Want to level up your singing, acting & auditioning skills? Award-winning Broadway producer Jordan Scott Gilbert shares his top tips for a career on the stage. Don’t miss this backstage look at what it takes to make it in show business.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Jordan’s journey to becoming an award-winning Broadway producer
- The business of performing arts
- Helpful techniques for a great singing voice
- An expert acting tip for an instant level up
- 3 excellent audition tips to land your next role
RESOURCES/LINKS MENTIONED:Les Misérables – https://www.lesmis.com/
ABOUT: JORDAN SCOTT GILBERT
Jordan became one of the youngest AWARD-WINNING Broadway producers in broadway theatrical history, being the first-ever recipient of the BROADWAY PRODUCER OF THE YEAR AWARD with his musical being nominated for 3 TONY® AWARDS. Jordan is the artistic director & producer of GOOD NEWS THEATRICS, whose mission is to develop and produce first-class, Gospel-centered plays and musicals aimed for Broadway, Off-Broadway, Tour, and/or Film. In association with one of the world’s top Christian websites: BibleHub.com (which receives about 2-4 MILLION views PER DAY), Jordan is in development directing a Broadway-aimed National Tour of a new musical called THE TITANIC HERO, which he also co-wrote.
Jordan received a certificate of recognition from Carnegie Hall for excellence in teaching voice, and as an Acting, Singing, Audition, and Career Coach has offered Acting & Singing lessons working successfully with celebrities, actors, singers, and students from around the world. In addition to being asked to Produce on several Broadway/West End shows, films, and TV projects, Jordan has worked on developing a number of industry projects, including new musicals for James Rado, who co-wrote the 60’s hit musical “Hair,” and the ACADEMY® and EMMY® AWARD nominated John Cameron, who wrote the original musical score for the worldwide musical phenomenon Les Misérables.
CONNECT WITH: JORDAN
- Website: Jordan Scott Gilbert: https://www.jordanscottgilbert.com/castingactingauditions/
- Phone Number: (212) 222-0200 for coaching
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?It is hard to produce a show. The expenses are extremely high. They’ve been high for a long time, and basically the misconception is that if you are talented, you’ll make it. Now, I know a lot of actors understand that that’s not completely true many times, but there are very talented people and talent also is in the eye of the beholder.
I could say someone’s talented and you could think they’re terrible and right. You both be valid because it’s an art form. It’s not like, oh, this person has batting average of whatever, or they’ve hit this many home runs. It’s not. It’s an opinion. Welcome to the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast with DIY healthy lifestyle blogger Anna.
A former empowering you to transform your life one imperfect day at a time. Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I’m your host, Ahna Fulmer. Today we have Jordan Scott Gilbert on the show. Jordan was the first ever recipient of the Broadway Producer of the Year award nominated for three Tonys and one of the youngest award-winning Broadway producers.
Jordan is also the founder of Good News Theatrics. A performing arts company dedicated to producing first class redemption centered plays and musicals aimed for Broadway, off Broadway tour and film. Here to share his expertise on how to level up your singing and acting for a career on stage. Welcome, award-winning Broadway, producer and performer, Jordan Scott Gilbert.
For those of you listening and watching here, this is the. Scott Gilbert, we were just chatting offline about how one time I forgot to press record cuz I got so busy chatting with the guest as soon as they came on and we got the entire way through the recording. Right? So here is Jordan, Scott Gilbert, I already introduced.
You we’re chatting a little bit about all of your credentials here and your. Awards. You have such a fun backstory, which is one of my favorite things to share on the podcast. You have multiple credentials. I mean, not only are you an award-winning producer and performer, but you are also an acting and.
Singing coach, which we’re gonna talk about later. I wanna hone in on your advice there for people listening, especially I think for those of you guys listening, if you have kids like I do, or you yourself are maybe wanting to pursue or are interested in a career on stage, keep in mind that this might also be a great.
