Broadway Duo Shares Empowering Insights on Confidence and Community in BRAVO! Masterclass
Making it on Broadway is no easy feat — but with the insight and expertise of Broadway power couple Santino and Jessica Fontana, MDT students received inspiration to help make their dreams come true.
In their BRAVO! Masterclass on September 26, Santino and Jessica Fontana offered professional advice and positive feedback to a group of BYU MDT students.
The couple have accomplished a wide array of achievements both on and off Broadway. Jessica Fontana’s stage credits include Broadway’s “Baby It’s You!” and “Cinderella,” New York City Center’s Encores! Series’ “Pipe Dream,” and an off-Broadway production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” Santino Fontana received a Tony award for his performance in Broadway’s “Tootsie,” and is well known for his role voicing Hans in Disney’s “Frozen.”
Three students performed for the Fontanas in an audition-like setup, followed by personalized feedback from the Fontanas.
BYU student Ansen Bagley sang “Winter’s on the Wing” from the musical “The Secret Garden.” Though he was nervous to perform, Bagley was grateful for the experience and feedback he received. He said a mock audition like this one would prepare him for similar situations moving forward.
“Now I’m all the more ready for any opportunity that comes up in the future,” said Bagley.
The Fontanas shared more of their insights through a Q&A session with MDT students. When students inquired about the audition process, the Fontanas emphasized the importance of finding joy in performance and being fully invested in your audition piece.
“Don’t limit yourself, because that’s what the world is going to do,” said Santino. “You have to love doing it so much that the reception is not as important.”
BYU student Megan Furness enjoyed the empowering guidance from the Fontanas. “My biggest takeaway was to give yourself room to grow and have an arc… always have a goal you’re moving towards.”
The Fontanas responded to students’ concerns with anxiety and nervousness as a performer. Jessica shared her experience with power poses and taking up space while preparing for an audition in order to calm her nerves and restore confidence. “Even if you’re feeling nervous, your body is doing something to respond to it that will help,” she explained.
They also encouraged students to foster a community of like-minded individuals in their life after college. While discussing the importance of community, Santino recounted the opportunities he found as a result of being around those in the industry.
“I put myself near the people I wanted to be near,” he said. “It’s too hard to do alone. You need to find people that you can lean on.”
Jessica recommended joining classes after college as a sure way to improve skills and meet new people with similar goals. “It was great to be able to work on skills outside of an audition setting and make friends,” she said.
The messages the Fontanas shared resonated with Abigail Murphy, another student attendee. She thought the masterclass was helpful and inspiring.
“It was reassuring to hear them say that others’ opinions of you don’t matter as much as what you think of yourself,” Murphy said, “I needed to hear that.”