Someday, you might see Brandi Porter ’13 (Olney, Md.) on a Broadway stage. She knows that getting to The Great White Way will take a lot of hard work, and she’s prepared to do whatever it takes.
Last summer, as part of an independent study in musical theater, Porter attended the summer Broadway Theater Project in Tampa, Fla., where she trained in acting, singing, and dancing.
“During the summer for three weeks, I worked from 8 a.m. to midnight perfecting my craft,” says the music and theater double major.
Porter followed up that experience in December with a performance of songs from the musicals Rent and Ragtime at a Lafayette Fringe Friday, a showcase of student performances in various media that takes place a few times each semester.
“Performing was the culmination of my extensive work because it was my formal demonstration of my growth from my summer experience,” she says.
To prepare, she worked one on one with Mary Jo Lodge, assistant professor of English, and her voice coach, Eric Van Hoven, instructor of music. Porter says this was the first time she had worked extensively with people who could help her perfect her performance.
“Even though I’ve always had feedback and have been critiqued, I’ve never been guided in the process of my performance. Normally, a director or choreographer tells me my errors and expects me to fix them; I do. It was interesting having a team of people working with me to put my performance together,” she says.
Porter grew up in a family that loved music. As a child, she dreamed of taking piano lessons and she wanted to be able to play and compose music.
“However, my family couldn’t afford a piano or the lessons. So I would write my own songs and record myself singing them,” she says.
In high school, she discovered musical theater and got a part as a dancer in The Wiz. After that show, she was hooked and started taking voice and tap lessons.
At Lafayette, Porter has performed in numerous Marquis Players and College Theater productions, including The Vagina Monologues and A Thousand Cranes, and was the lead in the musical Once on this Island. She sings in the College a cappella groups Cadence and Soulfege, coordinates the Landis Community Outreach Center’s Teens in the Community program, and is a member of Association of Black Collegians, Hispanic Society of Lafayette, and the Arts Society.
Porter aspires to perform on Broadway and someday run a talent agency.
“I plan to be a triple-threat performer who is immersed in all aspects of the industry,” she says.