Frustrated
Frustrated

September 6th, 2008, 3:46 pm #31

I totally agree with you, although, again, as a teacher I see both sides.

My daughter came home last night devastated that she was passed over AGAIN for a lead in "Kiss Me Kate" in her performing arts high school. True, the talent levels of some of these kids are incredible, yet, dd has more professional credits, a higher GPA and a stronger work ethic than some of these kids. She's decided she's "not good enough", "not pretty enough", etc,. etc., etc. Yes, her spirit has been broken and, as her mother, my heart is broken. But, she knows the only way to succeed in this business is to keep going and keep the spirit alive. Without that, all is lost. So, I told her to really go deep within herself and see if the passion for theater is as strong as she says it is. If it is, then she'll keep believing in herself, and continue going. If not, perhaps it wasn't meant to be. She told me she loves theater, and after the disappointment wanes, she knows she'll love being the show (she's guaranteed at this point something in the show), and being part of the company.

That's the hardest thing for some of these kids.....to deal with life's hard lessons early at a time when they are faced with so many other challenges. We, as parents, can only love them.
Oh, how I know how you feel. It hurts in the deepest part of the heart. These teachers have no idea how their policies ruin spirits. Please let your daughter know that she is not alone in this.
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It is subjective
It is subjective

September 6th, 2008, 4:35 pm #32

Here's an example of politics in gymnastics:

The way the Olympics (and the World Championships) used to work, each team had 7 members with 6 members performing per event and 5 scores counting. In the sport, the scores for the first few athletes are usually lower because if you give a 10.0 to the first athlete and the second athlete is better, how can you improve that score? So there is always an athlete asked to be the "tablesetter," e.g. somebody who is very consistent and usually does great routines but essentially has to sacrifice themselves and not make the all-around or event finals (you qualify for those rounds based on your scores in the team competition) because their scores will be lower. The superstars of the sport get to go in the last few spots since they are expected to rake in the medals and there is a great athlete stuck at the beginning whose routines would get much better scores if they went at the end. But somebody has to do it. For those who remember that Magnificent Seven in 1996, Jaycie Phelps went first or second on every event despite finishing second at the National Championships. They knew that Shannon Miller and the two Dominiques were the bigger draws. Obviously it paid off in spades. Sports is as much full of politics as anything else.

Rachel
Sure there are politics in gymnastics & ice skating. It is more subjective like theater. In basketball, baseball and swimming, it would be hard to say that Michael Phelps would have been cut from the Swimming Team and who is going to not cast a running back that is consistent in scoring, and then there is the guy who can shoot from anywhere on the court. They are going to use him. I also have a daugther who is a gymnast, that scoring so reminds me of theater. I swear there are times that a child performs the skills better than another, but they just like the look of the other gymnast.

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SuzyQBee
SuzyQBee

September 7th, 2008, 7:52 am #33

Oh, how I know how you feel. It hurts in the deepest part of the heart. These teachers have no idea how their policies ruin spirits. Please let your daughter know that she is not alone in this.
She's deffinately not alone. Let her know she has tons of support from us! :0) The best thing to do is to keep singing and doing... I stopped for a while, and am paying for it bigtime. I'm nowhere near where I used to be, but I can promise you that once you give in to the spirit being broken - it's hard to get back. So, tell her to keep her chin up, and it's ok to be bummed out - but she'll make it if she keeps trying.

Hugs,
Suzanne
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To Frustrated
To Frustrated

September 7th, 2008, 10:49 am #34

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.
Thanks for starting this thread. It's always good to know other people are in the same boat.....you know....."misery likes company".....nothing like feeling like the lone wolf, only to find out that your situation is anything but atypical.

DD feels a lot better about the show auditions. Unfortunately, it was her last chance in high school, as she's a senior. Her attitude was so low and her spirit so challenged, that I was very concerned about college auditions, but I think she's just learning a hard lesson. She got a ton of compliments from her peers, and I told her I thought that was the greatest tribute...to have your peers appreciate you, especially on the high school level. Dd's biggest frustration is wanting it so badly and having roles go to kids who take in with a grain of salt....you know....."it's no big deal".....and then go onto other things in life when DD's life has been dedicated to lessons and sacrifices for her craft. I know you know what I mean!

Best wishes to your dd. Someday all these kids are gonna come back to their high schools as successes.

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CindyS
CindyS

September 7th, 2008, 10:49 am #35

nmi
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Dina
Dina

September 8th, 2008, 2:03 am #36

There is also, from my experience, an attitude of "give someone else a chance" because you already get jobs. When a kid is known or successful, even in local theatre, they seem to think they're not "high school" material. I don't know if it's jealousy or what.
I totally agree with you. And I would like to add, having been in in all of my high school plays and seeing all the auditions and who got the bigger roles every year, there were kids in my high school- at least two girls that I can remember--who SHOULD have been in professional theatre and honestly COULD have made it big with their stupendous, perfectly pitched, beautiful voices. So what I am saying is that just because someone is a lead in a high school production and NOT professional per se, it is no reflection of being less talented. I have read this thread and have gotten the impression that some people think that just because someone--specifically an average, nonprofessional school kid-- is a lead or has a good role in a high school musical, they automatically don't have the level of talent as a "professional".

So as much as I emphathize with the moms whose professional dd's don't get the lead roles, maybe legitimately there is another candidate from the school who blows the director away. Not to diminish dds accomplishments or their amazing talents, it's just that there just may be a nonprofessional person who knocks people's socks off. Or..they might just suit that role more. I only say this because I know that such high levels of talent amongst nonprofessional teenagers absolutely exists.

Just my two cents. I hope this post did not come off as sounding unsupportive, because I certainly did not intend for it to come out sounding that way.

Dina
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CindyS
CindyS

September 8th, 2008, 9:57 am #37

I agree with you and, yes, there are plenty of kids out there who are not "professional" who should be. The point here is that so many of these kids are being turned away because of their professional credits. Not even given a chance. It has nothing to do with who is the better candidate and who auditions stronger. It is about kids who are automatically cancelled out because of professional credits. Seems so many high school directors are just assuming that these kids have had or will have other opportunities and don't need to be cast in their school musical in bigger roles.

As we all know, that is not the case. Every audition is another experience. There are no guarantees. And even highly professional kids still want to be part of their high school. No matter what the talent level is.



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Dina
Dina

September 8th, 2008, 2:26 pm #38

I completely understand Cindy, and I agree. Everyone deserves a fair shot. Please understand that the comments I made were based on my more "layman" experience--certainly no disrespect to you or your daughter at all. I was just trying to show another side to this.

Dina
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Fluffy
Fluffy

September 9th, 2008, 3:44 pm #39

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.




Fortunately, I did not have this experience in high school. Our theater director was thrillled to be able to cast aprofessional performer because I made HIM and the school's theater program look great. They used MY talent to bolster the program. As a result, shows were selected with my talents in mind.
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Frustrated
Frustrated

September 11th, 2008, 4:10 pm #40

You are very lucky. I'm glad that your high school recognized your talent. That is how it should be.
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