CT Residents Alli Kramer and Shavance Stephens featured on PBS Series, Broadway or Bust
Airs Sunday, September 16 & 23 at 8 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV)
Broadway! People from all over the world flock to New York City to watch Broadway shows, including the classics, A Chorus Line, Chicago and Hairspray, among others. However, behind the spectacular shows and the glittering lights is the long and rigorous road it takes for every performer to win their roles, from the numerous auditions to the multiple rejections and setbacks.
The new three-hour PBS documentary series, Broadway or Bust,captures the heartbreak, the drama, the disappointment, the tears and tribulations, and the triumph of auditioning on Broadway. The series tracks the real-life stories of some of America’s most talented high school performers as they compete for a spot on the “Great White Way.”
Two of the young students profiled in the series are Alli Kramer of Orange and Stratford native Shavance Stephens, both of whom can be seen in the series Sunday, September 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 23 at 8 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV).
Kramer – who sings, plays the guitar and writes songs – is passionate about performing. As she explains, “It is the only thing I feel that gives me happiness and bliss.” She continues, “I find the satisfaction I get from performing on stage overwhelming. When on stage, I find that my outside world fades away, and I view performance as a form of self-expression.”
Currently in Galway, Ireland, for her first semester of college, Kramer starred in Amity High School’s production of Legally Blonde as Elle Woods. She also portrayed Eponine in Les
Miserables, and in the same year, won the Connecticut High School Musical awards. Kramer also played the role of Hunyak in Chicago.
Stephens – who is a strong tenor and pianist with additional skills in ballet, tap, improvisation, building sets, painting, lighting design, and stage management – played the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime. According to Stephens, who attends the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, “I enjoyed being the gregarious, life-of-the-party piano player. It was much harder creating the powerful and upset character he became...I had to dig deep into my own feelings to get the right edge.” For his role in Ragtime, Stephens won the 2012 Connecticut High School Musical Theater Award for Best Actor.
Broadway or Bustis a combination of intense competition, exquisite theatrical performances by some of America’s most skilled thespians, and non-fiction drama. The series starts with a regional competition, followed by 60 selected finalists that descend on Broadway where they participate in a grueling week of rehearsals, coaching, mentoring, performances and competition.