broadway

Drama School

Lately, I’ve been preparing to audition for drama school (as I will have to apply later this year). At first I thought that I would just audition for all the top schools in London and maybe I would get a place somewhere and everything would be fine. However recently I have realised that it isn’t that simple…

The Truth About Drama Schools:

  • It’s expensive. I thought I had far more options than I actually do, because I was under the impression that every BA (Hons) degree course could be funded by a student loan, when in fact a lot of drama schools require you to self fund your place (and realistically, who has £40,000 lying around?).
  • Not every school will be right for you. Each course is different, and if you’re more of a dancer there is no point going somewhere that focuses mainly on acting. Also the atmosphere in a building can differ, as well as the kind of students who attend each school. I have only visited one drama school so far, but this is a useful thing to do as you can start to see what you like/don’t like in a school. 
  • If you don’t get into a three year course first time, there aren’t many backup options. Of course you can take a gap year, but if you want to stay in education there aren’t many 1 year courses available that don’t cost the earth (as you can’t apply for a student loan for these sorts of courses). 
  • It’s a bigger decision and more serious process than you think. It’s all well and good having the ‘drama school dream’ but in reality you will have to attend this school for about 3 years, and you will have to live there (so making sensible decisions is vital).
  • Many drama schools don’t have accommodation. Often, some drama schools are independent and therefore you will have to find somewhere to live nearby (and for an 18 year old leaving home for the first time, getting a flat in central London could be quite daunting). It’s as much about the area surrounding the school as it is the school itself, as a safe/nice location can make all the difference.
  • Saying that you’ll just ‘audition everywhere and go wherever I’m accepted’ isn’t the best idea. Each audition will cost about £45, so if you go to 10 schools you’ll have to find nearly £500 before you’ve even begun paying tuition fees. Also, not all of these places will be good for you or right for you, so you need to research all your options and think about what you want.
  • I knew that drama schools are hard to get in to, and the audition process is very competitive, but some schools have around 2 thousand applicants for about 30 places. 

However I’m glad that as I’m researching my options more and actually evaluating where I should apply, I am learning a lot about what my future could hold for me. I’m hopeful that I will gain a place at one of the drama schools I audition for, but there are always other options so I’ll continue to keep learning. 

Another topic that really interests me is the ‘uni vs drama school’ debate, so I will probably be posting about that once I’ve looked into it. University has always been an option I’ve considered, but at the moment I’m pretty convinced that it’s not right for me. 

5 Steps to Help you Select which Show to see

1) Decide whether you would rather see a play or a musical: You can determine this by considering if you would rather hear music and enjoy dance performances as well as acting, or just acting on its own. 

2) Research what’s on: The best way to do this is on the Internet, so you could search for West End (or Broadway) productions, or search for touring companies performing in a theatre near you. The other option is to see amateur plays/musicals, as they will generally be cheaper than professional productions, but may not be quite as good (depending on which amateur company you see). 

3) Read all of the synopsis’ of all of the shows that catch your eye: You could even listen to the soundtrack of a potential musical, but knowing whether you find the subject matter of the piece interesting is the most important thing. When reading reviews try and read a few if you can, as they may all have written about different aspects of the show, and may have mixed views on the quality of the piece. 

4) Pick which show appeals to you the most: and then you will of course need tickets. Decide whether you want to sit in the stalls or the grand circle etc, and of course consider your budget during this time. 

5) Finally, book your tickets for a date that works for you: (and that is not sold out already) and enjoy the show. 

A few extra things for you to consider:

1) Is this going to interest the age range I am booking for? (will it be inappropriate for your children, or aimed at far too young an audience for the elderly) 

2) Will this show still be around in a few months time if I don’t see it now? (If a show is only due to be performed for a limited time, and your other choice is one of the longest running musicals, I would suggest seeing the other show first before it leaves the theatre). 

3) Are the cast good? (If there have been incredibly poor reviews stating that the cast are all incredibly untalented, you may not enjoy the show so much). 

4) Do I want to cry or cry with laughter? (Depending on what mood you’re in, and what sort of thing you enjoy watching, you may want to tailor whatever show you pick to what emotions you want to feel. If you want to cry, go and watch Les Mis or Miss Saigon, but if you want to laugh, go and see Matilda). 

5) Do I want to see a new show, or relive an old experience? (Seeing a new show is probably the best option for most people, as some may see it as a ‘waste of money’ to see the same show twice, or they just want a change. However if the last time you saw something was years ago, or you really want to see your favourite show again then go for it! – After next month I will have seen Les Mis three times, and Wicked and Matilda twice , and I regret nothing). 

Theatre Bucket List

Firstly, thank you so much for getting my blog to just over 1,000 views, I’m over the moon! It may not seem like a lot, but I have not even had this blog for a year yet, so I think it’s progressing pretty well.

Also I would like more suggestions and requests for posts people would like me to write, so you can send these to me at: justamusicalgal@gmail.com
Or on Twitter: @justamusicalgal

Another little update before I begin this post properly, I now have Instagram! Follow me at: @justamusicalgal for more regular updates.

