I was in Grade 5 when I first knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the theatre. I had found a bootleg of the original Broadway cast of Wicked on YouTube. From then on, I was hooked. I was already taking dance and voice lessons, and was heavily involved in my school’s choir. From that moment on, everything I did was to bring me closer to my eventual goal: making a living acting on stage for thousands of people every night. I’ve had plenty of people give me advice over the years, and I’d like to pass some of that along to you, faithful Argosy reader.
I knew that my goals wouldn’t be easily achieved. Living an hour outside of the city, where all major musicals happened, put me at a disadvantage. The drama program in my high school was great, but the music program needed work. I kept working at it though, and managed to balance an ensemble role in three major musicals in my three years of high school. It hadn’t been easy – trust me, you never want to be awake past midnight doing trigonometry – but I always came out of it knowing that I had worked hard and I had gained one of the most precious things for any actor: experience.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been told “no” plenty of times either. I’ve been told “no” more times than I can count. It always stings just a little, especially if it’s a show I’m really interested in. Still, I keep moving forward to the next show, because dwelling on one part that you didn’t get might blind you to an even better opportunity right in front of you.
I’m lucky enough to be studying the thing I love most in this world at my dream school. In my very first term at Mt. A, I did two shows (1917: Mud, Mayhem and Miracles and Paradoxes: The Life and Music of Fanny Hensel). This term, I have Garnet & Gold’s production of The Addams Family at the end of the month. I still get a “no” every now and again, but I’ve been finding myself more and more okay with them ever since moving away from home and finding all of these opportunities right on my doorstep.
The biggest piece of advice I’ve been given, which I’d like to pass on to you, is simple: don’t give up. If I had given up on my goals just because I wasn’t able to have the opportunities that I wanted to have, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This advice doesn’t just apply to theatre, but to every aspect of life. Your dreams are going to require a lot of demanding work – they won’t just happen overnight. So, you have to work hard and persevere, because the experiences that you’ll gain thanks to your hard work will more than make up for all of the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve poured into your goals.