Today and tomorrow, Amity Theater Kids will audition for roles in the Amity spring musical, “Into The Woods.”
Auditioning can be nerve-wracking for even seasoned performers, but the Amity Creative Theater students have a leg up on this one.
Back on Oct. 26, 2015, Broadway actor Rob McClure addressed the theater students who were seated in rows on the Amity stage, sounding more like a friend than a celebrity.
Here is a video from that special event
He shared personal stories of his own experiences and walked them through the way to tackle an audition.
McClure revealed that on his first audition he did not know what show he was auditioning for and decided to try out for the part of Toby (Sweeney Todd). When his turn came up, he sang “Stars” — from… Les Miserables. No, he didn’t get the part, but one hiccup didn’t stop him from achieving his dream of being on Broadway.
He said acting is playing make believe, connecting with the audience and having them empathize with you. If you get good enough at play acting you can achieve anything.
McClure said Steven Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” is the ultimate masterpiece with complicated, catchy tunes and lyrics.
He asked the students to sum up “Into The Woods” — what is the function of fairy tales in real life?
The answer — to teach a lesson.
He said Sondheim asked what do you get when a young girl puts everything she has into getting a prince? What happens after she gets prince charming? Jack from Jack And the Beanstalk did not have a father figure in his life, and he did a lot of things he shouldn’t have. What happens after the beanstalk falls and Jack kills the giant? The baker’s wife cheated on her husband with Prince Charming – What happens next?
“This show has so much to offer,” McClure said, “Listen to the lyrics… that’s what woods are for… or is it, ‘that’s what Would’s are for’? It’s all about the possibilities.”
McClure had all of the kids stand and make a large circle for a warm-up exercise involving eye contact and reactions.
“Acting is reacting,” he tole them, “Everything you do is in response to something else. Your life is a constant state of reacting.”
Another lesson he taught was that eye contact is awkward and personal … the eyes are the window to the soul. Big eyeglasses hide what you’re feeling, you have to let people in.
As students took center stage to sing a few lines from a number from Into The Woods, McClure explained what the character is feeling, realizing about their situation and themselves.
With each break the students’ performances improved (see video link above).
The kids really responded to him and hung onto every word he said.
Now, 2 months after that opportunity of a lifetime, the actors should remember to make eye contact, and to rely on one another.
Before taking the stage for their auditions for “Into The Woods,” today, the actors have to think about their character’s objective, are they in a public or private place, what is their relationship to other characters and more.
We, at Orange Live wish all of the actors the best of luck in their auditions and look forward to a stellar production of Into The Woods next spring.
This full day workshop was facilitated by the Broadway Method Academy of Fairfield, CT. The Broadway Method Academy was founded in 2014 by Amity alumni Connor Deane of Orange. Deane is a 2010 graduate of Amity High School and of The University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. His company offers comprehensive training in acting, singing, and dancing. Broadway Method Academy or BMA offers a variety of classes, private coaching sessions, and performance opportunities, bringing in some of Broadway’s top talents to work with students. Their mission is to provide the essential tools for young artists to integrate acting, singing, and dancing. BMA helps to build audiences for tomorrow, to educate audiences of today, to enrich the community, and to enrich the lives of children.
Rob McClure received the 2013 Tony, Drama League, Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle Nominations, and won the Theatre World and Clive Barnes Awards for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin The Musical on Broadway. He recently starred, opposite Tony Danza, in the Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas.
A two-time Barrymore Award winner, Rob starred on Broadway as Princeton/Rod in the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q. He made his Broadway debut in the 2002 Broadway revival of I’m Not Rappaport alongside Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen. McClure most recently spent the summer at the MUNY in Ohio playing the Baker in Into The Woods. Rob will be returning to Broadway in the highly anticipated revival of Noises Off starring Smash star, Megan Hilty.
Amity partnered with the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation to bring this opportunity to Amity students.