Cindy Says: Out with the Old, in with the New

Cindy Says: Out with the Old, in with the New

By Cindy Ripley on January 17, 2018

Happy New Year friends! As we look ahead into 2018, we have the ability to view the new year as a remarkable opportunity. We may be living in rather uncertain times, but where there is uncertainty there is the possibility to make great discoveries. Remember, boundaries are freeing so take a few of your well-worn strategies and give them a makeover for 2018.

Here are a few ideas to try on for size:

Frontload your audition process.

Never underestimate the power of a welcoming environment. First days of auditions can be intimidating. Music playing softly in the background can subconsciously ease those jitters and calms the extra adrenaline. Standing by the entrance and welcoming the students with a handshake, high five, or simple personal greeting is a perfect way to connect with each student one-on-one. It's also a quick tactic that reinforces what all directors of young people hope to convey: In my rehearsal, you are welcome and you are important. These are defining moments-they can be positive or negative, and they have the power to shape our lives, our opinions and the future of young artists.

Schedule 5 days to run your tech week. (Yes, I said 5!)

Layer the technical components of the show into rehearsals to ensure that each one gets enough rehearsal time to be successful. Ideally, this process will be smooth like a parfait versus pungent like an onion. And as Donkey says in Shrek the Musical JR, "everybody likes a parfait." This time may seem extravagant, but will pay you back with dividends.

  • Day #1 Add scenery elements
  • Day #2 Add Props
  • Day #3 Add Sound
  • Day #4 Add lighting
  • Day #5 Add costumes (first dress rehearsal)

Fine tune the musical theatre experience for your audience.

A music teacher tells a child he has a talent for singing and in just moments sets the student on the road to a career in performance. As your audience reaches the doors of the school they are greeted by smiling middle school students who say, "Welcome! Thanks for coming to our show. The restrooms are located down the hall and you can pick up your tickets at this table. Oh, we're holding a silent auction to help support the musical theatre program over here. If you need anything, let me know." Compare this greeting with a surly ticket takers at many movie theaters or even Broadway shows. Each performance is an opportunity to engage with the community and build a loyal audience. That experience begins the moment they arrive.

Cindy Says

May your adventure with kids and musical theatre this new year thrive. You are making the world a better place, one musical at a time. CR

Read more Cindy Says.