Interview to listen to for the sake of your kids or your teenagers or your, whoever you know who’s interested in leveling up their singing and acting. Save this. Share this, and you are definitely gonna want to contact Jordan. So let’s do a little rewind and tell me about how you got to where you are today.
You’re a three time Tony Award nominated Broadway producer. Let’s, um, we could just start there. There’s a lot of things we could start. Well, my show is nominated for three Tony Awards. I should have got a Tony Award twice, but that’s a whole other story personally. And he is not bitter about it at all.
Yeah, not anymore. When I was three years old, my parents took me to see a show called Lane Mis, which is pretty well known. And then long story short, I did a bunch of shows and entertainment growing up. A lot of youth theaters, more professional stuff like off Broadway. And some press stuff like for the uh, Broadway tour of La Mis.
When I was six years old, I was known as the Miss Kid cuz I knew La Mis so well and loved it. And so that was the biggest inspiration for me of college age. I started. Casting and I cast some independent films and TV pilots, stuff like that. And that’s where I had a chance to direct performers and coach them without being an official coach.
And I think, after that I wanted into producing. But from the casting days and or directing, that’s really what got. in the, I don’t wanna say in the door, it sounds like, you know, I won American Idol or something, but that’s what really started me on that path to coaching actors. Mm-hmm. and I realized I was good as direct as a director.
All I want to do growing up was be a Broadway star and rich and famous. In fact, just a quick sidetrack, um, please, we love Sidetracks here. Ask me why I wanted to get into this business. Why, Jordan, did you want to get into this? Well, I love being rich and famous. I love everybody telling me how, what a wonderful performer I am.
Yeah. And wherever I go, love. When people know who I am, they gimme free stuff, could basically do whatever I want whenever I want. All the women throw themselves at me. But more than anything, really, I love telling the. I love telling stories cuz I’m five nom Just kidding . That’s so funny. That’s just a thing.
But it’s so true though. It’s like that is but that is, I mean, to your point though, we’re laughing but the reality is so many people get into it with that mindset. Right. You know, that is like the, the end all be all. Yeah, and I did love this as an art form when I was three years old. When I saw that show, I mean, it just changed my three-year-old life.
Mm-hmm. , and from then on I was obsessed, probably unhealthily, but it was kind of a gateway drug to other musicals after Lamo. So I, the art form was my, Childlike passion for it, but then it became something that was more, it was still about that underneath, but it became about wanting to become famous and wanting just, mm-hmm.
kind of all these awful lut of the flesh as the Bible called em. Less of the eyes, pride of life. Mm-hmm. . And when I got saved and I became a Christian 2013, I realized I didn’t know a whole lot and I’m still learning. But I realized that was a facade, that there’s artistic merit. People do. You know, good job artistically with things, but as far as giving your life rid and making it your golden calf, that’s something that God had to break with me.
So I could probably go on for hours with that. But that’s the long story short. But I’ve still been coaching actors and wanting to do Christian theater and that good news theatrics has been open and closed, and I’m trying to really see where God has still leading me. So with all of that, but anyway, that’s the, that’s a sort.
Yeah. Well, and I love, I mean, I think that whole concept of, you know, the idea too, like when you get that small taste of success, and this isn’t even necessarily just in the entertainment industry, but in life, it’s so easy to make that end goal. , you know, a monetary goal or you know, in the entrepreneur world, I see this all the time.
Cars, for whatever reason, I’m not a car person, so this means nothing to me. But for a lot of people, it’s like they grew up with very little, or they had these dreams that started to grow as they became more successful and a certain type of car. It’s like the day that they could buy that car and drive off the lot in that car, it’s like they’ve made it, you know?
And it’s just sort of like these goals that at the end of the day, not that goals are bad. . You know, you do have to kind of step back and say, okay, but where’s my worth? Where’s my value? If all this was taken away, who am I? And what is my definition? Truly, I just think it’s a lot more prominent when your job is quite literally in a spotlight.
