Last year, the City of Pittsburgh said farewell to the uber-talented Pittsburgh Musical Theater powerhouse, Emily Lynne Miller, as she set sail for the land of Shakespeare and Peppa Pig, jolly ol’ England.
Her mission, should she choose to accept it, to infiltrate the British theater scene, and become an international acting sensation.
So far, so good.
With the recent opening of “She Loves Me” at the Landor Theater in London, Miller begins her first production across the pond, and is hopeful that this is the first of many.
Miller recently teamed up with The Pittsburgh Collective to share her transition into the UK, as well as her experience with Theatrica Ltd, the company putting on the boutique musical. These are Miller’s accounts, as written by her.
Enjoy, and Cheerio.
Jon and I moved into our apartment and had to do normal apartment setup things that everyone in the world has to do when they move…But in The States you could do all of this in one weekend by going to Target, Ikea, Walmart, and a HUGE grocery store finding 99% of things you need in those places.
In London this process takes a bit more time. Not only does it take 6 weeks for British Telecom to do the simple task of flipping a switch in order to get internet access (and without internet access, good luck trying to navigate in a new city/country) but there are not super stores in London where you can find everything you need in one place. You can’t go the same place for toiletries, pillows, cleaning supplies, and towels. All of those necessary items require different stores and of course none of them are close to each other so it makes for very few items being checked off the list every day before exhaustion takes over.
Fast forward a couple of months (because it took that long to get situated!) I’m ready to start focusing on my career. I’ve had wonderful training and I believe myself to have a special talent, so what now? In the US (outside of NYC) I would have done some research on the local theatre companies and when they hold their yearly auditions, aka open calls. In NYC, you would look for a Broadway/Off Broadway/workshop/reading open call. In addition, you could get an agent (that means you getting appointments for things rather than waiting for hours in an open call lines) but it’s not absolutely necessary to find reputable work.
In London…different story, you really need an agent to get submitted and seen for anything reputable. In addition, most agents aren’t in a hurry to work with you unless they’ve already seen your work! This of course, makes sense. Why would they put their name and reputation on the line when they don’t know that you’ll ever work? Even though I understood, being so new and never having worked in London. it created some challenges.
How do you get an agent when you know nothing and no one? Thankfully Colleen Petrucci and Jon Sage were kind enough to get some videos of my work from the great roles I’ve done at PMT sent to me from the archives. I’m so thankful for that. I would have been completely at a stand still without that material to build a bit of a portfolio.
Now to find an agent! That process took some time and I had many meetings with people who I didn’t necessarily feel like a fit. Finally, after hearing her name several times from people who I trusted I met with Sheri Copeland. She was so warm, kind and honest, one of the best humans I’ve met. I signed with her and K Talent (her agency) the day before I left to come to Pittsburgh for the holidays.
After spending 3 weeks in the US, we came back to London. A week later I had an email from Sheri regarding my first audition…an audition for a show coming to the West End in March. I about threw up, but I was really excited! A couple of hours later, I got another email from her about an urgent call for the next day.
It was for a fringe production of She Loves Me at the Landor Theatre. Fringe is very big here, extremely reputable. You can compare this production to what we call Off Broadway in NYC. It’s considered Off West End. Although I wasn’t expecting to have my first London audition be so last-minute, I figured why not? My husband reminded me, I have nothing to lose and I just need to put myself out there.
The audition went well and they had me sing a second song out of my book and then had me look over a scene of the supporting female character Ilona. I think the reading went well as they asked me to sight-read and sing a bit of the song she sings in Act 1. After the audition, I felt good about the way it went, even if nothing came from it. I thought I made a good first impression. My agent called me a couple of hours later with the news that I had got the role of Ilona.
We started rehearsals 3 days later.
I am really loving the process. Everyone in the cast and artistic team is so nice and welcoming. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been the new girl in the room and I think no matter how young or old you are that is terrifying. It has reminded me to always be warm to the new person in the room. Sometimes when you’re so used to knowing everyone you forget what it’s like to be in that position. I won’t forget again.
Everyone involved in the production is so talented and I believe this will be a great show that people will love. Just need to get lots of butts in the seats so we can share this special piece. It’s called She Loves Me and it’s playing over the Valentine’s holiday…what could be better to do?!
Special thanks to Emily Lynne Miller for sharing her experiences with The Pittsburgh Collective. She’ll continue to provide us theater intel, so stay tuned for exclusive thoughts from our favorite biscuit.