Elevate “Hollywood to Broadway” Masterclasses come to Wichita Dec. 27-29

Londen Peebler, Reporter

Elevate Masterclasses will be hosting many well known stars from Hollywood to Broadway December 27-29 and anyone ages 7 and up can sign up through elevatecamp.org/masterclass. Many classes will be offered including: Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Auditioning and industry dance and no level of experience is needed to sign up for any of these classes.

One of the Broadway stars being brought in is Maize alum, Desi Oakley. Oakley played the leading role of Jenna in Waitress on Broadway and also just finished up her role of roxi in Chicago on Broadway. Oakley grew up in Wichita and is coming home to help teach Elevate classes and will also be giving a concert Dec. 29. 

“I am so excited to return home to Wichita to celebrate the arts community and share the knowledge I’ve garnered over my professional career,” Oakley said. “It is particularly special to me to be a teacher to young people in Wichita in the hopes that my experience can positively affect them, in the same way that I was a young person in this community and had many mentors shape my outlook on this career.”

These classes are built to educate people of all levels of performance. This means no matter who you are or what experience you have, there will be something for you within these classes. 

“There is something for everyone in these masterclasses,” Oakley said. “They are packed with opportunities to learn from successful artists from Los Angeles to NYC — We will be teaching choreography from Broadway shows like Chicago and the latest hip hop combos from LA, as well as an audition workshop.”

Audtions seem very scary, but it is the same as any sport or skill. The more practice, the easier it gets. 

For the audition workshop, we will create a mock audition where each student can bring in a small cut of music and get positive and constructive feedback on their performance, audition etiquette and connection to their material,” Oakley said.

Working with professionals can seem intimidating at first, but Oakley said the classes are meant to be uplifiting and enlightening rather than scary. 

“There is absolutely nothing to be nervous about,” Oakley said. “The instructors who will be teaching are all so kind and honored to get the chance to work with each student.”

As well as being a guest teacher for the Elevate classes, Desi will be performing a “Coming Home” concert at Crown Uptown Theater Sunday Dec. 29 which will feature her and a group of local musicians. 

”I am singing several songs from the roles I’ve played in my performing past in Wichita (both in high school and at MTW) – as well as some family favorites and also a few of my original songs,” Oakley said. “The evening will be a celebration of the performing arts community in Wichita, so there’s no way I wouldn’t use all local musicians.”

Performing for many seems scary, but for Oakley, it’s all she can picture herself doing and she can’t wait to share her passion with young students in Wichita. 

“It’s my passion – and the only thing I could ever imagine doing,” Oakley said. “The connection with the material, the audience, and my fellow artists is what makes it worth it for me.”