Minot State student headed to New York

J’Kobe Wallace to be taught by Broadway professionals

Submitted Photo J’Kobe Wallace spent a good portion of his life moving around due to the military and theater and performing became a big part of his life through it.

One of 60 students worldwide chosen to take place in classes taught at Open Jar Institute in New York City this summer, J’Kobe Wallace couldn’t feel more humbled or honored with his opportunity.

Wallace has spent a lot of time moving with his family for the military. For him, this made it hard to make friends. After moving to Minot and taking a theater class under Chad Gifford at Central Campus, Wallace followed his teacher’s advice and auditioned for a role in a Central Campus Playmakers play. From there, he never looked back as he moved on to new roles and new places.

He gained roles at Minot State University’s Summer Theater as Little Bear in Shrek the Musical and the youngest apostle in Jesus Christ Super Star.

“Every summer, even if it’s not in Minot, I’ve been able to keep theater in my life, and this summer will not be an exception,” Wallace said.

In January, Wallace had attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival where he was able to take part in a variety of events, performances, and auditions that were being hosted. One audition was for the Musical Theater Cabaret, an audition based cabaret-style performance that allows only a few students to sing and/or dance under the direction of seasoned Broadway performers, that he was selected to be a part of. It was there that Wallace was noticed and offered a slot for the Open Jar Institute.

“It still feels unreal,” he explained. “Things like this don’t seem to happen for many small town, North Dakotans, which is why I am incredibly humbled to represent the City of Minot this summer.”

He describes the opportunity to learn from the best of the best as a dream come true. He will be learning from Broadway professionals, taking classes in acting, singing, dancing, and audition techniques in the week long intensive workshop. Students will be working one on one with acting, voice, and performance coaches as well as with choreographers, agents, and casting directors. Wallace plans to work hard to hone certain performance aspects and to bring what he learns back for his colleagues so they can all grow and better themselves together.

Wallace is currently working toward his music education degree at Minot State University. Described as a vocal major and theater enthusiast, Wallace has also been heavily involved in a variety of groups that involve music and theater while studying for his degree. He has spent three seasons with the Western Plains Orchestra while also performing as a bass soloist in 2017’s performance of Messiah and performing four years with the MSU Summer Theater. He is co-director of the Western Plains Youth Choir and has volunteered with the Minot High School Men’s Choir.

Wallace has also worked hard to gain experience through leadership roles, working as an award winning assistant coach for Minot High School’s cheer team, president-elect of NafME, Social Media Manager for the Division of Music, class representative for the Music Student Advisory Council.

When asked why he does so much, Wallace said he is a stickler for schedules and to-do lists.

“I have great friends and mentors who keep me level headed and on top of all the schedules I juggle,” he said when asked how he does it all.

Before heading to New York for the Open Jar Institute, Wallace is headed to the Prairie Repertory Theater in South Dakota. He will be starring as Sebastian the Crab in a performance of “The Little Mermaid” and Albert in “Bye, Bye Birdie.”

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