Posts in Broadway
AUDITION PEEVES #6 - It's not a trick question.
 
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Be sure to follow Save My Audition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! There are buttons at the top of this page to find those social media accounts.

This week’s Audition Advice post on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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Okay… This is an easy one.

When someone behind the table asks you a question, it’s a legit question.

Let’s say you’ve just finished your audition song and someone says to you…

“Sing something else.”

You are absolutely in the right to ask for some guidance, but if they respond by saying “Whatever you want.” It isn’t a trick response. Don’t try to dig further into their head and figure out what they want. Truth is, they probably don’t know what they want. They may not even be asking you to sing something for the show you are auditioning for but for another show they are working on.

Point is, you just don’t know what they want behind the table, and most of the time neither do they.

So take it as an opportunity to sing something that shows you off really well.

I swear, it’s not a trick question.


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AUDITION PEEVES #5 - Stop highlighting stuff! Please.
 
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Be sure to follow Save My Audition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! There are buttons at the top of this page to find those social media accounts.

This week’s Audition Advice post on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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I’m already falling behind on the Monday blog posts. I’m sorry, I’ll get back to it soon, it’s been super busy the past couple weeks.

But for this week’s Audition Peeves let’s talk about highlighting things in your music.

Let me just say…

STOP!

Just stop. Please for the love of all things highlighter, STOP!

It’s super distracting. We know, generally speaking for decent audition pianists, how to read music. You don’t need to point out the key changes, or the time signature changes, or the tempo changes, or anything else really. Whomever has told you to highlight things to point them out to your audition pianist is doing you a huge disservice. It makes me think that you don’t trust me to do my job.

But… If there is a section of your song that is continually problematic (have a pianist look it over to make sure it isn’t the music’s fault) you can absolutely point it out to us. But you don’t need to highlight it. Trust me, you don’t.

Does this seem to make the music easier to play?

 
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Hint. It doesn’t.

So…

STOP IT!

Thanks!


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AUDITION PEEVES #4 - You’re making me turn the page backwards?
 
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Be sure to follow Save My Audition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! There are buttons at the top of this page to find those social media accounts.

This week’s Audition Advice post on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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We’ll continue the regular Blog series this coming Monday. Easter/Taxes ate up my time the past couple weeks. But we’ll be back to talking about Contemporary Music Theatre shortly!

Now, onto the rant…

This is an easy one. 

Don’t make your pianist turn the page backwards. 

If your cut involves a first and second ending (or more) or following the “sign” back to the beginning of a song then jumping to a coda... Make copies of the pages you are repeating and set up your cut so that it can be clearly read from the beginning to the end with no backwards page turns. 

This problem is only exacerbated when after turning backwards you then make the pianist turn more than 1 page to get to the coda. 

Here’s the deal, we are processing A LOT of information behind the piano for each audition. You may point out exactly what your cut does logistically, but once we start playing we forget and then we are frantically turning pages and trying to remember where we are suppose to jump to to keep supporting you. 

Help us support you by supporting us. 

This is why I created this site, if you have cuts that jump around, shoot me a message and we can clean them up. Your audition pianist will love you. Plus, it makes it look like you care.


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AUDITION PEEVES #3 - Don't Make it Hard to Turn the Page
 
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Be sure to follow Save My Audition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! There are buttons at the top of this page to find those social media accounts.

This week’s Audition Advice post on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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This one is easy and something I guarantee you’ve never thought about.

As you get toward the end of your book it gets harder and harder for the pianist to turn the pages quickly and efficiently. Especially the last page. If you have your music in plastic sheet protectors, they can tend to stick to the binder making it super difficult to turn that last page. Also, as you get toward the end of your book the lip created by the rest of your music gets smaller and smaller.

If you want to sing the last song in your book, just move it forward a little bit, it’s super helpful.

Now if you are asked to sing something else from your book and you pick the last song you have, for whatever reason, you don’t need to take the time to move it, we’ll survive. But don't walk in the room and sing the last song. It’s a little thing but absolutely shows that you care and that you’ve thought about the job we have to do behind the piano!

See you next week!


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AUDITION PEEVES #2 - If You Sing a Song You Wrote
 
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Welcome to the new weekly (to the best of my ability) Audition Advice/peeves MiniBlog…

On Mondays I’ll post a bit of Audition Advice or an Audition Peeve on Instagram and Twitter, then on Wednesdays I’ll write a quick blog to further explain what my advice or peeve is about.

Be sure to follow Save My Audition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! There are buttons at the top of this page to find those social media accounts.

This week we jump a little into giving the wrong feel for your song. If there’s a better way to SABOTAGE your own audition… I don’t know what it is.

First off, this is what was posted on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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Let me first say that I LOVE when people walk into the room and sing a song that they wrote. Honestly, I love it. It’s not easy to put yourself out there in that way and I have respect for anyone that is willing to do it.

With that being said… Writing songs is hard. Writing good songs is even harder. Writing good songs that make sense and work in an audition room is even harder than that.

I’ve heard countless original songs in the room, including some incredibly creative stuff, but sometimes a song walks in that’s a clunker. I’m not trying to judge the work and time people put into writing a new song. But what I will say is, please, for your sake, when you sing a song that you wrote make sure it’s a song that is appropriate to the audition you are walking in to. It’s hard to hear new songs in the room. We can easily get distracted trying to figure out what the song is about and we stop paying attention to you as a performer. It’s a delicate balance.

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Continue to write new songs, continue to perform them, but know that the audition room isn’t always the best place for your songs.

Also, I fixed that horrifying punctuation error from my original Instagram and Twitter posts, though I’m leaving those original posts up. But a special thanks to my mother:


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SNEAKING INTO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE
 
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We’re back! Sorry for the massive collapse in responsibility with this blog, but we’re officially back and I will strive to publish a blog post once a week!

So where did we leave off? Stephen Sondheim… Let’s now move on to Contemporary Music Theatre.

Where do we start with Contemporary Music Theatre?

That is a FANTASTIC question. My answer: I have no earthly idea. At all. So let’s define it. This is my definition and it absolutely will differ from other people. At this moment I divide this category into four subsets, ask me tomorrow that may change…

SNEAKING INTO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE (1961–1969)
GOLDEN AGE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE (1970-1988)
MIDDLE AGE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE(1989-1994)
JRB AND NOT SO JRB (1995–Present)

Let’s break those down a little further and talk about what musicals are part of each subset. Again, this is my breakdown, there are easily 7 categories of CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE, perhaps we should do away with the category all together and reconsider what happened starting in 1960. But alas, there are still a lot of college programs out there that like their antiquated system of teaching music theatre. Don’t worry, I’m going to get into my thoughts on the state of music theatre in the university system at a later date. As you can probably guess…

I have some opinions.

This blog post will deal with SNEAKING INTO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THEATRE (1961-1969). I’ll also be listing show years based on the Tony Schedule. i.e. A Chorus Line opened in 1975 but won the Tony in 1976.


SNEAKING INTO Contemporary MUSIC Theatre (1961-1969)

This is a category that starts on April 14, 1960 with the opening of Bye, Bye Birdie and ends on April 29, 1968 with the opening of Hair.

The sound and music styles spanning these years are VAST. I’m not going to break down every year but I’ll give what I think was the most important/most influential/best musical each year. Those 3 things are not always one and the same, but I’ll break down each year as best I can. Remember, opinion, mine, not others.

Also, this list will NOT include any musicals written by Stephen Sondheim, we’ve already covered him. Feel free to check out that post here.


Conrad Birdie - HONESTLY SINCERE

1961

BYE, BYE BIRDIE

Book by: Michael Stewart
Music by: Charles Strouse
Lyrics by: Lee Adams
Original Broadway run: April 14, 1960 - October 7, 1961 (607 performances)

I wouldn’t consider BYE, BYE BIRDIE in any way to be a “rock” musical, but it definitely is one of the first examples of rock starting to seep into the vernacular. Bye, Bye Birdie would pave the way for shows such as HAIR. The first instance of Rock on Broadway was the last edition of the ZIEGFELD FOLLIES in 1957. It contained one rock song “I Don’t Wanna Rock”.

Great songs:
How Lovely to be a Woman
One Last Kiss
What Did I Ever See in Him?
A Lot of Livin’ to Do
Spanish Rose

Honorable mention:
CAMELOT


1962

How to succeed in business without really trying

Book by: Abe Burrows,  Jack Weinstock and  Willie Gilbert
Music and Lyrics by: Frank Loesser
Original Broadway run: October 14, 1961 - March 6, 1965 (1417 performances)

It’s a hell of a musical. If you don’t know it, learn it. There is a heart warming story about Bob Fosse and Choreographer Hugh Lambert, look it up, it’s great. The quick summary is that Hugh Lambert wasn’t up to the challenge of choreographing a musical and Bob Fosse was brought on and handled it with grace.

Great songs:
ALL OF THEM!
Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm
I Believe in You

Honorable mention:
NO STRINGS

NO STRINGS was the only Broadway show in which Richard Rodgers wrote both the Music and the Lyrics. It was also his first Broadway show after the death of long time collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II.

CARNIVAL

CARNIVAL originally had an exclamation point; it was eventually dropped during the show’s run, as the director felt it gave the wrong impression, saying, “It’s not a blockbuster. It’s a gentle show.” Though one would have to look past the domestic abuse for that to be true.


1963

OLIVER!

