What Hairspray Can Do For You

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on Hairspray?

 

If you have, then you will love the advice from one if its cast members, one Ms. Taylor Burrows.

Through some extended connections, I had the opportunity of interviewing, Ms. Burrows over the phone about her past experience, current advice and future aspirations. She is living proof that hard work can bring endless opportunities for people from small towns with big dreams. 

Ms. Burrows got her start young, taking dance, music and voice lessons from an early age. She started learning piano when she was thirteen, and by the time she graduated high school, Burrows had completed four NYSSMA solos, with two in voice (Jazz and Classical), one for clarinet, and one for the piano. In addition to her highschool experience, Ms. Burrows formulated and improved her theatrical skills at the American Musical Academy in 2013, as part of a vigorous musical theatre program. As of now, Ms. Burrows is pursuing a masters degree in arts management, as a stable underpinning to her current auditioning roles. Being someone who thrives under pressure, the undertaking of various jobs, full time grad school and her current theatrical roles is something that she would not trade the world for. 

In her vast, yet still refining experience, Burrows advises a few key things to be successful during an audition of say, 300 people applying for the same role. A detailed resume, a beaticious headshot and some innate talent only begins the journey. While in an audition, knowing your musical piece inside and out, and being absolutely confident in your abilities, regardless of a faulty note or waning smile, can gain you lots of traction in judges eyes. She mentions that two people can sing the same song, but the one who sings in more meaningfully, not necessarily the best, will most likely get the role. Something interesting that she mentioned during our interview, was something called “Blacklisted songs.” These are songs that everyone uses; judges prefer you to avoid, especially if they don’t “fit your look,” and are annoyingly common, like Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, or Wicked’s Defying Gravity. Although she does recant this statement by adding that some judges enjoy when you go against the grain by performing these pieces, her main point centered around the importance of meaningful portrayal. Again, two people can sing the same song, but the one who gets the audition is the one who tells a story. 

Ms. Burrows also addresses the stigma associated with theatre arts. If you plan to pursue this path, you had better be ready to work. In her own personal experience, 17 40-paged papers and counting accompany a degree in Arts Management, in addition to the rigorous training associated with Broadway shows. Even as someone who initially never expected to pursue the fine arts route, Taylor Burrows has done extremely well for herself. This article barely addresses all of the hardwork and dedication that is involved in pursuing such a competitive career. For any of you who intend to enter this field, please take this advice to heart as it comes from someone who has already faced many of the challenges you will face in the future.