Valerie Curtis-Newton named the 2019 Gregory Falls Sustained Achievement Award recipient

Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) announces today that Valerie Curtis-Newton will be the recipient of the 2019 Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award.

Given each year in honor of Gregory A. Falls, this award acknowledges those individuals who have made an impact on our region’s theatre community and embody an inclusive and collaborative spirit.

Theatre Puget Sound’s Executive Director Ariel Bradler states, “Valerie’s artistic excellence and collaborative spirit are just a fraction of the impact she has had on our community. Her work with The Hansberry Project, hours of mentorship in and out of the classroom, and advocacy of POC artist voices will have a lasting effect on our regions theatrical landscape. It is an honor to celebrate this pillar of our community.”

Ms. Curtis-Newton will be the 22nd recipient of this prestigious honor. The 11th Annual Gregory Awards will occur on October 28th, 2019 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, hosted by Alexandria J. Henderson and Jimmy Shields.

About Valerie Curtis-Newton
Currently Head of Directing at the University of Washington’s School of Drama, Valerie is co-founder of the Hansberry Project – an African American Theatre Lab. The Hansberry Project celebrates, presents and supports the work of black theatre artists developing/producing new work; creating community outreach opportunities and providing an artistic home for black theatre professionals.

Valerie has previously served as an Artistic Associate at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), the Artistic Director of Hartford Connecticut’s Performing Ensemble, Inc. (1987-1993) and the Artistic Director for Seattle’s Ethnic Cultural Theatre (1993-1998). Her national credits include work with the Guthrie Theater, the Seattle Repertory Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, ArtsWest, West of Lenin, Seattle Public Theatre and Southern Repertory Theatre.

Valerie has been active in advancing the work of artists of color, serving on projects for
organizations such as the WA State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, The Theatre Communications Group, National Endowment for the Arts, National Black Theatre Festival and many others.

A recipient of both the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group
(TCG/NEA) Director Fellowship and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (SDCF) Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Valerie holds a BA from Holy Cross College, an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington and is a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC). Valerie has been awarded the Stranger Genius Awards in Performance, the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture and the ArtsFund Artist Innovation Award.

About the Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award
The Gregory Awards are named in honor of Gregory A. Falls, a former chair of the UW School of Drama, who is credited with creating Seattle’s vibrant theater scene. Falls died unexpectedly of pneumonia at age 75 on April 3, 1997. More than any other individual, Falls was “most responsible for the theater boom in this town,” said Arne Zaslove, former artistic director of the Bathhouse Theatre at Green Lake. “He was the impresario of bringing it all together.” Falls founded ACT Theatre, more than three decades ago, where he was ACT’s artistic director for 23 years until his retirement in 1987.

Previous recipients include: Kurt Beattie, Rex Carleton, Timothy McCuen Piggee, R. Hamilton Wright, Joyce Degenfelder, Kathy Hsieh, and Billy and Howie Seago.

TPS gratefully acknowledges Jean Burch Falls for her contributions and continued support in honoring those that shape our theatrical landscape.

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Melissa Hines Award Nominations Open

Do you know an individual who makes theatre possible but who often are not themselves recognized?

The deadline for nominations has been extended to
September 22, 2019.

Nominate that unsung hero who made an impact on our community.

Individuals recognized in this category are determined via committee, not popular vote – your submissions inform the committee’s starting point. Committee members are selected from the Member Advisory Council and TPS staff and board. The recipient will be honored at The Gregory Awards ceremony on October 28th, 2019.

Nominate Today!

The Melissa Hines Backstage Award is given each year to an individual – educator, administrator, crew member, stage manager, volunteer, etc. – who has worked tirelessly “behind the scenes” in support of our regional theatre community. This honor is named after Melissa Hines, in memoriam, who was the stalwart managing director of the Empty Space Theatre, a board member of various arts institutions, and served in the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Past Recipients Include:

2018 – Ruth Eitemiller (pictured above)
2017 – Louise Butler
2016 – Kyna Shilling
2015 – Emily Leong
2014 – Doug Staley & Roger Huston
2013 – Laura Campbell
2012 – John Bradshw

(photo by Tim Aguero)

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2019 Gregory Award Tickets are now on sale!

What’s new for 2019?

Tickets for the 2019 Gregory Awards are now on sale and this year we have a new, tiered ticket options with hopes that many more can join us for the festivities. Tickets are now available for as little as $15, see below for more details.

Consider joining us and the 2019 nominees for the VIP reception prior to the ceremony. TPS members – look out for your discount code to this special event. Tickets for this event are limited, get yours today!

Ticket prices increase on the day of the event when purchased at the door.

Purchase Tickets Today!


