Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Diversity Factor

Wednesday musings...

I am wondering why today...

So enlighten me readers if you have some insight into this...I certainly do not profess to have the answers, but I have questions, a little time on this planet, a little experience and my eyes open.

So here is my "why"...

Why are we asked to be diverse performers and yet our resumes must be catered specifically for the job at hand?

I have wondered this over time, but a colleague of mine brought it up last night wondering about the same thing and gave some examples of how she's been treated/told to create a resume that holds theatre/music theatre/opera credits.

Why would a music theatre resume be dismissed if it had opera credits on it?

Why are singers told to compartmentalize their credits in theatre?

I am just curious...

Looking at a resume cannot assume the person DOES what they say...

However, if a music theatre singer has some opera credits it would make me take a moment and say "Hmmm perhaps this person can sing".

Depending on the roles they have - they may be able to cross over and find the stylistic decisions authentically, or not. But taking the chance and assuming "singer" would probably be worthwhile!

"Trained singer" doesn't automatically assume "opera singer". EVERY SINGER WHO WANTS TO PURSUE A CAREER SHOULD BE TRAINED. WITHOUT EXCEPTION!!!!!!!!!

Why? Training allows for longevity. Training is about building an instrument, a craft, a KNOWLEDGE.

SO, why would a "singer" who has diversity be asked to leave off important credits that show one's diversity?

If the resume is created for balance - is this confusing? Why?

If an actor can have classical theatre and contemporary theatre credits as well as film/tv credits on the same resume, why would a singer have to separate music theatre from opera when it is ALL THEATRE?

Is it confusing? To whom?

Aren't the people reading the resumes supposed to have KNOWLEDGE and know what they are reading????

Ahhhhhh....perhaps this is the problem?

Where does the confusion lie?

Why is there confusion?

Why would a singer have to eliminate important credits to show their diversity and their ability? Why would this be confusing?

It IS possible for a singer to be able to do more than one genre. And it IS possible for a singer to be able to sing more styles within each genre. It is also possible for a singer to say they sing and have credits on a resume and then you find out they can't at all.

Resumes are representative of the work accomplished/in progress/in preparation.

If I have done the study, the work, the role - I want that on there to represent ME!!!

How is that confusing????

I could answer my own questions...and I can in many circumstances. It's another one of those "business" things where the emperor isn't wearing any clothes in so many cases isn't it?

Having certain credits on your resume would assume the person evaluating that resume has the ability to truly do so.....hmmm....

If theatre is theatre, then theatrical credits should be included. As our experience develops there won't be room for everything, so we have to pick and choose and create a diversity on paper that shows our experience/range/type et al.

That is common sense isn't it? Shouldn't a resume be common sense?

If the business asks for diversity wouldn't they want a resume that shows that?

Or???? Why would that be confusing???

Singers need to show they can sing...and their diversity should show that. Then of course, they need to PROVE they can by DOING.

And of course, wishing the person listening to them has the knowledge actually know what they are hearing and can evaluate it clearly. (oh - another blog entirely!!!)

So I look forward to your responses on this diversity factor and the lack of responsibility to it...because frankly, being told your theatre credits are confusing makes me squeeze my eyes shut and hold my breath.

Perhaps the confusing factor is why the person telling you that is in the business at all...
Just sayin'...


  1. This has been something I have always been puzzled by. I have been told not to put my opera credits/training on musical theatre resumes unless going out for something like Phantom of the Opera, Candide, etc. And, God forbid there EVER be ANY musical theatre on an opera audition resume.

    There still seems to be - especially in the opera world - an attitude that if you sing musical theatre or opera, you cannot cross over into the the other style outside of a concert or album effectively. Even then, there's an attitude that if you are an opera singer, a musical theatre selection will be "nice" but not good enough for you to be cast in a musical and vice versa.

    I don't think it is confusing to us as singers. If you can sing something, you can SING it, and each genre you sing should be taken on it's own merit regardless of any other genre you sing or credit you have on your resume. Being onstage is being onstage. And a credit on your resume - no matter what genre - just shows you are able to hold your own in a production.

