Musical Theatre Workshop Videos

So I've finally gotten around to linking to all our clips from the Musical Theatre Workshop with David Brunetti! Thanks to 1st-Year BB for videotaping, and Wifey for putting things online!

Please keep in mind that this is an MFA Acting program. We are not musical theatre performers by trade. We are not trained in singing. This workshop is an exercise in acting WHILE singing. And many of the videos are of people who are petrified of singing in front of people (some have never had any vocal training; some have never sung in front of people before this). But everyone did a fabulous job of keeping it together, and really acting through the song.

Enjoy! (And Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate it!)

Angela - "If You Hadn't, But You Did" from Two on the Aisle
All-The-Way - "Toll" by Jeff Blumenkrantz
Big Show - "Love Is Here to Stay" from The Goldwyn Follies
D-Train - "Love to Me" from The Light in the Piazza
Iceman - "Santa Fe" from Newsies
Killer - "Along the Way" from Edges: A Song Cycle
Newbie - "Practically Perfect" from Mary Poppins
O.D. - "If I Were a Rich Man" from The Fiddler on the Roof
Thrill - "Young and Positive" by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Two-Shots-Up - "You Don't Know This Man" from Parade
Wifey - "Gimme, Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie
1st-Year AS - "That'll Show Him" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
1st-Year BB - "This Is the Moment" from Jekyll & Hyde
1st-Year GK - "Real Live Girl" from Little Me
1st-Year GP - "Frank Mills" from Hair
1st-Year JaS - "All That's Known" from Spring Awakening
1st-Year JMM - "She Cries" from Songs for a New World
1st-Year JoS - "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks
1st-Year KC - "Jimmy" from Thoroughly Modern Millie
1st-Year LB - "Ariadne" from The Frogs
1st-Year MD - "The Light in the Piazza" from The Light in the Piazza
1st-Year TS - "River in the Rain" from Big River


Me Singing

1st-Year BB kindly videotaped the Musical Theatre showing, and Wifey is being lovely and uploading all the videos onto YouTube. :) The audio and visuals are a bit out of sync right now. We think it has something to do with the file type, so when I get back to Florida I'm going to see if there's a way to convert them...

Will post all of them later, but here's mine. Enjoy!


Quotations: Volume 44

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

(Disclaimer: quotations are often taken out of context and may not accurately reflect the way they were originally intended)

"When you go to auditions, most people are too afraid to go far enough."
- David Brunetti

"I have a friend who says, 'Show me a well-behaved child, and I'll show you an abused child.' Children aren't meant to be perfect."
- David Brunetti

David Brunetti: You just came in half a bar early.
1st-Year GP: (gestures to accompanist) I feel like I need him to go, 'Hit it, Toots!'

(after 1st-Year GK recited the lyrics to "Real Live Girl")
1st-Year TS: Absolutely no character adjustment whatsoever.
David Brunetti: (to 1st-Year GK) Is that true?
1st-Year GK: I don't think so. I don't know.
David Brunetti: Why'd he say that?
1st-Year GK: I don't know why he said that.
1st-Year TS: I don't know why I say most things I say.

1st-Year JaS: You don't know this, but we had thirteen people in our class until she killed one of them. Jorge. With the apple.
Angela: In the Conservatory.

Wifey: I brought in like five songs. I secretly knew this was the one, but how often do you get to sing and have someone just play for you?
Accompanist: You used me!

"You guys are great. I almost feel like I'm not earning my money, because the work is so good I have nothing to do."
- David Brunetti

David Brunetti: Does singing scare you?
1st-Year JaS: It didn't used to. I guess... I suppose it doesn't scare me as much as rock climbing.

"Hello. I'm [1st-Year TS], I'm a first-year, and this is a cat being killed by a bagpipe.... No, it's 'River in the Rain'."
- 1st-Year TS (in a rehearsal)

"Hello. My name is [1st-Year TS], I'm a first-year, and I'm going to sing 'River in the Rain'. And then I'm going to throw up."
- 1st-Year TS (at the Showing)


Saturday, December 12


I kept fully intending to write the daily happenings of the musical theatre workshop on this blog, but it seemed too daunting a task... We have in fact been having the workshop all this week. This morning we had our showing, which went brilliantly well.

I don't even really feel like I have the energy to write about the week just now, to be honest. So instead, here are the songs that people ended up singing, so that you can entertain yourselves until my return to writing.

(I have linked to YouTube videos... which are NOT of us. I just linked so that you can hear the songs if you're curious. 1st-Year BB tried to tape our showing today, so if he puts the clips online, I will certainly link to them.)

