Central Alberta must be a real hotbed of undiscovered musical theatre talent.
No fewer than three area residents are singing, dancing and acting their way into the finals of CBC TV’s Triple Sensation.
Jen Shaw and Wilmari Myburgh of Red Deer, and Glen Mills of Olds, are among 12 young performers chosen from hundreds of Canadian hopefuls to be finalists on the televised Triple Sensation reality show.
Shaw and Mills, both graduates of the Red Deer College Theatre Studies program, moved to southern Ontario within a year of each other to continue musical theatre training at Sheridan College.
They both successfully auditioned for the show in Toronto.
Myburgh aced her audition for the reality series in Vancouver, months before starting her first year of musical theatre at New York University.
While the latest Triple Sensation show was actually filmed in June 2008, it’s only now being televised on Monday nights.
“It was just incredible. I didn’t think I would learn so much,” said Myburgh, who found the week-long audition process for Triple Sensation to be more gruelling than both a Broadway audition she attended and the admission process to New York University.
“I learned to deal with stress and just persevere.”
Shaw said she did Triple Sensation “for the exposure and to work with these amazing people.”
All the finalists received a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to hone their skills in classes with world-class teachers, including former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Adrian Noble, Metropolitan Opera vocal coach Marlena Malas and New York acting instructor Larry Moss.
The panel of judges includes U.S. composer Marvin Hamlisch, actress Cynthia Dale and controversial theatrical producer Garth Dabrinsky (who racked up a fraud conviction after the show’s taping).
Shaw credits both RDC and Sheridan for giving her a great foundation in the performing arts. But the Red Deer native feels she learned even more from the show’s three and a half weeks of workshops. “They were 12 to 14 hour days when we were completely focused on the craft.”
Mills also praised the series for giving him the chance to learn from the best teachers in show business. He also discovered he’d rather perform live in front of a thousand people than have the TV camera’s single eye trained on his every move. “The camera kind of scares me — I think performing live on stage is easier,” he confessed with a chuckle.
Six of the 12 young performers on Triple Sensation will make it to the finale. The rest will be sent home. And only one person will claim the Triple Sensation title, which brings with it a $150,000 Middlefield Scholarship for the Performing Arts. (The runner-up will get $25,000).
Mills, Myburgh and Shaw are not supposed to reveal what happens and are staying mum. Viewers will have to stay tuned to find out their fates.
But it’s safe to say their futures look rosy, regardless.
Mills has another year to go at Sheridan College, while Mybergh has three more years of study at New York University. And Shaw, who just graduated from Sheridan, was recently spotted playing the lead in Brigadoon and signed by a talent agency.