    If the person behind the desk hears what they want from you in an audition, why does it matter if you have a credit on your resume that is of another genre? A credit just shows that you have EXPERIENCE.

  2. I have spent no short amount of time trying to figure this kind of thing out myself. Same thing applies to actors and genre and even musical theatre and composer.
    Here's what I do for good or bad: I adjust my resume before I submit it. I move different things to prominence depending on what I'm auditioning for.
    Put yourself in the "headspace" of the casting person and look at your resume. What do THEY want to see? Put that stuff at the top.
    People put an enormous amount of emphasis on resumes but they are only part of your materials.
    And are you submitting by mail in hopes of even getting a "see"?
    Lordy, I could go on and on...people have written books! My advice, for what it's worth after officially celebrating the 30th anniversary of my first opening night on January 20th.... Give them what they want. Because they WANT to cast YOU! They wanna STOP searching and have a bagel. Adapt your experiences, headshot, cover letter to be the BEST YOU you can BE for THEM. Each time. And NEVER LIE. Then be their favorite experience of the day when you meet making them YOUR best experience. After they fall in love they won't care how much opera you've got or how many tours of Hair you've done....if your package, including your audition, is knocking-off-socks awesome.
    Make it so.

  3. thanks you two...

    It's just too bad that one's experience as a "singer" as an "actor" has to be so compartmented in order for someone receiving it to understand its meaning...

    Does having Opera Credits mean can't sing Music Theatre? No it doesn't - and you won't know til you hear them...

  4. Even within opera I find what to put on my resume very problematic. I actually had one panel ask "If you don't know what fach you are, how can we know enough to cast you?" I'm very much a lyric but a lot of the roles I've been given are coloratura or lyric coloratura basically because I can. So I should leave out title roles with good companies because one doesn't automatically assume if I sing that I could sing Mimi?

    I've also been told that Candide is too music theatre (define too music theatre??) and that Adamo's Little Women is "not grand opera" and therefore unsuitable for the audition...

  5. I would like to get some examples of the "non-confusing resume" from CDs/ADs et al - so we have a template of this...

  6. Speaking as someone who advises opera singers, I can tell you that auditioners don't want to have to "interpret" or dig through your resume. Part of presenting yourself in a professional manner is knowing what they want to see and how to show it to them so that you get the information most relevant to them front and center.

    Opera companies, by and large, are mainly interested in your operatic credits. If you are auditioning for opera, full opera roles are the first thing that should be listed. Unless you are a young artist, they expect you to present yourself as a singer who knows what she is good at and what she is marketable for --- i.e. knows her Fach. (And BTW, this may not be the same as what your teachers and coaches think it is. To the young lady who is a lyric but has a lot of coloratura credits --- someone is trying to tell you something. You're seen in the market as a coloratura. It doesn't matter that you *can* sing Mimi; the people doing the hiring like to hear you in other rep). Versatility is overrated in the opera world, unless you are an established artist in which case you may be allowed to play around a little.

    I disagree that it's a sin to present musical theater credits on an opera resume. These days, most people do at least a little of both. But a lot of opera company directors are not going to be up on the most contemporary Broadway shows, and even if they are, they are usually not going to buy, for example, that a power belter who sings stuff like Elphaba might also be able to sing opera creditably. So while I do encourage clients with a lot of theatre credits to list them, I discourage listing any "non-legit" roles.

    Also, depending on the individual circumstances (for instance, not having a lot of opera credits, or not having recent ones) I do suggest people mix opera and theatre credits.

    It all comes down to knowing your market and knowing how to present yourself. Frustrating, yes ... but it's the game we play.


  7. Thank you Cindy! As always you nail it!!

    The game must be played and in this computer age, we can make the adjustments accordingly!

  8. Kate - if you know you are confusing a panel due to a mixture of fachs, find a way to present different resumes! Or perhaps, a way to show how your repertoire has morphed from one fach to another.

    Otherwise, you need to decide how you want to present yourself, and be that fach, even if it means leaving off some of your "confusing" material!