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The StageAgent Theatre Blog

News, thoughts, opinions and advice for the performing arts community.

Choosing a Drama School: Advice from A.C.T.’s Conservatory Director

Acting class at ACT

So, you want to go to drama school.  How do you find the school, or schools, that are right for you?  The school that will help you transform yourself and your acting?  The one that will be worth taking several years out of being in the marketplace and pursuing work?   There are many, many actor training programs to choose from in the United States, alone — not to mention the United Kingdom.  One can easily become overwhelmed surfing the websites of the top 10 schools, not to mention the top 25.

But websites are a great place to start.  You can do worse than begin with a listing of the top 25 schools — there are various lists, just Google.  Then, as you click from website to website, and later as you connect with current students, faculty or alumni, in person or by phone, keep the following criteria in mind.  In fact, keep a journal. The search for a school that fits you is a journey and a process, and you may be surprised at how your thinking evolves. 

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How to Find the Perfect Monologue

So many plays!

Whether you’re just starting out in the biz or a longtime pro, the search for the perfect monologue never ends. Monologues are frequently used in auditions, coaching sessions, and classes, so it’s important to know how to look and where to begin your search.

First of all, you’re starting in the right place—StageAgent has a huge directory of monologues, all linked to play or musical study guides.  There, you can read the monologues themselves, but also information about the context in which they are spoken, and links to a character analysis and a guide to the play as a whole.

Although that bounty is awesome, it can also be overwhelming. Here are our tips for navigating the extensive StageAgent archives and conducting your own hunt for monologues.

  1. Read a lot of plays.

There’s no shortcut here—you’ve got to read plays. The most unique pieces are discovered by you, not a coach or a book.

SA TIP: If you don’t know where to start, think of a stage actor who is similar in type to you.

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Summer Theatre — Outdoors!

See Shakespeare in the Redwoods at Santa Cruz Shakespeare!   For more information on Much Ado About Nothing (shown here) and other shows in the SCS season go to http://santacruzshakespeare.org.  Photo by RR Jones.

I think it is safe to say — at least, here in New York — that we have finally settled into the summer. It is warm outside, people are heading off to the beach, and the ice-cream trucks are playing their music loudly in the streets. After the winter we just suffered, I am so grateful for the summer sun! In fact, yesterday I was in upstate New York on a road trip to see the lovely Kate Baldwin in The Berkshire Theatre Group‘s production of Bells Are Ringing. As my friends and I were eating delicious soft serve and strolling through Pittsfield Park after the matinee, we stumbled upon a free outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet. It was packed with people – tourists, locals, and families — all eating picnics and chatting under the beautiful sky waiting for the actors to begin!  It got me thinking about how wonderful outdoor theatre really is AND how wonderful it is that outdoor performances are located in so many communities around the world.  For centuries, most theatre was performed in the open air,

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Theatre Etiquette 101

etiquette

When I first started coming to New York as a little girl, going to the theatre was truly an event. My mom, who was not one to dress up, would always put on a nice outfit and help me get ready. We would put on our Sunday best and walk to the theatre in the hopes of finding a bit of escape or, perhaps, a chance to reflect on something more difficult. Going to the theatre was different from going to the movies or going out to dinner. What truly made it different, aside from the form of entertainment presented, was the fact that it felt like something “grown ups” did. Men and women took the time to appreciate the art form and, most importantly, they showed it the respect it deserved. That means they showed up on time. They honored the beauty of the theatre by matching the lovely aesthetic with their own adornment. Most importantly, they left their work and lives behind them and focused on the show.

There were no sippy cups for wine. There were no cell phones. It was simply a chance for people to sit back,

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How to Warm Up and Prepare Before Singing

Felicia Ricci

Whenever a student contacts me about a “problem spot” in a song she’s preparing, I remind her: “It’s not the actual note, line, or phrase that’s tripping you up; it’s the moment directly before it.”

In other words, it’s how you approach the three notes leading up to the high A (or whatever) that makes the high A possible.

I call this the “runway” effect. The simple principle that any “money moment” takes anticipation and planning — clear preparation — before you bust it out.

The moment before is key not just on a micro-level (in the case of individual notes and lines) but also on a grander scale, day to day, audition to audition.

I’m talking about vocal warm ups and mental prep, my friends!

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News, thoughts, opinions and advice for the performing arts community.