The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Constantine Maroulis

How to Become a Broadway Actor or Actress

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We get questions every day from people of all ages who are interested in becoming a Broadway actor or actress, are just getting started and have no idea where to start.

Like those at the top of their game in any profession, it’s easy to be inspired by those on The Great White Way, but like other professions, you don’t start out as the CEO of a company or an olympic athlete. You start at the bottom and with a lot of hard work, determination and luck, might get a shot if you take every opportunity that comes your way.

There are basics that every single person who has made it has taken. Though their paths have all been different, here are the things you can do to begin your path to Broadway:

Train, Train, Train

There is nothing natural about standing in front of large groups of strangers, speaking someone else’s words or singing someone else’s songs, while turning partially away from the person to whom you’re talking.

Whether your training takes place in a high school classroom, in a well-established theatre conservatory, under the tutelage of a great teacher in a weekly class, or in each and every show you can get into, you can learn both from the critique you receive directly, and from watching others and listening to the critique they get.

Take acting classes, dance classes, voice classes (whether you’re looking to do musicals or not), get a voice teacher – and do things that seemingly have nothing to do with theatre…

Those who played an instrument had an upper hand in casting for the recent revival of Sweeney Todd; those who were cheerleaders got a leg up in Lysistrata Jones; ballroom dancers have gotten huge legs up in numerous shows. If you’re passionate about anything – continue to train there as well, you’ll never know if it might help you – and if nothing more, you’ll have something else that gives you joy, make you a healthier, more rounded person and expose you to more of the world and more of the incredible people you might one day play.

Network

Connections are a huge portion of this industry. The biggest legs up happen when someone you’ve worked with before recommends you. As much as the diva personality circulates as the norm in this industry, it’s unlikely to ever help you – divas get cast despite their eccentric nature. If you work hard, are fun to work with and are you – directors, writers, stage managers and producers will want to work with you again and might bring you in for consideration in their next project, or suggest you to a friend who’s looking for X for their next project.

Always Say Yes

If you’re asked to do a reading, to meet with someone for a quick lunch, to sing in a cabaret, to do an interview with Seth Rudetsky, anything – say yes. You’ll never know who will be in the audience, whether that writer may go on to become the next David Mamet, or be meeting with him later that afternoon.

See as Much Theatre as You Can

See as many shows as you can – both directly in your chosen area and outside of it. You can learn by watching others, noting what works and what doesn’t and trying to dig in to discover just what it was that made a performance work so wonderfully. And don’t just see Broadway shows, get Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Off-Off Broadway, see West End productions, dance productions, experimental art pieces, the show your cousin is doing at some summerstock theatre upstate. Then sit back and think about what worked and what didn’t and why.

Take Care of Yourself So You Look and Feel Good

And get to the gym – yes, everyone has as much trouble as you do getting there – but if you’re going to become an actor, your looks are part of your package, so tone it and get into the best shape you can.

Also take care of your skin and learn how to apply makeup, invest in clothing and shoes that look good on you, is comfortable and allows you to move.

As much as everyone would like to believe that looks are only a part of the equation — they are a big part and form your first impression. If you look good, hold yourself well and walk into a room feeling good about yourself, you have a leg up over at least half of your competition.

Show Up and Move On

You will be rejected over and over again. You will spend months preparing for an audition and not get a callback. You will not even be considered for a role you know you are perfect for because they decided they want a veteran actress playing it, or producers think Adele will bring in more ticket sales. You might be an inch taller than the man they want to cast as the male lead and so miss out. Or it may be some reason even more inane – the director just ended a relationship with someone who looks like you or he really wants someone with freckles  Most of the time you’ll never know and you’ll never hear back. You’ll have poured out your heart and soul and will be told “we’ll be in touch” and left in the dark.

But your job if you really want to work in this industry is to grow a thick skin, shake it off, and show up for the next audition. To again pour out your heart and soul – to invest every ounce of your being in the next one, most likely to be rejected once again.

Everyone has different techniques for dealing with this – one actress figured out that she would get a callback for every 18 auditions she did, so she would keep track. For every rejection she got, she would put a big “X” and think – I’m one rejection closer to a callback!

It’s an incredibly hard thing to do but it’s part of the job – no matter how famous, how talented, how successful, every actor faces rejection every time they step into a room or submit themselves for a part. But you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t show up first.

Work Hard

After you’ve celebrated when you do get a callback and the incredible day you get cast, hit the ground running – start your research, learn your lines and throw yourself head-first into the role.

During rehearsals, listen to your director, be nice to your stage manager, learn from and work with your fellow actors and soak it all up. Try to stay away from gossip, stay humble and be kind – hopefully you’ll work with some of these same people again in the future. Don’t make the reason you don’t get cast the next time that you snapped at the stage manager during the run of this show.