Book, Lyrics and Music by: Lionel Bart
Original Broadway run: January 6, 1963 - November 14, 1964 (745 performances)

This was the first musical I ever saw when I was in middle school. We took a class trip somewhere and saw some production of it. I was not impressed. Though I do thoroughly enjoy some of the songs in the show. The original West End production ran for 2,618 performances. I list at for 1963 simply because of the number of productions that have happened of this show and the countless kids it has introduced to theatre. That’s important.

Great songs:
Where is Love?
As Long as He Needs Me


1964

SHE LOVES ME

Book by: Joe Masteroff
Music by: Jerry Bock
Lyrics by: Sheldon Harnick
Original Broadway run: April 23, 1963 - January 11, 1964 (301 performances)

Is there a more perfectly written musical? Probably not. It’s a perfect little gem. Surprisingly it only ran for about 8 months during its original run. It was adapted from the 1937 play PARFUMERIE by Hungarian playwright Miklós László. Other adaptations include the 1940 film THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, the 1949 MGM Musical IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (staring Judy Garland and Van Johnson) and the 1998 film YOU’VE GOT MAIL.

Great songs:
Tonight at Eight
Will He Like Me?
I Resolve (one of my favorite songs of all time)
Dear Friend
Try Me
Vanilla Ice Cream
She Loves Me
A Trip to the Library

HONORABLE MENTION:
Hello, Dolly!

The role of Dolly Levi was originally written for Ethel Merman but she turned it down, as did Mary Matrin. They would both play the role down the line. Eventually Carol Channing was hired. Also, Hal Prince, Jerome Robbins and Joe Layton all turned down offers to be the Director.

110 in the Shade (Revival) THE RAIN SONG

110 in the Shade

If for some reason you do not know this show, learn it. It’s remarkably good. The Rain Song is one of the best ensemble numbers ever written.

Fun Fact:

This would be the last year there was a Tony Award for Best Conductor and Musical Director. Sad. RIP 1948-1964. You have been missed.


1965

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Book by: Joseph Stein
Music by: Jerry Bock
Lyrics by: Sheldon Harnick
Original Broadway run: September 22, 1964 - July 2, 1972 (3242 performances)

It’s Fiddler, it’s a great show. Bea Arthur was the original Yente the Matchmaker, which is a fact that I did not know until I did some research. It was also the first Broadway show in history to surpass 3,000 performances.

DO I HEAR A WALTZ? The version that Stephen Sondheim wrote Music and Lyrics for.

Great songs:
If I Were a Rich Man
Miracle of Miracles
Now I Have Everything
Far From the Home I Love

Honorable mention:
FLORA THE RED MENACE

This was the first Broadway production written by John Kander and Fred Ebb as a songwriting team.

DO I HEAR A WALTZ?

Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim writing a musical together… What could go wrong? Apparently, a lot.

GOLDEN BOY

Just some GLORIOUS music.


1966

MAN OF La Mancha

Book by: Dale Wasserman
Music by: Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by: Joe Darion
Original Broadway run: November 22, 1965 - June 26, 1971 (2328 performances)

Originally written as a non-musical teleplay by Dave Wasserman for CBS’s DuPont Show of the Month. It was then unsuccessfully optional as a non-musical Broadway play. Eventually it was turned into a musical with a unique orchestra for the time. There were no violins or strings in the orchestra other than a Double Bass. It did however utilize Flamenco guitars which is pretty badass. W.H. Auden was the original lyricist, but his lyrics apparently were too satiric and biting.

Great songs:
I, Don Quixote
It’s All the Same
I’m Only Thinking of Him
I Really Like Him
What Does He Want of Me?
The Impossible Dream
Aldonza

HONORABLE MENTION:
SWEET CHARITY

Have you seen The Deuce on HBO? It’s like that, except not at all.


Alan Cumming - I DON’T CARE MUCH

1967

CABARET

Book by: Joe Masteroff
Music by: John Kander
Lyrics by: Fred Ebb
Original Broadway run: November 20, 1966 - September 6, 1969 (1165 performances)

After seeing one of the last rehearsals before the Boston pre-Broadway run, Jerome Robbins suggested the musical sequences outside the cabaret be eliminated. Director Hal Prince ignored his advice. But it intrigues me as a choice. I’d love to see that version of the show.

Great songs:
Mein Herr
Maybe This Time
I Don’t Care Much
Cabaret

HONORABLE MENTION:
THE APPLE TREE

3 musicals in 1! Win, win, win!


1968

HALLELUJAH, BABY!

Book by: Arthur Laurents
Music by: Jule Styne
Lyrics by: Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Original Broadway run: April 26, 1967 - January 13, 1968 (293 performances)

HALLELUJAH, BABY! is a show that chronicles the African American struggle for equality during the first half of the 20th century. Several important things to mention here, and I speak as a white male. This seems like an inappropriate story for an entirely white creative team to tell. At least Buster Davis was holding down the music fort, and hold it down he does, the musical arrangements for this show are stellar, well done sir.

Great songs:
Hallelujah, Baby!
Watch My Dust
I Wanted to Change Him
Being Good
Not Mine

Fun Fact:

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT was presented as a 15 minute pop cantata for the first time… Where it should have stayed.


1969

HAIR

Book and Lyrics by: Jerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by: Galt MacDermot
Original Broadway run: April 29, 1968 - July 1, 1972 (1750 performances)

HAIR. Oh, HAIR. I would consider Hair to be the first real Rock Musical. Some of the songs topped the charts. There is too much to know about HAIR to even know where to start. So do some research and learn to love it like I do. It’s a hell of a show with a hell of a backstory.

LIFE IS from Zorba.

The 1969 Tony Awards presented by Virginia Slim. Different world back then.

Great songs:
Donna
I Believe in Love
I Got Life
Going Down
Easy to be Hard
Frank Mills
Where Do I Go?
Black Boys
White Boys
Good Morning Starshine.

HONORABLE MENTION:
1776

I’m not particularly a fan of this musical, but there is a sexy number about a violin.

ZORBA

The best opening number ever to grace the Broadway stage. That is a correct opinion, I will fight you to the death.


More to come next Monday!


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AUDITION PEEVES #1 - Don't Give Your Tempo in 3...
 
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Welcome to the new weekly (to the best of my ability) Audition Advice/peeves MiniBlog…

On Mondays I’ll post a bit of Audition Advice or an Audition Peeve on Instagram and Twitter, then on Wednesdays I’ll write a quick blog to further explain what my advice or peeve is about.

This week we jump a little into giving the wrong feel for your song. If there’s a better way to SABOTAGE your own audition… I don’t know what it is.

First off, this is what was posted on Instagram and Twitter:

 
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I can’t remember what the song was that was being explained to me, all I can remember is that the person giving me the tempo/feel gave me the completely wrong feel. The song was clearly in 3/4 and whatever was happening next to my ear was definitely in 4/4. A little bewildered, and at the end of a long day, I just let it happen and didn’t ask for clarification. I take full responsibility for not clarifying what the feel should have been. But still, don’t do that!

I do remember one audition I played years ago, shortly after Beautiful opened, I was playing a required ECC and someone walked into the room and wanted to sing NATURAL WOMAN. “Great,” I thought, “I know this song, no sweat.” She then proceeded to count the song in 4, somehow, I can’t even explain how she did it. She didn’t add a beat to each measure, she also didn’t feel the song in 6/8 with only 2 beats a measure, but what she did do was somehow cram the 3/4 feel into a 4/4 feel and it was confusing. But being a song that we all know and I’ve played about a million times I didn’t think twice and just moved on to play. Needless to say I somehow had her feel stuck in my head and for the life of me I couldn’t fix what I was playing. I was playing the song in this weird 4/4 time that was just flat wrong. She had a terrible audition, I looked like a horrible pianist, and the walls came tumbling down.

Moral of the story, know the feel of your song cold.

As part of your coachings, make sure that you know how to communicate the feel, style and tempo of your song to your pianist. You’ll walk into the room more confident and it will show.


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It's Been a While... I'm Sorry
 
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Hey everyone!

Sorry for being AWOL for a long time. But I'm back, kind of. I just wanted to put up a blog post to let you all know what’s been going on and also to let you know that I’ll be getting back into my audition book series shortly.

It’s been a crazy month. Lots of other work related things going on, as well as buying an apartment. Being an adult is hard and a full-time job. On top of that I've been playing A LOT of audition and rehearsals and shows, it's been really busy, busy is good, but not good for other work, like this website. Also about to finish up a gig for Norwegian Cruise Lines that has me in and out of the country in early May. Once May gets here I can breath easy! Come on May!

But here are some updates on Save My Audition!

CLASSES

  1. CLASS SIZE - Classes will continue to have a maximum of 12 working students. This number will NEVER change, unless the length of class changes. But taking a class with more than 12 students working in a 3 hour session is ridiculous, in my opinion. I would also like to offer occasional “Small Size” classes that would consist of only 6-8 students in a 3 hour session. Giving each student a longer time to work with the instructor and really get to dig into your audition cuts. These classes would cost $99-$129 depending on the teacher and size of class. I'll test the waters with that and see if there is a desire for it from anyone.

  2. PRICES - Last month I lowered our base price for class to $79. But now I will be lowering it again to a base price of $69 per class. There will be some fluctuation in the prices based on overall cost of class and other factors. But I’m hoping to offer most of our classes and series of classes for only $69/class. I think that is incredibly reasonable. It also allows me to handle all of my expenses and still make a little bit of money so the wife doesn't divorce me.

