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Don Kot

Coordinator of Musical Theatre
Brodie 131
(585) 245-6193
donkot@geneseo.edu

FAVORITE THINGS

At Geneseo, one of my favorite things is creating an environment where aspiring musical theatre artists can begin a career and where powerful transformational experiences occur.  I love coaching students to find the true, honest interpretation of a song and finding a character with a bold and specific emotional, physical, psychological, and vocal life.  Great things happen when we connect these interpretive ideas together through song.  Sometimes it takes a risk to get to the next level and we need a safe space to land.  Whether it is in the vocal coaching studio, the classroom, or the rehearsal and performance stages, I absolutely love guiding and witnessing all the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly breakthroughs and victories.

I also love collaborating.  When we come together to work on great classic or contemporary material, we create something bigger than ourselves.  From a single song to a large production we always honor the work of the composers, lyricists, and book writers.  Taking a project from page to stage is an exciting process and it really does take a village.  In addition to the students, our village consists of voice teachers, vocal coaches, classroom teachers, administrators, designers, artisans, and directors.  I’m honored to coordinate this remarkable group of individuals while we create our art, make something meaningful, and truly bigger than ourselves.

PROFESSIONAL WORK AND BRINGING IT BACK TO GENESEO

As a professional music director, I am accustomed to hearing over 100 auditionees in a day; I bring back skills, trends, tips, and a keen awareness to pass on to our students.  As resident music director at Geva Theatre Center, I offer our students opportunities to begin their professional careers and to begin to network with industry professionals.  Many of our students have been seen in Geva’s A Christmas Carol, Spamalot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Hair, and La Cage aux Folles.

I’m proud of our alumni network that has been pivotal in helping to develop our NYC Immersion program for juniors and seniors in the musical theatre major.  Each spring, we travel to NYC to not only present our Senior Showcase, but also to take part in workshops, master classes and chats with Broadway artists, voice and speech masters, composers and lyricists, and staffs from major Broadway and Off-Broadway organizations, among others.  Again, I enjoy providing a launching pad for our students by providing a chance to connect with all of these industry professionals.

AT GENESEO

I don’t think our training in musical theatre is about being famous or becoming a star.  It is about learning to work in ways that contribute to our art form, collaborating with fellow artists, and fostering a lasting appreciation for, and life in, the performing arts.

We’ll work together to prepare for a career in musical theatre and a life in the arts; we’ll explore the essential foundation and integration of three performance disciplines – acting, singing, and dancing – along with courses in musical theatre history, technical theatre, play analysis, music theory, and electives in the major area.  The supportive environment at Geneseo encourages the development of students’ intellectual and artistic gifts.  Students perform in main stage and chamber productions and balance their study of classic musical theatre with contemporary repertoire.  Students also gain crucial experience assisting in production and stage management, box office and administrative projects, technical and design work, as well as benefit from a range of internship opportunities and interaction with guest artists and theatre professionals.

While our intention is to generate young artists who can sing, dance, and act with technical ease and facility, a liberal arts-based education becomes a necessary tool for a performer.  Critical, analytical, and independent thinking are essential qualities as they serve as the foundation of creative work.  A small class size ensures individual attention from the faculty while monitoring our students’ growth vocally, physically, and intellectually.

COURSES I TEACH EACH YEAR

Musical Theatre Performance I:  Foundations

Musical Theatre Performance II:  Characterization & Scenes

Musical Theatre Performance III:  Auditions & Portfolio

Musical Theatre Performance VII:  Trends & Entrepreneurship

Musical Theatre Senior Showcase

Musical Theatre Ensembles

Musical Theatre Cabaret

&

the Music Direction of 3 musicals

RESUME HIGHLIGHTS

M.M. Cleveland Institute of Music

  • Valedictory Prize
  • Madame Gwendolyn Koldofsky Award recognizing excellence in accompanying

Geva Theatre Center

  • Resident Music Director & Affiliate Artist since 2001
  • Summer Academy since 2005
  • Music director, vocal coach and arranger for musicals, plays and readings

National Tours

  • Fosse, Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Mamma Mia, Hairspray

National High School Musical Theatre Awards

  • Adjudicator since 2009

Rochester Broadway Theatre League/Stars of Tomorrow

  • Volunteer of the Year – Education Division 2000

Recordings

  • Roads Traveled on the Songburst Label

Classes

  • MUSC 271: F/Musical Theatre Production

    Provides students with a practical study of a selected musical through rehearsal and public performance. Emphasis is placed upon stage diction, dramaturgy, song and role interpretation, stage movement and vocal techniques, technical design and crew work. May be repeated for credit each semester of study. Admission is by permission of instructor following audition/interview; special registration procedures are handled by the music department.

  • MUSC 280: Musc Thea Perf I:Foundatns-Lec

    This course is designed for potential musical theatre artists to integrate functional musical and dramatic skills in a musical theatre performance setting. Emphasis will include basic performance techniques, an introduction to portfolio creation, the development of analytic and interpretive abilities through solo songs, the discovery and process of the singer-actor, and the introduction of duet repertoire. This course may repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: one semester voice class or voice lessons (MUSC 141, 151, 241, 251, 341, 351) and permission of instructor. Offered every fall

  • MUSC 280: Musc Thea Perf I:Foundatns-Stu

    This course is designed for potential musical theatre artists to integrate functional musical and dramatic skills in a musical theatre performance setting. Emphasis will include basic performance techniques, an introduction to portfolio creation, the development of analytic and interpretive abilities through solo songs, the discovery and process of the singer-actor, and the introduction of duet repertoire. This course may repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: one semester voice class or voice lessons (MUSC 141, 151, 241, 251, 341, 351) and permission of instructor. Offered every fall

  • MUSC 489: Senior Showcase-Lec

    This course is designed to prepare potential musical theatre artists to participate in a musical theatre showcase on campus as arranged by the instructor (includes solos, small ensembles and scenes, group numbers) that will culminate in an Externship to NYC to perform for industry professionals. Students will accumulate performable solo material (4 pre-1970 ballads, 4 pre-1970 up-tempos, 4 contemporary ballads, 4 contemporary up-tempos, 2 Sondheim, 1 country, 1 pop/rock, 2 comic selections) and observe professional work. To be taken concurrently with MUSC 481. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Credits: 2 (1-1). Offered every fall.

  • MUSC 489: Senior Showcase-Stu

    This course is designed to prepare potential musical theatre artists to participate in a musical theatre showcase on campus as arranged by the instructor (includes solos, small ensembles and scenes, group numbers) that will culminate in an Externship to NYC to perform for industry professionals. Students will accumulate performable solo material (4 pre-1970 ballads, 4 pre-1970 up-tempos, 4 contemporary ballads, 4 contemporary up-tempos, 2 Sondheim, 1 country, 1 pop/rock, 2 comic selections) and observe professional work. To be taken concurrently with MUSC 481. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Credits: 2 (1-1). Offered every fall.