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!