Beyond the Stage Door with Antoine L. Smith
This week’s ‘Beyond the Stage Door’ is with Antoine L. Smith. Antoine is in my opinion, one of the most underrated actors on Broadway. His Broadway credits include: Memphis and the recent revivals of The Color Purple, Miss Saigon, and Carousel. He talks about his pre-show warm ups, tips on being a well rounded performer, and how he approaches classic musicals vs. contemporary musicals.
Do you approach a classic show differently from how you’d approach a contemporary show?
I only approach classic shows differently from contemporary shows by the way I vocally prepare. Because of obvious reasons. Other than that the process is always the same. Figuring out he character, how the character relates to me. And of course making the character as realistic as possible.
What are some things you do to prepare for a show before rehearsals?
Before the rehearsal process, I do as much research about the show and the character as I can. If its a new show of course you are creating it as you go. And the main thing as I said before. Figuring out how the character relates to you. Once you have that figured out, he rest of he pieces fall into place.
What do you think are the main keys to being a well rounded performer?
The main keys to being a well rounded performer are….
- Gain as many experiences as you can.
Vocally how do you sustain singing a classic show like Carousel or Cinderella VS. Singing through The Color Purple or Miss Saigon
For me personally singing is singing. No matter what show you are in. You have to take care of your voice in order to sustain.
What has been your experience understudying and always having to be prepared to go on?
Most of my career has been understudying the leads. It’s a lot of pressure and can often be mentally challenging. Especially when you are covering more than 1 lead. In Memphis on Broadway I covered all 3 of the Black Male leads as well as some other speciality parts. And you have to be prepared to go on at any time. At the top of the show or the middle of the show. It’s a very special and demanding job. It’s not for everyone.
What’s your favorite story going on for your understudy track in a show?
One of my favorite “going on” understudy stories would have to be. Going on as John in the middle of the show in Miss Saigon on Broadway. Going from my ensemble track to John right before his big number. Talk about a SHOCK to the brain. But that’s the job they hired me for.
Do you have a pre-show ritual or warm up routine?
One of my biggest pre show rituals is to sing through my entire show before the show. If it’s a 2 show day I do it twice.
What’s your character study/research process? Especially for shows based in history like Miss Saigon and Carousel
My character study is just gathering as much information as I can on the character and again trying to make the character relate to me as much as possible. Once you do that the performance is more realistic. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on history or not. The process is still the same.
What’s your dream role and why?
My dream role is the one I get to create. Because of course I’m getting to create it from all aspects.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to young POC on auditioning?
My advice to POC auditioning is, know YOU ARE WORTHY of what ever role you are auditioning for. Once you know you are worthy, your whole attitude changes before you enter the audition room. And know what you’re auditioning for. Don’t go into an audition blind. Do some research and set your self up to WIN! You can sometimes change the directors vision right before their eyes!
You can follow Antoine on Instagram here!