SuzyQBee
SuzyQBee

September 4th, 2008, 9:26 pm #11

Sorry this is off topic, but I have to tell you how frustrated I am with my daughter's high school. I was wondering if any of you have had the same experience. Before my dd entered high school, I had great expectations of her enjoying the theatre department at the school. When she was small, she worked professionally in musical theatre. She performed on television and had leads in many community theatre productions and Junior High musicals. Then, she gets to High School and from day one was told that they heard she was a "Broadway Baby," and she shouldn't expect to get parts just because of her past experiences. They assign her a private voice teacher who tries to change her voice to opera/soprano and get rid of her belt. Freshman year, she doesn't even make the musical at all because they told her, "Her voice is too strong for the chorus and she's too young for a lead," Sophomore year and Junior year she makes the ensemble, but has never gotten even one speaking role. That wouldn't be so bad, but kids with literally no chance of making it in this business are getting roles. They are ruining my daughter's spirit, yet she continues to get callbacks and leads in everything outside of school from professional theatre to community theatre. She recently went to a famous voice teacher who told her that he wrote and published an article on the dangers of school voice teachers. He said that they do kids a great disservice when they try to change a kid's voice from a belt to opera. He told her that she should never let anyone change her voice because today, in the real world of Broadway theatre, she has the voice that people want to hear. Anyway, it's time for auditions again. This is her senior year and her last chance to perform in front of her friends at the school. I just know they won't give her a lead and I'm venting. Sorry this is so long and rambling. I just want to know your feelings on this.
wow! I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is going through this. I thought I was reading a post from my childhood. I had the same thing happen to me in high school. The "just because you have been in professional stuff don't expect..." and the voice teacher who said my voice was too strong and tried to change it to opera. He ruined my spirit and my self-esteem - and I never did get in any of the musicals except for one time in one song in "Grease" in high school. I got in a few plays, but only got the lead role when a new instructor and director took over, and she never did musicals. I had a horrible time in high school theatre, and people were horribly mean - and my parents were beside themselves. They tried talking to the director (I was horrified because that was the worst thing she could have done. Our director didn't go for parents upset about kids not getting a role.)

The only thing I can give you advice on, is to continue with the outside theatre world. In my opinion it's better anyhow - she won't learn as many bad habbits that need change in the long run. Stay in the theatre dept. in high school just for college purposes. But other than that, try to understand that it's not you...

I have that problem in college too. It took me 3 years to finally get IN a musical. (And now I'm at a new college cuz I am taking minimum credits...) but, I was told what the professors were saying by one of the musical directors. Basically he said that they were afraid to work with someone who had professional experience because they didn't have the same level experience. I was upset because my view was that I could learn from everyone and I just wanted to perform with my friends. Later those friends decided to call my agent/manager in NYC and some used my name and got in with her, all to eventually ruin their names and she kicked most of them out.

I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but I can tell you I fully understand. If you want to email me you can... star2berose@yahoo.com

Things will get better - just tell your daughter to keep following her dreams, and not let anyone take her hope away. It's not her fault she has worked so hard and is talented. ;0) well, maybe it is lol. but in the end that is a good thing.

Take care,
Suzanne
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Meghan
Meghan

September 4th, 2008, 10:00 pm #12

Sorry this is off topic, but I have to tell you how frustrated I am with my daughter's high school. I was wondering if any of you have had the same experience. Before my dd entered high school, I had great expectations of her enjoying the theatre department at the school. When she was small, she worked professionally in musical theatre. She performed on television and had leads in many community theatre productions and Junior High musicals. Then, she gets to High School and from day one was told that they heard she was a "Broadway Baby," and she shouldn't expect to get parts just because of her past experiences. They assign her a private voice teacher who tries to change her voice to opera/soprano and get rid of her belt. Freshman year, she doesn't even make the musical at all because they told her, "Her voice is too strong for the chorus and she's too young for a lead," Sophomore year and Junior year she makes the ensemble, but has never gotten even one speaking role. That wouldn't be so bad, but kids with literally no chance of making it in this business are getting roles. They are ruining my daughter's spirit, yet she continues to get callbacks and leads in everything outside of school from professional theatre to community theatre. She recently went to a famous voice teacher who told her that he wrote and published an article on the dangers of school voice teachers. He said that they do kids a great disservice when they try to change a kid's voice from a belt to opera. He told her that she should never let anyone change her voice because today, in the real world of Broadway theatre, she has the voice that people want to hear. Anyway, it's time for auditions again. This is her senior year and her last chance to perform in front of her friends at the school. I just know they won't give her a lead and I'm venting. Sorry this is so long and rambling. I just want to know your feelings on this.
I've played my fair share lead roles in many community theaters since i was around 7. I got to highschool and I have yet to even receive a solo, but i continue to get great roles outside of school. Its actually pretty funny because most of the people in music or theater didnt think that i had any sort of talent, but then one day my resume was sitting out on my drama teachers desk and they were all looking at it and were very impressed. They came to one of my shows and were also really impressed and were like "jeez, we had no idea you were that good!" It was kinda akward cuz i couldnt be like...."yea, I am! you should have known that!" but it was nice to be recognized i guess. Anyways, the point is, I never get solos or roles or anything special at school...High school theater seems to just kinda be like that.
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nc girl
nc girl

