piz

Becoming a Professional Singer

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To add one thing to Alan's great advice -- watch HOW you practice this part. It can be a voice-breaker if you're not careful. Resist the urge to practice everything at full tilt for hours on end every day, particularly the high-lying stuff. You need do only enough to "set it" in your voice and ensure that you have the stamina to do it "for real". Once you're confident of that, save it for rehearsals on stage and the actual performance.

Also excellent advice. This part is right at the top of my range, and I'm already doing as you suggest. I'm practicing an octave down, or using falsetto, or "singing silently" - making my vocal chords "move the right way" such that if I were actually singing I would be hitting the notes, but not making any sound (or whispering the part). I don't know if that last is a valid technique, and I have no idea what's going on mechanically in my body when I do it, but it seems to have worked for me in the past.

Of course I also belt 'em out, just not all the time.

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To add one thing to Alan's great advice -- watch HOW you practice this part. It can be a voice-breaker if you're not careful. Resist the urge to practice everything at full tilt for hours on end every day, particularly the high-lying stuff. You need do only enough to "set it" in your voice and ensure that you have the stamina to do it "for real". Once you're confident of that, save it for rehearsals on stage and the actual performance.

Also excellent advice. This part is right at the top of my range, and I'm already doing as you suggest. I'm practicing an octave down, or using falsetto, or "singing silently" - making my vocal chords "move the right way" such that if I were actually singing I would be hitting the notes, but not making any sound (or whispering the part). I don't know if that last is a valid technique, and I have no idea what's going on mechanically in my body when I do it, but it seems to have worked for me in the past.

Of course I also belt 'em out, just not all the time.

V is absolutely right. I forgot to mention that, but it looks like you got the memo. It's called "marking" and there's a right and a wrong way for that, too. I would recommend that the down-an-octave approach (as long as it's not too low, just sing the middle stuff as-is) is best and least wearing. Falsetto actually pushes air past held cords and can be very irritating and tiring if done extensively. It's hard, but you have to learn to separate the dramatic from the vocal in marking. It's also why I recommended a multi-sensory approach. Following the score listening to the role and, in moderation, crooning along, will get it into your head and muscle memory fast.

When you're blocking and getting into the action, don't let the intensity of the moment screw with your technique. If you are comfortable singing it effectively in practice and then go out onstage and rage and thrash, it's your voice that will get trashed. Realize that solid Broadway singers do eight shows a week, sometimes for years, and have to get up and to the show the next day with their voice intact. Start now treating your instrument with respect, no matter what the demands. And I'm definitely not saying to "phone it in;" just to determine how to give everything you have to give dramatically within the very special context of singing a difficult vocal role.

But you're a smart guy and you appear to be doing most of the right things already. Have a ball!

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UPDATE: As of Tuesday I estimated I'm 90% off book. I missed a couple of days of being able to sing in top form due to having a stomach bug that's been going around, but back at it again today. I've found that, though I'm no Carl Anderson, the more I practice the more I find that I am able to sing in the range the part was written for, with some appropriate adjustments here and there. Working on the dramatic side a bit, mostly expressing emotion as I haven't interacted with anyone yet.

First rehearsal (for me, anyway) on Sunday! Show in (holy crap) 3 weeks!

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UPDATE: As of Tuesday I estimated I'm 90% off book. I missed a couple of days of being able to sing in top form due to having a stomach bug that's been going around, but back at it again today. I've found that, though I'm no Carl Anderson, the more I practice the more I find that I am able to sing in the range the part was written for, with some appropriate adjustments here and there. Working on the dramatic side a bit, mostly expressing emotion as I haven't interacted with anyone yet.

First rehearsal (for me, anyway) on Sunday! Show in (holy crap) 3 weeks!

Aaahhh . . . this is the really fun part! Have a blast, Michael!

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Had my first rehearsal this afternoon. It was also the first time the band for the show played with the cast. I learned quite a few things.