  • The $65 Producer Level reflects the full per-person cost of producing the Gregory Awards. This community event is not possible without the generous support of our sponsors and individual community members like you.
  • The $35 Collaborator Level helps TPS off-set a good portion of the cost of producing the Gregory Awards. Consider purchasing your ticket at the same level as last year and help us reach our revenue goals.
  • The $15 Supporter Level is a great way to participate in supporting the Gregory Awards on a tight budget. The Gregory Awards is first and foremost, a celebration of community. We hope more of our community can join us with this new ticket level.
  • VIP Tickets – join us at 6:00 and mix and mingle with the 2019 nominees in celebration of their excellence. At $100 non-members and $75 for members, ticket buyers enjoy complimentary food & drink and priority seating for the ceremony. Details of the event coming soon. (Members: email for your discount code)


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Performers Alexandria J. Henderson and Jimmy Shields to Host the 11th Annual Gregory Awards

The Gregory Awards to be Presented Live from Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center on Monday, October 28th

Seattle, WA (June 6, 2019)
 – Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) and The Gregory Awards announce today that performers Alexandria J. Henderson and Jimmy Shields will host the 11th Annual Gregory Awards, live at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center on Monday, October 28 (7:30pm).
This will be both Henderson and Shields’ first time hosting the Gregory Awards. Both performers have been involved with multiple productions receiving recognition at previous ceremonies, Henderson receiving the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical in 2017.
“We are thrilled to have this dynamic team at the helm for our 11th annual awards ceremony. Alexandria and Jimmy are both incredible performers; their vision and talent will ensure a not-to-be-missed event,” said Ariel Bradler, Executive director of Theatre Puget Sound.
About the Hosts
ALEXANDRIA J. HENDERSON is a performing artist currently residing in south Puget Sound. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music – Vocal Performance. Like many actors, Alexandria would love to perform on Broadway, and until that day she will remain active in local and regional theatre. Alexandria has been seen most recently as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde with Showtunes Theatre Company; Ali in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Mamma Mia!; and Lorrell Robinson in Dreamgirls at Village Theatre (for which she won the 2017 Gregory Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical). Learn more at her website: Or follow on Instagram! @missajhenderson
JIMMY SHIELDS is a performing and teaching artist from the Pierce County area. He has always known the arts was his calling and has never set his sights on anything else! Not just a lover of being on the stage, Jimmy is also an established choreographer and budding director. Recent theater credits include HAIRSPRAY with Village Theatre (Gilbert/Co-Choreographer), Legally Blonde with Showtunes Theatre Company (Choreographer), Matilda with Village Theatre (Ensemble/Associate Choreographer) and the West-coast premiere of Polkadots: the Cool Kids Musical with Tacoma Musical Playhouse (Director/Choreographer). Jimmy has BIG plans for the performing arts world and can’t wait to take you all along for the ride! 
About the Gregory Awards
Theatre Puget Sound’s 11th Annual Gregory Awards will be presented on Monday, October 28th (7:30pm) at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle, WA. The Gregory Awards, which honors theatre artists in the Seattle area for distinguished theatrical achievements, and are recognized as the most significant theatre awards in the Northwestern United States.
The official eligibility cut-off date will be Wednesday, July 31, 2019 for all Seattle-area productions opening in the 2018-2019 season. Productions which meet all other eligibility requirements and open on or before the eligibility date are considered eligible for 2019 Gregory Award nominations.
The Nominations for the 2019 Gregory Awards will be announced August 2019.
Tickets for the ceremony will go on sale in August.
For more information on the Gregory Awards, visit and and follow @GregoryAwards on Twitter.
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Board Spotlight: Laurie Lynch

In this month’s Spotlight, we get to know Board Member Laurie Lynch!

1. Tell us about yourself! Who are you?

My name is Laurie Lynch, They/Them/She/Her.  I am a theatre artist, dandy, educator, activist, mommy.  I work at the Rainbow Center in Tacoma Washington as the Education Coordinator, basically I am the person who is gay for pay, going out in the world and doing trainings for folks who need some education on LGBTQ competency and Gender Identity.  I am currently serving as the VP of the TPS board and am super excited about the work being done there.  I have been on the board for a year and change, I think, hahaha…time is a construct, who can say!


2. What’s your relationship to theatre?

I have been a theatre maker my entire life.  I studied theatre at Cal state university, Los Angeles, before getting my MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University.  I became a college professor at the Community College of Denver after that teaching acting for 8 years and getting involved in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival where I was the E.D.I. chair for our Region.  I feel strongly that making theatre is a privilege and a responsibility.  My partner got a job out here so we moved here, I became a stay at home parent and had to dive into a new theatre community.  I have performed with Sound Theatre Company and was a 2018 Emerging Artist at Intiman.  I have since been developing my solo show, “Dandyland:  Queering motherhood one day at a time.”  I am hoping to have it finished this fall!


3. What are some things you’re looking forward to as a board member this year?

I am so stoked for the FUNdraiser on June 17th!  It’s going to be a blast!  and I am even more excited to meet with the MAC, as that will be a primary role for the VP of TPS Board!  


