Archive for the ‘Blog Entries’ Category

Thank you, Republicans, for the AHCA

Friday, May 5th, 2017

24 Million kicked off Insurance.

Sick people can be charged more than they make per year for insurance premiums, just because they are sick.

What exactly do you think will happen?

This is the American Health Care Act, the Republican alternative to Obamacare.

For years, Republicans warned of death panels. They never happened. It turns out, they were warning about themselves.

They can call it “fiscal responsibility,” but let’s be honest:

It’s thinning the herd.

An Open Letter to Senator Pat Toomey: Please, Stop the AHCA, and Save Our Lives

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Dear Senator Toomey,

I am writing to you as a constituent with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a debilitating connective tissue disorder. I run support groups for EDS, and have made hundreds of amazing inspiring friends over the years with all sorts of chronic illness, everything from lupus to cancer to cystic fibrosis to HIV. These people are my friends. They are my heroes. And if the AHCA passes the senate, they will die. Or at the very least, they will become utter prisoners to their own destructing bodies.

This is because many of them will be charged more for being sick – in many cases, their premiums will amount to more than they make in an entire year. As you can imagine, the work capacity for disabled Americans is much lower than the able public’s, and the vast majority of chronically ill people live in poverty. The AHCA targets these people with literally deadly precision. The block-grants proposed to fund high-risk pools for these people are laughably underfunded, and fly in the face of a fact that should be common sense: you can not have a separate insurance marketplace just for sick people. It will, by its very nature, self-destruct, and we will be its fatal victims.

Senator, you are a reasonable man. When you stood against most of your party to support commonsense gun legislation, I publicly applauded you. Please – I am genuinely begging you – show your bravery again. Vote against this travesty of a bill, and work instead to reform the current law in a way that genuinely brings down costs and makes healthcare better without being won on the backs of our most struggling citizens. You will have our respect, and our gratitude. And more importantly: you will have saved our lives.

Michael Bihovsky



Dear readers: thank you for taking the time to read my letter. If you care about this pivotal issue, and have a Republican senator, I hope you will take the time to write to them as well. The stakes could not be higher.

Composition Premiere at the Kimmel Center!

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

I’m at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia tonight, where along with about 40 incredibly talented kids and adults I’ll be performing (to a full house!) a super fun classic Broadway-style number that I wrote as the opening number to my alma mater’s  70th anniversary gala. As I walk through the labyrinthian halls of this incredible venue, I can hear people singing my music as I turn every corner, laughing at the lyrics, and perfecting layers of harmony.

As a composer/lyricist, this is the moment you cherish beyond any other: when that little ditty you heard in your head one day at 3AM is brought to life and becomes everything you imagined it could be and more. It is a truly amazing feeling, and thank you to everyone who made it possible. And for those of you who will be here tonight – strap in for a killer opening number!

“From Akiba to Barrack to Broadway”
Music and Lyrics by Michael Bihovsky
Performed by Akiba/Jack M. Barrack Hebrew
Academy students and Alumni
Kimmel Center – March 22, 2017

Rare Disease Day 2017: Reaction to EDS Video by AJ+

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

February 28 is rare disease day. Well okay, technically February 29 is rare disease day, but as we members of the rare disease community aim to be noticed more than once every four years, it is usually observed on the 28th). Usually this is a day for both reflection and awareness, during which people like me – a 30-year-old disabled man with the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) – can enjoy some much-needed attention to our generally overlooked cause. On this Rare Disease Day, however, I was confronted with a devastating video created by the website AJ+, a site which claims a mission to “share human struggles.” Instead of promoting understanding and solidarity, however, this video instead contained an eerie sense of voyeuristic aspiration.

“DISABILITY OR SUPERABILITY?” the video grandly opens, then proceeds to show various impressive contortionist feats performed by people with EDS. And although the video does eventually discuss the horrific state of chronic pain and injury that are all-too familiar to us EDS patients, the overall clear message of this video, with its myriad of amazing circus stunts, is: “Wouldn’t this disease be so cool to have??”

I would have cried from anger if I hadn’t already been crying from pain. The way I have cried every day for nearly half my life.

Yes, we EDSers can often dislocate our joints at will – though more often they dislocate on their own with no help from us – but when they do, it hurts every bit as much as it would hurt you. Have you ever seen those movie scenes where someone (usually Mel Gibson) dislocates his shoulder, and he screams in agony? That is what our lives look like every day. It is not a fun trick: it is quite literally hell.