About the show:

  1. This is not a professional level production. That's not at all a complaint. I just wasn't sure going in what to expect.
  2. A probable reason that rehearsals are only every two weeks is that, it seems, they do this show every year (at least, I'm certain they did it last year) and nearly everyone involved was in it before.
  3. There's no real direction for the performers, either for acting for for blocking. Those are effectively entirely up to us.
  4. Soloists are using handheld, corded microphones, which limits the range of expression and blocking.
  5. Nothing of the above is a poor reflection on any of those involved. They're all very good, and take the show seriously. It's a much more relaxed atmosphere than I would expect from, say, a theater company, but everyone is dedicated and working hard.

About myself:

  1. I fully expected it, but it's enormously different singing with the band and cast than it is practicing on my own (remember, this is my first ever musical performance).
  2. I need to remember to open my eyes while I sing. When I'm doing karaoke or singing at open mic nights, I'm in the habit of closing my eyes a lot.
  3. I need to have alternates prepared for the highest notes. Practicing at home and in the car on the way to (and, annoyingly, from) rehearsal, I was hitting everything, but at rehearsal I didn't hit a single high note. It's all of about five notes in the whole show, but obviously it matters a lot.
  4. How you hold a microphone makes a big difference, depending on the microphone.
  5. I need to study the sheet music rather than just sing along with recordings, so that I match up better with the band. Fortunately, though I can't sight read, I can follow it enough to know which measure and beat I come in on, and where and how to end the song. For example, "Heaven on Their Minds" in the JCS film fades out, which naturally we won't be doing in this show. I need an ending. Duh.
  6. A lot of what sounds free-form in the recordings is actually written that way (e.g. the ending of "Blood Money"). That makes a difference.
  7. Being conscious of changes in time signature matters, but not as much as I thought it would.
  8. I never have to go into falsetto, but there are points where I have some sort of break in my voice. However if I remain aware of when they're coming, I can navigate around or prevent them. In a handful of cases, they're actually useful.
  9. I'm good, maybe even very good for someone with no training, but certainly not professional quality. I knew that.
  10. It was a little weird being in a church for the first time in at least 15 years.

All in all, it was a pretty good first ever showing, considering. I'm nowhere near satisfied, though. But, despite being far and away my own worst critic, I think not being satisfied is a good thing.

And it's still one hell of a lot of fun.

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All in all, it was a pretty good first ever showing, considering. I'm nowhere near satisfied, though. But, despite being far and away my own worst critic, I think not being satisfied is a good thing.

It is. So is being your own worst critic. Acknowledging your current shortcomings, refusing to let them stop you, and treating them as solvable problems is the best way to make progress.

And it's still one hell of a lot of fun.

That's the best sign you're on the right track.

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Good notes.

Note also that, even though not a pro show, most of the others know their parts, as they've done it before, so damned good thing you worked on your music. As far as connecting with the band, that's hard, it takes time and practice, even if you've got the music in front of you and can sight read. I once did an audition for a High Holidays gig, they handed me the music, I sight-read it flawlessly, then they had me sing it with the damned organ and I could not get in sync with the guy on 3 tries. Sang it in-between, each time, a cappella, no problem (which is certainly not always the case for me in that phrygian modal music). If the band is loud and maybe a little loose themselves, they can make it difficult because, in essence, they are doing their own interpretation, based on how they expect Judas to phrase it and where they hear the dynamics. You need to take charge of your solos. As an acting teacher said: "Assume the position." Act like a pro (a classy, polite one) and they will treat you like one.

Too bad they don't have good (any) direction -- that essentially makes it a concert version, which is legit, but requires different adjustments. It does mean that you can focus on your singing more than you might be able to in a full-staged production, but that's something that you will adjust to.

