By Laura Hepp
Musical theatre. The heat from the spotlight, the echo from the microphone, the anticipation from the audience. What more could one possibly want? Growing up, I performed in many musical productions and jumped at any and all singing opportunities. What can I say? This little girl knew she wanted to perform and she had a passion for doing just that. Now, I’m a Communication Interest major at the University of Delaware. Does that mean I gave up on my dream? Absolutely not. My dream just expanded. As a child, I always said I wanted to be a Broadway star. Now, I will proudly declare I want to be a public relations professional (although, I certainly won’t turn down a Broadway role if offered).
One might say this is a drastic change, but I would beg to differ. While appearing different, musical theatre and public relations actually stress the same key components.
1. The Importance of Networking
Ah, yes, the key to success in the public relations field plays the leading role in the musical theatre realm. Having a connection with the director or production staff can get you that impossible audition slot and/or the chance to play your dream role. It’s all about who you know.
2. The Audience
In both fields, every action must be made with the audience in mind. When auditioning, a performer must tailor song/monologue selections to the audition panel. Selections must reflect the performer’s strengths and the panel’s desires. During a live show, actors must modify their performances to their specific audience. Did the crowd laugh for a long time after a joke? The actor must pause and resume when appropriate. Did the crowd stay silent after a joke? The actor needs to proceed and make further acting choices accordingly. Disseminating messages to your target audience is all about listening and responding.
What performer hasn’t posted a Facebook status or tweeted about his or her show? We want everyone to hear our show-stopping solo or watch our lengthy tap-dancing number! Generating buzz online and in-person ultimately fills seats in the audience!
4. Team Work
Yes, most performers want to be front and center. Most performers want the lead roles. Most performers definitely want recognition. However, the best performers aren’t the ones with the widest vocal range or the most dance experience. The best-of-the-best want their cast mates to shine just as brightly as themselves! Highlighting the strengths of others, building a positive atmosphere, and working towards a common goal will benefit the overall performance. Sound familiar? To achieve the utmost success, PR pros must adopt the same behaviors in their work environments!
5. Be a Passionate Professional
When approaching their work, PR pros and musical theatre performers must be ambitious and determined! Needed skill sets for both professions include taking direction, always seeking areas for improvement, quickly learning new material, and maintaining confidence at all times.
See? The two aren’t so different after all! The Broadway-dreaming little girl inside of me is definitely not disappointed. Instead, she sees how the fields overlap and agrees that crafting media pitches, tweeting, and representing an organization are new ways to shine in the spotlight. Public relations is a new stage for me. On it, I plan to perform the rest of my life. So let the curtain rise and start the overture, because I am ready for my entrance!
(Photo courtesy of zimbio.com).
Laura Hepp is a freshman Communication Interest major with a minor in Theatre Performance Studies. She is an active PRSSA member who will be joining next year’s executive board as Vice President of External Affairs. She works as a Blue Hen Ambassador and is also involved with Vision A Cappella, E-52 Student Theatre, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.