CRISTIN MILIOTI at Joe’s Pub

cristin miliotiLast Friday, I had the great privilege of seeing Cristin Milioti LIVE at Joe’s Pub in NYC. Wow. What a powerhouse performer. She starred as “Girl” in the Broadway smash hit musical ONCE, for which she won a Grammy Award and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. I saw Cristin in ONCE back in 2012. My mom and I went together and we were both absolutely floored by her performance. She is like few performers I’ve ever seen. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful. It’s a voice that I feel like I’ve known all my life even though I’m just hearing it for the first time. I don’t know. There’s something intimate and familiar about her sound. Her voice blankets like a childhood lullaby and then explodes in desperate yearning, like it’s lost and looking for its home. Ah. I don’t even know if what I’m writing makes sense! It’s a quality that inspires that kind of poetic, nonsensical writing because it feels magical. 

Actually, “magical” was the word Cristin used to describe her experience in ONCE, and is an appropriate word to sum up the show Friday night. I got the last seat available – partial view. I was bummed at first but ended up sitting just behind the piano, with a close-up view of David Abeles’ dancing fingers. I saw Mr. Abeles as Pierre in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 back in 2013, and I’m a huge fan, so that was dope. Equally dope was Will Connolly on guitar and vocals. Will is playing the title role in Forest Boy, the NYMF show I’m currently working on! He mentioned that he was doing a show at Joe’s Pub, and when he told me it was with Cristin Milioti, I freaked out a bit. Turns out they’re best friends from ONCE and he accompanied her throughout the show, most memorably on a stirring interpretation of Sondheim’s Losing My Mindwhere Will played ukelele and sang evocative dissonant harmonies. Ms. Milioti’s voice was on brilliant display in this song, in one instant delicate and ethereal, the next thunderous and aching.

Just after, she performed GOLD from ONCE. Cristin recalled this as her favorite number in the show, because the rest of the ensemble sang while she walked through them, catching each of their eyes on her way. I was transported back to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. This number was a magical moment that sticks with the soul. We, the audience, were all walking through Cristin’s embodiment of “Girl” in that moment, feeling our souls exposed and opened and awakened by the haunting harmonies and sacred sounds of the ensemble. Joe’s Pub experienced the same kind of magic on Friday night. The music invited the audience to breathe a collective breath of our shared humanity. I actually went to Joe’s Pub by myself, a feat my social anxiety would usually find daunting, but Cristin has a way of putting everyone at ease. Soon after she was singing, I felt closer and somehow more connected to the strangers around me. We exchanged words of how stirring her performance was. It was like we were all transported. We went on a ride together, and became closer in the process. It is the magic of live theatre. At its best, we are taken into a new world, a new state of consciousness for a couple hours, away from our incessant worry and personal strife and into interpersonal understanding.

The night included a handful of pop covers, including two by Sia, and a Beyoncé medley, arranged by Will Connolly. Interwoven between songs were Cristin’s personal anecdotes detailing life in the city, her career, and what it means to be human. One personal favorite anecdote was Cristin’s recollection of her college theatre classes, where she was repeatedly told she was a soprano, and she’d have to sing Glitter and Be Gay which she noted was a “train-wreck.” Recalling the experience, she sang, “‘This is embarrassing’ in her ‘cartoon soprano voice,’ …‘Please give me a B’ and they were like, ‘No, you get a C,’ … but look who’s laughing now.’”  The audience erupted in laughter. She feels like a friend you’ve known forever. Relatable, authentic, vulnerable. She made mention of the truly terrifying times we are currently living in, but somehow I felt so safe in her presence. That’s what great performances have the power to do. They unite and bring us together in a world that grows more and more divisive and solitary everyday. This is the power of live performance that cannot be replicated in other media.

I’m so grateful I was able to witness Cristin Milioti’s live show and I highly recommend you catch the next. She usually performs her live show in New York a couple times a year. Here’s a video of Cristin singing Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” a few years back, a song she performed again Friday night.

