The Song Is You

They called him “The Voice.” Capital T, capital V, with the definite article “the” signifying his eminence, his personification of the attributes any voice ought to have. Frank Sinatra, born one hundred years ago this week, is regarded by many as the pre-eminent singer of songs in the 20th century. But what qualities that earned […]

The Most Common Mistake Singing Actors Make (And How You Can Fix It)

I love ballads, and I’ll bet you do too. A beautiful melody, gorgeous harmonies, poignant lyrics, delivered at a slow and soulful tempo. Every musical I’ve ever written, and nearly every musical I can think of, has a “big ballad,” and many of those big ballads have become so familiar to listeners and performers that […]

The Magic of Songs

Reflections on the power and pervasiveness of song, on the occasion of a new class What is it about songs? If you’re a singing actor, you’ll spend your lifetime performing them, interpreting them, living inside them, so surely you must be curious: just what, exactly, is the deal? Songs are ubiquitous, that’s for sure. Everywhere […]

Rockin’ out in musicals – six keys to success!

Stew, who co-created the musical Passing Strange with Heidi Rodewald, and whose new musical Family Album opens tomorrow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, said, “We don’t like musical theater actors so much.” Did that make you flinch? I did when I read it. Contemporary theater artists like Stew, inspired by the vivid immediacy of rock, […]

There’s no tunes like show tunes!

I’m feeling particularly inspired after listening to the soundtrack of this year’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. From the first seconds of the recording, my theatrical Spidey-senses were tingling: this year’s Best Musical features honest-to-god show tunes! No emo indie rock, no recycled jukebox grooves, but brilliantly […]