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BWW Blog: Naomi Melvin - Somebody's Eyes: A First Look at Randolph Academy's FOOTLOOSE

Photo by Lisa Stevens, taken after day two of auditions

Randolph Academy's Class of 2016 (Summer) is graduating in 81 days and I am but one member of this sizeable and extraordinary group. It is my absolute pleasure to share the work on our last production, Footloose, with you over the next few months. Hey, my name is Naomi!

September 2014 marked the start of this group's training. We have evolved from early (and rigorous) emphasis on process to a refined notion of product. Now, our upcoming work on Footloose is a liminal state whereby we exit curriculum and enter the profession. We, as a body of actors, will go through the shift together. And as I reflect on the idea of transition, I find it coincidental that the community in Footloose must also move (note my strategic word choice) collectively in order to become a stronger unit.

The show was announced to us this past January and "Let's Hear It For the Boy" has been bouncing off of the studio walls ever since. Suffice it to say, we have all been super excited.

In early April, we went through a formal audition process and this is where we first met our stellar production team: director/co-choreographer Lisa Stevens, co-choreographer Jeff Dimitriou and music director Mark Camilleri. Their credits most definitely supersede the word count on this blog post so any attempt to condense them here is just plain silly. We are lucky.

Auditioning for Footloose, of course, meant different things for different people. The beauty (and rarity!) of this particular situation, for me, was that I knew that I (and the entire group) would be cast. Now, this did not grant me any kind of hall pass. But it did alleviate some of the stresses associated with auditioning, leaving plenty of room for the work to breathe. "Somebody's Eyes" was one of two well-prepared 16-bar cuts that I sang for my vocal audition (and may have been inspiration for this blog title). I have to tell you that, in one short minute of singing, I made up the majority of the words! Remember that thing about stresses a few sentences ago? BUT, not once did I break nor hint that I was singing the wrong lyrics. I am sure the panel knew, but I did not let them know I knew they knew (hello, Friends episode). Simply, I let the work breathe.

More so, it was our panel who made the room feel extremely light and digestible. I felt a sense of familiarity with the team, though we had just met, and a hunger to get to work. Jeff's brilliance filled every moment of our long and sweaty dance call. He has this extraordinary way of balancing demand with warmth and generosity. Lisa is so attuned to detail, to impulse, to storytelling and began to cultivate character with every cast member in the audition. She has already set the standard of collaboration with the motto, "best idea wins". We are lucky.

Casting was released a week following auditions and I can say with conviction that we are ready to step into the lives of the characters in Footloose - this group is wildly talented and has a fiery pulse.

So, where are we at right now? We will finish five final weeks in studio (as I write this we are in week three). The training "ends" ( never ends) with a Panel, whereby we will individually perform a selection of work to industry leaders. And then, rehearsals for Footloose begin mid June!

Stay connected with Randolph Academy's production of Footloose here! Plenty of exciting posts are in the works. You can also follow us on Twitter @RandolphAcademy #RAFootloose.

Randolph Academy's Footloose will run from July 28th to August 6th at the Randolph Theatre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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From This Author - Guest Blogger: Naomi Melvin