September 5th, 2008, 1:19 am #13

Yep, same thing here. My daughter is in high school and has sung solos since the age of 4 and professionally trained since the age of 6. Nothing. Not even solo parts in chorus--the ones who do--not good, it is painful to watch them. Just baffles me. Heck, the kid could read music before entering kindergarten and the chorus teacher didn't place her in advanced chorus--she is in there with kids who don't know and it is frustrating to her, as she wants to be more challenged. I have come close several times to confronting this lady, but I fight it, because I don't want to do more harm--she is only a sophomore. Once she graduates and gets into a college, I just might cut loose--it'll make me feel better--ha! Right now, she is composing songs, and wrote a book--this is a good way to utilize those same creative talents, but in a different way--I'm all for it!
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Hanniganfan
Hanniganfan

September 5th, 2008, 1:38 am #14

I've played my fair share lead roles in many community theaters since i was around 7. I got to highschool and I have yet to even receive a solo, but i continue to get great roles outside of school. Its actually pretty funny because most of the people in music or theater didnt think that i had any sort of talent, but then one day my resume was sitting out on my drama teachers desk and they were all looking at it and were very impressed. They came to one of my shows and were also really impressed and were like "jeez, we had no idea you were that good!" It was kinda akward cuz i couldnt be like...."yea, I am! you should have known that!" but it was nice to be recognized i guess. Anyways, the point is, I never get solos or roles or anything special at school...High school theater seems to just kinda be like that.
Oh my....why must the years during High School be so fraught with so many highs and lows? In my HS years I was active in the drama dept. for just one short year. I auditioned and no one knew me or my background and I got a lead in the play because I was good. Raves from everyone, teachers and visiting professionals, my parents were so immpressed they didn't know what to do with themselves. Well...we all thought I would be a shoe-in for the lead in the spring play. I was a sophmore and I was riding high! I prepared, read the play, memorized the sides and auditioned. Everyone said I should get the role, we waited anxiously for the cast list to be posted. Well, they didn't post the cast list, the Drama teacher decided to announce the cast and hand out the scripts at the next Drama Club meeting. Imagine how excited I was anticipating the applause I would recieve when he announced my name! I am sure you all know where this is going so I will cut to the chase! Not only did I not get the lead, I wasn't even cast! I was crushed! I ran home and cried to my folks who gently told me that I would face many disapointments in life and though they understood, felt that I had to volunteer to be part of the crew. Their point was this..Was I involved because I wanted to be a star or because I wanted to be part of a group of people who all worked together, the good, the bad and the horrible, to create a theatrical experience. So I did volunteer and after about a week the director came to me and said that one of the girls had dropped out and they wanted me to take over for her. WHAT? Oh no, I wasn't good enough to cast in the first place! No way! I relayed the story to my parents, those pesky smart parents that I had and they said that I had to call the director and apologize for my bad behavior and say yes to playing the very small role at the end of the second act! I was miserable, but I did it..and guess what happened? I began to see that it wasn't about me! It was about the play, the experience and the sharing of the gifts I had been given. Looking into the audience at curtain call and seeing all the smiling faces and knowing that I was part of the reason they were applauding and grinning. I am glad I took that small part and learned about humility. Because that summer, at 15, I got my Equity Card and never did another High School show again. However, from Broadway to Europe and back I have enjoyed a career that has been about the joy and wonder of being part of a whole. A part of a community of people, High School, Community, Broadway, Non-Equity Regional and the like that share an incredible gift with those who can only sometimes dream of doing what we do! And for those of us lucky enough to enjoy a career in the buisness we call show, it is an honor and a priveledge to participate as leads, as secondary roles, in the ensemble or chorus, off stage as swings or on stage creating a role for a new musical or play. Take heart, live in the moment, follow your gut and stay positive about your gifts. Share them as often as you can, where ever you can, even if it's backstage in your high school for the show you wanted the lead for and it went to someone you think wasn't as good as you, that person may well be enjoying the only time they will be in the spotlight. The mark of a true professional is the one who steps back so that others may take a bow, yours will come soon enough and hopefully for many years to come. Best wishes and excuse the length...just wanted to offer a different perspective!
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Frustrated
Frustrated

