|The cast of Mamma Mia!, front row, with students in PCT's Shrek the Musical|
Special thanks to the cast of Mamma Mia! for visiting our students this week.
The cast of our Patel Conservatory Theater production of Shrek the Musical got to participate in a Q & A with members of the cast of Mamma Mia!, running this week at the Straz Center in Carol Morsani Hall.
Cast members chatted about everything from the business of acting (getting an agent vs. not getting an agent) to bloopers from the show (sneezing at inappropriate moments, and a high heel breaking on stage).
While their stories and backgrounds varied, they all agreed that training is important to becoming a successful performer.
“Focus on your weaknesses,” said Danny Lopez. “If you’re a singer, take some acting classes. If you’re a dancer, take some voice lessons. You have to try to balance them equally.”
In addition to musical theater training, many in the cast have had classical theater training.
“Classics like Ibsen, Shaw or Shakespeare are more challenging and will help you build a different set of skills,” said Beth Ann Wipprecht.
Regardless of your training or background, hard work is the key to success, they said.
Going on lots of auditions, making connections and being nice to others helps lead to jobs, which lead to more jobs.
Eric Presnall shared his story of how, for three years, he flew to New York again and again and kept auditioning for his favorite musical American Idiot. He finally got cast in the tour in the ensemble and as the understudy for his favorite character Tunny.
A fond memory for him, he said, was when he finally got the chance to go on as Tunny. There was a moment in the show when he saw his own reflection in his sunglasses with the audience behind him, and he thought, “Dreams do come true.”