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Scranton Prep Players Learn From Broadway Vet Judy McLane

April 3, 2019

The Scranton Prep Players got the chance to learn from a Broadway star.

Before the students sing and dance along to the music of Swedish pop quartet ABBA in jukebox musical “Mamma Mia,” the cast took a master class with Judy McLane. The Olyphant native and Great White Way veteran starred in the musical on Broadway for over a decade, first in the role of Tanya and then as the show’s lead, Donna.

The opportunity to work with young people in her home region and to get back in touch with “Mamma Mia” made for a special experience for her.

“It’s a chance for me to give back,” said McLane, who teaches master classes to students around the country and gives private voice lessons in New York City. “I got to a place where I said, ‘Wow, there’s so much I can pass on.’ ... The students know I’m a performer, and it helps in a way. ... You’re doing it and bring more back to the table when you come back.”

Prep’s show will take place Fridays, April 5 and 12, and Saturdays, April 6 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, April 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. in the school’s St. Robert Bellarmine Theatre, 1000 Wyoming Ave. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and will be available at the door. For more information or group rates, call 570-941-7737.

The cast worked with McLane for a few hours — using songs from the show, other Broadway selections and some pop songs — on everything from vocal technique and breathing to understanding the context of the material.

“Judy was an amazing teacher,” said junior and ensemble member Caroline Lapinski. “It was easy to understand what she wanted from us. She also gave lots of advice for not only practicing on our own but also for taking our next steps into musical theater as a career.”

Each student got some one-on-one time with McLane, too, including Camille Pastore and Nadja Tomaszewski, who will play McLane’s former roles of Donna and Tanya, respectively. McLane remarked how talented the cast members were as well as how quickly they picked up on the tips she gave them. Show director Colin Holmes said McLane provided insight not only on her time in “Mamma Mia” but also on building and sustaining a career in performing.

“We are so grateful and lucky to have her here,” he added.

McLane has kept busy in the years following her exit from “Mamma Mia,” including some television acting roles, musical productions and concerts. She acted in a short film, “Hiding in Daylight,” which has been accepted at festivals such as American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in France and Newport Beach Festival, among others. Regionally, she will appear in Pocono Center for the Arts’ concert event “Broadway Memories” along with other theater veterans on Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m. at Stroudsmoor Country Inn, 257 Stroudsmoor Road, Stroudsburg.

Her favorite moments, though, include working with young performers — especially those from her home region.

“It’s rewarding,” McLane said. “And my roots are here. It’s always fun to come back home.”

Contact the writer: gmazur@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT on Twitter

If you go

What: Scranton Prep Players present “Mamma Mia”

When: Fridays, April 5 and 12, and Saturdays, April 6 and 13, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, April 7 and 14, 2 p.m.

Where: Scranton Preparatory School, 1000 Wyoming Ave.

Details: Tickets cost $10 for general admission and will be available at the door. For more information or group rates, call 570-941-7737.