Each private lesson is tailored to the specific student. The first meeting is an introduction, during which I get to know the student and their musical/theatrical tastes and goals and find out the student's vocal range. From there, we proceed based on each student's experience, vocal range, interests, and goals.
Classes can include acting games, monologues, proper breathing and vocal technique, acting through a song, character study, and some theatre history. Older students and I may read plays and discuss their themes, structure, and how the student would approach playing one or more of the roles. If the student has an upcoming audition for a show, we will discuss appropriate monologue or song selection and work on a 16 or 32 bar cut (whichever the audition specifies). A long term goal is to build a "book" or repertoire of songs that the student is comfortable singing that can be selected on short notice for a performance or audition.
I enjoy working one on one with students so I can tailor the class to their specific needs, interests, and goals. They progress quickly, gaining the skills and confidence needed to pursue any sort of performance.
As a teacher and director...
As head of the summer workshop program at Firebird Theatre, I lead a college-aged production staff in staging two fully-realized children's productions each summer. I absolutely love working with the casts, usually ranging in age from 7-12 and 12-17.
I make sure my casts are treated like young professionals during the rehearsal, tech, and performance process. I value teaching the kids how to conduct themselves in a theatre setting and we produce a show that is lightyears better than the average children's production. I expect them to follow deadlines, be respectful, and to give me their best. In exchange, I worry about all the tech, costumes, props, and how to get the wonderful performance out of them.
I give my casts the same techniques I was given in a graduate theatre program. They seem surprised at first (especially at their first tech!), but quickly learn the pros to this approach and go forward to high school and college theatre knowing the way that professional theatres work. I challenge them, but their work always soars.
In my travels, I've noticed what appears to be a trend or pattern of having lower expectations for child actors in some school and community theatre settings. I've seen this not only in production but also in the scripts I read. It baffles me why we can't expect people under 18 to respond to and adequately perform a well-written, well-structured, moving, funny, heartfelt script.
My casts discuss dramaturgy and the psychology of the character and I encourage them to create their characters' backstories. I give them freedom and space to play and test. I teach them how to properly analyze a script to discover their character's given circumstances, values, and clues to their motivations.
It's become my own personal mission to change the way in which we approach directing children in school and local theatre. They're beautifully capable and want to learn, if only we take the time to teach them.
Selected Children's Theatre Directing Experience:
Xanadu Jr., The Music Man Jr., Peter Pan (non musical), Singin' In The Rain Jr., Elf Jr., Peter Pan Jr., Alice in Wonderland Jr. (two productions), Beauty and the Beast Jr., 101 Dalmatians Kids (two productions), The Little Mermaid Jr., Cinderella Kids, Seussical Jr. (two productions), The Wiz, Annie Jr., High School Musical Jr., Into The Woods Jr., The Trouble in Oz (musical director), and performances for recitals and showcases.
Former Student Accomplishments:
- Leads in high school, middle school, and community theatre productions, including Annie, Singin' In The Rain, Trojan Women, and more.
- Matilda Wormwood in Matilda (Broadway replacement) - 2013-2014.
- Children's ensemble in The Music Man at Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.