By Ashton Byrum, MFA
After the tremendous response to the Broadway Survey series, I’m excited to continue documenting and demystifying various pathways to success for Musical Theatre talents by introducing the new series,”My First Big Job.” With the help of friends and former students in the business, I interviewed actors working at a new level for the first time. While this does include Broadway gigs, I also explored regional theatre & summer stock jobs – as well as Cruise Ships, Internship/Apprentice positions and everything in between. I hope you’ll join us over the next few weeks to learn about what happened at the auditions and how the actors booked the work.
TyNia Rene Brandon, currently in Frozen (Ensemble – u/s Elsa & Ana) for Disney Cruise Lines directed by Sheryl Kaller and choreographed by Josh Prince (Beautiful, Shrek)
1. What show are you doing – and what is your job in the show? Features? Covers?
Frozen – Disney Cruise Line (Ensemble, U/S Ana and Elsa)
2. Can you describe the audition?
Where was it? Was it a dance call, singer call or agent appointment?
The audition was in NYC. I attended the female open singer call. There were over 600 girls to show up. In fact, so many girls were there before registration was scheduled to open that they opened it early and asked for some of us to sing accapella. That way we could leave sooner and more girls could fit in the holding room. The first time in the room was extremely brief. I sang 4 bars of my 16 bar cut and was given callback material. It lasted all of 45 seconds.
- What did you prepare (if you don’t mind sharing)? What did you wear?
I sang Fabulous Baby from Sister Act: The Musical and wore an orange, fit and flare, sleeveless, dress with a drop waist and geometric detail on the shoulders. For my callback I wore a tailored black pant with a yellow tunic top. Heels at all times for my shoe.
- How many callbacks did you have? What did you do? Anything unusual?
I did 4 rounds of callbacks. The first time I just sang through my prepared callback material with an accompanist and the casting agent. The second, I sang a song from my rep book and my prepared call back material for the creative team. At that time I was given more callback material that included 2 songs and sides. I returned and performed those for the creative team. Later I came back for a dance callback.
- Did you book this job on the “first try” – or have you been considered for this show/theatre in the past?
- Where did you get your training? Do you have an agent?
I have my BFA in Musical Theater from Catawba College. I do not have an agent.
- What’s your favorite thing about this job?
My favorite thing about this job is definitely the company. Disney strives to be the best, and it is.