This week's #BroadwayLife episode features NaTasha Yvette Williams. NaTasha has been sharing her gifted voice since she was three, singing in the choir at her church, and is now performing on Broadway as Becky in the musical Waitress.
I recently hosted a talk at the Music Theatre Center in Mount Pleasant, SC about what it really looks like to pursue a degree in musical theatre. Even though the talk was for students and parents, the information is so useful for anyone planning to start or head back to college that I decided to share it with everyone.
Staying disciplined consistently is not an easy task. One of the most challenging things about a career in the theatre is the constant change of schedule. You have to be able to turn your schedule on a dime so that you’re available for opportunities when they arrive. So, if you’re like me and can’t really stay disciplined well on your own, here’s some tips on how to make it a reality.
So many of these students are looking forward to getting their college training but then also set the expectation that once they get that training under their belt, they are done. Training doesn’t stop after your degree. You must always be studying. Here are my top suggestions to help you find the places to study that will help you uplevel your performance AND connect you with the people you want to know.
This week's #BroadwayLife episode features Jonathan Freeman, who brings to life that sinister Sultan wannabe Jafar in Disney's ALADDIN on Broadway. It's a role he help create 27 years ago for the animated film, adding another iconic Disney villain voice to the history books.
Being authentic is one of those words that gets thrown around in this industry. It’s confusing for many of us because authenticity can seem so subjective. To help you navigate all these big buzz words, here are some steps that I use to be more authenticity in my relationships.
We must start to treat our careers the way we treat our craft! When we are feeling unsettled or afraid, it’s usually because we are living in the past or the future, not the present. Here’s how to practically apply this to your life as an actor.
In this week’s #BroadwayLife episode, Jay Armstrong Johnson and I discuss his early childhood as a professional performer, booking his first Broadway show without an agent and the glorious Halloween side project that fills his creative well.
How many times have you been in a note session, and you hear the other actors defensively explaining their choices on stage? It’s because they feel exposed. It’s a natural reaction to be sensitive in that situation. We’ve all done it at some point, but here’s something to remember before your next notes session with a director.
In this Backstage with Bret video, I share some of my top places to find auditions, regardless of what coast you live on.
We are told over and over that if you’re gonna complain about being on Broadway, then don’t do it. But it’s a tough pill to swallow when your dream becomes a “job”. Here are my suggestions to use in stifling situations to help you change your perception from complaint to creativity.
I have a friend who refuses to watch the Tony Awards because of the insecurity it brings up in her. So, if you normally hide from award show press, I hope this little counterpoint I’m offering will help you to look at this night of celebration differently.
When you go to a lot of auditions, it can be easy to put more (or all, in some cases) emphasis on booking the job, but the most important thing we need to do in this business is focus on relationships. Here is an exercise to help you access the relationships you currently have and find new ways to build on them.
This #BroadwayLife episode is with an actual Disney king. Alton Fitzgerald White originated the role of Mufasa in the first National Tour of Disney’s The Lion King and then took over the role in the Broadway company. He drew on his vast Broadway experience, as well as his deep-rooted dedication to service, for inspiration while writing his new book MY PRIDE - Mastering Life’s Daily Performance.
Many actors I know limit themselves online by thinking of their career before their human-ness. It turns into a constant overshare of professional “wins” and monotonous information, and not enough personal connection. The key is to strike a balance in the content you're sharing between protecting your privacy, supporting others, and sharing your human-ness.
The first day of rehearsal is always the most exciting. You are at the beginning of a bonding experience. Everyone is meeting, perhaps for the first time, but certainly for the first time to work collectively on a new project. We feel nervous because we want everyone to like us, and we want the show to be good. But instead of letting our nerves get the best of us, let’s talk about how you can handle a meet and greet with your peers.
