Theatre Magic: Romeo & Juliet

R&J Wedding

Romeo & Juliet’s Wedding. Full Cast. Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument, NYC

It’s been over a week since we closed, but I’m in serious denial that we’ve put Romeo & Juliet in the books. I’ve done a LOT of shows in the [number redacted] years that I’ve been in theatre, and – other than the obligatory bittersweet farewell – I’ve been able to accept the show closing and trudge forth. Not so with R&J. I keep using euphemisms for “over”, because to think that this production is done forever feels like being punched in the stomach repeatedly. In fact, I barely believe it actually happened. Did I dream it?

If you read my guest post on the lovely and talented Yvonne DeSalle’s blog, or if you’ve ever talked to me about Shakespeare for more than two minutes, Continue reading

Actor Brain vs. Producer Brain


It’s proven much more difficult than I’d imagined to gather my thoughts and convert them to blog form, while in the thick of a rehearsal process. Every step has felt deeply personal – too personal to openly discuss in the format that I had so far established. With that said, let me attempt to share some musings, some reflections as our final dress rehearsal for The Fools & Kings Project’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream approaches tonight.

Producer/Actor is not like Producer/Director. The other two full-length shows that I’ve produced before felt very, very different Continue reading

Opportunity Meets Preparation: Auditions

As an actor, auditions are my least favorite thing, and we have to do them all the time. I shake violently (with nerves? or just adrenaline? I still don’t know), I feel scatter-brained, and I want to hide my head in the sand like an ostrich till it’s over. One of my smaller goals in life is to go into an audition someday without wanting to run screaming. But until then, I’m learning to work with my nerves, ignore the shaking, and not wear three-inch spike heels, lest I fall over.

As a producer or director, I relish auditions. Not that I enjoy other actors’ nerves, because my heart goes out to them. I love basking in the talent. This past weekend was one of best weekends I’ve ever had, because man oh man, did I get to see a lot of excellent actors work. The Fools & Kings Project got lucky with the level of talent that came out for our very first show. I could gush about our powerhouse Midsummer cast for days,

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Win Me with Words: Submissions, Part 2

OMG. Midsummer auditions went so well!!! Vanessa and I have been running on manic, adrenaline-fueled, kid-at-Christmas energy for the past two days. It was so exciting to meet some new, talented people, and to introduce our director Janie to a bunch of our delightful actor-friends. But today, let’s finish talking about submissions.

When last we met, I shared my riveting thoughts on headshots, and why I like some better than others. The other two parts of your submission allow us to meet you in words. Thus, in a few small ways, you can clue us in about your intelligence, your wit, your organization. Seize those opportunities. Take a few more minutes

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Impress Me, In 60 Seconds or Less: Submissions, Part 1

The Fools & Kings Project is putting up its inaugural show, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Excitement! Merriment! Auditions….

I have spent the past few weeks poring over actors’ submissions with my lovely and amazing Fools & Kings partner, Vanessa Wendt. I could hardly wait to talk about them here. This is one of the subjects that inspired the existence of this blog.

(Almost) no one to whom you submit will give you feedback. Rightly so. If you’re being rejected anyway, unsolicited advice is just Continue reading

Acting Sucks. Do It Anyway.

Well, acting doesn’t suck. Acting’s the best. Being an actor sucks, but that title wouldn’t have sounded as good.

Living as an actor in New York City is WEIRD. Normal people don’t do this. Normal people get degrees in things like “Engineering” or “Education”, and they follow the clearly laid out path of job interviews, masters degrees, and salaried jobs. It’s not that there aren’t challenges in all career paths; of course there are, especially when the job market is awful and there aren’t a plethora of jobs to even apply for. But that’s a totally different set of frustrations.

An actor gets a B.A./B.F.A. in Theatre…and then what? Yes, audition for a gazillion different shows. Get a truly flexible survival job Continue reading

My Theatre Life (Abridged)

I’m an actor, first and foremost, and a singer. As of about two years ago, I’m also a director/costume designer/set designer/producer. I’ve never, ever been happier in my life, and all of it is making me a better actor. I found myself recently wanting to shout from the rooftops about all the things I’m learning about acting, through producing. Perhaps a forum where other actors could soak up a bit of encouragement when they don’t get cast for stupid reasons, or where they could find a few tips on how to be Someone Who’s Great to Work With™! Where, oh where, could I impart my newfound wisdom? IF ONLY THERE WAS SUCH A THING!

That’s a blog, Melissa. You want to write a blog.

Before giving you any advice, I should probably explain myself. Hi, I’m Melissa. I’m the child of two opera singers. My first acting gig was when I was three years old: I played Trouble in Madame Butterfly with New York City Opera Tour. The moment I knew I wanted to act forever was Continue reading