Angela - "If You Hadn't, But You Did" from Two on the Aisle
All-The-Way - "Toll" by Jeff Blumenkrantz
Big Show - "Love Is Here to Stay" from The Goldwyn Follies
D-Train - "Love to Me" from The Light in the Piazza
Iceman - "Santa Fe" from Newsies
Killer - "Along the Way" from Edges: A Song Cycle
Newbie - "Practically Perfect" from Mary Poppins
O.D. - "If I Were a Rich Man" from The Fiddler on the Roof
Thrill - "Young and Positive" by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Two-Shots-Up - "You Don't Know This Man" from Parade
Wifey - "Gimme, Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie
1st-Year AS - "That'll Show Him" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
1st-Year BB - "This Is the Moment" from Jekyll & Hyde
1st-Year GK - "Real Live Girl" from Little Me
1st-Year GP - "Frank Mills" from Hair
1st-Year JaS - "All That's Known" from Spring Awakening
1st-Year JMM - "She Cries" from Songs for a New World
1st-Year JoS - "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks
1st-Year KC - "Jimmy" from Thoroughly Modern Millie
1st-Year LB - "Ariadne" from The Frogs
1st-Year MD - "The Light in the Piazza" from The Light in the Piazza
1st-Year SDW - "I Will Be Loved Tonight" from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
1st-Year TS - "River in the Rain" from Big River

I attended the opening of The Life of Galileo yesterday night, and it was SENSATIONAL. I seriously loved it. If you're local you MUST go see it. The 3rd-Years are all in it, and are doing a great job. :)


Quotations: Volume 43

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

(Disclaimer: quotations are often taken out of context and may not accurately reflect the way they were originally intended)

(Voice Professor made copies of our RP assignment and handed us back the originals. Big Show was attempting to erase something he had written on his assignment, and was having difficulty)
Big Show: Is this the copy?
Voice Professor: No.
Big Show: I guess I just suck at erasing, then.
Voice Professor: I've never heard anyone say that before.
Two-Shots-Up: What?
Voice Professor: 'I suck at erasing.' Make a note of it.

"Over break, I had a woodpecker in my yard who started pecking in iambic pentameter. Not always. He goes into other rhythms as well, but then every so often he goes back to it. I was stunned."
- Acting Professoressa

"Stepping back is fine. People step back for all sorts of reasons. Aren't you glad you came to grad school? To get that nugget of information?"
- Acting Professoressa, after someone had tried to avoid taking a step backward in their sonnet work

"Everybody! Need, and four doings, you're ready to go!"
- Acting Professoressa, on sonnet work

"Rhyme is a good reason to make sure you don't drip-drip-drip, but land-land-land."
- Acting Professoressa, on rhyming couplets at the ends of sonnets and monologues

"Lawrence Olivier and John Gielgud had something more than skill or talent; they were obsessed."
- Acting Professoressa

"I'm not saying you should go insane; I'm just saying it helps to get a little obsessed with your work."
- Acting Professoressa

(in a discussion about why Proteus falls for Sylvia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
O.D.: I think it is a forbidden fruit thing.
Newbie: "I want her because you said I couldn't have her."
Acting Professoressa: "I want to touch the costume because you put a sign on it that told me not to."

(in a discussion about how it was impossible to look manly in their ballet tights, Iceman hooks his thumbs into them as though they were belt-loops, and began to walk like John Wayne)
Iceman It kinda looks macho if you walk around like this.
Thrill: Nah, man. You're still in tights.
Iceman: Whatever. They're cowboy tights now.

(discussing the scansion of a Shakespeare line that involves the words "pale cold cowardice")
Angela: It's a red house.
Big Show: It's a double red house.
Angela: Indeed.
Big Show: A super red house. A long red house.
Angela: A duplex.

"Honey, it's like a gift from God to have your Need spelled out in the last line of your text. Go for it."
- Acting Professoressa, to Wifey, on her monologue that concludes with "The best way is to venge my Gloucester's death."

Angela: She's awesome!
Thrill: That chick is crazy.
Voice Professor: Who are we talking about?
Thrill: Lady Gaga. She wears feathers on her eyes and stuff.
Angela: So? I have feather false eyelashes.
Voice Professor: We're not comparing anyone to you as a measurement of normality. You're not a good point of reference.

