Grateful for John Bucchino

grateful-watercolourLast night, I had the great pleasure for spending 2 1/2 hours in a rehearsal with John Bucchino.  A little over a year ago, I wrote an article about his body of work, and how great his music is for auditions, which you can read here!  A couple months after that, I audited a Master Class he was teaching in New York, where singers would perform his pieces for his critique, and then they’d perform them again, accompanied by John, himself.  When I got to the workshop, he remembered the article, and thanked me for writing it.  What a sweet man!

Last night was something completely different but equally exciting.  My buddy Jeremy Robin Lyons wrote an arrangement of Grateful, and a group of us were assembled to sing it through and workshop it with John to see what works and what might need to be tweaked before it gets published.  So we all assembled ourselves around the piano, singing Grateful, while Judy edited and conducted, and the composer himself listened and took notes.

It was really interesting to see the three of them working like this.  It wasn’t your typical rehearsal where the goal is a performance.  This was to work out all the details of the arrangement so that it can be published.  The length of notes, rhythmic changes, breath marks–all of this was discussed in regards to the arrangement.  If the majority of us were making the same mistake, they needed to look at it to see if there was a way to fix it; if we were all making that mistake, it’s like that other groups that purchase the arrangement will do the same.  Detail also had to be paid to the style guide of the publishing company, which is something I hadn’t ever considered before.  It makes sense, when you think about it, that every publishing company would have their own style guide.  And luckily, Judy know the ins and outs of all of them, so the music can be prepared just the way the publishing company likes.

And of course, the best part of the evening was after the rehearsal, when we had red velvet/chocolate chip cupcakes and wine!  Quite literally, the icing on the cake!

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The Audition Playlist: Kinosian and Blair

kinosianandblair-300x200This week on TheatreMusicDirectors.Org, I wrote about my new favorite duo, Kinosian and Blair.  If they sound familiar, it’s because I couldn’t stop writing about them as I was getting ready to audition for their musical Murder For Two.  And as it turns out, they’ve got a lot of other great tunes.  So what are you waiting for?  Click the link or the picture, and see what all the fuss is about!

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The Audition Playlist: Country Songs

bootsThis week at TMD, we’ve gone country.  My mama raised me on John Denver, so I had a blast writing this one.  We sing musical theatre all the time, so when it’s time to change it up a bit, I always have a blast.  Sold, by John Michael Montgomery, is the piece I used for my audition for The Buddy Holly tour, accompanying myself on the accordion.  Mama’s never been so proud of her country boy!

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The Audition Playlist: The MUPPETS!!!

Beaker-300x199I bet you’re jealous of the night I had.  I got to sit at my favorite coffee shop, at my favorite table in the back, and watch clips of The Muppets for about 4 hours and call it work!  I laughed, I cried, and I had other patrons looking at me wondering what the hell I was up to.  But come on, it’s THE MUPPETS!

One of THE BEST moments of my life thus far, and probably for the rest of my life, was singing in The Musical World of Jim Henson at Carnegie Hall.  The night before, I was at Carnegie singing in a concert of John Williams music, and all I could think about was waking up to be with the MUPPETS the next morning.  Obviously, it was a thrill to have back-to-back concerts at such an iconic venue, but I can’t even remember that much about the movie concert because I kept thinking about those darn puppets.  As a kid, I slept better the night before Christmas than I did at 32 years old, the night before the MUPPETS! I will be eternally grateful to Judith Clurman for all of the memorable experiences singing with Essential Voices USA.

So read on, my friends.  This week’s The Audition Playlist is all about using music from The MUPPETS (I can’t help typing in caps because I get so excited), Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock in musical theatre auditions.

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The Audition Playlist: Role Modeling

ziemba-300x198This week, I decided to write my article for TMD on the idea of role modeling (thanks to the great pleasure of watching Karen Ziemba work during rehearsals for Broadway Backwards).  If you’re constantly told that you look and sound like someone that’s successful in the field, why not use it to your advantage?  Sadly, I don’t have a doppelganger, but if I looked and sounded like Malcolm Gets, you’d better believe I’d be singing “And They’re Off” at every audition possible.  You’re celebrity lookalike has already paved the way, so why not piggyback a little?

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The Audition Playlist: Stephen Schwartz

stephenschwartzThis week I’m starting rehearsals for my next concert, which is an evening of Stephen Schwartz music.  Since I’ve got him on the brain, it was the obvious choice for this week’s The Audition Playlist.

I’m really hoping I’ll be able to say hello to him this time.  There was one week where I happened to see him three times, but it never felt right to introduce myself.  On a Monday, I was heading into a concert at Birdland (The Callaway Sisters in Boom), just as he was leaving the earlier show.  On Wednesday, I was walking down 9th Avenue and passed him again.  That Friday–and the full version happens to be one of my favorite stories–we happened to be in the rest room at the same time before a performance of Wonderland at the Marquis Theatre.  And you’ll be happy to know that we’re both hand-washers, so we were at adjoining sinks.  I tried to catch his eye in the mirror but didn’t succeed.

I also had the pleasure of hearing him speak in an intimate master class by The Dramatists Guild.  It was a limited seating thing, so in our request for a ticket, all members had to explain why we would benefit from being in attendance.  I wrote so enthusiastically that after I hit that send button, I was worried that I wouldn’t be considered because they were afraid I’d try to kidnap him.  But luckily, they chose me and I got to hear him speak, sing, and play.  And I’ve got pages and pages of notes to show for it!

And it’s his birthday tomorrow.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEPHEN!!

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The Audition Playlist: Movie Songs

oscars-300x182The Oscars were just handed out, so I couldn’t think of a more fitting topic for The Audition Playlist than songs from movies.  The hardest part about these playlists is limiting it to ten videos.  How do you choose?  I could easily do ten playlists of ten songs each, and that would just be scratching the surface.  So I tried to spread the love through a few decades and different genres just to get people started.  What’s your favorite song from a film soundtrack?

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The Audition Playlist: My Personal Book

rowlfpiano-300x234This week, I decided to let the readers of The Audition Playlist know the contents of my own audition book.  After all, I’ve been telling people what songs to put in their books for the last nine months, why not show them mine?  Hopefully I’m following my own advice, so I don’t get comments like “I thought you said never to audition with that type of song,” or “didn’t you say everyone needs a such-and-such in their book?  Where’s yours?”  And more than that, I hope not too many people are reading in New York and deciding to use my little “gems” because I love when I get something like “no one’s done that song before, great choice.”

But I’d be lying if I said I shared everything; I’ve still got a couple songs hidden up my sleeve!  And besides, it’s a ten song playlist so I’m not really hiding anything, it’s just editing for content.  🙂

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