In spotlighting and glorifying these acts of contortion, the video also inherently promotes these acts, which are in fact grossly dangerous for most EDS patients to attempt as they can lead to permanent injury and/or accelerate the degenerative pathology of the disease. In other words, fellow EDSers: do NOT try this at home!

But the video got one thing right: we ARE superheroes. Not because we can contort ourselves, but because we wake up every single day determined to try again. Because in spite of our monumental struggles, we try to live a live filled with meaning and any hint of normalcy we can attain. The odds are stacked against us, but as people with a rare disease we have never been ones to place our faith in odds.

We pray for a cure, or at the very least for any medical advance that will make our lives more manageable. But this will never happen if the world thinks that our mutations turn us into the X-Men. Because at the end of the day, we are just people. We don’t need hero worship. We need understanding. We need support. And above all, we need love.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every single person who has given me those three things. In every sense of the word, I would not exist without you.

Christianity Demands the Acceptance of ALL Refugees, Not Just Christians

Monday, February 27th, 2017

I just heard a commercial on (of course) Conservative Radio that made me very sad. This is (approximately) what it said:

(Sad piano music. A soothing but emotional female voice speaks:)

“The refugee crisis in Syria has reached devastating levels, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and that there’s nothing you can do to help. But did you know there are CHRISTIAN Syrian refugees? These Christians have no home, and very often no food and no water. They are starving, and their children are starving. Please help us save these Christian Syrian refugees, to get them sustenance and safe passage to a better life.”

All I can think about is: why do they have to be Christian for Republicans to care? Can you imagine that same commercial running on their radio station to allow the starving Muslim children to have “safe passage to a better life”? No, that commercial would not exist on that station. I’ve heard the commercials they DO have about Muslim refugees, and there’s no sad piano music. It’s the psycho theme song as the “In A World” voice tells you to call your representative to keep these Muslim refugees the hell out of here, including babies and orphans.

Jesus said “love your fellow man as you love yourself.” He did NOT add “…but only if they are Christian.”

He said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” He did NOT add “…unless they also believe in Muhammad.”

“Be hospitable to strangers,” and “Welcome strangers the same way you would welcome Christ.” There is no addendum stating, “…unless you are afraid of them, and/or if you decide that the crimes of a few belong to the people who are FLEEING that few.”

This callous hatred and hypocrisy of too many Christians is exactly what Jesus came to preach against. If there actually is a Hell, and they end up there for this, maybe they will finally understand what it’s like to be a Muslim Syrian refugee.

Not Too Far From Here

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Like so many, I have been devastated to witness the recent uptick in incidents and words of hate against many groups of people. I believe it is crucial to stand up against such hatred. But I also believe, as Hippie-ish as it sounds, that the only thing that truly trumps hate is love. We can and must stand up to defend people from discrimination, but the only real way to counteract a hand raised in anger is to offer our own hands in peace, solidarity, help, and understanding.

In this spirit, I wanted to offer my performance and arrangement of my favorite song on this topic, ‘Not Too Far From Here.’ The introduction is a song I wrote called ‘Queen Esther,’ in memory of my grandmother, Esther Bates, who escaped the Holocaust and subsequently lived her life to help others. The great Lisa Willson was gracious enough to lend me her incomparable vocals, piano, and concert venue to perform this song.

I am not naïve enough to think that music on its own can create the kind of change the world most needs – but my hope and prayer is that it may provide an inspirational soundtrack for the loving deeds of true heroes.

5 Acting Tips to Nail Your College Musical Theater Audition (or any other audition)

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Hi all! After twelve years of teaching singing and acting, and my 100% success rate at getting every one of my students into their first choice music/theater/drama program, I’ve finally compiled five of my favorite tips to help others make the most out of their college auditions.

This guide is catered to college auditions, but the acting advice contained is easily applicable to any other audition or performance environment. I hope you find this piece useful, and if so, feel free to share it with other people who might gain from it! We really are all in this together.

If the tips in this video really resonate, visit my Voice and Acting Lessons page to learn more about Michael’s studio. For in-person or internet consults, please visit my contact page.

Thanks, and here’s the transcript for all you visual learners out there. Happy audition season!!