ENJOY!!

Johnny

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Meditation & Creativity with Mark Price

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YO YO YO! I am so pumped to bring to you my first The Broadway WarmUp interview with the inimitable Mark Price. Mark is a creative genius and I look up to him so much. Both Ithaca grads, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark back when he was a mentor for the Hangar Theatre Lab Company in 2014. Mark’s energy, zest and passion is contagious. He is an incredibly talented performer and teacher. So generous and detailed with his insights, he’s the perfect person to start our interview series.

In this conversation, we focus on Mark’s meditation practice. I have personally struggled significantly with anxiety and stress, so I learned a lot from Mark’s words on his meditation practice, and I’m itching to take his course when it comes to New York this fall.

“The whole goal is not to be an expert meditator, the whole goal is to be better at life. To be a better partner, better creator, better husband, better wife, better friend, better brother, you know, whatever. So, the whole name of the game is up-leveling performance on all accounts.” -MP

We had such a blast talking that we exceeded our intended duration, so I’ve decided to break this interview into two parts. Part I is below…come back for Part II soon.

In PART 1, we discuss:

  • Vedic meditation
  • Left brain/Right brain functions
  • Finding spontaneity in work and life
  • ‘Fight or Flight’ response
  • The fourth state of consciousness
  • Plus much more…

LISTEN HERE:

 https://broadwaywarmup.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/mark-price-final.m4a

In Part II, we’ll dive deeper into Mark’s views on creativity. We discuss:

  • the importance of resiliency in actors
  •  How to ask better questions
  •  Self-Promotion
  • The advice Mark would give his 20-year old self

FOLLOW MARK PRICE

TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

  • www.alchemycollective.org — Alchemy Collective is a meditation and performance lab, designed for creatives and high performance individuals who are looking to uplevel their performance, dissolve stress, and increase fulfillment and bliss states.(Website live end of July).
  • www.aboutmarkprice.com (Actor, Teaching website)
Mark will be teaching a meditation course in NY this fall. If anyone wants to be notified, email for more info at mprice8@gmail.com.

Be Warm,

Johnny

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Hi, I’m Johnny!

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I’m Johnny Shea and I am the newly appointed Blogger-In-Chief and Head of Brand Ambassador Development for The Broadway Warm-Up.

I’m going to be posting some awesome content on this blog over the coming weeks, so I thought I’d take a moment to say hi!

I have just moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. Just over a month ago, I graduated from Ithaca College with my BFA in Musical Theatre. The link to Ithaca is actually how I met Kim Stern, Owner/Creator of The Broadway Warm-Up. Back in March, all of IC’s graduating Theatre Arts majors traveled down to NYC to for a week-long series of panels and workshops with industry professionals. Kim was joined by fellow IC alums Mark Price and Caesar Samayoa in their panel called Empowered Artistry. I remember feeling so inspired after this panel. I left with a feeling of confirmation that my dreams were legitimate and possible in this city.

I’ll be honest – there are times when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. For all my life to this point, I’ve had the structure and schedule of school to return to and live by. Now that I’ve graduated, the blank canvas before me is both exciting and terrifying. I’m choosing to be excited and inspired by the unknown ahead. I’d love for you to join me as I venture into the unknown and pursue my dreams of acting professionally.

This city, this lifestyle and this business are new to me, so my plan is to be a sponge. I will soak up anything and everything that pertains to life as an artist in New York. I thought it’d be fun to share what I discover as I go. SO, I’ll be conducting interviews with industry professionals to break down their daily habits & routines, and to deconstruct what makes them the best at what they do. In these interviews, I’ll talk to people with all different backgrounds and ties to the entertainment industry. I’ll speak with anyone from Broadway actors, composers, directors to ENTs, therapists, personal trainers…you  name it. I am interested in speaking to anyone with relevant info on this awesome industry. My mission is to inspire you to do what you love by interviewing people who have done just that.