  3. WHO’S MY MUSIC DIRECTOR V2 - I’m currently setting up our 2nd Music Director series. Currently it consists of Alvin Hough from ONCE ON THIS ISLAND and Julie McBride from SPONGEBOB. Possibilities include a music member from MEAN GIRLS. Working on it. This round will consist of 3 or 4 Music Directors and cost $209 or $279 respectively which represents a slight price reduction for our 1st series.

  4. WHAT’S MY SHOW - We had some hiccups with our inaugural series with Stephen Sposito from WICKED. But we are re-attacking this as both Stephen and my schedules have changed recently. We are now looking to finally hold the series in early May. We will be adding Dominick Amendum who was the long time (8 years!) Music Director of the Broadway production to the series. It will consist of 3 classes. The first class with both Dominick and Stephen to do your initial WICKED audition and get some feedback from them and have them select callback material for you as well as a discussion about the show and the casting process. Then class 2 will be with Dominick to work on your callback music. The final class will be with Stephen to work on the whole callback package. Also working on a HAMILTON version of this class (being finalized). These series will cost approximately $209. Which is an incredible price when looking at similar offerings from other places.

  5. FREE CLASSES - While I will still try to offer some free classes for you to enjoy and learn from, these classes will probably turn into $10 classes. Simply to help cover the expense of classes. Free classes may be free to you, but they are expensive for me. So if I can get a little bit of financial help in covering the basics of class we can have more of them! I will absolutely still aim to offer absolutely free classes whenever possible. But I can’t lose money. It’s just me, ha, I don’t have a business structure that can absorb those costs. Several classes being planned will only be available to those of you that have taken a paid class previous. I’m talking to some fun people, let’s see what I can make happen.

  6. $10 COACHINGS - I may do a night of these in April, definitely May. The $10 is simply to cover the cost of the studio rental. But I’ll offer 30 minute coachings for $10. These are designed for you to bring in audition material that you are questionable on and see what we can do to make it work better. Come up with a new arrangement, fix the cut, blah blah blah. If you then want to turn the work we did in the coaching into new sheet music that will be provided to you at a discounted rate.

  7. SUMMER - There will not be any classes over the summer (June-August). At least there are no plans for classes, if something comes up I will absolutely organize a class. But it’s not in the plan right now.

WEBSITE

  1. INSTANT DOWNLOAD REHEARSAL TRACKS - I’ve been talking about this one for a while, but I’m about to finalize an agreement with The Henry Fox Agency to start offering instant download rehearsal tracks. These tracks will be priced at $3.99/track or $5.99 for both the accompaniment and the accompaniment/melody track. (Prices may change) Also in talks with Sheri Sanders to provide rehearsal tracks for all of her wonderful cuts that she has been doing through MusicNotes.com, so keep your eyes open for this new addition to the website!

  2. SECTION REDESIGN - Hopefully soon I’ll be doing a redesign of the Audition Prep Services page to make it more stream-lined and easier to navigate. Thank you to everyone who has helped and given some feedback on how it is all set up.

  3. RESOURCES - This has been a slow work in progress, but I have plans to further expand this section of the site. It’s been hard to find time to make this happen. But it’s in the works.

  4. THEATRE SEASON LIST - My friend Adolpho Blair does the community a huge service by compiling an extensive list of theaters across the country and their season lineups. DOWNLOAD HERE. I failed you all and didn’t post it sooner, but feel free to download and take a look at what everyone is doing this year. It’s a great resource.

  5. BROADWAY TIMELINE - Still working on creating an interactive timeline of Broadway shows that should be a fun resource to look through.

BLOG

  1. I’m truly sorry that I haven’t updated the blog in over a month. It’s been crazy. Plus I’m in the middle of buying an apartment, any of you that has purchased an apartment in NYC know that it can become a full time job. But we are closing (hopefully) mid-April. So I can definitely get back into a more normal routine then. But I hope to continue my audition book series this weekend.

  2. Working on lining up some interviews with industry professionals that I’ll be transcribing and posting both as a blog post and in the resource section of the website.

MISC.

  1. INSTAGRAM - Save My Audition is now officially on Instagram! Check us out! I’ll be using Instagram as another platform to make announcements and all that fun stuff. Plus post pictures from auditions on the good AND the bad. Check it out for some fun pictures. Follow SaveMyAudition

  2. SPREAD THE WORD - Help Save My Audition spread the word that we are here and we are helping! Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell everyone! The more people I can get on the site the more I can offer! Talk about us on Facebook. Talk about us on Twitter. Talk about us in the bathroom!

That’s it for now.

More to come in soon. Thanks for hanging on to my crazy life. I’m determined to keep this a mostly one person operation to help keep overall prices as low as possible.

Until next time... Get your sh*t together. Stop blowing it!

-Aaron


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A God Amongst Men
 
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I use the phrase “A God Amongst Men” for 2 musical theatre writers. The first being Frank Loesser. I don’t use that phrase for writers like George Gershwin or Cole Porter or Harold Arlen (actually I think I have called Harold Arlen "A God Amongst Men" as well), but Frank Loesser, I do. Just think about it, the man could write a song, sometimes for other people and let them take the credit, I'm looking at you Meredith Wilson. That’s taking nothing away from Gershwin, or Porter, or Arlen, or anyone else that writes, but Frank was a league above. We're going to add Frank Loesser to the list of topics that I need to write a blog post about. We'll get to that list one day, it keeps getting longer and longer. This is exciting, every time I write a new blog post I realize how much of a nerd I am. Don't worry I also play board games. 

The second, quite obviously:

Stephen Sondheim

By Meryle Secrest

Where do you start when talking about the man that IS American Musical Theatre? That’s easy for me to decide... I won't talk about the man too much, but you should read Stephen Sondheim: A Life by Meryle Secrest.

Seriously, buy the book. Read it, it's amazing. Then read the one about Leonard Bernstein, also by Meryle Secrest. You won't be disappointed.

I’ll let you do your research on Sondheim... if, for some reason you haven’t already. Let me be honest for a moment. Just a moment though, if this blog is proving anything, it's proving that I am seldom honest... I usually beat around the bush. If you don’t know every inch of Stephen Sondheim’s life, I am judging you. If music theatre is something you really want to do with your life, become an expert in it. You should be able to recite Sondheim’s biography from heart. The people he’s worked with (Richard Rodgers and Leonard Bernstein), the shows he’s written (he wrote a straight play that was on Broadway for a hot second), the number of cigarettes he smoked a day (too many), who his neighbor was in NYC (Katherine Hepburn), etc., etc., etc. If you can’t spout off Sondheim trivia the same way you can spout off contestants on The Bachelor, do better at your career. You’re hard pressed to meet a doctor that doesn’t want to know everything about their career choice. You should be the same way. That’s a whole different blog post that also involves me yelling at you if you can’t read music and don’t want to learn. I’ll get there later, but if you can't read music, go to TheoryWorks right now and get on it. Immediately.

Okay, back to Sondheim, let’s chat through his shows, alphabetically...


list of Sondheim Shows and Revues:

Anyone Can Whistle

Donna Murphy doing her thing.

Book by: Arthur Laurents
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: April 4, 1964 - April 11, 1964 (12 previews - 9 performances)

This is a crazy pants musical - thoroughly crazy pants - but it was also Angela Lansbury’s first stage appearance. And despite what playbill.com posted the other day, she is still alive and amazing.

Briefly - There’s a corrupt mayoress and crazy shit happens, there’s a spring that pops up out of a rock that people think is a miracle, and crazy shit happens. All spanning over 3 Acts. Yes 3! All including crazy shit... that happens.

Great songs:
There Won’t Be Trumpets
Simple
Anyone Can Whistle
Everybody Says Don’t
See What It Gets You (ladies, look at this song)
With So Little to Be Sure Of

 


Assassins

Book by John Weidman
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original run (off-Broadway): December 18, 1990 - February 16, 1991 (73 performances)
Broadway run: April 22, 2004 - July 18, 2004 (26 previews - 101 performances)

This is one of my favorite musicals, hands down. It’s so good. Take a bunch of people that did or tried to do terrible things and throw them all together and have them convince another terrible person to do a terrible thing. Right up my alley. Frank Rich had a great line in his original off-Broadway review…

Assassins will have to fire with sharper aim and fewer blanks if it is to shoot to kill.
— Frank Rich

Candide

Book by: Lillian Hellman
Music by: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by: John La Touche, Dorothy Parker and Richard Wilbur
Additional Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein
Original Broadway run: December 1, 1956 - February 2, 1957 (73 performances)
Revival (with additional lyrics by Sondheim): March 10, 1974 - January 4, 1976 (740 performances)

It’s Voltaire - I’m not going to get into it. Look it up. There’s a girl, there’s a guy... Candide means innocence.

 


Company

Watch Sondheim's pure approval during the patter sections, it's amazing.

Book by: George Furth
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: April 26, 1970 - Jan 1, 1972 (7 previews - 705 performances)

There’s a guy, his name is Bobby, he’s working through some stuff… Not necessarily successfully. Look up the story of "Another Hundred People" and Pamela Myers, it's a real life Peggy Sawyer tale. COMPANY is also the first time Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince worked together as writer and director.

Great songs:
Sorry-Grateful
You Could Drive a Person Crazy
Another Hundred People
Getting Married Today
Marry Me a Little (is not a great song, stop singing it)
The Ladies Who Lunch
Being Alive

 


Do I Hear a Waltz?

Do I Hear a Waltz? Music & Lyrics by Sondheim (not from Do I Hear a Waltz?)

