Backstage With... Taunya Ferguson


Q. Taunya, how did you come to join the DC Cabaret Network?



A. I took George Fulginiti-Shakar’s  and Steven Cupo’s cabaret class at the Theatre Lab back in the spring of 2014, and Terri Allen came to our class showcase. She was so supportive and welcoming that, although we’d just met, I felt immediately comfortable with her. She encouraged me to perform at one of the DCCN open mic events, and I did, in June of 2014. I enjoyed hearing all the singers and songs, and the atmosphere was so positive and relaxed that I immediately knew I wanted to come back. I happened to run into Terri at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre about a month before she passed away... it is still a shock.


Q. What is your process for managing your musical audition repertoire? How do you choose songs that will showcase your voice, your acting skills, and also speak to the role for which you are auditioning?

 

A. It always begins with love.  I just love certain songs—and if I can actually sing them, that helps! And, there are songs that feel incredibly good to me when I sing them— not merely to hear them, but to sing them feels restorative, both physically and mentally. They help me get through things, to work things out that I need to work out. That is primarily how I choose songs.  In addition to that, of course I attend performances and listen to recordings and take note of any songs or singers I especially like, then jump on Google and YouTube to find out more.

If I love the song and find something in the character through the song that I can naturally connect with, then the connection will be evident and I can always rely on it. I never worry about the performance once the connection is made and I get to know the song really, really well. For auditions, I do look for opportunities to demonstrate my softs and louds, highs and lows… other than that, I see auditions as performances, period.

I also sign up for classes and workshops rather often— in acting, singing, improv, dance… whatever I think I may benefit from and have time for. Buzz Mauro is another great teacher at the Theatre Lab with whom I have taken several musical classes, and I hear his voice in my head whenever I am learning a new song—and it's a good thing. I have also taken classes at the Studio Theatre, the Washington Improv Theatre, the DC Improv, Joy of Motion... anything I am working on seems to benefit the other things I am working on— it's awesome.  In addition to what I have learned from teachers in classes, I have also learned a great deal from my fellow students.

 

 

Q. Where will we see and hear you next?

A. I am currently acting in two plays (not musicals) which are part of the Women's Voices Theatre Festival:  "Whenever You're Near Me I Feel Sick,” written and directed by Jennie Eng and "Princess Margaret,” written by Patricia Connolly and directed by R. Michael Oliver.  They both run until October 4 at the Trinidad Theatre Logan Fringe Arts Space at 1358 Florida Ave NE in Washington, DC.

On October 17, I will be performing at the New York Musical Improv Festival as a member of Door #3, a musical improv troupe based here in DC of which I am a founding member.  Then, on November 14, I will be performing in the District Arts Collaborative’s cabaret show, called "Dynasties,” at Cobalt.