Open Office with Patty Darling

Our faculty here, the Jazz faculty is
amazing. It’s an honor to be working with them and and getting a chance to share
these new ideas and find ways that we can inspire and help our students really
find their unique path here musically Hi, my name is Patty Darling and I am an
instructor of music here in the Jazz department at Lawrence. Not only do we do composition and piano here but this is also the home of the Fred Sturm of jazz
library. It is an absolute treasure of big band music, small group music that we use for performing and sight reading and score study. This rocket Sturminator
has been here as long as I can remember I think that’s a bottle of coke in the
top. So this right here was the concert we just did this fall which was so cool.
It’s it was a huge collaboration with the Jazz Ensemble and studio Orchestra
and then we brought in faculty from the jazz department and we put together a
110 piece Orchestra jazz orchestra and we fit them on stage
and it was absolutely amazing. Feel free to stop by anytime. See you later!

Working In The Theatre: Swings, Standbys, Understudies

[opening music] [Lindsay K. Northern] I play one part in
the ensemble every show and I am the understudy for Glinda. An understudy goes on for a principal role if they can’t do it for whatever reason. Like they’re sick or on vacation or injured. Here at Wicked, it’s a little different because Glinda and Elphaba, the two leading ladies, have a standby. So the standby also needs to be out for me to be Glinda. I was out of the show for nine months
having this baby. This is Georgia. She is 6 months old now. But I was out of the show for six months and I tried to run the show right before I came back in my apartment just with the recording. Sort of thinking about what I did next
and I couldn’t remember anything. I was terrified and I came back and I said “I’m not gonna remember anything,” but
then I physically did the show in the rehearsal space and on the stage and my body remembered what it was supposed to do really quickly. It was kind
of amazing. I play a lot a little parts, the ensemble, like a citizen of Oz, as a Shiz University student, a super fancy ballroom guest, a citizen of Munchkin Land, and things like that. It’s not difficult knowing so many little parts, we call it
a track, and that’s just sort of my part. I sort
of look at as one part and Glinda as another part. The swing job is I think the hardest job on Broadway. They have to know like seven or eight different tracks and go on for them all
the time. Like, could be a two-show day and they play one track in the first show and another track in the second show. And the dancer swings often go on in the middle of a show: they’ll be on one track and they have to switch! and I think that takes a special sort of person to be able to switch gears like that and
remember all that information. But, two parts, I can do. [music] [Brian Munn] I am a swing
and an understudy at Wicked. I guess I’m considered the singer
swing. There are, I think, 12 men ensemble on the show, and I cover basically all them except the real dancer-dancers. There’s up to eight guys that I go on for them, plus I understudy The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond, and so there’s there’s 10 tracks total that I’ve been on for or could be on for at any notice. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist my whole life and I think that sort of lends itself well to being a swing, though it sometimes can be 18 months between times I go on for a certain track, so that can be a little nerve-wracking, but you know, thats part of the gig! [vocal warmups] [warmups continue] I’ve been with the show in various forms, always as a swing, since 2007. I started in the original LA company and I first came to Broadway in 2008. So, my first six months with the show and in LA in particular were very stressful. My heart would go into my throat pretty much whenever the phone would ring about an hour before, half hour, because that was usually, “Oh, you’re on for something!” and I just didn’t have it in my head yet. But, now that I’ve been with the show for a long time and been thrown into lots of situations, it’s calmer now, so I have a much stronger sense now of knowing what needs to happen in order to make the show work in whatever slot
that I’m in. [Tiffany Haas] I love being a standby! It’s kind of the best of both worlds. Sometimes, I have the opportunity to
watch the show, and sometimes, I have the opportunity to be in the show. My job is to come to the theater and be ready at the drop of a hat to go on to go on for the role of Glinda. Sometimes, I’ll know if there’s a
vacation that the Glinda is taking, and I’ll know that I have the time, I mean, a
week of shows and sometimes I don’t know at all! It could be in the middle of the
show, which has happened before, or it could not be for three weeks. I get asked that question a lot: “how,
often do you get to perform?” And there really is no standard typical answer. It’s different anytime. Last week, I was on as Glinda. It was a blast! It’s always fun riding in the bubble. It’s the best mode of transportation. [laughter] I was sitting in this dressing room, it
was a few weeks ago, we had just gotten the call for intermission, my cell phone rang and an
announcement happened at the same time, “Tiffany, please come to the
Glinda dressing room immediately,” and I ended up being on in the middle of the show! I think she became ill, and that happens, you know? It’s real life. I ran downstairs, and the
