JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Old habits die hard

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Now that I’m a bit more into our “Oklahoma!” rehearsals, I’ve been making a strange observation…

As singers, we often have issues with re-visiting a role many years later.  Very often, bad singing habits can suddenly reappear when coming back to a character, no matter how long ago we originally embodied the role.  But I’m finding that I’m having different issues revisiting my old role of Laurey Williams.  You see, I first sang this role back in high school (mumbly-teen years ago.)  Oddly, I am having absolutely no vocal issues relating to the music in this show.  (With my usual knock-on-wood gesture there!)

My problem is the dialogue!

I didn’t really feel that my acting “came into” itself until just a few years ago – at least when it came to spoken dialogue.   Acting while singing was something I got a lot of help with during graduate school.   I felt good about it when I got into the “real world.”  But since I was trained solely as an opera singer, spoken dialogue was NOT something I was trained in.  It took me years to feel like I finally arrived in a good place with this particular skill.  That is, until I started revisiting my “Oklahoma!” dialogue.  Suddenly, I was once again that unskilled teenager with no feeling of connection to the text in any emotional way whatsoever.  I was very frustrated.

So I did what any good singer would do – I got to work!  Since this show was so ingrained in my subconscious, I had to break free by seeing other versions besides the Shirley Jones version.  I threw myself into YouTube, watching all kinds of acting approaches to this particular character – some good, some…..well, not so good.  I did quite like the London revival with Hugh Jackman and ended up watching the whole thing in one very late night sitting.  But even watching the bad versions out there provided a different window into these characters that I hadn’t looked through before.

I’ll continue to break down each little section of dialogue to find the emotion, character, motivation, and personality in order to bring the very best Laurey Williams to the stage that I possibly can!

I hope some of you will come out and see our production in April.  For more details on show dates, visit rvco.org!

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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