The Secret of Happiness at College Is...

The Secret of Happiness at College Is...

The secret of happiness is knowing that happiness is always and only temporary. After all, a well-written character is never happy the entire show. Characters who appear to be happy either have joyfulness (sometimes through ignorance) or hide away when they are no longer happy. Additionally, we only see about two hours of glimpses into their lives.

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Please Stop Telling Conservatory Students They "Didn’t Go to a Real College"

Please Stop Telling Conservatory Students They "Didn’t Go to a Real College"

As graduation season is upon us, I would like to take the time to say congratulations! Congrats to everyone who graduates or have already graduated this year! Especially those who pursued a career in the arts. That is no easy task! Coincidentally I too have graduated this year as well (Congrats to the 134th class of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts!), and above all, I would like to say one thing.

Please stop telling the conservatory students they didn’t go to college. I’m getting really sick and tired of being told I didn’t go to a real college, and I bet some people who are reading this are too. 

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“Once Before I Go: Creating Goodbye Rituals for the High School Drama Classroom”

“Once Before I Go: Creating Goodbye Rituals for the High School Drama Classroom”

You and your high school drama students have struck the Spring Musical. College acceptances are in for those headed that way.  Between AP’s and senior ditch day, those superstar seniors who never wanted to leave after rehearsal are around less and less. And when they are, they are half-asleep, giddy, or off in some place of their own devising, lame ducking their way through the last days of senior year, heads elsewhere, hearts struggling to comprehend that soon it’ll be time to enter the much anticipated “real world.”

Secretly, they all fear they’ll somehow disappear from the face of the earth once they throw that cap up in the air.

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Dear Freshman Theatre Majors

Dear Freshman Theatre Majors

Acting is thrilling and terrifying. Acting is rarely not daunting at least at one point in a process of a show (auditions tend to be). Actors have to be very vulnerable to complete strangers, or even worse to people they know. Your journey as a Theatre/Musical Theatre Major will be rewarding, taxing, disheartening, enchanting, and wonderful. Here are some points that I wish I knew or had taken to heart and embraced early on as my mentality.

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Theatre and Musical Theatre Students in a Department: What’s The Relationship?

Theatre and Musical Theatre Students in a Department: What’s The Relationship?

As a musical theatre student in a competitive performing arts program, I have witnessed the dynamics between the different majors. Particularly, I have seen how the theatre and musical theatre students navigate the program, and how it can often be different from each other. These students will often stick together by major, even to the point of joining different student theatre clubs where students could usually mingle and exchange experiences. Therefore, this makes the circles rather closed off to each other.

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I Show Up for the Ensemble

I Show Up for the Ensemble

Forget Dorothy, I show up for the Ozians.

A colleague of mine often ribs me about being so enamored with the ensemble. He thinks I place too much emphasis on the shadow characters, the living props, the background, the wallflowers. He is 100% correct.

Maybe it is because in my 25 years of theater so far I have spent a majority of my onstage time as one of the ensemble. Perhaps I have never grown past the little dark haired girl in Oklahoma! laughing with glee at a joke during the pie auction that no one ever heard.

But I think my true love for the ensemble has blossomed during my work as a high school theatre director. 

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Theatre in an Underfunded High School

Theatre in an Underfunded High School

Money may not be the solution to everything, but when it comes to the funding of the arts, it sure helps. As a student at Braintree High School, a public high school just south of Boston, where the arts are the least of the school's priorities. Of course, funding put towards academic classes and research materials should take first rank in the funding hierarchy, but when it comes to extracurriculars, the school quickly favors anything but the arts. It seems no matter how the sports programs may not excel, countless amounts of money are pumped into new facilities and trainers to try to bolster the appeal of a hometown hero who scores the touchdown in a 35-7 loss.

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Favoritism in Casting School Theatre

Favoritism in Casting School Theatre

We've all been there. You read a play and immediately start casting it in your mind. If you've been teaching in the same place for a while and you're lucky, you have a core group of devoted students who come back for each play, no matter what you decide to produce. They know you and how you prefer to work, and you know their capabilities. But does that influence your casting? Should it?

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Is Drama a "Real Degree"?

Is Drama a "Real Degree"?

I'll never forget the shifts at the bar, where men in their 50's who have been plumbers all their lives, tell me that my choices will lead me nowhere in life, and I'll fail no matter what I do. Thank you, Barry, I'm so glad I never asked for your opinion in the first place.

