The Reason to Sing : A Guide to Acting While Singing book cover
1st Edition

The Reason to Sing
A Guide to Acting While Singing

ISBN 9780367272425
Published April 9, 2021 by Routledge
182 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

In The Reason to Sing, renowned composer-lyricist and teacher Craig Carnelia provides musical actors with a step-by-step guide to making their singing performances more truthful, vivid, and full of life.

Using a technique developed over decades of teaching the professional community of Broadway actors and students alike, The Reason to Sing utilizes detailed descriptions of sessions the author has had with his notable students and lays out a new and proven approach to help you build your skills, your confidence, and your career.

This book is intended for musical theater acting students as well as working professionals and teachers of the craft.

Table of Contents

1. Approaching the Song  2. Preparation  3. Action  4. About Music  5. Types of Songs  6. Invisible Partners  7. Auditioning  8. A Sense of Play  9. In Production  10. In Concert  11. In Conclusion

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Craig Carnelia has taught acclaimed musical theater acting classes for the Broadway community for over 25 years, as well as frequent master classes at many top universities including CCM, Elon, Northwestern, University of Michigan, and Missouri State. As composer-lyricist, he has received two Tony Award nominations, two Drama Desk nominations, two Best Plays citations, the Johnny Mercer Award, and the prestigious Kleban Award. His shows include Working, Is There Life After High School?, Poster Boy, and (with composer Marvin Hamlisch) Sweet Smell of Success and Imaginary Friends. Best known songs include Flight and What You'd Call a Dream. He is currently at work on a new musical with book writer John Weidman.


From Students

"The Reason to Sing is an imperative addition to the library of acting technique. This is one of our greatest masters giving you a master class on the practicalities of acting through song. Enjoy stepping into his classroom. It’s a magical place to be."

Annaleigh Ashford

"Craig Carnelia taught me how to act. He has an uncanny ability to reach the heart of a song and the heart of his students. His students are not just singers. They are storytellers."

Sutton Foster

"Craig saw promise, intelligence, and capability in my acting before I could acknowledge or value those qualities in myself. Through his gentle encouragement and disarming honesty, I was offered a safe place to explore every facet of myself and examine those facets until I learned to love and respect them."

Barrett Wilbert Weed

"Simply put: I owe my career to Craig – every audition, performance, award nomination and accolade. He gave me the confidence-of-self to sing each note and lyric with purpose, truth and integrity. His class will forever be my Northstar."

Brandon Uranowitz

"Craig’s teaching left an indelible mark on my acting and in my writing. I still hear his voice when I approach new material or a new role. Oh, and I booked a lot of Broadway shows because of his class."

Jennifer Sanchez

"Throughout my seven years of studying with Craig, I observed his uncanny ability to introduce the artist to themself. He would consistently intuit exactly what each student required to use their entire being to tell truth through art. His role in my life has been immense both as an artist and a human."

Laura Dreyfuss

"Craig’s teaching changed the course of my career. The work we did together re-shaped the relationship I have with song and gave me permission to 'not perform' and to trust that I am enough. Craig’s work creates an environment of vulnerability and honesty which results in searingly poignant communication between artist and audience. Beginning with my work in Craig’s class, I was able to build on that and have ended up in some of the smartest and most courageous rooms in New York."

Beth Malone

"I’ve had the great pleasure of taking Craig’s class on and off for many years. His unique approach to musical theater acting, through personalization, relationship, and storytelling, has the ability to unlock even the most difficult of acting challenges. He was crucial to my finding confidence and useable tools as a young actor, and I still think of his class often, across all mediums of my work."

Aaron Tveit

"Craig Carnelia is perhaps the most influential teacher in my study of musical theatre. Coming from a strictly classical music background, I only understood acting on a performative level. Craig broke me of the habit of ‘just singing’ and freed me to communicate through song."

Elizabeth Stanley

"Encountering Craig’s class was a pivotal moment in my journey as an actor. He has an uncanny ability to observe his students and draw out their truths by responding to what is most human in them. He is deeply present with his students, and that level of presence is something I continue to aspire to in my work and life."

Ato Blankson-Wood

"I could write a book. Craig’s teaching is simultaneously tangible and visceral, yet also meditative and beyond the confines we set for ourselves. I cannot recommend him enough and hope this book inspires the creation of more studios and communities such as the one he created on West 72nd Street."

Erika Henningsen

From Universities

"This book is wonderful! Craig Carnelia offers a clear methodology, a step-by-step process to discover surprising authenticity and originality in the acting of songs. He has illuminated a supportive, insightful and inspiring acting process that creates the illusion that this master acting coach is standing by your side. It’s this intimate collaboration between the author and the reader (the teacher and the student) that makes this book so uniquely valuable to the student. I intend to use no other textbook in my Music Theatre Techniques class at Northwestern University from now on."

David H. Bell, Director of Music Theatre, Northwestern University

"As a master teacher of Musical Theatre, Craig Carnelia cuts to the heart of songs and makes them immediate for young performers. He espouses an admirable balance of insightful interpretation, emotional acting and crisp musicality. His master classes are always highly anticipated events at CCM."

Aubrey Berg, Chair Emeritus, CCM Musical Theatre Program

"Craig Carnelia is something of an industry standard in the teaching world regarding this subject. Utilizing the very best of Meisner, Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen and several other master teachers, his distillation of these ideas is profound, simple and accessible. A master instructor in his own right, there is something here for every aspiring and established singing artist."

Robert Westenberg, Professor of Theatre and Coordinator, BFA Musical Theatre Program, Missouri State University

"Craig Carnelia is the Master Teacher of Acting a Song. Elon’s Music Theatre students have been very fortunate to participate in and observe his many master classes on campus. Everyone leaves his classes inspired and carrying with them unique and valuable tools for their next performance. I trust you will be similarly inspired by The Reason to Sing."

Catherine McNeela Nt.D, Professor of Performing Arts and Coordinator of Music Theatre, Elon University