Closing your eyes -- Don't just think "I have to open my eyes," figure out what you're going to do with them, where you're going to look, what you're going to focus on. That's important. The subconscious doesn't work well with negatives, with "don't", "shouldn't", etc. If you're relating to Jesus in a duet, when you are addressing JC in a line, address it to him, look at him, or, if he's upstage of you, look downstage of him, but play it as directed at him. That's called "cheating out," but I look at it as an adjustment that has to be psychologically justified. For example, "This is too hot emotionally to direct right at JC," or "I can't look him in the eye, he'll know I'm lying to him," or whatever works for you as justification. No one has to know what private thoughts give you focus, intensity, and believability onstage, you just have to buy it. Alternatively, for a lot of your "general" thoughts ("Heaven on their minds") you can "play the audience," which does not mean just singing out to the hall sort of in general, it means singing to one person as if they're the person you're talking to, with everything you've got, then pick another engaged face and sing to them. This is the technique great singers like Frank Sinatra used to make everyone in the house feel like he was singing right to them. People can tell when your eyes are focused and directed and it reads as connected and powerful. Even if the stage lights are strong and in your eyes and you can only see the outlines of peoples' faces, you can do this. Just commit. If you are able, you can personalize the impersonal -- make someone in that audience someone important to you (called "substitution"). That can change the way you deliver the line in ways that may surprise you.

To do this, though, as well as directing to your colleagues, you need to make a conscious decision about each line, what it means, what you're trying to communicate, and to whom. Having that person on the other end of the communication completes the link and makes it powerful theatre. Without that, it's just vocalizing. If you work on every song you ever sing in this way, act it, sing it to someone who has some meaning to you, when you sing the same song in a studio or cabaret setting, all of that preparation is there in the delivery.

The vocal issues cannot possibly be addressed on a forum like this; for that matter, most singers' forums are a waste of time, even when the singers use the same imagery and language, which they rarely do and rarely mean the same thing. Things like 'passaggio' and 'head voice' and all that are impossible to convey without the actual ears and cords in the same room or at least recorded and played back. But I could suggest that your inability to do what you did before and after in the car is highly un-unusual :). That's always the way it is when you're dealing with such a high-stress, complex barrage of new issues, as you were in a first full rehearsal. Jeez. Yes, having an alternative version of certain lines wouldn't hurt. But you're singing with a mic, so the high notes are not something you really need to belt. That's a misconception. Shove the mic down your throat on those notes and squeak them and you'll be fine. I'll be shot by the classical purists for saying that, but I started in garage bands and clubs, with guitar, before I trained for classical singing, and it's different. You can approach them the same way, but that's much harder. Maybe Stevie Winwood, Steve Perry, Pat Benatar, Freddie Mercury, could pull it off (with varying compromises), but articulating in what's really a countertenor range you really shouldn't be putting much air through or you're going to hurt yourself. Let the mic do the work. What you did in the car you can do on the stage. Just trust that your voice is getting over the band even if you can't hear it. Yelling to match the accompaniment is a losing strategy. That's why singers in the studio often use monitor phones, or cover or even plug their ears to hear themselves. You might even use foam plugs if the band is oppressively loud (risky, but I've done it with a heavy blues band). Sing it the way that it worked in the studio. Don't change the way you sing or you won't get the same result. You'll get there.

All the best to you Michael. What a great first role. Have a ball!

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Good notes.

Thanks again for all the terrific advice, it's more helpful than I can say. I wish I'd have had some theater and vocal training, and I'm definitely going to look into getting some. It's both encouraging and frustrating that over the years I have figured out on my own much of what you've been saying here, just from observing performers and analyzing what I've observed, because it's difficult to do those things since I'm new to this and haven't internalized any of it through practice and since I don't know the accepted terminology for much of it. For example, looking over the sheet music for "Heaven on Their Minds" (to find that ending I mentioned), I encountered the term colla voce, "follow the voice." I've known that idea forever and never knew there was a term for it.

Like I said, it's frustrating knowing things but not knowing what to call them. On the other, better hand, I feel like I did when I first started studying programming in college - "I get this! Right away! This is phenomenal! Think what I'll be able to do when I've learned!" It's an exhilaration I've been missing for almost three decades, the kind that gets you up and flying into action in the morning. Like the benevolent universe premise made real and shining inside me - I'm good, and everyone and everything is on my side. I had it back then, and for some specific reasons it disappeared, even went far in the opposite direction. I am overjoyed to be finding it again.

