Q&A with Courtney Germany
2017-10-27 CATEGORY: Education
When the Vincent Legacy Scholarship program was established by Starlight Theatre and Greg and Rebecca Reid in 2006, two scholarships were awarded in that inaugural year. One went to Courtney Germany, who at the time was a student at Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kan. Already a talented young dancer, Courtney used her scholarship funds to enroll in advanced dance classes and competitions at Kristi’s Academy of Dance.
Perhaps even more importantly, she also began a relationship with Starlight that now spans 12 years.
Courtney has served as a teaching assistant and teaching artist at numerous Starlight camps, performed in multiple Starlight galas, worked as a child wrangler during Starlight-produced shows, and this fall is the choreographer for the Starlight STARS of Tomorrow. In this role, she is working with 14 talented middle-school students to create a holiday medley they will perform at events across Kansas City in November and December.
The experience that brought Courtney’s Starlight relationship full circle, however, came in mid-September when she performed for the first time professionally on the Starlight stage as a member of the ensemble cast of Grease. Courtney took time to answer a few questions during the show’s run.
Q. Why did you decide to audition for Grease at Starlight?
A. I felt it was a show that fit well with my dance background. I trained in New York City in summer 2016 (at Broadway Dance Center’s Summer Professional Semester) and strengthened my skills in singing and acting. I also learned how to build my résumé and audition. So, auditioning for my first show at Starlight seemed like a natural next step. It felt like coming home – and coming full circle!
Q. Tell us about the audition and selection process for Grease.
A. I came to an open dance call in January with choreographer Paula Lynn. After it, they asked me to sing, so I sang “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls. I was then called back to read lines. I felt very confident that day; I had gotten up early, reviewed my notes from summer training, stretched and warmed up my voice. I got the good news that I was cast in March or April.
Q. How was the Grease rehearsal process in comparison to other performances you’ve prepared for?
A. Rehearsals were my favorite part of this experience! I learned from all of the other performers, heard their stories and picked their brains. I asked questions about being equity or non-equity actors. The knowledge I gained will help me build my career.
Q. How did the Grease cast members relate to one another?
A. There were people from Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Kansas City and other places. Over the two weeks of rehearsal, we became very close. We always helped each other, even outside of rehearsal.
Q. What did you learn from your fellow cast members?
A. I learned that I want and need to put myself in a space, in a community of performers. It made me decide to make the jump and move to New York, audition all that I can – and see what happens!
Q. How did it feel to make your professional musical theatre debut on the Starlight stage in front of thousands of audience members?
A. Extremely exciting! Also it was kind of a sigh of relief – like, finally, I made it. I knew it would happen, but this was what I’ve been working for during all those years of growing up around Starlight!
Q. What has been the most memorable part of this experience?
A. Getting to know fellow cast members who I will stay in contact with for a lifetime. Also the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. I may not have gone to school for musical theatre specifically, but I carried myself professionally and got noticed.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I plan to move to New York in January! Before that I will choreograph the Starlight STARS of Tomorrow holiday show and The Addams Family for Stage Right Performing Arts.
Q. What part did the Vincent Legacy Scholarship play in your now 12-year relationship with Starlight?
A. When my guidance counselor called me about this scholarship, I had no idea the connections, relationships and opportunities it would give me. This scholarship and God showed me that I was blessed and highly favored. Dancing, performing and being on stage in front of an audience is what I always wanted to do – and I made it!
Q. What advice would you give to your fellow Vincent Legacy Scholarship winners?
A. Don’t just grab your scholarship, use it and fall off. Keep engaged with Starlight and the Reids. Connect with those people and things that will lead you to bigger opportunities. Communicate, network and build relationships because you’ll be surprised where they will take you.
NOTE: The other scholarship awardee during the very first year of the Vincent Legacy Scholarship program was Betzy Castellon. While Betzy did not end up pursuing performance as a career, she is making a big difference in people’s lives as a clinical nurse at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Break a leg, Courtney! And heal broken legs, Betzy!