wig department had my wig ready and we were ready for action very quickly. I’d say I think that happens easily in
six to seven minutes. [background] [Northern] It’s a little difficult
keeping up with Glinda’s material because I do it so rarely. We have rehearsal here, but that is one big part of my job, is to maintain that by myself. So, I sort of have to take the initiative to make sure I know the lines, and lyrics, and the music, and the blocking, and the choreography, so that when I don’t need to go on, I’m not, you know, a mess. Yes, I have this notebook that has my understudy notes because Wicked changes a little bit all the time. They love to keep it fresh and they open new companies and they are just always changing
little tiny things in Wicked. Even though it’s been open for 10 years now it’s a totally different show from one
day to the next to one month to the next We’ll have understudy rehearsal and we’ll take notes, so if I find I’m gonna be Glinda, the first thing I do is open this and see what changed and what kind of notes I got from last week’s rehearsal. The notes I get are from any number of people but mostly the dance captains,
the stage manager, or the associate director. Any of those people that are the boss of me. To tell you the truth, a lot of it is, “we told you this before and you’re still not doing it.” [laughter] Or, “you forgot,” or, “you’re not following directions,” but a lot of
reminders about the character and why she does the things she does
and choices that I make as Glinda. It’s cool though because I can
sort of play around with it. I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s been a fun journey and is probably a hundred percent different when I go on Glinda now than it was when I started. It’s usually pretty spread out in between when I go on, I would say four or five times a year. I really like to play Glinda. It’s fun, but it’s also a little stressful because it’s a big responsibility. Everybody knows that character
is supposed to be funny, so they’re waiting to see how
funny you are, which is kinda [laughter] daunting. [music] [vocal warmups in the background] [Munn] Every swing sort of has their own system I have my little Bible here which has all my track sheets and so they’re their marked out
per person, they’re named at the top. Often, they’re named by someone
who isn’t actually still here because [laughter] there’s
a lot of turnover over the years and so I might have somebody
that their name is on the track, but they actually were in the show five years ago. I just haven’t updated it. But, we also have changes that happen
now and again where they’ll shift things, and so then I’ll have things crossed
out, rewritten in in my chicken scratch So I mean, there’s a little bit a constant vigilance, but I’ve been with the show long enough now
that things are pretty securely in my brain. [singing] [Northern] So, the shows gonna start in a few minutes and when the curtain comes up,
I’ll be in my place for “places!” [Haas] Sometimes, not being on stage
all the time of course can be frustrating because that’s the reason that I’m in
this business and chose this career. I love to be onstage. And so, of course you can get a little bit
anxious, but I am thrilled to be here, so I completely indulge and sit into
those moments when I actually do have the opportunity to be on stage I first toured as Glinda and then came here. As you can hear the show playing right now, I come to the theater, I have my own
dressing room where I kind of sit, have my own space, I can listen to the show, what’s going on, and I also watch the show either from the house or from the stage manager’s office. There’s a big TV screen there. It’s like regular upkeep. I have weekly
voice lessons and sometimes we rehearse during the show up in our rehearsal
room so that we’re always ready, myself, the other standby, understudies, swings that we’re all ready to go on
stage at the drop of a hat. The main thing that we’ll do together
is tune in with the show in the office, watch the monitor, because I could
be going on in three minutes. [music and humming] It’s so easy to play opposite
Kyle Dean Massey [laughter] He is gorgeous! [Munn] In the stage manager’s office
or the green room, we have monitors that I can see certain things that I
have a question about spacing or traffic patterns and who goes where in a number if something shifted, that kind of thing. [background dialogue] [Munn] We have three things: we hit 8, center, and 8, and I just wanted to make sure
that’s what was happening and that my brain was accurate. Which it was, thankfully! We’ve had a couple instances where
some things happen mid-show and you just kind of click into a way of your brain working: “Okay, what needs to happen? I need to cover this, you need to cover that, let’s go.” You sort of get instinctual. [background dialogue] [Alicia Albright speaking] [Haas] You mean, I’m not perfect? [laughter] [Albright] No one is perfect! [Munn] You need to have a thick skin. I think in knowing that sometimes you’re going to be not totally right and that someone is gonna
tell you that something needs to be different and that’s okay. That’s just how things are. As stressed as you get, you have to
maintain, or it helps to maintain a calm exterior because then your emotions can
get in the way if you’re too freaked out So, those are all important things to look for as far as a skill set and a temperament. [closing music]