That bit of rational exuberance aside, I really appreciate your advice and encouragement, and all that of everyone else. I'm taking exactly two days off from JCS right now, as tomorrow evening I'm auditioning for A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I need to put together a monologue or two. I'll be back at the singing after that.

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Give em hell Piz.

As far as hitting the high notes - it's likely that will come with practice and (certainly in my case) with proper training. If I hadn't lost my old cd of vocal exercises I'd send you a copy. I need to find that...

Sounds like a casual affair. That's great. Just have fun with it. You'll do fine!

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Second rehearsal tomorrow. After that there's only one more, the dress rehearsal, then the show on April 17. I've been off book for at least a week now. Except that I wish I had more time with the band because the recordings I'm practicing with differ somewhat from what they'll be playing, I'm extremely confident.

I didn't get a part in A MidsummerNight's Dream. I auditioned for Egeus, but after my monologue the director had me reading with The Mechanicals. I thought I did OK, but to my knowledge there were about 100 people auditioning over 2 day, so I'm not surprised I didn't get cast. Oh well, there will be other opportunities. :)

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Second rehearsal tomorrow. After that there's only one more, the dress rehearsal, then the show on April 17. I've been off book for at least a week now. Except that I wish I had more time with the band because the recordings I'm practicing with differ somewhat from what they'll be playing, I'm extremely confident.

I didn't get a part in A MidsummerNight's Dream. I auditioned for Egeus, but after my monologue the director had me reading with The Mechanicals. I thought I did OK, but to my knowledge there were about 100 people auditioning over 2 day, so I'm not surprised I didn't get cast. Oh well, there will be other opportunities. :)

Not surprised he had you reading with the mechanicals -- you're a funny guy. But, yeah, with that kind of a turnout, probably many with a track record with the company, it's a crap shoot. Meanwhile, you're a back-stabbing traitorous schekle-grubbing two-timer, and that's something to be proud of. Kick butt in the show. When I did "The Evangelist" in the Bach "St. Matthew Passion" a few years ago, we were told to wear black tie, no white tie and tails, an egalitarian Director. On the day, JC showed up in white tie and tails. I figured, "well, he's Jesus, after all...and I last the whole show; he gets, uh, eliminated, about halfway through." Same here. You're the damned-for-all-time soul of the show. Again, kick butt! Have a ball!

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BIG weekend, and I'm ready!

You know, it's been a long time since I've felt excitement about something. Almost forgot what it's like.

I'll report back with pictures from tomorrow's dress rehearsal - photos of the performance, and video or audio of anything, are not permitted.

Here goes...

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BIG weekend, and I'm ready!

That's what it takes.

You know, it's been a long time since I've felt excitement about something. Almost forgot what it's like.

The moral of the story is: It you want to get excited, get ready.

I'll report back with pictures from tomorrow's dress rehearsal

I'd love to see them.

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BIG weekend, and I'm ready!

You know, it's been a long time since I've felt excitement about something. Almost forgot what it's like.

I'll report back with pictures from tomorrow's dress rehearsal - photos of the performance, and video or audio of anything, are not permitted.

Here goes...

Have a fantastic time, Piz!!!! Aaaahhh . . . the excitement; the smell of grease-paint. . . . Well . . . you get the idea!! :)

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It's done. Right now there are no words except WOOOOO!!!!! I'm exhausted. More later, with pictures!

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In case I hadn't mentioned it :), I played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar on Sunday. Let me tell you all about it:

First thing when I wake up, my voice is much lower than it is later in the day. It takes maybe 4 - 5 hours to get to "normal." So, Saturday night I went to bed nice and early, so as to get lots of sleep and still get up early to be in "normal" voice by the 2:00 show. As you might expect, I didn't actually fall asleep until after midnight, and I didn't wake up Sunday morning until about 9:00, with my morning basso profundo as usual. I started talking right away, as that seems to help. Fortunately my granddaughter was in a conversational mood, it being her 16-month birthday, and we had plenty to talk about.

