Tony and Emmy Award-winning star of stage and screen Leslie Uggams (Hallelujah, Baby! Roots, Empire, Deadpool) is featured in new videos released by Wright State University Musical Theatre Initiative. Uggams, the first major visiting guest artist to conduct master classes within the school’s MTI program, is seen on Dayton, Ohio’s PBS affiliate ThinkTV performing in concert and sharing her insights with students.
"Leslie Uggams represents so much of the history of popular entertainment in the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st," says Joe Deer, distinguished professor of musical theatre and director of the Musical Theatre Initiative at Wright State. “Exposing students and faculty to an artist like Ms. Uggams provides inspiration to complement the rigors and discipline of training. It’s an infusion of energy for all of us.”
The first video is Think TV’s The Art Show Featurette, an overview pulled from the station’s full 30-minute documentary that highlights Uggams’ concert performance and mentoring sessions with students. Click here to watch: Art Show Featurette
The second video shows Uggams sharing her rehearsal process with a select group of MTI students chosen to perform with her in concert. Together they sing “Children Will Listen” from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Click here to watch: Children Will Listen
The final video features Uggams discussing the importance of lyric interpretation in making a song her own. She demonstrates by singing one of her signature songs, Jerry Herman’s “If He Walked into My Life” from Mame. Click here to watch: If He Walked into My Life
In the concert that culminated her guest appearance at Wright State, Uggams and the MTI students were accompanied by Don Rebic on piano, Ray Kilday on bass, and John Ferraro on drums. The concert was presented by the Musical Theatre Initiative at Wright State and the Victoria Theatre Association. Additional support for Uggams' visit was provided by Wright State's Bolinga Black Cultural Center.