'Singing is the heart and mind coming together to make a sound'.
My learning experience with Rita Hunter and John Thomas was both disciplined and profound. There was no turning back. I at last came to own my voice. The next step was to apply this voice to the work I was doing. This ended up being 12 years of musical theatre that required the skills of actor/singer. My training as an actor and singer combined to fulfil the requirements of musical theatre at this time.
Gone was the expectation of a triple threat. The concept of music and storytelling was enshrined in this new approach to musicals and I happened to come along with the appropriate skill set. Its impact on me and the opportunity this presented was career defining and life changing.
It had begun some years before this. I had the unique experience of playing Mordred in Camelot opposite the now late Richard Harris (The original Dumbledore to you Millennials and Gen Y’s out there) who implored me to follow his lead and use the heightened bold explosive emotional techniques of a classical actor to underpin and inspire the music and storytelling that is Musical Theatre. His mentorship sowed the seed for a long and thrilling exploration of the art of the singer/actor in the mega musical era.
The seminal period from which I was able to harvest Richard’s influence began with Sweeny Todd, Blood Brothers (opposite Russel Crowe) then Bernstein’s Mass and then came the phenomenon of the sung through story telling of Les Miserables, Aspects of Love, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera (again) and then book ended by West Side Story Showboat and Sweeny Todd again.
I sang in performance and/or rehearsal nearly every working day for 12 years. Sometimes the same role for over 18 months. The opportunities to explore and experiment were endless. The performances became laboratories in which stamina, motivation, placement, breathing, and dynamics and most importantly storytelling, were all tested.
I never once lost my voice due to strain, a tribute to a classical technique thanks to Marianne Mathy, Rita Hunter and John Thomas, that is underpinned by my own actors need to motivate everything from action based impulses.
Micro-seconds within moments on stage became palpable and playable because constant repetition or better still, re-creation and regeneration of each performance, facilitated an ease and awareness of singing in action. After 12 years literally non-stop on stage and in the rehearsal room, I acquired a self awareness that I now know is the fusion, the coming together, of the actor and the singer.
With this self awareness and with the hindsight of many years of experience I am now able to articulate how this happens and how to apply it to successfully singing a song. It is the essence of the power of music and storytelling. It is the Secret to successful singing. It is the Secret success.