Ben Platt’s performance is a potent reminder that excellence in vocal performance is about communicating, evoking feeling, and connecting emotionally. Good singing in any context, but especially in the theater, depends on singing well but also to greater or lesser degrees, on skillful acting; Ben Platt is both.
In 1981, at fifteen, I got my first job at a Philly record store called “The Listening Booth.” I flirted with the kinda slimy guy with the coke pinky who worked in the stereo department so he would play the in-store music that I liked. Of course that included Teddy and Rick and Marvin and Prince and my all time heroine, Teena Marie, the one person who made me feel that it was okay to be who I was and respect what I loved. I was asked to leave after I asked stereo guy to play Vaughn Mason’s Jammin’ My Big Guitar in the store. It was Christmas season and it didn’t go over too well with management.
There is nothing more interesting than hearing artists talk about the process of creating or discussing personal influences and inspirations. Every great artist is also a great fan. Here Aretha Franklin shares some of her favorite songs, courtesy of Rolling Stone.
One of my oldest collections began before I was ten years old, when I bought my first two Pyramid books about film—about Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Published in the 1970s, the layout these books was perfect for a kid, as they simply presented a survey of the actor’s film work chronologically eschewing almost everything personal. Some of them were written by future film experts like Leonard Maltin. They are a great example of a collection that has little monetary value but means the world to me, as it represents the seeds of passion for my future film studies.
…my deeply held beliefs did not prevent me from accepting a role a few years back in a student film called “Standing Still,” which was set in a dystopian future where everyone is…covered in bruises.
…when NARAS held its 58th Annual Grammy Awards on February 16, 2016, there was an expectation among family, fans, and the industry that the organization would pay tribute to the nine-time Grammy winner in a manner befitting her unique multi-generational, multi-genre status.
Toward the end of the number, she partially executes an ambivalent, stiff dip, as if to say, “Hey everybody, I’m not even going to attempt to sing without the track, but I have a different trick, I will now bend backwards thirty degrees with assistance.”