“You see, it’s not really about singing,” said Morgan Vaughan. “It’s about acting.”
Vaughan, along with musical director Amanda Jones, has been offering a “Singing for Singers and Actors” eight-week cabaret class at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, which will culminate on Monday, March 16, with a performance that is free and open to the public at 6 PM.
Vaughan, who grew up in East Hampton and founded the Round Table Theatre Company here with her husband, Tristan Vaughan, has been on stage around the East End and around the country. Most recently, locally, she was seen in “Admissions” at the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue, but she was also executive director at LTV, East Hampton’s television station, until she stepped away to go back to her first love, the stage.
She has chosen the songs for each student each week, concentrating on different genres. “One week was standards, another was story songs,” she said. The night we spoke, the class was preparing for comic songs.
“The idea was to pair each student with a song or songs perfect for their voice and type, and teach them how to sell it,” she said. “And it’s for singers of all abilities.” Jones, who also grew up in East Hampton and is the musical director for countless local shows, is the accompanist for each performer.
Songs in the showcase include pieces by master songwriters like Stephen Sondheim and Johnny Mercer, songs from favorite musicals, but also tunes by Joni Mitchell and David Bowie. “It’s a hodgepodge,” Vaughan said with a laugh. “But it’s so much fun.”
The students are given their song a week in advance so they have time to prepare. They are not expected to read music, just listen to the song and make it their own.
“It’s not about head voice or chest voice, or belting something out,” Vaughan said. “That’s not what singing is. It’s about telling a story.”
She thinks for a minute, then says, “Really, it’s about finding your true voice.”
The class has been successful, and Vaughan plans to hold more of them in the future. For now, she hopes members of the public will come to the show on March 16 at Bay Street. “Most of the students have some experience on the stage, but some don’t,” she said. “It’s going to be new and exciting for them.”