Making it on Broadway

Scott Wise and Elizabeth Parkinson, owners of the FineLine Theatre Arts school in New Milford, CT, are Tony and Astaire Award–winning performers with stellar stage careers. They also happen to be father and stepmother to this month’s cover girl, Savannah Wise! Here, they share their advice for making it on the Great White Way.

1. Scott: Know your craft. There is much truth to the saying, “Those who are prepared are lucky.” Whether you’re graduating from college, high school, your local dance studio or an arts conservatory, it’s important to continue studying. Performing artists are constantly learning and refining their craft. Everyone should be in acting and dance classes and taking voice lessons. Many teachers are directly involved with the business and many casting directors teach workshops on audition preparation. What a great way to be seen and learn!

2. Elizabeth: Work hard. Directors and choreographers are drawn to hard workers. Stay focused in your audition and simply do your best. Listen to every word the director or casting agent says and apply all directions. If they offer a specific direction make sure you implement it. It shows that you are listening and willing to go with them on their creative journey! Don’t be afraid to audition repeatedly for a show you think you’re right for. Determination can often catch a director’s eye.

3. Scott: Learn from your audition. Not every dancer is right for every role. Try to understand why you didn’t get cast. Are you the wrong type? How are you different from the person who was hired? Know who you are and what you do well and pay attention to what you need to work on.

4. Elizabeth: Look your best. Wear the outfit that you feel and look best in. Find out what your audition calls for in terms of dress and what a particular choreographer likes to see dancers in. For instance, Twyla Tharp often asks girls to wear shorts. She wants to see musculature and leg lines. If you are auditioning for the Rockettes, beige tights and shoes and a leotard are best. If you get a callback, try to wear the same outfit. It’s easier for the director and casting agents to remember you visually.

5. Scott and Elizabeth:
Have fun! The ultimate performer is the one who has the talent and work ethic and is fun to work with! Enjoy your audition. You may not get hired for the project you’re auditioning for, but the casting director will remember you in the future.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search