Sunday, August 16, 2015

A New VLOG!

happy Sunday evening all!

I want to recommend to you a new vlog series called "Notes from the Bench"  produced by Mikhail Hallak & Studio 113 Productions in New York City.

Here is the first episode in case you haven't seen it - it's going to be a great series!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymFfJ0heXiQ


ENJOY and keep watching for more content!



 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dear Singer...What is it about the Business?

Dear Singer,

First,  you have to identify the difference between making music and being an artist AND making a living making music.   You have to know how to separate those two.  They are not,  nor have they ever been the same.

There are rules that apply to each of those facts,  and you have to find them and acknowledge them and follow them.  You haven't done that yet or you wouldn't be feeling they way you are feeling.  Acknowledgement of rules,  prevents you from taking it personally.

Even if you were Equity,  the stats are 95%  unemployed at any given time.  This is BUSINESS of show.

You have chosen a profession that has a ridiculous unemployment rate.  You have to want it badly enough to stick to it.

Knowing how your voice works, or  how to be an actress and all the craft associated,  is NOT how the business works.  The two are not the same, nor do they necessarily go hand in hand.

You have to learn how the business works and the time it takes to figure out the game and how to play it.   You have to be prepared to be in this game long enough (sorry sweetie - 2 years is no time - or 6 months or even 5 years...)  to find out whether it's what you want to be bothered with long term,  or simply walk away and find another way to keep making music for your well being.

Just wanting something doesn't make it so.

We work not because we are good enough,  but because somebody thinks we are,  and sees us playing the game to their reasoning.

The game is often bullshit and it has NOTHING to do with craft or artistic integrity - but it is what has to happen in order to work.

So - prepare to learn the game.  That takes time. A lifetime really.  There are no assurances in this business.  None.

There are no answers but the ones you discover for yourself,  about yourself and about how you function or not, in the business.

The level of the business doesn't matter:  same game, just another day and another process.   Community theatre, regional professional theatre, Broadway - ARE ALL THE SAME.  The players and venue change.  The stakes may change.  Learning to play the game in the venue you are in is what the business is about.  Discover your game.  Play it.  Get good at it,  or walk away.

I am just trying to be honest with you.  The work you do on your artistic self will always be there;  don't misunderstand that.  Artistic self has NOTHING at all to do with BUSINESS self.

Learning the business,  learning the game,  and how you navigate those land mines - is up to you, and takes more time than you realize.  If our artistic selves continue to evolve and develop over a lifetime, then so,  do does knowledge of the business and the business self within the business of show.

Chin up!!! Your path is your path.


Accept it,  experience it,  walk it - or choose to walk elsewhere.  Wherever you,  BE THERE.  Fully, honestly, and completely.




Sending you good wishes,
Susan







Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SOME NEWS!

I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted a position at Moravian College in Bethelehem, PA!

I will be teaching voice,  and will develop a course called "Song & Stagecraft" as well as direct Opera Workshop.

This will allow us,  as a faculty and college, to build a vibrant and innovative theatre program that will include both Opera AND Music Theatre.

I am very excited to be part of this college's growth,  and bring my skills to help create something uniquely special in the music department.

And of course, I cannot thank Sean O'Boyle and Suzanne Kompass enough for believing in me, and feeling I could be a good fit!  I cannot wait to work side by side with Suzanne in the voice faculty as she brings passion and humor, commitment and great knowledge and ethic to her work!!!!

I shall be continuing to work with my amazing singers in NYC of course - and travel to offer master classes and workshops - and get my feet on the boards once again this fall and start performing again!

And,  of course,  keep this blog full of musings that I hope are relevant and effective for YOU!

Happy August!









Sunday, July 12, 2015

Whatever happened to CLASS?

By now,  you've probably read something about Patti LuPone and the cell phone incident.

If you haven't,  just Google it and read many accounts.  One of my favorites is from the Huffington Post.


Now, anybody who knows me, knows I love my iPhone.   I use it regularly for business,  and personal use.  It is rarely not close by.  My electronic devices are crucial to how I run my business.

However....

When I am in a waiting room,  or in the theatre, or in other places of public space,  I TURN IT OFF.  

What has happened to our theatre goers and why is Patti LuPone getting the blame, or at least the headline?

Frankly,  I salute her for making the statements she has made.  It's about time.  But she shouldn't have to.

What's wrong with people?

What happened to knowing how to behave in different social situations?

Going to the theatre,  has become an extension of someone's personal living room.  The respect, the sanctity,  and the accessibility seem so lost on society.  And the willingness of the theatre staff from the top to deal with this lack of respect,  seems non-existent.

WHY?!

It is so easy to then make this issue about Patti LuPone.  It is not.  It is about YOU - the person who talks through a movie when you aren't the only one in the theatre;  it is about YOU - the person who sits in live theatre and texts or checks Facebook during the show;  it is about YOU - the person who talks at a table or the bar loudly enough while someone is singing on stage.

It's also about YOU - the person who came to the theatre with said talker/texter - who doesn't tell your companion to shut up or turn it off;  It's also about YOU - the usher, the theatre manager, the security - who doesn't simply take the device and escort said offender out the door.

Let's not confuse this shall we?

If people start being held accountable for their actions perhaps this has a chance.  Why do the performers have to be the ones who end up saying something?

Why is it so hard to learn to behave appropriately depending on the venue?

If you are at the theatre,  why aren't you paying attention to what's going on, on stage?  If you are bored, leave.  Some of us pay a lot of money on tickets and we didn't do that to hear you chat, sing along, or see your screen light up every 3 seconds beside us.

What I am always amazed by,  is the indignation by the offending party when you say something!  (And trust me, I SAY something!) That stunned disbelief that someone would actually tell them to stop in public space from doing something that is offensive.

Whether it's Madonna texting during Hamilton at the Public,  or the twit teenager who tried to plug his phone in to charge it on the set of Hand of God,  it is behavior that needs to stop.

So,  we know Patti LuPone said something,  stopped the show and read the riot act.  Now, who was the woman who was using her phone?  We need to know the names of these people.  They can't stay anonymous.  Playbill tracked down the idiot at Hand of God and we know who he is.  We know who Madonna is.   These people need to be exposed.  Why?  Because when your name is suddenly revealed, if you really REALLY believe you weren't doing anything wrong,  it won't bother you will it?

The theatre is a place where we go to be entertained, to be challenged,  to be changed;  The beauty and mystery of theatre is that we can be in the same place with many others - all strangers - and still experience something magical and unique.

That possibility of magic,  that promise of awareness,  that incredible mystery of the human experience needs to be honored.  It needs to be given the respect it rightfully deserves.  It deserves your undivided attention,  your willingness to invest,  and your respect.

Your living room,  your ordinary,  your shopping bags,  your conversations,  your cell phone - have NO place in the theatre.

YOU are welcome:  your curiosity,  your eagerness,  your attention,  your spirit,  your laughter, your tears,  your energy!

Leave the rest of it on the street or at coat check. 

The theatre is sanctuary for many;  it is a place of hushed expectation;  it is a place that comes alive with language and song and creates magic in the places in between. 

Even if you have no idea what that means,  but still want to go to be entertained,  you can still learn to respect the space you have entered. 

So, start paying attention to where you are.  Speak up if someone beside isn't.  Don't let an actor who has work to do have to break 4th wall in order to make a larger point.

If you are at the theatre,  BE THERE.  Trust me,  when you power your cell phone back on,  it'll still be there!  And then you can actually discuss the EXPERIENCE of the theatre for real via social media and text on your phone,  after you have actually had the experience!