SECRETS OF STAGE SUCCESS: Louse Dearman, Mark Evans
ISBN: 9 781 848 423756
Review: 26 07 15, Alexander Ray Edser
It’s all real – real answers to real questions about work in Musical Theatre.
This is an incredibly handy little book for anyone contemplating a career in musical theatre. More than that, it’s also for anyone interested or passionate about watching musicals and want to know how it all works for the performer.
There can be little doubt about the popularity of musicals. See them in London’s West End, see them in the big No 1 tours and in smaller tours, watch them in regional theatres or amateur theatres, you can’t help noting their wide appeal. Yet they’re complex; the demands on all the team are great, and on the performers, who must often be singers, dancers and actors the pressure is really on. The other thing you notice when watching musicals on tours these days (and yours truly sees a lot) is that the days of second rate companies for the tours are long, long gone.
Little wonder then, that so many actors, singers and dancers long for a musical theatre career. Yet with so much pressure there are many questions for the aspiring musical theatre performer.
This book’s two authors have great experience in many big musicals, their joint CV is mighty impressive. Working together in the London production of WICKED they received many questions about training, rehearsing, performing night after night. The seed for SECRETS OF STAGE SUCCESS was sown. They would put the questions and answers into a book. They encouraged questions via a special website then set about answering them.
The result is a no-nonsense set of answers to everything you might want to know. Training, rehearsing and performing are all covered. Answers are sometimes from both Dearman and Evans, but sometimes, particularly if there’s an apposite anecdote or when they both speak particularly from their own experience, individually.
Every piece of advice they give is sound. But life is full of surprises – Evans’s story of preparation for Curly in OKLAHOMA (it involves pink and purple curlers) is particularly delightful. Both writers have a healthy attitude to mistakes on-stage – fully acknowledging that things do and will go wrong; emphasising that audiences thrill at live entertainment.
It’s a thoroughly delightful and informative read. It’ll set your mind at rest or open up a door to a hitherto hidden world, or, of course, both maybe.