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Extended Interview: ‘Hamilton’ star inspires, teaches vocals to local high school musical students

High School Theater

Fox Cities PAC Center Stage High School Music Theatre Program

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Ta’Rea Campbell has 78 ears.

Well, in a manner of speaking.

Related: Follow all Center Stage Program stories here

Thirty-nine students are all ears as Ta’Rea Campbell offers insights into what makes a song and character work on stage.

At times, she listens as a student stands to deliver a song.

After one such song, Campbell walks up to the female student, puts her arm around her and turns away from other students and whispers in her ear.

Campbell wants her suggestions to illuminate the audience.

Related: Read more from Warren Gerds/Critic at Large here

The student then turns around and sings again with more inflection. Simple as that – a few words, and her character has blossomed.

What Campbell tells students has big impact because she is “an amazing member of the ‘Hamilton’ cast,” as Ben Danen of De Pere High School says later.

What is taking place Saturday morning is the first of a series of workshops available to students in participating Northeastern Wisconsin Schools in the 2019-2020 Center Stage High School Music Theatre Program of Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

In the production of “Hamilton: An American Musical” that continues to Oct. 20 at the PAC, Ta’Rea Campbell portrays Angelica Schuyler, sister-in-law and a love interest of Alexander Hamilton.

To pick up “tricks and tips,” as Danen says, from a real-deal pro like Campbell is “extraordinary.”

Elizabeth Geoffrey of Kaukauna High School also relishes the “fantastic opportunity.” It means so much, she says, being from a small city to experience something “so professional” close by.

This is not a day for ooo-ing and ahhh-ing about Campbell’s performance but to work and listen and be among others who are performing in one of the 23 high school musicals that are in this season’s field.

Speaking is a voice of an expert with much experience – and a way with young talent – who happens to be doing splashy, exciting things in the most sensational show on the planet right now.

Being a “Hamilton” star has a way of catching the attention of 78 ears.

Watch the unedited extended interview with Ta’Rea Campbell below

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