Book by: Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Music by: Richard Rodgers
Original Broadway run: March 18, 1965 - September 24, 1965 (1 preview - 220 performances)

Oscar Hammerstein was originally intended to write lyrics, but he died. So Arthur Laurents (who wrote the source play) and Mary Rodgers (Richard’s daughter - Stephen's dear friend) approached Sondheim to write lyrics. Neither Rodgers or Sondheim thought the play would make a good musical. But Sondheim felt obligated to write it since Arthur Laurents had recommended him to write lyrics for West Side Story.

I actually don’t know this show well, shame on me. I’m going to do some research after I post this blog. From what what I know, it’s not that great.

Great songs:
Someone Like You
Take the Moment
Do I Heart a Waltz? (also check out the version of this song that Sondheim wrote lyrics and music for, he ended up using a lot of those lyrics for the Rodgers version, but musically this version is superior, my opinion)
Stay

 


Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose with subtitles in Spanish (bonus).

Book by: James Goldman
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Air Date: November 16, 1966 (ABC)

This is a bonkers TV special that starred Anthony Perkins, Charmian Carr, Larry Gates, and Dorothy Stickney. It involves a group of people that live inside a department store and pretend to be mannequins during business hours, or something, it's crazy. There's a group known as the "Dark Men" and the lead girl got separated from her mom when she was 6 and fell asleep in the Women's Hats department. Crazy. But worth a watch, it's pretty fascinating.

Great songs:
If You Can Find Me, I’m Here (this is one of my all-time favorite songs)
I Remember
When
Take Me to the World

 


FOLLIES

Follies Overture

Original title THE GIRLS UPSTAIRS
Book by: James Goldman
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: April 4, 1971 - July 1, 1972 (12 previews - 522 performances)

Old Follies girls collide with their younger counterparts in a run down theatre before it’s demolition. One of the best scores ever written. Period. End of story.

Great songs:
Beautiful Girl
Don’t Look at Me
Waiting for the Girls Upstairs
Rain on the Roof
Ah, Paris!
Broadway Baby
The Road you Didn’t Take
Bolero d’Amour
In Buddy’s Eyes
......
***Okay, the whole score, the whole damn score is great songs***

 


The Frogs

Book by: Burt Shevelove
Book Revised (2004) by: Nathan Lane
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Production: Yale Repertory Theatre in the Yale swimming pool May 20, 1975 (8 performances) cast included: Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver and Christopher Durang
Original Broadway run:  July 22, 2004 - October 10, 2004 (34 previews - 92 performances)

The tag line says it best - The time is the present. The place is Ancient Greece. The opening of THE FROGS, "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" was originally drafted as an opening number for A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

Great songs:
Invocation and Instructions to the Audience
I Love to Travel
Hades

 


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Remember when things like this happened in the White House...

Book by: Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: May 8, 1962 - August 29, 1964 (8 previews - 964 performances)

Sondheim's first Broadway musical where he wrote Music and Lyrics. This whole show is a farce, and a damn funny farce. Opening numbers cut out of town included: "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" and "Love is in the Air". Jerome Robbins was called in to act as a "play doctor" and he suggested a song like "Comedy Tonight" to open the show, the rest is history.

Great songs:
Comedy Tonight
Love, I Hear
Free
Lovely
Everybody Ought to Have a Maid
I'm Calm
That Dirty Old Man
That'll Show Him

 


Getting Away with Murder

Written by: George Furth and Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: March 17, 1996 - March 31, 1996 (29 previews - 17 performances)

It's true, Sondheim wrote a straight play that was on Broadway. Sondheim, a fan of puzzles and board games, wrote, appropriately, a murder mystery. I've never read it, but it's on my list.

 


Gypsy

Gypsy is based on the life of this gal... This is a very clean version of her famous routine.

Book by: Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Music by: Jule Styne
Original Broadway run: May 21, 1959 - March 25, 1961 (2 previews - 702 performances)

If you don't know the plot of GYPSY... You are dead to me. It's Gypsy Rose Lee! Fun fact, John Kander, of Kander and Ebb, was the rehearsal pianist and dance arranger for the original production of GYPSY. It's a great show with some incredible moments. If you don't know it, learn it.

Great song:
Some People
Small World
Little Lamb
If Momma Was Married
All I Need is the Girl
Everything's Coming Up Roses
You Gotta Have a Gimmick
Let Me Entertain You
Rose's Turn

 


Into the Woods

Opening of INTO THE WOODS

Book by: James Lapine
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: November 5, 1987 - September 3, 1989 (43 previews - 765 performances)

Into the Woods ties together several fairy tales including:
Little Red Riding Hood
Jack and the Beanstalk
Rapunzel
Cinderella

They are tied together with a quasi invented fairy tale based loosely on the origin story of Rapunzel involving a witch and a baker that wants to start a family. Also... people die.

Great songs:
THE ENTIRE OPENING! Holy shit!
I Know Things Now
A Very Nice Prince
Giants in the Sky
Agony
It Takes Two
On the Steps of the Palace
Moments in the Woods
Last Midnight
No More
No One is Alone

 


A Little Night Music

I really like this girl for some reason.

Book by: Hugh Wheeler
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: February 25, 1973 - August 3, 1974 (12 previews - 601 performances)

He sleeps with her, she sleeps with him. She won't sleep with him. He doesn't sleep with anyone. It's a merry romp in the woods on a weekend. Also there is a bitchin' cello solo.

Great songs:
Now
Later
Soon
Every Day a Little Death
Weekend in the Country
Send in the Clowns
The Miller's Son

 


Marry Me a Little

This is a revue, I don't really count it as a Sondheim show.

 


Merrily We Roll Along

So good.

Book by: George Furth
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: November 16, 1981 - November 28, 1981 (44 previews - 16 performances)

I was 3 months old when this show opened. I was still 3 months old when this show closed. I truly appreciate this show and the cult following it has garnered. The whole show takes place in reverse chronological order. You get to slowly see broken people get younger and more hopefully as the show passes backwards through time, it's heart breaking and hard to follow as an audience member. Sometimes you put together some of the smartest people to write a show, and sometimes it just doesn't work. This would also mark the end of the Stephen Sondheim-Harold Prince collaborations until BOUNCE in 2003.

Great songs:
Like It Was
Old Friends
Not a Day Goes By
Now You Know
Good Thing Going
Opening Doors
Our Time

 


Pacific Overtures

Book by: John Weidman
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: January 11, 1976 - June 27, 1976 (13 previews - 193 performances)

Story of the west opening up trade with the east, as told from the perspective of the east. How could this not be a smash hit! It's a great show, one of my favorites, the main musical scale Sondheim used for this show is actually a Spanish scale which closely resembles many eastern scales but also includes a leading tone. Don't know what a leading tone is? Learn.

Great songs:
Chrysanthemum Tea
Someone in a Tree
Please Hello
A Bowler Hat
Next

 


Passion

Book by: James Lapine
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: May 9, 1994 - January 7, 1995 (52 previews - 280 performances)

PASSION is one of only a few projects that Sondheim conceived of himself, the others being SWEENEY TODD and ROAD SHOW. The show takes place in Italy and deals with a young solider and the changes in him brought about by the obsessive love of Fosca, his Colonel's homely, ailing cousin (I stole that line from Wikipedia because it made me chuckle.) The show is okay, not good, not bad, just okay. Though I did see the Sondheim Celebration production at the Kennedy Center when I was in college starring Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn and Rebecca Luker... Judy Kuhn, playing Fosca, was so good it was like there was no one else on stage but a bunch of amateurs. It was astounding. But the show is still... eh...

Great songs:
Happiness
I Read
I Wish I Could Forget You
Loving You
Just Another Love Story

 


Putting It Together

Another revue. Doesn't count.

 


Road Show

Other titles: BOUNCE, WISE GUYS, GOLD!
Book by: John Weidman
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original off-Broadway run: November 18, 2008 - December 28, 2008

ROAD SHOW tells the story of Addison and Wilson Mizner. They do some crazy things that are sometimes fun and sometimes confusing. I would venture to say that the score is the first Sondheim score that sounds like another one of his scores, that score being INTO THE WOODS. I saw the Washington, D.C. production in 2003 and enjoyed myself, but didn't write home about it, it was called BOUNCE back then.

Great songs:
The Best Thing That Ever Happened
Talent
**There may be more great songs, but that's all I really remember being great**

 


Saturday Night

Book by: Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original off-Broadway run: February 17, 2000 - March 26, 2000 (45 performances)

SATURDAY NIGHT was original slated to open in the 1954-1955 Broadway season. Auditions were held and announcements were made in the Paper of Record. Then a producer died and it all went downhill. Jule Styne almost helped bring it to Broadway in 1960, but alas. The show involves some middle-class bachelor friends on some Saturday nights, one meets a girl who is crashing a party. There is a "get rich quick" scheme... An escape from jail... And other antics.

Great songs:
Class
Isn't It?
So Many People
I Remember That

 


Side By Side By Sondheim
Sondheim on Sondheim

More revues, you know my feelings.

 


Sunday in the Park with George

If this doesn't give you all the feels... You are dead inside.

Book by: James Lapine
Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: May 2, 1984 - October 13, 1985 (35 previews - 604 performances)

What can one say about this show. It's so good... Then Act II starts. Seriously, what is the top of Act 2? It's so weird. But outside of that, it's just a superb show. Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters are brilliant. Sondheim's score is brilliant, sans the top of Act II. Fun story, Mandy Patinkin first preformed the song "Finishing the Hat" after just learning it before a preview and while holding the music in his hands. So you can feel free to hold your callback sides in an audition. Back to the show, it's a musical based on a painting. Okay, not really, but the painting plays a huge character in the show. Though I will say, naming the romantic interest Dot, is a little on the nose.

