I’m speechless! You flew all the way to Texas to watch me perform! I feel so honored, so thrilled, and so excited to know you’re out there in the audience. I’m really not sure where I would be without you. You have given me such confidence in so many areas and have given me the skills to take my performing to the next level. I am so very grateful for you and also for your friendship! Thank you for everything. I’m dedicating this show to you. Love, Julie
Katti Power 0:00
Hello everybody. Hi Facebook. Good morning. I’m here with Julie Rhodes. She is one of my clients. And she is an actress in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And I just thought that it would be fun for you all if I asked her some questions to get to know her. So, Julie, before we get started, can you tell people a little bit about the kind of work that you do in theater and in singing?
Julie Rhodes 0:36
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I do musical theater, and I also do straight plays. That’s kind of been my focus over the past eight years. I have two kids, so I balance being a mom and being in shows, which is quite an interesting occupation.
Katti Power 0:58
Yes, I think that would be really hard.
Julie Rhodes 1:01
It has gotten easier as the years have gone on. I have an 11 year old, an eight year old. My husband is a saint and we found a good working situation for that. So yeah, I love to sing and shows. That’s mostly where I do most of my singing. But occasionally I do events and those sorts of things. Like next week, we were working on this past week, singing a show. So yeah, that’s me in a nutshell.
Katti Power 1:30
Awesome. Very cool. So tell me and tell everyone else, why did you initially hire me to be your coach? What was the story behind that?
Julie Rhodes 1:43
Well, I wanted to broaden my range. I did not know how to belt. I was trained classically and love to sing all of those classic Broadway old time songs. But I kind of realized that if I wanted to work pretty consistently, I had to have another skill, I had to learn how to belt. So I had a good friend in a show I was in who has an amazing voice, who works still works with Katti, and she recommended Katti to me. And the rest is history. Was that six years ago or a long time ago?
Katti Power 2:14
Yeah. That sounds about.
Julie Rhodes 2:24
Yeah. So I always wanted my voice be able to do that. I loved hearing people belt in shows. I just thought I didn’t have that kind of a voice. So but then my friend told me, yes you can, anybody can. I was like, what?
Katti Power 2:41
I hear that a lot actually, a lot of people are like, oh, I just don’t know how to do that. Or I’m not good at that. And then you ask, have you learned how? And they’re like, well, but I just can’t and it’s like, no, you can learn how.
Julie Rhodes 2:56
Yeah, yeah. A certain kind of voice and not another kind of voice. So I’ve loved to sing versatile things. And I’ve gotten a lot more work because of it.
Katti Power 3:06
Yes, you have, which is so exciting. So along those lines, after you learned how to belt six years later, what made you come back?
Julie Rhodes 3:27
I mean, you are the audition whisperer, Katti. I need your skills of prep and psychology. And reflection. And you know, every show is so different. And every audition is so different. And I just so rely on your expertise when it comes to picking songs really from start to finish, coaching through them finding a cut that works, dealing through all my insecurities and fears and all of that. And then cheering me on to execute a great audition. And that is invaluable to me.
Katti Power 4:16
That is super awesome. Along those lines, can you talk about your audition experience? You know, before we started doing them together, what was it? What was your preparation like before that?
Julie Rhodes 4:30
Yeah, um, it was me being terrified, terrified, terrified, terrified, working up a song hoping it was right, hoping I was prepared, going in and being very, extremely nervous winging it and not getting very good results. So I was trying to make the leap from community theater production to professional theatre production. I was trying to cross over into some theaters I really respected and wanted to work at. I didn’t think I was good enough and that belief really inhibited my own self preparation and you came in and really critical skills that improved my voice, improved the whole way I sing but also improved my psychology. And you made me believe in myself and I’m gonna cry if I continue but thank you for helping me make that transition because it has made a world of difference.
Katti Power 5:29
Thank you. Wow, well, you are a pure joy to work with. I’ll just share with everyone some of the things that I love about working with Julie. She is a sponge. She will absorb which that’s one of my favorite qualities in a singer. She’s also so eager. Julie, you’re so eager. I love working with you because you come prepared and you’ve done your homework. And if you haven’t, you’re asking what homework can I do? You know, you’re one of those like, I really want to get all the stuff. I want to get all the information so that I can come prepared and be the best singer at my auditions. And you absolutely do that every single show that we work on, every single role that we work on and I love that about you and love your determination and love your commitment to a show and to the circumstances, to a roll, I love all of that and how hard you work to get yourself there.
