Tag: Dialects and Coaching

Here’s a list of shows where I used an accent or dialect as well as my academic pursuits in speech and voice!

  • Crazy for You at Villanova University

    Crazy for You at Villanova University

    I just finished playing the role of Eugene Fodor as an alumni in Villanova Theatre’s production of “Crazy for You.” Fodor, was a real life travel writer who also happened to be a spy for what would eventually become the CIA. In “Crazy for You” he is a Brit who travels to Deadrock, Nevada with his wife to write a travel book, “hoping to do a series of them,” which he eventually did in real life.

    This musical features the song “Stiff Upper Lip” which inspired me to write this article about “Sayings Songs.”

    This was an amazing opportunity to be a part of a huge production full of spectacle and excitement. Many heartfelt thanks to the numerous folks making up the cast and crew! We couldn’t have done it without you! Below are some of the photos by Paola Nogueras!

  • Voice Lessons

    I started taking voice lessons when I was 17. I had heard anecdotally from my high school choir teacher that singers could get paid working for churches. Since I had been in virtually every choir that was available to me since I was in 3rd grade, including being in the chorus in musicals, advanced, chamber, and district choirs, I thought this might be something I could do. I opened up the literal yellow pages to “churches” and cold called every church listed there. To my surprise, I received one call back from the very church that housed the nursery school I attended that was, at one time, my family church, St John’s in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

    I worked there for an entire season, from September until June, singing every Sunday and special church service including Christmas and Easter. I made somewhere around $35 per hour, which at the time, blew my mind despite the fact it was only 4 hours a week. Still I thought I was doing great for a 17 year old!

    I also had heard that one of my favorite singers in my choir took voice lessons, so, once I had a job, singing in the church, I booked my first voice lessons. Again, I opened the yellow pages and looked up music schools. I found Bryn Mawr Conservatory of Music and I gave them a call. I started my voice lessons just a week or two later with Mrs. Kathryn Blum Barone. I stayed there until I started my Freshman year at West Chester University where I ultimately became a music major with voice as my instrument. There I was able to take 3 semesters of voice lessons.

    Unfortunately, I changed my major and ended up getting a degree in IT and didn’t take voice lessons again until I attended Temple University in 2016. There I studied theatre and eventually joined the choir and got access to voice lessons. There I got one semester of voice lessons with grad student, Tyler Tejada.

    Soon, I hope to return to voice lessons and I find them invaluable for building a proper singing technique which has helped me tremendously as a performer, both singing and acting, even understanding how to reproduce different sounds in accents and dialects.

  • Temple University

    Prior to starting grad school at Villanova University, I wanted to pick up some extra training in theatre. I completed the entire acting concentration which includes Acting One through Five as well as Voice for the Actor, Speech for the Actor, Advanced Speech, and Dance for the Actor. I also took Acting for Film and Television, Acting for Commercials, Unarmed Stage Combat, and Single Sword.

    It was here that I was first exposed to the works of Uta Hagen and Michael Chekhov while also learning Shakespeare and about the business of being an actor. This is also where I was exposed to the vocal techniques of Pasty Rodenburg and Kristin Linklater. This is also where I learned about IPA and began independently working on Accents and Dialects. I also took the opportunity to join the University Choir and take private voice lessons.

    One of the most interested classes, of course, was those taught by Ian Rose, Unarmed Stage Combat and Single Sword. Below is a picture of my certificate from when I passed my Unarmed Certification for the Society of American Fight Directors. Also, there’s a couple videos of my midterm and final performances.

  • Sketch and Improv at Upright Citizens Brigade

    Sketch and Improv at Upright Citizens Brigade

    After being in the audience at Saturday Night Live, I looked into how performers got the opportunity to audition for SNL. It turns out that SNL finds many of there performers by scouting the various comedy schools such as Second City, Improv Olympics, or the Upright Citizens Brigade. You may remember the Upright Citizens Brigade TV show staring Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh who went on to open the UCB Training Center in 1996.

    Over the course of 2 years, I commuted to New York City, nearly every Saturday or Sunday during the regular school year, I took the entire Improv and most of the Sketch Writing curriculum. I was lucky enough to have such amazing teachers as Phil Augusta Jackson, Kate Wood Riley, Corey Brown, Geoff Garlock, and Nicole Drespel. Here I learned how to perform long form improv and write sketches while performing many wacky characters and attempting many accents and dialects.

