James T. Lane leads workshops with students from Duke and Durham Public Schools

James Lane teaches dance moves to DPS students
James Lane leads Durham Public School students in a dance workshop in the Rubenstein Arts Center.

James T. Lane, a Broadway veteran and creator of the hit Off Broadway show, Triple Threat, joined students from Duke and Durham Public Schools for a two-day Broadway masterclass in October 2023.

“What students learned quickly about James, a singer, actor and dancer who has performed in over ten Broadway, Off Broadway, and West End productions along with roles in television and film, is that he is truly a triple threat in every sense of the word,” said Chauntee' Schuler Irving, assistant professor of the practice in the department of Theater Studies and organizer of Lane’s residency.

On the first day of Lane’s visit, Duke arts students and members from Hoof n’ Horn’s production of A Chorus Line participated in a Q&A session during which he shared his journey to playing Richie in the revival of A Chorus Line. He also shared the tools he used to overcome multiple challenges to succeed in the field’s highest echelon.  

“I brought students in my ‘How Musicals Work’ class to the Q&A,” said Ryan Donovan, assistant professor of Theater Studies. “They loved hearing about James’s many roles in Broadway productions. A major takeaway they emphasized was just how hard performers have to work offstage to keep their instruments ready to go onstage. It was a fantastic visit!”

On the second day of the residency, as part of an ongoing initiative between the Department of Theater Studies, Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and Durham Public Schools (DPS) coordinated by Schuler Irving, theater students from Durham Public Schools joined Lane for an intensive workshop where they learned a number from the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations. Lane then worked one-on-one with singers to reveal advanced yet approachable methods to storytelling through song. Finally, DPS students enjoyed lunch and a private Q&A to address many questions they had about entering the field and developing as artists. The students were thrilled to hear that Lane will be rejoining the cast of Chicago on Broadway and can be seen playing Amos Hart in the coming months. 

James Lane’s visit and the Theater Studies/DPAC/DPS Community Initiative is supported by the Offices of the Vice Provost for the Arts and the Dean of the Humanities.

James Lane with a group of DPS students