Tony nominated Broadway star Tom Wopat held a Master Class at The Cabaret on July 14th, 2012. Tom first came to public attention in the late-1970′s as the freewheeling Luke Duke on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. His creation of the role of Frank Butler in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun (opposite Bernadette Peters) earned him his Tony nomination. Here are some of our favorite tips that Tom had for aspiring performers:
1. Always make sure your music is arranged for your accompanist. Tape them together or have them printed front to back.
2. Practice speaking the song first to get the phrasing for how you should sing the notes and tell the story from the song.
3. Novelty songs are some of the most difficult songs to sing. You need to completely commit and have a specific read on the song.
4. Classical music is great to learn if you want to work on control. Make sure you understand everything you are singing.
5. When you go into an audition/master class setting make sure you can explain the tempo and nuances of the song to the accompanist.
6. When you are finishing a phrase – let it finish. Take your time with it.
7. Be judicious about when you speak lyrics instead of singing during the performance of a song.
8. Keep it simple on a cabaret stage. Things you do on a big stage may not/won’t work on a smaller one.
9. Don’t get married to cast albums for Broadway shows. Make the song your own.
10. Make sure you have a chart for the accompanist – the music should be exactly as you want it played.
11. Make eye contact so that the audience feels included.
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