When You Do Musical Theatre, or Theatre in General…You Forget How to Act in the Real World

Well, my afternoon was certainly filled with chaos…but it was a good chaos! I spent most of my afternoon copying music for my audition down in Chicago in a few days, and it was kind of exciting. It still hasn’t set in yet that my dreams could actually become a reality! I want to do nothing more than Musical Theatre for a career. I get to make a living by singing eight shows a week, pretending to be someone else, and inspire other young potential thespians who want to be where I am. You can ask for a better job than that.

Now, If I can remember correctly…I’ve done nine shows so far in my theatre career: six plays and three musicals. I know that’s not a lot to vets of this craft who have been doing it since they were like six, but for me who started as a late bloomer, I consider that a great start. And I can’t wait to do more shows during my last year of college, and even more after college!

The most important thing Theatre/ Musical Theatre has taught me is, to never be afraid of YOU. Be proud of who you are. Just because I do theatre, doesn’t make me a weirdo. Just because I do theatre, doesn’t make me an outcast. The way I see it, the people who do theatre, or have done theatre are more: friendly, relatable, expressive and adaptable.

Think about it. If you are going to do theatre, you have to be friendly; theatre always you to get out all of that energy AND you get to meet new people with the possibility of being friends. Whatever role you get cast in: lead, chorus or cameo, you HAVE to be relatable from the beginning to the end of the performance. If you aren’t relatable, you aren’t taking the audience on the journey they came to see. They want to be swept up in a new world, and it’s the actor/actress’s job to do that, and make them smile, laugh or cry when they leave the show. You know you’ve done your job as a performer when the audience is clapping with one of those reactions, or better yet…all three! Whether the audience is sitting in the $100+ seats, or way up in the nosebleeds, a performer on Broadway, Off Broadway, The West End or ANY theatre company HAS to be expressive. Learning how to be expressive was the VERY FIRST thing I was taught in theatre, and I bet that was the foundation for every Broadway/ West End performer.Being a performer also means you have to be adaptable to any performing venue or audience. From a small Off Broadway Theatre, to Radio City Music Hall. An audience of 50 to an audience of 17,000 being expressive is the key to a moving, fantastic performance.

My favorite thing about being a thespian is that, whenever you hear certain words or phrases, your mind almost immediately goes to a Broadway reference…or at least my mind does. I don’t really know if any other thespian’s brain functions like that, but that’s just how mine works. I have a pin that says, “I speak in song lyrics and movie quotes.”…I feel like “Broadway References” needs to be added to that. Another awesome thing that I like being a Thespian is that, even after several weeks, or several years of doing a show the inside jokes between cast mates still exist. While learning in class one day in class, your teacher says something that reminds you of a show you did and you instantly remember your lines in a flash and the inside joke that went with it: best feeling EVER! My other favorite thing about being a Thespian is that after you’ve done theatre for so long, you forget how to act in the real world…and that’s okay! The world needs more artsy, and outgoing people.

I can’t write about being a Thespian with out mention one of my favorite organizations, The IMEAs. This amazing organization is a non-profit organization that supports new and established:  artists, bands, musicians, actors, directors, producers, playwrights, composers, songwriters, and filmmakers. They do this through performances, showcases, workshops, competitions, conferences, and an annual awards program that’s held in Kentucky. My dear friend, and fellow Thespian Colt Chambers is the brilliant man behind this great organization, and he’s only 19 years old! If that doesn’t say passion and support for The Performing Arts, I don’t know what does! He and his co-chair, Brayton Whitton who also happens to be another amazing friend of mine and a Thespian, put together a VERY successful 2nd Annual IMEA Awards, and I’m so proud of both of them. Being a part of this amazing family is the best thing I could ask for. They understand my weirdness, and they accept me for who I am. They are my theatre family, and I can’t wait to meet them someday, so I can give them a proper thank you for helping me learn to accept myself as amazing, and for being there with me on my journey to auditioning for AMDA!

Researchers have said that a career in the Creative or Performing Arts isn’t worth getting a degree for in college. I disagree with this strongly! The Creative and Performing Arts are some of the most rewarding careers out there! Yeah, they may not make a whole lot of money, but the reason why people do them is because it makes them happy. I know I would rather have a job that I love going to work for and not be paid a lot, than a job that pays a lot with benefits, and be miserable the rest of my life. I do Musical Theatre and plays because it makes me happy. They make me feel like I have place in this crazy, broken world of mine. Theatre is my safe haven. It’s not only a hobby, and a slight obsession on occasions…it’s my passion, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” –William Shakespeare.

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