"Have compassion on my frayed nerves. No, no, my nerves aren't frayed. I'm just old."
- Acting Professoressa

"Every song that has ever lasted, ever, almost without exception, was written by someone who was really a dramatist."
- David Brunetti, on how song writers have to think like actors and dramatists, and think about a person who is going through something

"In opera, the acting is just horrendous. Almost universally. It's appalling."
- David Brunetti

"He was great. He sang songs, and he just lived them. That's what I want you guys to do."
- David Brunetti, on Frank Sinatra

"I used to go home with my script, like every untrained actor, and come up with line readings for every line. 'Maybe THIS would sound good.' Or 'maybe THIS would sound good.' Or 'maybe THIS would sound good?'"
- David Brunetti, on how line-readings prevent you from being real

"Singing is speaking. That's how I want you to think about it."
- David Brunetti

"The characters you're playing are screaming maniacs. They behave the way you don't allow yourself to behave in life. If you want to play the, you have to find the screaming maniac in yourself."
- David Brunetti

"That's why people pay money to sit in chairs in the dark and watch us. It's to see parts of themselves that they suppress. It's healing. It's beautiful."
- David Brunetti

"You wanna NOT have a feeling? Then try to have it. You won't be able to. All you'll get is a cliché."
- David Brunetti

"The kind of actor I like to work with won't say, 'What am I feeling?', but, 'What am I doing?'"
- David Brunetti

(after 1st-Year JMM recited the text of his long song)
David Brunetti: Is that it?
1st-Year JMM: Yes.
David Brunetti: God, it's the longest song ever written.

"Let's say that they were going to cut this song from the show and replace it with a line. There are lots of reasons they might cut a song from a show... Maybe because the song is too d*** long."
- David Brunetti

"Most songs are not about people having a joyful day. I would say eighty-five percent of songs are people who are not having a joyful day."
- David Brunetti

"Strasberg would say, 'Use your history. Use your memories.' Meisner would say 'Use your imagination.' He thought it was dangerous and limiting to only use your own experiences. I say, use both."
- David Brunetti

"The star of this song is not you; it's your partner."
- David Brunetti

"If you're working impulsively, you'll be full of tactics. Because we're all theatrical people."
- David Brunetti

"You don't want to hide behind the music."
- David Brunetti

"It's terrible to be actors who are directing yourselves, because then you're always up in your head. But it's important to know how to shape things."
- David Brunetti

"People ask me what to do with their bodies while they're singing, and I say, 'I don't care.' You don't think about your body while you're living."
- David Brunetti

"I'm Italian and Russian, so my body is ridiculous."
- David Brunetti

"My mother is from Mexico, and my dad is random white stuff."
- 1st-Year LB

(after a few tries, 1st-Year JS nailed his song)
David Brunetti: That was great! How'd you do that?
1st-Year JS: I did everything you said finally.


Sunday, December 6

First of all, I wanted to let you know that my YouTube channel is now fully loaded with my videos from the Movement Showing. Here are some of them:

Me and Killer doing contact improv with the theme "Growing Up":

Me and D-Train doing contact improv with the theme "Negative Space":

Me, Newbie, and All-The-Way doing contact improv with the theme "The Three Graces":

O.D., Iceman, me, Thrill, and D-Train rehearsing for our tap dancing:

The 11 of '11 rehearsing our ballet number (Sadly, this is the only video I have of the ballet, and it's not a great run-through. Oh well. Use your imagination.):

The 11 of '11 doing a full class contact improv:

The other amazing videos I have online are:
- All-The-Way, Angela, & Newbie (aka The Three Graces) contact improv rehearsal (theme: "Séance")
- All-The-Way & D-Train contact improv rehearsal (theme: "Lies & Addiction")
- All-The-Way & D-Train contact improv showing (theme: "Lies & Addiction")
- Angela & D-Train contact improv rehearsal (theme: "Negative Space")
- Angela & Killer contact improv rehearsal (theme: "Bubble Bath")
- Angela, D-Train, Iceman, O.D., & Thrill tap showing
- Big Show, Killer, O.D. & Thrill (aka The Stunt Men) contact improv rehearsal
- Big Show, Killer, O.D., & Thrill (aka The Stunt Men) contact improv showing (theme: "Action Movie") *highly recommended*
- Big Show & Newbie contact improv rehearsal
- Big Show & Newbie contact improv showing (theme: "Absorbing Raindrops")
- D-Train, Iceman, & Thrill contact improv rehearsal (theme: The Matrix) *highly recommended*
- D-Train, Iceman, & Thrill contact improv showing (theme: Apollo 13) *highly recommended*
- Iceman & O.D. contact improv rehearsal
- Iceman & O.D. contact improv showing
- Iceman & Two-Shots Up contact improv rehearsal
- Iceman & Two-Shots-Up contact improv showing
- Iceman & Wifey contact improv rehearsal (theme: Forgiveness)
- Iceman & Wifey contact improv showing (theme: "Of all the gin joints in the world") *highly recommended*
- Thrill & Two-Shots-Up contact improv rehearsal *highly recommended*
- 1st-Year Teddy Bear Rag rehearsal
- 1st-Year Teddy Bear Rag showing *highly recommended*
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Hat rehearsal
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Hat 3-minute showing
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Hat 1-minute showing
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Jumprope rehearsal
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Jumprope 3-minute showing
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Jumprope 1-minute showing
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Yoga Mat rehearsal
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Yoga Mat 3-minute showing
- 1st-Year Viewpoints with Yoga Mat 1-minute showing
- 1st-Years & 2nd-Years big group Viewpoints rehearsal