Why do we warm-up? I know I warm-up so that I may perform at my best and stay healthy. I want my voice, body and mind to be in optimal condition before I go out onstage. The Broadway Warm-Up is designed to help performers reach optimal states before audition or performance. These interviews and blog posts are designed to dissect top performers so that all of us may strive to reach and realize our potential. My hope is that these interviews will provide tangible, actionable information that will inspire you.

The interviews will vary in form: video, audio & written. Be sure to follow the blog and check back soon for our first!

Be Warm,

Johnny

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The Anonymous Actor #05

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The Anonymous Actor #05

Another joyous week in NYC! I booked another show which means 6 months of work! After coming out of a period of unemployment when I first moved to NYC, I cannot say how grateful I am to get to do what I love in shows that I love! I also got to be a reader for the first time this week. If you ever have a chance to be a reader – do it! The information you learn from watching auditions and hearing responses from the casting team and directors is invaluable! In other news, my belting technique has gotten stronger – mainly because of warming up in some capacity on a daily basis. I know it is hard to find a time and place to warm-up – trust me, I have three roommates – but you will see your technique and skill grow if you create and maintain a vocal regimen on a daily basis. Our voices are like plants – they need water and sunlight and attention. If you are looking to spice up your warm-up, then check out The Broadway Warm-Up!

BaI6-N6npB_4bLfzXTEwfEpbW_OSVaOGmOLfYh6QhsYWell, friends, I will have to take a break from the blog in a few weeks to work on shows but I will keep you updated with news and advice when I can. Until then, live, love, and lead.

-AA

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Practice Makes Progress

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Jessica Latshaw hits some really inspiring points about practice, progress and patience in this month’s installment! We’d love to hear some secrets/tips you’ve found for committing to regular practice or hear you talk about your struggle getting to practice!

Practice-makes-progressWe’ve all heard it: Practice makes perfect.

You know what is the best part of that saying?

Practice.

You know what is the misleading part of that saying?

Perfect.

I am reading a book by Dr. Brene Brown. The words she writes resonate in my soul. Reading them feels a little like coming home. Perhaps it is like finally looking at a real, honest-to-goodness photograph of that fabled land, Narnia. True, I have never been there and seen it with my own eyes, but I’ve read enough of C.S. Lewis’ books about it, that, were I to get to see it, I am sure it would be familiar. It’d be deja vu and then some.

Brown writes, ‘Bulletproof and perfect are seductive, but they are not a part of the human experience.’

What, then, are we reaching for?

Why the constant struggle? Forgive me for ending with a preposition, but–what’s it all for?

Progress. Journey. Maturation.

I think it’s easy to see that there is a plan in all of creation. An apple tree bears fruit. A bee makes honey. Sea otters play games and fall in love and hold hands while swimming so as not to lose track of each other. Are any of these things perfect? I guess it depends on what you mean by perfect, right?

UnknownPerhaps the apple tree has some nicks in the bark. Perhaps one season does not yield as many apples as previous seasons had. And yet the next season doubles the number. Is this perfect? I don’t know. Is the apple tree being an apple tree? Is it being exactly what the Creator intended for it? Yes.

I am currently training an eleven week old puppy (Oh, you didn’t know? Oh, so you don’t follow me on Instagram?). Every book that I have read on the subject–from the elite Monks of Skete to the no-name articles I look up on my phone at three in the morning–say the same thing: be patient; be consistent.

Guess what Luna, my pup, finally did tonight?

Her down stay.

I have a feeling that it will take a lot more of the same training tomorrow to get her to do it again, but it happened tonight, and when I saw it, I just about did the kind of Irish jig you saw being executed in the bowels of that great ship, The Titanic, in the movie with the same name.

Unknown-1After I gave her the treat, of course.

Is Luna perfect? No. Is she progressing and maturing and growing?

YES.

I MEAN, SHE DID HER DOWN STAY, GUYS!

And we’re practicing, together, all the time. Every day. Multiple times a day.

