Tuesday, June 23, 2015

'Mary Poppins' Audition Tips

Top Ten Audition Tips from Scott Sauber

We asked Scott Sauber, the director of 'Mary Poppins' 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.

Friday, June 19, 2015

SLT Seeks Practically Perfect Cast for Regional Premiere of ‘Mary Poppins’
Slidell Little Theatre director Scott Sauber promises, a fun-filled, Disney adventure with heart and soul,” and is seeking a magical cast that knows too well that in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.

Mary Poppins is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and astonishing stagecraft. This show is a perfect opportunity to showcase a strong, iconic female performer, as well as unique special effects and illusions.

The jack-of-all trades, Bert introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren't the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that "Anything can happen if you let it."  

Mary Poppins Character List:

Character Breakdown

Bert The narrator of the story, is a good friend to Mary Poppins. An everyman, Bert has many occupations, including hurdy-gurdy player, sidewalk artist and chimney sweep. Bert watches over the children as well as the goings on in Cherry Tree Lane. He has charm, speaks with a Cockney accent and is a song-and-dance man.             
Male, 30 - 39 yrs old

George Banks The father to Jane and Michael Banks, is a banker to the very fiber of his being. Demanding "precision and order" in his household, he is a pipe-and-slippers man who doesn't have much to do with his children and believes that he had the perfect upbringing by his nanny, the cruel Miss Andrew. His emotional armor, however, conceals a sensitive soul. A baritone, George may speak-sing as necessary.            
Male, 40 - 45 yrs old

Winnifred Banks George's wife and Jane and Michael's mother. A former actress, she is loving and distracted homemaker who is busy trying to live up to her husband's desire to obnly associate with "the best people" as well as be the model wife and mother. She suffers from the conflicting feelings that she's not up to the job of "being Mrs. Banks," yet, she is, and more. She has great warmth and simplicity to her tone.    
Female, 30 - 40 yrs old

Jane The high-spirited daughter of Mr. and Mr. Banks, is bright and precocious but can be willful and inclined to snobbishness.              
Female, 11 yrs old

Michael The cute and cheeky son of Mr. and Mrs. Banks. Excitable and naughty, he adores his father and tries to be like him. Both he and Jane misbehave in order to get the attention of their parents. 
Male, 9 yrs old

Katie Nanna Jane and Micahel's nanny at the beginning of the show. Overwhelmed and upset, she has absolutely had her fill of the Banks children.          
Female, 30 - 40 yrs old
Speaking Role

Policeman A neighborhood fixture who is respected by and observant of households on his beat.    
Male, 30 - 50 yrs old
Speaking Role

Miss Lark The haughty next-door neighbor of the Banks family who treats her dog, Willoughby, as if her were child.         
Female, 30 - 40 yrs old
Speaking Role

Admiral Boom A retired Royal Navy man and neighbor of the Banks family. A physically large man with a loud and booming voice, he speaks in Navy jargon and has a soft spot for his neighbor, Miss Lark. Can be any vocal range as needed. If Admiral Bloom doubles as the Banks Chairman, he can be a baritone.              
Male, 50 - 60 yrs old
Speaking Role

Mrs. Brill The housekeeper and cook for the Banks family. Overworked and harrassed, she's always complaining that the house is understaffed. Her intimidating exterior is a cover for the warmth underneath. Mrs. Brill doesn't have a high opinion of nannies in general and Mary Poppins in particular. She does not have to be a strong singer.  
Female, 50 - 60 yrs old

Robertson Ay The houseboy to the Banks family. Lazy, sleepy and grumbling, he never gets things right and believes himself to be useless. He doesn't do a lot of singing, but his "Spoonful" solo can be a fun surprise.              
Male, 20 - 30 yrs old

Mary Poppins Jane and Michael Banks's new nanny. She is extraordinary and strange, neat and tidy, delightfully vain yet particular, and sometimes a little frightening but always exciting. She is practically perfect in every way and always means what she says. A mezzo soprano with strong top notes, she should be able to move well. She can have a more traditional soprano sound, but precision and diction is the key.           
Female, 20 - 30 yrs old

Park Keeper Uniformed and officious, he makes sure no one breaks park regulations. His life is defined by rules, but he secretly hankers after his childhood.          
Male, 40 - 60 yrs old
Speaking Role

Neleus The statue of a young boy posed with a dolphin in the park. Neleus was separated from his father, Poseidon, and misses him very much. A small and lonely being, he is very happy to befriend Jane and Michael. This role is a wonderful opportunity to feature one of the strong dancers in your ensemble.          
Male, 16 - 20 yrs old

Queen Victoria A statue in the park.         
Female, 40 - 60 yrs old

Bank Chairman The head of the bank where Mr. Banks is employed, is an Edwardian stuffed-shirt. He can speak/sing his lines if necessary.        
Male, 50-60 yrs old