By 10:30 I felt maybe 1/3 of the way to being able to hit those high notes. Call was at noon. I knew I wouldn't be ready by then, but I was also a little worried that I wasn't going to be ready by showtime. But in the space of taking a shower my voice made a big jump, and my confidence increased.

Earlier in the week I had talked to a friend who is part owner of a company that does karaoke shows about borrowing two of their wireless microphones for JCS. He had agreed, although the mics wouldn't be available to us until the day of the show. I called him about picking them up. He said he only had one and needed to call around to his DJs to find another one. He told me he would call me back when he found it.

I was a few minutes late for call (very unusual for me - I'm usually at least half an hour early for everything), but nobody noticed because everyone was crowded around the snack table. I checked my costumes (pre- and post-death Judas), my props (a small leather bag with exactly 30 nickels in it and a rope belt), and my supplies (two 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, gone flat, for soothing my throat between songs - more on those later). Everything was ready. I gave the leather bag to my friend Paul, who was playing Annas and also was the man responsible for getting me involved in the show in the first place. He does a lot of local theater, and was at the time involved in three different shows. He hadn't quite memorized all his lyrics, so he taped a tiny cheat sheet to the leather bag for when we sang "Blood Money." We briefly practiced keeping the cheat sheet facing away from the audience.

I spent a few minutes taking random pictures and having cast members sign a program for me, as a memento.

At about 12:30 the cast joined the band out front to run through a few numbers that still had minor sticking points. One of these was "Superstar," the closer, which, as you most likely know, Judas sings. We'd been having some trouble with the ending. That got fixed, but I sounded terrible (by my own harsh self-assessment) and I started to really worry that I wouldn't be in full voice by showtime. I spent every free moment from then on quietly talking and singing to myself, hoping I would get ready in time.

By 1:00 I hadn't heard from my friend about the microphones, so I called him. Five calls, no answer. Sure, we could get through the show with the mics we had - we had been rehearsing that way all along - but there would be a lot of distracting shuffling of them between actors, as well as worry about tangled cords. We did have one wireless mic, but I had promised the other two. So I was a bit bothered by this.

At 1:15 I changed into the underneath portion of my costumes, which was merely a black t-shirt and black garb pants that were left over from a Renaissance faire role. I made another call to my friend about the mics, and this time he answered. He had the second wireless mic, but I would have to pick them up at his house. He was sick and in no condition to drive. (He had even canceled his karaoke show the night before, something he never does.) So I told the director I was leaving to get the mics. She turned a slight shade of gray before I could tell her that my friend lived only a few blocks away and that I would be back in about 10 minutes.

After an incident-free trip I returned triumphantly with the mics, only to find that our sound guy hadn't showed up yet. I know my way around a sound board fairly well, but I wasn't about to mess with his setup. Fortunately he walked in just then, and we started adding the new mics to the system. Once the first one was on we did a quick test and it was working fine. Somehow, though, we found that the receiver for the first mic was picking up both the new mics, at different volumes. We decided that rather than trying to work out on an unfamiliar mic how to change the frequency of the only one of the two that could change frequency, we just wouldn't use the mic that was coming in at the lower volume. Thus we has two wireless mics instead of three, which was still double the number we had before.

It was now 1:45. The doors had opened at 1:30 and people were filing in. The show was scheduled to start at 2:00. I still wasn't in costume. I didn't know if my voice had come all the way in. The sound guy had no real levels done on the new mic. The director didn't even know where I was. Who knows what other last-minute crises we were dealing with.

It wasn't much different than the other shows I had done.

To be continued...

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(Sorry if this tale runs long, but it's also serving to journal the day for myself.)