Hi, I’m Michael Bihovsky, I am a voice and acting teacher just outside of Philadelphia, and I want to talk to you about making the most out of your college auditions. A little background, I’ve been teaching privately for about twelve years, and during that time, I am proud to say that every student I’ve had of dozens who’ve studied with me for at least a couple months has gotten into their first choice. Now, I am terrifyingly aware that I am always just one student away from that not being true, but for now, it is true, so let’s enjoy it.

So why do my students do so well? Well for one thing, I’m very lucky to have taught some exceptionally talented people. But they’re up against other exceptionally talented people, and they get in. Why?

The most important reason is that when my students go in for a musical theater audition, they’re not just singing – they’re acting. That might seem like an obvious thing, but I’ve spent a lot of time on both sides of the casting table, and you’d be amazed how many singers there are out there who sound completely flawless, but they have almost nothing going on, they have no connection to what they’re saying, they’re thinking about vocal technique and the audition itself and just generally anything but the actual words they’re saying.

And then there’s another group of people, they’re a lot more engaged, but they’re doing something that I call “acting the intensity” rather than acting and exploring individual moments. They give a very intense and committed performance, but they mostly just choose one thought or emotion and stick with that throughout the entire piece. This is where real acting training is vital to bring out a performance that is honest, and nuanced, and memorable.

Now these days, almost everyone applying to a musical theater program has a voice teacher. And that’s fantastic, it is so important for your voice to be in the best shape that you are capable of. But very few people have an acting coach, especially one who’s willing to tackle musical repertoire. And that’s where I come in.

So, here a few things – and I have many more but I’ll try to keep this short – here are five acting tips to really blow people away at your auditions and to become a better actor overall, whether you’re auditioning or performing, and whether it’s a song or a monologue.

NUMBER ONE – Who are you talking to? You want to come up with two answers, one for who your CHARACTER is talking to in the context of the song, and who YOU could talk to in real life that would approximate the relationship of the characters. Because you talk very differently to your brother than your boss, or to someone you hate versus someone you have a crush on, so pick someone really personal and appropriate, and try to physically see them standing in front of you, and look them in the eye, and that will make your performance a lot more personal and a lot more real. A good trick that my acting teacher, Guy Stroman, uses in his classes is to practice your song while looking at an actual person in front of you, and I’m always amazed at what an immediate shift there is as soon as that happens. In addition to who you’re talking to, you can add on WHERE you’re talking, because the tone and body language will change if you’re one-on-one versus in a crowded movie theater. There’s no one right answer to this, so it’s really all about trying out all the possibilities, showing them to people you trust, and then making a strong choice.

NUMBER TWO – What do you want? What does your character want? Most songs and monologues have one overarching need, and then a bunch of smaller goals along the way. You need to notice those smaller goals and differentiate between them, because that’s really where a piece lives, is in those small details, and the more specific you get, the more universal it becomes. So for example, in the course of one song where you’re telling someone you love them for the first time, the overarching need is for reciprocation, but from one moment to the next you might want to kiss them or might want to stick your head in the microwave. I might be projecting about that microwave thing.

NUMBER THREE – After you’ve decided what your character wants, determine what tactics your character uses to get it, and allow that to help you draw an emotional map for the journey of your character. So if I want you to do something for me, there are several methods I can try: I can entice you, I can guilt you, I can beg, I can cry, I can trick. And each of those have emotional counterparts: love, excitement, anger, despair, jealousy. People are complicated, and especially during heightened emotional moments, we tend to think and feel a lot of things one after the other, or even at the same time. Good lyricists and playwrights will always give you the clues to put together for a real three-dimensional character. But ultimately it’s up to you to make the choices for your character. Make those choices, and OWN those choices.

NUMBER FOUR – THINK. This is honestly the most important, because none of the others exist without it. Think about the words you are saying as if you are crafting them and noticing them for the first time. A huge part of that is speaking in thoughts, not sentences, because in real life we don’t speak in punctuation. We start a sentence… and then we finish it when figure what – we want – to say. See what I did there? If not, rewind about ten seconds. Similarly, we will breeze right through a punctuation mark we’ll breeze right through it if we can hold a thought we just keep going. Rewind that one too if you need to. Now in singing, what that means is you don’t always have to obey the sheet music 100%. Now the composer in me is cringing as I say that, but let me just clarify that you should obey it 99% of the time, and I’m not talking about changing melodies or the basic rhythm. But if the music allows for it, you can STRETCH the rhythm from time to time, you can cut off notes early, or can you can hold them out a bit, if – and only if – you can come up with a good reason for your character to do so. Maybe your character’s overwhelmed, and CAN’T hold out the note. Maybe you’re really enjoying a particular memory, so you hold out the note, to hold onto that thought. Let the acting always be your guide.

