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Program Spotlight: Powerhouse Theater Training [Playwright Review]

Interested in attending the Powerhouse Theater Training Program? Then be sure to continue reading to hear first hand from a student about their life-changing summer at Powerhouse!

I stumbled into The Powerhouse Theater Training Program almost by accident. The spring before my final semester of college at Central Michigan University, as a Musical Theatre major, I spent all my free time auditioning for summer theater companies and generally trying to figure out how I fit in the world as an artist and soon-to-be college graduate. After attending an informational call-back with Producing and Education Director Michael Sheehan, I found out about the Powerhouse playwriting program. The timing of this meeting was nothing short of serendipitous. I had just finished writing a script that turned out to be the first of many, and I used that work to apply to (and ultimately be accepted into) the program as a playwright.

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How to Nail Your Songbook Academy Audition: Be YOU! Tips from a Songbook Academy Mentor

The Songbook Academy Summer Intensive logo

We’ve shared advice on selecting the right audition material, which is a critical part of any audition, but the next step, once you’ve found that perfect piece is how to make it your own and nail your audition. If you would like the inside scoop on how to make your video a standout, meet Songbook Academy Musical Director and Coach, Beckie Menzie. Read more

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Actor in Your Life

Not sure what to get the theatre-loving, Hamilton-listening, dramatic family member or friend in your life this holiday season?  Look no further than this go-to gift guide. We’ve put together a list of gifts that is sure to excite any thespian.

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Inspirational Artists Who Got A Late Start

In this industry, it’s tough not to compare yourself to other people’s successes. While there are no clear guidelines on what it really means to “make it” as an artist (as this can mean different things to everyone) – you may sometimes feel like you are behind. Today I want to remind you that everyone goes at their own pace and there is no expiration date on your talent!

Let’s take a look at some musicians, actors, dancers and artists who really hit their stride a bit later than you might expect:

Andrea Bocelli


Andrea Bocelli was 34 when he released his first album. He didn’t become mainstream, however, until his third album. He is one of the best selling singers of our time!

Melissa McCarthy

BERLIN, GEMANY - MAY 26: Melissa McCarthy attends Spy: Susan Cooper Undercover' Berlin Photocall at Hotel De Rome on May 26, 2015 in Berlin, Gemany. (Photo Luca Teuchmann/Getty Images)

While Melissa McCarthy began acting in the ‘90s, it wasn’t until the release of Bridesmaids in 2011 that she was nominated for an Oscar. She was 41.

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5 Ways To Become A Better Actor (For Free!)


Watch and Rewind

As an actor, I can tell you it’s hard to watch a movie/television show/commercial without thinking about all of the things that are happening behind the scenes to make each moment come to life. As an exercise, put on a new movie and closely watch the actors. If you see a scene that truly moves you or resonates with you – go ahead and rewind and re-watch. What about their performance is remarkable? What is resonating with you? Are they playing a specific action or objective that is clear? Next, take note of how they use whatever props are available to them in the scene. Are the props aiding in their performance? What are they doing with their hands? How are they sitting/standing? Learning how to deliver a great performance while also believably playing in a make believe environment takes great skill. Learn from the best!

Embrace your Doppelgänger

Have you ever been asked the question: do you know what actor you remind me of/look like? If you get asked that a lot and you know nothing about the person they mention – do your research! Find their IMBD profile and study their career. Discover how they made the journey to become the actor that they are today. Watch some of their films and pull scenes that you think would be good for you and do it better! Chances are if someone is telling you that you are similar to them, they potentially are playing roles that would be perfect for you.

Read a new play each week

Read PlaysSeriously. You can do it! Head to your local library and check out a stack of plays you have never heard of. Make it your mission to read a new play by the end of each week. Being talented is great – but being talented and unknowledgeable is not so great. By reading a new play each week, you are discovering new playwrights and learning about their unique writing styles. You will also most certainly discover scenes and monologues that you would love to tackle – killing two birds with one stone!
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Let’s Talk About Headshots

Were you ten when you took your last headshot? Has your hair color changed? Sporting a new look? Well, summer is a great time to update your shot! Headshots are to performers like a suitcase is to a lawyer. You should never leave the house without them as they are your personal business card.

I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money on headshots for college auditions. After all, you are going to grow and change tremendously over the next four years – ask for the super fancy, luxury headshot session for a graduation gift before you head off to the real world! For now, find a local photographer who might be running a deal or if you have a family friend who has an exceptional camera and eye – see if they’ll snap some shots!

Primary Basic Headshot

Actors, Dancers and Musicians all need a headshot that best represents them and looks like them on their best day. All performers need one basic headshot that follows these guidelines:

  • Shot from the shoulders up
  • Fits 8×10 dimensions
  • The main focus of the image is the head

Additionally, here are some qualities that make up an excellent headshot:

  • Looks like you on your very best day
  • Your hair/makeup/clothing is similar to what you would present in an audition, so it’s easy for them to remember you
  • Your name should be on the picture. Most commonly, they are printed in the bottom right or left hand corners
  • No props
  • A simple white (or neutral) background is best
  • Pick a color to wear that people tell you that you look great in. If you don’t know, ask family and friends!
  • Study what a good headshot looks like! Check out the graduating class of your dream school and see what the students’ shots look like

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