Broadway performer puts on ‘greatest show’

JUST two months ago Natalie Weiss was performing at the Oscars in front of Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.

Last week the Broadway performer was at Priestley College teaching a rendition of This Is Me from The Greatest Showman and sharing anecdotes of meeting Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.

Student Tommy Bowden said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life to be working on a song that has become so popular with someone who performed it on the movie’s soundtrack and at the Oscars.”

Priestley’s Performing Arts department had booked the workshop after hearing that Natalie was in the country for several weeks on work commitments.

The day started with a focus on riffing and progressed into rehearsals of a performance based on the memorable Oscars’ performance by Keala Settle.

After a full run through of This Is Me some of Priestley’s young performers sang solos before receiving critiques from Natalie and her travelling companion Andrew Hodge, who has himself toured across America in shows such as Cats, 42nd Street and A Chorus Line.

Several of the college’s former students returned for the workshop with Hannah Gallimore wowing the American Idol semi-finalist.

“I was impressed with the talent and knowledge they showed as well as the inciteful questions they asked me throughout the day,” said Natalie.

Natalie appears on the ensemble for the Hugh Jackman musical, The Greatest Showman, which has been a phenomenon in the UK selling more than 500,000 albums and raking in around £50million at the UK box office.

She has also appeared in the US national tours of Wicked and Les Miserables.

At the end of the workshop Natalie sang ‘Breathe’ – written by Kooman and Dimond – on the stage where Priestley’s students will be performing Fame in just a few weeks.

“I honestly think it will be a day our students will never forget,” said Head of Performing Arts Sarah Graham.

“To receive intensive and constructive advice from someone with Natalie’s experience and talent is so valuable and we could see the improvement in individuals’ performances as they day went on.”