4. If you were a play or musical, what would you be?

I would be the Newsies but cast with all queers!  Im a lil scrappy, a lil bit of a seeker, a lil bit of a leader, a lil bit of a cowboy, I love a good choreographed dance, and queers in those costumes is kind of a dreamy!  


5. What’s your favorite thing to do in Seattle in the summer?

I love working on my garden…Gay Gardens 2.0.  My 4 year old picked out flowers last year in all the rainbow colors cause well thats what they do and I love maintaining those gardens.  It’s a nice calm, especially this year as I will be putting on Tacoma Pride…COME on DOWN and say HI!  July 13th!

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“How to Read Music” Class with Anne Allgood

Materials Fee Waived for TPS Members!

Are you a confident actor or dancer, but the thought of learning music for a singing audition makes you cringe?  Are you a stage manager who has to call cues with a music score? Here, back by popular demand, is an opportunity to add an essential skill to your toolbox – The written language of music.

4 sessions in June; 2 hours each.


(“WTF are all these dots and squiggles? HELP!”)

Monday June 3, 10, 17, 24
6:00 – 8:00 PM


(“I played clarinet/sang in a choir/took piano lessons for a couple of years in elementary school; I think I remember things like ‘Every Good Boy Does Fine’ but have no idea what they mean anymore….”)

Tuesday June 4, 11, 18, 25
2:00 – 4:00 PM


Tuition: $200 plus $20 materials fee
Materials fee is WAIVED for TPS members

Location: Anne Allgood’s private studio in Shoreline

Space is extremely limited —
Minimum class size: 4
Maximum: 10

The class will be fast-paced and FUN! There may be some sight-singing IF people want it; however, no one will be under any pressure to sing.  

And there will be treats.

CONTACT: Anne Allgood —


IMAGE: “Pirates of Penzance” at 5th Avenue Theater, 2013

On Broadway, Anne appeared in The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, and Imaginary Friends. She has toured the U.S. and Europe in Parade, Evita, Floyd Collins, South Pacific, and Urinetown; and has appeared at regional theatres coast to coast. In Seattle, Anne has appeared in over a dozen starring roles at The 5th Avenue Theatre (among them The Old Woman in Candide, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, and numerous others), as well as at ACT Theatre where she is a Core Company Member (over a dozen roles, notably the title roles in Mary Stuart and Miss Witherspoon); Seattle Rep (Bad Dates; You Can’t Take it With You; The Constant Wife; Boeing, Boeing; and Luna Gale), Intiman Theatre (Cymbeline, Angels in America, and Wedding Band), Village Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and others.
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Staff Spotlight: Farewell, Keiko!

Keiko Green (that’s me!) leaves our offices at the end of this month, so Executive Director Ariel Bradler posed a few questions about her time in Seattle. Keiko worked in Communications at TPS and was also an active part of the Seattle theatre community, mostly as a performer, writer, and teaching artist. Now for the requisite NOSTALGIA POST.

1. Where are you going and what are you doing?

I’m moving down to San Diego to start my first year in the MFA Playwriting program at UCSD (University of California San Diego) in September. It’s definitely bittersweet, since Seattle has meant so much to me the past 7 years both personally and professionally, but I’m so excited for this next adventure. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to having tons of time to write lots and lots of plays and screenplays.

REAL TALK: I have one last really awesome project here in September, so you haven’t seen the last of me! Bwahahahah *moustache twirl*

2. What is the thing you’ll miss most about Seattle?

Moments like:
After performing for Wooden O at Luther Burbank, rushing to take down the set before it gets too dark, and sharing an adequately cold beer from the cooler with some dirt and sweat-stained theatre folk. 
Also the trees. And salmon.

3. What’s your advice to other members of the theatre community?

Be truthful but kind. Oh my goodness, that sounds so woo-woo. But really: assume good intentions from others until you have reason to no longer do so. So many before us have done amazing work and struggled deeply to make the world we live in today just a little bit more equitable. That work isn’t done and protect yourself, but it’s okay to lead from a place softness and fluidity — and not rush to a solid state of anger. It’ll just give you hemorrhoids or something. Protect thyself from hemorrhoids.
But being truthful also means… no lying or exaggerating in your resume/bio… I see you  😉  Honestly, be proud of the work you’ve done and realize that every person you look up to probably had to hustle a bit. It’s okay that you don’t have the credits you want yet. Now, GO GET THEM!

4. What is the funniest moment you’ve had on stage?

This is going to be really cheesy, I’m just letting you know this right know. It also taught me a lesson as a performer, that I’ve talked a lot about, so I’m going to share it again here.
During ACT’s Stupid F#$%ing Bird (still my favorite show, hands-down), I met my now husband MJ Sieber (there we are in this pic. aww). There was this little bit in the script, about how his character Dev was trying to connect with Mash (moi), and he started talking about this line of ducks he saw on his walk. MJ did the most ridiculous “duck walk,” which I’m not sure was actually in the script, and he would do it FOREVER until I finally cracked a smile or sometimes loudly guffaw-ed. I said, “You’re making me break!” And he said, “So what? Mash can laugh.” CUE: REALIZATION. We talked about how maybe Dev does make Mash laugh, despite herself. And that’s okay. That’s truthful. It’s something I love watching onstage now. Not when an actor breaks, necessarily, but seeing a character find humor. I love seeing what a character’s REAL laugh looks and sounds like, more (or just as much) as how they deal with sorrow and tragedy.

