In The Room Where It Happens

This week we are bringing you some quick snippets and thoughts from the rehearsal room! We are about to move into the theater and begin our tech process for How We Got On, by Idris Goodwin.

This will be our very first Pay What You Decide production and we are just as excited as our artistic team seems to be about releasing this amazing show out into the streets of Philadelphia!

First Read. L-R: Zoe Richards (Selector), James Whitfield (Julian), Raelle Myrick-Hodges (Director), Rachel O'Hanlon-Rodriguez (Dramaturg), Pilar Bruyere (Props), Michael Lambui (Lights), Jerrick Medrano (Hank), & Kishia Nixon (Luann).

First Read. L-R: Zoe Richards (Selector), James Whitfield (Julian), Raelle Myrick-Hodges (Director), Rachel O'Hanlon-Rodriguez (Dramaturg), Pilar Bruyere (Props), Michael Lambui (Lights), Jerrick Medrano (Hank), & Kishia Nixon (Luann).

This show is so much fun! I have always been a listener of hip hop and to now be in this is as dope as dope can be, haha.

The energies at rehearsals are always up and positive. We goof around but at the end of the day, we always manage to get accomplished what we set out to do. This may sound cliché but whatever, I couldn’t ask for a better cast or director because everybody compliments everything so well.
— Kishia Nixon, Luann
In The Rehearsal Room.

In The Rehearsal Room.

Working with the actors in How We Got On is a blessing every day. This music and these rhymes, they’re joyous and innocent and fun, and the actors are hilarious and talented, full of the same potential that early hip-hop was bringing to the radio and television when I was just a little kid (I was six when Yo! MTV Raps premiered). I can’t get over how much I have learned about rap through this process— not in the sense of a history lesson, but in a way that has actually taught me about the craft and the art of hip-hop— what it actually takes to make these rhymes and create these beats. I have always been a down-low fan of my own generation’s hip-hop, but I admit that I never thought deeply about the artistry and innovation behind it. My whole reason for being an artist in the first place is about learning how— and teaching others how— to express yourself in the most authentic way possible, and I have never actually experienced material that gets closer to that concept than this play right here.
— Matthew Hultgren, Voice & Dialect Coach
Recording. Sound Designer Lucas Fendlay & actor James Whitfield.

Recording. Sound Designer Lucas Fendlay & actor James Whitfield.

I am privileged to be a 34 year old fan of hip-hop, working with young, up-and-coming actors who take me to 1988 every time the beat drops. And I am lucky that Azuka has a director like Raelle Myrick-Hodges, with the foresight and generosity to provide her actors with a Voice and Dialect coach. I would advocate for what coaches like myself bring to the stage, regardless of the company, audience, or material itself, but in this New Professionals production, I have been given the opportunity, not just to coach a great group of actors, but to teach an upcoming generation of artists that honing and clarifying your artistic voice (both big V and little v) is as much a part of your professional craft as audition skills, networking, or going to the gym. Of course, I’m biased, but I also know this to be true.
Your voice is your truth, and your truth is your art.
— Matthew Hultgren, Voice & Dialect Coach
Rap. Jerrick Medrano & James Whitfield.

Rap. Jerrick Medrano & James Whitfield.

I love the people I get to work with, from the administrative staff, to my cast-mates everyone involved is dope!
— Jerrick Medrano, Hank