I've been attending the NATS Summer Workshop on musical theater voice in Charlotte, and it was well worth the time and the money.  The sessions were excellent especially the auditions workshop by Terrence Goodwin, which offered a lot a specific information about auditioning in New York.  I don't think New Yorkers realize how mysterious the process is to those of us out in the rest of the world.

The highlight, though, was the Craig Carnelia master class.  The techie people made him wear a body mic, so we did not have to rise up in a body to get him to be audible -- possibly by talking to us via the mic rather than to the others onstage with him.  Gr-r-r!  because we REALLY wanted to hear what he was saying.  He is incredibly articulate and thoughtful, and he knows his business.  My project when I get home is to find out all I can about his shows and his music. 

The four students in the class were all from Elon University and students of Catherine McNeela, who did a session the next day on how she trains them.  They all know what they are doing, and they sang well even though they were pretty nervous.  Carnelia applied acting class techniques to these students to get them out of "performance" mode, in which they were glib and cute, and into acting, where they were real.  One poor young fellow did not realize that he was supposed to be angry singing his song, and wicked Carnelia really punched his buttons to make him mad, but he was so much better on the return to his song.  The fascinating thing was that vocal issues, like flatting, disappeared when they did as he wanted them to do, so, no, I don't think this is a technique for beginning singers.  I think you have to be able to sing before you can try to act the song.

Normally I skip panel discussions, especially at the beginnings of workshops because generally they are bios (which I've read in the program) and descriptions of what they will do in their sessions (which I've read in the program).  I did come to this one, and although they did do those things, NATS president Don Simonson had thought up questions the answers to which I wanted to hear.  Whoopee!

Now, since I paid my money to attend the workshop, and you reading this did not, I will not relay here everything they said there, except for the answers to one of Don's questions:  What is the quickest "deal breaker" when you hear a singer in an audition or a class?  In other words, what will make you say no to a person whom you're considering for a chance to work with you or to learn from you?  Here's the list

1.  Being an ass - and this includes being an ass in the hall outside the audition room.  The monitor out there is someone who works for the person for whom you are auditioning, and the monitor will tell his/her boss how you behaved in the hall.  Think of the first episode of Suits.
2.  Inflexibility
3.  Rudeness
4.  Craig Carnelia had a list:  putting your stuff all over my audition room, bad song choice, not enjoying other people's work, out of tune singing, poor personal hygene (he actually said smelliness) 
5.  Bad attitude when you walk in, which includes not projecting a professional level of confidence
6.  Inability to make a choice
7   Know it all attitude
8.  Unwillingness to try something   
9.  Arrogance

So it was a good workshop.  As far as technical things go, I'm pretty confident that what I'm doing is in line with what the powers that be want in an audition, which is, of course, the reason that I come to these workshops.  I was able to get a lot of information about repertoire, which I so need.  The most incredible resource is coming out right now, www.thebeltbook.com developed by Ann Evans of Seattle.  She expects to have the whole thing up in about four more weeks, but what's up now is terrific.  It is such a wonderful database of songs and information about songs.  There are good people out there doing major good deeds!