October 28, 2021

MSM Spotlight: Lyda Jade Harlan (BM ’24) performs in Missed:Connections Oct 30 & 31

Lyda Jade Harlan is a sophomore Musical Theatre major performing in Missed: Connections this weekend along with other highly talented Musical Theatre students, kicking off the 2021-2022 MSM Musical Theatre season.

Lyda Jade talks about her experience being in Missed:Connections, why she chose MSM, and her journey so far.

Tell us a little about yourself!

Lyda Jade: I am from Woodland Hills, California located within Los Angeles County, and I’m a Sophomore Musical Theatre major at Manhattan School of Music, class of 2024. I first got involved in musical theatre at the age of 12 when I auditioned for a community theatre production of Les Misérables and landed the role of Cosette. Once I began rehearsing for the show, I was hooked on musical theatre. I ended up attending a performing arts high school and expanded my knowledge of the industry by listening to and watching as many musicals as I could. I auditioned for the school’s theatre productions and throughout my summers I would take part in community theatre as well. As my college audition research began, MSM caught my eye, and I was beyond thrilled to have been accepted and to begin studying under such a brilliant faculty.

Tell us about Missed:Connections and what it’s like being a part of this production?

Lyda Jade: Missed:Connections is a contemporary musical theatre revue featuring musical theatre repertoire from the past ten years. Its format is four movements that represent the arc of human connection or a physical relationship, including the good and bad moments.

The show expresses how we have all felt during the global pandemic (especially this past year), and how we have begun to feel distant from one another. Just like everyone else, 2020 really took me for a turn and challenged how I pursued my art and how I kept in touch with those I loved. Being in this show has allowed me to put those feelings into melodies and movement, and I was beyond thrilled to hear that I’d be able to do a live show after two years. I have loved working on such beautiful music, some of which I have never even heard before, and working with a cast that is extremely talented and loving.

What do you like best about being a part of the MSM Community?

Lyda Jade: I love that the MSM community is welcoming and accepting, and the students and faculty truly make me feel like this is my second home. Everyone here has such a strong passion for their music, and that is a community I believe we all thrive the best in. Whether it’s hearing the classical voice majors sing in the practice rooms or walking past a symphony orchestra rehearsal in Neidorff-Karpati Hall, I love being surrounded by people’s art. It’s what makes MSM such a wonderful educational setting. All the majors are constantly learning from one another and collaborating to continue creating masterpieces.

Lyda Jade Harlan (BM'24) in the MSM Musical Theatre Production
Missed:Connections

Why did you choose MSM? Which factors were most important to you in the decision process?

Lyda Jade: I chose MSM because I knew it would be the best institution for developing my craft in terms of my individuality, focus, and skill. I remember having the most fun at my dance call with Enrique Brown during the auditions at MSM. Enrique reminded us though implementing the technique may be important, it is also how you dive into the character and get in touch with your body to allow it to do what it feels. Additionally, the fact that MSM is a conservatory really spoke to me because it meant I could solely focus on musical theatre in my academic classes as well as my performing arts classes.

What stood out to you most about MSM the first time you stepped foot on campus?

Lyda Jade: Besides the wonderful location and the first thing I saw stepping onto campus being the beautiful Neidorff-Karpati Hall, I was pleasantly surprised that the dorms and main building are connected. MSM’s campus helped me feel extremely safe because I wouldn’t have to travel alone to a completely different building after a day of classes or late-night rehearsals. Additionally, the architecture and interior design of the building are always such a beautiful sight to see as you’re coming from the dorms or heading to your classes. The amount of practice rooms at MSM keep me busy and grateful that there is always space for me to rehearse. Also, I was drawn to the fact that I’d always be walking into a building filled with music.

Lyda Jade Harlan (BM'24) as Dot in the MSM Musical Theatre Production
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

“Whether it’s hearing the classical voice majors sing in the practice rooms or walking past a symphony orchestra rehearsal in Neidorff-Karpati Hall, I love being surrounded by people’s art. It’s what makes MSM such a wonderful educational setting.”

Lyda Jade Harlan (BM'24) as Dot in the MSM Musical Theatre Production
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

Do you have any advice for prospective students going through the prescreening and applicaiton process?

Lyda Jade: The advice I’d give to any prospective MSM students or those currently going through the application process would be to not audition with a filtered version of yourself. From choosing your audition/prescreen material based on what you think the school would like, or wearing an outfit that you feel very uncomfortable in but you feel would be “perfect” in the eyes of a conservatory standpoint, MSM is not about shaping you to be a certain kind of musician or artist. They aren’t expecting you to come in with a specific “artistic persona” — They want to see the real you! I learned through the audition process MSM only wants to help you tighten your craft and learn about who you are as a person. Be prepared, have fun, and walk into the audition room remembering that you are there because you want to be, and allow MSM to see that!

MSM Musical Theatre presents — Missed:Connections

Catie Davis, Director 
Banji Aborisade
, Choreographer
Andrew Gerle
, Music Director

Liza Gennaro, Associate Dean and Director

OCT 30 | SAT
2 & 7:30 PM 

OCT 31 | SUN 
2 PM

Neidorff-Karpati Hall

Manhattan School of Music
130 Claremont Avenue
New York, New York 10027