Interview with Aaron Moten...

Aaron Moten taught at TAP Camp for four sum­mers, while he was attend­ing The Juilliard School. He grad­u­at­ed in 2011 and is already per­form­ing in a Broadway show. He is in pre­views for A Streetcar Named Desire and will open in just a few weeks. We asked Aaron a few ques­tions about his edu­ca­tion, his career and his expe­ri­ences. Enjoy…

Q: How has teach­ing at TAP helped you to become a more round­ed artist?
A: Teaching, for me, is allow­ing every per­son in the room a voice in the con­ver­sa­tion of act­ing. Together we cre­ate new def­i­n­i­tions of prin­ci­ples that are con­stant­ly evolv­ing, and in response we are becom­ing decid­ed hybrids of the artis­tic world we live in.

Q: What was the most impor­tant thing you learned in your high school career?
A: The most impor­tant thing I learned in high school was how to care for mate­r­i­al and myself. How to bring myself to a piece and allow myself and the piece to both speak and exist togeth­er.

Q:What was the most impor­tant thing you learned dur­ing your stud­ies at Juilliard?
A: Ease of work.

Q: Talk a lit­tle bit about your first rehearsal for Streetcar. What was the expe­ri­ence like for you?
A: My first rehearsal was crazy. I want­ed just blend in and not be noticed beyond any oth­er indi­vid­ual present, how­ev­er it was birth­day – and they knew – and when the cake was brought out with lit can­dles after our 2 hour press event I stood out. It took us 5 hours from my first call to even open our scripts, and around the table were faces that I felt I had know for years. Celebrities. An alto­geth­er whirl­wind was my first rehearsal.

Q: What is your favorite TAP mem­o­ry?
A: My favorite TAP mem­o­ry would have to be watch­ing the camp final show. Every year there is mea­sur­able growth in every stu­dent of every dis­ci­pline. It’s like watch­ing mag­ic.

Q: How does work­ing on Broadway dif­fer from work­ing else­where?
A: You can work any­where – the dif­fer­ence with Broadway is every­one from this indus­try sees Broadway shows. There’s noth­ing like doing a Broadway show to remind you how con­nect­ed you are to the indus­try of the­atre, film, and tele­vi­sion.

Q: How do you like liv­ing and work­ing in New York City?
A: New York is cold. It cer­tain­ly isn’t any­thing like home. I do love the work here though. I’ve always believed that if you want to do some­thing with your life and you want to do it some­where – go there.

Q: If you could play one role that you haven’t already, who would it be?
A: Easy. James Baldwin.

Q: Who is your favorite char­ac­ter that you have played and why?
A: My favorite role that I’ve ever played hands down was King Henry V. Shakespeare will do noth­ing but make you bet­ter. Shakespeare is only good when you are hon­est, pure, unguard­ed. It takes a lot of work; years and years, to be able to com­mand his text, but worth every sec­ond.
-Aaron Clifton Moten-

Where are our former campers now?

We are extremely proud of the success of our former campers.

Where Are They Now?

CurrieWood_Wallis_picWallis Currie-Wood — The Juilliard School ’14

After her time at Texas Arts Project, Wallis went on to study at The Juilliard School, per­form­ing in pro­duc­tions of Twelfth Night, The Cherry Orchard, and Buried Child. After grad­u­a­tion, Wallis appeared in The Intern (star­ring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro) and can be seen as Stephanie “Stevie” McCord on Madam Secretary on CBS.

Phipps_Grace_picGrace Phipps

After grad­u­at­ing high school, Grace starred in Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach Movie 2 with The Disney Channel, and as Bee in the 2011 remake of Friday Night, the 1985 hor­ror film. She can also be seen on the ABC Family series The Nine Lives of Chloe King and in ten episodes of sea­son four of The Vampire Diaries.

Brendle_Travis_picTravis Brendle — Cincinnati Conservatory of Music — BFA Stage Management ’10

Upon earn­ing his degree in Stage Management, Travis served as a Production Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line from 2013 – 2015, and as Production Supervisor for the mind blow­ing, Broadway spec­tac­u­lar, The Illusionists from 2015 to 2017. He is now work­ing as the man­ag­er for Shows and Entertainment with Virgin Voyages, the new­ly launched cruise line by Richard Branson.

