Betsy Wolfe Takes On Seven Questions About BroadwayEvolved, Finding & Maintaining Her Powerful Voice, and Success, Failure & Perfection
August 2nd, 2018
by Josh Ferri
Broadway leading lady Betsy Wolfe is queen, and we are clearly obsessed. This summer, Betsy launches a new venture, BroadwayEvolved. Co-founded by Betsy & Cynthia Rose, BroadwayEvolved is a groundbreaking theatre education program that gives students and educators exceptional, top-notch theatre training and the skill set to navigate their journeys on Broadway. The Summer Intensive Training Program, running from August 6 through August 9, offers students and teachers a chance to learn from an absolutely INSANE lineup of Broadway faculty: Jeremy Jordan, Megan Hilty, James Monroe Iglehart, Nikki M. James, Ben Crawford, Corey Cott, Jenn Colella, Adam Kantor, Leigh Silverman, Christy Altomare, Sherie Rene Scott, Nikki Renee Daniels, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Alexa Green.
BroadwayBox caught up with Betsy to talk about BroadwayEvolved, highlights from her own stage career, and how she maintains her incredible voice.
1. How did this journey with BroadwayEvolved begin? How did you come up with and grow the idea?
It’s actually been eight years since the concept formulated in my mind. Even the concept of BroadwayEvolved has evolved as I’ve grown personally and professionally and I’m so happy I waited until now to implement it. All the pieces have finally lined up, and as I reflect upon the success of the program so far, I know it’s because of the combination of the participant’s hunger for authentic growth, not just growth from a technical side, combined with a faculty and mission ready to directly reflect that.
2. Is there a role you were obsessed with playing when you were a student in high school? Did you ever get to play it or is it still a dream role?
I played Dolly Levi twice before the age of 17, so I’m not sure if I was obsessed so much as my hometown was obsessed with putting on productions of Hello Dolly!. Someday perhaps I’ll add a number three to the list!
3. Now with six Broadway credits under your belt, if you could go back and give Ragtime Betsy one piece of advice about the career before her, what would you tell her?
Whoa! Has it been six already?!? I’m so grateful I had some wonderful advice along the way, such as, be a good person and be proud of your actions! I would add that true success is actually a well curated collection of failures and “perfect” leads to perfectly boring!
4. You have one of my favorite voices right now. How do you care for it? What is the secret to that Betsy belt with no break?
That is so sweet of you! I take care of it much like an athlete takes care of their body! I’ve always been VERY curious about the inner workings of my voice and started “exploring” my muscles at an early age continuing to this day! I’ve seen firsthand from years of teaching that as long as you properly develop the muscles respective to what you’re working on, you can sing (i.e belt etc.) anything, AND sound the way you want to doing it. Style is style, but the muscle has to be developed. I don’t believe you are exclusively a “soprano” or “belter”. Earlier on in life, most find one easier and therefore gravitate towards a repetition down that path, BUT you can train your body to do both. Just maybe not as easily at the same time ;)
One of the most thrilling and exhausting times vocally for me was when I was appearing in Die Fledermaus at the Met Opera at night, and rehearsing the Broadway musical Bullets over Broadway during the day. I was working both parts of my range and certainly it would have been easier had I been doing one!
Although I don’t have the time to teach as often as I’d like, the most rewarding thing is being able to help someone access and train parts of their voice that frustrate them (especially the belt) and watch them flourish and see their confidence expand along with their range. It’s something that brings me joy and I’m excited to share that with the students at BroadwayEvolved.
5. In addition to students, BroadwayEvolved also has a coordinating program for theatre educators. If YOU were a theatre educator and directing a show from your resume for the school, which musical would you choose and what would you like to do with it?
I think I’d choose The Mystery of Edwin Drood! It’s an excellent platform for both educators and students alike to fully understand being in the moment. In live theatre no two shows are alike, but this show really takes that concept further, making it an excellent learning tool for the implementation of always listening listening and being open as an actor and director.
6. Which of your Broadway shows did you have the most pure fun doing?
There is no way you are going to make me choose my favorite! Since the word “fun” was used, and since I just mentioned The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, what immediately what comes to mind is the unhinged “Rosa’s Confession” I got to perform so many times. Constant laughter surrounded that production and it indeed was, fun:)!
7. You have the craziest line-up of faculty for BroadwayEvolved. Fill out the following answering only one guest faculty for each.
Ideal road trip partner: I think Megan Hilty, Nikki James and I would plan a sick road trip.
Silliest: I’ve know James Monroe Iglehart for 13 years and he’s pretty silly awesome.
Someone I need to work with on Broadway: Jeremy Jordan.
Person who can make me LOL every time: Oooh, someone who we haven’t announced yet, but they kill me every time. You’ll just have to wait!
Person whose voice I am amazed by: Sherie Rene Scott.
Person who gives great life advice: ALL. OF. THEM.
Person who is fun to tear up the town with: Adam Kantor.
Learn more about BroadwayEvolved now!