So most people have some kind of idea of a list of things they want to do in their life. So, here is my take on a theatre/performers bucket list:

1) Be in a West End/Broadway/Professional show (Status: incomplete)

2) Train at a top theatre school (Status: incomplete)

3) Be a character at Disneyland, or a performer in their parades and shows (Status: incomplete)

4) Be signed to an agency (Status: I used to be, but I decided to leave to focus on school)

5) Be in a television drama (Status: I was once an extra in a BBC drama called What Remains)

6) Be in a film (Status: incomplete)

7) Release a Musical Hits CD (Status: incomplete)

8) Be in a famous musical e.g. Les Miserables (Status: incomplete)

9) Be on an original cast recording (Status: incomplete)

10) Be nominated for/win an award, or be invited to an awards ceremony e.g. The Olivier Awards

Let me know any more that you would add to my list, or if you have indeed achieved any of these goals.

This or That Tag (Musical Version)

This tag is mainly done by beauty gurus and fashion bloggers, so I thought I’d put my own spin on it. So, I filled a hat with the names of 20 musicals, and I had to pick out 2 at a time. I also have 10 “would you rather” categories (it should all make sense in a minute). So here goes:

1. Which would I rather see?
Jersey Boys or The Book of Mormon:
I was so annoyed when I got these two for this category, as they are both at the top of my list for shows I want to see next! But I’d have to say The Book of Mormon purely because I want to see I believe live really badly.

2. Which would I rather be in?
Les Miserables or Grease:
Ever since I have wanted to be in musicals I have wanted to be in these two. I have been in two productions of Grease (read about one of them in my post: The Understudy), and that was really fun so I would love to be in a West End version. But I have to chose Les Mis as I desperately want to be either Eponine, Fantine or Cosette. Imagine going out on stage and belting out one of the tragic songs from one of the greatest musicals of all time? I think it would be incredible to be a part of.

3. Which would I rather marry a character from?
Cats or Miss Saigon:
I knew straight away I would like to marry Chris from Miss Saigon. Who wouldn’t? I think I’d marry him and then sing Sun and Moon with him. Perfect.

4. Which soundtrack do I prefer?
Billy Elliot or Starlight Express:
I love the music from both of these shows, but several of the songs from Billy Elliot really move me (Mainly The Letter). So, I would have to chose Billy Elliot.

5. Which choreography would I rather perform?
The Wizard of Oz or Moulin Rouge:
I am currently in a production of Moulin Rouge, and although I love the show I’m not a big fan of the choreography. However I love doing the classic “wizard of Oz step/skip” that Dorothy and Co do on the way to Oz. So I’d have to pick dancing in Ruby Slippers over CanCan skirts.

6. Which would I rather was real?
Thriller Live or West Side Story:
It would be cruel to wish West Side Story was real, even if I would love to meet all the Jets. So, Thriller Live it is.

7. Which main character do I prefer?
Fame or Blood Brothers:
Fame is a great musical, but I don’t feel like I connect with the characters the way I connect with the Blood Brothers cast. Blood Brothers really moves me and Mrs Johnstone is one of my dream roles, so I would have to chose Blood Brothers.

8. Which costumes would I rather wear?
Matilda or Phantom of the Opera:
The costumes from Phantom are beautiful and very elaborate, but I have a huge desire to put on a Matilda blazer and sing Revolting Children, so I’d have to chose Matilda The Musical.

9. Which set do I prefer?
High Society or Wicked:
Let’s face it, who doesn’t love seeing the gorgeous emerald city and the ending of Defying Gravity? Also even the curtains have a beautiful map on them, so I think Wicked wins hands down.

10. Which would I rather see everyday if I had to?
Oliver or Joseph:
I really love Oliver, and it was one of my childhood favourites. But I can never get bored of the Joseph soundtrack, and it would be pretty cool to be able to see the Technicolour Dream Coat come to life every night, so Joseph is my winner for this category.

And there you have it, The This Or That (Musical Theatre Version) Tag.

Now normally at the end of a tag, the blogger is supposed to tag other blogs to do it as well. But seeing as I don’t know who it would chose, I tag any musical theatre or theatre blogger reading this to take on the challenge, and let me know you have completed it so I can read yours too. You could do this tag with any musicals or plays of your choice, so give it a go, and I look forward to reading more from this tag.

Tony Award Nominees 2014

The nominees for the 68th annual Tony Awards 2014 have been announced today! Hosted by Hugh Jackman, the event will be spectacular as ever. Here is a full list of the nominees, with a few YouTube clips thrown in to help you decide who you think should win.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical:

Ramin Karimloo – Les Miserables: http://youtu.be/kAp-V-Sb85w

Neil Patrick Harris -Hedwig and the Angry Inch: http://youtu.be/7y7X6_GVsUw

Andy Karl – Rocky: http://youtu.be/Gymga2GZs2M

Jefferson Mays & Bryce Pinkham – Both nominated for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: http://youtu.be/Ih_leBr6DlE

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical:

Mary Bridget Davies – A Night with Janis Joplin:

Sutton Foster – Violet:

Idina Menzel – If/Then:

