The Making Of Hamilton

IT took  six years  for Lin-Manuel Miranda . to write ‘HAMILTON’

Originally, it was to become a Mixed Tape,,,,However, Fate intervened..

MIRANDA  was reading Ron Chernov’s biography of Hamilton. while on vacation.in  St. Croix

Before he left  for his vacation he bought the book on the Life of Hamilton, and the Death of him.,, later saying,’ IT COULD HAVE BEEN TRUMAN‘  luckily , for theater and history buffs everywhere it wasn’t.  We are very glad he picked up that BOOK>

Hamilton  starts writing a poem about the hurricane that destroys ST CROIX, where he  is living.

He writes about the carnage, and this poem gets him off the island. This is how MIRANDA understood the circumstances that made it  hip hop and music. It had to be rapped and sung. The subject was so dark, its had to be spoken and sung,,,he had no doubt about that.   He had written only one song in one year, when PRESIDENT OBAMA in 2009, asked him to perform at the White House.

PRESIDENT OBAMA told him, after hearing the song, ‘ALEXANDER HAMILTON ‘ the theme song, ‘ I won’t forget to remind you that at  the White House,,,,’THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!’

After the WHITE HOUSE PERFORMANCE , it took him another year to write the second song. He walked and walked , rode the subway, that is how he came up with the the lyrics..He wrote one song at a party,, another while riding the subway.

It started as a mix tape and not a musical.  MIRANDA has to be ambulatory to write lyrics. On the move,, on trains, and walking through the New York streets. He began within thinking it would be a concept album, it was easier to think of honoring his favorite hip hop artists. He thought of them when writing.

MIRANDA  then performed from the MIXTAPE at LINCOLN CENTERS AMERICAN SONGBOOK , it started to come together.. He picked up the THE  HEARTBREAK OF AARON BURR, also ‘AFFAIRS OF HONOR, to nail the dueling rules.

In 2014 the  show began at the PUBLIC THEATRE.  MIRANDA AND DIRECTOR THOMAS KAIL went to WEEHAWKEN New Jersey, the grounds where BURR SHOT HAMILTON.  The actual grounds are covered with train tracks now, but there is a small memorial.

MIRANDA really studied other musicals, such as Jesus Christ SUPERSTAR  and  LES MISERABLE.  This taught him where and when to re-introduce a theme. MIRANDA. knew the best way to this was to stick  to the facts as much as possible.  That is why  CHERNOV,  whose novel inspired this  project became historian of the show.

CHERNOV looked at every draft and every song for accuracy.

 

MIRANDA stole a line from. the musical South Pacific, ‘I’M WITH YOU BUT THE SITUATION IS FRAUGHT, YOU’VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT’.  in the song ‘MY SHOT’

MIRANDA  cast the show very diverse to make it look like AMERICA looks… Real and mixed.

After this huge success of the show, MIRANDA is actually making his MIXTAPE, This tape will be available this year. It includes a new song not in the Broadway show.

On a personal chapter now, I was working for a short time here in Las Vegas, at the PALAZZO   HOTEL in 2016 to help the OUT OF STATE   singers deal with the dryness and stamina of singing and running and  dancing,  to get the show ‘ BAZ ‘ up and going , which is a Fantastic Mash Up of Baz Lurhmans movie themes of the classics, when it was taking a long  time in rehearsal.   It  was volunteer only, as it was an EQUITY show, you can’t force singers to take time out of thier personal time to work…. it seemed only the real PROS were signing up. The lead singer playing , DAISY, WAS THE BRILLIANT JOANNA  ALEXIS JONES. YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP WHEN SHE SANG.  Here was the best singer I had heard to sign up to meet me??   I had to just tell her she was spot on, and would not have any problems, doing anything , anywhere!

This showed me, that real serious singers , from BERKLEE AND BOSTON CONSERVATORY are the real troupers who even as great as they were, are willing to learn something new.  Sadly, this was before I was taking lessons myself on VOCAL HEALTH  by a LARYNOLOGIST and SPEECH PATHOLOGIST, who I still work with , ERIK LANDRY, DR. JONATHAN SALINAS.  This new information I know know, would be quite beneficial to anyone singing, dancing ,and running while singing!!!

