Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preparation for life...?

So... I am working hard at getting ready for a masterclass taught by the great director and theatre manager Eric Schaeffer of Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Its a singing/Acting masterclass on making sure your auditions song wows them.

Eric is well known for his work on Stephen Sondheim's musicals in the U.S. and overseas. He frightens many people , me included, with his intensity. And of course, if you want to work for Signature Theatre, the best musical theatre company in the Washington, DC, area; then you have to get his attention and show him what you can do that no one else does as well.

In the majority of auditions for a general call to get your foot through the door, you only have 16 measures of a song to sing. Rarely do they ask for a second selection or really pay much attention due to time constraints. It's simply a chance to show you have a voice and you have some idea of how to create a character. It helps if you have a clear idea of your TYPE - romantic juvenile lead, ingenue, character types like old lady, bum , father figure, mother, etc. All of us like it or not are type cast the second we walk into a room. A smart actor uses that to his/her advantage to present audition material that says..."I know who I am and I do this very well."

I'm taking this master class for several reasons.

1.) Because I think I have a clear idea of the type of character actress I am and I want to know if I am on the right track in a major producer's, like Eric, mind.

2.) I want the chance to learn from him HOW to be the best I can be in an audition, but also in how I approach every song I do.

3.) It's a chance to get to be heard directly by him, not a casting director; and to sing an entire song, not 16 bars with no prep.

4.) I want to show him I can take directions, that I have variety, and that I am someone he needs to hire. That I would be an addition and an asset to his company.

5.) Because I am an actress, a singer, and a teacher. I can only do my job well if I know what the working environment is like these days, then I can better prepare my students and myself to compete in this crazy addictive world of theatre.

I am amazed that a company like Signature Theatre offers classes taught by the people who are casting and directing their productions, and they often get cancelled because not enough actors in the DC area sign up for the class. If you wanted to work for a company like Signature (and who doesn't) wouldn't you want them to know you, to see your work, have a chance to see what you offer in a forum other than the 60 second once a year auditions?

I'm petrified. But at the same time, I know I am very, very good at my craft. I have much to learn, but I have much to offer!

Off to the races!

Create Beauty and fill the world with Love!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Prayers and Meditations!

Theatre, art, and life!
Oil on Canvas
28' x 22"
So its Friday already! Another month has flown by. I've painted a number of new paintings for my new solos show in Williamsburg, Virginia - schedule May 5 - June 5, 2009 at This Century Gallery. I'm very excited about the new works I am doing. Ia m returning to my earlier experiments with color field and with the influences of Kahn and Rothko on landscape paintings. New images to follow.
Oil on Canvas
28" x 22"
$ 495.00
On a different front. I have an audition Monday for a theatre that I dearly love and would give almost anything to work at as a company member! - Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. This company has grown in 20 years from a group of dedicated artists to a world class theatre that specializes in supporting and creating new musicals, and up and coming composers and playwrights. Guided by the Brilliant Eric Schaeffer who - is known for his direction of Sondheim Musicals around the world, and his gift for inspiring incredible committed acting on his stages - they create some of the very best theatre in the Washington, DC, area.
I am petrified! This is what I trained my entire early life for. It is what I what makes my life worthwhile. At my age and in this area there are very few opportunities for musical theatre performing at the caliber that I strive for. I'm not a diva. I don't have the need to be a star nor the ego to pull it off. But I would love to again be part of an ensemble of players to whom theatre is the purpose of life. It could only make my painting better.; My marriage happier, my life complete for the remaining years I have! ( and there are many I am sure!)
This Monday, March 30 at 3:05 pm I hope everyone will take second to think on me, to visualize me on that stage singing my heart out, creating a wonderful, vibrant, fully realized character that shows to the producers that I would be a very valuable member of their ensemble! I would be grateful for all your prayers, meditations and well wishes.
Create Beauty and fill the world with love!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Trunk Show Fine Artisans March 14 12 noon til 7 PM.

So, here is the scoop! I am joining 3 other phenomenally gifted Artisans for an invitational Spring Trunk show. We will all have new artwork to exhibit and sale, at discount pre-seasonal prices. All our work is one of a kind. Unlike a lot of craft shows, there is no cover charge. There will be snacks and drinks. Lots of leisure time for you to talk with us about our techniques, our inspirations and our lives as artists. Get some wonderful gifts before the craft summer markets see them.
for more information visit www.jewelryintheworks.com/trunkshow.html

The Fun Part of Making Choices....

