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Theatre Industry Pros Give Advice To Their 18-Year-Old Self, Vol 1

By Ashley Sutherland

“With everything you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?”  What people don’t say is to work harder, say yes to one more project, ask for more work days, or travel less. Is there a common story line in every industry professionals’ journey when they choose a life working in live entertainment and theatre? If given the chance to go back in time, here is the advice theatre industry pros would give their 18-year-old self. 

Franz Harary, Internationally acclaimed Illusionist would say:

Enjoy life more!  That’s the biggie. At 18, I graduated high school. I received a scholarship to go to Eastern Michigan University to study music.  My dream was to go to Broadway and to be a Broadway star and singer.  I was always working, working, working, trying to attain that next thing – always goal-oriented and never enjoying the moment.

Enjoy it! Enjoy the ride. Also, realize that girls want it as much as you do, (he laughs), I didn’t realize that!

Brittany Marcin Maschmeyer, Broadway Dancer & Former Radio City Rockette would say:

I think to have patience and to always be kind. I always feel like I knew that and didn’t take it for granted but it really does matter.  You have to be talented, but people want to work with people they like, and they want to work with good people.  I think that has actually helped me more in the long run in my career.

I’m a very hard worker, I may not be the best person they’ve ever seen at the job but I will show up, I will give 100%, and that is so important.

Regarding patience, I remember being devastated about shows I didn’t get – I would think I should have gotten that job, or in that year this should have happened, but your path is perfect for you.  You can’t compare yourself to other people.  There were shows that I see now, if I would have booked them, it wouldn’t have led me to where I am now with the connections that I’ve made, and meeting choreographers and directors that I love to work for; everything happens for a reason.

You have to have patience with your path.  Eventually, hard work will pay off and you will get what is right for you. You may not see it at the time but I think if you just keep on going and don’t stop, eventually it all will unfold and it will be the perfect thing for you.

Hannah Meium, Director of Content, DDB New York would say:

Context clues and be open.  When I joined the Radio City Rockettes Arena tour, I arrived in Hamilton, Ontario where the show was already in tech rehearsals.  I had never been on a show before and had never been backstage and then suddenly, I am working on this massive production.

I will never forget the first time Vinnie, our security manager, was walking down the hall in the venue shouting “It’s a runner!” I was like “what on earth is a runner?!” but instead of asking and interrupting the chaos, I kind of read the context clues around me and followed the crowd. I learned that a “runner” was the last rehearsal/ performance in a city and as soon as the curtain came down, it was all hands on deck to exit the venue and load the production out.  If I had reacted, maybe things would have been different, but if I could share a piece of advice it would definitely be to take the time to observe your surroundings – you can learn a lot that way.

Also, don’t be stressed in between jobs, something will happen. Make friends and be nice to people, because someday they’ll be your boss.

Emily Loftiss, Television Personality, Dancer and Former Radio City Rockette would say:

It’s still the advice I would give to myself right now which is patience.  I do not know what that word means, I’ve read about it, it does not make sense to me.  I would tell myself to calm down and know that it will all make sense later.

Be you, be your authentic self, don’t try to bring yourself down and don’t ever make yourself small.

What advice would you share? Contact [email protected]

Other Advice from Theatre Industry Pros:

Theatre Industry Pros Give Advice To Their 18 Year Old Self, Vol 2

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