Friday, February 20, 2009

Terrific Teachers

There are classes and teachers that change our lives. My kindgarten teacher, Mrs. Borden, made school feel safe for me. My first music teacher, Pat Wear, created a venue where I could sing to my heart's content. My first voice teacher, Winnie Hammond, took me to my first professional audition at the San Bernadino CLO - first for Peter Pan and then for Annie, which I booked. Tom Hatten was the top billing for that show, and my Dad was a big fan of his and the Popeye / Family Film Festival shows that would play on the weekend.

My 8th grade teacher, Marcia Cloyd (pictured left), was a huge influence on me, encouraging me as a writer and an actress. She introduced me to her mother, Marguerette, who was a local celebrity from The Ramona Pageant, which is a gorgeous outdoor play based on Helen Hunt Jackon's novel, Ramona about the Spanish/Indian conflict in Southern CA in the late 1800s. Both Margie and Marcia took me under their wings, and Margie kept her eye on me, offering me the role of Rita in Educating Rita at her Palace West Playhouse (local theatre) when I turned 21. I ended up winning the Inland Theatre League Award for that role and that show, and that was pretty darned cool!

Then I was off to NYC... "three bucks, two bags, one me." I went to AMDA, booked work at the PA Renaissance Faire and learned tons from my directors and castmates! Fell in love, and continue to learn from my sweet Robbie, who is a master at comedy.

Back in NY, I booked gigs here and there and got my Equity card, but you know when you plateau? You need a guide to the next level.
It was VP Boyle (above) who rocked my world and opened the door for me with his Musical Theatre Forum. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that it's not about "them" and what "they" think. It's about working to my own satisfaction. And one of the questions VP would often ask was, "If today was your last day on earth and you had the chance to sing, what would you sing?"

My Mom (below) always talked about that when I was a kid: "Live each day as if it's your last." And to me that translates to, "Live life to the fullest!"
To quote Auntie Mame, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

Life's too short to not "go for it," ya know? And I'm in the business of making my dreams come true!

I just finished The Monoluge Audition Workshop with Karen Kohlhaas, and this has been one of those life-changing, restoring confidence, stir-the-imagination kind of classes. I wish I would've taken this class years ago! It is a boon to any actor!

For our last night of class we did mock auditions, and since this class is at The Atlantic Theatre School, there were other classes and sessions going on. While I was waiting in the hall for one of the "mock" auditions, a very famous TV star happened to pass by, and she asked what we were doing. When we told her about the "mock" audition, she gave a knowing look and said, "Whew! I was afraid it was a REAL audition!" It made me laugh because you hear all the time how no one likes to audition, big stars included, yet we all do it, we all go through the trial by fire to get what we want!

And now I've got these great tools to propel me forward. :)

If you're not in NY and can't study with Karen, I highly recommend her books, The Monologue Audition and How To Choose A Monologue. Seriously, they're right up there with the infamous Audition books we've all been schooled in. But these are current, chock full of info, and incredibly inspiring.

"Once more unto the breech, dear friends!"

Hope you're making your dreams come true too! :)

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