Musical Theater: An Interview with Tina Marie Casamento, Producer/Vocal Coach, BroadwayDemo.com

If acting in New York City involves musicals for you, here are some tips of the trade offered by renowned vocal coach Tina Marie Casamento.

How did you get started in Musical Theater?

I began performing right out of high school doing roles in local dinner theatre productions, but I think I knew I had to be involved in musicals since I was a small girl. It is a passion of mine, and I adore all aspects of the art.

What skills do Musical Theater actors need to have to compete in today’s Broadway market?

I think a good knowledge of the repertoire and how you fit into the market from a casting point of view is essential. You need versatility in your voice and range, and a variety of songs in your book that represent the kind of roles you can play. You also need the drive to create your own opportunities and look for the theatres that may have a show that you are right for.

What do you see as the future of Broadway?

We are moving in a direction of pop and contemporary musical styles that incorporate the kind story telling inherent in musical theatre. This makes musicals  accessible to new audiences and is inspiring the young writers and new artists. There is something for every taste in musical theatre, be it opera, jazz, pop, or even rock. Still, I love the traditional styles that are  influenced by Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Bernstein and the greats. I think these paved the way and have influenced the hits  like Les Miz, Wicked, Light In The Piazza and  Beauty And The Beast. These types of shows will continue to represent Broadway along side the newer forms.

What does your company BroadwayDemo.com do?

We provide an affordable means for musical theatre artists to record a high quality vocal demo, and we go a step further by making their demo available to casting professionals 24/7 in a simple yet individualized web page. Artists who wish to have mp3s of their tracks can purchase our Premium Package, while budget minded artists can purchase our lower priced Producer Package, which includes 24/7 online access to your demo but not the mp3s. From helping the artist choose their song list, to recording several takes of each song and editing the best takes, to creating the webpage, we do it all! We pay all licensing to ASCAP and BMI so online sharing of your demo is legal, and you can embed you Broadway Demo into your personal site too and still be covered by our licenses. We also promote our members on Facebook when they have success stories, as well as inclusion in our showcase page, which is frequented by new composers looking for voices for demos of their new works.

Why is a Broadway Demo needed by today’s musical theater actor?

As an artist you must be proactive! It is becoming more and more competitive, and harder to get seen for projects. When a casting director or agent is deciding who to give that last appointment spot to, a vocal demo and an online presence is the difference between getting seen or not! We have so many clients sending us stories of how their BroadwayDemo got them an agent, got them a big audition, got them a callback when someone Googled them after an EPA or Chorus call.  After an EPA or Chorus Call when the casting pros are looking through their “keep” pile they can actually visit your demo on an iPhone, computer or iPad and might hear a different style or sound they didn’t know you had. I was offered a cruise contract without even going to an audition. They simply FOUND me on Broadway Demo.  Broadway Demo is what mailings were when I started in this business. Everything is now a click away

Do actors need a webpage or website for their business?

A webpage should be like a headshot and resume. BroadwayDemo is like a digital headshot and resume with a vocal demo! We consulted casting directors and agents when opening the business and designing the pages. They wanted simple, easy to access, clean and unfussy. As few clicks as possible.  The casting professionals know that we do not do any pitch correction, and it is an accurate representation of the singer. You wouldn’t hand a headshot resume that was 12×14, with a 3 page resume to a casting pro, so why have a webpage that is over stuffed. The main information should be right their and easy to navigate.

