Howard McGillin is best known for his record-setting performance in the title role of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, Howard has appeared extensively in leading roles on Broadway and London’s West End. In addition to his signature role behind the mask, Howard has starred on Broadway in “Gigi”, “The Kiss Of The Spider Woman”, “She Loves Me”, “The Secret Garden”, “Anything Goes” (nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards), “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and received the Theatre World Award), and “Sunday in the Park with George”. On London’s West End, Howard starred in acclaimed revivals of “Mack and Mabel” and in “Anything Goes”. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his New York theatrical debut in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of “La Bohème”. He starred in the Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman musical “Bouncedirected by Harold Prince at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. Other regional credits include leading roles in “Damn Yankees” at The Paper Mill Playhouse, “The 39 Steps” and “It Shoulda Been You” at The George St. Playhouse, and “Grey Gardens” and “My Fair Lady” at The Bay St. Theater, and “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Howard has sung on concert stages around the world from Carnegie Hall to the Israel Philharmonic Hall in Tel Aviv to Tokyo. He has performed in New York’s famed Cafe Carlyle, 54 Below, Feinstein’s at the Regency, and the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room. Recent television appearances include “The Good Wife” and “Elementary”. Howard has also narrated numerous episodes of “Nature” for PBS, and recorded numerous audio books in addition to providing voices for the animated feature films “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and “The Swan Princess”. His solo CD “Howard McGillin:

Where Time Stands Still” is available online at


Donna McKechnie’s




This class addresses the personal and unique expression of the individual in the solo performance of a song through a series of acting based exercises for relaxation, sense memory, emotional recall and breathing, thus enabling the student to give every song a personal point of view, to more fully engage an audience and to have a clearer understanding of the process.


The objective is to help the student integrate, through this organic approach, his or her physical and emotional life, and therefore enhancing the vocal production and interpretation.


The group dynamic plays a very important part in this class.  Students are able to witness the transformative and successful result of the soloist when he or she has made an emotional connection, shown more clarity of choice and impulse, and vocal improvement.


The inhibitions that stop or hurt an artist’s efforts to communicate and commit fully are dealt with through comprehensive instruction on how to make specific choices in order to find the freedom to feel and be spontaneous in performance.


This class technique is based on my own dramatic training with Uta Hagen, Warren Robertson, Larry Moss, and the Actor’s Studio.


My vocal training with Maurice Jampol, Paul Gavert, Marge Rivingston and Judith Farris has given me an important and fundamental comprehension of voice production.


In 1979 Herbert Bergof gave me the first opportunity to teach at his HB Studio in New York City. I have had wonderful opportunities, while performing all over the country, to teach Master Classes in many colleges and Performing Arts Schools, including, Pepperdine University, University of Michigan, Cincinnati Conservatory, Boston University, Harvard, Interlochen, New York University and to the Annual Conventions for Musical Theatre Students in Tampa, Florida and Houston, Texas.


Musical Theatre Performance Notes


Your voice is you.


Any inhibitions, tension and restrictions you may have will be reflected and revealed in your voice.


Allow your presence to be big and full. The song is small, like an article of clothing, another dimension of you.


You are more important than the song, than the words, yet the song must be clear, illuminated.


Every song is a communication.


Look at the scene and/or song objectively first, before making subjective choices.


What is the song about?

What is the event or situation in the song?

Where is it taking place?

What has just happened that motivates dramatic action? (life before)

To whom are you singing?

What do you want or need?

What do you “do” to get what you want? By what means? How? (the intention is always a verb…seduce, confront, coax, threaten, implore, invite, challenge, ect.)

What are the obstacles? (create dramatic tension)

Do you succeed or fail in achieving objective?

What does the lyric tell you about the character?

What does the feel of the music tell you about what the character is feeling? (condition)

Plot is story.


Story is an interaction of characters.


Actions are either physical, verbal, psychological, or a combination of all three.


They must travel toward a target in order to interact with the physical, verbal, and psychological actions of others.


And what is done to you by someone or something, causes your responses, your sensations and your feelings, about which you will want to do the next thing. (give and take)


Other Key Words or Actions……….Charm, Demand, Plead, Protest, Beg, Accost, Command, Subdue, Titillate, Tantalize, Torment, Urge, Excite, Intimidate, Allure, Pacify, Flatter, Encourage, Inspire, Shame, Humor, Tease, Alarm, Hassle, Goad, Irritate, Provoke, Delay, Compromise, Placate, Cajole, Patronize, Vilify, Rouse, Quash, Inflame, Assault, Surmount, Bait, Beguile, Impress, Mystify, Bewitch, Terrify, Threaten, Please, Dazzle, Deflate, Inflate, Defy, Harass…..ect.


Suggested reading….A Challenge for the Actor, by Uta Hagen, published by Charles Scribner’s and Sons.