Miss Smythe The Bank Chairman's humorless secretary.   
Female, 40 - 50 yrs old
Speaking Role

Ensemble Annie, Fannie, Valentine, Teddy Bear, Mr. Punch, Doll, Chimney Sweeps, Toys, Parkgoers. 
Von Hussler A businessman seeking a loan from the bank for a shady business deal. He speaks with a German accent.
Male, 30 - 50 yrs old
Speaking Role

John Northbrook An honest business man seeking a loan to build a factory for his community. He speaks with an accent from Northern England.     
Male, 30 - 50 yrs old

Bird Woman Covered in a patchwork of old shawls, and her pockets are stuffed with bags of crumbs for the birds. She tries to sell her crumbs for the birds. She tries to sell her crumbs to passersby, who ignore her as if she doesn't exist. Sings "Feed the Birds." There can be a gruff, folksy quality to her voice that relfelcts the hardness of her life.           
Female, 50 - 60 yrs old

Mrs. Corry Owns a magical gingerbread shop. She is a mysterious woman of great age who speaks with a Caribbean accent (or any accent that would make her seem exotic).        
Female, 40 - 50 yrs old
Speaking Role

Miss Andrew George's overbearing and scary nanny. With her bottle of nasty-tasting brimstone and treacle to kepp naighty children in line, she is a biully who only knows one way of oing things - her way. A soprano with an alto belt, there can be some heaviness to her voice along with range.     
Female, 40 - 60 yrs old

See more at: http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000329#sthash.DCDtLKlM.dpuf 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fabian Martinez Memorial Fund To Help Kids Find Their Wings

Fabian Gras Martinez
It has been said that theatre gives you wings and perhaps no one understood that better than Fabian Gras Martinez, who had seen firsthand the power live theatre had on her own three daughters and who later dedicated so much of her time and energy and talents to bringing theatre to countless other children.

It is only fitting that a new memorial fund has been established in Fabian’s name that will provide an opportunity to underprivileged children to also receive their wings through participation in Slidell Little Theatre’s renowned youth program -- the Young Actors Theater of Slidell, or YATS. 

“She always felt that theatre is the perfect place for a child to learn about life in the world,” said her husband, Fred Martinez. “Honesty, responsibility, commitment, respect, courage, preparedness, trust, humility and delay of gratification are all things that are developed in theatre. She also felt that the children are the future of the organization.”

It was in the late ’90s when the Martinez girls were first bitten by the theater bug after participating in the Angels Academy, at that time under the direction Rita Stockstill-O’Sullivan. Determined to continue feeding the girls’ newfound artistic expression, Fabian brought the family to Slidell Little Theatre, including her recalcitrant husband, and plowed headfirst into various stage productions and, of course, the YATS program.

Fabian quickly became an integral member of the YATS administrative structure and along with Dayle McDonough, the YATS program grew in size and reputation as a premier kids’ theatre. It wasn’t long before Fabian concluded that the program needed to expand to include even younger children, kids as young as four, and thus the mini-YATS program was born.

Fabian passed away unexpectedly on October 3, 2014. The Memorial Fund was started shortly thereafter as a tribute to Fabian and as testimony of her love for and generosity to our young people.

“Fabian was driven by her love for children,” said Fred Martinez. “Our home was a haven for countless children who needed somewhere to go, whether it was an hour a day a week or longer. She was a nurturer who mastered the ability to offer wisdom, love and support to the children of family members, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers.”

The Fabian Gras Martinez Memorial Scholarship Fund is currently accepting donations to help cover YATS tuition costs for economically disadvantaged children. All levels of contribution are appreciated. The Fund and applications will be administered through the YATS program and overseen by the Slidell Little Theatre Board of Directors.

Click here to be directed to an online donation page for the Fabian Gras Martinez Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2014-2015 Ginny Award Winners Announced

SLT Names ‘The Full Monty’ Season’s Best Show
Ginny Awards recognize on stage/ off stage talents

The Slidell Little Theatre production of Terrence McNally and David Yazbek's story full of heart took Best Show honors at the community theatre’s recent Ginny Awards ceremony.

Cast of The Full Monty
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.

