I write this a week after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, declared schools would be closed for two weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19, and days after he’s ordered a shutdown of all events with more than 50 people in attendance. Thus, he wiped out thousands of school, community, and professional theatre productions in the state. All around the U.S. and the world, the decree is the same. As of now, Broadway is not even a week into a month-long blackout.
These preventative measures are necessary, but they exact a price.
A lot of my friends are hurting. As deep into various theatre circles as I am, I’ve been hearing lamentations of cancelled and postponed shows for weeks.
Some amateur department directors fear their programs will never be able to recover financially. Actors mourn roles they’ll never get to play for an audience. Professionals are without pay for who knows how long.
Despite everything, the theatre community keeps art and hope alive. Young actors share videos of their would-be performances, clips of themselves singing and reading monologues. Professional theatre and dance companies like BalletNova Center for Dance post Facebook Live ballet classes for anyone to enjoy.
But we are hurting. Many actors have had something taken from them they will never really be able to recover.
Actors, singers, dancers, professionals and amateurs alike; Performers of every sort who have been effected by the spread of this disease:
Take this time to rest, whether you want to or not.
Continue reading “Rest, Reset, Grow”
I have compulsively taken audio recordings of every voice lesson I’ve had over the last four years, as well as recordings of most auditions and a handful of rehearsals. I’ve made it a habit and feel the strong need to be recording whenever I’m doing anything with my voice. Funny enough, I rarely end up listening back to these recordings– I’ve probably listened to less than a third of the entire library of recordings I’ve made with the app Voice Record Pro.
For fun I recently listened to some of the first recordings. These were from my freshman year of college, a time in which I was very insecure in my voice, and still very green in my vocal training overall. I was struck by the difference in those audios from the most recent ones! I was excited about the prospect of growth, and ended up mentioning the fact to my therapist. She was very excited with my discovery, and asked that I take it a step further.
Continue reading ““Where am I Going, and Where Have I Been?”: What I Learned From Reviewing Six Years of Past Performances”
After hours of homework and preparation, you go into an audition and perform your heart out, only to be turned down for the part. You did your best, and that’s all you can do. So why didn’t it work in your favor?
Continue reading “Sometimes Your Best Just Isn’t Enough”
These words were spoken to me upon the completion of the singing portion of a recent audition.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve really improved a lot since last year.”
The director said this and caught me completely off guard. A few hours later, he apologized, and caught me even more off guard. He explained that he’d meant what he said as a compliment, and hoped it hadn’t sounded rude.
My response was basically, “yeah, of course it’s a compliment, duh.”
Continue reading ““Don’t Take This the Wrong way, but You’ve Really Improved””
Do you feel like you are falling behind compared to some of your performing peers? Do you feel that you have plenty learn, but aren’t sure where to focus your energies next? It might make you feel better to know that lots of other actors and artists feel exactly the same, but that knowledge alone won’t help you become a better performer.
When you feel like you’re cornered in terms of growth and improvement, one of the best things you can do is stop and take stock of where you currently are. Self-evaluation is something most performers do on the daily already. What if we harness that often-negative energy and use it to help you grow in a positive way?
Continue reading “Where to Grow Next: Self-Evaluation and Targeted Practice Recommendations for Performers”
Extracurricular activities are the bread and butter of young people’s routines. The right extracurriculars can improve grades and overall classroom performance, boost college admissions rates, and teach students valuable and necessary life skills. Time in the day is limited, so choosing the right extracurricular activities is crucial for using yours effectively!
If you or your child are looking for activities to meaningfully fill free time (and have a lot of fun doing it), look no further than the performing arts! Theatre especially is a fantastically diverse program that encourages the growth of many skills and comes pre-packaged with a ton of benefits. Not convinced? Here’s fifteen research-backed reasons theatre is the extracurricular activity of your dreams.
Continue reading “15 Reasons why Theatre is the Extracurricular Activity of Parents’ Dreams”
Auditioning for musical theatre is difficult. Simply working up the courage to put yourself out there creates a huge hurdle to surmount even before the actual rehearsal process begins. Even more unfortunately, casting is a highly subjective process, meaning that most audition goers end up disappointed in the end. While adult actors are relatively conditioned to brush off such upsets and keep going, for young actors, the disappointment attached to casting can be crushing.
Many young actors quit shows and never return to performing in the wake of cast list catastrophes. They might feel like they’ve exerted enormous effort for no reason, or like they’ve embarrassed themselves by doing poorly, or that they simply weren’t and can’t be good enough to land the roles they want. These feelings can end passions for acting before they even have a chance to catch on!
If your child has been burned by a poor audition experience and unmet casting expectations, they might be inclined to turn away from acting altogether. However, theatre is a great opportunity for young people for a multitude of reasons, and this is a great opportunity to teach your child about the growth mindset and the value of “failing” with grace. Here’s how you can turn a seemingly negative cast list into a positive life lesson for your child!
Continue reading “What to say to Your Child When They Don’t get the Part They Want”
If you’ve ever performed in school theatre, you know what a horrible, exciting event the posting of the cast list can be. When the roles are assigned for the annual fall play or musical, tensions tend to run high, and students sometimes turn their backs on teachers. Feelings can be hurt, and the casting process can often seem like a personal rejection. Finding ways to keep this process productive and educational for everybody can make your program stronger and help increase retainment between shows!
Truly, every student can learn from every experience they have in the theater. This can be a hard lesson for young people to grasp. Directors can help by making small adjustments to their auditions and communication with students.
Continue reading “A Director’s Guide to Making Your School Theatre Casting Process a Learning Opportunity for Everyone”
About a year ago I was assigned a project for class that involved learning about anything and tracking your learning in a multimedia format. Since I was at the time involved in three different productions occurring simultaneously, I decided to make a blog about my efforts in learning to be a director. Though this project itself was very low-stress and even enjoyable, I got a perfect score and a glowing review from my professor, as well as a brilliant learning experience I didn’t expect.
Apparently required journaling of rehearsals is pretty common in school theatre programs nowadays– I never had to do this, and so I was able to approach the task with a fresh mind. Even if an assignment like this has previously tainted your experience with journaling rehearsals, consider revisiting it– it can be very beneficial for your learning, both in regard to that show and to your overall development as an actor and artist.
Continue reading “Get the Most out of Your Rehearsals by Journaling Them”
A single performance in theatre requires many diverse skillsets from many diverse people. There’s simply so much young actors and artists have to learn about the craft itself just to get through auditions that spending time on learning things that aren’t immediately connected to performing skills can seem like a waste. However, it’s precisely because shows require such diversity that learning everything you can about nearly every subject you can will always be of an actor’s benefit. If you’re ready to take your theatrical training beyond the basics, try moving away from acting, singing, and dancing for a bit and looking to these adjacent areas of knowledge instead!
Continue reading “6 Non-Theatre Subjects Every Theatre Person can Benefit From Learning More About”