My first stage reading experience
GUYS! Recently I was blessed with the ability to participate in a stage reading of a show called “Mother of God”. It premiered at the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival and it was such a cool experience. The show was written by Christian Magby and Christian Albright. I’ve known these two guys since my very first show at the age of 12 so i was obviously excited. These two guys together are an amazing team, this is a show that will one day be done everywhere.
I knew I had to be a part of this project somehow. So, when I saw Magby in Blackberry Daze” I asked him if I could shadow him and luckily he said “yes”. I was just there to shadow and watch but Christian offered to let me read stage directions, so I did! I was so excited getting to watch the people I’ve seen in show after show on stage.
These are industry professionals who have worked by some of the best in the industry and are some of the best in the industry. The first rehearsal I came in and had the opportunity to watch Act 1 of the show and it was spectacular! This was the perfect casting, the voices in the cast were phenomenal. It was great to see working actors, people actively auditioning and chasing their dreams.
One part of this process that I enjoyed seeing was the rewrite/cut process. One day there was one script, the next there was a completely different draft, it was changing up until ShowTime. It was so cool to see how these actors not only took the rewrites but being a part of them too. Talking with Albright, the show’s book writer and working out scenes that seem natural with their characters. Watching them shape and mold this piece was probably my favorite part.
A cool thing they did was have an invited run of the show with their friends that are in other productions. On the day of the show we were at Out Front Theatre Company from 11 to roughly 11. It was a long day, but awesome! Getting to learn by watching these people uphold the most professional attitudes while working then on break they’re the coolest people you’d hope to meet.
So, on the last day I walked in thinking that I was just going to be back stage reading the stage direction but there was a change in plans. The last day, I was told I was going to be onstage and needed to at least match the cast. So, I texted my mom and she brought me clothes cause she’s the real MVP. But during the tech run a guy that I look up to more than he knows, Justen Ross. This guy is so talented that it’s dumb.
During sound check before the run I made a joke saying, “this is what happens when Magby won’t put you in the show”. And Justen gave me some advice that I’ll carry with me forever. No part in any show is small. Yes, you may be doing something like reading stage direction but think of what opportunities that could bring. You could steal the show just on reading, you’re the narrator and you’ve been given a huge chance. Don’t throw it away. You’re onstage, act like it.” You’re onstage act like it.
There are no small roles, every chance you get to be onstage is your chance to wear it out. Because you never know when someone’s there with your golden ticket. Show up and show out, always. Suddenly, a light switch came on and the words I spoke had come alive. It was a eureka moment that I needed. From there, I did the reading and realized how blessed I was to be on stage with those incredible artists. There’s a lesson to be learned in every situation and there was huge one I learned in this experience. For that I am thankful.