Booking It! Broadway, Film and Recording Industry Go-To Vocal Coach Liz Caplan

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and Michael Gioia
14 Feb 2014

Liz Caplan
Liz Caplan
Matthew Murphy

Playbill.com's new feature series Booking It asks leading industry members to share professional insights, need-to-know tips and essential tricks of the trade for up-and-coming and established theatre artists. This week we speak with Liz Caplan, the veteran vocal coach and teacher who has guided her students to Tony Award-winning success.

Caplan has been a vocal coach in New York City for over 30 years and lectures around the world. She is the vocal supervisor of the Broadway and touring productions of the Tony-winning musicals Once and The Book of Mormon, as well as American Idiot, Rock of Ages and Jason Robert Brown's 13. She is also the vocal consultant on such productions as Wicked, Motown the Musical, Disney's Aladdin, The Last Goodbye, In the Heights and Next to Normal, as well as the "White House Salute to Burt Bacharach." This season she serves as the vocal supervisor on Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris.

Her students range from Tony Award-winning Broadway actors Nikki M. James (Book of Mormon), Steve Kazee (Once) and Patina Miller (Pippin), to stars of the recording industry, including Sara Bareilles, James Blunt, Natasha Bedingfield, Eric Hutchinson, Empire of the Sun, Lily Allen, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Darkness, among others.

Caplan provided coaching on camera and played piano for Carey Mulligan in the 2011 Steve McQueen film "Shame"; and was vocal coach for the Golden Globe-winning film adaptation of Les Misérables, in support of Amanda Seyfried and others. She is also the vocal coach for Stephen Colbert of the "Colbert Report."

A frequent commentator for CNN and Reuters, her affiliations include The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, The Drama League, and National Association of Teachers of Singing, where she has been a speaker, panelist and workshop facilitator. She is also on the faculty of the Voice Foundation in Philadelphia and is a member of the New York Singing Teachers' Association, as well as a member of the Voice and Speech Therapists Association.

When you find yourself getting sick, or in danger of losing your voice - and still have to audition or perform - what are the best ways to prepare and to take care of your voice?
Caplan: As long as one stays on top of one's immune system (ability to get through typical bugs quickly by maintaining good health), there are many remedies and witchy brews that I recommend to my students for quick health boosts: immediate large doses of Ester-C (the body depletes of this immune support supplement when under the weather) in combination with Zinc, oregano (supplements or oil on tongue), ginger tea, echinacea/goldenseal tea or drops, as well as garlic (nature's antibiotic).

Besides these immune boosting supplements and remedies, one can vocalize slowly and gently in order to get muscles supple. If the sinuses are congested, I have specific vocal exercises that bulldoze through them in order to feel oxygen moving through the sinus passages. This is to ensure the singer does not succumb to using compensatory muscles (which create excess laryngeal pressure) in lieu of nasal resonance.

It's important to keep the sinuses and throat moisturized. I recommend having either Ayr or Ocean Saline mists standing by for sinuses and Entertainer's Secret Throat Relief for the larynx. These sprays (homeopathic and over the counter) will also keep any bacteria from getting deeper into the upper respiratory cavities.



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