Follow this link for more information on BroadwayDemo.com

Tina Marie Casamento

(Producer/Vocal Coach) Tina Marie is one of NYC’s premier musical theatre coaches.  She a Casting Associate for NETworks tours with several projects, and is also a working actress. Acting credits include understudying the lead roles in the First National Broadway Tours of Victor Victoria and Kiss Me Kate,Marie/Ensemble in Beauty and the Beast (Las Vegas) and regional productions of Into the Woods (Bakers’s Wife and The Witch) and Falsettos (Trina) . Currently, she is in a development deal with EMI Music Publishing for a Broadway musical that she conceived entitled Chasing Rainbows about the childhood of Judy Garland with book by Tony Award winning writer Thomas Meehan, and existing music from the MGM/Feist Robbins catalog. She spent 4 years as the Musical Theatre Panelist for the Young Arts, National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) ending her last 3 years as Chair. Tina Marie directed Oklahomaat the Village Light Opera Group in NYC and The Fantasticks at Gallery Players in Brooklyn, as well as “Little Shop of Horrors” at Infinity Theatre Company.

David Libby

(Pianist/Arranger)
David’s Music Director credits include Play it Cool(Off Broadway), The Shadow Sparrow (O’Neill NMTC), That Other Woman’s Child (NYMF and Chattanooga Rep), A Lasting Impression (East 3rd Productions),The Fantasticks (Gallery Players and Infinity Theatre), Little Mary (Not For Broadway Festival) My Way (Infinity)and Little Shop of Horrors (Infinity, Music Supervisor).  Pianist/Keyboardist credits include Beauty and the Beast (Las Vegas) and Kiss Me Kate (First National Broadway Tour), as well as rehearsal/audition pianist work for the national tours of (among others) Hairspray, Spring Awakening, Oliver!, The Drowsy Chaperone,and Rent. He is currently arranging songs from the MGM catalog for a new musical about Judy Garland’s early life entitled Chasing Rainbows,in collaboration with EMI Music Publishing, book by Thomas Meehan.

Voice Overs: An Interview with Richard Bianco, On the Air Studios by Tony Nation

 

How long have you been working with V/O actors?

On The Air Production Studios was established in 1988. My background was originally in broadcasting. One of our services at On The Air Studios consisted of producing demos for clients who were interested in becoming on air personalities. At that time, radio enthusiasts wanted to become the next Imus or Scott Shannon. The radio market started to decline as radio stations started more and more to become dominated by big radio conglomerates’ and DJ’s were for the most part replaced by automation. We started receiving inquiries from actors who wanted to add a Voice Over demo to their resume.

What are the common misconceptions about the Voice Over business?

The belief that all you need is a great voice to make it in this business and that Voice Over is a fast and easy way to make money. It is not your voice but how you use it and market yourself.

What are the skills that V/O actors need to possess?

The ability to sound natural, confident and believable all require a myriad of acting skills. The narration talent is a master story teller. The reason that celebrity actors are booked so often for major commercials is not necessarily for their notoriety but because they do it so well. V/O actors do possess many talents which to the untrained ear are overlooked. This is because they make it seem so effortless.

When should a V/O actor record their commercial demo reel?

Only when they feel that they are properly trained and confident in their skills. Also, V/O actors should work with a seasoned producer that can guide them the process.

What should be on the commercial demo reel?

My answer to that question is always ‘You’….. We all have different personalities, unique little inflections in our voices and so on. My job as a professional producer is to find that niche that makes the VO actor marketable and stand out from others. The material selected must take advantage of the VO actors uniqueness. The final results in the demo reel should be the essence of ‘you’. 

Do V/O actors need other types of demos? Promo, animation, narrative?

Yes they should. As a VO actor you need to be as diverse as possible. It is very important though to find the areas you are the strongest at and focus on that. If you can interpret commercial copy well or if narration is your forte then that’s where your efforts should be….. Do not try to over reach. If your plan on adding a lot of variety to the demo, don’t mix them all in one reel, it will only confuse the listener and make it more difficult to place you. It is sometime common to have two tracks on one reel consisting of a Commercial and Narration, Radio imaging and Animation etc, etc should be on separate demos.

Richard Bianco has more then 25 years of experience in broadcasting and audio production.  At On The Air Studios, Richard prides himself in providing one-on-one service to his clients in a relaxed,  professional atmosphere.  Check out his website for more information.

If you’re looking for a voice over class in New York, click on the classes tab at the top of this page.