So, last night was the 1st night of 3 with Tara Rubin Casting, and our guest was Merri Sugarman. Can I just say… I love this woman. Just her honesty, her mannerisms, her humor. She’s great. I would LOVE to work with her. It was an interesting blend of talent as well, with a couple other people who were in the last Network workshop I did (including Liz Ali). I went 3rd to last, and did “Gotta Move” for my 32, and in a strange move, “Lesson Learned” by Alicia Keys for my 16, just to do something that was a different style. That was something that Merri made clear, that “contrasting pieces” means completely different vocal styles, not just necessarily uptempo vs. ballad. So, that made it pretty clear that I seriously need to overhaul my book (does anyone know someone who does this professionally? i need help). I spoke to her about my issue with typing, and with my hope that in the next few years that it takes me to grow into my voice, I can still work. She asked me what part currently on broadway that I think that I could play… and I came up blank. Not because I don’t think there’s anything I could play, but because I don’t really know what’s on broadway right now… Embarrassing. She said that you have to know your product, meaning that I don’t really have any excuse for not knowing what’s going on right now, what with youtube and She was absolutely right. It’s part of my job to familiarize myself with the industry, and if I want to be on broadway, I should know what’s there already. So that’s a new mission for myself… As far as the performance goes, “Gotta Move” was a bit rough vocally- it’s not like I can do a full vocal warmup in an office. Merri said that I was interesting. I don’t look like everyone else, I don’t sound like everyone else. But she didn’t really understand what I was trying to sell. That was a really good comment for me, since my brand is still in limbo. I went in there dressed casual and young, but I sang a classic Barbra Streisand song. She was confused as to what she wanted from me- soubrette songs or rock. That was very helpful for me, reminding me that if I want to present myself as a new Patti Lupone, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, I have to dress the part. So while I’ve been leaning away from the dress and heels route, it still has a place and I need to be conscious of that. When I sang “Lesson Learned,” it was a bit awkward. I’ve never done that in an audition before, and I don’t really have a cut of it, per se. I just pulled something out of my ass, and it didn’t have a good button. So she said that I definitely need to polish it up, and don’t make any cutesy faces afterward or apologize for what I do. I don’t usually do that, but I did yesterday, since i knew the cut wasn’t good. But she did say that if I get it together, I could possibly make casting people think outside the box with a part. And that once I have everything together, I’ll be ready. That’s nice to hear.

She recommended that I look at older soubrette stuff, since i do need some classic musical theater in my book. “On The Town” and “Annie Get Your Gun” for starters. Merri also suggested that I be very prepared when singing a song meant for an older woman- I need to put a fresh spin on it and make it appropriate for me. My conclusions after this workshop:

  • I need more “legit” songs
  • I need to find a coach (any suggestions?)
  • I need to research musical theater
  • I need to be clear with what I’m presenting in an audition- classic, contemporary, rock?
  • I need a song or two that is more conversational and less “singy-singy.” Probably something very contemporary.

All in all, a seriously AWESOME night. I love getting legitimate feedback, especially from someone as in the know as Merri Sugarman. I wish she was coming back, so she could see the progress we’ve made. I’ll have to look out for anything she teaches, I would love to develop a professional relationship with her.

PHEW! Anyway, tonight is the gym. YAY! Working out, eating well, losing weight. All good things for my career. 🙂

I am ready to work. I am ready to sing.