Nicole Gehring — Point Park University — BFA Musical Theatre ’10Gehring_Nicole_pic

Nicole is cur­rent­ly a free­lance gen­er­al manager/​consultant for the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions in New York City. She has worked on the nation­al tours of A Christmas StoryDirty Dancing, and Pageant: The Musical, and served as the com­pa­ny man­ag­er for Davenport Theatrical Enterprises and  PUFFS, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.

Coy Branscum — Millikin University — BFA Musical Theatre ’15
Alexa Cepeda — Ithaca College — BFA Musical Theatre ’16
Jenna Carson — American Musical and Dramatic Academy ’16
Jacob Scott — Webster University — BFA Musical Theatre ’17
Donelvan Thigpen — 
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music — BFA Musical Theatre
Christopher Washington — 
University of Michigan - BFA Musical Theatr
Korina Lurie 
 - North Carolina School of the Arts — BFA Acting
Jenna Scott — 
Belmont University — BM Commercial Music
Lena Owens — 
Oklahoma University — BFA Musical Theatre
Keith Gruber — 
Oklahoma University - BFA Musical Theatre 
Kate Brimmer — 
Oklahoma University — BFA Musical Theatre 
Renelle Wilson -
Boston University — BFA Acting 
Jacob Oderberg - Texas Christian University - BFA Acting 
Matthew Moore - Elon University — BFA Musical Theatre
Madison Calicchia — 
New York University, Tisch - BFA Filmmaking 
Hannah Roberts — Otterbein University — BFA Musical Theatre
Matthew Kennedy — Texas State University — BFA Acting
Evan Hays — Texas State University — BFA Acting
Bailey Kearns — Roosevelt University — BFA Musical Theatre/​Voice

What do Campers Say About Scott Thompson?

Scott Thompson is a phe­nom­e­nal per­son. I have nev­er worked with some­one as ded­i­cat­ed to their craft as he, and I don’t know if I will again because I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that even on Broadway, peo­ple as pas­sion­ate are some­what of an anom­aly. Scott did more for me than just teach me dance moves and block my scenes: he gave me a dri­ve in every area of musi­cal the­atre includ­ing singing and act­ing. Working with Scott was life-chang­ing, and I am ecsta­t­ic to hear that he is com­ing back. I can only hope that more of his tal­ent rubs off on me. He is one of the most skilled, hard­work­ing, and sin­cere peo­ple you will ever meet.
-Jacob Scott

What I learned the most from Scott Thompson was that you can hon­est­ly push your­self far past your own expec­ta­tions. Before this past sum­mer I had nev­er con­sid­ered myself to be a dancer, but after 3 weeks with Scott, it final­ly didn’t feel out of place to say that I was one. I was cast as the lead dancer in my school show this year and I know with­out his help, I hon­est­ly would have had no shot at being cast as that. Not only did my danc­ing improve but over­all per­form­ing improved dra­mat­i­cal­ly. He taught me that you have to always be work­ing for it, and nev­er let your act­ing slip for even a sec­ond when you’re danc­ing. He taught me that act­ing was the most impor­tant part of the dance.
-Korina Lurie

TAP Camp is a won­der­ful place where the staff takes a per­son­al
inter­est in each camper. If there’s some­thing you feel you’re not as
strong in, you’ll prob­a­bly feel much more con­fi­dent after TAP. Scott
Thompson is a won­der­ful direc­tor full of life expe­ri­ence, won­der­ful
sto­ries, and just plain tal­ent! He makes rehearsals fun and effi­cient.
I learned so much from the TAP Camp staff and Scott Thompson last year
and wouldn’t trade it for any­thing.
-Lizzie Guest

Let me begin by say­ing that I can­not dance, or rather, I could not dance until I met the incred­i­ble Scott Thompson. This man lit­er­al­ly changed my life (as is the nature of every fac­ul­ty mem­ber brought into Texas Arts Project). For the three weeks the camp ran, I watched in amaze­ment as he made girls belt and turned boys into strong lead­ing men, includ­ing myself. However, in addi­tion to all of this, he gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty I had giv­en up hope on ever receiv­ing — he gave me the chance to dance. Until this point I had been told I would nev­er dance, but “no” and “can’t” aren’t in Scott’s vocab­u­lary. This man was the first per­son to tell me I could be every­thing I ever want­ed to be, he took a chance and trust­ed me and now I am pur­su­ing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Millikin University, where I am being cast in musi­cals as a main dancer. Who would have ever known? I guess Scott did! I’ve heard peo­ple jok­ing­ly say, “TAP Camp changes lives,” but it real­ly does. Do your­self a favor and sign up for this amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty.
-Coy Branscum

