How to Prepare for a Role in Musical Theatre


Now that you’ve been cast in a musical
what are the steps you need to take to prepare for the first day of rehearsal
there’s a lot of steps actually that you need to take so that when you walk into
the first rehearsal you feel confident you feel ready and you feel prepared so
today I’m gonna take you through all the steps you need to take as soon as you
find out that your cast in a musical my name is Ashley Espinosa and this is
actions for actors where we talk about weekly actions that you can implement
into your career to gain progress as a musical theater performer so you’ve been
cast in a musical this is awesome congratulations so the first thing you
want to do is get a copy of the script now depending on what theatre you’re
working at they’ll either tell you to buy or they will give you a copy of the
script from Sam French which looks like this or they will give you a rented
libretto from MTI which you have to then return back to
them erased and clean before you finish the production oftentimes the company
will either give you a bill email you a PDF of the script or they’re going to
even go ahead and give you a copy of the script if they give you a copy that’s
awesome if they don’t you want to take this or you want to take the libretto
and you really want to make your own copy because you it’s gonna be really
hard to do the work in these little tiny scripts so take it make a copy if you
have it in this size or in the libretto take it and literally go and make copies
page by page which is what I normally do and then you have a a single sided copy
of the script now or the libretto now it’s up to you I like to single-side my
script that way when I’m working I’m not looking at back or front so I like to
make it single sided depending on how big it is as well so after you either
print off or make your copy you want to then put it in a three-ring binders
put three hole punches in it and then put it in a notebook or a binder so that
you can easily access it so this is my script this is a show that I recently
did and you want to make sure that you I actually double-sided this one because
it was gonna be easier for the way that I worked on this show specifically but
it’s really up to you if you want a single side it it gives you more room to
write or if you want to double side it because it’s going to be easier for you
to have less pages completely up to you so now after you have your script you
want to make sure you have your score especially of course if it’s a musical
you’re going to be singing so I always try to get a copy of the score the
conductor score so that way I have the accompaniment the piano line in the
music and the libretto they’re just gonna give you the notes the melody line
and the notes that you’re singing but if you get a copy of the score then when
you go to either your lessons or your coaching’s privately your accompanist or
your coach can play along with you and I always want that because I’m going to
I’m going to take my lessons and utilize that time to make sure I’m singing
everything the correct pitch the correct rhythm and if I can’t hear the note I
want to be able to see if I can pick it out in the accompaniment line so and get
a copy of the conductor score and make sure you have that double-sided you
don’t want to single send this one for sure so after you have your pages ready
in your notebook the next thing you want to do is you want to go through and
highlight everything I know it sounds really like basic or simple but a lot of
people don’t do this and you you want to start off from the bottom noting every
single thing that you’re saying so that you have a baseline so go through and
highlight your entire part your line in the score and in the script a lot of
times when you get to the first rehearsal as well you’re gonna be a
little nervous and you want your eye to go too directly when you’re saying or
singing something so you don’t miss it especially in a table read so go through
and highlight any of anything that you say you don’t need to highlight really
any stage directions because you don’t want your eye to go to that just
highlight your what I also do that’s really helpful is
I go through an I tab all of the scenes and the songs that I’m in so I can
easily jump to them when I’m rehearsing so you can get the little fancy tabs or
you can just take sheets of paper and you can see on mine right here I
literally just went down and put tabs and put the title of the song I’ll do
the same thing in my script I’ll go through and I will just tab scene 1 act
1 scene 2 act 2 if I’m in it so that way I know that I can jump to the part
really quickly that I know that I’m in so again you’re just sitting out a
roadmap for you so copy highlight everything and then go
through and tab and organize your script and your score the next thing you want
to do is read through your script and your score I would say at least 5 or 6
times so you have an overview before you even get started of what the actual show
is about and that you’re noting the show as a whole versus just your single parts
then start to analyze the show and your character so analyze the show as a whole
I start off with research I research everything I can about the show who
wrote it why they wrote it if it’s based on anything historical I research those
people and in the time period as well research the show as a whole then you
want to start researching your characters so let’s say for example this
show that I just worked on was fun home and I researched Alison Bechdel because
she’s a real person and that’s who my character was based on you then want to
make sure you do any other research regarding the show so the time period
the location if there’s any accents if there’s any type of culture or heritage
that is going to be represented in that show you want to make sure that you
really understand the basis of show and who these people are where
they’re coming from and what story that they are telling I then go through and I
start to read scene by scene including the songs every single day now if you
only have a couple of weeks you really want to prioritize a lot quicker but if
you have more time I set down and every day for like the next couple of weeks
every day I’ll work on one scene or one song and I will go through it and I will
read and sing through it a couple of times and then I will start to go
through and memorize so I like to memorize and and work as I go instead of
doing everything at one time I’ll start off at the very beginning the
show and I’ll go in chronological order and I’ll pick through the scenes that
I’m that I’m in and I will start to memorize and I will analyze at the same
time so like say one day the first day I’m gonna work on Act one Scene one and
there’s a song in it I will set through and I’ll read it a couple times sing
through it a couple times and then I will go through and I will note anything
that I don’t understand so if there’s a word if there’s a reference that you
don’t know I will research that as I’m working just that little bitty chunk if
you work in small chunks it will make it less overwhelming so then the next day I
will come back and I will run what I did the day before and and then I will move
forward I will also make sure that maybe I’m not memorizing everything exactly
word for word but that I have at least it half about half in my memory I don’t
want to fully fully memorize but I don’t want to just skim through it so I say
about fifty to seventy-five percent and memorized as you’re working through so
you’re layering upon layering throughout the show and this is even before the
first day of rehearsal as you’re going through each song you want to make sure
that you are notating anything that you need to work on so if there’s anything
you want to work on in your lessons or if you have a private coach or anything
you want to ask the musical director I would put little notes in my margins as
I work through now I like to also make notes in my script as I’m working
especially as I’m researching so let’s say for example I’m researching
something that I I didn’t know so let me pull
something in my scripts that I didn’t know
fun home okay so for example and fun home on one of these pages I’m not
saying these words but I didn’t know what they meant and I wanted to
understand because it was the medium Allisyn version speaking which was the
younger version of me and so for example she talks about a a few of different
modern classics novels like The Sun Also Rises and I didn’t know what that was so
I looked it up and I wrote it in the margin so I could refer back to it if I
forgot or I didn’t if I wanted to know exactly a note or a word they said or a
novel I would note it in the margin and I would always have all of my research
in the script as well so my script is always like full of notes and thing and
crossings when I get into this stage but I’ll even use like little stickies and
notate anything that I want any notes that I want to remind myself of so don’t
be afraid to put it in your script I also like to start every part of my
script with my objective what’s my objective what’s my goal and you
literally want to think of this as a working document before you even get
into rehearsal so when you go in to the first day of rehearsal you already have
all of this work done before the first day so that when you get there you have
time to play you’re not trying to catch up on the first day of rehearsal by
doing all of these steps you’re gonna go into the first day ready prepared and
all the research will be done so you are pretty much 75% memorize both with your
script and your music and that way everything else is going to be allowing
you to create and craft this show as the director the music director and the
choreographer sees it so I hope this helps you prepare for your next show
that’s coming up have a wonderful week next week we are going to be talking
about what do you do now that you’re prepared for the first day or her soul
what do you do the first day of rehearsal that you need to not forget
what items do you need what do you need to take with you what should you wear
with you what should you have in your rehearsal bag I’m gonna cover all of
that and what you do the first day of rehearsal in our next video have a great
week everyone take the actions you need to gain progress in musical theater
career I’ll see you next week

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