Hollywood & Broadway, Stop Overlooking Deaf Actors for Deaf Roles

It’s important to think about who is on screen but also who is in the audience. For deaf moviegoers, it’s not fair to watch a hearing person playact real pain and hardship they have to go through every day. At the same time, hearing audience members lose out on a correct representation of deaf people and deaf culture, especially since our depiction in media is already scant. For people who don’t have much contact with the deaf or others within the community who communicate using ASL, films like “Wonderstruck” are their only windows into our life. To have our experiences, culture, and language represented by a hearing person who is not fluent in ASL is a disservice to both deaf and hearing audiences alike as well as personally devastating to me.

Flubs: Distractions or Unique Gems?

We attend the theatre to be enchanted, entertained, and to view some real, raw talent. Most importantly, from the moment the first act begins, we expect to be taken away into another world and not to return to reality until intermission.  However, because anything can happen during a live performance, it’s not unlikely that the illusion will be compromised before the house lights come up. Flubs—an inevitable fact of theatre, live broadcasts, and any medium with an audience— can either create an even more special memory or completely ruin the experience.

What They Really Want at an Audition

Most young actors, including myself when I was one, go into an audition intent upon showing them that they can play “that” character.  They meticulously familiarize themselves with the play and, if a musical, the score, and memorize the sides they’ll be reading which may have been sent only that morning.  Preparation is all.  How can you decide what to sing for your audition if you aren’t familiar with the musical style of the show you’re auditioning for?  Are you really going to sing a song from In the Heights if you’re auditioning for Carousel?  If you have no experience with or training in commedia dell’arte, then you’d best bone up on it before your audition for Servant of Two Masters.

The Celebration of Music & Words that is 'The Band's Visit'

Listening to a David Yazbek score will always take you someplace. Whether it's the blue-collar grit of Western NYThe Full Monty) or the elegant style of the French Riviera( Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), there is, arguably, no better composer at transporting an audience than Mr. Yazbek. With each song, he immerses the audience in the show's setting. You can feel the rhythms and beats of the cities, taste their flavors and see both their beauty and scars.

With The Band's Visit, Mr. Yazbek has taken those skills to a new level and I have a feeling that he will transition from one of the most underrated composers today to one of its most celebrated.

"Cooking the Books" - The Widespread Embezzlement of Local Theatres

Running a theatre company can present a number of challenges. Most importantly, no one can truly do it by themselves, they need help from others to not only handle what's going on stage but behind the scenes as well. This means bringing others into the fold, often placing an incredible amount of trust in certain people to handle major tasks within the theatre, including its finances. 

While the vast majority of individuals serve these roles honorably and honestly, there are some who take advantage of the access they have and their actions could result in dire circumstances for the theatre company. Especially when certain people are stealing funds directly from the theatre itself. 

Lying On Your Resume Never Works, So Why Are People Still Doing It?

Lying on your theatrical resume may have worked before the internet and social media, but it amazes me that today, people still do it. For such a small item, it's something that could get you cut from an audition more than your talent, because if you're dishonest about your experience, what else are you being dishonest about? How trustworthy are you if you were cast? Directors don't have time or patience to deal with these questions, so they'll cut you and move on. Even worse,  it's something that can ruin your reputation, which will never be repaired. 

Good-Bye Norma Jean

On August 7, I auditioned for “Decision Height”. On August 8, I was cast as Norma Jean (not Eddie the part I originally wanted but that’s for another post). I accepted because it was a wonderful role and provided me the chance to perform with friends. That “yes” led to a 3 month labor of love. It’s been a revealing process; revealing personally and to learn what goes into character development.

Fight! : My First Experience with Stage Combat

Fight choreography is a unique part of theater storytelling. It is done because we want to make a scene appear as real as possible without anyone getting injured. Fight choreography isn’t just involved when the actors are called to fight but also when weapons are involved. In the past three years, I have been involved with several shows where I got to see this happen. I was able to watch right from the start and see how the actors first learned the safety aspect of things and then how to make it look real.