From my point of view, he was the best teacher I’ve ever had the plea­sure of work­ing with. Just by the way he taught he made every­one love and learn the the­atre craft. I’ve learned way more about the indus­try in 3 weeks with him than I have any oth­er way. He real­ly pro­vid­ed the stu­dents a great relax­ing envi­ron­ment to learn the craft. He taught dance as though it was act­ing which is hard to find in some chore­o­g­ra­phers. We stu­dents weren’t learn­ing chore­og­ra­phy, but instead we were act­ing out dif­fer­ent emo­tions that just so hap­pened to have syn­chro­nized move­ment to them! I felt that he made every­one feel like they could do any­thing, if they tried hard enough. If they want­ed to be suc­cess­ful, they could do it. He was a firm believ­er in “if you want it, go and get it”. And he made every­one learn­ing from him try their absolute hard­est each chance they got, with no wast­ed rep­e­ti­tion. “Look the tiger in the eye”!!
-Hayden Warzek

New Developments for Arts Education

From the “Americans for the Arts”

With a recent bud­get vic­to­ry, high vis­i­bil­i­ty on Capitol Hill, and three new arts edu­ca­tion reports being released, arts edu­ca­tion advo­cates are gath­er­ing momen­tum to impact edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy nation­al­ly.

On April 15, Congress and the pres­i­dent approved the FY 2011 appro­pri­a­tions bill which includ­ed restora­tion of the fed­er­al Arts In Education pro­gram – the only edu­ca­tion pro­gram to be restored from being cut or ter­mi­nat­ed ear­li­er in the year. This is a huge vic­to­ry! This was direct­ly fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful grass­roots advo­ca­cy cam­paign by 550 advo­cates from across the coun­try who joined actors Alec Baldwin, Hill Harper, Kerry Washington, and Kevin Spacey dur­ing the nation­al Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to sup­port the arts and arts edu­ca­tion.

Last week, Americans for the Arts pub­lished its National Arts Policy Roundtable final report which cap­tures the rec­om­men­da­tions from an event co-con­vened at the Sundance Preserve by President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch, and Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute. Officials from both the U.S. Department of Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities par­tic­i­pat­ed in the National Arts Policy Roundtable. The report iden­ti­fies four key rec­om­men­da­tions, includ­ing the need for increased research, strong pub­lic pol­i­cy sup­port, and bet­ter case­mak­ing efforts from the field.

These rec­om­men­da­tions arrive at an impor­tant time. The chair­men of the House and Senate edu­ca­tion com­mit­tees in Congress have promised action soon on the reau­tho­riza­tion of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind). Most imme­di­ate­ly, the need for increased fed­er­al research cit­ed in the National Arts Policy Roundtable rec­om­men­da­tions will be answered, in part, by two new fed­er­al stud­ies being released this week:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics is releas­ing the pre­view of a study on the nation­al sta­tus and con­di­tion of arts edu­ca­tion — it has been almost a decade since the last one was pub­lished! The full study is sched­uled to be released by the end of 2011 and will be a key mea­sure­ment of access to arts edu­ca­tion.

Later this week, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is set to release their study “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools” which will pro­mote suc­cess­ful arts edu­ca­tion mod­els and best prac­tices as iden­ti­fied by this com­mit­tee appoint­ed by President Obama and chaired by the First Lady.

The momen­tum that has been built by recent advo­ca­cy on Capitol Hill and the boost from these nation­al stud­ies will serve the arts edu­ca­tion field well as Congress con­sid­ers edu­ca­tion reforms lat­er this year.

If you are inter­est­ed in becom­ing an offi­cial mem­ber of the Arts Action Fund, join the Arts Action Fund today — it’s free and sim­ple.

John Howrey, original member of the TAP team, returns in 2011

In December of 2002, Clay Nichols asked me if I was inter­est­ed in start­ing a board­ing camp for the arts at St. Stephen’s in the sum­mer of 2003. I was look­ing for a new project and jumped at the idea. I left his office and drove straight over to my friend, John’s house. John had music direct­ed a few shows with me and had just began a new career path as a graph­ic design­er. We had a meet­ing and came up with a plan. After many meet­ings, brochures went out, a staff was hired, plans were made and TAP Camp was born. John start­ed out as TAP Camp’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, graph­ic design­er and musi­cal direc­tor and con­tin­ued that for the first four sum­mers. He moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 2004 to study graph­ic design. John has con­tin­ued to be instru­men­tal in the suc­cess of TAP Camp from afar. As the graph­ic design­er, John has cre­at­ed beau­ti­ful print mate­ri­als every year and helped us with our mar­ket­ing efforts. He spent the bet­ter part of this year mak­ing us a new web­site and con­tin­ues to pro­vide us with beau­ti­ful mate­ri­als.