Julie Rhodes 6:36
Katti Power 6:36
You’re willing to do the work no matter how hard it is. That is one of my favorite things about working with you. What are your some of your favorite roles that you’ve gotten to play?
Julie Rhodes 6:47
Favorite roles? Um, well Mary Poppins was right up there. Irene Malloy and Hello, Dolly. Absolutely. The Bareness and Sound of Music. I’ve also gotten to do really fun character parts like Sally in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and a roll in How I Became a Pirate that was really goofy. So it’s really fun to change things up sometimes. But yeah, I think Mary Poppins is maybe at the top.
Katti Power 7:21
That’s awesome. I also love some of the straight theater work that we’ve done together. I’m getting you ready for some things that brought back memories for me of my acting school was super fun. Like Masha.
Julie Rhodes 7:39
Absolutely, yeah. The Three Sisters was amazing experience. Who am I this time at Circle Theatre was an incredible experience. And y’all Katti is great with monologue prep. And that’s usually what’s required in so many straight play auditions is preparing monologues and so I to work through something like that with someone who is as gifted an acting coach as she is a vocal coach is so invaluable. So yes, doing Checkoff was a huge leap for me and I, I loved exploring all the subtext because that’s what it is all about. And yes, so very rewarding.
Katti Power 8:23
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Okay, so one of the reasons that I wanted you guys to hear from Julie is we’ve had some really, we’ve had so many different auditions. But recently, we had a couple that I just wanted to share about them in the process of working on them with her. So that’s why I asked her if she would talk about these two auditions with you guys. So can you talk about actually, before we even do this, I would love for you to talk about the different kinds of theatres that you work for and the different, like how many and not doing community theater anymore? You’re only doing professional?
Julie Rhodes 9:18
Yeah, so let’s see, I’ve worked at several musical theaters in Dallas-Fort Worth Lyric Stage and Casa Mañana specifically. And then my straight theaters on Shakespeare Guild, Circle Theatre. I’m about to make some debuts at some new theaters. So I’m excited about that. And in a perfect world, I would go back and forth. I think I would alternate between a show with music and singing and a show that’s just acting. I think those are two totally, not totally different. I mean, please but they require different things and different muscles. And I enjoyed all of them. So it would be cool to just kind of go back and forth.
Katti Power 10:02
Yeah, definitely. So okay, let’s get back to this one. So this one was for Circle, I think?
Julie Rhodes 10:10
Yeah, yeah, Circle, I think.
Katti Power 10:12
So it was an audition for Sweeney Todd. So I would love for you to tell me about it like, talk about what were you working on? And what were the challenges that you were facing?
Julie Rhodes 10:24
Yeah. Well, the challenge was that the audition said that if you play an instrument, you could come prepare to demonstrate that. And I do play the piano. And I knew that the competition would be huge. And so I kind of wanted to distinguish myself. So the challenge was finding a way to do that effectively, and also show what I could do vocally. So I was targeting the part of Joanne, which I did not get. But the audition experience made me grow a whole lot. And I felt great about what I accomplished in the room, which was singing and playing Green Finch and Linnet Bird. And I was able to do the whole song in the room and then go back and do certain things. And I was given a great chance to sort of demonstrate what I can do. And but that was the challenge was not only seeing a very difficult song that’s difficult, vocally from an acting perspective, but also then to accompany myself, while I tried to do all these other things, and show that I can be a competent piano player.
Katti Power 11:33
And what were the things that you were feeling? That caused me to suggest what we’re about to talk about?
Julie Rhodes 11:39
Oh, well, I mean, I didn’t feel like I could give full vent to my acting, I felt sort of trapped at the technical aspect of piano. It was like I wanted to get my piano playing perfect. And that did not need to be the priority. I loved how you focused me on the truth of the moment that I am trying to express through song. And, and then that led to what you suggested.
Katti Power 12:06
Which was… how did we overcome this obstacle of feeling like you were in this kind of perfection, not able to get out of it mode?
Julie Rhodes 12:19
Well, you gave me a great mental picture. In the song, the girl is singing to these birds in a cage, and it’s a metaphor for how she’s in a cage, and her life is constricted, and she has no freedom. And she’s singing to these birds who are in the cage, and of course, everything that she’s singing about them, she’s really singing about herself. And so that needs to be the feeling you leave the audience with. That’s her only song to really establish her character and the whole play. So it’s very important. And Katti said, you know, you need to translate that feeling of trapped to the piano. So let’s pretend that the piano itself is sort of shackling you to it. Like your hands are tied to it, you can’t get up, you can’t leave, you can’t move, your fingers are tied to the keys, and you want to you know, you want to stand up, you want to perform the song, you want to stand up and sing it and be free to do all these things that you can’t do. You got to sit down, play the piano and go with that feeling. So try to forget all the technical stuff, try to forget playing perfect notes and having technically perfect performance and focus on this visceral internal feeling of entrapment. And use the piano as a problem most. And oh my gosh, just having that mental picture, that ability to focus on that freed me up. I wasn’t literally, ironically, was not shackled by perfection. My mind and my emotions, were focused on this being shackled to the piano. So that really, I think liberated my voice.
