Studying under the stars: Vocal professor Patty Goble draws on Broadway career during preparation for CSU’s upcoming production of ‘Urinetown’

Claire Oliver

woman sits at piano
Patty Goble is a professor in CSU’s music and theatre department. Goble has appeared in various Boadway musicals and has performed at the Tony Awards. Goble is currently working on CSU’s production of Urinetown. (Abby Flitton | Collegian)

A Broadway star made her way down from the Great White Way to share her experience with Colorado State University students.

Patty Goble experienced a very expansive theatrical career in Chicago, Toronto and, of course, New York City. After several years working with some of the top names in the business, Goble returned to her roots and has been teaching vocal performance at CSU for two years. Goble and her students are currently preparing for “Urinetown: The Musical,” which will open Friday.  

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“I was fortunate enough to have been in six original productions on Broadway,” Goble said. “…In total, I have done eight Broadway shows.”

Her Broadway credits include: “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Ragtime,” “Curtains,” “The Woman in White,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “La Cage aux Folles,” “Kiss Me Kate” and “Phantom of the Opera.” She has also performed in the touring company of “Cats” and other shows in Denver.  

“…Hal Prince was there, and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Goble said.  “I just showed up. It was 10 in the morning and they said, ‘How high can you sing?’ And I said, ‘How high to do you want?’ But I wasn’t really being cocky. I just have this really high voice, this high coloratura voice, and I have always had it. So I sang up to an E-flat, and then from there the rest is history.”

“Urinetown the Musical” will open this Friday, April 27 at 7:30. Tickets are free for CSU students. Seats can be reserved at:csuartstickets.universitytickets.com/w/default.aspx

Goble went on to have an impressive Broadway career. Starring in shows alongside the likes of Audra McDonald, who has won eight Tony Awards in her career, Marin Mazzie, who has been nominated for three Tony Awards and Hal Prince, who has directed 83 productions and has won 13 Tony Awards. 

After several years in the middle of the theatre performance world, Patty Goble and her husband are giving to back to students here at Colorado State.

“We are extremely passionate about giving back our experiences to young people who might have a similar experience that we did when we started out,” Goble said. “We both feel extremely fortunate to have had the careers that we have had, but we also feel that it is a responsibility and an accountability to give back what we know to an area where we started.”

To Patty Goble’s students, her experience and expertise have helped them become more confident on stage. 

“To actually to be able to be taught by someone who has been to Broadway and been where to, theoretically, we all want to go or at least experience, is great,” Dan Isaacs, a CSU theatre student, said.  “She’s been there, and she’s done it.” 

After working with Goble last semester, Isaacs decided to audition for the CSU musical “Urinetown” and was given the role of Officer Lockstock.    

I do love working with my theatre kids because I see the change in not only their voices but their confidence as people.” Patty Goble, vocal performance professor at CSU.

“I remember reaching out to her when ‘Urinetown’ was announced that I wanted to be Office Lockstock,” Isaacs said. “…She actually helped me prepare for my audition for the show. She picked out the songs. She picked out the cuts. … She stayed with me after class.”

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Isaacs said he came into CSU not having extensive singing experience, but other students have entered into Goble’s classes having sung for their entire lives.

Rocky Eisentraut, a junior theatre performance major, sang in a choir for several years before her college career.  Because of her experience, Patty Goble allowed Eisentraut to skip the first Singing for Actors class and join the second class.

“Choir singing is a lot different from musical singing because you don’t have to really act it out; it’s better if you do, but I never really got acting notes,” Eisentraut said. “And Patty would say, ‘Put some emotion in there. You’re singing beautifully, but you need to put the emotion in your voice, and your face and your body, so we aren’t looking at a wall and stuff.’”

Eisentraut is also in “Urinetown” playing the role of Josephine ‘Ma’ Strong. Her time in Patty Goble’s class translated into the audition room. Eisentraut even decided to sing a song she hadn’t sung before and used the tips and tricks she learned in Patty Goble’s class. 

“I really tried to just take her notes and put that in the audition room,” Eisentraut said. “And of course, I don’t remember what happened in the audition room because my mind went blank.”

Eisentraut said working with Patty Goble has been an incredible experience. 

“She’s awesome,” Eisnetraut said. “She is so knowledgeable but also so sweet, which is hard to find. She is not a snob, which a lot of music teachers can be because they get annoyed that other people don’t know what they are talking about. But Patty’s like, ‘Oh, you don’t know that? I’m going to teach you.'”

Isaacs said despite Patty Goble’s impressive career, she is far from arrogant. 

“She definitely cares, and you can tell she really wants us to succeed,” Isaacs said. “She’s not just doing this to look good because she hardly talks about her Broadway stuff unless you make her talk about it.”

She definitely cares, and you can tell she really wants us to succeed.” Daniel Isaacs, a theatre performance major.

For Goble, it is rewarding to watch students find the confidence in their own musical performance. 

“I love working with theatre students who find their voice, who find that confidence to sing and who are most likely never going to enter into the opera stage or take on an Aria, but that’s OK because I just feel like singing is singing, and if we are expressing ourselves using our voice then we are singers,” Patty Goble said.

As much as  Goble loves working with vocal students, she said her true passion lies with musical theatre.

“I don’t pit one against the other as being any better or any less important, but I do love working with my theatre kids because I see the change in not only their voices but their confidence as people,” Patty Goble said. “…For a lot of people, that is something they never thought they would be able to do. I say, ‘Yes, yes you can.'” 

Patty Goble said she aims to continue using experience in the professional world to push student performers to reach their fullest potential. 

“That’s why we are here,” Patty Goble said. “So we can be a guide to young people and lead them on a journey that we took.”

Collegian reporter Claire Oliver can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @claire_oliver21.