Also in Seattle Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, earlier this year, Bob Wright started whipping Artistic Director George Mount in a moment before the final monologue, and EVERYONE ON STAGE LAUGHED. It was amazing to be a part of a moment of such joy.

5. What excites you most about this next chapter?

Sunshine and tacos.
I’m excited to really give myself to writing, instead of finding a couple hours between shows. I’m excited to start over again in a new city with a full idea of who I am as an artist and a person. Thanks to everyone in this amazing community for that.

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2019 UGA Performer Feedback

You already saw what the auditors had to say.
Now here’s some feedback from our amazing TPS Member performers who auditioned at this year’s 2018 Unified General Auditions.
176 of 390 auditioning performers responded to this survey.

Have you been contacted by an industry professional that saw you at the Unified General Auditions?

28% – Not yet 
72% – Yes

(Performers have been contacted for Talent Representation, Theatre Production Audition/Callback Invitations, and Play Readings.)

Is your willingness to audition dependent on knowing which organizations are in attendance?

2% – No 
98% – Yes 

Would you recommend the Unified General Auditions to other actors?

5% – No
85.5% – Yes
9.5% – No response

Selected general comments, notes, suggestions:

As always, I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate. I think it would be great if local filmmakers/film casting directors were invited to attend as well.
Thank you for offering this opportunity to audition for auditors that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in front of.  A “pie in the sky” request would be to see any notes or thoughts from auditors about what they see.
Going to the orientation a few weeks beforehand really helped me take notes and prepare for what was coming up. Also being able to ask questions about the process, audition pieces, and timing was very helpful. My only wish is that those auditioning could receive individualized feedback about their audition but I also know there are too many people and not enough time between those auditioning to write a lot down…but one can dream!
I chose to be in the not-quiet room so that I could warm up my voice and body and make noise.  There were several of us doing the same–all good. But eventually two women were in the room who had an interminably long, loud personal conversation about their work and lives outside of this particular audition circumstance.  It was obnoxious and distracting.  On the one hand, of course, I suppose they are “allowed” to have conversation in the “loud” room–on the other hand, I felt as though it was an abuse of the warm-up space and tone deaf to the existing vibes in the room.  The lobby seems a more appropriate place for an extended personal conversation.  Is this something that could be officially frowned-upon?  Even in the “loud” room, a loud, long personal conversation was extremely distracting.  Thanks!
I did wish more of the auditors were present when auditions began at 10. It seemed like many were still trickling in or not yet present, so I felt the audition wasn’t as useful to me as it was last year because several of the auditors I was hoping to see weren’t present yet.
I couldn’t find the audition address on the TPS website, which may have been user error, but it made me anxious. Fortunately the confirmation email had all the info; but it would be nice to have had that when determining if I could make it to the audition, since transportation is tricky sometimes.
I really appreciate all that goes into producing the UGA’s each year.  My participation helps me feel a stronger connection to everyone in our community.  I always feel like I am a stronger performer because of my participation.  I am fortunate enough to be able to afford my yearly membership dues – I hope that there are no barriers for those who cannot.  Thank you.
It would be nice if the headshots were able to be done in color – I’d pay extra to have them printed in color for the book. 🙂
More than one orientation date would have been nice. 
This was a very stress-free (minus the pre-audition jitters) experience. Shane said the hope was to not feel like a “cog in the machine”. It really felt like we were all artists coming together. Thanks for all of the hard work.
I think that, if possible, actors who are in their senior year of a BFA Acting program should be able to schedule an audition slot ahead of time instead of being put on the wait list. It can be challenging to get four credits worth of professional acting work while attending a four-year conservatory program, but that doesn’t mean we’re not ready, trained, and eager as ever to audition for professional work!
I would have LOVED the chance to work with the accompanist before the audition. Even for just five or ten minutes.
Thank you so much for a very clear, fun, professional and positive experience! The volunteers were so kind and helpful. The “what to expect” emails were great and really eased my mind on audition day. Much appreciated!

Thank you to all our wonderful performers, volunteers, and auditors who made the Unified General Auditions a success. See you next year!

