“Don't be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some...
April 6, 2016
Today I was teaching a student and she literally looked like she was going to fall asleep during an exercise. I was not insulted, I knew she was exhau...
Sleep Where you Can
April 6, 2016
Although I adore seeing and working with students in person, I love working via Skype. It is efficient for everyone, especially students who have hom...
The Mute, or The Art of Listening
April 11, 2016
Teachers and Coaches to Know
April 13, 2016
At least 30 years ago there was a highly regarded musical theater workshop in Los Angeles at the Music Center. I honestly don’t remember the exact name, but I can tell you that this intensive musical theater program graduated many very talented working actors, writers, and directors. For those of us who participated in this program we walked away with incredible insight into our craft and the business. To this day there are valuable lessons I learned in this program that guide my work.
The program was most definitely not for sissies, they were long days, long sessions, and a weekly humiliating weigh-in...yes, a weigh-in. The teaching styles ranged from warm and fuzzy to downright tyrranical. Once a certain Swiss actor stormed out of a scene study class announcing, “I will not be treated like this!” You couldn’t have hacked through the tension in that room with a chain saw-it was INTENSE. But I learned something in that moment. He was absolutely right. NO ONE deserved to be treated like that.
I get that there are different methods of teaching, but I can honestly say that when I have been confronted by that typical brand of teaching or directing, I wither. This method does not bring out my best work, in fact, I would say that it in many instances it set me back in my growth as an artist, not to mention the therapy bills.
Luckily, we live in an era where there are so many studios with beautiful philosophies that embody a safe and challenging atmosphere in which students are encouraged to grow and fly.
A couple of my favorites (check back for additions):
Robin Morse Studio-Robin’s acting the song class should be at the top of every musical theater performer’s list. Robin’s years of experience in the business coupled with her phenomenal training as a teacher, and her absolute passion, provides an atmosphere of blissful exploration of song. The class is offered weekly, and the rates are very reasonable. This should be your ongoing playground to work on songs. (The amazing, kind Ross Patterson accompanies the singers-if you don’t know who Ross is google him.) When I need to work on material, this is where you’ll find me.
Kimball Studio-Kelly Kimball is the bomb.com when it comes to on-camera work and improv classes (called Ballistics). All the teachers at Kimball are kind, smart, and effective. The student population is friendly and supportive- it’s called trickle down, baby. This is a studio where you will learn tools to improve your skills in each session. The studio is also terrific at providing industry nights for their students. Kelly brings in top CDs, agents, and managers to meet her students and then provides tremendous feedback beyond what the expert shared in the actual session.