Some people stay in your life for a reason, and Renee Marino continues to be an inspiration for me since our college days. In this week’s #BroadwayLife episode, we discuss our friendship, her venture to Los Angeles after staring in a major Clint Eastwood film, and her return to NYC in Broadway’s upcoming Pretty Woman: The Musical.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the best way to alleviate fear is to take action. This business is all about relationships and you since you probably already know a lot of people who can help you with your career, you need to reach out to them.
This week, I’m premiering Episode 12 with actor, musician and songwriter Katrina Lenk, who is currently on Broadway in The Band's Visit. Katrina originated the role of Dina in the award-winning musical.
I’m veering off of my regular career-focused blog posts on such a fitting day to talk about how love can fit into our lives. Stephen and I were recently asked an interesting question, “Is love a compromise?”
A widespread shift is sweeping through the entertainment industry, and it’s impossible to ignore. The #MeToo movement has dominated the Facebook newsfeed, the national news, and the red carpet for the past six months. Women (and men too) are raising their voices in outrage over the decades of sexual harassment and systemic oppression within the industry that has long gone unpunished and ignored. Yet, while we’ve seen the jettison of powerful Hollywood figures who have abused their positions, the New York theatre community seems to support a much slower change within their system.
It’s never too late to reach out to someone who hasn’t heard from you in awhile. It may feel awkward at first, or that you’re just asking for them to give you something like an audition or a job, but with a little preparations, you can keep the conversation authentic, and not so out of blue. Check out these 5 tips on getting ready to reach out again.
Perhaps the most valuable and necessary tool for a soon-to-be Broadway performer is your audition book. This book is something you will lug around EVERYWHERE, and since it’s a shared item with every pianist that you meet in the room, it becomes a reflection of your preparedness. Here is my checklist for creating an audition book that will help you shine at your next audition.
Last Thursday, the Casting Society of America handed out a lot of trophies, and I bet you didn’t even know about it. I’m talking about The 33rd annual Artios Awards, and casting directors from some of your favorite plays and musicals were among the winners.
Ah, the first week of the new year, the time for resolutions and goal setting. I bet your ideal to-do list for 2018 is exhausting. Sure, it’s all doable, but with the pressure of making resolutions, we tend to put too much on our plate all at once. Then we feel a sense of failure having barely accomplished anything on our list within some arbitrary period of time. This is why I think it’s important to focus on a word instead of a resolution.
Managing a busy acting career, a successful coaching practice and a happy marriage requires a lot of help, and these are 5 tools I use to keep a healthy balance going in my life. I hope this list can also help you to create success for yourself and your career in 2018.
This week, I’m premiering Episode 11 of the #BroadwayLife interview series with producer, author of The Untold Stories of Broadway, and major theatre aficionado, Jennifer Ashley Tepper. Jennifer is the Creative and Programming Director of Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, where she helps connect talented writers and performers with new audiences.
You just finished an audition. How do you feel?
Quite often, we can spend hours boggling over how an audition went, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: no one in the room is thinking as hard about your audition as you are.
How can you learn to bounce back after a bad audition, and set yourself up to repeat a stellar performance after a great one? Here are four suggestions to help you let it go after an audition, so you can concentrate on what's next..
In this third and final part of my New York Newbie article series, I’m sharing my tried-and-true advice to help you make the most out of your new life in the Big Apple. The city has so much to offer actors, but we can certainly get into a grind trying very hard to prove ourselves. However, it’s important to FEED THE HUMAN, to make time find new inspiration and have a little fun. Here are my Top 5 favorite spots in New York City to continually enrich and energize the human part of you as a performer.
I'm Bret Shuford, and I’ve dedicated my life to creating theatre. I followed my childhood dream to NYC to pursue a career as an actor on Broadway.
After attending the University of Oklahoma and graduating from Wagner College, I made my Broadway debut in the ensemble of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.
Since then, I've been in many other Broadway shows, national tours, and played principal roles in feature films; including Martin Scorsese's THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Through performing, even directing and choreographing for organizations such as Royal Caribbean International, I've established myself as a leader in the Entertainment Industry.