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2019 UGA Stats and Auditor Survey Results

Stats on: 495 monologues & 183 songs

Most popular playwright:
73 – William Shakespeare
9: Anton Chekhov
8: Steven Dietz; Aaron Posner
7: John Patrick Shanley
6: Stephen Adly Guirgis; Arthur Miller; Theresa Rebeck; Tennessee Williams
5: Kenneth Lonergan; David Mamet; Sarah Ruhl; Neil Simon
4: Edward Albee; Bekah Brunstetter; Gabriel Davis; Lillian Hellman; David Lindsay-Abaire; Duncan McMillan; Terrence McNally; Tom Stoppard

5 of Shakespeare’s plays were NOT performed:
Comedy of Errors; Henry VI Part III; Henry VIII; Richard III; Timon of Athens

Most performed plays/musicals:
8: Twelfth Night
7: Stupid Fucking Bird
5: As You Like It; Hamlet; Romeo & Juliet
4: Jesus Christ Superstar; The Odd Couple; She Loves Me
3: [title of show]; All’s Well That Ends Well; Bonnie & Clyde; Brigadoon; Death of a Salesman; A Doll’s House Part 2; The Dreamer Examines His Pillow; Fun Home; The Greatest Showman; Gruesome Playground Injuries; Guys & Dolls; Henry IV Part I; Hunchback of Notre Dame; Into the Woods; Jekyll & Hyde; Measure For Measure; Much Ado About Nothing; Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Peter and the Starcatcher; Richard II; Shrek the Musical; Stage Kiss; To Kill a Mockingbird; Uncle Vanya; The Wild Party



Every year we allow our auditors to give feedback on what they liked/disliked about the annual Unified General Auditions. Over 30 auditors filled out the survey – this is valuable information for future UGA actors, containing information about how best to prepare for your 2019 audition.

While this survey contains a lot of great information, each specific opinion should be regarded as exactly that – one person’s opinion. Getting positions from 30 different casting directors means the results contain many contradictions – for example, one auditor may say “never do Shakespeare at the UGA” while another may say the exact opposite!

*The perspectives offered in this feedback do not represent those of Theatre Puget Sound. Names have been redacted — otherwise comments have not been altered in any way.

We attended this General to cast for projects occurring between: (Please check all that apply)

Spring 2019


Summer 2019


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020


We keep headshots/resumes on file for currently unscheduled projects.


How many 2018 UGA actors potentially fit a future project of yours?

Less than 10


11-25 actors


26-100 actors


I keep all or most of the actors on file.


Not Applicable/Other


What were the most surprising, enjoyable, memorable moments from actors?

  • Actors who presented short and strong pieces.
  • Actors who were able to laugh at themselves and who were able to enjoy the auditions.
  • Humor in at least one of the pieces helps, especially when it works. And trusting the material. We’re afraid we can’t remember specifics, but the one thing that sticks in mind was a dangerous standing backward leap onto a block that then began to tip. The auditors gasped but the actor did a clean dismount, finishing his piece, and all were relieved. Not a talent we were looking for, but memorable.
  • When the actor is able to connect with the audience in such a short amount of time.
  • I enjoy it when actors make mistakes like tripping or forgetting to move their chair and being able to laugh it off or make a self deprecating comment.  My biggest surprise was when an actor did a monologue from a play I wrote – very thrilling.
  • Monologue or song pairings that that showed range and ability to do something big and comedic vs. simple and dramatic.
  • [PERFORMER NAME].  I know her and it was so wonderful to see her work.   I know this is a new area for TPS, but she made it clear how worth it  it will be to include Deaf and disabled artists.
  • When actors had a radical contrast in their second piece. When actors were truly enjoying the piece they were performing.
  • One actor’s shoe malfunctioned. And she made it into a moment that revealed her skills.
  • Comedic monologues – often when the actor portrayed an inanimate object, animal or other non-human entity.  This provided a welcome relief from the “woe is me”, or “self effacing” monologues, which tended to blur together.
  • The most surprising, to me, was that hardly any did Shakespeare or verse poetry of any kind.  We tend to not consider anyone who doesn’t, apparently they’re being told not to, but it’s a vital tool in the tool belt for our Company.
    The most enjoyable moments are when actors just let go of the thing and entertain us–especially if they’re good at it.
  • I wish all of the adults who were auditioning could have watched the youth auditions.  They killed it. They chose genuine material that fit their age and were so honest and vulnerable.  They killed it.
  • Surprising – except not – as it has been so for the last several years – very few people did Shakespeare and even fewer did it well.
    Enjoyable was when they simply entertained us – made us laugh, preferably. And I mean within the audition, not that clunky way of trying to be casual with us in their intro..
  • Actors over the age of 40-45 seemed to provide the most interesting, charismatic moments. Something for playwrights & producers to think on.
  • We had some amazing older actors represented this year! Actors over 55 who just brought incredible material and beautiful auditions. As someone who hopes to hang around for a decades to come, it was wonderful to see.
    And if you are an auditor who doesn’t stay for the kids – do it next year. Even if you don’t need kids. They are astonishing and well worth the extra hour of your time. And it’s good for them to have the support/people in the room!
  • That they came prepared
  • One of the best transitions between two monologues occurred when the actor ended her first piece on her knees ( it fit the monologue) and then just moved her body in a slow circle as she stood and started the next monologue. Another actor put her jacket on a chair when she started and then moved to put it on in character for her second piece. The best moments were actors who used the stage fully and showed a range of emotion.