Katti Power 14:07
Weren’t we in a class, we had that conversation? And you tried that. I just remember you saying, I think what made me say that is I remember you were feeling you were like I just want to get up and I want to move and I want to express and I can’t because I feel stuck here because I have to play this piano. And so we were like, yeah, let’s use that. Let’s use that. And what changed for you once you implemented that strategy?
Julie Rhodes 14:36
Well, I mean, I just felt free of having to focus on 4000 other things. You know, you’re trying to sing a song, you’re trying to act a song, you’re trying to play a song with your fingers in your body, and you just can’t concentrate on 4000 things. You can’t do all of them. You can’t do all of them. And so if you can get a mental picture like that, an emotional hook of some kind like that, you’re free of the pressure of all the other interests and demands. And I think those other interests and demands naturally happen. You can trust your body, if you’ve been practicing well, to do a lot of those things. But if you don’t have the mental focus, then you’ll do none of them really great. And you might even miss the emotional point of the song, which is the worst thing.
And I would say that probably transfers I mean, on that, probably I know it does. It also transfers to singing in general. We have so many things in our bodies that we have to think about that we have to focus on. But when we give ourselves just that one thing, then it let’s everything else fall in line with that one thing.
And if you’re wrong in a song, you can always go back to that one thing, that becomes almost like a safety for you like, no, don’t freak out. Yeah, you messed up, maybe. But let’s get back to this one thing, and it centers you again and enables you to finish well.
Katti Power 16:09
Yes, yes. That’s so awesome. Thank you so much for talking about that. I have another one that I want to ask you about. And I don’t know if we can say yet what this is for?
Julie Rhodes 16:21
I don’t know if we really can, so maybe we won’t. But I’m excited.
Katti Power 16:27
At some point, we’ll talk about it. So about the experience. So tell us what you can about the audition and what you had to do for it?
Julie Rhodes 16:39
Well, it was at a straight theater. So not a musical theater. But there’s a character in this play that has to sing and has to sing opera, essentially. And so the audition requirement was to come in with an aria and also a monologue that showed verbal dexterity and clear emotional intention, serial comic ability, and kind of a tall order there. So and it is, had been since high school since I had sung an aria, anything in Italian or opera related. And you and I haven’t worked on anything really, sort of, I mean, we’ve done legit singing but not Italian. So we worked up O mio babbino caro, and a a monologue from Henry the Sixth. We, Margaret, I think it’s Henry the Sixth. So two very different pieces of art. And that was the big challenge was being able to walk into the room and on a turn of a hat or turn of a dime switch from that singing to being Shakespearean. So that was that was the challenge.
Katti Power 18:00
But there was another challenge going on? You were dealing with personal stuff?
Julie Rhodes 18:15
Yes. Well a very huge life event that was really pressing down on me and weighing and continues to, and I, you know, it’s difficult still for me to sing, as you know. And especially a song like Oh, Mio Babbino, which is just the most gorgeous thing ever. And it has so much emotion and passion and drama in it, that I was really having a hard time singing it because I would start crying. I just had all this emotion and I couldn’t get it out. And so when you suggested to just give full vent to that, to not try to suppress and push the question down, but to let it come out, to let the music and the voice carry it out. And to trust that, to harness it really and not be afraid of it was so liberating. Because I was well able not to be afraid that I would mess up the whole song but also was also felt empowering. Like I had this extra reserve of depth and power that I can draw from.
Katti Power 19:34
Julie Rhodes 19:36
And to bring that into the room to bring my life junk into an audition but to channel it to use it in a way that was productive was really redemptive. And I’m glad that you opened my eyes to that possibility.
Katti Power 19:59
Absolutely. Well, you also executed it. So I would love to talk about what that process was like for you. I mean, you, you were able, because you brought to this audition, you booked this gig.