    While I was studying, they recommended two books that would help with improv skills. The first is “Truth In Comedy” which describes how the long form Improv Style, “The Harold” came into being. The Second is “Art By Committee” which teaches some more advanced Improv practices and features a DVD with performances by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. By the time I completed my studies in Improv at UCB, they had released their official textbook, “The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual.” I highly recommend all of these books in you are interested in improv, devised theatre, and collaboration. I even used a few of these as resources for my graduate thesis at Villanova.

    During the pandemic, the school I attended in New York, closed. However, a new location has opened up as well as new online offerings. Go to UCBComedy.com for more information

  • Without A Cue Productions

    I was introduced to Without a Cue by a board member at Beacon Theatre Productions where I had performed in Freud’s Last Session. She had needed a last minute replacement for the role of Jacques in a touring production of “Murder at the Moulin Bleu.” It was so much fun that I asked to be included in the next round of auditions.

    In the fall of 2018, I was cast in three shows with Without a Cue Productions, their Bewitched, Harry Potter, and Charles Dickens parody murder mystery dinner shows. In the Bewitched show, I played Uncle Arthur, inspired by the performance of Paul Lynde! It turns out I have a wonderful Paul Lynde impression! Next, I played professor “O’Donnegal” in their Harry Potter parody show, “Henry Planter,” names changed for copyright reasons. Lastly, I played Tiny Tim, and Sherlock Holmes in “A Dickens of a Murder.”

    Below are just a few pics of my time with Without a Cue! To find out more about Without a Cue check out their website, here! They’ve just recently gotten a new venue and have increased the number of shows available.

  • Bristol Riverside Theater

    Bristol Riverside Theater

    In Winter of 2019, I was cast as an understudy for all male roles in a production of “On Golden Pond” for Bristol Riverside Theater. At the time, this was my first job in an Equity theatre. For many actors, getting their Actors Equity Union card can help them gain access to shows and auditions they wouldn’t normally have access to, while also giving them all the protections and benefits that a union has to offer. As an understudy, I was eligible to join the Equity Membership Candidate program where I would get credit for my weeks worked and eventually be eligible for full union membership. During the pandemic, this has changed and becoming a member of AEA has gotten significantly easier, but this was a big deal for me at the time.

    The three roles I was cast to understudy were Norman, Charlie, and Bill. The required me to prepare 3 completely different roles. The challenge to playing Norman was that he was nearly twice my age so I had to try to respectfully adopt the mannerisms of an older gentleman while learning his enormous number of lines. Playing Charlie, a much smaller role, required that I learn a New England accent, which took some time, but eventually I mastered it. Lastly, we have the part of Bill, who was probably the closest to my own age and type. Overall, this was a wonderful experience exposing me to the workings of a regional Equity theater.

    The theatre is located in Bristol Pennsylvania, which is located along the Delaware river, not far from where George Washington famously crossed the river on Christmas on 1776. Below are a couple pictures of the river flooding the parking lot after a snow melt to show just how close it is to the river!

  • Things Get “Crazy For You” in just over a week!

    That’s right folks, Crazy For You at Villanova opens in just over a week! Go here to get your tickets!

  • Voiceovers

    Since I can do many accents and funny voices, voiceover acting seems like an obvious choice! In 2022 I made this demo in the hopes of being cast as a voiceover actor. It’s not bad for a first attempt. I should revisit this and make an updated demo in 2024. In the mean time, check out my demo and if you think you can use me in your project, drop me a line!

  • Crazy For Your Rehearsal Continues!

    Crazy For Your Rehearsal Continues!

    At rehearsal tonight. Getting to see all the amazing work the dancers have done in the past few weeks. We open in just 3 weeks!

  • Accents and Dialects…

    Accents and Dialects…

    I’ve always loved making funny voices, so when I started acting, accents and dialects seemed like a skill I should try. I recently got this book, “Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen” by Paul Meier, to really cement my skills in the hope of becoming a dialect coach someday. Come see me in Crazy For You at Villanova University where I will be doing a British accent playing the role of Eugene Fodor.

    Over the years, I have worked with coaches in various productions to do British, Irish, and Maine accents, while also learning IPA. With those two skills, this book makes it easy to pick up a new accent or dialect with ease. I highly recommend it. These skills really do increase your marketability as an actor. To pick up a copy of “Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen” by Paul Meier, go here!