Saturday, January 14, 2017

Crossover Artists

Students MandaLeigh Blunt and David Mahoney and faculty Donna DiNovelli, Fred Carl, and Sarah Schlesinger at New York University’s graduate musical theatre writing program. (Photo by Josh Sanchez)

This feature come to us from Vicky - who spends much of her time working with young students and their vocal training. The article's main point (from American Theater) centers on new expectations for musical theater students in a conservatory setting.

Before I made the leap to the cabaret world, I was starting to feel a bit of dismay at the unreal assumptions put upon a working actor. A triple threat was no longer an ace. Directors now ALSO wanted you to play the tuba, juggle, do stand-up comedy and speak fluid Italian. Ridiculous! But what is sad, is that there always seemed to be that one person in the room who was able to deliver on all counts. I had a close friend stage managing the recent Sweeney Todd revival and he talked about how impossible it was to cast understudies for the show - it needed to be someone who could sing their own role and play a fiddle and also be able to step in for a totally different role playing the trombone - throughout the entire score. Add in the new Cirque element and we should all be doing trapeze work in addition to Fosse choreography. So I got out!

But the new element that many conservatory programs are offering up is a fourth track; creative writing. Everything from scene work, composition and full script collaboration. And this concept I like. If you aren't finding the right work out there in the real world - Create Your Own! I think this is where we, as cabaret artists tend to soar. We relish in the idea that we are going to tell our own unique stories with our own personal spin. From conversations with actors - many rely on hiding behind the skin of a role that someone else has created for them. Instead of being their authentic selves. And this is something we strive for in our world - trying to be singularly unique. Some of the programs noted are the Cincinnati Conservatory, Pace University, Baldwin University and the Eugene O'Neil Center. I think those students are getting far more bang for their buck.

Musical Theatre Students are becoming Quadruple-threats 

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