Yay for David Brunetti!

Today, we got through 1st-Year JMM, 1st-Year LB, and 1st-Year JS. Brave 1st-years, jumping up on the first day!

I'll write more about the process next week, but in the meanwhile, you can check out this post from 12/12/08 to get an idea of the process we're working on now. :)


Friday, December 4

Our Movement Showing went SO WELL!

I could try to tell you about it here, but instead, I did something awesome...

I bought a video camera! A Flip Ultra (which I apparently could've gotten a lot cheaper on Amazon if I'd had more foresight).

I taped some things during rehearsals for the showing, and then I passed off my camera to other people and had them tape some things, too. And then during the showing, I think we managed to tape all the 1st-years Viewpoints work, and all the 2nd-years Contact Improv work.

So I made a YouTube channel! It takes FOREVER to upload anything (about 15 minutes of upload time for each 1 minute of video, it seems), but I'm slowly adding things.

Check it out:

For Acting class, because it was the last day of the semester, we had a pizza party, courtesy of Acting Professoressa. She told us that she loved the Movement Showing, and thought it was impressive. And then we watched a film!

The film was Etoiles - Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. Those dancers are OBSESSED with their art. And even though they're working together, many of them called it a lonely life. Despite that, they seem so satisfied by their art that it doesn't matter. It was enthralling.

I cannot put into words just how proud I am of the 12 of '12. They did phenomenal work at their showing! They did scenes from an unpublished play as etudes, similarly to what our class did with Sarah Ruhl's Late: A Cowboy Song last year. They blew me away. I kept alternating between tears and laughter. It was really beautiful. My love for them was exploding out of me by the time it was through.

The Perfume Shop, which is the US Premiere of the play that inspired The Shop Around the Corner, You've Got Mail, and She Loves Me opened. And it is so charming! My beautiful roommate, 3rd-Year NP, is in it as a number-crunching sales clerk. And the ENTIRE 3rd-year class is in it! It's the first Rep show of the season, and they are officially in the company. It's so exciting! And they did a beautiful job. The atmosphere in the busy shop flows into the audience, and you could swear that you smell the perfume from the mezzanine. I loved it, and I'm so excited to see their next opening (which is only a week away!).


Thursday, December 3

We took our RP spoken exam. I had been TERRIFIED about it. I studied really hard last night.

But we got our tests back this afternoon, and I did great! Voice Professor even wrote that I did well on the "rattle-rattle-bing" rhythm of the dialect! Seriously exciting. :)

The entire day was spent figuring out what we're doing for the Showing tomorrow. The showing will be at 10:30am in the Movement Studio. If you're in town, come see it!

Here's what's on the docket:
- 1st-Years dance a Rag
- 2nd-Years dance ballet to "Enjoy the Silence" by Sonos (including solos by Wifey and All-the-Way)
- 1st-Years show Viewpoints (and 2nd-Years get to join in!)
- 1st-Years do Viewpoints quartets
- Angela, D-Train, Iceman, O.D., and Thrill do a little bit of tap dance. (Me and my men!)
- 2nd-Years do a BUNCH of Contact Improv (which will include audience suggestions for themes!)...
O.D. & Iceman
Angela & D-Train
Big Show & Newbie
Angela, All-The-Way, & Newbie (The Three Graces)
Wifey & Iceman
All-The-Way & D-Train
Thrill, Killer, Big Show, & O.D. (The Stunt Men)
Two-Shots-Up & Iceman
Angela & Killer
Iceman & D-Train
Two-Shots-Up & Thrill
- 1st-Years dance a waltz (and 2nd-Years join in!)

An action-packed showing, I must say. I'm excited!

We finished up with people's monologues (Killer, Thrill, and Newbie went today). We are to work on them over break.


Wednesday, December 2

I read my British monologue out loud, and it turns out, I have a ton to work on before tomorrow's exam. I understand all the shifts, but I can't quite do all of them.

