Pre-Show Rituals of Performing Artists

PRE-SHOW RITUALS OF PERFORMING ARTISTS The energy, the lights, the costumes….the feeling is electric! The grandeur of the stage. Everyone joining together for an evening or matinee where performers onstage, sometimes in conjunction with a live orchestra, present a play, musical, ballet, to tell a story, all seeking to inspire hope, integrity, to entertain for a few moments so that audience members can forget their woes and have a good time. Who are these people? Behind the masks and wigs, these people sacrifice their time and work holidays and odd hours. They train for years in dance, voice, and in the art of how to tell the truth. But how do they get there? And specifically, what do they do moments before they step onstage? This blog will reveal their pre-show rituals. Enjoy!

My pre-show ritual is actually to NOT HAVE ONE. I end up overthinking and going over my act over

and over and over and so to avoid that I try to socialize with otherpeople as much as possible. At the point I am about to go on stage I either have my act down, or I don’t so I try not to think too much about it! Aidan Park (Star of Aidan Park: On the F-List!) @AidanParkShow

hmmmmm Lets see pre show rituals……The one thing that I always have to do right before a show and I just don’t feel right if I don’t do it is…..brush my teeth. I love to brush my teeth at around the 15 or 5 minute call so I feel really fresh and clean to start my show…..days I don’t have time I just feel …off! It is kind of funny! the girls in the ensemble at Wicked used to sing a song about when you didn’t have time to brush your teeth before the show so you pop some gum in for a second to freshen up. It went something like this “Chewing gum is not a substitute for a toothbrush…….except when you’re late.” It is much better if you could hear us sing it! I also loooooovvveeee backstage shenanigans! And I should brush my teeth Cuz I love to snack on almond butter and berries:)

Alicia Albright at Wicked on Broadway Fb: Alicia Albright IG: @feedyoursoul

Andrew Soto, Mystic India Touring Company @Dancerandrew_soto07

I pray to God and convince myself that I am worthy to be the artist that I wish to be. Very important to trust yourself and all else will follow. Lastly, review any steps you have doubts with. – Andrew Soto

Arthur as Bobby DuPree from Memphis at the John W. Engeman Theatre Before every show I always sit with my head phones on, close my eyes and breathe in my show. There is always a cup of hot water or tea and I have to put my show shoes on first THEN my pants 😆 It’s what I do 😉😘 – Arthur Ross @starqualityross

I steam with my personal steamer for at least fifteen minutes pre show while I let some moisturizer set on my face before I slather it with tons of stage makeup and do lip trills like there’s no tomorrow! And every now and them I’m a responsible dancer and make sure I touch my toes before I dance. – Ashley Matthews, Rock of Ages in Las Vegas

I like to find a quiet, dim place (sometimes it’s a private bathroom) meditate for 5-7 minutes to clear mind before I begin rolling out my muscles with my foam roller and racquet ball. I find quieting my mind makes it easier to be present as a human in my performances. – Bernard Brown

Bernard Brown at Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Kamasi Washington at The Smith Center in Las Vegas, August 2015 IMG_0833 @bbmoves1 Web: I cannot dance on an empty stomach! I always have to have a good meal at the last two hours

before show time to time me time to

Micah Moch from Key and Peele shoot for Comedy Central

Caleb Dicke in South Pacific

I can’t do a show without rolling out with my trigger point foam roller– it has saved my IT Bands. I also need my camel back water bottle full and a last minute altoid. Most shows I’m pretty close with my partners, you gotta make sure you have fresh breath! Haha -Caleb Dicke @calebdicke Christine Bunuan at Chimerica, Timeline Theater in Chicago

I do a physical and vocal warm up. I also check my props because this is a prop heavy show. -Christine Bunuan @laboonita

DT Matias, La Cage Aux Folles at East West Players For the show I am currently doing, La Cage Aux Folles at East West Players, I sing in falsetto so I do lip trills in my head voice before every show. -DT Matias Twitter: @dt_matias Instagram: dtmatias Heidi Kettenring from Tug Of War at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

I do a little yoga, I get to the theatre early, I pick an angel card, I drink a lot of water, and I count myself lucky that I get to do what I love. –Heidi Kettering

Before every show, I do my vocal warm-ups, body warm-ups: maybe some vinyasa flow, sometimes a personal dance groove, sometimes a little cardio, and stretching.I take some deep breaths, give thanks to the universe for where I am and I pray for whatever guidance or energy I, and my show mates may need for that performance. -Janelle VillasJanelle Villas, at King and I at Marriott Theater @janelevator

Jenny Sherry of City Ballet Los Angeles

My preshow ritual consists of visualizing my choreography and getting into character before taking the stage. -Jenny Sherry

@jenny_sherry @theballetbod.