One of the first things you learn when you approach building a character is that in order to make her/him real on the stage or on the camera you have to make specific choices.
These often include knowing her background, deciding the kind of person she has become, why she is doing what she does, the language that she expresses herself with, etc. The in the action of the play , there are more choices. Is she aggressive? Is she maternal? Is she caring? the biggest question / choice/ motive / of them all is "What does she Want???"
Funny how much life is like that. I am convinces that if we really take the time to examine for ourselves that basic question - we will have all the tools we need to have a happy and successful life! Whenever we stop and concentrate on exactly what it is we want and open ourselves to having it - the universe provides it for us. Maybe not always in the way that we envisioned it. But being open is the key. Of course, that too is a choice!
For the new year, I decided that I really WANTED to go back on stage. I made it a statement, and shared it with my friends and the universe. Then I set in motion the actions of behaving as if it were already happening. I got new head-shots, I put together a resume, I learned new monologues, and I began to search for auditions for roles that I thought would be right for me at this age and time in my life. And the universe began to reward my hard work and commitment. I've already landed and performed two roles in the DC theatre scene. I've been called and asked to audition for a few other roles because of word of mouth.
I have made a choice to work hard at my skills as both an actress, AND and artist. I still need to express myself in visual art as well as on the stage. So now I have a show to rehearse, and two auditions to prepare for. I have a Silk Trunk Show in Bethesda MD to prepare for by March 14 ( more on that later.) I have a solo painting exhibition in Williamsburg, VA to get ready by May 5, 2009.
Life is good. It is precious. And it is full of choice!
until next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with Love!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LONG AGO.. in a far away time and place....

Long ago I wrote here somewhat consistently. Then, as usual life took over and I managed to have a life that got in the way of all the different arts I pursue. It's hard for me to recall, but from the age of 3 until I was 38, I trained, worked, studied, and struggled to build a career as a performer. I grew up singing in my Dad's country western Band, sang in church and local concerts, then went to college. I studied Dance and Theatre at James Madison University in VA, The school of the Richmond Ballet and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I had scholarships to the Blossom Festival School of the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Hartt School of Music as an opera singer. I performed in over 100 Musical theatre pieces, Operas, and choral works and concerts. I was a member of the Apprentice Program for Singers of the Santa Fe Opera; regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. I worked for years as a soloist and chorister with the Connecticut, Baltimore and Washington National Opera companies. I produced my own solo Cabaret show that ran for years on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. After years of performing, I finally decided I had done it all and I was ready to move on. Oddly enough it seems my mind made a decision that my heart and soul was not ready to agree to. The first year we were dating, my now husband took me to see a concert by Betty Buckley, one of the grand dames of the American Musical stage - it was her, a four-piece band, and an evening of music sung as only she can sing. My man could not understand why I spent the majority of the evening in tears. ( He had not known about my past as a performer before this evening.) Was I not enjoying the concert? I could only explain it with the fact that in my soul I knew I should be on that stage doing what she was doing. He took me to see a production of Shenandoah at Ford's Theatre with Scott Bacula and an amazing cast. Again, I cried through the production. I could only say that the sets and back drops reminded me so much of my home, and that the musical genre just does that to me. I've seen the incomparable Barbara Cook 4 times at Kennedy Center. I own every recording of hers. In her 80's now, she still sings better than most 20-year-olds, and with a use of language and expression that no one can match. Finally it hit me. As much as I love my painting, and as much as my husband has supported me and encouraged me to pursue art as a career.... I still need to be working in the theatre. I need to balance the private me with the actress who still has a voice and has a need to connect to others. And so I decided at Christmas this year that my gift to myself would be to return to acting classes and to audition and see what was out there for a woman of my years. Surprise!!!! The first audition I went to I got cast in an amazing new play - "Past is the Present Imperfect" by playwright Thomas Minter. I had a dream role of a cantankerous older woman who lives in an alcohol induced fantasy land but must face that the consequences of her early life choices are now having on her son's happiness. It was an intense and wonderful 2.5 week workshop production with sets and costumes at the Warehouse theatre in DC, produced by the Capitol Artistic Partnership. I'm back! At the same time I ended up being cast in 7 (SEVEN) roles for a staged reading of The Laramie Project produced by the Actors Center of Washington DC. Directed by Kevin Kuchar - this was not your average staged reading. it was fully staged and costumed by the actors and staff, and performed after 5 hours of rehearsal to a full house. I have to say it was a very rewarding experience to see my skills as an actress have not deteriorated and if any thing are stronger. And so from now on you will find here both my information on my Artwork, my daily life, and my life as an Actress in DC. Who could ask for anything more! until next time Create beauty and fill the world with love! Wynn