Category Archives: Op-Ed

Hamilton Hype: Why We Are Obsessed

Instagramming photos of the Hamilton program is now a form of social currency.

Standing on the stage of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, after a quiet Sunday matinee of Hamilton, I looked out into the gilded, empty house, and thought, “What would Hamilton think of ALL THIS?”

My first night in town I waited at the stage door to ride the train home with a friend in the cast. I thought to myself, “Why is there a fifty year old man standing in a planter box waiting for a glimpse of these people he doesn’t even know? Why are people screaming SO loudly? WHY CAN’T I JUST WALK ON THE SIDEWALK!?” I’d never seen a stage door so reminiscent of a Hollywood red carpet. And they’re all here to watch a play.

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Community: A Theatrical Necessity

Theatre community

Community engagement must be a part of every theatre-making process. There is no theatre without an audience. The audience is as much a part of a play-making experience as the artists—so how do we incorporate them more actively into what we do? We must work with them – and I’ve learned, in so doing, that working with the community teaches me just as much or more about the play on which I’m working than anything I do in the rehearsal room or on stage.

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The Art and Importance of Asking for Feedback

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In my book, the number one thing that separates good actors from great actors is their ability to hear and respond to feedback. But who is telling artists what they need to hear? There is something amazing that happens when you get cast in a show: you inherit a director.

Suddenly, you have someone to shape your work, and help you see beyond your own limitations. You have a person who is on your side, but is being paid to push you. That person is allowed to question your choices, encourage you to do more and be more, and ask you to reach further inside to make the piece stronger, as a whole. Like a football coach, your director helps you find the plays and puts you in the best position for overall success.

But what about the other ninety percent of your career? All that time when you are trying to get the gig. Ladies and gentlemen —-THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME TO ASK FOR FEEDBACK.

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Unveiling Artistic Identity or #WhyIMadeThisAlbum

The cover of Lenne Klingaman's brand-new album, THE HEART IS THE HUNTER

I did a crazy thing last week. I released my debut album, The Heart is the Hunter. I am an actor, mostly stage. Much classical. And I, an actor, have now birthed into the world a — what I like to call — indie folk pop record…we each have many voices. We may go through training of some kind to hone one or more of them, but ultimately what makes us good artists is our multitude of interests, desires, voices we have to share.

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Actors: Do Your Homework!

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The other day, I got on the subway and overheard a young musical theatre actor say, “Oh no, I don’t know the work of Annie Baker. Honestly, I don’t really read plays.” It took all of my strength not to walk over to this young man, shake him, and scream, “THIS IS YOUR CRAFT!!! YOU HAVE TO EDUCATE YOURSELF OR YOU WILL BECOME IRRELEVANT.” But it was hot and I was tired — so I rolled my eyes, said a wee prayer for his career, and enjoyed my brief respite in the air conditioning.

However, the incident got me thinking about how, more and more, I am meeting performers and industry professionals who are not doing their homework — and it shows. Yes, school is starting for many theatre students all over the world in the next couple of weeks, but — in fact — the homework never stops. Homework should be an essential part of your life, throughout your career. There are a lot of people who believe that if they have gone to school and done well, then they are educated, have a leg up in the industry,

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