Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tips to Prepare for Auditions

Have you ever wanted to audition for a role, but was hesitant to because you weren't sure what was expected of you at auditions or you weren't sure what you needed to do to prepare for an audition?
Sunday, June 30, 2013
2024 Nellie Drive

Rest assured that you are not alone. Scores of actors – veterans and novices alike – are always asking, “What do I need to do to prepare for the audition?” During the course of the season, Slidell Little Theatre is asking each of our directors for advice that we hope will provide you with the information you need to better prepare for auditions and give you the encouragement you need to audition again and again.

Slidell Little Theatre launches its 51st Season in August with the family-favorite musical Seussical, directed by Scott Sauber and starring Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and many more of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

We asked Scott to provide us with his Top Ten Tips to Prepare for Auditions. Here is his advice:

1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

You would never stand up and sing a concert without preparing it first. Do your solo the same favor.  You should never stand up and do a monologue without preparing it...  And there is no such thing as being too prepared.  Also with the internet as a tool - there is no excuse for not knowing something about the show you are auditioning for.  Google it!

2. Say "Thank You" to the people you are working for and working with.

They have a golden opportunity to cast you and stand next to you.  Thank them for that.  Don't apologize to them with awkward facial expressions.  We all feel the same way when we stand up there in front.  Express pride.  Die outside the audition door.

3. Leave your ego at the door.

If you think you deserve it, I am here to prove you wrong -- and I hold the cookies.  I like to reward those that can do a good job.  Not feature those that say, "Me. Me. Me."  And the role I see you playing is because I want to challenge myself and you...not because everyone knew you would get it.

4. Be flexible.

Be willing to work on a project because you trust the director, enjoy the process and want to entertain an audience.  THAT'S how you build a resume.  Accept any and every role.

5. Practice in front of mawmaw and your friends and your cell phone video camera.

Get the nerves out, check your facial expressions, make bold choices.  And please decide what you are going to do with your hands.  They tell a lot about your level of preparedness (see #1)  and they annoy auditioners when you constantly slap your thighs.

6. Dive into the character.

Don't sing how you would sing.  Sing "Mark" from RENT like you are Mark...from RENT.  I am looking emotional connection, facial expression, and a physical choice.  If the character is prim and proper - stand prim and proper.  If the character is a hunchback, by all means - I need to see your hump.  If your character longs for something, hope for it... and show it in your eyes.  

7. Choose a song early and sing it often.

Lyrics should be the least of your worries at an audition.  Make physical choices driven by the character, but don't dance around.  Make gestures, but don't spell it out for me.  Change a rhythm or speak a sentence.  Make it your own -- driven by the character. Find your favorite audition song and sing here, there, and everywhere. 


The full version is on YouTube.  You see disappointment, growth, hard work, rejection and a CRAZY GOOD monologue that will leave you in tears....all in an audition. And you will learn a lot about life and a little about theatre.

9. When nerves are shaking you up - DO A CARTWHEEL.

The physical exertion calms your nerves.  And if you are willing to do it on stage in front of the auditioners, you've got nerve and grit...and then you're willing to do anything.

10. Did I mention PREPARE.  It shows.

Good luck to each and every one of you coming out to auditions on June 30th!

Do you have your own tips for preparing for auditions? We’d love to hear what you do to prepare for an audition!

SLT’s production of Seussical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). A thorough synopsis of the musical and other research material are available through MTI’s website here.

A list of the characters and suggested ages:

The Cat in the Hat                                18 – 35
Horton the Elephant                             25 – 35
JoJo                                                       8 – 12
Gertrude McFuzz                                 22 – 33
Mayzie La Bird                                     21 – 32
Sour Kangaroo                                    23 – 35
General Gengus Khan Schmitz          30 – 50
The Grinch                                           25 – 45
Mr. Mayor                                             32 – 45
Mrs. Mayor                                           30 – 40
Yertle, the Turtle                                  20 – 50
The Wickersham Brothers                 14 – 40
The Bird Girls                                      16 – 35
Jungle Creatures                                  8 – 80
The Whos                                             8 – 90

Seussical opens August 16, 2013 and runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 8.

A multiple-award winning actor, light designer, director and educator, Scott Sauber teaches Theatre in the Talented Arts Program at Slidell High School and is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Theatre Department.