September 5th, 2008, 3:10 am #15

Yep, same thing here. My daughter is in high school and has sung solos since the age of 4 and professionally trained since the age of 6. Nothing. Not even solo parts in chorus--the ones who do--not good, it is painful to watch them. Just baffles me. Heck, the kid could read music before entering kindergarten and the chorus teacher didn't place her in advanced chorus--she is in there with kids who don't know and it is frustrating to her, as she wants to be more challenged. I have come close several times to confronting this lady, but I fight it, because I don't want to do more harm--she is only a sophomore. Once she graduates and gets into a college, I just might cut loose--it'll make me feel better--ha! Right now, she is composing songs, and wrote a book--this is a good way to utilize those same creative talents, but in a different way--I'm all for it!
You guys are amazing! What a great forum! It is so nice to be able to share experiences with so many wonderful people. This is a terrific place to celebrate when good things come our way and vent when they don't. It sure makes everything easier when we find out how many of us have gone through the same things.
Thank you all.
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CindyS
CindyS

September 5th, 2008, 10:16 am #16

Sorry this is off topic, but I have to tell you how frustrated I am with my daughter's high school. I was wondering if any of you have had the same experience. Before my dd entered high school, I had great expectations of her enjoying the theatre department at the school. When she was small, she worked professionally in musical theatre. She performed on television and had leads in many community theatre productions and Junior High musicals. Then, she gets to High School and from day one was told that they heard she was a "Broadway Baby," and she shouldn't expect to get parts just because of her past experiences. They assign her a private voice teacher who tries to change her voice to opera/soprano and get rid of her belt. Freshman year, she doesn't even make the musical at all because they told her, "Her voice is too strong for the chorus and she's too young for a lead," Sophomore year and Junior year she makes the ensemble, but has never gotten even one speaking role. That wouldn't be so bad, but kids with literally no chance of making it in this business are getting roles. They are ruining my daughter's spirit, yet she continues to get callbacks and leads in everything outside of school from professional theatre to community theatre. She recently went to a famous voice teacher who told her that he wrote and published an article on the dangers of school voice teachers. He said that they do kids a great disservice when they try to change a kid's voice from a belt to opera. He told her that she should never let anyone change her voice because today, in the real world of Broadway theatre, she has the voice that people want to hear. Anyway, it's time for auditions again. This is her senior year and her last chance to perform in front of her friends at the school. I just know they won't give her a lead and I'm venting. Sorry this is so long and rambling. I just want to know your feelings on this.
I have read with great interest all the posts on this thread. I see it from both perspectives, so I'd like to give a little insight into my experiences. First let me say I am the mother of two professional daughters, both of whom have had their share of professional parts. I am also a music teacher (elementary private school and give private voice and piano lessons). So, I feel I have some right to give my opinions on this subject.

There is nothing worse to a parent of a professional child than to see that child overlooked because he/she is "too good". Both my girls have had to deal with this. In professional theater worlds, they have both been cast as leads and/or supporting roles, done a lot of solo work in many concerts in professional vocal troupes and always been the one with solos in dance concerts. Why then, can't they get cast in high school musicals, other than supporting and chorus roles? It's been a frustrating question and one that I've had to think long and hard about. And, believe me when I tell you I've shed many tears along with my children over not getting cast when obviously less talented students have been given opportunities.

But, the teacher in me knows that sometimes we cast students who are perhaps, "less talented" because it IS school and should be a learning experience. Several of my colleagues feel that when professional children come to auditions, they intimidate other students, taking away the "learning" aspect of school theater. I have to agree. Several times I've heard my children's friends say it wasn't worth auditioning because "she's so good, why waste my time?", and the point is, it IS school theater. And, most school directors are mere teachers who, like Julie said, may be intimated themselves by the talented student who has the professional credits.

My advice for any student who has experienced this is to just enjoy high school theater for what it's worth......camraderie among friends and an opportunity to work on a group project. I've found that, after the tears and heartache of disappoinment after the cast list goes up, my own children have enjoyed being with friends and enjoying the show. And, if you are unable to overcome this kind of disappointment, then realize how the high school casting process is done, and don't audition, and find something that fills your own needs, i.e., community or regional theater.