It’s easier to have that when you are talking stage, and I did not mention this earlier, I should mention this earlier on, Jordan directed. , the musical that Graceland was. last year, her very first musical ever, she had such an amazing experience and Jordan had a lot to do with, and I would say probably half of my students are 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, you know that age range.
And then the other half, half are adults. One of the things that I like to do with students the first time who are just getting into the industry and they’re 10 years old, it’s gonna be really for the parents, or if they’re 16 or 17 or thinking about college, then it’s for both of them. But I like to do a career coaching masterclass, which is just a one.
Masterclass of how the business works. Mm-hmm. and I teach you straightforward. What you need, all the materials you need, how to do it, how it works. Cuz there’s a lot of misconceptions about how the industry works. It’s very highly monopolized and yes, almost everyone fails regardless of whether they’re prideful or not, or they love being seen.
That’s another story and that’s another sermon, but, , it’s I think only like 2% or something like that. I don’t know the exact statistic. I could look it up, but of actors of union actors are working or making a living at it, really. Here’s the reality. I think this is a concept that’s applicable to any industry.
I mean, when I went to nursing school, I had no concept of how the business of nursing worked. I knew how to take care of a patient, but I had no concept. The business side of it and the chains of command and who’s actually hiring you and who’s actually running the show. And you could do everything right and at the end of the day, still get kicked off the job.
I mean, that is, that is a reality. And so what I appreciate about what you’re saying is I think regardless of how quote unquote meth any industry, , there is value in making sure that you are approaching it not only with excellence, but also with an understanding of some of the decisions that you have to make and being equipped to make those decisions in a way that is honoring your own sense of justice or what’s going to ultimately be satisfy.
in life and who you are wanting to honor. So I think that is an excellent way to start before you even dive into the skillset. What would you say, getting onto the business side of it, what is one of the number one misconceptions that people have about the entertainment industry? Like if somebody’s going into it from a practical standpoint, what is something that more people should be aware?
Nobody cares what’s on your resume, in my opinion, unless you have a Broadway credit, unless you’re starring or co-starring or supporting in a film, a movie that’s made by one of the big six or so companies, or that’s playing on AM at a M C or or Regal or you’re on a TV show, not as an extra, but you actually have a role on a TV show and you could turn on the TV and I could see you on the tv.
Mm-hmm. . But yeah, of course they might think they might, casting directors might care about that. But now, , in my opinion, besides just obvious star power. Like give me Tom, Tom Hanks, give me Brad Pitt, give me whoever it’s about how many Instagram followers and Twitter followers, social media followers, TikTok, whatever.
Isn’t that wild? That’s crazy. I literally said that the other day, and I am certainly not an entertainment expert, but I had the thought the other day, like, so I’m in my thirties and. I have no idea how old you are, but for me, I lived in that weird like halfway mark where it’s like growing up we didn’t have social media, but I’m still relatively young.
And so I started with social media sort of in that crucial like college age realm. And so I think of these actors and actresses in the entertainment industry who had to make that shift. And it’s like now, unless you have that star power, it’s like you have to prove that you’re bringing an audience with you into.
a role, right? It’s like selling your audience even less than you’re selling yourself. That is frustrating. Reality that’s tough. And some people think this is a new thing, but really it’s always been that way. It’s always been show business. It’s a business. So before social media, it was how many tickets are you selling at the box office?
And in some respects it is. Yeah. I mean, if you want Denzel Washington in your show, There’s a reason and you pay ’em a lot of money for it. So it’s always been that way. It’s just that because the world is online. Yeah. You know, casting directors look to social media because people want to sell tickets, and it is hard to produce a show.
The expenses are extremely high. They’ve been high for a long time, but extremely, extremely high. And basically the misconception is that if you are talented, you’ll make it. Now, I know a lot of actors understand that that’s not completely true many times, but. , there are very talented people, and talent also is in the eye of the beholder.
I could say someone’s talented and you could think they’re terrible and Right. You both be valid because it’s an art form. It’s not like, oh, this person has batting average of whatever, or they’ve hit this many home runs. It’s not math. It’s an opinion. Right? So the misconception is, oh, you’re so talented, you’re gonna make it.
