STOP Telling Performers to “Just be Thankful for the Opportunity”

STOP Telling Performers to “Just be Thankful for the Opportunity”

This is something that I have wanted to get off my chest for years now, and since audition season is underway, I feel this is the perfect time to bring this up. There is the scapegoat comment that I have heard a lot of theatre professionals say to actors and actresses for years and years now: To be grateful or thankful for the opportunity every time an issue arises and a performer speaks up about it. I think that is such a stupid and outdated thing to say.

I want to tell everyone who has ever said that to PLEASE STOP! Because here is the thing you need to know: WE ARE GRATEFUL, and WE ARE PROBABLY THE MOST THANKFUL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD! This is a very tough business and a lot of the time our jobs are to audition and get ourselves out there. Once in a while we will do a show, so to have this thought given everything performers go through and to suggest that we aren’t “Thankful/ Grateful” is just ridiculous.

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A Love Letter to Community Theatre

A Love Letter to Community Theatre

Dear Community Theatre,

Before I had become acquainted with you, I was a young child. A young, introverted, homeschooled, shy-as-hell child. My mother had said before then we should get to know each other, but I didn’t budge. I didn’t want a spotlight. I didn’t want a line. I wanted to stay in my room and be left alone. I didn’t see what you had to offer, what my potential with you was, and I didn’t care.

Now, I can’t thank you enough.

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How Political Should Theatre Be?

How Political Should Theatre Be?

I recently went to see a broadcast of David Hare’s new play, ‘I’m Not Running.’ A political comedy that is excellently staged, one exchange stood out to me. “I’m not political” claims Pauline when she first meets Sandy as his doctor, “why not?” is Sandy’s response.

This question is important because we should all be political, whether we want to be actively involved or not we should all be focused on politics as it affects every part of our lives. If you are lucky enough not to be political, it shows how you feel so secure and protected in your existence and have never had to worry about how someone’s opinions will affect your daily life. How far into politics and political agendas should theatre delve? Should theatre stay away from specific political events such as Brexit, and controversial political figures such as Donald Trump?

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Simon Says: Playwriting Words of Wisdom

Simon Says:  Playwriting Words of Wisdom

I recently performed in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, playing the patriarch Jack Jerome.   The play is a semi-autobiographical look at the playwright’s formative years, and according to his wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, “If you’re looking for the heart and soul of Neil Simon, you’ll find everything you need to know in Brighton Beach Memoirs.   As an aspiring playwright myself, I wanted to get inside Mr. Simon’s head, and see what advice he could offer.  As it turns out, there’s a lot of wisdom in his memoirs,  Rewrites (1996) and The Play Goes On (1999).  Here are some selected pearls of wisdom that I gleaned from listening to what Simon says.

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Why we should embrace standing ovations

Why we should embrace standing ovations

As the cast re-entered the stage at the end of Hamilton, the whole crowd – including me – rose to their feet in eager applause. I had waited seven months to see the musical. It had surpassed my (very) high expectations and, in that moment, I was genuinely full of joy. I felt, as did the rest of the audience, that the performance deserved the appreciation of a standing ovation: a mark of thanks to the cast for their hard work and a recognition of the sheer talent they had displayed.

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How a High School Aims to Show Just How Relatable "Heathers: The Musical" Is

How a High School Aims to Show Just How Relatable "Heathers: The Musical" Is

What’s your damage? For many students it’s the crippling fear of social pressure to succeed and prove themselves at a young age. Through the struggles of weaving through relationships and college applications while simultaneously trying to find who they are in this world, being a teenager can be the most stressful and worrisome time of a person's life. Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe write a beautiful story of the raw reality that is the high school experience in Heathers the Musical: High School Edition.

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RENT Live Roundup : The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

RENT Live Roundup : The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

“Rent: Live,” which aired January 27th on Fox, is the third time Jonathan Larson’s landmark pop-opera has been filmed. There’s the 2005 film adaptation (which recently got the Movie Musical Shakedown treatment) and the closing Broadway cast, which was filmed in 2008. The live broadcast stayed true to the roots of “Rent,” while tweaking elements to make it feel fresh and contemporary. Some changes worked, some were expected (you apparently can’t say dildos on primetime TV) and some were downright baffling. To pick apart the good, bad and ugly moments of the broadcast, we enlisted two of our critics Noah Golden, Brittany Strelluf and Erin Karll.

While Noah and Brittany are not super-fans of the show going in, Erin said she’s been a “Renthead for over a decade.” They all agreed that the three “enjoyed this production very much.” As Brittany put it: “‘Rent’ is about finding the joy in a world full of bad, light in a world of darkness, and love in a time of hatred. We need that message now, as much as we needed it when it was written, as much as we will need it in the future.”

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Modern Day Romeos, Beware

Modern Day Romeos, Beware

How does a playwright come to write a book of sonnets? A better question might be: Why aren’t playwrights doing it all the time? Basically a 14-line long monologue, the sonnet flows naturally, if ironically, from the first person singular and has a clearly defined second character in the object of its affection. As readers, we can imagine the muse being addressed off-page much like the offstage Rosaline in Romeo & Juliet or all the men in The Women. Who was Shakespeare’s source of inspiration for his 154 sonnets? I’ve no idea. But I certainly know who mine was for Infinity Standing Up.

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An Open Letter to Theatre Parents

Dear Parents,

Your child just came to you and said they wanted to major in theatre in college. Now this might seem scary to you. I'm here to tell you that you that's it's ok! It's ok to be scared. However, you should take into consideration in how your child is feeling. Your child is taking a risk. And it is a wonderful risk filled with fun times, new experiences and so much stress. Your child is going to need you now more than ever! Their worst fear right now at the moment is telling YOU! The last thing they need to hear is your protests and attempts to persuade them into a new major.

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My Five Favorite Show Tunes I Use as Lullabies

My Five Favorite Show Tunes I Use as Lullabies

Since I last posted my life has turned upside down. In the best way- my daughter arrived 8 weeks ago. Now that I'm starting to understand this new normal I can finally write again. One of my previous articles discussed the songs and musical soundtracks I made baby girl listen to in utero. This first article back highlights my Broadway baby's lullabies! 

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