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Musical Theatre Workshop

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Open to all students enrolled in high school during the 2023-2024 academic year serving the following counties: Albany, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington, and home school students completing their high school education.

Open to all current SUNY Schenectady students.

No charge or fee to participate or enter.


9:00-9:50 a.m. - Welcome
88 Keys to Successful Singing Performances (Bob Marks & Dr. Elizabeth Gerbi)

WORKSHOPS: All three workshops are run concurrently, and participants are divided into three groups that will rotate between all sessions (see workshop descriptions below). Sheet music for the ensemble number will be sent to all registrants on May 1, 2024.

  1. Acting the Song (Bob Marks)
  2. Acting Through Movement (Hettie Barnhill)
  3. Vocal Technique & learn vocal parts of the ensemble number (Dr. Joseph Han)

10:00-10:40 a.m. - Workshop Session 1
10:50-11:30 a.m. - Workshop Session 2
11:40 a.m.-12:20 p.m. - Workshop Session 3
12:30-1:05 p.m. - Lunch break (bring your own lunch)
1:15-2:30 p.m. - Ensemble number (Hettie Barnhill, director/choreographer; Dr. Joseph Han, vocal director)
2:30-2:45 p.m. - Break and line up backstage
2:45-4:00 p.m. - Musical Theatre Showcase (Free and open to the public)

  • High School Competition Round 2 Finalists
  • SUNY Schenectady School of Music students
  • All workshop participants ensemble number
  • High School winners announced

JUDGES (3): Bob Marks, Hettie Barnhill, Dr. Joseph Han (see bios below)

Register for the Workshop

Students may participate in the workshops and performance without entering the competition by registering by May 20, 2024.

Register for the Workshop ONLY

Register for the Workshop AND Competition

High School students from the above-named counties may participate in the workshops AND enter a competition by registering by May 20, 2024 (no entry fee required).

How to Enter High School Competition (Round 1)

  • Students must record and submit two separate videos with either a live accompanist or solo piano backing tracks.
  • At the beginning of each video, students should state their name and the title of their selection. Videos should be shot from the waist up and recorded in a single take.
  • Videos should be submitted as unlisted YouTube video links with the Registration form.
    • One 32-bar (i.e., 90 seconds or less, not including slate with name and the title of selection) Golden Age/Pre-Golden Age Musical Theatre selection (generally from the 1920s through the mid-1960s)
    • One 32-bar Contemporary Musical Theatre selection (1965 and later)
  • Finalists will be notified via email on Wednesday, May 22, and will be asked to submit electronic copies of their sheet music by Friday, May 24. For the final in-person showcase on June 1, students may opt to bring their own pianist or use an accompanist provided by SUNY Schenectady School of Music (no charge/fee).

Register for the Workshop AND the Competition

GRAND PRIZE (1): Audio and video recording session at SUNY Schenectady with professional faculty accompanist and AV engineers, (1) online 45-minute private coaching with Bob Marks, (1) in-person 45-minute private coaching with Hettie Barnhill, and a $1,000 scholarship to attend SUNY Schenectady as a music major

RUNNER UP PRIZES (2): (1) online 45-minute private coaching with Bob Marks, (1) in-person 45-minute private coaching with Hettie Barnhill, and a $1,000 scholarship to attend SUNY Schenectady as a music major



Acting the Song

Acting the Song will cover ways to build confidence and stage presence; selecting music to enhance a singer’s unique style; examining lyrics; age, range, and gender considerations; song choices to avoid; and any questions or discussions that come up.

Acting Through Movement

Acting Through Movement focuses on exploring human emotions through movement, incorporating exercises to improve, coordination, endurance, and relation to space, time, and shape. Physical Theater, audition techniques, and professional discipline will be experienced through dance, story-building, improvisation, and documentation. The workshop will emphasize responsiveness to actors' energy, enabling participants to convey intimacy, dance, and conflict with conviction and maintain a commanding presence on stage.

Vocal Technique

Vocal Technique is designed to refine singing skills and enhance stage presence while using a preselected ensemble piece that will be performed in the afternoon showcase (registrants will be sent the piece by May 1, so will have a month to learn their part). Focusing on breath control, vocal health, and dynamic expression, participants will delve into the piece and vocal exercises that expand vocal range, improve clarity, and project voice efficiently.



Headshot of Bob MarksBob Marks

Robert (“Bob") Marks is a voice teacher, coach, conductor, arranger, author, and director. He holds a degree in speech and voice pathology and has taught at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy and the Weist-Barron School in New York. He has been Special Guest Instructor at the New York Singing Teachers' Association (NYSTA) Professional Development Program at Columbia University, The Voice Foundation Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice, and at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. He has given workshops, Master Classes, and seminars internationally. His articles have appeared in several publications, including the internationally recognized “Journal of Singing.”

He has been the musical director of over 200 productions across the country, including every style of music, from Kismet to The Rocky Horror Show. He has coached cast members of almost every current Broadway musical, and former students have included Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Debbie Gibson, Ariana Grande, Nikki M. James, Ricki Lake, Constantine Maroulis, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Christy Carlson Romano, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Britney Spears, and Ashley Tisdale.

He was a pianist with the Broadway and national companies of the hit musical Annie, and spent two seasons as the Associate Conductor of the St. Louis Muny Opera, working with such stars as Shirley Jones, Paul Williams, Carol Lawrence, and Vincent Price. Recently, he published a book with co-author Dr. Elizabeth Gerbi, 88 Keys to Successful Singing Performances which is available on Amazon.


