You are currently in The 5thAvenue Theatre’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This production has been very acclaimed and received lots of international attention, what can you tell us about the process? Can you shed light on the importance of diversity in the current musical theatre landscape?
This Show has been a truly amazing experience. ASL (American Sign Language) is an integral part of the show and it brings the story telling to new heights.
Our Quasimodo is a brilliant actor and hearing impaired. Where others might limit him, he exceeds beyond to new levels of communication. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this process not only for the storytelling but for the opportunity to learn more about ASL and the deaf community. This kind of inclusive incorporation of diversity in musical theatre is absolutely what we need to tell stories of all kinds to all people.
You are a Broadway veteran, you continue to perform regularly, and you teach at the Cornish College of the Arts (and privately); you walk the walk as a world-class vocalist and a teacher. Can you talk about the importance of voice teachers continuing to perform? And how does your constant immersion in the profession inform your teaching?
As I continue to perform and teach I cannot begin to express how important I feel it is to pursue both endeavors. I like to think of it as continuing to walk the walk. Relating experiences of current failure and success to my students is essential for trust and growth. I believe in being part of the fabric of art beyond the bubble I create.
I want to encourage my students to take risks but also have the compassion that comes from living through those same risks. Auditioning is the great equalizer. As an educator, I should be willing to take the same risks as my students.
What advice do you have for aspiring performers who are thinking about to pursuing careers in musical theatre/singing?
I have so much advice to give that I have launched a new business venture with my best friend of 20 plus years, Levi Walker called bizofshow.co! There is so much to learn about development of talent and the business of show.
If I were to give abbreviated advice here, it would be to become familiar with the stages of a performance career and not to skip the first stage of TRAINING! Solid building blocks of training must be laid before any artist can truly hustle.
When did you first meet Jeanie LoVetri and what has Somatic Voicework™ done for you as a singer and a teacher?
I met Jeanie LoVetri for the first time last year at The LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™ at Baldwin Wallace University. Though it was the first time we met face to face, I had been following her for a while. I stumbled across an article years ago that stated “Belt is Legit.” I was intrigued that this petite, knowledgeable voice teacher stood in front of a room of critics and said exactly what I believed to be true for a lifetime. I am and will always be a firm believer in a range of mixed voice (coordinated registers) singing depending on the needs and style of the material.
Jeanie has done far more for me as a vocalist and teacher than just training. She has brought voice science to the forefront of education and is dispelling myths. Personally, her method of Somatic Voicework™ has brought clarity and structure in making the most of lesson time in my studio. I want to rave about her to everyone! Plus she reinforces so many fundamental teaching cornerstones such as “Do No Harm.”
Please tell us more about your latest venture, your upcoming book, The Performers Guide to Making Money?
I’m in the process of writing a book called, The Performers Guide to Making Money. It’s something I’m passionate about teaching so that artists can continue changing the world and make money while doing it.