Yeah. . Not necessarily. Yeah. And most times, no, just, no. Almost no one makes it. And I, I don’t try to make up acting exercises. Also like fluff, like, oh, pretend you’re a peanut butter jelly sandwich, trying to crawl your way out of a piggy bank. There’s some stupid acting exercises I did in college and wasted all my money.
But anyway, that’s besides the point. I tell, like it, wait, I’m like, where’d you go to college? You were crawling out of things as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Wow. That’s the type of stuff they do. Not just college, but acting school. You know, I, I’m not saying Oh, I know everything, or I, I just try to teach what I think is a demonstrate to the point, but a lot of acting, exercise, you know, and, and even how do you tap into the intention as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
I’m just still stuck on that. Very careful. Very, very carefully. I’m sticky, right? I’m not even sure where to go with that intention anyway. Yes. On a bad day, you’re the mold on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so you have to internalize that . Yeah. Hopefully it’s gluten free. If you have a gluten free allergy.
There’s so many words we can go with that. Anyway. Well, we certainly want coaches that are gonna tell us the truth. That is a very important, important element. We are gonna take a quick break, but when we come back, stay tuned. We’re gonna play a speed round of this or that with Jordan. Get to know him a little bit better, and we are going to tap into his expert advice on his top tips on how to level up your singing and acting for a career on stage right when we come back from this break.
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Jordan, two options. No stress this or that, would you rather. Your own private jet or a personal yacht. These are very important questions. I guess it depends what I was using it for. I wouldn’t pick a private jet just because of my concern about flying on a private jet . So I guess I would pick a yacht, sell it, and then produce my musical, the Titanic Hero.
A nice segue, uh, which is about a pastor who died preaching the gospel on the Titanic and try to bring that to Broadway and with some upfront money from selling. Maybe I’d. That’s hilarious. That’s worth for. I’d buy the Jet. He as a business strategist. Here we go to Tom Cruise. . You’re Tom. You can have my private jet.
Okay. Would you rather be in a play or a musical? Like perform in a play or a musical? Musical? By far. Yeah. Would you rather direct a film or a musical? Musical? . I’m directing a movie right now, actually, but it’ll be fun. But musicals weren’t my hardest. Yeah. Yeah. And would you rather live in the city or the countryside?
Oh, countryside. If you would’ve asked me that 10 years ago, it definitely would’ve been the city. Yeah. It’s funny, I hear that a lot. Like if you could live anywhere in the world, Like ignoring all of the logistics that come with it. Just this is would be like your favorite place to live. Where would you live?
Oh man. Probably on a beach. If I had just my own personal, with his personal yacht that he sold with my yacht or a jet plane. . Put a jet plane on a jet plane. Probably live man anywhere. I love Key West. I love the Florida Keys. California the Malibu. That area is, is nice. I’m not a huge fan of. , all the political stuff in California, but uh, it’s very pretty state.
Yeah. Probably some tropical place. Yeah. But I feel like I’d get sick of it though, . Cause I know that’s what I always say. I know, is my husband says the same thing. Yeah. But I’m like, I love the beach so much because it’s not all the time, so I’m Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Right. Kind of in agreement with that, you have to have moderation.
Yeah, that’s right. So let’s dive into your expertise here, because obviously if somebody’s listening, it’s one of those things where you’re like, okay, so we’re interesting in the possible coaching element. Just talk some initial top level tips for somebody who’s wanting to improve. Maybe they’re just singing on their worship team at church.
Maybe they do some sets, you know, in a small little club on the weekends, but they work full-time in a hospital. Like regardless of who they. , you’ve received a recognition from Carnegie Hall for your expertise in teaching voice, also acting, audition, career coach, et cetera. So let’s just tap in a little bit to that.
Regardless of who you are, and you just wanna level up a little bit, tell me your, the ones that come to mind. I did not prepare him for this. You guys, by the way, so this is gonna be off the cuff for him. So maybe two of your top singing. and they can be just touched on briefly, two of your top acting tips.