The hardest things for me are the things that are NOT shifts between Standard American and RP, but that are shifts for me from my personal dialect into Standard American and RP... So, for example, I have a midwestern sort of diphthong in words like "apple", "man", and even "Angela". In words like "am", "had", "have", and "Jack" in this monologue, I have to remember to shift, even though it doesn't look like a shift on paper. I found in class today that it helps if I think of it as German... I guess my mouth has to do something similar to how I think of umlauts or something... I don't know if any of that makes sense, but it worked for me, so I'm going to keep thinking about it that way and try not to over-analyze it.

My other strong diphthong comes out on the second vowel of the word "vibrations". It's supposed to be the first vowel in "alien" as opposed to the diphthong in "pay"... Apparently, I'm doing it wrong. But to be honest, I can't hear it. I really can't tell when I'm doing it right or wrong. I've been practicing tonight (with Two-Shots-Up, who was kindly helping me), and for tomorrow I'm going to try to shift it almost to the "eh" in "met", and hope for the best (it's not really the right vowel, but at least it's not the kind of wrong that I've BEEN doing... so at least Voice Professor will know I'm trying).

One of the other notes I got was that Voice Professor thought I wasn't using my real voice, but was going into a weird character voice. I didn't notice it (and certainly wasn't trying to). I guess I was just nervous... And when I tried to adjust my voice from her note, she said that I lost my forward placement. Blergh.

Other words I have to watch out for are "been", "very", "notorious", "domesticity", and "solitude".

Today was ballet day. We did some bar work, which, let me tell you, really hurt after not doing it for 3 weeks. And the fact that we're all sore from contact improv yesterday probably didn't help.

For the showing on Friday (come if you can!), we're doing a little choreographed bit of ballet to an a cappella cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" by a group called Sonos (you can listen to it here). It's just a short little thing, but I think it's pretty cool.

We got to my monologue today. Acting Professoressa said that I did it with "technical excellence", which made me happy. :)

We decided that my need for my Constance monologue is going to be "to get them to tell me not to kill myself." It's sort of weird, I know, but it was really helpful. And it's both active and positive, which is great.

I think I'm going to end up cutting my monologue a little differently in order to give the end of it more bite. That'll be nice.

Acting Professoressa says that in classic texts, you have to ask yourself, "Where does my character get her ideas? What feeds her imagination?" The characters didn't have television or movies or newspapers. Many of them are secluded in court. Do they read a lot? Do they gossip with chambermaids? What makes them think the way they think about the world?


Tuesday, December 1

We got our RP monologues back, and I was relieved to see that I did all the shifts correctly... at least on paper.

We started going through people individually reading the text out loud and working on the RP shifts. I'm going tomorrow, and then our verbal exam is on Thursday.

Voice Professor says the next step to take is to mark our operatives, and to try to achieve the "rattle-rattle-bing" quality of RP speakers.

Contact Improv day!!!!!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!

I did my improv with Killer (with the theme "Toy Box") and one with D-Train (with the theme "Walking the Plank"), and both of them went really well, and were a ton of fun! We did them without the mats (as we will be doing in our showing on Friday morning), and I feel a lot braver on the hard floor than I used to.

Movement Professor commented about how much stronger I've gotten since last year (and Killer, too). It made me feel wonderful. It's nice to know that all this work is paying off.

After that, instead of doing my normal trio of me, Two-Shots-Up, and All-The-Way, we were joined by Wifey and Newbie. That's right; all the 5 girls in the class did a contact improv together! We used "The Last Supper" as our theme, and it was fascinating, and so fun. Then the 6 guys had a big contact together (their theme was "Genesis"). And after that? Movement Professor let us do a FULL CLASS SUPER CONTACT IMPROV! All 11 of us! OMG, it was awesome. And kind of a mess. But so much fun! We requested to do a full-class improv as a warm-up for the rest of the week. :)

Movement Professor asked us to e-mail her with our requests for what we want to do for the showing on Friday. I requested to do my duets with D-Train and Killer, and the all-girl improv. I have also requested to be involved in the choreographed bits of tap and ballet (which I think we're setting tomorrow in class).

Big Show did a presentation on two of the greatest actors of the 20th century: Lawrence Olivier and John Gielgud.

We all got up and did our sonnets. Acting Professoressa said she liked mine. She said it got sluggish somewhere around the 2nd quatrain, but that otherwise it was very good.

The next step with our sonnet work is to really distill the stories. She says we've come a long way in improving on personalizing the language and internalizing the technique.

We started doing table-work on people's monologues. All-the-Way and O.D. went today, and we're going to try to do the other 9 of us tomorrow (apparently, we'll be going quite quickly).