Breaking Down the Characters with Deonté L. Warren
Breaking Down the Characters with Aladdin Broadway’s principle standby, Deonté L. Warren. He covers the Sultan, Babkak, and everyone’s favorite magical sidekick, the Genie! We’re talking about how memorizes all three tracks, his keys to booking the gig, and how he’s keeping it fresh.
What’s your process when learning a track (what’s your first task when getting off book for the show)?
Deonté: Well, the first step to getting off book, for me, is to read through the entire script at least twice. After that, I like to take it scene by scene. Repetition is key. If you have a tablet, there are apps now that make getting off book super easy. You load the script into the app, highlight your lines, and record yourself reading everyone else’s lines. Then when you want to run your lines the app will blackout your highlighted lines and play every other line in real time. I like this, because it’s like learning lines with a scene partner!
What helps you keeping all your blocking and vocal parts separate in your head?
Deonté: For me, this just comes in the doing of the show. You learn one track at a time and commit it to memory. I covered three roles in Sister Act on tour and again now in Aladdin. I’ve always found that if you just keep them fresh in your body, they never really leave you. If I haven’t performed a track in more than 2 weeks, I just make sure I set aside and hour to run through it to keep my muscle memory active!
What’s your key to memorizing lines?
How do you start memorizing blocking and choreography especially in dance calls when its’ faster than normal?
Deonté: Most people’s problems (especially in auditions) is they judge themselves and their process, freak themselves out, and then NOTHING sticks. So, just stay calm, focus only on the task at hand, and try to enjoy it. I’m a very physical learner, so it’s easiest for me if I learn dances and blocking as full out and in my body as possible. Memorizing quickly is still a challenge, but this makes it MUCH easier. A big trick is to give yourself permission to make mistakes. That way one mistake in the choreography doesn’t snowball into completely forgetting everything you’ve learned.
How’d you specifically start breaking down genie for your initial audition?
Deonté: I did not break down the genie, actually. When auditioning for the role, they are very clear about what they want from you. So, I listened carefully, took the notes to the best of my ability, and tried to have the most fun I could have (in an audition setting).