Great songs:
Color and Light
Everybody Loves Louis
Finishing the Hat
We Do Not Belong Together
Sunday
Chromolume #7 (Kidding, this is what happens at the top of Act II. WHAT IS THIS!!!?)
Children and Art
Move On

 


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Book by: Hugh Wheeler
Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Original Broadway run: March 1, 1979 - June 29, 1980 (19 previews - 557 performances)

The perfect opening to the perfect show.

This is a perfect show. End of summary. I wrote my graduate paper on the compositional techniques used in SWEENEY TODD. Nerd. Have a mentioned that I also really enjoy German invented board games?

Great songs:
Prologue: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
No Place Like London
The Barber and His Wife (this song contains a spoiler alert)
Worst Pies in London
Poor Thing
**Okay, seriously, the whole score, there isn't a note out of place.**

 


West side story

Book by: Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Music by: Leonard Bernstein
Original Broadway run: September 26, 1957 - June 27, 1959 (732 performances)

Two rival gangs engage in the ultimate dance off. Also people die. There is also jazz music and a couple admittedly terrible lyrics. I joke, but seriously, it's WEST SIDE STORY. It's a classic and a national treasure. Sondheim to this day only makes half of the royalties he should on productions.

Great songs:
I won't ever start, much like SWEENEY TODD, the whole score is perfect, except for "Gee, Officer Krupke".


There you have it. Stephen Sondheim. May we all be blessed to have heard his passion in our lives.

More to come next week! This one was fun.

Make sure you check out February and March classes.

Until next time... Get your sh*t together. Stop blowing it!


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Post Golden Age
 
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Holy shit! I'm back! Huge apologies for it taking so long for me to get back into the audition book posts. But here we go, picking up where I left off...

Post Golden Age

But first... A little disclaimer. As you read through this blog series you'll start thinking...

Why do I need so many songs in my book! Aaron, seriously, you are asking me to find so many songs! That’s too many songs! I mean, I’ll find that many songs, but come on, man!
— You, reading my blog

Yes, I am making it sound like you need a TON of songs in your book. That's not necessarily true. I'll explain all of that in a wrap-up blog when I get to the end of this whole series. But don't worry, I don't think you need to have 1,341 songs in your book. But there is a reason I'm going through everything I'm going through. It'll all make sense at the end. I promise.

Where were we?

BYE BYE BIRDIE - This is where I consider the Post Golden Age era to begin, I really think this period ends with HAIR in 1967, but I'm extending it until 1970 when I think Contemporary Theatre really started, with COMPANY. Again, feel free to yell at me about my arbitrary choices of dates for American Musical Theatre. But I think it's a pretty solid beginning and ending set of dates. And personally, I don't really care if you yell at me, I have a wife and a 3-year old. Plenty of people already yell at me in my life. Love you babe.

This period is a relatively weird period for the American Musical, it contains a bunch of different kinds of shows, from BYE BYE BIRDIE to OLIVER to HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING to SHE LOVES ME (one of the best musicals ever written, period.) to FLORA THE RED MENACE to 1776 to SWEET CHARITY to HAIR. It's a pretty eclectic mix of musicals and styles and writers. So let's break it down by year.

But first if you don't know the score to SHE LOVES ME. Buy it, right now. Or listen to the YouTube Playlist below. Do not pass GO until you listen to this entire score.

Okay... By the year. This is just a quick 5 per year from 1960-1970. This is by no means a definitive list of anything... Just the first 5 musicals I could think of for each year, or I could find on Google.


1960

Jerry Orbach sings "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks

BYE BYE BIRDIE
CAMELOT
THE FANTASTICKS
OLIVER!
TENDERLOIN

1961

CARNIVAL!
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
MILK AND HONEY
STOP THE WORLD – I WANT TO GET OFF
SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING

1962

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
LITTLE ME
NO STRINGS
A FAMILY AFFAIR (John Kander's first show, and the only show he wrote without Fred Ebb in Ebb's lifetime)
MR. PRESIDENT (Irving Berlin's last show)

1963

110 IN THE SHADE
HOT SPOT
SHE LOVES ME
HERE'S LOVE
HALF A SIXPENCE

One of the original openings to A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM

1964

ANYONE CAN WHISTLE
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
FUNNY GIRL
GOLDEN BOY
HELLO, DOLLY!
MAN OF LA MANCHA
THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT – THE SMELL OF THE CROWD

1965

DO I HEAR A WALTZ?
DRAT! THE CAT!
FLORA THE RED MENACE
THE HAPPY TIME
ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER

1966

THE APPLE TREE
CABARET
DAMES AT SEA
EVENING PRIMROSE
SWEET CHARITY

1967

HAIR
HALLELUJAH, BABY!
HOW NOW, DOW JONES
YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

1968

JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
PROMISES, PROMISES
ZORBA (Best opening number ever, I will fight you.)

Life Is - ZORBA - the best opening of a musical ever. If you don't agree with this assessment... You are wrong.

Also - 1969 Tony Awards sposored by Virginia Slims... Those were the days.

1969

1776
CELEBRATION
DEAR WORLD
OH! CALCUTTA!

1970

APPLAUSE
COMPANY
MINNIE'S BOYS
PURLIE
TWO BY TWO

Writers:

Purlie - 1970 Tony's. Best Tony performance ever. Hands down. Seriously, Melba hits a Q sharp at the end of I GOT LOVE.


coming up... contemporary musical theatre

We'll break this down mostly by composer. Things get super wish-washy now with how they are broken down. So I think composer is the best way to do it. I'll make this a 2-parter. Then we'll dig into Pop/Rock Musicals with a special guest to help me out.

Glad to be back digging into the audition book. These posts are mostly a run-down of musicals and writers. But we'll tie it all together in some wrap-up blogs.

February and March classes have been announced, make sure you check them out! I also have a surprise planned for Thursday, Feb 1st, so make sure you are signed up for the Newsletter to find out what it is. Official free class announcements will be made tomorrow as well. These classes will only be open to Newsletter subscribers at first. Make sure you sign up for our Newsletter on the Home page or the top of the main Blog page.

Get your sh*t together. Stop blowing it!


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Don't Stand in Front of Me!
 
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COME ON!

I know I owe you a good blog post, it’s been one of those months, lots of work, figuring out how to best make classes work for the website, a small human being in my charge turning 3... A busy month.

But here is a quick, down and dirty blog post (I swear we’ll get back into audition book land soon, I’m hoping over the weekend).

Now for the rant...

Don’t stand in front of the pianist during a dance call.

This one should be a no brainer. I need to see the people in the front of the room that want to get you a job, and they need to see me. That’s hard when you plant yourself directly in front of the piano.

I'm not saying to not stand in front of me while you are learning the dance. I'm saying once you are dancing in small groups for the choreographer, casting director, director, producers... Whoever is in front of the room.... DON'T STAND BETWEEN MYSELF AND THE CHOREOGRAPHER!

In a normal callback or audition I don’t get up after playing your song and stand in front of you when you are doing your sides or a monologue. You’re still working. Why would I get in your way? So don't get in mine... Plus there are only so many sweaty heads I can stare at in a 24 hour period.

It’s rude, and it shows that you don’t have any idea of your relationship to the space and the people in the room. Give me my line of sight, please. I know it can get packed in a dance call. I don’t really need that much room, just line of sight to the choreographer/casting director/whomever is running the call.

Why do I need to see them you ask? Let me tell you. I need to know when I have to start playing. Not every dance combo starts with a “5,6,7,8!” sometimes all I get is a nod and I start an introduction, or I do the count off. If I’m ducking and weaving to see up front… That’s a pain in the ass. I have to make sure that the last group has cleared the floor, the new group has taken their places, whomever is looking at the headshots is ready to go and I get my cue... Let me see what's happening in front of me.

So just be a real person, don’t stand in front of people that are working, don’t block my line of sight.

February and March classes have been announced, make sure you check them out.

Get your sh*t together. Stop blowing it!


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February and March Classes
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February and March classes are here!

We have another lineup of amazing and incredible classes and teachers ready for you! I'll be back into the Audition Book blog series on Friday, then back on my regular schedule come Monday. But now...

Holy sh*t!

We couldn't be more excited to announce our first WHO'S MY MUSIC DIRECTOR set of classes

WHO'S MY MUSIC DIRECTOR?

Ben Cohn (Dear Evan Hansen), Ian Eisendrath (Come From Away), Brian Usifer (Frozen, The Book of Mormon) and Ian Weinberger (Hamilton) are the 4 instructors for this 4 class - 2 week course. You will not find a better offering of music people all together anywhere (not a verified fact - but if you do, let me know). These guys are incredible, and young, and only at the beginning of their careers. Come learn from them. Get to know them. You will be seeing there names all over Broadway for the next generation.

Class spans March 12th - March 21st. Check it out on the classes page.
$349 for the entire series or secure your spot with a $99 deposit and we'll set up a payment plan.

What's My Audition? - Wicked

Stephen Sposito, long time Associate Director of WICKED, presents this 2 day audition/callback series focused on a general audition for WICKED followed by one on one work on WICKED callback material. You'll audition for Stephen then receive callback material to prepare for your second class.

Class is scheduled for February 1st and 4th. Check it out on the classes page.