A complete listing of Scott’s stage and offstage credits can be found here

Monday, June 17, 2013

SLT Names ‘Into the Woods’ Season’s Best Show

The Slidell Little Theatre production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's fractured fairy tale Into the Woods, took Best Show honors at the community theatre’s recent Ginny Awards ceremony.

Named after SLT founder Virginia Madison, the Ginny Awards recognize achievement during the community theatre’s six main stage productions, including categories for acting, directing, choreography, set design, lighting, sound and more.

The winners of the 2012-2013 Season Ginny Awards are:
Best Lighting Design – Ryan Robichaux for “Into the Woods”
Best Sound Design – Josh St. Cyr and Fred Martinez for “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Best Costumes – Larry Johnson, Jr. and Julie Generes for “Into the Woods”
Best Set – Larry Johnson, Sr. and Larry Johnson Jr. for “Into the Woods”
Best Choreography Larry Johnson, Jr. for “Into the Woods”
Best Supporting Actress Diana La Salla for “Into the Woods”
Best Supporting Actor Joshua Brewer for “Into the Woods”
Best Actress – Mary Kathryn Carrol for “Show Boat”
Best Actor – Gary Mendoza forA Christmas Story”
Best Musical Director – John Giraud for “Into the Woods”
Best DirectorLarry Johnson Jr. forInto the Woods.”
Best Show – “Into the Woods” – Producer Brandee Krieger; Director Larry Johnson, Jr.; and Stage Manager Mitch Stubbs.

Sarah Boudreaux Smith won awards for Best Poster and Best Marquee (both for Show Boat).  Jack Faust was named Ham of the Year for his portrayal of Milky White in Into the Woods.

The Ginny Awards were first introduced during the 1968-1969 Season. That year, “Of Mice and Men” was named Best Show.

Gary Mendoza received SLT’s Ginny Award for Best Actor
for his tour de force performance as the adult Ralph Parker
in “A Christmas Story.” Mendoza teaches talented theatre
at Covington High School.  (Photo by Michael Clark)

The very talented Mary Kathryn Carrol, singing with her co-star Michael McAndrews 
in “Show Boat,” was nominated twice in the same season for Best Actress.
She took home the top honor for her portrayal of Magnolia “Nola” Hawks in “Show Boat.”
(Photo by Michael Clark)

Best Supporting Actress
Diana La Salla as the Wicked Witch threatens Little Red Riding Hood
in a scene from “Into the Woods.” La Salla was awarded the Ginny for
Best Supporting Actress.
(Photo by Paul Wood)
Best Supporting Actor
Joshua Brewer as Jack of beanstalk fame has his ear pinched by his mother (Renee Saussaye)
after she learned he sold their prized milk cow for a handful of worthless beans
in the musical, “Into the Woods.”  Brewer received the Ginny Award
for Best Supporting Actor.
(Photo by Michael Clark)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Slidell Radio City Playhouse: Our Shows

Slidell Little Theatre is launching the inaugural production of the newly formed Senior Actors Theatre of Slidell (SATS) with a live broadcast June 15, 2013, of “Slidell Radio City Playhouse,” a re-enactment of programs popular during the Golden Age of radio.

The Radio City Playhouse production will feature three shows from the 1940s: two comedies and one suspense drama!

The shows we’ve selected to re-enact are (in order of production): My Friend Irma: episode “Seeing Ghosts”; Sorry, Wrong Number; and The Great Gilderslevee, episode “Income Tax Forms.”

The following is some background material about each of our shows...

My Friend Irma

Marie Wilson (left) and Cathy Lewis

My Friend Irma, created by Cy Howard, was a top-rated, long-running radio situation comedy, so popular in the late 1940s that its success escalated to films, television, a comic strip and a comic book. Marie Wilson portrayed the title character, Irma Peterson, on radio, in two films and a television series. The radio series was broadcast on CBS Radio from April 11, 1947 to August 23, 1954.

Dependable, level-headed Jane Stacy (portrayed by Cathy Lewis) began each weekly radio program by narrating a misadventure of her innocent, bewildered roommate, Irma, a dim-bulb stenographer from Minnesota. They lived together in an apartment rented from their Irish landlady, Mrs. O'Reilly.