Julie Rhodes 20:11
Katti Power 20:13
Julie Rhodes 20:14
Katti Power 20:16
You book a lot of them that we work on. But this one was just really awesome because it’s a new theater for you. And it’s, you know, a lot of different challenges for you pulling together Shakespeare and an aria, and then dealing with this emotional stress on top of it all of that work together. So what was your process like? Can you describe what it was like to use that, to let that be there?
Julie Rhodes 20:55
Well, mostly it was just about trusting it. Coming to a place of trust. And trusting you, I mean, trusting that it’s true what you say, that this is, can be useful. So my first step in the process was saying, okay, I trust, I’m going to trust this, I’m not going to be afraid of this. And then it was practicing it, practicing that vulnerability. So after our lesson, when you brought that out, it was okay. Now when I sing the song, I’m going to go there. I’m going to not be afraid, I’m going to trust, I’m going to go there. And then as I practiced it, practiced my trust, essentially, it got easier, it didn’t feel out of control. It felt more manageable. It was still there, and this life situation didn’t go away. But it had sort of become what’s the word? I had I drafted it for my purposes.
Katti Power 22:10
And maybe desensitized, just a little bit because you’d work through it so much. So how, how do you prevent yourself from being stale in that moment? How do you make yourself go back and let it be fresh every time?
Julie Rhodes 22:32
Well, that’s a good question, I think you need you need something that can immediately put you in an emotional state. You need an image, you need an object. For me, I’m trying to remember exactly what the image was in my mind. But I knew that I needed this feeling in my body of a deep longing before I even began singing. And so I had to take a beat, I really had to just stand on the stage for a minute. I turned my back to the auditors and just sort of tried to ground myself, like from my head to my toes and this feeling of longing. And so I had a mental picture in my mind that just flashed in front of me and that got me there, you know, and then I just turned around and I was there. And you know, it’s the same with acting before you enter a scene you have to have preparation, you have to have emotional preparation for even walk onto the stage, you have to bring something onto the stage with you. So you have to bring something into a song with you and you have to insist on it in an audition, you must have that moment. So that you can execute.
Katti Power 23:50
That’s awesome. That’s so awesome.
Julie Rhodes 23:54
And I sang first and then I did the monologue. So then another beat is required. So I sing this gorgeous, wrenching, you know, song and then I have to totally switch to a sort of sarcastic, angry monologue. So then, to say, Okay, where’s my other mental image that I have to get in my head and my body? Okay, there it is. Okay, now I’m ready. It’s hard not to rush through an audition. Because you’re nervous. Get me out of here. But you must insist to give yourself full advantage to just take the time that you need to emotionally get there before you even start what you’re about to do.
That’s awesome. Scary to have a mission room? Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much. One more question for you, because I know we can’t really talk about what’s next for you. But I do have one more question for you. Over the years, you’ve said so many times that when you’re either at a performance, or at an audition or something you’ve, you know, texted me afterward and said, Your voice was in my head, or I just kept hearing your voice in my head or things like that. And I would just love to know, things am I saying to you?
You know, it’s a lot of confidence building things like you can do it. You got this. All right, great. You just have this, the voice that is you inside my head, it’s just it’s very matter of fact, and you don’t, you know, your thing to calm me down. And it’s, you know, I believe in you, you’ve got this, don’t worry about [inaudible] everything. Focus on what we’ve worked on. Because you’re trying to yourself, and so it’s not about it’s not even about the results of this audition. So I almost pretend like you’re with me, we’re just having a lesson. And I’m trying to take it to the next level in our session. And then when I leave an audition, I hear your voice going, Okay, ask when they’re making decisions.
Like, practical way, okay. Did they say anything about you know callbacks? Because I know what you’re gonna ask me when I text you. So if I hear it clearly.
Katti Power 26:48
That’s awesome. If I can ask you one more question.
Julie Rhodes 26:51
Katti Power 26:55
You were talking about hearing my voice to calm you and hearing the positive, more psychology kind of things mindset, I would call that, the confidence building things. Do you have a routine or a process when you go to an audition? And you’re waiting? You’re in that awful room? How do you get through that?
