UW-Green Bay graduate, Chase Grabowski, recently attended the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival where he was one of five musical theatre and performance attendees to win an award. Grabowski, who just graduated from UW-Green Bay in December 2022, is from Marinette and currently works as an Account Manager at Schneider. In January 2022, Grabowski attended the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, which was held in Flint, MI. At the regionals, Grabowski competed against students from Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and western Ohio where he won the Musical Theatre Intensive in vocals. This regional win entitled Grabowski to an all-expenses paid trip to the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. which was held in mid-April, 2023.
Grabowski was one of only nine Kennedy Center National Musical Theatre Fellows to attend the festival which was also attended by approximately eighty
performance and design students. At the festival, Grabowski attended intensive, all-day workshops and was given one-on-one mentoring sessions with Broadway actors and industry leaders, including Correy West, Jay C. Ellis and Bobby Smith. West has performed on Broadway in Ain’t Too Proud To Beg: The Life And Times Of The Temptations, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and South Pacific among others. Ellis has directed and coached at The Kennedy Center as well as for America’s Got Talent. After working on the Lin Manuel Miranda production of Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway, Ellis is currently performing in the first national touring company of the production which is being workshopped in Las Vegas. Smith has performed on Broadway and off-Broadway as well a directed over forty productions across the country. Smith has also served as Artistic Consultant for Forever Plaid, with the original cast, and The World Goes ‘Round. In addition to the mentor one-on-one sessions, Grabowski attended a workshop on intimacy and consent for actors which was led by Ann C. James who is currently working as the Intimacy Director on Broadway for Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street which stars Josh Grobbin and Annaleigh Ashford.
Following a day and a half of workshops and mentoring, Grabowski and the other Kennedy Center Fellows took part in a showcase performance where they each got to perform one piece. Grabowski performed the song “Donny Novitski” from the musical Bandstand: The New American Musical which ran on Broadway from April – November 2017. Though not a competition, after the showcase, the mentors presented five awards to the musical theatre and the performance attendees. Of the five awards, Grabowski was one of two to receive the Creative Artist Database Award sponsored by GIGnition and the Creative Artist Database. The other winner of this award was Kristina Yim from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. In addition to the Creative Artist Database Award, Grabowski also received a Musical theatre Scholarship to study at the Open Jar Institute in New York City.
Grabowski states that his attendance at the national festival and that the mentoring and workshops he attended was one of the greatest opportunities he has ever had. He believes the instruction he received and the connections he made while in D.C. will be invaluable for his future. Grabowsi is also grateful for the education, mentorship and opportunities that he received at UW-Green Bay which set everything in motion to make his trip to the national festival possible. At the moment, Grabowski plans to return to his position at Schneider but hopes to seriously pursue musical theatre full-time in the near future.
About UW-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving more than 9,600 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students and 80,000 continuing education learners each year. We educate students from pre- college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2021, UW-Green Bay was the fastest-growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.