Working in the Theatre: School of Rock

[music] If you want to perform, you gotta follow these
rules; you have to practice a lot, because without practice you can’t really go far. You cannot look out into the audience, it’s
tempting, but you cannot do it because then the audience feels kind of weird. Plus, they’re not in the scene. Third, you have to build up your self confidence
before you go onto the stage. Even if you’re playing somebody timid, like
Lawrence, it takes a lot of guts to project still. You can’t whisper everything, or else the
audience won’t understand anything that you’re saying. [Over speaker system] Good afternoon, ladies
and gentlemen, or evening, which it is. It’s seven o’clock, this is your half
hour call. At this evening’s performance… [continues] [chatter] I started off playing with my ukulele at an
audition, and then they’re like, “Oh, cool, great. Bring your bass next time.” and I’m like,
I don’t really play the bass, this must be a mistake. And then my dad’s like, “Oh, maybe we
should go to Guitar Center. It’s a good excuse to get a bass.” And then I learned Teacher’s Pet for the
next audition, then I kept getting callbacks and then I got the role. I had to send in a video audition because
they wanted me to come out here in three days and I’m from Portland, Oregon, so that was
kind of hard. And then after that for my two callbacks I
had to fly out for both of them and we did dance calls and singing calls. [chatter] [vocal warm-ups] For my ninth birthday, my dad finally got
me a singing lesson; I’ve always begged him for it. I actually auditioned for the original cast,
didn’t make it in then, but then I got a manager and got a little older and I auditioned,
not too long ago, actually. [vocal warm-ups] When I started with musical theatre, I found
out that I wasn’t very good at dancing and acting, so I took lessons appropriate to my weaknesses. [show lyrics] Thank you, young rockers! The first time I ever played on a stage, it
was for my class at lunch. They had a talent show and I just went on
and I never had stage fright. And now, instead of at a lunch meeting, I’m
playing in front of fifteen hundred people and it feels the same. I just pray to God before I go on stage and
I don’t think about the audience because the audience isn’t really there right now
when we’re performing, it’s just us in the classroom. You’re just kind of in the moment and if
I’m in another role, if I’m a different person, I feel like I’m not nervous. When I get on stage, I feel this thing called
“the rush”, which is the excitement and the fear mixed up together that creates this
magical sensation in your body, which makes it feel like play time. Because it’s what you love. My routine every day is I get up, go to the
shower, go to Starbucks, get my tea for my voice and then I’ll come to tutoring or
I’ll go to school and then after that I do the show and then after that, I’ll practice
my guitar and go to sleep. It’s basically eat, music, sleep, repeat. A lot of the kids are home schooled, a lot
of the kids go to brick and mortar school, so it really depends on the kid. Right now I’m home schooling but a lot of
kids are doing online school or going to school so we’re all on different schedules. My mom works at the middle school and she’s
sending me the work that they’re doing in class and I just do it at home. I go to a brick and mortar school on Mondays,
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays but on Wednesdays, we have an earlier show so we come here to
do our work with our tutors. For every day of school they miss, they’re
required to do three hours of schooling. They come in to school for three hours and
then go right to the theatre. In rehearsal, sometimes it’s crazy because
they have to rehearse all day; they have a day of rehearsal and we have to fit school in. So sometimes they’ll do an hour of school,
two hours of rehearsal, take a lunch, then an hour of school, then two hours of rehearsal. The good thing about most of these kids is
they’re very good individual workers and they understand that part of their job is school. If they don’t do the school part, they can’t
do the Broadway part. It’s illegal. The difference between going to a real school
and what I do now, just doing work at home; it’s a lot different because I don’t need
to wake up at a certain time, which is awesome but also, I’m not around other kids, which
is sometimes really weird. I’d rather go to regular school. You actually have your friends there; like
I’m just by myself, just doing my work. At my old school, since I was in elementary,
we got to do recess and I’d hang out with them all the time but it’s different now. These kids are very much forced to be adults,
even though they’re kids. So they have a lot of responsibility, so we
really try to make sure that they can connect with kids their own age and relate to each
other about how it is to do this kind of stuff together. Before I moved here, I lived in California
and it’s a big change from the beach to a big, busy city. I also left my mom, brother and sister back
in California. I’m living here with my dad so I was nervous
about that, but I did it. My mom and my other two little sisters are
back home in Oregon ‘cause they still have to do school and my mom has work, so my dad
and I are here right now. But I miss them all the time, they miss me. But we FaceTime every day and my family’s
really cool about it. When I got involved in this job, Joann Hunter
asked me to be the assistant dance captain, and I don’t have actually any formal dance
training. She asked me primarily because of the children
and making sure they know I’m someone they can go to if they need anything on stage,
off stage, it doesn’t matter. I’m there for them. [chatter] They are in an age group where they’re really
in the epicenter of growing up, so they’re curious, they’re sometimes confused and
it feels so rewarding to ever be able to answer any of their questions. [dance instructions] They bring such a fresh energy every single
day; it’s like you never really know what you’re going to get. There’s just this energy in the building
that they put off that is so exciting. [All shouting] Five, six, here we go! As an adult, we have a totally different life. We have to put most of the money that we make
away in different places and pay bills and that kind of thing. These children have no concept of that. They’re not there for the money. I don’t even think of it as work, really. I love doing it every day so I don’t think
of it as oh, I’m going to work. I think of it like, yay! Going to work! Another day to just jump around on stage! [dance instruction] It’s so cool to be on a stage and all of
your thoughts clear, you don’t have to worry about school or anything you have in the real world. You’re just in this moment. [dance instruction] The most fun part of the day is, well, there’s two times. Walking in front of the theater and seeing
my picture up just makes my heart melt every time I see it and after the show when I walk
out and I’m doing signatures; that was once me in that line, waiting to get signatures
and now I’m the one giving out the signatures. A lot of the kids either get too tall or they
outgrow the part. I’m leaving in November. It’s very hard to do eight shows a week
but I’ve had such a fun time. It’s been a great experience for me, hanging
out with these awesome kids every day and I feel like I’ve made life-long friends. [Ensemble singing] When the world has screwed
you and crushed you in its fist, when the way you’re treated has got you good and
pissed; there’s been one solution, since the world began! Don’t just sit and take it! Stick it to the man! That movie, School of Rock, made me play guitar. I’ve never been an actor, but now I am and
they taught me how to sing better and act better. And maybe, who knows? Maybe I’ll be a Broadway star one day. [Ensemble singing] Rant and rave and scream
and shout and stick your middle finger out! And wreck your room and rip your jeans and
show ‘em what rebellion means! [Singing] Why march in someone else’s caravan? Especially those you’re so much cooler than? [Ensemble singing] Stick it to the man! Stick it to the man! Stick it to the man! Stick it to the man!

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