Headshot of Hettie BarnhillHettie Barnhill

Hettie Barnhill is a Filmmaker, Director, Choreographer, and the founder of ‘Create A Space NOW’ an interactive social justice platform, creating art to combat bias, racism, and systemic oppression. Her film, A Love Letter to Brian, Lesley, and Michelle, has been selected and awarded in multiple festivals, nationally and internationally, and honored by the California Senate with the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, “Using Film as a Vehicle For Community Engagement and Education”. Hettie also has been nominated for the New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Choreography and has performed nationally and internationally on Broadway in the productions “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” Tony Award-winning “FELA!" (original cast), and the Tony award-nominated “Leap Of Faith” (original cast). Other selected directing and choreography credits include “Conversations Embodied Nina Simone and James Baldwin,” "Woke-Ness In The Body & Freedom Dance Floors" and “Skin|Disordered" for Create A Space NOW. She directed the Black Theater Troupe Upstate New York's "Skeleton Crew" at Cap Rep in Albany, NY. "This Is Me" for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and “LGB" at the Missouri Theater in Columbia, MO. Her work extends to music videos with "Roll The Credits" for Danielle Ponder in Puerto Rico, and international stages with "Now Look!" at La Mama Umbria International in Spoleto, Italy.

Currently teaching theater and dance at Union College. Hettie graduated from Columbia College Chicago and received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Performance Creation Concentration focusing on Art and Activism, from Goddard College, Hettie has received awards for her outreach and service in communities, including; The NAACP's "Top 21 Leaders 40 & Under Award" in the fields of Arts & Culture, twice honored as a "Rising Star" by The Young & Powerful For Obama Group, The Shirley Chisholm "Women Of Excellence."


Headshot of Dr. Joseph HanDr. Joseph Kyungjin Han

Dr. Joseph Kyungjin Han is on the faculty at the SUNY Schenectady School of Music teaching Chorus, Vocal Chamber Ensemble, Aural Skills, Introduction to Diction for Singers, and voice lessons. He is a dynamic and versatile opera singer, conductor, and esteemed college professor,

recognized for his exceptional talent and international achievements. With a captivating stage presence and powerful performances, he has enthralled audiences across the globe, including the United States, Italy, France, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.

Notably, Joseph recently embarked on a successful journey to Mexico, where he shared his expertise as a masterclass instructor and lecturer on Korean art song, diction, and International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) at the prestigious National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City. He also showcased his remarkable vocal abilities by delivering a captivating portrayal of the role of Papageno in Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute, at the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia (ISOFOM). Additionally, he collaborated with esteemed pianist Antonio Santoyo for a poignant Schubert's Winterreise recital at the Conservatory de las Rosas in Morelia.

Joseph's artistic journey has seen him grace renowned stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Nice Acropolis in France. He made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall with the Philharmonia Boston Orchestra String Players and has received engagements with esteemed organizations including the Riverside Choral Society under the baton of Patrick Gardner. He has also been a distinguished fellow of prestigious programs such as Teatro Nuovo, SongFest, ISOFOM, dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Académie d'Eté de Nice, Russian Opera Workshop at AVA, Baroque Opera Workshop, and Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera (EPCASO).

Beyond his artistic pursuits, Joseph holds prominent positions within the music community. He serves as the President of the Eastern New York Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and actively participates in the American Choral Directors Association. A dedicated and gifted educator, Joseph has imparted his knowledge and expertise to undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, SUNY Stony Brook, and Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where he served as an adjunct professor. He holds certificates in choral conducting and vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Currently, he holds the position of Vocal Area Coordinator and Choral Director at SUNY Schenectady and shares his vocal expertise with musical theatre students as a Lecturer at SUNY Albany.

D.M.A., Stony Brook University; M.M., Carnegie Mellon University; B.M., Seoul National University.


Headshot of Elizabeth GerbiDr. Elizabeth Gerbi

Dr. Elizabeth Gerbi is on the faculty at the SUNY Schenectady School of Music teaching voice lessons and Acting for Singers. She is well known across the country as a singing teacher, vocal coach, performing arts author, and music director/pianist. She received her Ed.D.C.T. from Columbia University and M.M.E. from Boston University, focusing her scholarship on the development of more equitable musical theatre curricula for upcoming generations of theatre artists. She was also a student within the Voice Pedagogy D.M.A. Program at Shenandoah University, one of the first in the country to clinically research healthful contemporary singing practices.

She has worked on nearly 200 productions with singers of all ages and levels of experience, from Pre-K students to established Broadway artists. Favorite projects include music directing the Eastern Regional Premiere of Unexpected Joy and The Snow Queen at the Ancram Opera House, accompanying masterclasses for Broadway performers Ken Jennings, Lisa Howard, and Lindsay Mendez, adapting Starmites for Broadway composer Barry Keating, and teaching workshops for students and educators at EdTA, NYSTEA, NETC, ATHE, and MTEA. She also served on the faculty of SUNY New Paltz, The American University, SUNY Dutchess, and the Hartt School.

Gerbi is the co-author of Bob Marks’ 88 Keys to Successful Singing Performances and has written peer-reviewed features for the NATS Journal of Singing and the MTEA Journal, among other publications. She recently served as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 1 Co-Chair for Musical Theatre, and continues to act as a respondent for musical productions throughout the area.

Ed.D.C.T., Columbia University; M.M.E., Boston University; B.M., Ithaca College