Two of your top audition tips. Sure. So two of my top seeing tips is, number one, open your mouth. A lot of people sing how many fingers length. This is what I always remember. one finger on the chin and just, ah, let Gravity do the work. And I know I’m kind of glitching in and out. I’m not really in an office.
I, I like to tell stories and I like to have a, um, pretend I’m in a boring boardroom office suite. office suite, right? So, uh, anyway, but see, yeah, open the mouth because almost everybody I see. , even if they’re fantastic singers, don’t open their mouth. I mean, it’s literally that simple. So what I tell people is, uh, between your mouth closed, even have all the other technique down, but between your mouth closed, your mouth grossly open to where it’s becoming detached.
Somewhere in the middle of that is gonna, you’re gonna sound great. Now, usually it’s just, ah, you know, Mouth drop, in my opinion, across genres. Mm-hmm. across. I just, but, and that’s also very important in the higher registers. So this is the second tip for singers, is to open your mouth and raise your soft palette in the back, depending upon what kind of genre you’re singing, in my opinion.
But you raise it a little bit if it’s more pop or rock, and then you raise it a lot if it’s more opera sounding or more operatic, or more classical. So you want to give it that space so that your voice doesn’t. Crunch. Yeah. And uh, so those are my two challenges. I think one of the challenges, I think one of the challenges in singing is really hard is when you want to have that clearer, almost like resonance sound that is a little bit more nasally because it’s just a little bit clearer, but you still need to have the resonance of an open.
Sound. How do you find that balance between making it clearer? Maybe you’re in head voice still, but you want a little bit more of that clearer sound. Like, do you have tips for like just playing with how to get the sound at different places? Like it could just be you’re holding out awe. If you guys have never done this, you should try it.
But like you hold out one. Cons or one, one consonant, one vow, and then you try to place the sound in different spots in your head. Do you have any like thoughts or techniques on how to help improve that sound? . Yeah. Well we do a little bit of face work to try to find what, which placement, you know is right.
So each song is different and some people will only work classical and they have their techniques and their methods and their, their complex words and term, you know, terms that they applied everything. And I’m not trying to invalidate that, but I come from more of a musical theater place and which is kind.
a large range of, a lot of different Yeah. Stuff depending upon what you’re, what show you’re doing. But anyway, so we try to do a little face work and try to find the right placement for, for the voice. So if you’re seeing something that’s more pop you won, might wanna place it a little lower. If you’re seeing something that’s more classical you, you wanna place it a little higher and then we kind of play with in between and try to find a natural placement, quote unquote, for stuff that you don’t really wanna manipulate your voice too much.
We just try to find the best sound. Everybody’s face shape is different. Everybody’s vocal chords are different. Everybody’s throat is different. Mm-hmm. , everybody has different things that they’re either, they’re dealing with something like throat inflammation, postnasal, drip. Yeah. Acid reflux. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, I try to make it specific.
I’m not a doctor, but I just try to say, in my opinion, what I see and we try to a zone in mm-hmm. on the issues and try to. I think it’s an interesting point that everyone’s face shape is different. I mean, that certainly makes sense. And when you consider just like the shape of a room is going to change the sound.
Yeah. Or the tone. The same would be true for somebody’s face. So maybe one person does need to drop more or change the tone. I think that’s a interesting point that I’ve never. Thought about. Yeah. So top, yeah, it’s very specific. Yeah, which makes a lot of sense. I would’ve never, and vocal chords, maybe some are tighter than others.
I don’t know. I’m making that up, but No, no, I mean, it’s true if you hold a lot of tension, you know, so there’s a lot of different things to address and so I like to look at someone and then try to, like I said, zone in, see what they need to work on. And there’s a lot of commonalities between technique because there’s only so many ways this’s skin cap, so to speak.
