OSWEGO, NY – It was a trip from Broadway to the Oswego High School for “Wicked” performer Kyle Dean Massey.
Recently, Massey, a veteran of several Broadway and off-Broadway productions, was in Oswego to perform as part of the Oswego Chamber Music Series. He has had starring roles on Broadway in Next to Normal, Xanadu and Wicked where he is currently playing Fiyero.
He has also started Off-Broadway in Altar Boyz and Lucky Guy and the North American tour of 42nd Street and the national tour and Los Angeles companies of Wicked.
However, prior to his evening of “Eclectic Broadway” music at SUNY Oswego’s Sheldon Hall he spent time in the Oswego High School chorus room with several talented students.
High school students listened intently as he provided them with experiences and background to reach his goal.
He explained that his life isn’t simply appearing on stage, but he is involved in “performing, auditioning, teaching high school students and doing a voice for Squirrel Nutkin, a character on Nicklodeon series Peter Rabbit.”
Commitment is a major part of performing. Massey had appeared in the emotional Next to Normal for nearly two years. He said, “I gave up my life. I would sing and go home. It was a very exhausting show.” He explained the importance of diet and noted, “You have to be the best prepared possibly vocally.”
Massey talked about inspiration for performing and noted, “Everyone I work with inspires me.”
Music teacher Robert Dumas stressed the importance of visits of this type. He said, Performances – or perhaps better yet, IN-formances – like these are an incredibly important part of a high school music education. For students to be able to come face to face with a real-life performer who is out in the real world actually do it, actually making a life living through music performance is an invaluable experience.”
Continuing he said, “So often the dream of making it big, singing on Broadway or being a professional musician seems like an unreachable goal. Opportunities for students to meet a professional performer in this context allow them to believe that it is possible – it takes work, as they heard all about – but it is possible.”
Oswego City School District Music Team Leader Cheryl Rogers said, “It’s extremely beneficial to have someone like Kyle share his talent and experience in the theater with students who may be thinking of musical theater for a career. How many times will our students be able to actually meet a working Broadway actor/singer? I was blown away by not only his voice and singing presence, but by the way he shared his stories with the class and answered their questions.”
Massey provided an up close and personal meeting with the OHS students. He stated taking dancing lessons at the age of six and it wasn’t until his sophomore year in high school that he did his first musical.
He told the students, “It is a slow process, but much like any career that you choose you need to start and work your way up. However, it is important to get a good foundation.”
His visit was arranged with connections between the school district and the SUNY Artswego program.
Paul Brewster, who is involved in the Arts & Culture program for the school district, explained, “Being able to have a performer the caliber of Mr. Massey visit our students is a great experience for our student musicians and singers. He is a talented vocalist and performer with much to share about the world of professional musicians.”
His performances in high school musicals, summer stock and off Broadway eventually has seen him appear nightly on the Broadway stage. He noted, “Each show was better and better, but there always was that far away goal to end up on Broadway.”
Oswego High School students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity not only to hear a Broadway performer in their vocal room, but being able to ask questions and receive honest answers as some will pursue that elusive dream to perform on “The Great White Way.”
The undivided attention to the performer was quite evident as Kyle Dean Massey closed out the high school discussion by performing “Proud of the Boy,” a song that was cut from Aladdin.