Student showcase impresses show biz pros 

Student showcase impresses show biz pros 

08/29/2023 

Students went to this year’s SUNY Cortland Showcase in New York City with dreams of launching a career in the theater. They delivered one stellar performance after another, and every single one of them caught the eye of someone in a position to give them a big break.  

The annual showcase is a performance by SUNY Cortland’s seniors in the Musical Theatre Program. It places them center stage in front of agents, casting directors and other industry professionals to secure professional representation. 

This year’s event took place at New York City’s Ripley-Grier Studios. Each student involved received at least one inquiry from the professionals. It’s a spectacular result in an industry that can be notoriously tough to break into. 

We’ve experimented with various ways to present the SUNY Cortland Showcase,” said Associate Professor Deena Conley, chair of the Performing Arts Department. “We’ve taken students to New York City and have also had industry professionals come to campus to work with our seniors. COVID certainly put a damper on our efforts, so this was a reintroduction, if you will, and was our most successful showcase to date.” 

The focus on creating a showcase began years ago. Faculty knew that to build up the school’s reputation as a place where performers can thrive and develop, it was key to place the students in a position where they could make connections important for their future careers. 

The result, according to Conley, is more than a chance to perform. It’s a chance to learn from the established professionals hired to direct the showcase. The past two years, that’s been Bob Cline, founder of Bob Cline Casting in New York City. 

“We are extremely lucky to have someone of Mr. Cline’s professional caliber directing our students,” Conley said. “In the spring of each year, we offer a class entitled, ‘Showcase,’ which he teaches as well. He works with the seniors to prepare their repertoire and deems who is ready to be involved in the performance.” 

Cline, a faculty member at Pace University’s Musical Theatre Program, says he has enjoyed his time working with Cortland’s students ever since Kevin Halpin, a professor in SUNY Cortland’s Performing Arts Department, first contacted him. 

"I actually started casting 30 years ago this month and I’ve been lucky enough to be teaching for the last 25 years,” Cline said. “When I was asked to start teaching at SUNY Cortland a couple years ago, I didn’t honestly know what type of program I was stepping into. I had the students perform for me over Zoom in our first class, and I was hooked. Here were all these wonderfully talented performers, just waiting for permission to trust themselves and what they’ve been taught.” 

His experience in theater, film and TV has also been valuable in the showcase’s overall goal of furthering the students’ opportunities after graduation.  

“It was a pleasure to introduce them to my colleagues in the industry in New York City,” Cline said. “After so many years in the business, one of my favorite things to do still comes from the thrill of introducing people I love to people I love. The seniors, and the department’s trust, made that easy.” 


More News

Residence hall donations get a second life

Residence hall donations get a second life

SUNY Cortland partnered with Cortland ReUse to collect departing students’ unwanted items. 


Cortland's Nick Marola Receives SUNYAC Award of Valor

Cortland's Nick Marola Receives SUNYAC Award of Valor

The Red Dragon’s starting shortstop did his part to help save a life.


Twelve students conducting sponsored research this summer

Twelve students conducting sponsored research this summer

This cohort's studies range from biology and chemistry to political science and fine art.


Juneteenth festival planned for downtown Cortland

Juneteenth festival planned for downtown Cortland

Fourth Cortland event on June 15 celebrates the enforced end of slavery on June 19, 1865.


Distinguished and Rising Star alumni honored

Distinguished and Rising Star alumni honored

Reunion 2024 will recognize a new crop of outstanding alumni.


Alumni awards to honor educators, volunteers

Alumni awards to honor educators, volunteers

The SUNY Cortland Alumni Association will present the awards at this year’s Reunion.


CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

Organizers seek ideas from the campus community for the coming year’s lectures and activities.


Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Marjorie Dey Carter '50 quietly blazed a trail in American urban education.


Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

The Red Dragons, under third-year head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne, made their 26th NCAA tournament appearance.


SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

The annual science contest will bring hundreds of high-achieving high schoolers from around the state to campus.