Prep My Audition

Jason Styres - The amazing, and amazingly bearded, Jason Styres holds an audition workshop. Jason works all over the country and in all sorts of facets, don't miss him!

Class is scheduled for February 22nd.

Merri Sugarman - Merri is back!! I really can't say enough good things about Merri. She is hands down one of the best. End of story. Take her class. Don't miss it. Don't be foolish.

Class is scheduled for March 7th.

Kevin Metzger-Timson - I've known Kevin since he was a student at NYU studying at CAP21. I couldn't think of a better person to make the switch into casting. Intelligent, funny, insightful, dashing, Kevin is one of the young up and comers of the industry.

Class is scheduled for March 8th. Check it out on the classes page.

Free classes

We're bringing back ASK AN AUDITION PIANIST - it was a great success this month and can't wait to bring in even more friends and have another great conversation with you all about what it is we do and how knowing what we do can help your audition.

Class is scheduled for March 13th and it's FREE! Totally free!

Steve Bebout (Associate Director - The Book of Mormon) will be having a free audition workshop in February. Details are being worked out currently. As soon as it is set I'll let the Newsletter subscribers know and get first chance to snag up slots. If you aren't part of the Newsletter you probably won't have a chance to take this class, so sign up for the Newsletter!

Audition Rep Matchmaker will be holding a free class in February as well. Details to come, again, if you aren't signed up for the Newsletter... see above.

One final thing-

Sheri Sanders and I are working on having a special RENT focused class before a set of RENT auditions happening in March. So once you see that audition notice posted come find out when she'll be doing her thing and really lock it in for your RENT audition for Kevin Metzger-Timson, who just happens to be teaching in March. See what I'm doing here? I'm trying to be timely and helpful to you. Use it to your advantage! Take Kevin's class and Sheri's prep class! Non-Equity only.

What are you waiting for?

Visit the classes page and sign up! Be sure to sign up for the Newsletter to learn about the free classes as soon as they are announced.

It's 2018 time to start getting your sh*t together and stop blowing it!


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Classes... Why?
 
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So, let’s take a week off from the audition book to answer a question I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently. I’ll be back next week with Post-Golden Age Music, don’t you worry, lots of Audition Book blogs are in the works, with some guests to help out.

Anyway, the question I’ve been asked a lot lately is:

WHY ARE YOU SETTING UP CLASSES IN A PRETTY SATURATED MARKET?
— -People asking

Now, that isn’t really the question that’s asked, but that’s the basic essence of the question being asked. Why am I setting up these classes?

So let’s dig into it, let’s dig into why I’m setting up classes, why I think classes are important, what are my thoughts on classes? We’ll start with the last thought first and work our way backwards.

What are my thoughts on classes?

This is a loaded question that I have to be careful about answering. But let’s start with my experience playing lots and lots of classes, of all different sorts, in New York City and elsewhere. We won’t get into classes I’ve played outside of NYC and I’ll focus on classes that I’ve played in the city.

I’ve played all sorts of classes in the city. Dance classes, Scene Study classes, Acting classes, Masterclasses, Audition classes, Song Study classes, Rep classes, classes for little kids, classes for older actors, classes for actors that only act as a hobby after they get off of work from their real job, classes for non-equity actors, classes for equity actors, classes for special needs actors, classes for... well, you name it, I’ve probably played a class for it. I’m going to focus on my experience with Audition classes, since that is what this whole website is about.

I have one really basic rule when it comes to classes that deal with what happens inside the audition room. They should not be taught by people that haven’t been in the audition room on a frequent and recent basis. There are a lot of really good teachers out there that teach really good audition classes... if you are auditioning for a show in 1985. Unfortunately the room is different now. You’re being led astray. Audition classes should and need to be taught by people that know the changing environment inside the room. People that know the ever evolving needs of the shows being cast. People that have their finger on the pulse of the industry. Everyone teaching an audition class through Save My Audition is a regular in the room, they see what is happening day in and day out, they are casting the current hits and flops of Broadway, off-Broadway and regionally. These are the people that you want to learn from, these are the people you WANT to learn from.

I was tired of playing classes for people that didn’t “get it” about the audition room anymore. It felt a little icky and sometimes felt like they were only teaching classes to make the money, and as a side note, those classes always paid the pianist poorly. Everyone that is teaching through Save My Audition is being paid for their talent at a very competitive rate, including my pianists. Right now I’m playing most of the classes being offered, but as things expand I hope that I won’t be able to cover all of the classes happening. To bring you the best working professional audition pianists I made a conscious decision to pay as close to Union scale as I possible could while keeping the overall cost of classes as low as possible. It’s my aim to only offer the best teachers and pianists in NYC. Wait until you see some of the classes I am working on for March. February will be a light month for Save My Audition as I adjust and learn from mistakes made in January. Regardless of what I thought, I'm apparently not perfect and I've made mistakes, working on fixing them.

I think classes are incredibly important for actors. You should always be working on your craft. Learning from the best. Watching other people work and seeing how it relates to the work you do. I’m not just talking audition classes. All sorts of classes. Take every class you can possibly afford. This is a damn expensive city, I get it, but when you have some extra money, take a class.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on classes. They are important and incredibly helpful, when you take the correct classes. If a class feels icky, it probably is. Get out as quickly as you can and look for new classes. If classes ever offered through Save My Audition feel icky, let me know, please let me know. I’m trying as hard as I can to make these classes as professional, helpful, informative and safe as I can for everyone that wants to take a class.

Why do I think classes are important?

This was partly explained in the above answer. But as a recap, classes are important to keep your skills sharp and build your confidence. You have to always be striving to be a better performer.

Audition classes, I think, are exceptionally important. Auditioning is this weird made up experience that we’ve invented. If there were a better way to cast a show we would do it. But it’s the fairest way we have to make it happen. It sucks. A lot. More than anything else sucks about doing a show. You could be the right person, have gone through 10 final callbacks and end up not getting the role because you are too tall and won’t fit in the costume and the producers don't want to pay to have a new costume made for you... It sucks. A lot.

So, why am I setting up classes?

I’ve been at this a very long time. I’ve meet a lot of really really talented people in this industry. I decided to ask the people that I admire and respect most in this community if they would be willing to help out and teach classes and share their knowledge. I can personally vouch for the talent and ability of every single person that is teaching. They are all wonderful. Every single one of them and I could be more surprised and humbled that they are helping out.

With all that being said let me wrap up...

Take classes. Take the classes being offered through Save My Audition. Take classes being offer elsewhere. Just take classes. Learn. Make yourself better. Make yourself more confident.

Learn from Ben Cohn the music director of Dear Evan Hansen.
Learn from Lindsay Levine from Tara Rubin Casting, one of the best casting directors I’ve ever played for in New York City.
Learn from Rachel Hoffman who I’ve known for a very long time and couldn’t be a better person or a better teacher.
Learn from Aaron Galligan-Stierle over at MaxTheatrix.
Learn from Sheri Sanders on how to be comfortable inside of your Rock body.
Learn from Jason Styres who has a beard that makes me question my manhood, he's also a hell of a casting director.
Learn from the young up-and-coming associate directors on Broadway.
Learn from your friends.
Learn from your enemies.
Just learn.

You don’t always have to take classes to learn, but classes are a great place to start.

So check out the classes we have offered. And look around for other classes.

I’ll be back next week with some more Audition Book bloviating.

Until then...

Get your sh*t together! Stop blowing it.


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Can you sing another song?
 
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CAN YOU SING ANOTHER SONG?

Alright gang, here’s a quick, down and dirty blog post. I’ve seen a particular problem rear it’s ugly head a lot of times since the New Year started and I wanted to address it. This is a problem that is completely avoidable and completely inside of your control.

Let me lay the scene:

 
Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. - Okay, not really. Not coincidental at all. This is real stuff people.

Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. - Okay, not really. Not coincidental at all. This is real stuff people.

 

1,462,802

I have seen this scene happen exactly one million, four hundred six-two thousand, eight hundred and two times. Give or take.

This is super simple, and I’m going to put into the “almost a rule” category. But don’t forget, there are no rules. But this is something that is as close to a rule as you can get.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a couple songs that you know you can flip to if they ask for more material in the room. I would suggest an uptempo and a ballad generally in the style of the show you are auditioning for. Also, know right away what your “favorite song to sing” is. Chances are if someone in the room asks you to sing your “favorite song to sing” they really just want to see who you are. They don’t care about how your voice/acting choices fit inside of the show you are auditioning for anymore. They want to get to know YOU a little more.

This applies to every room you walk into. Again, no rules, but we’re pretty damn close on this one.

Whether it’s an ECC, EPA, Appointment, Callback, Final Callback, random audition you’ve crashed. Whatever it is, walk into the room with the song you are going to start with and a couple songs that you can flip to quickly if you are asked for more stuff.

If you’ve been given callback material and someone has told you that there is absolutely no chance that you will sing anything from your book, what do you do?

…………

Correct. You bring your book with a couple songs ready to go, just in case they ask. Be prepared. Get your shit together, stop blowing it! Oh!! I think I have a new tag line for the website. I’ve been looking for that. Every Audition Counts is cute and right in a professional corporate sense. But you are all probably picking up on my lovable snark. I give a lot of advice with a heavy dose of snark and sarcasm, but always with love and a hope that you find it useful and helpful.

Be sure to check out our classes for the rest of January. Still slots open! www.SaveMyAudition.com/classes

So, get your shit together, stop blowing it!