In a General Audition like this, what factors make an actor stand out?

  • A quick and honest polished slate
    Actors who did unique monologues.  Actors who did their own works. Actors that selected monologues that were in their wheelhouse.  
  • Because we sit there for days and hours, seeing so many actors, the most successful auditions were ENTERTAINING! I know you want to show off your skills and talent, but don’t forget to entertain. It makes you very memorable!
  • Trusting the material and giving good, grounded performances of it. We grew tired of gesticulations, and they seemed to come in droves when actors were delivering Shakespeare in particular. Those rare instances of an actor simply(?!) embodying a character speaking caused us to take note and issue invitations to audition.
  • Well thought out material choices, knowledge of the material, and acting ability.
  • Preparedness is key.  Quirkiness helps some of the time, but talent will out; if you aren’t connected to the material, the gimmick of your audition won’t help you.
  • Being real and genuine as they enter and introduce their pieces.  Choosing monologues that are more unusual and unique. I paid more attention when the pieces had fun physicality.  Being engaging and full of life in dramatic or comedic works.
  • Simplicity, clarity of intention, no accents or dialects. High energy and engaging content.
  • Ease, comfort, not letting the stakes get too high.  I think we can all support this by not providing so many “rules” for auditioning.   It is part of our culture, but I think we end up with folks who think success is being obedient.  
  • A confident entrance and greeting goes a long way.
  • Presence and warmth. Connectedness. Performing for the world, not just the room, without bring too big.
  • Energy.  Strong energy directed toward the story telling, not nervous energy which tended to get in some actors way.  The confident performances stood out most.
  • Actors who make it look and sound easy and natural;  as if they’re having a conversation with us.
  • I think authenticity and honesty is really important in an audition.  I think it’s important to see the acting but also to know the kind of person who you are inviting into an audition and/or rehearsal room.  I also think some actors think they are being edgy and different when they choose material of a sexual nature and/or has a lot of cursing in it.  When in actuality it makes most of us in the audience tune them out and shut down instead of listening to them.
  • A clear and business-like, brief introduction that we can actually hear (lots of actors mumble this part or their voices disappear towards the end.
    The ability to move well.
    Someone who does something other than sit on a chair!
  • Presence. Intelligence of feeling, if that phrase makes sense. Material tailored to the actor’s strength. Clearly defined moments.
    Sometimes, the thing that makes an actor stand out is a choice of material that avoids the tiresome self-centered self-righteous rants so many seem to choose to show off their “skills.”
  • Being relaxed and owning the space. I know that’s REALLY hard in a situation like this. But the actors who walked in and made it look like they were so comfortable and pleased to be there really nailed it.
  • Hearing something new
  • A monologue which shows a range of emotion. I’d rather see one longer solid monologue than two mediocre ones, especially when they show no range of character or emotion across the two of them.
    You’ve got to exude confidence and OWN the stage. Use the full space you’ve got, don’t just stand in one spot.

You saw a lot of headshots and resumes.  What were common mistakes actors might want to avoid in their headshots and resumes?

  • No one needs your edgy head shot
  • Headshots should be current.  Contact information should be listed on resumes.  Parents names and contact info should be listed on resumes if talent are under 18
  • Make the resume readable: well spaced, good sized font, some blank space. No need to cram everything in if you’ve had a long and successful career, just put the highlights.
  • It’s worth it to have a good, professional-looking (even if not taken by a professional) photograph that is an actual headshot — and fairly recent. Overly casual (even blurry in one case) photos suggest a casual approach to acting. However, don’t go overly dramatic either (wearing too much make-up, posing in a throne-like chair). I’d also rather see the suggestion of a smile than a stern face — you look like you’d be a pleasure to work with!
  • Please do not appear shirtless in your headshot.
  • Unprofessional headshots and leaving off contact information.
  • Actors should put their PERSONAL contact information on the resume.  It’s fine to include their agent’s information, but theatres don’t contact agents to cast their projects.  So actors should put their own e-mail address and phone number ON THE RESUME.
  • Patterned clothing, pictures of more than their heads. Not looking like you. Keep them current.
  • Personally, I don’t need to see the entire staff of Cornish Theatre department listed on every Cornish actor resume.  All I need to know is they are or were a Cornish Student.
  • Many resumes seemed cluttered. It was hard to sort out key information, often training.
  • I liked most of the headshots I saw.
  • For most of us, we’re looking for stage actors.  I would prefer to see more theatre in the resume than films, commercials and modeling.
  • Having a headshot that does not look like you when you walk into the room.  There were moments when I thought I didn’t have the right headshot, but their picture just looked completely different than who walked into the room.
  • Neglecting to put theatre, directors, years or contacts.
  • Not sure on headshots – that’s an art. On resumes, clutter and pretention should be avoided in favor of clarity & readability.
  • Not looking like their headshot. And usually they look better in person – wondering if the common advice I was given in college to make sure the headshot isn’t too glam or touched up went the other way or something. I’m shocked by how often I see a headshot that I wouldn’t look at twice, and then this STUNNING person walks onstage – and I’m not just talking traditionally pretty faces. I mean striking, expressive, beautiful humans.
  • For resumes, PLEASE list the theatres you’ve worked at, not just role/show. Also – we don’t need years, but don’t be disingenuous. If you played Maria in West Side Story but it was 25 years ago, don’t place it at the top. Put something that reflects your niche now, and if you want to show me that you’ve still got that killer High C, do it in your audition piece.
    Also – don’t forget contact info on your resume! If I’m seeing 400 people in a week and you make it a scavenger hunt to find you, I probably won’t take the time.
  • Not being updated with their new look
  • Look at the camera in your headshot! Remember-“headshot”, not full body shot. Also, center your face in the headshot. Directors need an accurate image, not some highly stylized artwork.
    Also, please put height, approximate weight, age range you can believably portray, and how soon you can accept a role.
    Lastly, don’t put your resume in a Google file and then not give access.
  • Check your spelling! Several resumes contained more than one spelling of the same word within them, one being wrong.
    I don’t care where you studied if you’re not fresh out of school. Tell me where you’ve ACTED.

