Tuesday, November 2, 2010
How To... HALLOWEEN
Actors love in-jokes. I think this stems from the joy that we all experience when we are asked to join a temporary family within a production; our little catch phrases and private gags make it feel like a special club of which we are honored members. I also think that the in-jokes are a way of lightening the pressure of the eight show week. We took full advantage of a chance to blow off steam with our company Halloween party this past weekend. The theme of the party was to dress as a line of dialogue from "How To Succeed...". With limited budgets and creative imaginations, we all hit the outlet malls, Wal-Mart, and party stores to find the bits and pieces that would get across, in the wittiest possible way, the line we had chosen to represent. The results were hilarious: everything from a hula girl with leprosy ("an extremely tropical disease"), to a church lady covered in plastic ivy ("Grand Old Ivy"), to my own contribution--a head dress made from two martini glasses, one of them containing a prop olive ("You call this a double martini? It only has one olive in it!"). Here I am wearing my creation, next to cast mate Lianne, who came as "Making a clean breast of the whole thing" (she carried around a Comet can with a revised label on it that read "Boob"). The party was a blast--pot luck goodies, a fire pit and S'more making, jack 'o' lanterns, and much autumnal frolic. This is such a bright and funny group of people. The last month of shows will continue to be great fun.
Goodspeed has also offered me the opportunity to hone my skills as a teacher and coach, through their education outreach programming. I have greatly enjoyed leading workshops with area middle school and high school kids, and have been especially impressed with the talent and motivation of the students from the Community Music School in Essex.
I love coaching young talents; they are eager sponges that absorb everything I throw at them, and their enthusiasm is a reminder of the fresh faced drive that led me to a life in this profession. I am delighted that Goodspeed has collaborated with me and my teaching partner, triple-threat performer Molly Tynes, to create their first ever Audition Intensive for graduating high school seniors preparing to audition for college theatre programs and performing arts conservatories. This exciting weekend seminar will take place December 4 & 5, and Molly and I will be teaching the nuts and bolts of the audition process, and coaching the students on their songs and monologues in preparation for their college tryouts. We will also be joined by a distinguished panel including Brent Wagner, chair of the musical theatre department at University of Michigan, Michael O'Flaherty, musical director of Goodspeed Musicals, and choreographer and master teacher Parker Esse. This panel will view the students' mock auditions and give invaluable feedback. It is truly a remarkable opportunity for young actors, and an exciting project for me and my fellow educators. Visit the Goodspeed Musicals website for more information.