’m performing in cabarets across New York frequently with the wonderful Mabel Mercer Foundation. I’m playing Nicole in Columbia’s very own “Lydia & Tom” when it has its NY Fringe Festival premiere (the show was written by Solomon Hoffman and Nick Parker, both in CC), and I’ll be singing the roles of Penny and Mav in the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s (NYMF) production of “Mint’d,” which goes up on July 12th. Solomon is musical directing part of that, too! He’s a good guy to follow around, since, you know, he’s a musical genius.
Bwog: Can you give some background on the NYMF show?
Sean: It’s a showcase of new composers and young actors.
Bwog: So it’s a showcase, not a show itself.
Sean: Yes! It’s a concert.
Bwog: Solomon Hoffman has one of the pieces from “Lydia & Tom” in the show, right?
Sean: And then Rebekah is *also* in the Fringe version of “Lydia and Tom”.
Yes, [the song is] called “Perfect for Each Other.” Rebekah is doing “Lydia and Tom” [at Fringe], but she’s not singing the song from “Lydia and Tom” [at NYMF].
Bwog: This is confusing!
Sean: I know!
Bwog: How many pieces will there be? And which pieces are you in?
Sean: There are 18 pieces, I am in four and I believe Rebekah is, too. Two of them we’re in together. I’m singing a solo song called “Mr. Banana” which is about a boy waiting for a blind date, who said he’d be eating a banana in a park—but his date never shows up, so he keeps having to eat bananas. Pretty silly.
Then I have a duet called “The World Will Welcome Me” which is a love song. Then there’s a song that Rebekah and I are in with two other people called “Just Me,” which is about graduating from college and living in New York City. “Just Me” opens the show. And then there’s a beeeautiful group number called “Pages Make a Story” which the whole cast is in, and that’s the closing.
Bwog: How did you guys end up getting invited to this?
Sean: We had to audition. Neither of us thought we had a shot at getting in, so we were thrilled when both of us got into the piece.
Just for some context, [title of show] and Next to Normal also got their start in NYMF and transitioned to broadway, so it’s great for Solomon’s works to be featured. And the people in the cast are astounding, a number of them have Broadway credits.
Bwog: Is this the first time you’re performing in an Off-Broadway venue?
Sean: Yes, this is the first time I’ll be performing on a stage in New York that’s not Columbia. So such a beautiful little theater is a great place to make a start at it. The Pershing Signature Center is braaaand new. It’s a really nice venue.
Bwog: How does it feel to be in a long line of theatrical VShow success?
Rebekah: V118 in particular was a really happy part of my time here at Columbia. I think the entire cast would agree that the most magical part of Varsity Show is the feeling that you’re giving something back to a place that’s given you so much (love ya, Columbia).
Lazy stock image via Shutterstock