Once Upon a September with Liz Callaway
This school year has already started off with a bang! Thanks to Detroit’s very own Cabaret 313, I was able to fulfil my childhood dream and meet the ever so talented Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway!!! Liz Callaway is famous for providing the singing voices of many beloved female characters in animated movies, such as Anya/Anastasia in Anastasia (my favorite movie ever and the reason I fangirled so hard when I found out I was going to be in the same room as her!), Odette in The Swan Princess, Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and the King of Thieves and Return of Jafar, and the adult Kiara in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. She made her debut on Broadway in Steven Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (1981). Her other stage credits include Baby, The Three Musketeers, The Spitfire Grill, Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, Cats, and Miss Saigon.
A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to have a master class with Liz Callaway right here at Wayne State. There were select students that were able to sing for her and hear her feedback. While I was not one of the students singing for her, I was able to sit in on the class and hear some of her advice and critiques. She had some really great advice for singing, performing, and auditioning. Some of her great nuggets of wisdom were:
1) While preparing your song write out the lyrics of your song in prose to get a better understanding of them, so you know what you’re singing. Also try practicing your song in monologue form rather than just singing it. This will help you to not only better understand the words and the message of your song, but it can help you attach emotions to the words which will help to make your performance so much more powerful.
2) When you’re singing you are telling a story. You need more than just your voice to tell a story. You have to use your face and body as well.
3) You’re singing in reaction to something, so you have to know who you are singing to and what happened right before you started singing.
4)Make sense of the breaks/rests in the music. While the breaks and rests are there, it doesn’t mean you have to take them. Do what feels right to you.
5) Don’t be afraid to make the song your own!