Irma's boyfriend Al was a deadbeat, barely on the right side of the law, who had not held a job in years. Only someone like Irma could love Al, whose nickname for Irma was "Chicken." Al had many crazy get-rich-quick schemes, which never worked. Al planned to marry Irma at some future date so she could support him.

Professor Kropotkin, the Russian violinist at the Princess Burlesque theater, lived upstairs. He greeted Jane and Irma with remarks like, "My two little bunnies with one being an Easter bunny and the other being Bugs Bunny." The Professor insulted Mrs. O'Reilly, complained about his room and reluctantly became O'Reilly's love interest in an effort to make her forget his back rent.

Irma worked for the lawyer, Mr. Clyde. She had such an odd filing system that once when Clyde fired her, he had to hire her back again because he couldn't find anything. Useless at dictation, Irma mangled whatever Clyde dictated. Asked how long she had been with Clyde, Irma said, "When I first went to work with him he had curly black hair, then it got grey, and now it's snow white. I guess I've been with him about six months."

Irma became less bright as the program evolved (she thought flypaper was airline stationery!). She also developed a tendency to whine or cry whenever something went wrong, which was at least once every show. Jane had a romantic inclination for her boss, millionaire Richard Rhinelander, but he had no real interest in her.

The film My Friend Irma (1949) starred Marie Wilson and Diana Lynn, but is mainly remembered today for introducing Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis to moviegoers, resulting in even more screen time for Martin and Lewis in the sequel, My Friend Irma Goes West (1950).

(pictured from left) Kenneth Faherty, Beth Harris, Linda Wendle,
Margaret Rennie, Helen Joffe and Robert Jahncke.

Sorry, Wrong Number

Agnes Moorehead as Mrs. Stevenson

"Sorry, Wrong Number" was Suspense radio's biggest hit and became "radio's most famous play," says author and historian Christine A. Miller, and the only Suspense radio play to be made into a movie.  

Miller’s blog, Escape and Suspense! is devoted to the enjoyment of the CBS radio show Suspense and its sister show Escape.” In addition to providing considerable research into each show, Miller also includes audio links to the actual broadcasts.

The Suspense radio show was a thriller that ran on CBS Radio from 1942 to 1962. Between 1947 and 1954, Suspense also had a sister show named Escape, which focused on classic short stories and exotic adventure.

According to Miller, "Sorry, Wrong Number" was performed eight times between 1943 and 1960, “and it created a phenomenon of its own by provoking tremendous listener response.” All eight versions starred Agnes Moorehead in the lead role of Mrs. Elbert Stevenson.

The radio play was written by Lucille Fletcher and, aside from ‘The Hitchhiker,’ it is her best known work.

In the 1948 film Sorry, Wrong Number, the role of Mrs. Stevenson was played by Barbra Stanwyck, for which she later received an Academy Award nomination.  Stanwyck performed the role of Mrs. Stevenson once on radio, along with her costar Burt Lancaster in1950.

For complete details about Sorry, Wrong Number, please visit Miller’s blog here.

(From left) Kenneth Faherty, Linda Wendle as Mrs. Stevenson, Robert Jahncke,
Helen Joffe and Beth Harris. Not pictured, Bob Gault.

The Great Gildersleeve

Harold Peary as Gildy

The Great Gildersleeve is a radio situation comedy broadcast from 1941 to 1957. It was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. The series was built around the character Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a regular character on the radio comedy show Fibber McGee and Molly.

The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in four feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.

In Fibber McGee and Molly, Gildersleeve had been a pompous windbag and nemesis of Fibber McGee. But "Gildy" grew so popular that Kraft Foods—promoting its Parkay margarine—sponsored a new series featuring the somewhat mellowed and always befuddled Gildersleeve as the head of his own family.

The Great Gildersleeve premiered on NBC on August 31, 1941.The Gildersleeve character was located to Summerfield to oversee his late brother-in-law's estate and rear his orphaned niece and nephew, Marjorie and Leroy Forester. The household also includes a cook named Birdie.