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Frustrated
Frustrated

September 5th, 2008, 10:42 am #17

I think the biggest problem is this: These kids come to high school with a reputation of having a certain level of talent. When they are passed over for roles, for whatever reason, the other kids at the school begin to falsely believe that they weren't so talented afterall. Especially when kids with very little talent beat out the professional kids. My daughter says that it is just embarassing. Only her close group of friends has seen her perform in outside theatre.
The saddest part is that teachers are supposed to inspire kids to follow their dreams. Their job is to seek out those with special talents (whether it is math or science or art) and guide them, mentor them, and support them. There is nothing worse than blowing out the candle in someone's heart.
But, here's the good part: Everyone needs something in life to drive them. And, if my daughter wants this bad enough, she will use this as fuel to succeed.
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Julie Smith
Julie Smith

September 5th, 2008, 11:11 am #18

Sorry this is off topic, but I have to tell you how frustrated I am with my daughter's high school. I was wondering if any of you have had the same experience. Before my dd entered high school, I had great expectations of her enjoying the theatre department at the school. When she was small, she worked professionally in musical theatre. She performed on television and had leads in many community theatre productions and Junior High musicals. Then, she gets to High School and from day one was told that they heard she was a "Broadway Baby," and she shouldn't expect to get parts just because of her past experiences. They assign her a private voice teacher who tries to change her voice to opera/soprano and get rid of her belt. Freshman year, she doesn't even make the musical at all because they told her, "Her voice is too strong for the chorus and she's too young for a lead," Sophomore year and Junior year she makes the ensemble, but has never gotten even one speaking role. That wouldn't be so bad, but kids with literally no chance of making it in this business are getting roles. They are ruining my daughter's spirit, yet she continues to get callbacks and leads in everything outside of school from professional theatre to community theatre. She recently went to a famous voice teacher who told her that he wrote and published an article on the dangers of school voice teachers. He said that they do kids a great disservice when they try to change a kid's voice from a belt to opera. He told her that she should never let anyone change her voice because today, in the real world of Broadway theatre, she has the voice that people want to hear. Anyway, it's time for auditions again. This is her senior year and her last chance to perform in front of her friends at the school. I just know they won't give her a lead and I'm venting. Sorry this is so long and rambling. I just want to know your feelings on this.
In high school, I had accumulated any professional credits, but I was (I suppose) locally known in the community theatre groups. We had a small-ish high with a theatre director who had a HUGE chip on his shoulder. It's way too long of a story to get into, but by my senior year, I had quit auditioning at school and stuck to the local theatre circuit. Truth be told, I learned and grew a lot more and was much better prepared for a larger theatre department in college.
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Elizabeth
Elizabeth

September 5th, 2008, 12:10 pm #19

The granddaughter of a famous singer from the 50's was involved in all of the high school musicals I participated in. She had the same last name so people immediately made a big deal about that. She was also INCREDIBLY talented, and when she took the stage she SHINED! She played as many leads as they could offer, and the rest of us had the attitude previously mentioned, "why bother to try out?" We loved her for how great she was, but we really resented her at the same time. She stood out so far from the rest of us that we felt the shows were all about her. After the shows she got all of the praise and we felt as if we hadn't even been on the stage with her. She was a great person, but she didn't have many friends because too many people were jealous and resentful of all the attention she got. It wasn't fair, but that's how we were as teens. I hope if your daughter finally gets a lead role the rest of the cast can handle it gracefully.
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Frustrated
Frustrated

September 5th, 2008, 1:43 pm #20

I have to say that people at my daughter's high school would think that I am crazy for being frustrated about this. And, looking at it from their point of view, I have to agree. Some kids try out for so many things in high school and get nothing. Most kids never even make the ensemble in the musicals. My daughter made the hip-hop group that performs at all basketball games her Freshman year. This is the most sought-after team at the school - taking only a handful of kids. She made Swing Choir, La Crosse, the Dance Show, and ensemble roles in the musicals and the student run musicals. She's also very popular (which in some ways alienates her from the "theatre clique.")
So, people in general would think I'm absolutely nuts. They look at my daughter and think she has everything. What they don't know is that she doesn't feel that way inside. She wants to pursue musical theatre as a career and the theatre department at the school has only hurt her time and again.
And, each year the chorus teacher chooses a few students to sing the National Anthem at football and basketball games and assemblies. (You can't audition for this - you are just asked.) They have never asked my daughter to do so. My daughter has sung the National Anthem live in front of over 30,000 people. When she was 10, she was paid to sing the National Anthem on television. I guess she just wants one chance before she graduates to show the teachers and kids (who wouldn't otherwise know) that she can sing. But, at this point, I think she realizes that it probably won't happen. The auditions for the musical are in a couple of weeks. I'm not getting my hopes up, but I will keep all of you informed. I have to say that it would "right every wrong" if she finally got the chance to show the school what she can do.
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