Last March, Anthony Frederickson won the Overture Award for Musical Theater. It was the first time in Overture history that a freshman won in the Theater category. In Part 1 of our Preparing for the Win series Anthony’s instructor at CMA, Paul McCready, outlined the importance of when to start preparing and choosing the right piece. This edition of the series Paul will describe the need for the right accompanist, developing technique, and workshopping the piece prior to the competition.
Using the right accompanist:
Often in auditions and certain contests, performers are forced to hand their music to accompanists who they have never met, rehearsed with, and who may have never played the piece before. When a contestant has the opportunity to choose their own accompanist they are open to better repertoire and to concentrate more on the performance with the appropriate support behind them. “Alan Masters has been CMA’s accompanist for the Overture Awards for the last four years. I knew that Alan could handle Jason Robert Brown’s very difficult piano parts with a couple of rehearsals and some outside work on his part.”
Performers spend years developing their skills to prepare for the most difficult situations This often results in their ability to easily push personal limits. However, it’s important that performance technique come from a place of comfort and strength. “Getting Anthony ready for this competition from a technical aspect was both easy and difficult. When you ask Anthony to sing he will give you more than 100 percent with regard to energy and that is not always a good thing. He needed to get his breath and body under control so he did not push this big Jason Robert Brown song out of the atmosphere. Anthony is also really good at pop and loves to improvise at will. We had to encourage him only to “riff” in select places for acting emphasis.”
Workshopping the Performance:
When it comes to competitions, it’s best if the competition isn’t the first time the song is performed. Workshopping a competition piece in front of small and, if possible, larger audiences is a great way to test people’s reactions and identify remaining issues. “Anthony’s first public performance of “Here I Come” was in September of 2016 at the McCready Voice Studio Junior High and High School recital. I knew that we had a good song selection by the reaction from the crowd.” CMA Voice Department students also have the opportunity to attend Performance and Technique Classes throughout the year free of charge.