I have been obsessed with the new Disney+ show ENCORE! Last week on the show, the cast put together Beauty and the Beast. Susan Egan, the original Belle from Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, came for a visit. She helped coach the other woman playing belle on some great techniques that we can use while we are singing as well.
Egan’s advice for singing “Home”:
"In Episode 2 of Encore! Season 1, Egan tells Desiree to sing it like it’s a question. “It’s naturally how I approach everything. I never thought I was a very good singer. I always thought I’d better act the hell out of this because I’m not a good enough singer to get by on my voice. I have always looked at the lyric more than the note. With a song like ‘Home,’ I actually pull a lot of what I learned from Sam Mendes in Cabaret. I learned a lot in the song ‘Maybe This Time.’ A lot of people sing it like a dirge, like ‘Oh poor me.’ I always laugh because I never say ‘Maybe This Time’ that way. It’s just like ‘Home.’ She is feeling sorry for herself, but at the end she’s not. She’s like, ‘My body is here, and I will live here, but my heart will always be home, and you cannot imprison it.’”"
Egan’s advice for playing the truth in the story:
“When I talk about Beauty and the Beast, I think the rookie mistake is to play it like a cartoon. There is a broadness to the style of the piece that is inherently there, but you don’t have to play that on top of it. It’s redundant. Lumiere doesn’t know that he’s a cartoon. Lumiere knows that if he doesn’t get that Beast to fall in love with the girl and that last petal falls, he’s going to become an inanimate object. He’s got a terminal illness. The stakes are very high. Now, how is he going to go about doing that? With a lot of comedic relief, sure. But what makes comedy great, as Shakespeare has proven, is the tragedy that is underneath it that is constantly informing it."
2 great things to remember. Sing it like its a question. We are rarely one emotion. We are a mixed bag of complex thoughts and feelings that should influence our acting as well. And the thing I always push with my actors, play the truth. Be honest. Things can be big and fun but if we play it as fake, the audience wont connect with the character. If we play the truth, our audience will fall in love with the characters and find the performance endearing.
More information and the full article can be found here:
Travis is in tech week and if you have ever been in tech week for a musical, those songs run through your head constantly. It's been very fun to hear Travis singing and practicing all the songs in Seussical and to hear our little girls sing along.
Music makes us feel happy, music can make us feel good and just like breathing we need it. This week, Kirsten had her students at school perform in a Musical Theatre Showcase. There are a few songs that just speak to her soul. "As soon as those few notes play, I feel alive. I feel all of the emotions in my chest, my heart, and it takes me right back to a specific time, place and memory."
Let us help you feel connected and alive by letting us help you with all your vocal goals. www.andersonvocal.com. Sign up for lessons today!
As Travis gets ready to get into performances and enduring tech week, it's extremely important to take care of his voice. This week I have found some tips from the pros that may help you with your vocal health!
7 Broadway Powerhouses Spill Their Vocal Health Secrets
BY CASEY MINK | OCTOBER 15, 2019 10:00 AM | LAST UPDATED: OCTOBER 24, 2019 10:26 AM
You can train and train and train and still, nothing can prepare you for the realities of eight shows a week other than actually performing eight shows a week. While the life of a stage actor is tough on both stamina and mental health, the toll is taken hardest on your voice. When you’re in the grind long enough, it’s natural that you find various elixirs, exercises, and the like to make sure those chords stay in tip-top belting shape. From Hennessy to “straw buzzing,” here are a few ways Broadway heavyweights do just that.
Try “straw buzzing.”
“As soon as ‘Mama Will Provide’ [the ‘Once on This Island’ showstopper] is over, I almost instantaneously start warming down. I do a cool down just making sure my cords are back into a normal flow. I warm up twice a day: once when I wake up in the morning, I just do a 30 minute [warm-up], and then when I get to the theater, I warm up, I sing through ‘Mama Will Provide’ a couple of times, and then I’ll drink a concoction which I call my ‘throat,’ which is ginger crystal, oregano oil, ginger oil, and manuka honey. It’s awful. It feels like straight gasoline on the cord. But you know what? It rips through anything down there. And I get checked up all the time. You gotta keep everything fresh! I’m not 18 anymore, I can’t just wake up, cough, and go.”