It’s a hard life and everyone says that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else you should do that instead. Just keep training, networking, saying yes, seeing theatre, taking care of yourself, showing up and working hard — because you know, like everyone in this industry, it’s worth all the heartache and effort, because there’s nothing like the moment the curtain rises and you open your mouth to say or sing your first word.

Advice Directly from the Pros:

Betty Buckley: Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice. : )

Constantine Maroulis: Do everything u can…community theater to school plays, work hard respect the craft and be good to all – never know who they become.

Nick Adams: Find a great acting teacher. Take as many classes as you can in all disciplines. Train. See everything!

Natalie Hill: Study & train & take classes from casting directors then go to open calls & nail it!

Diana DeGarmo: Be a sponge & take everything in-educate yourself! Music, shows, directors,  choreographers, dance, etc – all of it! & have FUN! :)

Erin Wilson: Get ready to work like you never have before. Research, be prepared, know your type, be kind, find an outside hobby – sanity!

Howard Sherman: You don’t become a “Broadway actor.” You become an actor and then, perhaps, you get cast in a Broadway show.

Nicole Tori: Lots of hard work, persistence, training, networking and LUCK!

Lexi Lawson: Pray! JK – my advice is to make sure you are fully prepared (though I always have a tendency of always messing up my dialogue) but I go in prepared. And go in loving what it is. The creative team will see if the passion in you pour out if it’s a project you absolutely love and want to be a part of. Good luck to my musical munchkins.

What’s Your Advice?

Do you have advice to share or questions for others who work in the industry? This is such a big question with so many answers — we’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you cope with rejection? What advice would you give someone just starting out? Use the comment form below and help make this post even better!

The Reviews for Jekyll & Hyde are in…

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The critical reviews for the first revival of Jekyll & Hyde aren’t much nicer than those for the original mounting. Ripping most ferociously into the abismal lyrics, “pea-fog thick” smoke and confused direction by Jeff Calhoun, most critics were impressed by Costantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, R&B artists who  manage to bring moments of nuance and amazing vocal chops to an otherwise overcooked production. The show says: “Take me as I am.” — if you aren’t ready to embrace a campy, scantily-clad, over-amplified, steampunk Jekyll & Hyde, you’ll be much happier watching Cinderella down the street, but bad reviews or no, you can rest assured that Jekkies will line up nightly to take in this latest mounting of one of Wildhorn’s best shows.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Let us give a warm welcome back — or maybe just a shrug, a sigh and a tip of the bowler hat — to the return of Jekyll & Hyde…Mr. Maroulis meets the throat-thrashing challenges of Mr. Wildhorn’s score with aplomb, his high-reaching pop tenor evincing little strain when rising to the piercing climaxes. I was also impressed by Mr. Maroulis’s quietly intense performance as the obsessive Dr. Jekyll…Statuesque and beautiful, Ms. Cox brings a suffering dignity to this cliché in corsets. More important for those who have come to hear a pop diva do what pop divas do best, her dark, lustrous voice does nice justice to her character’s signature song, the power ballad ‘Someone Like You.’… I register no objections to allowing Mr. Maroulis to give his voice a rest by having the evil Hyde appear (via video) as a flame-haloed, glowering devil in a giant mirror, his half of the duet having been prerecorded. If anything, this innovation reduces the campy histrionics of having the same actor engage in a singing duel to the death with himself…Unfortunately there’s no way to digitally airbrush away the hokum that pervades the whole show, like the ample stage smoke puffing away throughout the proceedings, giving a most commendable featured performance as the fabled pea-soupy London fog. The actors portraying the sniveling or snobbish enemies of Dr. Jekyll all perform their chores with flavorsome relish…Mr. Wildhorn’s score is probably his most appealing, as it mixes equal parts Hammer horror, Andrew Lloyd Webber-style pseudo-operatics and adult-contemporary-radio anthems…Do the clichés in the lyrics outnumber the exclamation points, or vice versa?”

Read the Full Review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Technically impressive and well sung by its two leads, this revival of the bombastic, ballad-heavy musical would feel right at home in a Vegas casino…To do full justice to the campy excesses of Jekyll & Hyde, this review would most appropriately be delivered in the form of a power ballad. Such overbearing musical numbers permeate this 1997 musical by Frank Wildhorn (music) and Leslie Bricusse (book and lyrics), which previously enjoyed a four year run on Broadway despite critical brickbats. Audiences may also embrace this revival of the turgid tuner based on the classic horror tale by Robert Louis Stevenson despite a likely similar negative reception…Director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Newsies) has ratcheted up the show’s gothic elements in his high-intensity staging, featuring extensive projections, a deafening sound design and a Grand Guignol-style presentation. But for all the production’s excesses, it proves decidedly underwhelming, devoid of thrills or genuine emotion…Jekyll & Hyde never immerses us in its classic tragic tale. It’s akin to a well-designed haunted house from which you find yourself eagerly longing to escape.”