I discovered along my path that there was a deep desire from people within the industry to find guidance and support. Through years of self-care, recovery, career mastery, and success people were being drawn to the tools that I used and continue to use. I realized that this was a gift that I wanted to offer in order to change the energy within the community. Becoming a certified Life Coach became the natural next step for me.
As the Broadway Life Coach, I have helped others get more auditions, book more work, and find their self-confidence. If you are interested in knowing more about how coaching works, keep scrolling down.
You are content with where you are, but know you have the potential to do so much more. With career coaching I will help you break outside of your routine and build relationships with the people you need to know to have the career of your dreams.
You CAN book more high-level work, more often.
Let me help you find the way.
Are you stuck in the industry "shoulds?" Click here to start a journey towards uninhibited auditions. We will find the ideal package that you want to present to casting directors and industry professionals. Through one-on-one sessions in person or online.
I was at a point in my career and life where I was feeling that there was so much more to be had but couldn't quite find the right path. Or signs to the right path. Or see through the fog to see the signs to the right path. Bret helped me clear the fog. He listened without judgment and helped me to pinpoint the issues I needed to focus on to begin to move forward. Since working with Bret I am feeling empowered and specific about what I want and I am seeing results. And he laughs at my jokes!
- Andrew Rothenberg
"The beauty of having Bret as an acting coach lies with the simple fact that he is a working actor and truly understands the mind of an actor. Bret has an amazing way of individualizing his coaching to the actor and not to the scene. I knew during my first session with Bret for a major film audition, that I was in the hands of someone who was going to impact my acting ability profoundly. Bret also has a caring and gentle way about him. Not to say, he does'nt hold you accountable, but it is very easy to relax in his sessions so you can get to work and not be distracted by your own nerves."
I consider Bret a gem for my career and always know that he is a phone call away when I am in need of some coaching. "
- Bobby Evers
"Bret is fantastic and understands the nuance of auditioning. My first two coachings with him were for specific callbacks...I booked BOTH gigs. He pushed me to find a more specific point of view and lean into the physical manifestations of the character. Definitely recommend Bret!"
- Kenny Metzger
"Bret is wonderful! I worked with him during a period of time where I was feeling "stuck" and unhappy with my career. He guided me in thinking BIG and using the necessary tools, (some which I already knew but was resisting and definitely needed to be reminded!!) He pushed me in the best way and was so supportive through it all while I made some pretty big life moves. This career as an actor can be ROUGH but it doesn't have to be when you have people like Bret there to talk it through and get specific about the things you want. And plus he's so much fun to be around!"
- Emily Ferranti
"I cannot say enough positive things about working with Bret! In the past 6 months, with his coaching, I was able to make incredible strides in my personal and career goals. Bret provides a safe and judgement free environment which allowed me to dig deep and identify the source of my artist blocks and ways to overcome them. His coaching sessions are catered to suit each individual—which made each experience personal and genuine. My way of life completely changed after I adapted to his goal setting methodology. He is a wonderful listener and has a fierce passion for assisting others in achieving their goals. Not to mention, he is an incredible human being. I would, with great confidence, recommend Bret to anyone."
-Jay Philip Marlow
"Working with Bret Shuford has been an incredible experience. He has helped me to take huge steps forward in achieving many personal and career goals, often pushing me gently into uncomfortable territory with incredible results. Bret's passion for coaching is very evident in his work, making our sessions joyous, safe, and useful. I highly recommend working with Bret."
-Jackson D. Cline
"BEFORE: stuck, uninspired, limited, powerless, self-conscious, apprehensive about actor marketing/networking.
AFTER: free, inspired, limitless, empowered, confident, excited about the creative ways I can lend my own voice to marketing and building industry relationships.
My secret weapon? Bret Shuford."
"With Bret’s guidance, I was able to reach all of the goals I set in less than six months! He truly has been instrumental in helping me get my career to the next level."