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WHY are there so few BALLADs for Men, pre 1965 in the Belt BooK?

Ok, just stop and think about it for a minute.

Done? Right: the musical theatre literature prior to the 1960’s was based primarily in a “legit” style, unless the character in the musical was there for comic relief, or was an older, light weight character.
For example, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma or Nettie in Carousel or Meg in Brigadoon. A ballad is not typically the style these kinds of characters sing in (ok, of course Nettie sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, but she’s an usual case). So if there are only a half dozen men’s ballads pre-1965 in The Belt Book, it’s not because we haven’t done our homework, it’s because that’s not how it worked in the Golden Era of the American Musical Theatre.

Have suggestions? Let me know!

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The First Ever MT Competition for NATS

Held in Orlando the end of June started with regional auditions in LA, Chicago, New York and online. Twenty four semi-finalists and six finalists. I am proud of my organization for recognizing Musical Theatre (NATS prefers “Theater”—we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one) as a legitimate vocal performance medium and honoring young artists singing the songs from the only truly American Art form. The final round of competition brought a largely classical audience to it’s feet. The first time ever at a NATS competition! Lively discussion and different points of view about who won and who should have won—creating the opportunity for dialog. There are, of course, kinks to be worked out in the format and execution of this Musical Theatre Competition, but all together a splendid start!

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Coding Error

Sorry all, we had a coding error that caused the Detail Results in the Search feature of The Belt Book to bite it. We’re all good now, you can see details of songs, look at You Tubes, and link to purchasing audio files and sheet music.

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Orlando: The 52nd National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Conference


I had fully intended to blog every day of this Conference—but it’s been so wonderfully exciting, I didn’t want to miss a moment.  The presentations run the gamut of heady pedy (pedagogy) to in the trenches training. All marvelous. The energy of hundreds of people who love to sing and act and share their knowledge and experience has been thrilling.

The Belt Book is having it’s formal birthing out of beta, and we’ve been well received.  Students, teachers, professors and colleagues have told me that it’s a resource that is needed, and the presentation is very user friendly. There have been so many wonderful colleagues we’ve met from all over the country. Familiar faces, new friends. Quality and quantity .Sunshine for the Seattlites.  And it’s just the beginning.

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Master Class with Masters

 A recent master class in Seattle that I hosted with Justin Huff of Telsey+Co Casting produced some great insights for the artists who participated. Justin is concise, clear, and kind (not what one might typically think of in a high profile NYC casting director).  His aptitude for creating an environment in which the students could risk and expand their work made for a great experience for all.

Here are a few thoughts from the master class:

*Play the truth of the moments: for example, it’s not “now I’m going to tell you off” or “ this is a smart little dig coming at you”, they are honest in the moment actions rather than caricatures.

*In an antagonistic scenario, it’s always more powerful if your “other” or scene partner doesn’t see you get emotional.

*Go further in a variety of emotional directions to see how you feel when rehearsing a piece.

*Sing with simplicity, own the notes, send the energy forward, lift the sounds.

*How does what you’re saying translate physically? The discovery of what it feels like is a growing feeling, how does that change physicality?

*Find the balance between you feeling sorry for yourself and being strong. We want to root for you.

*The push and pull of opposites is comedy.

*It’s not sound for the sake of sound: everything has a purpose, intention, discovery.  Sing the story rather than the pitches, watch out for the trap of choosing material simply because there are fabulous notes and you want to show them off. All notes are fabulous if they are rooted in breath and honesty of interaction.

*OWN IT -don’t self monitor!

Of course, there was much, much more. But you’ll have to attend the next class and do the work yourself.

Thank you, Justin!

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Amazing Auditions Workshop with New York Professionals

Audition Master Class with New York Casting Director Justin Huff, of Telsey + Company

Here’s your opportunity to get audition coaching from someone who casts Broadway musicals.  If you are going to be ready for season auditions in Seattle, or are moving to NYC or any other theatre city, the time to prepare is now.  Work on two contrasting audition cuts from your book with Justin Huff. There will be time to ask any and all questions you have had about the business in New York and about the audition process.

Bring: A 16 bar cut and a 32 bars cut, as well as your book.


Pop Songs for Musical Theatre Auditions with Mo Brady

Argh! Here comes that audition that requires a pop song!  Don’t know where to look or what will work without all the back up vocals and rhythm section? Pop songs in your rep are no long optional, they are essential in your book, and pop musicals have become a staple on Broadway, so be prepared!  Mo will listen to your voice and persona, directing you to pop artists and songs that will work for you. There will be discussion of the different eras of popular music actors should be familiar with, and the sensibility that each requires. During the master class you will learn how to capture the essence of a time period through song choice and performance.

Bring: 32 bars of your most contemporary sounding show tune, and whatever pop you have in your book now.

Date: Saturday March 24th 9am-1pm                                    

Studio D:  Audition Master Class                                            

Studio E:  Pop Rep Master Class

Saturday March 24th 2pm-6pm                                                      

                Studio D:  Audition Master Class

Studio E:  Pop Rep Master Class

Location: TPS, Center House at Seattle Center (4th Floor)

Fee:  $120 per session, $60 due upon registration, $60 payable by March 20th

$130 if registering after March 20th

PAYMENT can be made via PayPal to info@thebeltbook.com

Or mailed to Ann Evans, 11538 20th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125

Register for both workshops, receive a total of $20 discount. Please indicate which sessions you want to attend.


MO BRADY, AEA: Originally from Seattle, Mo made his Broadway debut in the musical THE ADDAMS FAMILY, alongside Nathan Lane and Brooke Shields. In Seattle, Mo was a member of the cast of the world premiere production of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at the 5th Avenue Theatre. He has also performed in six other original productions at the 5th Avenue. His performances there in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS and HELLO, DOLLY! won him a “Best of Seattle” Award from Seattle Weekly magazine. This fall, Mo workshopped two Broadway-bound musicals, THE RHYTHM CLUB, directed by Casey Nicolaw, and THE HONEYMOONERS, directed by Jerry Mitchell. Upcoming projects include NEXT TO NORMAL at the Arkansas Rep.

In the Seattle area, he has taught for Village Theatre KIDSTAGE, the 5th Avenue Theatre, ArtsWest, as well as many local high schools and middle schools. He has also taught theatre students in Wisconsin, New Jersey and New York.



JUSTIN HUFF, CSA:, has been a casting director at Telsey + Company for seven years and has worked on the following projects: Broadway/Tours: Newsies, Leap of Faith, Porgy & Bess, Bonnie & Clyde, The Addams Family, Spider-man Turn Off The Dark, Catch Me If You Can, Next to Normal, Hairspray, Cry-baby, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Grey Gardens, High School Musical, Tarzan, Rock of Ages, 9 to 5, Wicked, Rent, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, A Catered Affair, All Shook Up, In the Heights, South Pacific, Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On (Vegas); Film: I Love You Phillip Morris, Rachel Getting Married, Sex and the City, Sex and the City: 2, Dan in Real Life, Then She Found Me, Across the Universe, Ira and Abby, Jonah Hex.  TV:  Smash (NBC).  Justin studied Musical Theater at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and AMDA in New York.

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