My guest on this episode is the Artistic Director of the Lexington Theatre Company and co-author of Broadway Swings, Lyndy Franklin Smith.
Lyndy's experiences on the road and then on Broadway in The Little Mermaid and the 2006 Revival of A Chorus Line inspired her to collaborate with Austin Eyers to write a book that would celebrate the unsung heroes of theatre - the 'swings'. These are the performers who are ready to step into almost any role as required when another actor is unwell or injured, always without fanfare and often without recognition. Broadway Swings also serves to prepare first time swings for the roller coaster ahead of them and acknowledges their unique place within the performing company.
With her husband Jeromy, Lyndy left New York City and returned to her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky where the grass is not only greener...there actually is grass. Her career expanded to include direction, choreography and teaching and Lyndy was invited to work on productions at Universities and Regional Theatres.
In 2015 Lyndy and Jeromy launched the Lexington Theatre Company, which presents a season of music theatre each summer. They match together today's Broadway stars with tomorrow's Broadway hopefuls to bring wonderful theatre talent to the Lexington community and provide quality training and a pathway towards a professional career for aspiring artists.
Notes and links from this episode:
- what she learned going into her first long running show
- surviving your first year as an aspiring performer in NYC
- the importance of holding loosely to your goals while letting each experience lead you to the next and being open to discovering opportunities that may surprise you along the way
- the long and heart-wrenching audition process that led to Lyndy making her Broadway debut in the 2006 Revival of A Chorus Line
listeners in the US can watch Every Little Step on Amazon Prime (not available to view in Australia)
- in Knock Down the House AOC says “for every ten rejections you get one acceptance, and that’s how you win everything”
- the process of keeping an audition log to track when you book the job and when you get cut (and why)
- being prepared for disappointment can help you deal with the bumps in the road you will inevitably face
- the way you decide what jobs you’ll audition for may change based on what stage you are in your career and other life factors you need to consider
- the importance of making sure you’re aligned with what the project is going to be and making sure that it’s going to support the type of life you want to live
- why Lyndy and Austin Eyer decided to write Broadway Swings as a tribute to and resource for those performers who work as swings in theatre shows
- how teaching programs can help young performers train their “swing brain” and gain an understanding of what is required of a swing
- what Lyndy loves about Broadway and theatre and what she would love to change
- why Lyndy and her husband Jeromy Smith decided to form the Lexington Theatre Company to bring music theatre to that part of the world and provide training opportunities for the next generation of performers
- thinking about feedback from a position of service and always keeping empathy in mind
- the importance of having an appreciation for all the people and departments that are contributing to making your show or project the best that it can be
- once you’ve reached your goal or fulfilled your dream, how do you think about what’s next?
- the value of a great mentor - how Wayne Bryan from Music Theatre Witchita helped Lyndy and Jeromy get the Lexington Theatre Company off the ground, bringing them back full circle to Kentucky
You may also like to listen to the previous episodes of Studio Time that we referenced:
Listen to Jen Waldman, visit her website and discover her podcast with Peter Shepherd The Long and the Short of It
Listen to a fellow Oklahoma City University alumni Drew Wutke
SYTYCD Choreographer Al Blackstone tells the story of his audition journey to book a job on Wicked in this episode