NUMBER FIVE – What do YOU personally bring to the table? In an audition setting where people don’t know you, they can’t help but subconsciously read into you from your performances and from your audition selections, which means two things: first, when choosing material to audition with, try not to choose pieces that unapologetically feature obnoxious traits like arrogance or self-righteousness. Second, try to choose material and characters that you DO personally identify with, so that you don’t just become the character, but the character kind of becomes you. You meet somewhere in the middle. And then it’s okay for the auditioner to read into the character, because they are in fact reading into you, and a huge part of auditioning is social, so this is your chance to show YOU. And you don’t have to keep it light, there is not an artist out there who has not experienced some turmoil, and that’s fine, that’s honest, and that’s going to create some really interesting performances.

I’m going to leave it there even though I have way more to say, because I always have more to say, and not everyone wants to listen! So, if you like my tips, and if you want my help with an upcoming audition or performance, I do consults in the Philadelphia area. I also occasionally do consults on Skype or FaceTime. Ultimately I recommend that you find a really good in-person coach, but if what I’m saying really resonates with you, you can check out my website at – it’s in the video description – click on contact, and let me know what you’re up to! And please feel free to check out the rest of my channel, which is musical parody-based and not like this video at all. You can also subscribe by clicking on that button. Or possibly that button, I can’t keep track of YouTube.

You Want To Protest-Vote? Then Vote Clinton.

Monday, November 7th, 2016

If you’re planning a so-called “protest vote” for a third-party candidate, please don’t kid yourself that you’re doing something righteous.

Protests – real, noble protests – aren’t about YOU. They’re about making the world a better place and/or stopping it from going to hell, and making sure that no one gets hurt in the process. It’s about imagining how life ought to be and figuring out how to get there, but always, ALWAYS starting with a realistic assessment of where we currently are. And where we are is this:

If Donald Trump is elected president, America as we know it is over.

Free speech is gone.

Abortion rights are gone.

LGBT rights are gone.

Healthcare reform is gone.

Stop-and-frisk is brought back. Nationally.

Taxes on the poor go up.

Taxes on billionaires go down.

A global trade war crashes the world economy (including ours).

The national debt triples.

The supreme court is filled with alt-right Conservative zealots.

The EPA is eliminated, along with the department of education. 490,000 teachers are fired.

Century-old alliances are broken. Military strategy is decided unilaterally by Trump, who “knows more than the generals” and “has a very good brain.”

Immigrants are rounded up and thrown out of the country, their children left behind.

Refugees are given a religious test that can deny them entry.

Innocent people are tortured or killed if their relative is suspected of being a terrorist.

And climate change, which Donald says is a Chinese hoax, will kill us all, but only if Donald doesn’t start a nuclear war first.

This is what happens if you and everyone else like you decides that all of those things are no worse than a private email server, questionable public speaking fees, and being on the non-progressive side of a handful of issues. Your protest will lead to the destruction of every single issue we have fought for, and you will be a disgrace to progressivism and basic human decency.

So if you don’t vote for Hillary Clinton, or don’t vote at all, please don’t pretend that you are the instrument of change, and instead realize what you really are: the literal deciding vote for whether we carry on as a society and vote again in a few years or whether an incompetent egomaniacal compulsively-lying hateful rapist kills us all.


If you make a protest vote, and he wins, you won’t be as disgusting as the people who actually supported and voted for this monster. But you WILL be just as responsible. Good luck protesting then, when he has repeatedly promised a system where dissidents will be sued, jailed, or “roughed up, like the good old days.”

You want to protest? Protest hate. Protest willful ignorance. Protest racism, sexism, bullying, violence, and intolerance. If you want to make a protest vote that can genuinely make a difference, then a vote for Hillary Clinton is the only protest vote worth making.

So please, I’m begging you: put yourself aside tomorrow, and save the world. We need you.


Before and After

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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Trump Suppoters’ Abusive Relationship

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

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