Songbook Academy Guest Mentor Q&A with Broadway’s Laura Osnes

Published January 23rd, 2020

"There is a musicality, a musicianship and an element of storytelling that can only be told through songs, like those from the Great American Songbook."


Songbook Academy Guest Mentor, Laura Osnes, coaching 2018-’19 alum,
Peter Fulton (Fishers, IN) at the tenth anniversary Songbook Academy.

If you love musical theatre, you’ve heard of American actress and singer, Laura Osnes. The Tony-nominated star of Broadway shows including Grease, Bonnie and Clyde, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and the Tony-winning Bandstand, Laura is also a two-time Songbook Academy guest mentor.

Whether you are a jazz singer, Broadway hopeful or a music lover in general, Laura highly recommends that you apply for the 2020 Songbook Academy summer music intensive. Why? We did a Q&A with her to find out. To learn more about the Songbook Academy, click here to visit the program’s Acceptd profile.

Q: How was your experience at the Songbook Academy?

A: My experience at the Songbook Academy has been absolutely wonderful. These kids are so incredibly talented, they’re so hungry to learn and they come bringing their A-game. I’m getting to see them at a very influential point in their life when they are just realizing the power of the gifts that they have. I love coming back!

Q: Why is it important for young singers to apply and take part in summer music intensives like the Songbook Academy as they are considering a performance career?

A: An opportunity like this is so incredible for young people to pursue their passion and get professional wisdom and advice. Working with legends like Michael Feinstein and all of the various artists here this week not only gives these students the opportunity to be critiqued by their role models, but also network and make connections for the future. This business is all about who you know, and if a student here is incredible, we'll remember! It’s a great opportunity for the students to start branching into developing relationships within the business, furthering their confidence and finesse as performers, and get that one-on-one training with experts in their field.

Who are the experts? Check out a short list of past Songbook Academy guest mentors to learn who YOU could be working with this summer:

Q: What do you think is unique about the Songbook Academy, and why would you recommend this particular program to high school vocalists?

A: I love this program particularly because it focuses on the Great American Songbook, songs that need to live on to the next generation. These students are coming with an appreciation of and respect for Golden Age music, when I feel the emphasis is so often only on contemporary styles of music and vocals for young people these days… There is a musicality, a musicianship and an element of storytelling that can only be told through songs like this. Every performer needs to know these songs, be able to interpret them, and especially begin to trust and bring their personal magic and artistic touch to these standards! Michael Feinstein (Songbook Academy founder) is THE expert of this genre specifically, so knowing he is passing that knowledge on to the next generation is what's truly special about this program.

Check out 2018-'19 alum, Amia Shavaun (Wayne, PA), perform in a Songbook Academy masterclass with Broadway superstar and guest mentor, Laura Osnes. Working with world-class artists like Laura is a daily experience when you attend the Songbook Academy!

Q: Do you think attending the Songbook Academy would have been helpful when you were this age and if so, why?

A: I definitely think the Songbook Academy would have been helpful and wonderful for me… it’s such a great opportunity. It’s opening a door for these kids. It’s giving them the chance to work with professionals in this field, to sing and perform on the Palladium stage and work with legendary artists they look up to and can be inspired by! All while gaining confidence and experience in the field they want to go into. There was actually a similar program I participated in as a high schooler in Minnesota, and I remember that being a turning point for me. So, if [Songbook Academy] can ignite the fire in these kids to pursue this professionally, then it’s all worth it.

About the Songbook Academy:

The Songbook Academy® is the only summer music intensive that is dedicated to the “Golden Age of American Song”- Broadway and movie musicals, jazz, and standards written between approximately 1920 and 1960. High school singers with an interest in the Great American Songbook may apply for the program by submitting video recordings of two contrasting selections from the Great American Songbook.

Every applicant receives written feedback on their video submissions from a panel of nationally recognized experts. Forty students are invited to Carmel, Indiana, for a week-long intensive with leading theatre professionals, GRAMMY-nominated recording artists, and top university professors from around the country.


For application requirements, scholarship information and more, click here and apply today.

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