BFA or MFA?; EPA & Resume

Special Features   BFA or MFA?; EPA & Resume
Hi Blair,

Hi Blair,

I received a BA in theatre three years ago, but I am very disappointed with the (acting) training that I received. Due to a lack of funding and faculty members, the program strongly emphasized technical work (set construction) and offered very little in the way of acting & voice classes. I am very interested in furthering my education, and would like to know if I should try to enroll in another undergrad. program and get a BFA or "make up what I missed" in a MFA acting program?

Dear Sherria,
As grateful as I am for my Northwestern training, which was very full, there were a few vital acting lessons that I couldn't learn in that academic setting. I needed additional training as well.
There are several routes you can take here. Since you already have a BFA and you are contemplating continuing in the university world, I would recommend that you go for an MFA. The tag of "MFA" benefits you more as a professional than 2 BFA's.

In order to apply for an MFA, you may need to get some experience as an actress. Take some time before you go back to school to audition and perform in shows. As far as I'm concerned, there is no teacher like first hand experience, it's a great way to learn your craft and build your confidence as an artist. I don't subscribe to the theory that you have to be "fully trained" before ever auditioning.

However, depending on what your needs are, you also may want go to a theatre school program like the Neighborhood Playhouse or Circle in the Square in NYC, where you may not get the degree but you can focus solely on actor training. Another option is, if you live near a city, to take classes locally-- in acting, dance, voice--from different venues. If money is an issue, add up the cost of all the classes you want to take and compare it with the cost of college to see which makes more sense. Thanks for a great question, Sherria.

Dear Ms. Glaser,

My question is that what do they mean in advertisements for auditions by EPA and AEA? I do sing and would like to try to audition in musicals. I've only been here in the U.S. for 2 1/2 years so I have no background on how to audition on Broadway. I would like to know what those words mean and how can I audition. It would also be my pleasure if you could help on what things to write in a resume and what kind of photo do they want? Thanks for taking some time in reading my letter.
Sincerely Yours,

Dear Michael,
Hey, Michael. We're all informal here online, so feel free to address me as Blair : >.

EPA stands for Eligible Performer Audition, and AEA stands for Actors' Equity Association. This means the audition is only open to people who are members of the Actors' union, called Actors' Equity, or to performers who are eligible to become Equity members. For information about what AEA is and how to become eligible or a member, please refer to the "Ask, Blair" column from September 26. If you are accessing the column on the web, a button at the bottom of this page "Previous Articles" will take you there.

As far as resumes and photos are concerned, you need an 8"x10" black and white headshot photo with a resume on the back for all auditions. It is best to have headshots taken by a professional photographer, and it is most important that your photo look like YOU--the best you can look perhaps, but you nonetheless. I have heard directors and agents complain that they have been looking at a picture of someone all made up and decked out, and when the actor walks in, they are barely recognizable.

Your name, hair color, eye color, height, vocal type, and training and experience should go on you resume. You can also put a section for special skills where you list talents such as impersonations or that you are licensed driver.

For the correct resume format, it's best to look at other actors' resumes, or invest in a book called "Acting as a Business," by Brian O'Neill, available in most bookstores and published by Heinemann (Playbill has no business agreement with Heinemann).

Go for it, and good luck, Michael!

Hi, Blair! This is Mike Lacy from the gambling mecca of the South Gulfport, Miss.: I have been involved in local theater for more than 10 years. I've been lucky to have landed several lead parts in both regular plays and musicals. Many of those roles have been romantic leads. . . I've enjoyed them tremendously. But I've probably enjoyed more the character roles. Which kind of lead roles are in higher demand on Broadway?
Thanks, Blair!

Dear Mike,

Your question about which roles are more in demand on Broadway, is difficult to answer, because everything's changing.

Playbill On-Line Managing Editor Robert Viagas feels that romantic leads are higher in demand. But it's important to note that romantic leads have more character now, and characters, in some cases are becoming more human and less "caricaturey". An example is the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera -- romantic lead, or character?

Since you can play both, keep following your heart. I say, don't worry about what Broadway is looking for, there will always be romantic leads and character leads. Just keep auditioning for and playing the parts you feel drawn to.

Good luck, Mike!

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