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Notes Music Theatre Audition Masterclass

September 20, 2012

Some time ago, I had the great opportunity to spend three hours at the feet of Stan Tucker, music director for various Broadway shows, adjunct faculty at NYU, and associate at The Really Useful Group (you know, that company that manages Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical properties). Tennessee Repertory Theatre, in Nashville, hosts a series of workshops for professional development each season. Their offerings are always interesting and solidly applicable to the life of a working actor.

Living in this Midwest/Southeast market, exposure to a person of Stan’s caliber, especially for such a reasonable price ($55), is unusual. It would normally involve me traveling to Chicago, New York, or LA to attend a similar workshop. Alternatively, if one were hooked in to an active university theatre program, opportunities like this might present more frequently. But then, one must usually be a student in the program to attend such a workshop.

The weather made the three-hour journey to Nashville a smoosh harrowing, but when I finally arrived, I walked into a lovely three hours at Nashville Public Television, soaking up priceless tips and tidbits from a person who is, right now, working in the industry in New York and around the world – literally, he just cast the Buenos Aires cast of Phantom…or was it Cats…regardless, the guy knows of what he speaks.

The theme for the night quickly emerged: find your authentic self, your authentic voice. It is too easy to mimic what you hear in others, to try to be something you are not. Each of the 14 or so of us assembled shared one version or other of, “I don’t know/understand my type” or “I am this type, but I kinda don’t wanna be ’cause there’s not a lot being written for this type.” At the end of the day, Stan kept reiterating, whatever you are, BE THAT, and by being true to your authentic self and your authentic voice, you will find more success. You will engage the folks behind the table, and then it becomes a matter of whether or not something’s been written in the show for your type. Quit trying to be a belter if you are a legit singer. If you can’t do rock, find the rock-iest thing you can do, but know your limits. Know your instrument – your voice.

How many times will I have to hear that before it sinks in? Probably, the answer will always be one more time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2012 10:35 am

    I dig this. I find that a lot of BFA and undergrad programs are mass producing “types” instead of helping young actors and singers find their authentic selves. I’ve sat in on many a musical theatre audition where after awhile everyone just blends in and it’s disappointing because many of those singers have incredible instruments but are trying to “be” a type which becomes so boring after awhile.


  1. Sunday Summary — September 23, 2012 « The Green Room

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