The Union Recorder

Columns

June 12, 2012

Brigadoon tryouts and some concerts

MILLEDGEVILLE — “What is it we’re all living for? Applause, applause! Nothing I know brings on the glow, like sweet applause...”

Have YOU ever wondered what it’s like to be on stage, to perform in a big musical number, and then to receive the applause from the audience? It really is a special feeling. And if you have ever thought about trying out for a musical, even if it you’re just interested in being part of the chorus (which is very important), now is your chance.

Auditions take place next week for the wonderful musical “Brigadoon,” presented by the Milledgeville Players.

Some basic information was in my “early bird” column that the U-R kindly granted me space for last Thursday. But in this exciting rendition, I want to provide a bit more info as well as an important update.

The update deals with the location of the auditions. It has been changed to room 249 Herty Hall. In terms of “finding the location,” it’s really a fairly minor change. Herty Hall is actually right across the street (Wilkinson Street, that is) from the earlier mentioned Health Sciences Building. It’s just on the SOUTHEAST corner of Wilkinson and Montgomery.

So it’s not like you have to go driving all over town to find a new location (or even around the Georgia College campus for that matter). Just look for the building that looks like a 1950s high school that has recently had a planetarium added on to it. Why the change? Let’s just say that “things happen.”

Everything else remains the same. Auditions will start at 6:30 p.m. Dates are Tuesday through Thursday, June 19-21. Tuesday and Wednesday will involve singing and dance auditions while Thursday will concentrate on acting and speaking roles.

We want lots of folks to come out and audition for this play. But let’s first discuss the different things taking place on particular days.

Everyone should plan on coming out either Tuesday or Wednesday — you don’t have to do both. Sometimes people will think they don’t want to sing or dance in a musical (sort of defeats the purpose in a way); they just want to act. Even though nearly every musical has a few parts that involve no singing at all, they are VERY few.

No matter how much you may think you have no singing or dancing ability, you may be underselling yourself. We really need to hear you sing and see you dance just a little bit to make any kind of casting decision.

Let me give you a boring example. Years ago, I tried out for the M’ville Players production of “Guys and Dolls.” I came into auditions with the preconceived notion of playing a comical gangster character like Harry the Horse or Big Jule. I ended up being cast as Arvide Abernathy, the leader of the “Save a Soul Mission.”

I was disappointed. I couldn’t believe I had been cast as the leader of a salvation mission instead of one of the lead gangsters. And when I found out that Arvide had to sing a sentimental ballad, I was even more shocked. I just couldn’t picture myself singing a solo sentimental ballad.

I was incredibly wrong!

The director knew exactly what he was doing. I ended up playing Arvide and enjoying every minute of it. The director and the rest of the technical crew had seen something in me regarding this character that I did not see at all. And they were absolutely right!

Final message — don’t come into auditions too set on a particular character or type of role. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a certain part and letting us know that on the audition sheets. But understand that casting is based on a multitude of factors. And though you might not think of yourself as a singer or dancer, others who have background in those areas may see you as more than capable.

So, for the vocal auditions, you first off need a song. Come to the auditions with a tune you feel comfortable singing. You can bring sheet music or a CD to sing along with. Do not prepare a song from “Brigadoon!”

However, we do prefer songs from musicals — so-called character songs. As opposed to more standard pop tunes, songs from musicals usually are written with a particular purpose — to help develop a character, to define a relationship, to serve as a transition between scenes or time periods, etc.

But most importantly, it should be a song you are comfortable with. Some folks research “things” on the web to find out about classic audition songs. And they come with something that is not at all right for them. You want to sing something that shows you off! Don’t pick a song with an incredibly high note that you have to strain to hit just to “prove” you can hit that note.

And don’t be upset if the vocal director stops you at a point before you were planning. It doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong — it just means she has heard what she needs to hear.

Dance auditions tend to be even more frightening to some folks than the vocal tryouts. Though I know they starred in the movie version of “Brigadoon,” we’re not expecting everyone to be Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly.

Wear comfortable clothing when you come to the auditions — something you can move in. And wear comfortable shoes as well — they don’t have to be dance shoes or character shoes. All that will be happening at the auditions will be a few simple steps to see how you walk and move in rhythm.

I’ve done it, and I certainly do not think of myself as a dancer.

We need men and women of all ages for this play, so age should not be a factor in determining whether you try out. We’re even looking to cast a few kids in some of the musical numbers of this play — ages 7 and older. And in terms of audition, the same advice stated above would apply to them as well — have a song to sing and wear comfortable clothes to move in.

Tuesday and Wednesday will include both the singing and dance audition components. Thursday will concentrate on speaking parts. Some folks will be specifically asked to come back on Thursday, but anyone can come out that day.

But if you were not at vocal/dance tryouts on Tuesday or Wednesday, you can figure that you will still be asked to sing part of a song and do a few “moves.” But it makes things much easier for the casting crew if those things have already been taken care of.

There will be a few more final words of encouragement regarding auditions next week, but this covers most facets. The most important thing is to come out and give it a try. Being in a musical involves some work, but you will have a lot of fun!

That’s next Tuesday through Thursday, June 19-21, in room 249 Herty Hall on the GC campus starting at 6:30 p.m. each day.

OK, let me do a quick mention of some fine concerts coming up courtesy of the GC Department of Music. That’s right — things have not completely come to a stop with the advent of summer as two concerts are coming up this week — part of the Summer Artist Series.

This Friday, June 15, the Klezmorim Ensemble will perform at Max Noah Recital Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe and traditionally involves dance tunes associated with weddings and other celebrations. Musicians who play the genre are referred to as klezmorim, thus inspiring the name of this ensemble. Hey, I still try to keep this column educational sometimes.

And this particular ensemble not only plays traditional klezmer music but also a “fusion” variety (who knew?) incorporating elements of Irish, Gypsy, Latin, Russian, Flamenco and tango rhythms. Though I know I’ve said it before, THERE’S some diversity for you.

Admission is free so I’d definitely say check it out.

But there’s still more fun, fun, fun coming up from the Music Department. On Sunday, June 17, Russell Auditorium will host “Chix with Stix.”

Anyone who reads this column regularly should be able to figure out what this particular concert will feature. But in case you’re just tuning in, we’re talking about a group of female (“chix”) percussionists (“stix”) who perform a mixture of new and traditional percussion ensemble repertoire.

They first got together in 2004 and have a combined 50-plus years of experience throughout the southeastern U.S. They have performed with the Atlanta Concert Band and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

They certainly dispel the notion that women can’t play drums. And if you think any kind of featured percussion number is going to sound like an out of control Ginger Baker solo, these gals will certainly change your mind. Checking out their website, I particularly liked the snippets featured from their performances of “Comedians Gallup,” and the Dave Brubeck classic “Blue Rondo ala Turk.”

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tambourines are optional.

So go to some concerts and come out for “Brigadoon” auditions. Because, as Lauren Bacall and cast sang back in 1970 in the play “Applause” — “You’re the king of it all ‘cause, you’ve had a taste of, the sound that says love, Applause, applause, applause.”

Catch you on the flip side.

Tom Toney can be reached at ttoney@unionrecorder.com.

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