At the outset of the series, Gildersleeve administers a girdle manufacturing company ("If you want a better corset, of course, it's a Gildersleeve"); later and during the remainder of the show he serves as Summerfield's water commissioner.
A key figure in the Gildersleeve home was cook and housekeeper Birdie Lee Coggins (Lillian Randolph). In the first season Birdie was often portrayed as less than intelligent, but she slowly developed as the real brains and caretaker of the household.

His niece Marjorie matured to a young woman through the 1940s, marrying in 1950 Walter "Bronco" Thompson, star football player at the local college. Look magazine devoted five pages in its May 23, 1950, issue to the wedding. After living in the same household for a few years, the newlyweds moved next door.
Leroy, who remained age 10–11 during most of the 1940s, began to grow up in the spring of 1949, establishing relationships with the girls in the Bullard home across the street. He developed interests in driving, playing the drums and dreaming of a musical career.

Outside the home, Gildersleeve's closest association was with the executor of his brother-in-law's estate, Judge Horace Hooker, with whom he had many battles during the first few broadcast seasons. After a change in scriptwriters in January 1943, the confrontations slowly subsided and the two men became friends. During the second season, pharmacist Richard Q. Peavey and barber Floyd Munson joined Gildersleeve's circle of acquaintances.

In the fourth season, these three friends, along with Police Chief Donald Gates, formed the nucleus of the Jolly Boys Club, whose activities revolve around practicing barbershop quartet songs between sips of Coca-Cola.
Several women passed through Gildersleeve's life during the series, including three he almost married before settling into a pattern of casual dating.

In 1950, Harold Peary was convinced to move The Great Gildersleeve to CBS, but sponsor Kraft refused to sanction the move. Peary, now contracted to CBS, was legally unable to appear on NBC as a star performer, but Gildersleeve was still an NBC series. This prompted the hiring of Willard Waterman as Peary's replacement. Peary, meanwhile, began a new series on CBS which attempted to reproduce the Gildersleeve show with the names changed. The Harold Peary Show, lasting one season, included a fictitious radio show within the show. This was Honest Harold, hosted by Peary's new character.

Starting in mid-1952, some of the program's long-time characters (Judge Hooker, Floyd Munson, Marjorie and her husband) were missing for months at a time. In their place were a few new ones (Mr. Cooley, the Egg Man, and Mrs. Potter the hypochondriac) who would last only a month or so. By 1953, Gildersleeve's love life took center stage over his family and friends. His many love interests were constantly shifting, and women came and went with great frequency.

In 1954 the show's format changed drastically. After missing the fall schedule, it finally appeared in November as 15-minute episodes that aired five times a week. Only Gildersleeve, Leroy and Birdie remained on a continuing basis. All other characters were seldom heard, and gone were Marjorie and her family as well as the studio audience, live orchestra and original scripts.

The show quit broadcasting in 1957.
(from left) Ginger Stevens, Kenneth Faherty as "Gildy", Helen Joffe
Robert Jahncke, Don Boyle, Becky Eaton and Beth Harris.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

YATS' Lonnie Hass Scholarship Award Winners

Slidell Little Theatre proudly announces the recipients of the 2013 Lonnie Hass Scholarship award, presented by the Young Actors Theatre of Slidell (YATS) to qualifying graduating high school seniors who intend to study the performing arts in college.

Anna Rudesill

Anna Rudesill
A 10-year veteran of the renowned YATS program, Anna Rudesill is a recent graduate of Pearl River High School. Anna says her audition at Slidell Little Theatre at age seven changed her forever. Anna is described as bringing a “passionate involvement and kindness to her endeavors” with “professional communication skills.”
This fall, Anna will attend Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond where she intends to major in Communications with a minor in Theatre.
She is bittersweet about leaving SLT, which has been her summer home for 10 years. It is the place she believes where “magic truly does happen.”

Michael Pagones

Michael Pagones
At age seven, Michael Pagones used to watch YATS participants with envy. He couldn’t wait to be old enough to sign up! Once he was old enough, he jumped in with both feet and spent the next 10 summers in the YATS program. Michael is described as a talented young man with a “beautiful rich maturing voice” who is “consistently challenging himself.” He recently achieved the honor of Eagle Scout, which requires that a successful candidate “plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community.” For his Eagle Project, Michael organized improvements the theatre stage at his church – a perfect illustration of his belief that “theatre is a team sport.”
A graduate of Slidell High School, Michael will attend the University of New Orleans in the fall with an emphasis on Film and Music.

