I wanted to write about a master class that Joanna Gleason taught at NETC. I’ve been following her career ever since she played the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. I was excited to see her in action, and truth be told, I have never seen a master class before. At the conference, she was observing and giving notes to students who had memorized a song.
It was great. Ms. Gleason’s teaching style was right up my alley. Acting the song is more important than singing the song. She had the students change up the way they sang to give it more depth and character. Some got it, some didn’t. Some still went for the belt from beginning to end. There was one girl who belted out a song and Ms Gleason got her to go for an opposite tone and volume and all of a sudden the song was beautiful.
She was also very open and yet philosophical about her own career. She was on a television show that in terms of creativity, she hated the whole time. But that show bought her a house. She talked about having an A plan, a B plan and a C plan so that if one doesn’t pan out, you move to plan B and if someone wants to know how you’re doing in A you say how well you’re doing in B or C.
In general she has been in the business a long time and she was down to earth, joyful and seemingly at peace. It’s so easy to be a bitter actor and she wasn’t at all. I hope that the young actors in the room realized that she had an attitude they aspire to.
When I got home this week I wanted to try and find some contact information for her somewhere (of course she doesn’t have a website) because I wanted to tell her how much I enjoyed the experience. And on top of that I wanted to introduce my work to her. I think she would not only be a fabulous actor for both Appliance and Shattered I would love to see how she would direct them as well.
Alas, no contact info as yet. She’s in New York now though, and she just finished up with a reading series. Maybe she’ll get a show and I won’t lose my nerve to send her something.