Julie Rhodes 27:32
Well, you know, it kind of depends on the theater. But in general, it’s just about feeling as though I’ve prepared well is half the battle before you walk into that awful waiting room. And if we’ve talked about if we’ve decided intentionally what I’m singing, what cut I’m doing, what happens in the contingency they want to backup, what I’m wearing, do I have my headshots, bla, bla, I’ve looked at my schedule, I’m clear, you know, if I’ve done all of those things, I can walk into the room in relative peace. So that’s the first step really getting all my ducks in order being very, very, extremely well prepared. But then, you know, when you’re sitting there, I got my water, I’m just sort of always drinking water. I do try to talk to people. I don’t like this whole thing about glaring, you know, the competition across the web, trying to play mind games with people like, Yeah, well, when I worked at this theater. If I know someone in the room, I try to sit by them and just have a normal conversation. You know, I, because I have prepared, there’s nothing more I can do sitting there to be any more prepared than I already am. And so really, the best thing to do is to relax at while you can to breathe and to be a normal human person. And another thing I kind of been experimenting with is this, almost the energy I have before I go out in front of a real audience in a real show. I love that energy. I love that energy in a dressing room, and I’m getting ready. And I’m because I know I’m prepared. I know. I’m ready. I’m excited. I’m excited to perform for these people. And I’m excited to see what happens in this fresh new moment where this material has never been in front of these people before. So it’s going to be new. And I tried to develop that kind of excitement while I’m sitting there in that awful waiting room like those people, yes, they’re casting directors and producers and whoever, but they’re also an audience, and I get to act. And this is a chance to perform. And it’s, you know, yes, it’s like three people, but it’s practicing performance energy is really important, I think. And so sitting there in the waiting room. I’m almost trying to picture that inside of that audition room. There’s just like 50 people who are there for a show. So that’s kind of been helping me. There’s no cure like, I, I’m always nervous, like, that’s probably never gonna go away. And I guess I’d worry if it did. But I’ve also heard people say you should turn nervousness into excitement, because they’re very similar emotionally, they do similar things for body and physiologically, anxiety and excitement. So, for me, it helps to imagine an audience, maybe some people get more nervous in front of a real audience, but I don’t so. What else I, yeah, I pray, I pray, I just I talk to the Lord. And I’m like, this is, you know, I’ve done all I can and if this is meant to be, then I’m just going to trust that you’ll open the door. So it’s a lot of surrender, too. And when you don’t have the pressure of going in and getting it for yourself, like realizing, recognizing that you can do this much and no more. And that you have, there’s a lot of liberation in that. And so I’m working on it. It’s always takes a lot of intentional work to prepare well.
Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for your honest answers and for sharing everything about your process and your experience with us. I wish I could share what you’re doing, but we can’t. So I know we have two big things coming up.
Yeah, and I can first one, I mean, oh, yeah. So I’m going to be doing The Secret Life of Girls at Dallas Children’s Theatre, it’s going to be the last two weeks in February. And it’s part of their teen series. It’s about bullying and how awful girls can be to each other. It’s like Mean Girls, but it’s not really funny. It’s very good, it’s very good. It’s a beautiful script, very serious. And it deals with a lot of intense things that teenagers are struggling with, cyber bullying and depression, cutting, secret keeping and cliques, all of those things. So I’m playing the mom of one of these 13/14 year old girls who’s sort of bewildered and trying to keep up with the technology. And like, I am a mom of an 11 and an 8 year old. So I need to explore these themes for myself personally. So it’s kind of a great gift to be able to do this role and hopefully help not only girls, but also the moms or the girls prepare for this stage of life. So it’s really appropriate for kids 12 and up, although I might push it to like 13 or 14 and up. There’s some language and some pretty frank discussion of various things. So yeah, but yeah, I’m worried about that. That’ll be a debut for me in Dallas. So it’s a great place.
Katti Power 32:46
I know. We’re breaking into Dallas now, which is exciting, because you’re from Fort Worth so yes, that was a new thing we tried.
Julie Rhodes 32:55
Yes, I intentionally had not been auditioning in Dallas just because the kids and their ages and then through a series of what I call miraculous signs, I felt compelled to start opening the doors in Dallas, and I’m really grateful for this first opportunity.
Katti Power 33:11
Yes, me too. Very excited for you.
Julie Rhodes 33:15
Katti Power 33:17
It’s gotta be exciting about to start something that’s so important. You know what this topic you were discussing. It’s such an important thing. So it’s definitely exciting to be a part of that. Cool. And your next one after that is the one we can’t really talk about, but it is the one we already have talked about. So yeah, very exciting. So thank you again, Julie, for sharing so much. I’m going to say goodbye to our Facebook community. Thank you for tuning in. If you have any questions, feel free to ask questions. And I’ll take a minute on Facebook afterward to answer any questions that you may have that I can answer and if not, I will ask Julie if she could do that at some point. So thanks for tuning in. Julie, if you’ll hang out for just a second. I’m going to disconnect but thank you everyone for tuning in.
Julie Rhodes 34:12
Thank you! Bye!