We all know the feeling: your show ended 3 weeks ago, you don't have anything else lined up yet, and you're back into the grind of working at your day job. Or maybe you just got rejected at an audition. You're not motivated to practice, because there's nothing on the horizon. You scan audition postings, and nothing stands out. You wonder if you'll ever make a living performing, and if you'll be stuck at this day job for the rest of your life. You're officially in a RUT. What's a musical theater performer to do? You need to be patient, keep on truckin', and wait for new opportunities to arise (and they always do, it just takes time and a spontaneous attitude). You need some inspiration, and the best way to stay inspired is to reconnect with the reason you got involved in this career to begin with: because you simply love musical theater. Do musical theater stuff! Actually being in a show is only one of the many ways to "do" musical theater. Hearing it, watching it, reading about, and creating it are other ways. Here are a few suggestions:
Listen to and watch recordings of performers and shows. Get on YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify, and listen to a few old faves or something completely new and obscure. I recently found an original recording of Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady, giving a post-show interview with a media personality, when she was just 20 years old! It was riveting to hear her at such a young age. What a treasure.
Audition as often as you can, you never know what it will lead to. If you find a post for something that doesn't seem like your kind of gig, audition anyway. You never know who will be in the room seeing you, who might have a completely different project you don't even know about, or who has a friend of a friend with a new project that you'll be perfect for. Besides, it will keep your skills and nerves sharp. Check out our eBook guide to musical theatre success.
Take classes and workshops. This is another place you'll meet new people and get invited to new auditions, learn new skills, be able to add new things to your resume, and just get in that zone of loving your craft and reconnecting with the reason you started.
Make up reasons to perform. No shows this month? No problem. Make your own show! Sing for your cats. Host a cabaret act as a benefit to a local charity and invite the press. Or, be like me and force your family to watch you perform at every possible holiday. As a child this was more socially acceptable than it is now.....when I'm thirty.....and still doing it :)
Create! Write songs and scenes. Take all that bitterness you feel from not landing a part and channel into writing the perfect part or song for yourself. Or write a scene for the local elementary school and offer to direct it for free....which leads me to my next point -
Teach. This is a surprisingly satisfying way to stay connected to your craft in the off-seasons, using terminology, doing research, and creating truthful performances through your students, plus you get paid for it! See our post on teaching as a supplemental income for more info.
Go see live shows. Enjoy our amazing industry as an audience member for a change.
Read. Stay up to date on industry news from this website, Backstage.com, Stage32.com, Broadwayworld.com, and Playbill.com. Pick up a few good books to develop your skills and bring new techniques to your performances. (see my book recommendations).
Listen to musical theater podcasts. This is one of my very favorite ways to stay connected to the theater world because you can do it just about any time and any where, you can learn sooooo much from the featured artists, and just listening to them makes me feel like I'm a part of their world. See our post of the very best musical theatre podcasts out there.
Practice! It just makes you feel connected to your craft, even if there's nothing to practice for. Get out a few old songs you haven't sung in years and belt them out just for the fun of it. Enjoy yourself. When you're working on your next show, you won't have the time to do this.
All in all, I recommend that you try to do just one small thing from this list per day when you're feeling unmotivated and disconnected from the musical theater world. It sounds trite but it can make a huge difference in your overall attitude and positivity toward your career goals. Good things come to those who are patient, and those who keep a good attitude.
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