I have learned so much I wish I had known then,.,,, I cannot learn enough and my hunger for this knowledge is never fulfilled,,,, More More More!!!!  So, How does this tie in with HAMILTON. ,JOANNA ALEXIS JONES,,,IS PLAYING    PEGGY AND MARIA,   which requires a MEZZO SOPRANO.  She looks absolutely gorgeous which she is, she is sweet, down to earth and the nicest person.    When she went back to L A she was cast   in the tv production of HAIRSPRAY, and not long after was packing to re locate to New York, for this historic show.

I find it very similar to myself, when I got into a Broadway show six months after it opened,, I was cast in the rock musical HAIR when I was 17.   I found it so life changing..  The similarity was , that after going in after the original cast, you  miss out on the original cast recording,,the pictures of the exciting opening night, and all the T V appearances.. It is like being Prom queen but missing the Prom…. But the excitement of coming and going into the backstage, where fans want you autograph and they want to just touch you, and be next to you, because the life you are living, is their dream too.  WE are living the DREAM… I follow JOANNA on INSTAGRAM  watch her videos, of that amazing voice!

The moral of this story, is, audition for everything you can. You never know if it will be a huge historic hit!  HAMILTON AND HAIR are two the most historical musicals ever.  HAIR being the very first Rock musical with a political message and nude scene. Hamilton   a Rap and sung musical, also Politically charged. With my years  in HAIR I got to have lifelong friends who I still am close to. It is an experience only those who were with the shows can know.

I’m so excited for JOANNA’S career. She has prepared with great trining, and many performances where she got great reviews. .  Be prepared , Study, Be a triple threat, when you audition let them know you are Ready!   They can tell, they know what they are looking for.   Good Luck if you are on this journey, I am still remembered for Being in HAIR, and that will never change.  Musicals come and go,,, they are infamous, but only a few make history, so these are important shows everyone should be interested in.

LALA LAND was a good musical,, but the cast were  actors and so so singers,,,, most musical do not require huge talent in voice,,, a good actor can put a message across… I truly feel Gosling  and Stone did a great job,,, passable dancing  but the art great acting made me love them.         

I believe HAMILTON will be around a very long time,, and I also Believe JOANNA ALEXIS JONES WILL BE AROUND AS WELL, good Luck JOANNA,  and to all future Broadway actors!

 

Beware The Understudy!

Sutton_FosterCarol Burnett was just the understudy for the Broadway show ‘Once Upon a Mattress’,  Bet you can’t even name who the star was, she stole the role from?  Carol Haney!! A wonderful actress,  however, Carol got the job and s lifetime career.
Barbra Streisand  was an understudy also in ‘Funny Girl’

All I am saying is, Go to your GIG!!!  When I was called to Sub for a singer, who  I didn’t know, at Bally’s Hotel, They fired her and hired me.  I had no idea, what or when they told her anything? I was glad to get a steady job  because I had a toddler at home.

Later in life, I was called to sub again.. by a pianist I had never heard of, at Cafe Michelle, a busy local café and piano bar.

Well, guess what!? The owners told the pianist, Ken, to hire me. I had NO idea that a young very good singer would lose her job.

It isn’t always  that you are better, or prettier. Frequently, it just comes down to , who they like for the room, your way with the crowd, and the amount of songs you bring to the table.

Don’t let the Understudy get your gig. Go To Work! You can sing through that cold, or worse.  Take it from me, The gig stealer. I felt awful and thank goodness; both singers are my friends!!!!

‘For you Baseball fans: Don’t get Wally Pipped!’

 

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THEATER AUDITIONS

Audition PressureRecently, there have been many auditions. One of my students traveled to New York to do an all-day auditions for five colleges.  Upon his return, my student, Nate, told me stories about the fantastic trip to the city, and interesting details about the audition process.