When John decid­ed to go into a career as a graph­ic design­er, I wor­ried that the musi­cal artist in him would be lost. But Boston has embraced all of his many tal­ents and allowed him to flour­ish. John has been musi­cal direc­tor for near­ly a dozen musi­cals with Stoneham Theatre Company, where he has also been hired as a direc­tor on a num­ber of pro­duc­tions. He has con­tin­ued teach­ing class­es in pri­vate and group voice and musi­cal the­atre his­to­ry. John has worked as a musi­cal direc­tor for Suffolk University, Arlington Children’s Theatre, Riverside Theatre Works and he is slat­ed to work on a pro­duc­tion of Bat Boy: The Musical for the Metro Stage Company this sum­mer. This year, he was hired as the Musical Director for Sunfish, a new musi­cal, pro­duced at Stoneham Theatre.

I am very excit­ed to have John at TAP Camp this summer…as a musi­cal direc­tor, edu­ca­tor, design­er, musi­cal the­atre geek and gen­er­al artis­tic guru. I look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with him this sum­mer and I am excit­ed to see the growth of our campers after work­ing with him for three weeks.

-Ginger, TAP Artistic Director

Free Musical Theatre Workshop with Guest Artist, Scott Thompson

How often do you get to work with an award-win­ning, Nationally rec­og­nized director/choreographer…for FREE?

What: FREE Musical Theatre Workshop with Scott Thompson
Where: Ballet Austin Armstrong/​Connelly Studio
When: April 23rd 4 – 6:30pm
Why: One-time oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with Scott Thompson in Austin, TX for FREE
How: Sign up online here.

Texas Arts Project Holds a FREE Musical Theatre Workshop for ages 13 – 18 at Ballet Austin Studios Saturday April 23rd from 4 – 6:30pm. This is a rare and amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn a musi­cal the­atre song and dance num­ber from award win­ning director/​choreographer, Scott Thompson.

About Scott Thompson…

Scott Thompson co-found­ed and served as Artistic Director for Austin’s pro­fes­sion­al musi­cal the­atre com­pa­ny from 1996 – 2002. With Scott at the helm, Austin Musical Theatre (AMT) raised the bar for musi­cal the­atre in Austin. As the Director/​Choreographer for six­teen AMT musi­cals, fea­tur­ing Broadway guest artists along­side local Austin tal­ent, Scott gar­nered awards and acco­lades like Austin had nev­er seen. More impor­tant, though, was the train­ing pro­gram for future artists. The Austin Musical Theatre Performing Arts Academy paved the way for many young Austinites to per­form­ing careers from Broadway to Hollywood.

Scott has over 20 years teach­ing expe­ri­ence. Though cur­rent­ly resid­ing and teach­ing in New York City, he has worked nation­wide at uni­ver­si­ties, con­ser­va­to­ries, dance acad­e­mies, and sum­mer camps. Scott has guest lec­tured at NYU, California State College at Fullerton, Birmingham University, University of Arizona and the College of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. Scott Thompson has won numer­ous awards for direct­ing and chore­o­graph­ing some of Broadway’s bright­est tal­ents in over 100 pro­duc­tions nation­wide. Scott direct­ed Tony Award win­ner Betty Buckley in her first GYPSY, coun­try music leg­end Larry Gatlin in THE MUSIC MAN and Tony Award win­ner Cady Huffman in DAMN YANKEES. For the Library of Congress, he chore­o­graphed an all-star Gershwin Gala fea­tur­ing four-time Tony Award win­ner Audra McDonald, record­ing star Dawn Upshaw and Tony Award nom­i­nees Lara Teeter, David Garrison and Wanda Richert. For Princess Cruise Lines, Scott Created, Directed and Choreographed a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar pro­duc­tion show BROADWAY BALLROOM, which pre­miered on Princess Cruises new star ocean lin­er the Ruby Princess.

Scott Thompson cur­rent­ly teach­es musi­cal the­atre and tap dance at Steps on Broadway. He is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly work­ing on a New York work­shop pro­duc­tion of a BRAND new musi­cal called One For My Baby, which he co-wrote.

See his past work at www​.scott​thomp​sonon​line​.com.