Sunday, January 13, 2013

What is a "Rehearsal Host"?

Since I am asked this question a lot, thought I'd share a day in the life of a Rehearsal Host...

When I arrived for rehearsals last Thursday for the Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood Casino, I was expecting to do the usual, which is to stand in for Brooke Burke as co host. This year however was different, I was to stand in for Chris Harrison, the host, who is also a guy and the host of "The Bachelor". It's ok, I have stood in for a dude once before, Neil Patrick Harris, as host of the "Smith Center for the Performing Arts Opening Night Gala."

Whether my same gender or not, being a rehearsal host for the host of a national awards show or pageant is sometimes stressful, but NEVER boring! Things have changed even in the past few years with the increasing variety of camera set ups and angles. I am talking while backing up, turning around, doing semi-circles, walking sideways and talking, all while reading a teleprompter which is either at the far end of the theater from me, or on a nearby "jib",  (a camera on a crane with an eight inch monitor attached), or a "steady cam", a hand held camera and monitor combination.

Whatever you see the host of Miss America doing, (or recently the Miss Universe Pageant for Giuliana Rancic, and the American Country Awards for Kristin Chenoweth), I have already done for the past few days.

This means I get to uncover the mistakes or missing elements that don't work, and reinforce the ones that do. By this point in my career, if I make a mistake on stage it is because there is something wrong, but it's usually not with me. The crew knows this and so they check if something is off either technically or with stage direction, and it gets adjusted for the "real" host.

Anything that is going  to be on the air in any "live" production, the rehearsal host(s) and rehearsal actors have usually done first.

Back to The Miss America Pageant, this year for the first time I co hosted with my sister Karen Wendt, who stood in for Brooke Burke for part of the show. We work together on almost every show but never before as host and co host, so it was a kick! 

We worked on stage rehearsing all elements of the final pageant; swimwear, evening gown, interview, introductions of judges, opening and closing segments, and more.

Since I have worked on the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss America Pageants for several years now, I know both organizations pretty well. Say what you will about the contestants, ("pageant girls" as they are sometimes referred), at least they are not hanging out in bars and texting their lives away.  Instead they are putting forth consistent effort in education, fitness, social skills, volunteerism, and yes, of course beauty. By the way, the four points of the Miss America crown stand for: Style, success, service, and scholarship.

Gee, do you think Melissa was surprised to win?? Love this pic!

Congratulations to Miss New York, Melissa Hagen, now Miss America 2013. Loved her tap dance of James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing".

Photo courtesy of

Oh, and thanks to Chris Harrison for asking to take a pic with me and posting on your twitter feed. Made my day. :)

Bonus pics from the recent 2012 American Country Awards

Brian Scott and Anna Wendt, rehearsal hosts, ACA Awards 2012

Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth, hosts, rehearsing for ACA Awards 2012

Internet Movie Database Anna Wendt

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