He described one girl who came out of the room crying and cursing the woman who ‘Made me do dance steps, I cannot do.’  Nate said, he able to hold it in, but was thinking,,, “Get Out of here. Go away.  You can’t run out of the room because you aren’t prepared for this college for the performing Arts, You are too thin-skinned!  You  will  never  make  it!!!” 

He is right. She is not cut out for this business.  You can’t take rejection personally.  You must develop a thick skin. 

Sutton_Foster

Sutton Foster

These are Conservatories and Colleges for the Performing Arts. As In PERFORMING.  These schools are serious. By the time you are 17, you better have had dance, acting, and singing lessons. You are expected to do a combination dance step, and/or routine. You should know tap, jazz and ballet. You will need acting lessons to do a monologue, and an essay on why you want to act.

Your singing should be Theater-style, using proper breathing. You must know ahead of time if sight-reading is required.  Adhering to a dress code will make you look Professional.

Bring, then wear your Jazz shoes, and attire to show your posture and form.  Ask your teachers to email reference letters to the school ahead of timeNever stop if you make a mistake, never roll your eyes, just keep going.

If your CD music track should stop, Just keep going, do not hesitate. They will be impressed you didn’t let it upset you.

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel

As a singer, No dairy, no cheese, no spicy foods, and no acidic foods or drink. You are an athlete, you must behave yourself, and take good care of your body and throat.. This is something you need to sacrifice for your craft.  Once your day is finished for the day, and won’t need to sing for a week, then have a slice of pizza, not before and not often.  There are foods you must give up to be able to sing freely, and not have complications.

I can tell you this, when I sang 6 nights or 7 nights a week, I ate raw foods, water, and slept. Got up, worked and slept, over and over. After work, I would go to hear a band, and have breakfast but No alcohol, and No dairy. I never ate eggs etc, I would have salads or any raw foods, fruit.

These schools are strict and many people are dying to get in. You are up against odds of demographics of diversity in race, and many entrance obstacles.

You need to have high-energy, be alert and focused. They need to see that you are hungry for knowledge, and you can perhaps get a scholarship to get into the school of your dreams.

So, you have work to do, be prepared, you need lessons, and someone to guide you.  You can be the next Sutton Foster, Idina Menzel, but you must have a natural ability that is nourished by professional lessons.  

Good Luck, and Break-a-Leg.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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Bill Fayne and Friends at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino

Bill Fayne

If you love Broadway and the genre of Rodgers and Hart, and Hammerstein. Then, this two-night event at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino, orchestrated by Bill Fayne, would be just your ticket to happiness.

Bill Fayne gathered some of the finest performers of the genre and a great band, and the icing on the cake was a  A Cappella performance by the fabulous Fifth Avenue: Jerry Jones, Rob Hyatt, with Jamie Hosmer and Bill Fayne, subbing for two missing members.

Subbing for a group with the harmonies like these, is no easy task. They did a brilliant job. The song was My RomanceIt was a perfect ending before an all cast It’s a Grand Night For Singing.

There is another performance, tonight, Sunday, August 19th…

For the complete review, visit LiveMusicLasVegas.net

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

How Amber Got Her Groove Back

Amber

Amber

I  recently started working with teen, Amber, because she had an audition for  a rock band at her school.  She has the attitude of a rocker, the look of one too, she exudes confidence. There was one little thing we needed to  work on, OK, two. The first, her breathing, and the second, as Randy Jackson would say, “a little pitchy”.

Amber didn’t have a lot of  time, so I made it very clear when she wasn’t sitting in front of me, she had to do her homework. I would say it was 3 weeks when I really noticed improvement.

This young lady came back one week later, and my jaw dropped. She had re-defined her pitch, her control, and has really become a singer. Oh, and she got the job with the band.

Now she is singing accapella for another audition at school.  She is so Broadway, I think she belongs in the theatre, because of her conviction of her singing. She makes you listen to her lyrics. She grabs you and pulls you in.  Every week I work with Amber Ennis, I am more impressed than the week before.

She doesn’t have a headshot yet, but as soon as she does she will be displayed proudly on my wall of fame and my website. She is a pleasure to have over, and I am immensely proud that I am the one shaping her future in this industry.

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