Over the years, I have been sent people who are already in a show who are in some kind of vocal trouble. The producers want a “quick fix” for the singer. They want the person to get “better” by having a “few tips” or a “few sessions”.
This reflects the idea that singing is something you can either do or not, an old wives’ tale still believed by many. It also is enormously disrespectful to those who want to sing who don’t have much intellectual information about what it takes to be a singer (anyone without training or exposure to relevant pedagogy). It reflects an “acting first, singing second” attitude. It could also reflect an “acting first, second and third” and, “oh, yeah, you sing right?” attitude. You would think that couldn’t possibly be true in the Broadway community but it has always been true, it’s just more prevalent now than it once was, and that is due to the music. There are many more composers today who have been successful somewhere in the entertainment industry who write music that ends up in a Broadway show who compose for their own voices and stop there. They don’t write for the voice as an instrument, they just write for themselves and expect everyone to be just like them. They don’t even know that there is a way to write for the voice. More of that “don’t know that they don’t know” problem.
Of course, investors (producers) can come from anywhere as long as they can pony up enough money (a lot of money, actually). They don’t need to know one single thing about “show business” or any aspect of it, they just need to be willing to fork over those dollars with a smile. In fact, the likelihood that any of them know about the nuts and bolts of theater is quite small unless they have been investing for a long time. So, who decides about the singing? The Music Supervisor or Director, the Casting Agent and maybe the lead Producer, maybe. Guess what, they typically don’t sing either and are predominantly male. This combination doesn’t make for great odds that excellent singers will have more success than so-so singers who are better actors. And, of course, none of that matters if you are “a name”, brought into a show to sell tickets, regardless of whether or not you have any clue about what you are doing other than taking up room on stage. Ah-hem.
So, the “quick fix” continues. It can’t really work unless the performer is quite able to make changes easily. Sometimes that happens.
If you are a student with a degree in music theater from a college and you have been taught to sing with classical vocal production, and have been given sight singing and theory classes instead of dance training, and you have studied classical music history instead of music theater history, if you have have been required to be in a chorus but not required to be in an acting class, you will find when you arrive here that your training may not have prepared you for the realities of The Great White Way. You will have to do your own version of a “quick fix” if you want to get a job.