Working in the Theatre: Before the Show – Joel Perez

[music] One of the hardest parts of being an actor in New York is auditioning. It sucks! You have to develop really thick skin to hear a lot of rejection. And get really close to jobs that you care about, that you’d think you’d be great for. But, for many reasons that often have nothing to do with you, it doesn’t go your way. In the moment it can be hard to separate yourself from that. You end getting the jobs you are supposed to have and working with the people you are supposed to work with. Last fall I wasn’t getting things I was auditioning for and so I was really down about that for awhile but then my grandmother got really sick
and I ended up because I wasn’t working I ended up having a lot of free time
that I could go up to Massachusetts and be with my family for a few weeks and
kind of help my family deal with the passing of my grandmother. I actually started college as a chemistry major. During my freshman year of college friend was directing a musical and I was a singer and so she asked me to audition for it. And I did and loved it. I kinda just came to the realization that I liked being at
rehearsal more than like doing chemistry. Right as I was graduating, Randy Lutterman came to Tufts to talk about this program called Springboard and it seemed like a good
thing for me to try out. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after graduating. I had a lot of friends from college who were moving to New York to
pursue careers in theater. I wanted to go too. One of the best pieces of advice Randy gave me was, New York isn’t going anywhere so maybe you don’t need to New York right away. I actually spent a year after college living in Boston and doing a lot
of theatre and film and commercials in Boston. The year that I went to
Springboard, we saw In the Heights. I’m Puerto Rican and so seeing that show I
finally felt like there was a place for me on Broadway. And I ended up going on
tour with In the Heights. Through Fun Home, I’m making my broadway debut which is crazy. It’s like the best way to get your Broadway debut. I became involved with Fun Home
a few years ago at the Sundance Theater Lab. At that point it was just a few
pages and a few songs and something that Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron were crafting. They would be like, “What are good at? What can you do? How does your voice sound good?” Then they’d kind of right with you in
mind and that’s pretty incredible and it wasn’t a show that was like “guys with this
is going to Broadway.” There was never their intention behind it was just we are gonna do a really good show. We are gonna focus on really good storytelling. As a young actor in New York, I thought
that people just wrote stuff and it was done and then you did it and then you
just auditioned for it and then it’s done. If a show is given the time to really develop and become the show it needs to be and workshopped and has a
great team behind it, it isn’t done overnight. It takes time to create good art. Before the show I get there a bit early. I’m the dance captain for our show. There are children in our show, so they will warm up and if they have any notes about choreography from the night before I’ll come down and give those notes. Working with kids is great. I mean, I’m a giant kid. But they are also not like normal children. Broadway kids aren’t normal kids. They are so smart and they have better resume than most of us. It’s like, “Well, what can I learn from you? Clearly you’ve got it figured out.” Then I just spent most of my time visiting everybody, going into everybody’s rooms saying hello. I think our show can be a bit heavy,
and I think because of that we play a lot of jokes on each other and kind of
having a good time backstage. Being a part of Fun Home has just been an incredible experience for me as a person, as an artist, as an actor, as an activist. We are a part of this cultural moment. Even the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage. And to tell the story like Fun Home right now and on a Broadway stage where so many more people are getting to get the story that were trying to tell and they’re understanding it. A lot of people have been under-represented in theater. The fact that the protagonist is a
lesbian is unheard of. And she isn’t a joke. She isn’t a villain. She’s just a person. The lesbian community a big part of the musical theater community, and they have been under represented for so long. And it’s crazy that it’s 2015 and this is the first time that this is happening on Broadway. Every day at the stagedoor we get so many stories of people who are just thankful to see themselves on stage. To say, “My family wasn’t like the Bechtel’s, butt we were exactly like the Bechtel’s.” It isn’t just a gay-straight thing. I think it’s about getting to know your family and your parents and the relationships that we have with our children. I think musical theater in particular gets a bad reputation for being fluff and for being just a good time. Like a big, crazy musical, which I love. Those are fun to see. But it also has the power to change people’s lives. I genuinely fear that this is the best
show I’ll ever be in. I’m just feel like it’s just set the bar really high personally and artistically and creatively. It just feels like it’s such
a beautifully unique experience that I think really hard to recapture in something else, so I do fear that I might have peaked. But I hope that’s not the truth. With Fun Home I feel hopeful about the
future of American theater. There’s a lot of really incredible voices that are trying to tell stories. I hope that after this year producers and theaters are willing to take a risk on telling the stories of under-represented people. I feel that a lot as a Hispanic man wanting to be actor. The voice of Latino theater sometimes gets
stifled because there isn’t a lot of place for us to perform our work. You have to go to the Latino theater to see the Latin shows, you have to go to the black theater to see the black shows, rather than just seeing it as an
all-encompassing theater because that’s what America is. There are people out there who are making the work and if you just try a little harder to reach out to those communities I think you’ll be really surprised of the work that they can do.