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Golden Age Music
 
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Golden Age

The meat and potatoes of American Musical Theater; the Golden Age. Where to even begin breaking down this genre is a challenge in and of itself. But I guess I’ll go through and break it down chronologically for you. Again, my opinion, there are a lot of them out there.

OKLAHOMA!

There it is folks. The beginning of the Golden Age of American Musical theatre. Rodgers and Hammerstein took the ground work laid by many many before them (and they themselves), most notably SHOW BOAT (two words) and the rest is history. From this point forward music, story, dance would become more and more and more integrated and important to storytelling. Thus musical theatre as we know it exists. Go find some good books on the Golden Age:

BYE BYE BIRDIE

The Golden Age lasted from roughly 1943 with OKLAHOMA! and ended with BYE BYE BIRDIE in 1960. At least that’s my timeline for it. BYE BYE BIRDIE brought in Rock ’n Roll for the first time to the American Stage. There is definitely a lot of overlap between Golden Age and what came before and after it, nothing has clean clear lines, but I think that’s a good solid time frame to consider when looking through this music when searching for songs for your book.

Let’s Break it down by decade:

These are VERY select lists, there are a ton of shows from this time period, lots of lesser known shows have really great music in them, find some hidden gems, do some listening!


1940s:

Carousel Waltz - The John Wilson Orchestra

Shows:

Ray Bolger singing Once in Love with Amy

OKLAHOMA! (1943)
ON THE TOWN (1944)
BLOOMER GIRL (1944)
CAROUSEL (1945)
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1946)
ST. LOUIS WOMAN (1946)
BEGGAR’S HOLIDAY (1946)
STREET SCENE (1947)
FINIAN’S RAINBOW (1947)
BRIGADOON (1947)
ALLEGRO (1947)
KISS ME, KATE (1948)
WHERE’S CHARLEY? (1948)
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

Writers:
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Cole Porter
Irving Berlin
Leonard Bernstein (happy 100th Lenny)
Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Lerner & Loewe
Frank Loesser


West Side Story - Dance at the Gym

1950s

Shows:

GUYS AND DOLLS (1950)
CALL ME MADAM (1950)
THE KING AND I (1951)
WONDERFUL TOWN (1953)
ME AND JULIET (1953)
THE THREEPENNY OPERA (1954)
THE PAGAMA GAME (1954)
DAMN YANKEES (1955)
MY FAIR LADY (1956)
THE MOST HAPPY FELLA (1956)
BELLS ARE RINGING (1956)
WEST SIDE STORY (1957)
THE MUSIC MAN (1957)
FLOWER DRUM SONG (1958)
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1959)
FIORELLO! (1959)
GYPSY (1959)

Writers:
Frank Loesser
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Jule Styne
Leonard Bernstein
Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Richard Adler & Jerry Ross
Lerner & Loewe
Meredith Wilson


1960 and beyond

I know I stated above that I consider the Golden Age to be “over” at this point, but I’m a liar. It clearly continues but a transition period begins on Broadway with BYE BYE BIRDIE and culminates with HAIR in 1967 That will be next weeks blog. But some shows that happened in the 1960s that would be considered GOLDEN AGE are:

CAMELOT (1960)
MILK AND HONEY (1961)
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (1961)
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (1962)
SHE LOVES ME (1963)
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1964)
…You get the picture… it keeps going.

Head over to the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, go upstairs, wear something comfy and start listening to recordings. Walk out of the library with a stack of photocopied music (copiers downstairs). A lot of the material from this time period can be reimagined and have new life brought to it. Bring some songs to your coach and find a new way to present it, something that works for you.

There really is no way to go wrong when picking Golden Age music. But if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask or leave a comment below.

Sneak peak!

So I'm currently working on creating an interactive time line listing every Broadway musical in timeline form. Clicking on a musical will bring up it's opening and closing dates (also boxed in the timeline) as well as a brief synopsis and the original Playbill. This thing is gonna take me a hella long time to finish. But I think it could be really neat when it's all said and done. I've started in the 1940s. Once I get through the 40s I'll go live with it and continually add as I have free time. But here is a sneak peak below. You're welcome. I'm pretty great. I know.

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10 Things That Annoy The Hell Out Of Your Audition Pianist - Part 1.5
 
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Ten things that annoy the hell out of your audition pianist:

I imagine this is what 7 year-old me looks like when I get annoyed.

I imagine this is what 7 year-old me looks like when I get annoyed.

This is a rehash BLOG that I wrote for a friend, I’ve kept some of the more annoying things and added some new annoying things, enjoy! The original post can be found here. Also Sara Glancy is great, use her if you are looking for new rep.

The musical theatre audition pianist. That hero among hero’s that sits behind the piano and makes you sound like a dream each and every time. Okay, maybe not each and every time. But that’s what we aim for. But while we are back there trying to make you sound the best we can, there is a lot of stuff you do that just annoys the hell out of us! A LOT OF STUFF.

This blog is a list of things that annoy the hell out of me as an audition pianist. It should be noted that this is just my opinion. I have audition pianist friends that would disagree with some of these and agree with others, as well as have their own list. But these are the things that drive me nuts. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the last letter of each subtitle. So basically… no order:

Not recognizing me:

Not a real conversation. But a fair faxsimile.

Not a real conversation. But a fair faxsimile.

The room is weird. It’s a high stress situation. It all happens fast and sometimes you’re already back out the door before you realize you were in the room. That being said, pay attention to who is in the room! I can’t tell you how often friends have come into the room and had no idea that it was me behind the piano. I have a conversation with you when you walk in! How do you not realize who your pianist is!? Take a deep breath, have a moment of recognition and then we’ll go through your song. Having a friendly face in the room is a good thing, become our friend, know who we are, we’re here for you. Don't send me an awkward text 30 minutes later that says...

Sing your song in the right time signature:

This mostly applies to when you are talking your song through for me. The number of people that sing their “tempo” in the wrong time signature would be baffling to most people. That 3/4 time signature should not be song in 4/4. Don’t slip in extra beats or take away a beat. I mostly assume that that is how you actual want the song played. But surprise, you go up there and sing the song correctly and now I look like I’m bad at my job for 3 measures. Thanks.

Over explaining your song:

Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing “II won’t care if I…” at the end of ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE. Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing “I only know when he...” at the end of I COULD’VE DANCED ALL NIGHT. Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing… Get the picture? Unless you are doing something different with your song, you don’t need to tell me about it. Most of the things that you feel the need to “explain” to me are things that are already marked in the music.

Broken binder:

I completely understand, you use your audition binder a lot. A real lot. If it is starting to fall apart, go buy a new one. The worst is when the rings don’t connect and properly hold your sheet music inside of the binder. The top one starts going first, you’ll notice your music starting to slip out of the top ring, then the middle one starts to go, all of a sudden your music falls only held on by the bottom ring and it’s now almost upside down and hanging on top of the keys of the piano. Not many people know this, but we use both hands when playing the piano so it’s hard to fix this problem as it is happening. So let’s just nip it in the bud. Go buy a new binder. Also - buy some 3-hole punch reinforcements if you don't use sheet protectors and your pages are starting to rip. There are only so many times you can say "I'm sorry my music is falling out" before I start to think that you just don't care.

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Sexts on iPads:

PUT YOUR iPAD ON AIRPLANE MODE IF YOU ARE USING IT FOR YOUR AUDITION.

Let me repeat that for those of you in the cheap seats… 

PUT YOUR iPAD ON AIRPLANE MODE IF YOU ARE USING IT FOR YOUR AUDITION.

I have seen more than one sext come through on an iPad during an audition. And more than one NSFW photo.

I’m not kidding. This isn’t a drill. 

PUT YOUR iPAD ON AIRPLANE MODE IF YOU ARE USING IT FOR YOUR AUDITION.

Transposed chord symbols:

Holy shit, this one drives me absolutely bonkers. If for some reason, any reason, you have written in transposed chords in your music, please erase them if you aren’t doing it in the transposed key.

Side topic: If you are doing your song in a different key, get it transposed properly.

Back to topic: Seeing notated music and chord symbols that don’t match makes my head explode. It’s like my brain is playing tricks on me to see a chord written in that I don’t see in the music. It’s not cool. Don’t do it. Even worse than that… Having more than one transposed set of chord symbols written in. 3 different transposed keys is the most I’ve ever seen, so with the actual printed music that’s 4 different keys my brain is fighting about. STOP IT!

Roadmaps:

Okay, this deserves it’s very own in depth blog post, which I'll do eventually. But as a quick rant: If your cut involves multiple endings and codas and turning pages backwards instead of forwards… Please fix it. I’ve had people walk up to the piano and say “Okay, this is super complicated….” Why would you do that to yourself, much less me!? That’s just opening yourself up to lots of mistakes. 

My rule for audition cuts:

They should start at the beginning and end at the ending. It’s super simple.

Hair in binders:

This one is mostly aimed at you ladies. But gentlemen with long hair, I’m not excluding you. The amount of loose strands of hair that end up in your binder is mind-boggling to me. It’s everywhere.

Everywhere.

I could start a pretty decent wig making business with the hair I’ve pulled out of binders, or blown off a piano after an audition. Just check it out from time to time. This is the stuff you never think of. But we have to deal with it.

A lot.

Two page cuts:

If your cut is only 2 pages long, why are you making me turn a page? Why? Honest question… Why? That’s just mean. It’s only 2 pages, put it in your audition book so that they lay open. Seriously. It’s just rude. People doing this ghastly mistake is why I started my new audition services website. www.SaveMyAudition.com

But seriously, 2 pages… Don’t make me turn a page. It’s simple. And if your cut is printed 2-sided. Go make a copy of one of the pages so you can lay them flat in your book. Audition pianists the world over will thank you for it. I promise.

