Hamilton Southeastern Junior High eighth-grader Jackson Mullen had the time of his life.
Mullen, 13, attended a Discovering Broadway master class with Sierra Boggess in the fall of 2022 and ended up being selected to participate in Discovering Broadway’s “Five Points” concert, which was presented Feb. 10 at Madame Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis.
“This experience has been the best thing to be with all these amazing actors and singers,” Mullen said. “I’m so honored. Indiana is such a great place.”
Mullen was thrilled to work with Jessie Mueller, who won a Tony award for “Beautiful.” Aisha Jackson, who played Anna in “Frozen,” was another cast member. She was the first Black woman to play Anna on Broadway.
“I went to New York when I was 9 and saw her as Anna, and I got a picture with her,” Mullen said. “I thought it was cool that now I get to work with her.”
Carmel resident Josh Kaufman sang a number as P.T. Barnum. This was his first experience with Discovering Broadway, which was founded by 2012 Carmel High School graduate Joel Kirk.
“It was interesting because going into it, all I had was the song that I was doing,” Kaufman said. “It was a little bit of discovering for me, and all of us as well.”
“Five Points” is set in New York in 1863 during the Civil War. It follows Willie Lane, a young Black performer and John Diamond, an Irish immigrant and dancer.
This is the first time Kaufman, winner of Season 6 of “The Voice” in 2014, appeared in the incubation process for a production. A team has been working on “Five Points” for several years.
“It was fun to do that,” said Kaufman, who played the title role of “Pippin” on Broadway in 2015. “I have such a broad range of music interest, so it’s nice to put yourself in a different style and try something different.”
Kirk said it was exciting to see all 900 seats filled.
“Nine of the songs were being premiered, so we were realizing in real time just how impactful they were,” Kirk said. “We feel equally inspired by the audience as well as the artists.
“You see how it resonates with people, and that’s why we do theater.”
For more, visit discoveringbroadway.org.