So You Messed Up, What Now?
You're on stage somebody has just said their line. It's your turn, you've practiced, you've prepared, but.... your mind just goes blank. This isn't good, you start stressing and trying to even come up with some of your line, but can't. There's an awkward pause and you feel like your standing there for eternity. What can you do? What should you do? Well let me tell you.
When this situation comes up (trust me it will happen) you have to trust yourself and your cast members. The most important thing about messing up is learning how too. Don't show it in your face or posture. This is where improv can help as-well. If you have the idea of what you're suppose to say then say that. It's better to say something close to your line than nothing at all. If you have a really good cast they'll realize that you missed the beat you should have said your line and they can come up with something. 90% of the time people won't realize you messed up if you just don't show it and can play it off really well. This works for lines, but what happens in the middle of a song.
This can be a little tougher because the track or pianist (depending on what you're using) is going to continue to play. If you have a really good pianist they might realize that you missed an entrance and can play it off. However if it is a track then you're going to have to start singing where it makes the most sense again. Instead of coming back on the word "and" come back on a more important word such as "People". Use the subject of the song if there is one. The same rules apply for lines though. Don't show it in your face or posture. If you can insert a little dance move or action in the place you forgot to sing that could work really well. I've messed up plenty of songs, but if you add some good characterization and maybe a movement it won't matter, you might even be able to throw in an ad lib or two. For example if your song is sad then maybe you break as a character emotionally and are unable to sing for one of the lines. Just be sure to come back.
Finally is the hardest one for me personally. Dancing... again same rules apply for dancing. Don't show it in your face or posture. Dancing has a pretty simple rule but is difficult to execute if you're with a group. If you don't know the move then improv until you remember the next moves. If you're the main character then most likely people won't notice it. However if you're all suppose to be doing the same dance then it could be a little noticeable. Just never give up and always be attempting to do something. If you're the only one on stage dancing then you should be pretty good to improv if you're a good dancer.
Those are the things to do, or at least I do when I mess up. Learning how to mess up is a big part of this industry because truth be told, you will mess up, and someone will notice. But it's all about pulling it off wether 1 person or the whole crowd notices it. So next time you mess up just keep going. And remember, don't show it in your face or posture. Stay singing, dancing, and acting. Good Luck!!