No, we may not have to sit in a silent hall for an hour and write exams, but drama students will be damned if anyone says they don't work hard. There are so many unseen hours that go into what makes a performance happen - more than just the cast "standing on a stage and saying some words".

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Some Group Strengthening Exercises for Drama Class

Some Group Strengthening Exercises for Drama Class

When attending drama classes, one of the main goals should be to achieve a strong connection in a dynamic group. One of the best ways to do this is by working with exercises that focus on awareness, eye contact, and attention. Not only have these exercises helped my theatre group to grow stronger, but also myself as an individual to grow more disciplined and adaptable to different kinds of groups

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Teaching Theatre: "Is Anybody Out There?!"

Teaching Theatre: "Is Anybody Out There?!"

Teaching theatre can be lonely.

Wait. What?! How can teaching be lonely? You’re literally surrounded by people all…day...long.

Yes. True. Surrounded by people. People in your classroom who hopefully love theatre and love you. Surrounded by your students. Hopefully surrounded by supportive teaching, admin, and school staff. Maybe supportive parents and guardians too.

But, teaching theatre is lonely.

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The Best Undergraduate Theatre Programs in Each State - 2019 Edition

The Best Undergraduate Theatre Programs in Each State - 2019 Edition

Every year, OnStage Blog deep dives into college theatre programs to find what we feel are some of the best in the nation. While the perfect programs is the one that fits best with the student, schools can become that fit with fantastic facilities, strong faculty, multiple performance opportunities, among other things. In truth, there are some schools that do that better than others and should be recognized for it.

At the end of the summer, we will be publishing our top 25 theatre program rankings. But as we start to close the books on this academic year, we felt it’s time to name some programs that did exceptional work this year. So here is our 2019 list of the best theatre programs in each state.

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Rumors and Outrage over a Middle School Cancelling a Production of 'Spelling Bee'

Rumors and Outrage over a Middle School Cancelling a Production of 'Spelling Bee'

There is news today coming out of Hyattsville, MD where the local middle school decided to cancel its upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee just weeks before it was set to open.

According to a letter sent from the school to parents, it provided no details into why the production was cancelled. It stated,

“Unfortunately we have decided to cancel the Spring Musical dates of May 2nd, 3rd and 4th,” the letter said, adding that a parent meeting would be held Tuesday to answer “any of your questions, comments or concerns.”

Without any details, rumors and speculation started to swirl among the students and parents. One rumor, which is making waves now, is that the show was cut because one character has gay parents.

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PA School Board Decides that Theatre Productions Must Now Be Approved by Superintendent Before Performance

PA School Board Decides that Theatre Productions Must Now Be Approved by Superintendent Before Performance

The dress rehearsals of shows at Waynesboro Senior High School looks like they’ll have quite the critic going forward, the schools’ superintendent. A recent school board decision made it possible for the Superintendent to approve or deny performances going forward based on whether he determines it appropriate.

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If Other Schools Copy HS 'Alien' Production, It's 20th Century Fox/Disney's Fault

If Other Schools Copy HS 'Alien' Production, It's 20th Century Fox/Disney's Fault

If Disney/20th Century Fox don’t make it clear that this sort of production is a violation of copyright, then many other schools are going to be copying what North Bergen High School did. I’ve already received emails from teachers who have told me that their students are begging them to do adaptations of movies such as Harry Potter, Frozen, Anastasia, X-Men and even Die Hard. The line of thinking in the eyes of the students is “if North Bergen’s production went viral, think all the attention we could get.” The teachers are having a tough time explaining to the students how much trouble they could get in. But if the studios don’t seem to care, I can understand why these students might not worry about that.

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Education and Entertainment - Enhance your Drama Degree by attending the Theatre

Education and Entertainment - Enhance your Drama Degree by attending the Theatre

There are many reasons why theatre has been around for thousands of years, and is still growing. Many people describe the theatre as something magical, and a truly extraordinary experience. Unfortunately nowadays, many drama courses don’t involve theatre trips, with students watching performances online instead. Many feel that this takes away the experience - there’s nothing quite like enjoying a heart-warming musical, or seeing a timeless classic at the theatre.

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We Need to talk about that H.S. Production of "Alien"...

We Need to talk about that H.S. Production of "Alien"...

In the past 24 hours, I've been asked by many people what my thoughts are on the story out of North Bergen, NJ that a high school drama club performed an adaptation of the movie, "Alien".

Let me make some things perfectly clear upfront:

1. The passion and creativity of the students should be commended.

2. I hope this production launches their interest in theatre for years to come.

At the same time, it's clear that a production like this is a clear example of a violation of copyright.

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