Joshua St. Cyr

The winners of the 2015 Ginny Awards are:
Best Poster – Glenn Dietrich for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Best Lighting Design – Scott Sauber for “The Full Monty”
Best Sound Design – Josh St. Cyr  for “The Full Monty”

Best Costumes – Myra Duffour for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Best Set – Christine Barnhill-Tramel for “A Good Old Fashioned Rednecked Country Christmas”
Best Choreography Katie Peck for “The Full Monty”
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Diana La Salla for “The Full Monty”
Best Supporting Actress in a Play – Maria Hefte for “Doubt, a Parable”
Best Supporting Actor in a Play Robert Jahncke for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Gary Gilmore for “A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas”
Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Sara Pagones for “Fiddler on the Roof”

David Jacobs and Sara Pagones

Best Leading Actress in a Play – Anne Pourciao for “Doubt, a Parable”
Best Leading Actor in a Musical – David Jacobs for “Fiddler on the Roof”
Best Leading Actor in a Play – Derrick Stevens for “Move Over, Mrs. Markham”
Best Musical Director – John Giraud for “The Full Monty”
Best DirectorScott Sauber for “The Full Monty
Scott Sauber

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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lonnie Haas Scholarship Recipients Announced

Three YATS Thespians Awarded SLT Scholarships

Three senior high school graduates of Slidell Little Theatre’s renowned summer youth theatre program – Young Actors Theatre of Slidell (YATS) – were recently awarded scholarships to help further their studies in the performing arts.

The only summer theatre program on the northshore to offer scholarships to graduating participants, Slidell Little Theatre’s YATS program has awarded more than $53,000 in scholarships since 2000 to local high school graduates.

The 2015 Lonnie Haas Scholarship recipients are: Lauren Short, Jamie Schmidt and Madelyn Thomassie, all graduates of Northshore High School in Slidell.

Lauren Short

Lauren Short
Lauren Short in
Legally Blonde
Lauren Short has been a YATS participant for the past three years. She has enjoyed her roles as one of Reno’s angels in Anything Goes, Deborah Sue in Bye Bye Birdie, and a Delta Nu/Cheerleader in Legally Blonde. She performed this year in Northshore High School’s production of Througly Modern Millie as a stenographer and the New Modern.

Lauren has been a competitive dancer at Danceworks for twelve years. She has trained in a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and hip-hop. Lauren performed her first solo this year which won many awards. She was the captain of Danceworks Parade Marching Group.

Lauren graduated from Northshore High School with a 4.0 GPA. She was the Treasurer of the National Honors Society, Student Council Representative, and a school ambassador. Lauren will be attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette this fall. She plans to major in psychology and minor in dance.  Lauren is grateful for the YATS program which gave her the opportunity to experience theatre and is for thankful the scholarship which will allow her to continue her love in the performing arts.

Jamie Schmidt

Jamie Schmidt
Jamie Schmidt has been involved in the theatre since she was 7 years old and absolutely loves performing onstage. Some of her most recent roles were: Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Truvy in Steel Magnolias, and Paulette in Legally Blonde. The last main stage shows you would have seen her in at Slidell Little Theatre would be in Show Boat and Pippin. Jamie has also served as a counselor in the mini-YATS program for 3 years.

Jamie Schmidt in Legally Blonde

Jamie graduated with a 4.4 weighted GPA, ranking in the top 5% of her graduating class at Northshore High School. Jamie was the President of Thespian Troupe #7333 at NHS her senior year. She has also received numerous awards at NHS including Honor Thespian recognition, Best Female Thespian for two years in a row, Best Supporting Actress for two years in a row, and Best Leading Actress. Jamie will attend the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall where she plans to Major in Elementary Education and Minor in Theatre. Jamie would like to thank YATS and Slidell Little Theatre for the scholarship and being such a big reason why theatre is such an important part of her life. 

Madelyn Thomassie

Madelyn Thomassie
Madelyn Thomassie is an 18 year old graduate of Northshore Highschool. Madelyn has participated in 12 YATS shows. She was Vice President of the Thespian Troupe at Northshore High School her senior year. Madelyn has also been dancing for 14 years.

This year she has received honor thespian recognition and won best actress in a leading role for her work as Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie. In previous years, she has won best newcomer and best supporting actress twice.  She has won a Ginny here at Slidell Little Theatre for her role as Mayzie La Bird in Seussical the Musical.

At the national thespian convention, she won second place for her musical theatre number. She also competed for a scholarship at the convention and won second place for a solo song and monologue. Madelyn plans to major in Theatre at the University of New Orleans.  Madelyn would like to thank YATS and Slidell Little Theatre for being a major part of her growth as an actress. 

Lonnie Hass was a leading force behind the founding of Slidell Little Theatre’s Youth Workshop program in the 1970s, serving as its first chairperson. When the Youth Workshop was restructured in the late 1990s, organizers envisioned a scholarship program for participants in the newly-formed YATS program.

As the youth 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.

The YATS program is designed to introduce young people between the ages of four and graduating high school seniors to the stage.

The Mini-YATS program engages children ages four to eight for five days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., during which they learn their lines, music and blocking, make their props and costumes if necessary. The week culminates in a performance on Saturday morning.

Slidell Little Theatre has been the north shore’s premier theatre since 1963. SLT 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.