Justin Keats in Paramour on Broadway

My ritual with cast members changes with every show and track I do but develops organically overtime. Personally however, I always give my self a little shake and one deep inhale and an audible exhale while I think, ‘You’ve got this, stay calm’ right before I go on. -Justin Keats @jkeatster Karl Warden in ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU at Ricardo Montalban theatre in Hollywood

I work out before the show lifting weights and stretching to get my blood going. Then I do my hair, shave my face with my Panasonic electric razor then I’m ready to go! – Karl Warden @karlwarden Pic is from Jane in Tarzan at 3D jury-august 2015, and no, I’m not naked. I’m wearing a corset hahaha -Katie Deshan

Two things I CANNOT do a show without are my vocal warm-up and iced coffee. I do the exact same vocal warm-up I’ve done since I was 17, usually in my car on the way there, but if I’m running late, I’ll crouch in a corner somewhere or hide in the bathroom (classy.) As for coffee, it’s gotta be strong, it’s gotta be iced, and it’s gotta be dairy free! – Katie Design

Katya Preiser, Le Nozze Di Figaro, at The Met.

Coffee. An hour to leisurely beat my face and do my hair. Another hour to stretch and do barre -Katya Presier @KatyaPreiser

Melissa Mitchell of Les Miserables on Broadway I love spending time in prayer and doing some spiritual reading on my subway ride to the show. Dwelling on a powerful quote, scripture, or prayer brings me the peace and strength I need for the strenuous and exciting job that I do eight times a week! – Melissa Mitchell @melmitch90 Micah Moch from Key and Peele shoot for Comedy Central I cannot dance on an empty stomach! I always have to have a good meal at the last two hours before show time to time me time to digest. @micahmoch

@nycmah1 It’s sometimes hard to find a space to yourself in a theatre so if I can’t find a spaceto vocalize I just go to places early and focus. I focus on the show that I have to do and I express thanks for being able to do what I love to do for a living in front of a paying audience. – Michael Henry Michael Henry backstage in Lion King Tour

Nobutaka Mochimaru backstage at Lincoln Center’s The King and I

I stretch, ballet barre myself and balance on my hands! – Nobutaka Mochimaru The dynamic and best aerialists in the world: Brett Womack & Rachel Bowman

My aerial partner Brett Womack, has to spray his hands with resin spray (sticky stuff aerialists use to increase their grip strength) and then I have to ‘high 5’ both his hands exactly twice so I get a little of his resin. Every time. – Rachel Bowman

Facebook: YouTube:

My pre-show ritual at Disney’s Mad-T Party is pretty simple…Like most dance gigs I clock/sign in, read

the GA’s (General Announcements), put all my personal stuff away, check my costume pieces, say hi to the cast, etc… But the thing I always do before heading to warm-ups/run-throughs is to take some personal time away from everyone to think, clear my head or whatever I want to do. Also, right before we go on stage… we extend our hands in the air and mimic the hosts line “Hands Down!” If you don’t catch it, your most likely to mess up. Lol! – Roland Gruspe Follow my adventures! @Roland_Jr

– -Rona Figueroa Rona Figueroa as Lady Thiang at Lyric Opera’s King and I

Sam Zeller in Kinky Boots National Tour

Pre-show ritual: apply fake tatoos, and foam roll the quads, hams, and calves. Stretching is essential for wearing and dancing in 6 inch stilleto, thigh high boots! – Sam Zeller

Twitter: @1SamZeller Instagram: zellersam1

When I’m in a show, I try to make sure to do a Mad Lib every day at the fifteen minute call. If it’s a two show day, the second MadLib of the day is of the adult

Steven Strafford as George Banks variety! Everyone within earshot is always invited to participate!

– Steven Strafford @stevenstrafford Steven Strafford as Jesus in End Days

Thom Sesma, currently playing Master Potter Min, in A SINGLE SHARD by Robert Shenkkan, from Linda Sue Park’s award-winning novel, at People’s Light and Theatre, in Malvern, PA

My pre-show ritual is just that, like clockwork, a rigorous physical core warm-up, followed by

walking my on stage “track”, while listening to some tunes which vary from day to day. Then it’s off to my station, for make-up, costume and wig, in that order. But most important of all, just before heading to the stage at places, I say some shirt, sweet prayers (I’m a practicing Catholic) which center me, and give me some focus, and remind myself that what I am about to do is a gift, which I am given to pass on, if I can live up to it. – Thom Sesma

Victor Chan in Chess at East West Players

I arrive to the theatre 60-90 early so I can decompress from the commute and to enjoy the “quiet before the storm.” – Victor Chan Twitter : @VictorEChan

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