Jessie Mueller – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: http://youtu.be/w4NKI8wEhyc

Kelli O’Hara – The Bridges of Madison County:

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play:

Samuel Barnett – Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston – All the Way
Chris O’Dowd – Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance – Richard III
Tony Shalhoub – Act One

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play:

Tyne Daly – Mothers and sons
LaTanya Richardson-Jackson – A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones – The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Estelle Parsons – The Velocity of Autumn

Best revival of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Best revival of a musical:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Violet
Les Miserables

Best play:

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

Best Musical:

After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best book of a musical:

Chad Beguelin – Aladdin
Douglas McGrath – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Woody Allen – Bullets Over Broadway
Robert L Freedman – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theatre:

Aladdin (Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin.
The Bridges of Madison County (Music and lyrics: Jason Robert Brown.)
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Music: Steven Lutvak, Lyrics: Robert L Freedman and Steven Lutvak.)
If/Then (Music: Tom Kitt, Lyrics: Brian Yorkey.)

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play:

Reed Birney – Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi – Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry – Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance – Twelfth Night
Brian J Smith – The Glass Menagerie

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play:

Sarah Greene – The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger – The Glass Menagerie
Sophie Okonedo – A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose – A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham – Casa Valentina

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical:

Danny Burstein – Cabaret
Nick Cordero – Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry – Violet
James Monroe Iglehart – Aladdin
Jarrod Spector – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical:

Linda Emond – Cabaret
Lena Hall – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox – After Midnight
Lauren Worsham – A Gentleman’s guide to Love and Murder

Best scenic design of a play:

Act One
The Glass Menagerie
Machinal
The Cripple of Inishmaan

Best scenic design of a musical:

Rocky
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bullets Over Broadway
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bullets Over Broadway

Best costume design of a play:

Act One
Machinal
Casa Valentina
Twelfth Night

Best costume design of a musical:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bullets Over Broadway
After Midnight
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Best lighting design of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Machinal
Of Mice and Men
The Glass Menagerie

Best lighting design of a musical:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Rocky
After Midnight
The Bridges of Madison County

Best sound design of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Act One
Machinal

Best sound design of a musical:

After Midnight
Les Miserables
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best direction of a play:

Tim Carroll – Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage – The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon – A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany – The Glass Menagerie

Best direction of a musical:

Warren Carlyle – After Midnight
Michael Mayer – Headwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman – Violet
Darko Tresnjak – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best choreography:

Rocky
Aladdin
Bullets Over Broadway
After Midnight

Best Orchestrations:

Bullets Over Broadway
The Bridges of Madison County
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Lifetime achievement in the theatre:
Jane Greenwood

Regional Theatre award:
Signature Theatre, New York

Isabelle Stevenson Award:
Rosie O’Donnell

Tony honours for excellence in the theatre:
Joseph P Benincasa
Joan Marcus
Charlotte Wilcox.

Frozen The Musical?

Yes some of you may have already heard about this, but I wanted to research and find out the latest developments on this story.

But for those of you who do not know, the new much loved Disney film Frozen is going to become a Broadway musical! I am thrilled at this news as I think the film is fantastic, and the soundtrack is beautiful.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, The film made more money in it’s debut weekend than the first showings of any other Disney animations, so it seems a musical would also prove very popular.

The cast of Frozen includes Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff, who are all Broadway stars, so in theory they already have a talented cast. Kristen Bell, who played the voice of Anna, has said she is hoping to make her Broadway debut in this musical, if she is asked to join the cast, which could be very likely.

The film won a Golden Globe for best animated film, so it really has been a huge hit. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger revealed the plans for this new show, but as of yet there is no creative team or timeframe set in stone.

But will this be a good move for Disney? They had so much success with the Broadway show The Lion King, which is spectacular and if you ever get the chance to see it then do! So will Frozen the musical ever be as successful? Will the casting directors ever be able to find an Elsa as talented as Idina Menzel? Or anyone who can sing Let it Go flawlessly in eight shows a week? How are they going to bring Sven and Olaf to the stage? We shall see.

I would love it if Frozen was a success on Broadway so it could transfer here into the West End, so fingers crossed!

No matter how long the creative process takes I think there is hope that this musical will become a reality, as they announced the news in January 2014 so some plans may be circulating soon!

Also Disney have created a website where you can sign up to receive emails about news of the show, so I will help you out with a link: http://www.frozenthemusical.com

The Frozen soundtrack, composed by Christophe Beck, is what really makes this film special in my opinion. The orchestral pieces are fantastic, and the songs I find to be very uplifting, almost like a ready made musical score!

But there has been talk that if the cast of the movie are asked to join the show, they need to solve the “Jonathon Groff problem”. The problem is that Jonathan’s character kristoff only has one very short song in the film – Reindeers are better than people. So if Frozen the musical does become a reality, another song will have to be written for his character, which could be risky as the current songs have been so well received.

So to conclude, here are my top 5 frozen songs:
5. Love is an open door (track 4)
4. In summer (track 7)
3. For the first time in forever (track 3)
2. Fixer Upper (track 9)
1. Let it go – Idina Menzel version (track 5).