Let’s bring this to an end:

This list could go on for quite some time, and if you were counting, that was nine things, not ten. So I either over-advertised, or if you read the first round of this, we are now even, even though I repeated some of the more annoying ones. The lesson in all of this is to be as clear as you can be with your music, be a real human being with compassion and feelings, and breath. You get to control everything that happens in the room from the time you walk into the door until you stand in the center of the room and begin your audition. After that point things start to slowly get out of your grip.

Best of luck auditioning. Remember I’m on your side, even though this blog post makes it seem like I hate everybody. I don’t.

Every Audition Counts!

Audition book blog posts will continue on January 8th. There may be some more fun rant-like posts before then. But I'll get back on my schedule come January 8th.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a great New Year! Be safe! I'll see you in 2018 here on the Blog and in class if you sign up for some of the amazing classes being offered!

 
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Classes are open for enrollment!
 
 
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January Classes are Open for Enrollment!

Save My Audition is humbled by the lineup of classes that are official open for enrollment now. Please visit our classes page to sign up for classes.

Classes being offered.

We have several different varieties of classes being offered, let's talk through them a little:

PREP MY AUDITION

Prep My Audition is our standard audition workshop/intensive class. January features classes being taught by Ben Cohn and Dominick Amendum, both amazing and always working music directors. We also have classes being taught by Rachel Hoffman, Lindsay Levine, Jason Styres and Merri Sugarman, these folks are some of the best casting directors in the city, casting the shows that have shaped music theatre for the past decade plus. This series of classes will help you break down your audition and improve your confidence and performance in the room. Maybe even help you find some new songs.

ROCK MY AUDITION

The one and only Sheri Sanders has hopped onboard our January offerings with what she does best. Working on your with your Rock Audition. There isn't anyone better in the city to help you find your inner rock star and bring it into the room. The rock audition is becoming more and more a staple of the industry. It's not going anywhere, have Sheri help you find your best rock star!

WHAT'S MY AUDITion

Stephen Sposito to the rescue! Stephen is teaching a class with all the insight and first-hand knowledge of how to audition for WICKED one could ever imagine. This class is a two-parter. The first day of class will be a general audition for WICKED. You'll work with Stephen on your audition and he'll help you improve and tweak what you present. The second day of class you will present material that Stephen has picked for you as a callback for WICKED. Don't miss this one!

PLAY MY AUDITION

This class is specifically why I started this website. Michael Hicks is a dear friend who has played auditions for a long time and is a remarkably gifted teacher and communicator. He'll help you break down your interaction with the pianist and learn what really happens behind the piano at your audition. He will help you demystify the audition pianist and teach you what really happens behind the piano and how to use it to your advantage. We want to be your best friend and we want you to book the gig. Find out what we do to help you do that and how you can help us help you.

LEARN MY AUDITION

Here we go, kids. This is the class. This class can help you save boat loads of money. This is a class being offered by Amy Marie Stewart of TheoryWorks. As a professional in the world of music theatre there is no excuse not to know how to read music. This is the class that can help you turn from musically illiterate to musically literate. Fun story time: Just the other day I was playing auditions for a big regional theatre in the area being cast by a big NYC casting house. The star of the show (I can't say who because the news hasn't been made public yet) was in the room to help cast his female counterpart. He's a pretty big name and a hell of a musician. He has written a song for the show. He showed up with a new song and worked with the ladies auditioning them on the song. They weren't given advanced warning of a new song being thrown at them. As I watched these remarkably gifted and talented ladies work with nameless star it was amazing to see some of them have a clear advantage over others. The ones that had an understanding of music theory and how to read music had a much better and more successful audition. This is a super rare circumstance and doesn't happen ofter. But getting sides the night before your callback isn't rare and will happen a lot. Learn to plunk out your own melody and save yourself a lot of stress and a lot of money. TheoryWorks is your way to music literacy. Also visit their website and sign up for their online course offerings. www.Theory-Works.com

ASK AN AUDITION PIANIST

Free class alert! I've recruited Michael Hicks and Sharon Kenny to join me in a room and sit down with anyone that wants to join (space limited) and answer any questions that you may have. The three of us have a lot of experience playing auditions in the city and a lot of knowledge you are going to want to find out about. Plus we have some hilarious stories, both good and bad.

Class dates:

January 4th - Prep My Audition with Dominick Amendum
January 5th and 9th - What's My Audition with Stephen Sposito
January 10th - Play My Audition with Michael Hicks
January 11th - Prep My Audition with Ben Cohn
January 15th - Prep My Audition with Lindsay Levine
January 16th - Learn My Audition with Amy Marie Stewart from TheoryWorks
January 17th - Ask an Audition Pianist with Michael Hicks, Aaron Jodoin and Sharon Kenny
January 22nd - Rock My Audition with Sheri Sanders
January 24th - Prep My Audition with Jason Styres
January 25th - Prep My Audition with Rachel Hoffman
January 29th - Prep My Audition with Lindsay Levine
January 30th - Learn My Audition with Amy Marie Stewart from TheoryWorks
January 31st - Prep My Audition with Merri Sugarman

What are you waiting for?

Visit the classes page and take some classes! This is just the beginning. There are a lot of things in the works going forward. February classes will be announced mid-January, so be sure to sign up for the Newsletter to get advanced access to classes and free offerings.

Holiday's are here!

The city is expensive and affording classes can be tough, ask your parents and loved ones for a Gift Card for Christmas to help you pay for classes through Save My Audition.com!

Don't forget, every audition counts!


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Pre-Golden Age Music
 
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The Pre-Golden Age Years:

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Before I start to get into the genres you should have in your book, I’d like to put a couple disclaimers out into the universe.

  1. This is my opinion on what should be in your audition book. But your audition book is your audition book. Some people will have all these genres in their books. Others won’t. Others will have different genres that I haven’t even mentioned here. This is all about making your book work best for you. But as a general thought, these are the most likely genres that should be included in your book.
  2. I will not be mentioning any songs by name. I’m not here to recommend songs for you. I’ll talk through styles but it’s up to you to go do some research and find songs that are great for you. Go spend an afternoon at the Lincoln Center Library and listen to cast albums and old recordings. There is a treasure trove of amazing music out there just waiting for you to find it.
  3. If you do need recommendations or help with finding music, there are lots of classes and people that can help you. We’ll have some Rep classes here at Save My Audition (aptly names Find My Audition) in the future. You can send us an email and we’ll gladly help. You can also go visit Sara Glancy over at Audition Rep Matchmaker, she’s wonderful. In fact we just had a session this week and she brought in an amazing song I had never heard before from the Golden Era. It was refreshing to hear and a hell of a good find.
  4. Have fun. Above all your book should be fun for you.

Operetta:

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So let’s start with the first thing on my list. Operetta. English operetta as we know it came to be in the 1860s. Arthur Sullivan (composer) and W.S. Gilbert (libretto) were the staples at the beginning and the end. They wrote 14 operettas together. Operetta eventually made it’s way over to the good ole States where Victor Herbert had his way with it… I’m falling asleep. If you really want to know more about Operetta do some research. It’s actually pretty interesting but too much to go into.

The first Operetta that I ever did was HMS Pinafore when I was in college. I can’t say it was a rousing awakening into a new genre of music that I was unfamiliar with. But I do wish I had appreciated it more when I was doing it. There’s a charm about the music from this era that really makes me feel good now that I’m a little older and maybe a little wiser. I'm not saying that you need to find a song from THE BLACK CROOK (not an operetta). But it is wise to have a oldie but goodie in your book. There is a lot we can tell about your voice from these types of songs.

This is a great genre to find a solid patter song in. Especially the stuff written by Gilbert and Sullivan. It may seem a little dated, but it does a great job showing off that part of your rep. There are also countless ballads that are beautiful and can show off your range and vocal quality.

Operetta Writers:

Jazz Age Standards:

The list of songs and composers that can fit into this category is almost endless. This is where some of my favorite songs come from. If you haven’t seen the Ken Burns documentary about Jazz music, do yourself a favor and watch it. Now. You will not regret it. This genre of music covers everything from slow sultry blues standards to hot on fire uptempo swings. If you've never heard Blind Willie Johnsons' Dark Was the Night, Cold was the Ground, listen to it right now... I'll wait.

The sheer catalog of music is a little daunting. Just start listening to stuff and see what you respond to. Also, go see some concerts with Jazz at Lincoln Center (link). They have some wonderful vocal concerts, you can hear some incredible singers and steal some great songs from them.

The fun thing about jazz standards is the limitless possibilities of how you can tailor them to suit your needs. Many of these songs already have a plethora of arrangements that have been circulating for as long as they have been written. Don’t be scared to find a great song you love and hire a great pianist to help you come up with an arrangement that works best for you. This genre is straight up fun to find songs that work for you. Someone to Watch Over Me as a Bossa Nova, I’ve heard it, and it’s brilliant. Think outside the box. Give the people in the room something to talk about. We like old songs done in a new way. As long as it is done well. Don’t throw music in front of a pianist and ask them to arrange something on the spot. We may enjoy doing it, but you never know who is behind the piano, what their skill level is, or what kind of day they have had.

Jazz Standard Writers:

Theatre specific (these composers cross into Golden Age):

Jazz Specific:
Way way way too many to name. Start listening to some music and see what you like.
Here is a great place to start your research.

More to come next week…


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