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BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTs

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Ah, summer reading: the assignment that nobody asked for, yet everyone received. So, here I am today giving you that same unprecedented assignment of summer reading, but with a twist! There is no test on it when you return to school, and it's about something you actually care about: a career in Musical Theatre. I've compiled a short list of books with the help of a few of my talented classmates in the CCM Musical Theatre Class of 2022. Each book serves its own unique purpose in helping you understand what a career in the performing arts would be like, how to do it, and how to survive it. Most of these books I have either read, am currently reading, or am planning to read in the near future-yes, I've given myself this assignment, as well. So, let's explore our options, shall we?

A couple of people posing for the cameraDescription automatically generated
CaptionMembers of the CCM BFA Musical Theatre Class of 2022: (from left to right) Eli Owens, Christian Feliciano, Cassie Maurer, Kai Horvit, Brandon Schumacker

BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTsActing Power by Robert Cohen

**Recommended by Me

This is a book that I am currently reading. It is essentially a textbook of Robert Cohen's acting technique (though he refers to it as a "theoretical study of the acting process"), which centers around cybernetic, future-oriented thinking of the actor. The book makes lots of references to psychological findings, as well as the work of renowned actors. I was drawn to this particular book because of its historic use in the CCM Musical Theatre acting curriculum under Aubrey Berg, the discussion of tactics, and the focus on realism in acting. I've been told on numerous occasions by great actors that this book taught them everything they know about acting.

BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTsThe Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

**Recommended by Christian Feliciano

Christian says, "I really enjoyed The Artist's Way because it gives you exercises to expand and harness your creativity as an artist. It's like a weekly workout plan for creativity. I loved this exercise from the book where each morning, you have to write a certain number of pages of whatever comes to mind; you just write whatever you want on that piece of paper. It's incredibly centering and freeing artistically. This book is timeless-you can revisit it and have new discoveries every time."

BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTsThe Actor's Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer

**Recommended by Eli Owens and Brandon Schumacker

Brandon tells us, "The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer was really good. Geared towards TV and film, but definitely helpful!" Eli adds, "The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer (from The Office) gives great insight on the West coast/film and TV industry. And is literally PACKED with knowledge and personal anecdotes I would never pick up if I didn't read." This is a book that I have been planning to read for the longest time. So excited to dive into it soon!

BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTsThe Actor's Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches The Meisner Technique by William Esper and Damon DiMarco

**Recommended by Kai Horvit

Kai says, "I haven't read much of it yet so far, but from the first few chapters I have LOVED The Actor's Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique because it emphasizes that you can't master difficult scenes until you master basic technique such as listening. There's something joyful in reading about the happy accidents from truly listening rather than a 'performance' or 'resistance' from not practicing the simple exercises. I'm finding out more ways I can 'Live truthfully under imaginary circumstances' as I continue to dive deeper into the book and reflect about my acting!"

BWW Blog: Summer Reading for MTsThe Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life by Mark Manson

**Recommended by Me

I leave you with this book whose long-winded title might take you aback. Trust me, this book is worth reading. Though not centered around the performing arts, I think this book is vital for learning how to navigate such a career. As Musical Theatre artists soon to enter the real world, we are bound to face rejection. This book helps you learn how to deal with that rejection and acknowledge toxicity in your life that may get in your way. This book will help prepare you to lead a mentally healthy life in a mentally and physically taxing career.

Alright! These are just a few of the many insightful books that may benefit young performing artists to read. These books are here to help you as you need. Here's to productivity and nurturing your craft!


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