It’s not every day that you get to say Broadway legend Betsy Wolfe is your boss. For rising sophomore musical theatre major Lillie Langston, that dream is a reality and then some.
As a 2021 production intern with Broadway Evolved in New York City, Langston gets the opportunity to learn from the best and grow with the greatest. She also gets the chance to flex her logistical and organizational muscles as she tackles what it’s like to manage a group of students and star faculty members.
Taylor Maresca: How were you able to snatch this prestigious internship?
Lillie Langston: Hank Stratton, our professor, sent me Broadway Evolved’s Instagram post that they were looking for interns and said, “you should apply for this!” I thought about it, and I wasn’t really thinking about internships, but when I looked into it, I realized that it married a lot of things that I really enjoy. I grew up as a summer camp kid who loved organizing things. So, this internship was kind of a perfect fit. I sent in a resume on a whim not thinking I would get anything from it, and I ended up getting an interview. About a week later, I heard I got the job!
TM: What does your role of production intern encompass?
LL: I am pretty much involved in any logistical aspect of the camp. So, I am doing things from arranging masterclass orders, pulling up tracks for masterclass, timing classes, setting up rooms, ensuring catering arrives on time, greeting and introducing faculty, running Q&A’s, keeping track of waivers and vaccination records, and making playlists. It is really anything and everything that has to do with keeping the camp afloat.
TM: You definitely have a lot on your plate. What does your typical day-to-day schedule look like?
LL: I get to the studio at around 8:30 a.m. and start the set-up process. I’ll set up all chairs, set up all the tables, and make sure the kids will get there. Then I start setting up masterclass rooms and greeting the masterclass guests. When the kids are in masterclass with our guests, I am in charge of timing them. Once that wraps up, I set up lunch. After lunch, we typically have a Zoom Q&A, so I will set up the technology that goes with that. Today we had a Zoom interview with Kelli O’Hara. After Zoom, I facilitate the dance class and wrap up the day. Each day is different. We always have so many different masterclasses and Q&A’s, so it really does vary.
TM: I imagine that you must learn so much just from watching all of the students work with the masterclass guests and with Betsy herself.
LL: I am learning so much from watching these masterclasses. Getting to see Betsy Wolfe talk and do masterclass every day is amazing. She is so compelling. I have learned so much from her as a performer and as a human. Seeing her juggle all the things she does is really setting a standard for what I want for myself as a future performer.
TM: Who have you gotten the chance to meet and see work in masterclass?
LL: Andrew Rannells. That was fantastic. Also, Rob McClure, Ali Stroker, Lauren Patten, Adam Kantor, Jessica Vosk, Kelli O’Hara, Jessie Mueller, Taylor Louderman, Brandon Uranowitz, Christie Altomare, Samantha Pauly, Jelani Alladin, Leslie Kritzer, Ciara Renee, Jessica Phillips, obviously Betsy. There are so many more, I know I am forgetting some!
TM: We see these stars on stage and screen, but how are they in the flesh?
LL: You have all of these expectations for these people because to you, they are famous. I grew up with their pictures on my wall. Seriously, I had a poster of Kelli O’Hara in my room when I was 12 years old. But when you meet them, you see that they are people. They are really kind and down-to-earth human beings. You almost forget when you’re laughing with them in a masterclass that you had a poster of their face in your room.
TM: You are working in famous Broadway studio, Open Jar Studios. What’s it like being in the heart of New York City’s theatre scene?
LL: I’ve met tons of people just from being in the studio. Today, the cast of Hadestown was rehearsing next door. So, Reeve Carney and Amber Gray walked with me to the bathroom. Kate Baldwin walked by our space and Renee Rapp was there. Walking by these people at work every day is insane. Seeing them in-person and working with them is a next-level feeling.
TM: What skills have you taken from this internship that you think will be essentials in your toolkit as you head back to school and for post-grad life?
LL: I don’t even know if I can pick one thing. I’ve learned that hard work is invaluable, and people appreciate you when you put in the hard work no matter what background you come from. I never expected to have something like this on my resume. I can’t believe I get to say, “Betsy Wolfe is my boss.”
From a performing perspective, the overwhelming majority of these artists always say, “you are enough as a performer. You don’t have to be anything but yourself and you will make it.” That is definitely something I will keep with me.
Also, being kind to people goes so far. People will remember you because you were nice to them. Being a good person is more than half the battle.
I think I’ll understand how much I have learned from this experience long after it is over.
TM: What did you learn in your first year at Arizona that proved to be valuable knowledge during your internship?
LL: Time management. If I didn’t have the time management skills that I have developed while being a BFA student, I’d be lost.
Also, learning how to foster relationships with people is important. I’ve learned that when you make a connection with someone, make sure you keep reaching out to keep the conversation going.
This internship also made me feel so happy with my choice to go to Arizona because all of these Broadway professionals were saying the same things that our professors are teaching us in school. It reminded me that I am in the right place and doing the right thing for my future.