When she misses a cue or doesn’t reach a goal, I think to myself, Next time, Luna-Loo; it’ll happen next time.

Dr. Brown says something to the effect of using the same kind of self-talk that you would use with a loved one. Patience and kindness. Encouragement. A you’ll-get-there attitude.

Just today I was talking with my good friend, Grace, about her performance on stage. She’s constantly asking me what I think she could do to make it better. So I tell her, but not without first saying that she’s amazing. That I am splitting hairs. That I am finding the tiny bit of rust in a sea of brightly shining metal. And then I tell her to be patient when she is frustrated that her craft is not yet perfect. I tell her she’s on her way–and, more than anything else, to be herself and enjoy the process.

The professors I admired most in school critiqued from a wide, beautiful place of love. Ruthie, especially, a fiery and beautiful blue-eyed woman who was one of the great American choreographer, Paul Taylor’s, muses, would begin every criticism with a compliment.

“You have such a beautiful way of moving, Jessica,” she’d say, “Why not try it with a greater sense of groundedness? Can you imagine your pelvis closer to the floor as you initiate your movement with an undercurve and always, always, always a plie?”

She thinks I have a beautiful way of moving? I will do anything she asks. Anything.

Ruthie brought the best out of me. Her kindness and patience actually motivated me to work harder, believe it or not. It wasn’t that she didn’t have standards–no! Her class was hard and everybody knew that her warm-up alone would either get you in shape or have you die trying. But somehow her words had a way of encompassing every kind of dancer–all sorts of shapes and sizes and talents and abilities–and setting us up for success, rather than failure.

She led us to believe that success looked differently on a dancer who is 5’2 with tree trunk legs and a contraction for days compared to a dancer who is 5’8 and more comfortable in pointe shoes than anything else.

The word perfect wasn’t mentioned, yet the word math–in the sense that there would be problems and here are the tools to solve them, class!–was mentioned quite a lot.

Like I said before, it was a you’ll-get-there-attitude, and I always left class feeling like maybe, just maybe, if I worked hard enough, I really would get there.

661629c3758da54cf762d0121a6ba33bMy point is that we could try these same things on ourselves. I am convinced that the battles we fight in this life are won and lost first in the mind. Why not set ourselves up for success? Why not practice patience and kindness within, just as we practice those same things with those around us?

 

 

And perhaps we will fall so in love with the journey of practicing and where it takes us, that we will forget about the static old goal of perfection. We’re movers and climbers, anyway. You can pull out your flag and stake it on a small plot of earth that you dub PERFECT and then stay there forever, if you’d like. And, yes, I am going to admire it for all its loveliness, for sure, when I visit, but I won’t be staying. I will keep going. Because there is always something up ahead. Something right around the bend. Something more in this journey that we are on, whether we like it or not. Whether it feels good or not.

So practice makes progress.

And patience is made of more durable stuff than roadblocks, my friends.

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img-26Jessica Latshaw  is a monthly contributor to The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  For more information on Jessica go to: www.jessicalatshawofficial.com

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Snapshots of NOW: My Photo Shoot With Lululemon

 

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Another inspiring blog installment from Broadway Warm-Up monthly blog contributor Jessica Latshaw:

 

Snapshots of NOW: My Photo Shoot With Lululemon

UnknownTomorrow I am doing a photo shoot for the ambassadorship for Lululemon. If you don’t know, Lululemon is a fantastic clothing line for all things movement. With the hashtag, #TheSweatLife, they encourage people to live their best lives; to constantly be challenging themselves and working towards health–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. If there is a way to be healthy, they are for it. I am so happy to partner with them. I love their philosophy and their positivity and it’s an honor to be part of their team. And like I stated already: tomorrow morning is my photo shoot with them.

The ironic part is that right now, I have probably never felt less like being photographed in a tight tank top. You think about these moments in life; you imagine them being a certain way. I remember first walking into the Lululemon in Union Square and seeing a large poster-sized photo of a beautiful dancer/ instructor on the wall and literally thinking, I’d love to be on that wall someday.

