10
Mar
14

Jordan Russell reporting from NYC

That’s right! Our very own Jordi Russell (Maria in West Side Story and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls), a graduate of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, took off  to NYC last week and reports here on her experiences auditioning for four tertiary arts courses.

 

wss_jordi
AUDITIONS
Each university had specific audition requirements for what I needed to prepare. These were very specific, especially for the classical auditions.
For the first two (Musical Theatre) auditions at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and PACE University I sang cuts from the songs Till There Was You from The Music Man, by Meredith Wilson and I’m Not Afraid of Anything from Songs For a New World by Jason Robert Brown. The monologues I chose for the AMDA audition were Debbie from Love and Money by Dennis Kelly – this monologue was quite full on with a fair bit of swearing and risque content but at the end the panel said they really liked it as it was so contrasting to the songs! They also said, “This is New York – nothing is too risqué!” so that was great!
The monologue I had chosen to do at PACE was Harper from Angels in America by Tony Kushner, but unfortunately due to time restraints, no one was able to perform their monologues. That one is yet to be performed…
My third and fourth auditions were for a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice. I auditioned at Mannes College – The New School For Music and at the Manhattan School of Music.  For both these auditions I had prepared 4 songs but in the auditions I only performed two of them. The first song was selected by me and for both auditions I chose to sing Mit Einem Gemalten Band by Beethoven. The second song was selected by the audition panel.  One of my repertoire options is written by an American Composer called The Crucifixion and is quite a new piece for me – so I was hoping it wouldn’t be chosen – but of course it was! The song is called The Crucifixion, composed by Samuel Barber. Despite not being overly familiar with the piece, I was quite happy with how it turned out.
There were different time frames around the preparation of each audition piece. I have been singing some of my classical pieces for over a year, others for only a month or two. While this was the case, I definitely felt very prepared going into each audition, having researched the Universities, the courses on offer, the teaching staff, the location, the background information on my music, the composers, the shows the music is from, the plays of the monologues, and the characters I play in the monologues and songs. I used 5 months to prepare for auditions, from the time I started the first application to the end of my final audition so I have had time to do the research! It was really a great relief to have completed all the aspects of my applications to each of the universities. I now have the fun task of waiting around to be told my fate… will I get in?! I should hear back from each of the universities by the first of April.

During this waiting time, I am living in a shared apartment in Brooklyn with some other international students. I am volunteering with
ASTEP (Actors Striving to End Poverty), which is a wonderful organisation connecting performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty. I will initially volunteering through the administration side of things, eventually moving into doing more hands on volunteering. The people involved at the New York office are so lovely and I’m really looking forward to working with them!
I SAW NEWSIES 
Newsies. Well, I’m not sure if its coming to Aus, but if it’s not it should be! It is such an incredible show – from the outstanding choreography, to the impressive set, and beautiful storyline. It is such an ensemble show with outstanding leads that don’t steal all the spotlight (a bit like when we did West Side Story at Noosa Arts Theatre; a really strong cast all round). It has moved up my list to being one of my favourite shows. I am already trying to find a day to see it again!
NYC FASHION
The fashion here is really quite exciting! There are all sorts of things on people here. Yesterday, I saw a lady walking around in 2 degree weather with stockings and THONGS!!! Bit too crazy for me…! There have been old ladies in bright blue fur coats, and other fashionistas covered in labels from head to toe! I saw a guy wearing leopard print tights, fur coat and high heel boots – that was certainly a highlight! Just one day on the town means you can truly see everything that fashion has to offer.
THERE IS GREAT COFFEE HERE
I’m not much of a bagel person… so I personally haven’t found NYC’s best bagel BUT I did find a charming little coffee shop near where I am living in Brooklyn called the Breukelen Coffee House. It has great coffee, and outgoing staff and a real urban feel. Last night I walked past and they were having an open mic night, and they invited me to come along to their Jam Night next week (with my trumpet) so that should be fun!
Yesterday the weather finally started to warm up… from highs of 2 degrees. Yesterday went as high as 13 degrees and I was wearing way too many layers so I could almost say, “Yesterday was uncomfortably HOT!” Ah, such a contradiction to the weather in Aus right now hey?!
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