However, yeah, it’s individual and personalized as is acting. Segue. Segue beautifully. Come in and they’ll say, I’m making it short and simple, but they’ll say, oh, this character is sad, so I’ll be sad. Now, maybe they’re not literally saying that all the time. Some people do, but they’ll just kinda like generalize the character and just go for it.
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s great. Lot of times it sucks. And so what you wanna do is you want to figure out what the character is thinking realistically and try to develop that as a foundation. So that’s what I do. The second tip is to find out the character’s emotion quite simply. So it’s very simple foundation, not mm-hmm.
you have what the character is saying. You have what the character is thinking, and you have what the character is feeling. Mm-hmm. and so, line, intention, emotion, and what does that spell lie? What do actors do? They lie . No, but that’s good way. No, I hear you though. Yeah. Mm-hmm. line intention, emotion. So intention, emotion.
Okay. Would be the two things to make a three-dimensional character, at least the foundation of it. Those would be the two quick tips for a cold read to incorporate that. So I love that. Well, that also segue. Beautifully into audition tips. So you’ve just gotten this advice on line intention, emotion to quickly portray.
a three dimensional character. So how then do you recommend your best, your top two audition tips, angry or sad or whatever. You don’t really wanna cast somebody that looks miserable, . Right, exactly. Or does they’re gonna enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah. And the second big audition tip, and man, I have a third one. Can I say a third one too?
Yeah, sure. So the second big audition tip would be to act like you already have the job. Not literally, like say, I already have the job, obviously. Yeah. Hope, obviously. But to go in there, like, you’re going to rehearsal and you’re going to one-on-one Yeah. With an accompanist or something and, and like you’re ready to work with these people that you’re in front of.
Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And uh, third tip would be to make sure your bookend, whether you’re singing a song or doing sides, is very strong. What I mean by that is you have to make sure your beginning is strong and you have to make sure your end is strong, because that is usually what people, now, of course, this is all a generalization, okay?
Sure. But, but I see what you’re saying. Make a good impression. Leave with a good impress. . Exactly. So literally your first note or your first couple notes, if you’re singing a 16 bar cut, a third two bar cutter or whatever, or song. And then your last few notes are, in my opinion, the most important, and also when I teach acting and singing and singing goes hand in hand with acting is that you have to, your most important thing to start with is.
Knowing what your intention is and everything else for that first line, cuz that is the snowball effect that’s gonna guide you telling the story. Mm. And making it truly effective. And so I think that’s a great tip. That makes a lot of sense cuz especially if you’re sitting and looking at multiple people coming through, it’s that very first emotion that you feel when you hear something come out of their mouth that you’re probably going to remember.
So yeah, start strong. Yeah. You heard it right here. People. I love it. So where can people find you? Where can they learn more if they want to get coaching or understand a little bit more about what it looks like to work with you? Where can they find you? Sure. Well, you can go to casting acting auditions.
That’s plural.com, casting acting auditions.com. It’s the same website as Jordan Scott gilbert.com, which is my full name. Yep. Or you can call for lessons. You can call the phone number two one. 2, 2 2 0 2 0 0. That’s 2 2 2 2 2 0 2 0 0. Yes, you can tell he is done some voiceover work. We will of course, as always, have all of that information on the show notes.
You guys, you can click to find all of that and check out Jordan, and I’m assuming I should plug this in here. I mean, You do virtual, I’m assuming you do plenty of virtual coaching. I should make that. I would think now that’s obvious, but I shouldn’t assume that. Yeah, I do a hundred percent online. It’s been that way for many years.
There go guys. So this is Wherever you are. Wherever you are, you can check out Jordan Scott gilbert.com. Well, again, it was such an honor to have you directing Grace Lynn for her first musical. She just loved it. Wonderful experience and I pray God’s richest blessing over your heart, your home, everything that you’re doing, and it was an honor to have you here.
Yeah, absolutely. It was an honor to be speaking with you, and thank you so much. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts from today. Head to your preferred podcasting platform and give the show an honest review and let me know what you think.
Remember, you cannot be redefined, only redeveloped one imperfect day at a time. Your story matters and you are loved.