Like many high school seniors, Ryan Hook is looking forward to college and the
opportunity to strike out on his own, to develop his talents and pursue his passion – musical theater.
It’s not that he isn’t enjoying this senior year at Clay High School. His life is busy with family and friends, classroom studies, marching band, cross country and participating in theater productions with the Limelighters.
But over his summer vacation, Ryan got an alluring glimpse of what his college freshman year might be like during a four-week adventure in the Big Apple as part of the Tisch Summer High School Musical Theater Performance Program at CAP21, a for-credit musical theatre intensive offered at New York University.
At its foundation, it is a collegiate course condensed into four weeks offered to select seniors who are serious about pursing a professional career in musical theatre.
Successful completion of the program earns the students six college credits from NYU and an unforgettable life experience.
“A good friend of mine’s sister lives in New York and she is very passionate about musical theater as well, and she told me about the program,” Ryan said. “I went online to learn more about it, and honestly, at first, it looked pretty daunting.
“But it seemed like such a cool opportunity to be able to go to New York University, to live there on your own for a month right in Manhattan spending all your time and energy doing what you love, developing your art,” he said. “I had to go for it.”
In the spring, he completed the arduous application process, which included submitting an essay, providing school transcripts and two recommendations, and forwarding a performance resume'. Then he waited to see if he would be one of the 32 students chosen to participate.
In May, the e-mail acceptance came, followed by prerequisite assignments from professors – things he’d need to do before he arrived.
On July 12, Ryan’s family dropped him off in the Big Apple and then returned home to Oregon.
During his four-week program, he lived in NYU housing while spending his days studying dance, vocal technique and performance and acting.
He also attended both Broadway and off-Broadway productions and participated in many of the cultural experiences New York has to offer.
“I earned class points by attending shows,” he said. “How cool is that?”
A highlight of his New York experience was meeting a number of Broadway performers, both on stage and on the street. “I also had the opportunity to rehearse a musical number with actress Sutton Foster, who is currently performing as Fiona, in ‘Shrek The Musical,” he said. “It was amazing - she is one of my Broadway idols.
“Looking back, it was pretty intense and a lot of work but it was so rewarding.”
On Aug. 9, he said goodbye, or perhaps, so long to New York City.
“I’d love to go NYU in the fall,” he said. Other schools on his list include Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, the Boston Conservatory, University of Michigan and Cincinnati Conservatory.
“Performing in New York City with all these amazing kids from across the country was like being part of a community – we are all basically working toward the same goals, and will likely be auditioning at the same universities and conservatories, so I’m sure I’ll see some of them again.
“It was really hard to adjust back to `normal life’ when I got back,” he said. “But I’m also excited to get on with my senior year.”
During the four-week Tisch Summer High School Musical Theater Performance Program at New York University, Ryan Hook and classmates had the opportunity to sing with Sutton Foster, who is currently starring as Fiona in the Broadway production of “Shrek The Musical.”
Clay High School Senior Ryan Hook spent four weeks studying dance, vocal technique and performance and acting at the Tisch Summer High School Musical Theater Performance Program at CAP21 at New York University.