Living the Broadway Dream
This summer, Kenny Letts ’21 is stepping on stage, putting on his dancing shoes, warming up his voice, and teaching others to do the same. He is living the dream. Or rather, as lead intern and performance intern for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, he is living the Broadway dream.
The Broadway Dreams Foundation is an organization that brings together people who work in performance art, particularly on Broadway, so they can teach their skills to a new generation of aspiring onstage, onscreen, and behind-the-scenes professionals. The program includes core staffers, though the actors, writers, directors, dancers, and singers who serve as faculty change on a weekly basis, allowing various Broadway workers more opportunities to participate.
At the beginning of each week, faculty audition students and based on the talent they observe, the faculty then start putting together a weekend showcase where students will perform in front of an audience that often includes Broadway directors. When students are not rehearsing for the showcase, they attend classes that range from vocal lessons to living sustainably in New York City.
As a lead intern, Letts acts as a liaison between performance interns and faculty and assists the head staffers with organization management. He also creates and teaches educational classes about musical theatre for children aged 8-14, in which he aims to make his lessons “easily understandable, fun, and substantial.” As a performance intern, he conducts supplementary tasks and additionally functions as a student, auditioning for and performing in the weekly showcases. On one occasion, he even sang an audition song to Sean Hayes, the actor who portrayed Jack McFarland on Will and Grace.
Letts, a theatre major, said that working for the Broadway Dreams Foundation has been a “fantastic” opportunity. “Every day I am learning so, so much about the craft I intend to do for a living, and every day I feel myself expanding and improving as an artist,” he said.
The Broadway Dreams Foundation has provided Letts with a myriad of experiences. He noted that the most rewarding part of his job has been watching students develop their talents and being a part of the process. Letts said “The faculty has an uncanny ability to bring out the talent and passion in most any kid they meet, and assisting that, or even doing that myself, is the most rewarding aspect of this program.”
Letts is confident that he will continue pursuing a career in performance art. He said that his “dream” is to become a Broadway actor, though his time with the Broadway Dreams Foundation has made him consider going into educational and organizational jobs, like the staff positions at the foundation.
Letts acknowledged that it can be challenging to become a professional actor, but it is a challenge worth pursuing. “The only way to make it in a difficult field is to give everything you have to it with nothing held back. If it doesn’t work out after that, you can move on with no regrets.”
Letts is one of 200 Hamilton students conducting research or completing an internship supported by the College this summer. His internship is supported by the Joseph F. Anderson ’44 Fund.