I ran back to the dressing room and quickly put on the rest of my costume for "live Judas": a red shirt, my rope belt, and a sort of black robe with vertical patterned stripes to go over all. My brown sneaker-tread sandals finished off the outfit. Lynn, our director, looked rather pleased to see me. The rest of the cast was lined up for their entrance, but the plan was not for me to join them.

To get everyone into place, Lynn had decided to open the show with "Hosanna," the song for Jesus's entry to Jerusalem. That number normally is about halfway through Act I, but it worked well to get the whole chorus, the Apostles, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus situated for the standard opening number, "Heaven on Their Minds." So, following the overture, the entire cast, except Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate and his wife, and me, entered from the back of the church and walked up the center aisle, waving palm leaves and singing "Hosanna." The other four I mentioned entered from behind the altar, with Pilate and his wife sitting on "thrones" sort of overseeing everything from just in front of the altar (they sat there for the entire show except when singing their numbers - I have no idea why as they didn't belong in most scenes), and the priests stepping forward from them to confront the crowd accompanying Jesus up the aisle.

Before any of that started, though, good old Judas had gone from the dressing room, downstairs through the basement, up the back stairs, and up into the otherwise closed balcony. As far as I could tell, no one in the audience had seen me, which was what we wanted. Sitting on the steps between the balcony pews, so that even if anyone had looked up they wouldn't have seen me, I waited for the opening strains of "Hosanna."

When the song started, I stood up and sat on the railing of the balcony, watching the scene unfold below me. I went straight into character, looking somewhat exasperated and disdainful as the crowd of fanatics followed Jesus into the "city." Not that it mattered - with all eyes on the crowd and the priests, no one noticed the cynical observer up above.

Out of nowhere, some guy with a camera appeared in the balcony! He sat down in the pew right next to me, right where I was going to be moving back and forth along the rail as I sang "Heaven on Their Minds." There was maybe a minute left in "Hosanna." I tapped him on the shoulder and told him I needed him to move. Snapping pictures, he acted like I wasn't even there! I did it again. This time he got up, patted me on the shoulder, told me he had what he wanted, and left the balcony just as "Hosanna" was ending. I was more than a little rattled.

I had to hurry to get my concentration back, which fortunately I managed to do, because the band immediately began playing "Heaven on Their Minds." This is my favorite song of the whole show, and that I got to sing it made it even better. Now, though, it was time to find out whether or not my voice had arrived where I needed it to be.

The first few lines are low and quiet enough that I got no indication where my voice was - I could have sung them perfectly right out of bed:

My mind is clearer now

At last, all too well

I can see where we all soon will be

If you strip away

The myth from the man

You will see where we all soon will be

Then came the moment of truth:

Jesuuuuuuuuus!

BAM! Nailed it! Best I'd ever done! My voice had come through for me. This was going to be something special.

The audience had begun to look around to see who was singing. my voice was coming from speakers near the floor in the front, and I was standing in the balcony in the back. It wasn't too long, though, before I peripherally noticed a few, then a lot, then all of the audience looking my way. Meanwhile I was shocking myself with how well I was doing.

Then I made the mistake of thinking too much about what I was doing, and not just doing it. I realized I was singing the third verse where the second verse was supposed to be. I maintained my composure, though. It was disappointing, because I really like the second verse, but there was nothing for it. I just went with it.

I had to pay attention to the band at that point, because there's an eight bar musical break after the second verse. In rehearsal sometimes they had picked up on mistakes and adapted and other times they had just played through. If they had noticed my mistake, they might have ended the song right after that verse.

But they didn't and went into the break. That meant I was going to have to either sing the second verse where the third verse belonged, or repeat the third verse. I chose the latter, because the former wouldn't have made lyrical sense and wouldn't have suited the song's close. Going into the break instead of ending also meant I could go through with my plan for the rest of the song - using the break to leave the balcony to finish in the main aisle among the audience.

I flew down the annoyingly steep stairs, managing not to trip and break myself. Eight bars of quick 7/4 time goes by in a hurry, but I made it to the center aisle with time to spare. I sang the third verse again and brought the song to a successful conclusion.