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Yes, it is bombastic and overwrought. It’s true that there’s enough smoke to make three Whitesnake videos. OK, it sometimes makes The Phantom of the Opera seem small and staid. But there’s something to cheer about in the revival of Jekyll & Hyde that has rolled into Broadway after a 25-week national tour. It is what it is, and it does that very well. It’s a big, loud rock opera and makes no apologies for itself. Nor should it. If you wanted a subtle musical without stabbings and bondage, what exactly are you doing at Jekyll & Hyde? The new version…takes itself so seriously that it almost veers into camp, but it’s a stunningly beautiful steampunk vision with great costumes, projections and sets. Plus, the three main vocalists who came along to sing these Frank Wildhorn songs will make your ears bleed: Constantine Maroulis, Deborah Cox and Teal Wicks. Who cares if there’s way too much lightening and overacting? These three can deliver, some even while wearing naughty Victorian outfits…Sometimes when watching Jekyll & Hyde there are moments when it seems like what you’re watching is outtakes from ‘This Is Spinal Tap.’ But that’s this show’s charm. You’ll always be of two minds about it, so just give in to the silly side.”

Read the Full Review

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“‘It is the curse of mankind that these polar twins should be constantly struggling.’ The same could be said of the 1997 musical itself, now receiving an overamplified, dry ice-drenched Broadway revival following a national tour: It’s good and — well, not evil, but head-scratchingly, laughably, even painfully bad. And one that you’ll be constantly struggling to sit through…As the titular schizophrenic scientist, American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis — a 2009 Tony nominee for his turn in the ’80s jukebox show Rock of Ages — supplies hair-band-worthy locks and lungs of steel. His ”This Is the Moment” (the 11 o’clock number that comes 45 minutes in) is indeed momentous — a triumph of vocal pyrotechnics over clichéd phrases, misaccented lyrics, and throat-testing key changes. He also supplies an accent that travels the whole of the United Kingdom…Cox — as Lucy, the hooker with the heart of gold and bustier of steel — is quite terrific throughout. She even manages to make that ubiquitous cabaret tune/power ballad ”A New Life” audible over the stadium-level orchestrations. Oh yes, the tunes: Wildhorn has written some darn good ones. And they’ll get lodged in your head so firmly that you’ll need ”It’s a Small World” to clear them out. But, oh, the lyrics! Example: ”You’ve not heard/A single word I’ve said/My fear is he’s in over his head!”…Perhaps that’s why the music is amplified to eardrum-splitting levels! But there are so many puzzlements in this production, which is both over- and under-directed…Calhoun came up with a good idea — which then went terribly, terribly wrong. It is, I think, the curse of Jekyll & Hyde. C-“

Read the Full Review

Catch your favorite Broadway stars on TV

Lots of Broadway stars are making television appearances this week:

John Stamos (Bye Bye Birdie, Cabaret, Nine) will appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on September 29.

Kristin Chenoweth (The Apple Tree, Wicked, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown) will appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday September 24.

New Yorkers can catch Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer) at 5pm on WNBC.

Did you miss the recent Broadway cast appearances on television? Streaming video to the rescue…

The cast of Broadway’s The Lion King performing on Dancing with the Stars yesterday, September 23:

The cast of Chicago’s Jersey Boys performing on Oprah last weekend:


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Maroulis extends his Rock of Ages run

Constantine Maroulis, the American Idol finalist who originated the role of Drew in the Off-Broadway production of Rock of Ages, has extended his contract with the Tony-nominated musical through the summer of 2010. Maroulis says he’s thrilled to continue with Rock of Ages and that “to be able to create a role on Broadway and get nominated for a Tony has been a dream come true.” And it’s a dream come true for you lucky folks who haven’t yet seen the show as well – as you’ll now have many more opportunities to catch him.


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Rock of Ages Cast Album Hits Stores Today (and is Half-Priced on Amazon.com)

The Rock of Ages cast album hits stores today and is half-priced on amazon.com for a limited time!

The recording features 2009 Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (The Wedding Singer), Amy Spanger (The Wedding Singer, Kiss Me Kate), James Carpinello (Saturday Night Fever), Adam Dannheisser, Mitchell Jarvis (Fiddler on the Roof), Michele Mais, Lauren Molina (Sweeney Todd), Paul Schoeffler (Sweet Charity, Nine), Wesley Taylor, Ericka Hunter (Flower Drum Song, 42nd Street), Jeremy Jordan, Michael Minarik (Les Miserables), Angel Reed, Bahiyah Sayyed-Gaines (Pal Joey, The Color Purple), Katherine Tokarz (White Christmas, A Chorus Line), Andre Ward (Xanadu, The Producers), Savannah Wise (Les Miserables), Tad Wilson (The Full Monty) and Jeremy Woodard (Glory Days).

Order the CD from amazon.com now!

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