An Ahwatukee girl will perform in the world’s first live online Broadway musical production in which the cast will perform from different locations multiple times.
Amber Chen, 11, was chosen from of hundreds of submissions in a worldwide casting call for Actors Technique New York’s virtual production of “Disney’s Newsies” this Saturday and the following weekend.
ATNY invented the methodology and technology for the show and has a provisional patent for the software. The production is also being watched by industry professionals because it could give theaters the opportunity to provide a virtual in-person run of a show.
Tickets are available at actorstechniqueny.ticketleap.com/newsiesatny. Amber will appear in three of six shows – 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3; 7-10 p.m. Jan. 9 and 2-5 p.m. Jan. 10.
“Many livestreams being utilized for ‘Christmas Carol’ or ‘Nutcracker’ this holiday season are actually either a streamed taped performance, a livestream of a show being performed in a theatre, one-actor shows or are Zoom-type performances where the cast have rewritten the play to minimize choral work because Zoom and other videoconferencing software is horrible for choral singing due to lags,” explained Amber’s mother, Heather Sapp.
Amber is no stranger to the theater, which she said she enjoys because “I like making people happy.”
A fifth grader at Monte Vista Elementary School. she has been performing since she was 4, when she participated in her first dance recital. She also has played in three years of the Ahwatukee Nutcracker, starting in second grade playing the Mouse and an Angel, as well as Dance Studio 111’s summer productions of “Shrek Jr.” and “Frozen Jr.” and is hoping to play the title role of “Snow White” in the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre’s spring production.
Besides dancing, she also is a competitive figure skater and is a red belt in taekwondo.
Sapp said her daughter is “getting the chance to live her Broadway dreams while not even leaving the desert” and perform in a production that will make it appear as if the cast is on stage together.
Veteran Broadway performer and producer Carl Anthony Tramon built his own dedicated online server to accommodate the audiostream and will be feeding the music tracks into a secondary app in which the actors “will sing and speak.”
“The voices will then be woven together in cyberspace and sent back to me, which I will then mix in a Digital Audio Workstation and feed into our proprietary broadcast software along with your individual video streams (chroma-keyed and extracted) as well as fresh stereo music tracks as the final audio,” Tramon explained.
“I will manually adjust the milliseconds on all three feeds so that they will all match up with each other and thus be synchronized, before sending it out to the Live audience streaming software. This will all happen live and in real time.”
Amber will play Spot Conlon, the leader of the Brooklyn newsies in a production that was based on the 1899 Newsboys Strike in New York.
“The entire experience has been amazing for her, getting to work with talented Broadway professionals,” Sapp said.
Along with Tramon, who is producing “War of the Roses” for Broadway, “Newsies” is choreographed by Robert Taylor Jr, a former contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance” who was in the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning “Spongebob the Musical” and is currently an instructor at Broadway Dance Center.
Amber and the cast have been rehearsing for the production since September.′