Thursday, June 26, 2014

Overtures - Eric Schaeffer

Eric looks on as Neil presents "Try Me" (She Loves Me)
Yesterday, the one, the only, the Artistic Director of Signature Theatre, Eric Schaeffer joined the Overtures students for the second of two master classes on musical theatre performance. We were so very lucky to have Eric with us as he has so much information and experience to pass on to these young performers as they start their careers.

Joe sings a cut of "I Could Be
In Love With Someone Like You"
(The Last Five Years)

Underneath Eric's leadership, Signature Theatre has won 90 Helen Hayes Awards and received 340 nominations for artistic excellence in theatre. Over the course of his career, Eric has directed over 80 productions at Signature and received 6 Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Direction and 28 nominations. Eric has directed over 80 productions at Signature Theatre and served as the Artistic Director of the Sondheim Celebration at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he directed Sunday in the Park with George, and Passion. He also directed Mame, First You Dream: the Music of Kander and Ebb, and Follies at the Kennedy Center. On Broadway, his productions include Putting it Together starring Carol Burnett, Glory Days, Million Dollar Quartet and the Tony-nominated Follies. In the West End/London, he directed The Witches of Eastwick and Million Dollar Quartet. He has also directed at the Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage and Disneyland. He currently has productions of Million Dollar Quartet in Chicago, Las Vegas and on national tour. 

Leah presents "Passover" (Elegies)

This second master class with Eric was a relaxed and enjoyable experience for all. As the students presented cuts of songs they would be performing for an upcoming casting session, Eric interspersed words of wisdom and suggestions. Some of the most potent adjustments included things such as emotional vocal variation throughout a piece, visualization of whom you want to be singing a song to, and contextualizing an audition song. To Eric and other theatre heads around the DC metro area, one of the most important skills a performer can demonstrate is the ability to remain versatile throughout a performance / audition. As Eric stated, when you are auditioning for someone for the first time it is likely the first time they are seeing you. "The first time someone meets you is the only first impression you'll get to make on them." Therefore, it is best to leave a solid impression on those behind the casting table in regards to you. You want to be seen as flexible, supportive, and most importantly easy to work with.  

With another masterclass under their belts, the Overture students are one step closer to the Showcase this Saturday at 11:00 AM. We would love to extend an invitation to you, to see these brilliantly talented young men and women perform on the MAX Theatre stage. The performance is free and unticketed. Doors open at 10:30 AM.

Emily gets into her performance of "How 'Bout a Dance?" (Bonnie and Clyde)


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