“[As an exercise] you put a straw in your mouth and you just buzz through it. It creates tension to make your cords [touch]. You can also put it in a little glass of water and just make bubbles. You know your parents used to yell at you for doing that and now I’m just like, ‘Look at me, mom!’ ” --Alex Newell, original star of “Once of This Island”
Mind your voice all the time, even onstage.
“[With] a long run, you’ve gotta prevent the snowball. So if something starts feeling weird one day, you’ve gotta deal with it that day or it’s gonna turn into a bigger thing the next day. And it’s taken me a long time to learn that and to kind of tap into what that is. But you just take care of yourself, you know your body, you know your instrument, and you continually work at it. I can go through my career of just doing long runs, and I know so much more now than I did at the beginning, and I wish I could’ve told myself, ‘Save yourself on that.’ ‘Don’t kill yourself here.’ ‘Don’t do that.’ The only answer to that is just know yourself as well as you can.” --Santino Fontana, original star of “Tootsie”
Your diet is as crucial as your vocal warmup.
“[F]or me, it’s really, really basic. I sleep at least eight hours every night, I’m not going out drinking, I’m hydrating a ridiculous amount, I’m eating light but protein-rich, a lot of salads with salmon and things like that. I have a little office studio in my apartment and I warm up in there every single day, and I stretch every day and I meditate in between shows. I’m doing all the corny stuff that we must do when we’re working this hard.” --Will Roland, original star of “Be More Chill”
This potion is fetch.
“I hydrate a lot. Every day before the show, I stretch and I gargle with a little bit of apple cider vinegar and warm water. I have lemon slices—I have a lot of phlegm for some reason; I’m allergic to everything in the theater—and I’m always clearing my throat. So I take a little bit of lemon juice and put it on my throat and it just cuts the phlegm. I really feel like a lot of [self-care] is mental, especially when you have to do eight shows a week.” --Ashley Park, original star of “Mean Girls”
There really are “wellness formulas.”
“I’ll take a shot of apple cider vinegar before I go to bed or if I feel like something’s going on with my throat. And I do those wellness formulas, a couple dollops in water, just to try to keep healthy. A little ginger sometimes—but that’s only when I feel like something’s going wrong.” --Renée Elise Goldsberry, original star of “Hamilton”
Vocal Rest means - don't speak!
“I’m a champion texter because there’s a certain time in the evening I don’t speak. The best vocal rest is literally vocal rest, you just have to shut up. Obviously, don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I try not to yell at people driving foolishly in the streets. I do take Slippery Elm tablets twice a day religiously.” --Orfeh, original star of “Pretty Woman”
Water and steam, you’ll sing like a dream.
“Drink as much water as you possibly can. Like, if you’re not peeing all the time, you’re not doing it right. Just take care of yourself—don’t scream, don’t talk loudly, don’t run your voice down. I try to stay quiet. I don’t go out after shows, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. Take all the fun things away and you can sing eight times a week. But then it’s also things like taking voice lessons. I take a voice lesson every month, I use my steamer every day, I warm up before the show, I cool down after the show. It’s like any sort of athletic event. You have to take care of your voice the same way you take care of your body if you were going for a run or dancing or any of that. You have to warm up, cool down, stretch.” --Caitlin Kinnunen, original star of “The Prom”
Never let life just pass you by. So many times I hear the people around me express their concern for the future. What will it look like? Will it be good? Will I succeed? And then I see some people get so frazzled by the idea that maybe it won't be as good as we hope or think it might be a failure so we don't try. We shut down and literally let life pass us by. The thing we hoped wouldn't happen, happens anyway because we were to afraid to make it happen. Don't let that be you.
Abraham Lincoln explains that life is what you create. Create a good future for yourself and don't be afraid. Know that you have the power and will to make it happen! We here at Anderson Vocal Studio want to help you make that future happen. Even beyond just performing, what an we do to help you create the future you want. Hit us up! Reach out! Talk to us and let us help you! And then don't be afraid to tell others around you that we exist too. They may also need some help!
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