General comments you wish to make to actors who may want to do the general auditions in the future.

  • Your slate is a time for us to see you be professional, it is not a moment to do another monologue about what you are looking for and were you have been. I honestly feel if your slate is longer then 10 seconds the timer needs to start.
  • Cut the “fbomb” snd sexual referanced monologues. Just makes u look stupid !
  • Pick monologues that suit you. This is your chance to shine.  Do not sing if you are not really a singer
  • There are a million plays, and ten million monologues, but in one hour we saw three men do the same Claudius speech and two of them did the same Oscar Madison speech, along with another man. Please look for new material! There is so much to choose from!
  • Please choose something in your wheelhouse and something that might approximate a role the auditors are looking to cast. For us that would mean less Shakespeare but it was also odd to see a number of pieces drawn from television shows. We were not looking to cast a sitcom and I doubt many, if any, of the other auditors were there for that purpose.
  • Know your material and have fun!
  • Practice every aspect of your audition and have someone else watch it.
    Time your audition so you don’t go over.  If you have a comedic monologue, take a couple of seconds off to allow for the possibility of laughter.
    Be confident when you enter; if you’re not confident, ACT like you are.
    Do not comment on what you just did or what you’re about to do.
  • It’s important to truly be interacting with someone real (not the air). Be audible with high energy and good diction. Try to find monologues that are from new works – this is great for the playwrights’ exposure and will make you stand out from the overdone pieces from famous playwrights.
  • Do them! Be prepared. Know we are all rooting for you. Take a risk or it’s no fun.
  • Prepare, get good coaching, its really ALL ABOUT THE ACTING.  So make sure you know what “acting” is. When I say that, I mean that I want to know you understand that is about playing action, creating a relationship with an (invisible) character and adapt to the pressure you receive from “them”.   
  • Prepare, get good coaching, its really ALL ABOUT THE ACTING.  So make sure you know what “acting” is. When I say that, I mean that I want to know you understand that is about playing action, creating a relationship with an (invisible) character and adapt to the pressure you receive from “them”.   
  • Pick pieces you enjoy performing, it’s easy to tell who is genuinely having fun with their text.
    Don’t use a monologue that includes a racial slur for your general audition.
  • Pick material you really like and connect with.   Be comfortable in your body.
  • Find a creative way to tie your two pieces together.  A quick spin, or just forging ahead into the 2nd piece – while effective because we know time is limited, does not create a comprehensive presentation.  I’d like to see some causal relationship between the pieces you present, and then we can see you move between the two.
  • Be more creative.  Instead of doing two modern pieces about relationships, one is fine, but mix it up with verse or something else.  I always did at least three different characters in my auditions. You have two minutes, show how versatile you can be.  You don’t have to do all of Hamlet’s soliloquy, do a section and transition smoothly into something else.
  • Choose material that you connect to.  Choose material that takes you on a journey.  Be yourself and be proud of who that is. Make sure when you are doing 2 monologues that the characters contrasts in multiple ways, not just drama/comedy, but also in your body and your voice.  Please sing songs that are in your range and if you are not fully confident in your singing, then don’t, it’s alright to do 2 monologues. The best monologue that I saw at TPS Generals was a young boy who talked about seeing his dog that his family had to give away in his dreams.  We were all in tears because it was simple and honest.
  • Find something that is yours alone. It doesn’t have to be from a play, but do NOT do something you or a friend has written. Choose the material that appeals to you, but make sure it is really well written. silk purse, cow’s ear and all that.
    If you can do Shakespeare, do it. If you don’t, we assume you can’t.
    Be aware that a piece about your love and/or sex life is just not that interesting to the rest of us.
  • Time yourself carefully.Pay attention to pacing. Don’t be afraid of comedy. If you’re doing several pieces, make sure the transitions between them are very clear. Don’t rant: twelve actors in a row who spend two minutes working themselves into a fever pitch of righteous anger – especially the anger of the victim – is really tiresome. Pay attention to every word you say.
  • Keep at it and keep learning about yourself. It can take years to find material that is completely the right fit for an audition. But it’s worth it and YOU are worth it!
    If you have a piece that is really different/unusual and you know you can nail it, do it. Different takes on traditional material, new works, experimental, whatever. If you think it really shows the best of you it’s worth thinking about. But don’t be weird for the sake of weird. It doesn’t make you stand out in a good way. It’s just confusing.
    On that note – ALWAYS run your audition beforehand in front of at least a few trusted people; people who will be honest with you. Don’t make us your first audience.
  • Make sure you look like your headshot.
  • You should do it, it’s awesome!
  • Don’t talk to a chair on stage. Don’t look directly at anyone in the audience. Don’t apologize for your cold or tell us you’ve just relocated. Be pleasant, state your name and your pieces clearly and slowly and act with confidence. Do look in different directions through your time on stage, i.e., play to the sides not just straight front.