                                            Abigail Marie Gardner

Abigail Gardner
Abigail Gardner believes that “you should pursue what you love,” and that’s why this graduate of Mandeville High School/New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) is heading this fall to Texas Christian University to major in Musical Theatre. Abigail is described as having developed just the right sized ego: “big enough for her to attempt this competitive life, yet not so large that it overshadows compassion for others.” A five-year veteran of YATS, Abigail is already looking past her successful Broadway career and sees a time when she will become involved in a big way at a local community theatre with the intention of inspiring others as she has been inspired.

Christopher Milligan

Christopher Milligan
Christopher Milligan got the “bug” when he was only nine years old. Described as having a “contagious, positive energy” that enters the room with him, those who have worked with him say Christopher is “committed,” “focused” and able to “handle tasks with commitment and maturity.” A graduate of Slidell High School/NOCCA, Christopher describes himself simply as “a starving artist pursuing his dreams. A member of the YATS program for five years, Christopher will attend Pace University in New York and study Musical Theatre, Acting and Dance.

                                          Valerie Aucoin

Valerie Aucoin
Valerie Aucoin says theatre has been a part of her life since she was a little girl and she can’t imagine her future without it. A graduate of Slidell High School, Valerie is described as “always prepared and poised for auditions,” and is “an example of where talent matches a strong work ethic.” A four-year veteran of the YATS program, Valerie describes her dream job as a performer at Disney World.
Valerie will attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg where she will focus on Theatre, with a minor in Library Science.

About YATS

Unlike any other children’s theatre camp in St. Tammany Parish, Slidell Little Theatre’s program is the only one to offer help with college tuition to its YATS graduates through the Lonnie Hass Scholarship.

Lonnie Hass is a Life Member of the Slidell Little Theatre and was a leading force behind the founding of Slidell Little Theatre’s Youth Workshop program in the 1970s, serving as its first chairman.

When the Youth Workshop program was restructured in the late 1990s, organizers envisioned a scholarship fund for participants in the newly-formed Young Actors Theatre of Slidell program.

As the YATS program grew and monies could be set aside, the Lonnie Haas Scholarship Program was officially established to provide financial support for participants graduating from high school and going on to study the performing arts in college.

Since the year 2000, Slidell Little Theatre has disbursed nearly $50,000 to local YATS high school graduates to help further their studies in the performing arts.

The YATS summer program is designed to introduce young people between the ages of four and graduating high school seniors to the stage through age-appropriate theatrical productions and workshops.

·        Mini-YATS: entering Pre-K4 through entering 3rd grade
·        Young Juniors: entering 4th grade through entering 5th grade
·        Juniors: entering 6th grade through entering 7th grade
·        Young Seniors: entering 8th grade through entering 9th grade
·        Seniors: entering 10th grade through finishing 12th grade

The Mini-YATS program engages children from four to eight for five days, during which they learn their lines, music and blocking, make their props and costumes if necessary. The week culminates in a performance on Saturday afternoon.

The older YATS participants are separated by age groups to form the casts of up to five different productions. The older groups begin the session by attending a series of workshops designed to expose them to some of the skills needed for the stage. Ranging from dance and voice to stage combat and culminating in auditioning skills they are ready to tackle the audition process. Often viewed as the toughest part of the art, participants are guided through their own audition in a supportive atmosphere designed to identify the individual participant’s strengths so the best opportunity for success within his/her particular play can be identified. All participants are then cast into appropriate roles. And the rehearsal process begins.

The Juniors groups usually perform plays written for young people that last in the range of one to one and a half hours. The Young Seniors and Senior groups stage full two act plays, with the Seniors performing a Broadway musical with a live orchestra.

Teenagers who participate during their high school years become eligible to apply for The Lonnie Hass Scholarship, which is awarded to graduating seniors who intend to study the performing arts in college. There is a fee for participation in the YATS program, with special adjusted rates for members of Slidell Little Theatre.

The Northshore’s premier community theatre since 1963, Slidell Little Theatre is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and involving members of the community in high quality theatrical productions. SLT is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.

Slidell Little Theatre – where the magic comes to life!