Best known for originating the role of horrid high school queen bee Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2018, Taylor Louderman held a virtual masterclass in our Broadway at KO series this week. Charming, upbeat, and self-effacing, Louderman truly is a fine actress as she was nothing like her stage character sharing her foibles and vulnerabilities with the class.
She critiqued a few students’ performances and advised them on techniques to improve their range
Remy McCoy ’20 sang “The Life of the Party” from Wild Party, and Louderman suggested that McCoy asks herself three questions before she approaches the song: what do you want? who are you talking to? and what’s your moment before? By internalizing these questions, the singer can tap into their own experiences and evoke more emotions in the song. Louderman plied McCoy with further questions so that she had to dig deep and find her motivation, “I want to raise the stakes as high as we can. Who in your life would need to hear this? Who in your life do you want to intimidate or have power over? Think about that,” Louderman probed.
After watching Olivia Pear’s ’21 tape, Louderman commented, “Olivia, you're a dancer, aren’t you? I could tell. You're helping yourself. It was so sweet of your body to help you out. You have great instincts with energy in how to use your body to communicate to tell the story.”
Louderman praised McKenzie Campbell ‘23 for the “super cool tone” of her voice. However, she suggested that Campbell stand while she sings to find more vocal power. “Keep in mind that any time we go into a song is because we can’t speak anymore. The emotions are so high that we have to add all these other elements. I encourage you to get on your feet and allow your whole body to get into it,” Louderman said
She played an eye exercise with the students to expand their range as actors. She asked the students to imagine painful and hopeful memories and examine where their eyes moved. When you're saddest, your eyes are downcast and when you’re optimistic, your eyes are upward. Louderman said to use these small tools as actors. “Your eyes are a spotlight on helping us focus what’s going on in the story...You’re allowing everyone in.” She encouraged students to “sprinkle of some positivity” even if the song may be a sorrowful one by “having a light of a positive memory to get the audience to root for you.”
One student who plans on applying for a college BFA program asked Louderman for advice on the process. Louderman admitted that the process is a grueling one and told the group that she selected her top six schools and understood that if she wasn’t accepted into one that she would need to pursue another career. However, she said, “Theater can always be in your life even if you don't pursue a career in it.”
Louderman advised the students to select songs that resonate with them and “make their heart sing.” She believes that choosing songs can be therapeutic because you can work on your craft, have fun, and work on some emotional issues. She confided that she selected the song “Still Hurting” for an audition that was a little out of her range because her boyfriend had recently broken up with her. “It was so easy for me to tap into. I could go like that,” she said snapping her fingers “and go into those shoes. All those emotions made it so much easier to sing those notes.”
Acknowledging that the audition process is always nerve-wracking, she said she needs to be kind to herself. “I have to be nice to myself and give myself confidence. It’s hard for me to walk into a room and say, ‘Here I am. Take me or leave me.’ I am so quick to beat myself up. And I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that. I have to be nice to myself so I can go in there and own it.”