This year’s Auditor Survey responders:

5th Avenue Theatre: Maddi Chancey; Kelsey Thorgalsen

ArtsWest: Siri Nelson

Big Fish NW: Melissa Baldauf; Dawn Taylor Reinhardt

Book-It Repertory Theatre: Shawna Grajek

Bridges Stage Company: Karen Kinch

Centerstage: Timothy Duval; Trista Duval

Dacha Theatre: Mike Lion

Eastside Actors’ Lab: Tyson Kaup

Island Stage Left: Helen Machin-Smith; Daniel Mayes; Georgia Smith

Lesser-Known Players: Gary Fetterplace; Karen Hauser; Dawn Janow; Janette Oswald

Missoula Children’s Theatre: Matt Loehrke

Parley: Lenore Bensinger; Julieta Vitullo; Celeste Williams

Play Your* Part: Michael Raimondi; Scott Swiontek

Romanian Swamp Donkey LLC: L. Alan Mason

The Scratch: Andrew Garrett

Seattle Children’s Theatre: Trick Danneker

Sound Theatre Company: Jay O’Leary; Teresa Thuman

Taproot Theatre Company: Marianne Savell

Twelfth Night Productions: Rick Springer

VelMar Works: J.W. Marshall

Village Theatre: Caitlin McCown

Independent: Michael Mendiola

Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2019 Unified General Auditions!

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TPS Brings Chicago Theatre Standards to Seattle community

Theatre Puget Sound brings Chicago Theatre Standards to Seattle theatre community.

TPS gathers nominations for a community coalition to build theatre standards document.

For Immediate Release

(Seattle, WA, April 8, 2019) 

THEATRE PUGET SOUND announces the opening of community nominations for individuals who will form the Seattle Theatre Standards coalition. This diverse coalition of engaged theatre community members will spend six months building a Seattle Theatre Standards document and work to help surrounding communities engage and adopt similar working principles in their own community. 

MARKETS AROUND THE NATION have been adopting similar documents in response to the #MeToo movement, which gained strong momentum via social media in October of 2017. Prior to that global spotlight, the organization Not In Our House in Chicago, IL, had formed in 2016 and by January 2017 had published the first draft of a 33-page document called the “Chicago Theatre Standards (CTS).” The CTS document is described as a tool for self-regulation in theatre spaces, and outlines in great detail “procedural preventions and potential responses to unsafe practices, with a special focus on harassment, bullying and discrimination.” Versions of the document have been adopted around the country, including Washington, D.C., and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

THE PUGET SOUND THEATRE COMMUNITY has not been immune from instances of sexual misconduct and bullying in its local theatres. The need for agreements of this type have been discussed by community members for several years now. Theatre Puget Sound has committed its attention and resources toward making this effort a top priority. “The documents exists as a guide for self-regulation and common language for theatres of all sizes to adopt in order to create safe work environments for artists and theatre professionals. Housing this process in a service organization such as TPS allows the community an objective body to hold these sensitive conversations. It is our goal to develop a process which supports this coalition and builds trust amongst each other and among the community.” says Ariel Bradler, Executive Director of TPS. 

THE SEATTLE THEATRE STANDARDS document will be made freely and widely available to individuals and organizations in the area. Communities outside of Seattle will be supported in adjusting the document to suit their regional needs. 

TO NOMINATE yourself or someone you know, please click the button below or use this link and fill out the form:

Theatre Puget Sound is a non-profit theatre arts service organizationserving individuals and organizations across the Puget Sound region.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Eron Huenefeld at or 206-770-0370.

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