Silence.

We had prepared in rehearsal for applause after each song. There wasn't any.

I was flustered for a moment, not just because I was expecting there to be some sort of applause but also because I knew I had just completed a fantastic performance. I hesitated for a bit. Then, not knowing what else to do, I made my planned exit out the back. As it turned out, because the show was being performed in a church, the audience was unsure whether they were supposed to applaud or be solemn. It seems they were erring on the side of caution, and I wasn't in a position to educate them on how there would be no smiting from above. In my confusion over Camera Guy I hadn't noticed that there was no applause after "Hosanna," so I wasn't prepared for the lack of reaction. We got no applause until after "I Don't Know How to Love Him," and that was because Mary Magdalene's acting coach was in the audience and got it started. After that there was noise after every number.

So it was back down the back stairs, through the basement, and up the stairs to the sacristry behind the altar for my entrance in "What's the Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying." I paused a moment in the sacristry to down some flat Diet Coke (having put one of my bottles there for that purpose), and waited to hear Mary Magdalene start in with "Let me try to cool down your face a bit" to enter from behind the altar with a scornful look on my face.

I won't go into so much detail about the rest of the show. Everything went wonderfully. I didn't flub any more lines. I hit all the notes, even the high ones at the edge of my range that I had often missed in rehearsal. Jesus and I convincingly developed our relationship from mutual respect to mutual disdain. I spent a lot of time sitting in the front pew, where the soloists sat when they weren't on and had no other stage direction. (That's where I'd stashed my other bottle of Diet Coke.) All the other soloists were fantastic: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Pilate, Pilate's wife, Simon/Peter (played by the same guy), Caiaphas, Annas, the unnamed priest, and Herod (sung by the bandleader). And I particularly enjoyed 11-year-old Abby, who absolutely charmed with her one line in "Peter's Denial":

But I saw you too. It looked just like you."

I am especially proud of one thing: I had some people (including myself!) in tears for the ending of "Judas's Death," where he breaks down in anguish, snaps, and kills himself. (We didn't stage the hanging, I just took off my rope belt, wrapped it around my neck, and ran down the center aisle and out the back.) Once more I went downstairs, through the basement, and up into the sacristry, as Pilate washed his hands of the whole ridiculous mess and ordered the crucifixion, this time changing into my "dead Judas" costume, a bright white choir robe, for "Superstar."

There was a roar of applause when I came out for the curtain call, but I wasn't paying much attention. I was riding the high of having just completed one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Afterwards there were congratulations, pictures, and hugs all around. I heard from many people that I was very impressive. Sure, it was no Broadway production, and I'm no Carl Anderson (though I'm grateful to him, since I borrowed heavily from his performance in the 1973 film). But it was something special, with special people. Something worth remembering for the rest of my life, no matter what I may go on to do later.

And I've already been invited back for next year...

(I have a few pictures gathered, most of poor quality, in this Photobucket album. I'll have more as I collect them from others who were at the show.)

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Congratulations! And I loved the way you told the story. I'll bet if you sew your last two posts together, add some explanatory material in the beginning, and submit it to your local newspaper, they would publish it and it would might be good publicity to help you get your next gig.

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Congratulations! And I loved the way you told the story. I'll bet if you sew your last two posts together, add some explanatory material in the beginning, and submit it to your local newspaper, they would publish it and it would might be good publicity to help you get your next gig.

I second Betsy's congratulations and her idea of a newspaper piece -- I wish I'd thought of that!!

Upward and onward, Piz!!

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Hey, Michael, Congrats! Sounds like a great success. And it sounds like Theatre! :) ("there's noooo business like showwwww business...")

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JCS Epilogue: A local theater company just announced auditions for, you guessed it, Jesus Christ Superstar. :)

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JCS Epilogue: A local theater company just announced auditions for, you guessed it, Jesus Christ Superstar. :)

Go for it!

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