Performing Arts Students Warm Up with Busfield and Pros

Sep 30, 2016

Performance Arts students across Mid-Michigan participated in workshops to learn more about what they love from top professionals. 

Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor Timothy Busfield dedicated his time to share knowledge with students in the area who are striving toward performance industry success. Busfield has been a regular and recurring character in television shows including Thirstysomething, and All My Children.

Assisting Busfield across the two-day event were actress Melissa Gilbert, MSU theatre students, and area instructors. Workshop sessions focused on acting, auditioning, singing, dancing and filmmaking.

Everything took place in the WKAR-TV studios inside the Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) building on MSU’s campus Sept. 10 and 11. Over the course of the two-day event, 260 students and instructors participated.

Busfield has held similar workshops across the country, and is pleased to give students in his hometown the same opportunity to learn from the pros. This is the second year the event has been offered in East Lansing.

“To see the kids that grew up going to the elementary school that I went to…kids actually growing up that look like me, that grew up in a similar environment to me, it’s a fantastic feeling,” Busfield said.

In June, Busfield joined MSU as an artist-in-residence for the ComArtSci and the College of Arts and Letters, and he also serves as director of national content for WKAR.

Instructor P.K. Van Voorhees has her own Studio Performing Arts Center in East Lansing. She said although some students may have never read music or took voice lessons, they can still develop skills.

“Anybody can learn to be a singer, anybody can learn to be an actor, anybody can learn to be a dancer,” Van Voorhees said. “It’s teachable.”

Karen Vance is a graduate student from the Department of Theatre at MSU. She was thrilled at how the kids were go-getters and very involved in the workshop.

“In teaching kids, it can be half the battle of just getting them to feel comfortable to just want to just get in there and do it. So that’s been the opposite of what I’ve had to do today,” Vance said.

Phyllis Thode is a Community Development Specialist at the East Lansing Public Library and served as a partner in coordinating the event.

“So far it’s been amazing to watch the kids interact and to see the energy they get from being around Tim and Melissa and all the people that they brought in to work with them,” Thode said. “It’s just been great watching the kid’s confidence grow as the day goes on.”

The second annual Tim Busfield's Performing Arts Warm-Up was presented by East Lansing Public Library, WKAR, and the College of Communication Arts & Sciences.