Exclusive: Broadway's Best Share Advice for Young Performers with Big Dreams

Kids’ Night on Broadway takes place in New York City on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

By: Aug. 28, 2023

This week is all about the kids! As BroadwayWorld previously reported, The Broadway League is bringing back Kids’ Night on Broadway, taking place in New York City tomorrow, August 29, 2023. Kids’ Night on Broadway returns with a special summer edition welcoming kids 18 and under to attend any of the 17 participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. More details here!

Seeing a Broadway show can be just the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the theatre. Below, stars from the participating Kids’ Night on Broadway shows share words of advice for young performers with dreams of being on Broadway some day.

Exclusive: Broadway's Best Share Advice for Young Performers with Big Dreams
Laura Bell Bundy in The Cottage

Laura Bell Bundy, The Cottage:

Identify WHY you want to be an actor.  If it is for fame or recognition, it will fall short and never be sustainable.  Find the real root of why you enjoy acting.  Is it because you like to express yourself?  Is it because you enjoy the sense of community from your cast and crew?  Is it because you want to make people laugh?  Is it because singing makes you feel free?  For me, it is because I like to play.  I never really got over my childhood and being in a creative playful place is my favorite feeling.  For me, acting is just high performance playing.  So every audition, every rehearsal, every performance is an opportunity for me to play…. It isn’t necessarily about getting the job or anything else, it’s about playing the best I can in all of those situations…. For me, that means I get to create a backstory for my characters— such a fun exercise for my imagination… I figure out the voice and body language of my characters— the ultimate “playing pretend"… and then I throw myself into it with full abandonment like a child… and have FUN! If you can identify the root of why you enjoy being an actor, in the good times and in the bad, you will know where your North Star is and you will stay the course. 

Ashley Chiu, Once Upon a One More Time

Work hard and get better every day. I did 96 auditions in 2019 before I booked my first Broadway show. 96 Auditions. That's one audition every 2.3 business days. And on the days I wasn't auditioning, I was preparing for the next audition, going to dance class, taking a voice lesson, going to the gym, seeing my rep coach, taking acting class, working multiple jobs.

Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot

Learn all the skills you can. The more you can do, the more chance you have to be cast. Work hard, have fun, and be kind!

Bane Griffith, MJ the Musical

My advice to give to children who want to become an actor is first and foremost, do not compare yourself to others. Secondly, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the part. Keep working hard, keep auditioning, and don’t stop. 

Zoe Jensen, Six

It’s cliche, but BE YOURSELF! Growing up, there were things about myself that I thought were weird or different, and I thought I had to hide them so I could be a good actor. Turns out, those little quirks about myself were what made me special and what make my performance uniquely me! What you bring to the table is more than enough— it’s perfect. 

Exclusive: Broadway's Best Share Advice for Young Performers with Big Dreams
Jose Llana in Here Lies Love

Jose Llana, Here Lies Love

The best advice I would give to kids who might like to be an actor is to see as much art and theater as they can. You never know where you will find inspiration. Also, I would recommend they don't limit themselves to acting. There are so many jobs onstage and offstage that all help to make theater. Writing, lighting, costume design... they are all part of the magic.

Kimberly Marable, Chicago 

My advice to kids wanting to be an actor is to start now! Do the school play, the theater camp, the glee club. Read plays with your friends. Write/make movies on your phone. There are so many tools at your disposal right now to do this thing we love. To give you space to try to new things. To help sharpen your skills, and to be a perpetual student. When you get older, half the battle is showing up, both physically and mentally. If you put in the work now, you’ll have no problem showing up as your fullest, most authentic, and most prepared self in the future. 

Brandon A. McCall, The Lion King

Be the first person to believe in you and your talent. 

Joel Meyers, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Just do it.  Doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter who; seek every chance you can to get involved in the theatre, whether it’s at school, in your backyard, or anywhere else you may find like-minded folks who want to tell a story.  Continual exploration is everything in performance and in art, and even if you don’t end up pursuing acting as a career, you’ll never regret the time you spent letting your imagination roam free.

Jake Pedersen, Wicked

My advice would be to find the things that make you unique and lean into them. Trust the process and that what is yours will not pass you by. 

Erik Christopher Peterson, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

If you want to be an actor the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to always lead with love. Approach your character, your script, and your collaborators heart-first, and that will take you a very long way!  

Exclusive: Broadway's Best Share Advice for Young Performers with Big Dreams
Courtney Reed in Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Courtney Reed, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

This one is a 2 part! Part 1: Never stop believing in yourself. How can someone else believe in you if YOU don’t believe in YOU? Part 2: Be kind to everyone. Your reputation is everything. You can’t imagine how far kindness can take you. 

Jelani Remy, Back to the Future

My advice would be to remember that YOU are enough! There is a place for you in our amazing community- push yourself, be kind to yourself and be kind to others. I’m rooting for you!

Don Darryl Rivera, Aladdin

My advice for young people who want to pursue a career as an actor is always remember to have fun: it’s called “A Play” for a reason.

Bri Sudia, A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical

 Your imagination is your greatest gift! At its heart, theatre is make believe! So if you can imagine it, you can act it!  

Nasia Thomas, Six

To know it’s all possible. To always celebrate the things that make you special, and that no one, EVER can limit you. Never. Ever. 

Exclusive: Broadway's Best Share Advice for Young Performers with Big Dreams
Nasia Thomas in Six

Bill Youmans, Wicked

If you want to act, start by taking acting class.  If no class is available, try auditioning for a show at school.  Watch the greatest actors, do not pay much attention to the trendy young actors of the moment, unless they are extraordinary.  Start trying to read plays and ask the questions, what does each main character want, and how do they try to get it?  Try to become aware of the greatest playwrights: Shakespeare, Anton Checkov, Tennessee Williams, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O’Neill, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, August Wilson, Christopher Durang, Susan Lori Parks.  Why are they considered so great?

Look for Universities that teach the area of acting you are interested in.  If you’re interested in comedy, train for comic improv with a group like Upright Citizens Brigade, the Groundlings, Second City, etc. 

If you want to do musicals, try to develop your voice.  A good voice teacher is extremely rare, so look for one that really improves your power, range, flexibility and vocal tone.  Also take dance class.  But if you can also act extremely well, you will get more parts.  

Do not allow yourself to take on vocal and physical mannerisms which may limit you.  Try to find the simplest truth of your own being. From there you can act a wide range of characters . If you take on mannerisms to fit in with a particular group of friends, try to be aware of the mannerisms and be able to drop them if necessary- to be able to speak clearly, simply and walk easily and simply - centered, relaxed.  

Volunteer to work for a professional theatre near you, if there is one.  Do anything they need- stuffing envelopes, ushering, concessions, technical things backstage, anything.  You will learn all about theater. If you want to do movies, and there is a real movie producer near you, volunteer to work for them.  Say you’ll do anything to observe the set.