Academics

Lucas Wells: From the Bathroom to Broadway

SHU Student Signs On for First National Tour of Broadway's No. 1 Musical "Spring Awakening"

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Lucas Wells: From the Bathroom to Broadway

SHU Theater Student Signs On for First National Tour of Broadway's No. 1 Musical "Spring Awakening"

Lucas Wells went from a bathroom audition to a spot in the cast on the first national tour of Broadway’s No. 1 musical, “Spring Awakening.” The sophomore theater/speech and communications major from Lambertville, Mich., recently learned he earned a spot as an ensemble member and the understudy to the two leads in the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical beginning later this year.

“It actually started, kind of crazy, with a video audition that I just saw on their web site,” Wells said. “Me and some friends were just kind of fooling around one night and decided to record a song.”

Using the foyer of the women’s restroom in Siena Heights’ Performing Arts Center because of its acoustics, Wells created and then sent in the audition video, singing Ashley Parker Angel’s “Soundtrack to Your Life,” to the show’s creative staff. About a month later the show’s casting director called and invited him to audition on Broadway. After seven auditions over a four-day period, Wells was offered a spot in the cast for the inaugural national tour, which begins rehearsal July 8.

“Energy oozes out of every pore of his body,” said Professor of Theatre and Speech Communications Mark DiPietro, Wells’ instructor and the chair of SHU’s Visual and Performing Arts Division. “He’s got a great voice and a great look for this show. It’s the hottest show in the country. ‘Spring Awakening’ is known by all the high school students and all the college students. I think everybody would agree this is equal to the gig on Broadway. This is a huge opportunity.”lucas-wells3.jpg

Wells said the audition experience in New York City was eye-opening.

“A lot of people (auditioning) looked the same as me,” Wells recalled. “I just went in with the mentality, ‘if this is the last time they see me, that’s fine. I got this far.’ “

His initial audition consisted of singing two songs and reading a scene in front of the show’s producers. He quickly received a callback to audition the next day, and then was asked to return twice more over a four-day period. The pressure mounted, especially when he was asked to audition for Duncan Sheik, Grammy and Tony-winning singer-songwriter and composer who composed the music and lyrics for “Spring Awakening.”

After struggling with nerves and a bout of laryngitis-like symptoms most of the weekend, his audition with Sheik was different.

“I went in and immediately started singing and it was a totally different sound than I had had,” Wells said of the final audition. “It just felt good. As soon as I was done singing, (Sheik) said, ‘that was really, really good.’ “

Still not knowing his fate, he received a call from the directors the next day offering him a part on the national tour. Wells said he will play a swing ensemble member who will also understudy for the two main parts, Melchoir and Moritz.

“It’s a lot harder than just getting one part, because I have to learn four or five different parts,” he said.

Once rehearsals are finished, the national tour will kick off its tour Aug. 15 in San Diego, Calif., followed by a month-long stay in San Francisco. The year-long tour will travel the nation, with a stop scheduled in Lansing, Mich., from Feb. 24-March 1.

“My reaction is one of pride and happiness for him,” DiPietro said of his prize student. “It could not have happened to a more dedicated student with heart.”

“Siena has prepared me,” said Wells, who didn’t start developing a passion for acting until midway through his freshman year at Siena. “I felt I had the confidence and the grounding, especially in acting. … I learned so much from Mark (DiPietro). This is what I want to do. I came here to act. (Siena) got me where I need to be.”

Wells, also a member of the Siena Heights men’s golf team, will have to give up one educational experience for another.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I’m away (from Siena),” he said. “I definitely feel I’ve been prepared for all this. It’s pretty surreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet. But it will.”

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To see Lucas in action with the Siena Heights Acapelicans, please click on the photo below:

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