Production Photo of the entirely actor-musician Godspell, directed by Chris Blisset at St. Michael's Playhouse.
Photo credit: Andy Duback
Actor-Musicianship USA provides counsel, coaching, and pedagogy for actor-musicians, through:
Visiting workshops at programs/colleges
Actor-Musician Ryan McCurdy and Chris Blisset looking over some audition materials with Tova Volcheck.
Music Director Jeremy Sevelovitz and Chris Blisset putting a finer point on an actor-musician show at a theatre in Maine.
A NOTE FROM RED
Hey, gang! Red here.
It was twenty-three years ago that I won my first professional actor-musician job. I met a director preparing to do Antigone at a small theatre in New York City (I had only recently moved there.) He thought he wanted to hire a drummer for the show. After a few exchanges, I convinced him that he needed an actor-musician who could turn the choral odes into songs (as well as play a role.)
Not long after that I booked my first contract as Jim in Pump Boys and Dinettes (the first of many.) I felt great joy acting while wearing my guitar (though no one had ever taught me about the specific challenges and methods of doing so.) These gigs gave me the bug to practice both skills, acting and playing, simultaneously.
Twenty years (and over 150 contracts of actor-musicianship) later, it is clear that the actor-musicianship bug stayed with me. I learned most of what I know about this niche of theatre through practice. There was no instruction in these shows when I was coming up. There weren't (and still aren't) programs to teach such work in The States.
As I began directing, I would continually see actors dragging their instruments to auditions and shrugging their way through auditions. I would often ask an actor what they play and wonder at their wincing replies.
I have said for a decade that we need pedagogy in our field, and texts to accompany such. When Jeremy Harrison's book Actor-Musicianship was announced, I was forwarded the press release six times in one week! This led me to take his summer course on the subject, which led to the workshops we've thrown with him.
At last there are methods, and a means to teach them.
It is Actor-Musicianship USA's mission to ensure that no actor-musician ever need shrug their way through an actor-muso audition again.