That was a little less than two years ago.

Now it’s happening.

Now I get to be on the wall.

And now I am almost four months pregnant.

images-1 “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” is what John Lennon wisely said. You have plans–you should have plans, too–but they are not the obedient little children you thought you were raising. They are wild things, plans. They sometimes go their own way. And as the plans run the opposite way, you face something even more wild than the plans: the moment. And if you’re smart, and maybe a bit wild, too, you embrace it. You learn to let it lead in this dance, swaying and dipping to a music that is both wonderful and new and unlike anything you’ve heard before until now. Until this moment. And life is a lot of things, yes, but it is not boring and it is not predictable and it is probably better than what you’d originally conceived in a mind that is brilliant, yes! but a mind that cannot take in or consider all the elements of this glorious universe that, together, land in the same place. A place we call now. A place where the wise and daring ones live.

Unknown-1So tomorrow morning I will not be rocking my favorite crop top, as I would have just a few short months ago. Not this moment; for this is a different one than then. I don’t regret this baby growing inside of me for one second. I just never imagined that I’d be a pregnant girl on the wall of Lululemon. It is a vulnerable thing to pose without feeling perfect. But it is also an honest thing. And it is also an always thing. For we are kidding ourselves when we toss around the word perfect. It does not exist, really, in the realm of art and movement and individuality. There is excellence and there is vulnerability and there is you–and I would argue that those things, together, capture a heart and make one content to stop looking for perfection, for what they’ve found instead is far more captivating, anyway. So here goes embracing this moment. This beautiful, imperfect, vulnerable, new, never-before-seen, awesome, and pregnant moment.

 

 

img-26Jessica Latshaw is a monthly contributor for The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  For more info on Jessica go to: www.jessicalatshawofficial.com 

 

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Revelation Reverie With Marc Santa Maria!

BWALPHA copyBroadway Warm-up Blog Contributor Marc Santa Maria has had a busy month!  Check out his recent blog for all of the revelations.  And give him an extra shout out for his recent nuptials! Congrats Marc!

 

Revelation Reverie

What Up Team Broadway Warm-Up! It’s been a wild month since we last connected. I’m going to jump right into My Three Reveries because I’m that excited to share with you!

42nd St PicACTOR REVERIE: Yesterday was a total creative play day. By 7:15am, I was on the set of Good Morning America, presenting a workout called “Hard Knocks” that launches nationally at Crunch Gyms next week. I love live TV because you have to be so frickin’ present to roll with whatever changes pop up. Staying in the moment is key to making it all happen the way producers, PR folks, hosts, live audience and your support team want it to. Right after that, I got to shoot an industrial/in-house corporate commercial where I had to sing lines from the 42nd Street song “The Lullaby of Broadway” over and over and over again. IT WAS SO FUN! And in between takes, I’d do BW exercises straight from the DVD to stay present and ready. Loved having access to something clear to do to keep my voice take-after-take ready.

Blue Ball PicFIT DUDE REVERIE: Then right after we wrapped the industrial – I got to hang with Charissa Hogeland, the Dance Captain from Heathers the Musical and dance fitness expert Carol Johnson to learn choreography for a very special Musical Theatre Dance Fitness Class we are putting together for Crunch, featuring Heathers songs! I get to choreography to “My Dead Gay Son” and “Blue” (as in one’s balls). I know . . . so very. Class is in June for 4 weeks – Tuesdays @ 5:45pm at Crunch, 23rd Street in Chelsea. Wanna come boogie down with us theatre style – email me at marcsm@me.com and I’ll get you in as my guest. “You make my balls feel so blue.” My new fave line from the show.

Wedding Shot-1ADVENTURE REVERIE: I got married 5 days ago. How’s that for an adventure? Still on a high from our wedding day and I can feel that this vibe is going to be around for a super long time . . .

 

Marc Santa Maria is a monthly contributor to The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  For more info on Marc go to: www.marcsm.com

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