How'd You Get Into Theatre?

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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#1
Posted: 8/11/11 at 12:36am
Seeing the "...your first time" made me sort of long to hear how everyone here got into theatre, whether it be as a career or just as someone who appreciates it. Has there been one of these, ever? If so, apologies.

I'll be posting my story later.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#2
Posted: 8/11/11 at 12:43am
My parents were always ones to see theatre (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Jekyll & Hyde, Phantom) and they took my twin sister and I to see our first show on February 6, 1999...BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with Toni Braxton and James Barbour.

My sister despised the show, and my mother automatically assumed that I did as well. So it was 8 years before I saw my next show, RENT. From there, I started seeing shows on a more regular basis and became hooked on Broadway theatre.

I actually celebrated my Silver Anniversary (25th) show today with THE BOOK OF MORMON.

I started taking drama and acting in high school when I dropped my journalism elective and it turned out to be the only course left open. I took it and fell in love from there (and I still perform in my school's musicals despite no longer being a drama student).
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#2
Posted: 8/11/11 at 12:47am
When I was ten, I saw a notice for a community production of "A Christmas Carol." I figured that I was in a wheelchair, and that made me qualified, in my mind, to play Tiny Tim. I auditioned and got it. They actually took the part away from an ambulatory girl and gave it to me. From then on, I loved it.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#3
Posted: 8/11/11 at 12:54am
I found it in Jan Maxwell's bag. :)
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#4
Posted: 8/11/11 at 12:55am
I always wanted to work in the theatre, but common sense said, "Dont even try it." Then, well, I dunno: 40 hit, and I thought, if I dont try now, I never will. So I gave up a pretty lucrative career in advertising art and made the leap. I started by building a huge portfolio of "fantasy designs": what I would do were I given a show like MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT or DOLL'S HOUSE, all of which I posted on a brand new web site. Then I sent out emails to as many theatre companies as I could find on the web, which IIRC was over 400. Twenty responded, and of those 12 had actual commissions.

Over the next 10 years, I designed close to 200 productions, everything from pocket dramas to grand opera. I would travel *anywhere* to do a show: one year, I think I was home for a grand total of 4 weeks. The best season was 2000, when I was in Europe for one show in Spain and another in London.

It's all pretty well dried up now, so I've left it as a career and returned to illustration work. But it was a helluva ride along the way.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#5
Posted: 8/11/11 at 1:21am
It's kind of a long story, but I'll try to abridge it, as best as I can.

Growing up, no one I knew was into theatre. I mean... NO ONE! From a very young age, however, I took a strong liking to it. I was fascinated by every little production I saw. I also watched my VHS copy of Peter Pan over and over again, until I had it memorized... then I watched it some more. My dad took me to see the national touring production (with Cathy Rigby), when I was seven years old. I was completely mesmerized.

When I reached my tween and teenage years, I (unfortunately) denied my liking of musicals, plays, and the like. For whatever reason(s), I was far too self-conscious about it, especially since no one I knew shared the interest. Then, in high school, I finally broke free and am an even bigger fan today (and I'm never going back).
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#6
Posted: 8/11/11 at 1:22am
After my parents got divorced, my dad came out and he really allowed himself to openly explore the community I guess. I was introduced to several musicals around age 5 by him, the first being Les Miserables. He played I Dreamed A Dream for me, and it was first time I ever saw my dad cry. I was so fascinated that music could move someone that way, and he let me take home the highlights CD. I had it memorized in two or three months, and he took me to see it in Boston when I was 8. I hold this experience so close to my heart and will always look back on it fondly.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#7
Posted: 8/11/11 at 1:28am
Through door.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#8
Posted: 8/11/11 at 1:55am
A very close family friend took me to see Charlotte's Web at the local youth theatre years ago. From then on, theatre has been a very central aspect of my life. I saw pretty much everything at the the youth theatre, and as I got older I began attending some of the Broadway shows in my hometown. Eventually I became a season ticket holder and I have seen everything to come through town since the 2004-2005 season. I have seen 93 Broadway productions. Nine of them have actually been on Broadway, the rest are all tours. I have also seen 101 local productions ranging from youth theatre productions and dinner theatre to the professional theatre companies in my hometown. I designed the sets for seven full length productions at my high school, and I am now studying technical theatre (scenic design in particular) at college.
This is the first time I have ever really gone way back and thought about how this all came to be. Thanks for starting this thread How'd You Get Into Theatre?
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Updated On: 8/11/11 at 01:55 AM
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#9
Posted: 8/11/11 at 4:30am
I did every single musical at my church when I was little, and I also always sang in the children's choir, so I guess my need to perform was always there but I wouldn't figure it out until later.
In the third grade, my mother told me she didn't want me to sit at home all summer so she signed me up for dance class. Again, I was a performer but at that point I wanted to be a professional dancer, not an actress.
In the fifth grade, my friend Ally convinced me to join the school band. She said that I should play the drums with her and I already owned a snare drum because my brother was in percussion, so I joined band and would later become a percussionist for four years. My friend Ally however, never joined, but I still thank her for helping me learn music early.
After my parents took their first trip to New York, they brought home a Wicked CD. I was twelve and I was hooked (I mean, c'mon. It IS a gateway musical). I saw the national tour, walked out of the theater and said "That's what I want to do." and I've been possessed ever since. My love of acting, singing, and dancing all coming together and making perfect sense.
"You have two kinds of shows on Broadway Ė revivals and the same kind of musicals over and over again, all spectacles. You get your tickets for The Lion King a year in advance, and essentially a family... pass on to their children the idea that that's what the theater is Ė a spectacular musical you see once a year, a stage version of a movie. It has nothing to do with theater at all. It has to do with seeing what is familiar.... I don't think the theatre will die per se, but it's never going to be what it was.... It's a tourist attraction." Stephen Sondheim
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#10
Posted: 8/11/11 at 4:32am
Via the lobby
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#11
Posted: 8/11/11 at 7:22am
I was a "victim" of cicumstances.

My local jr. high used a small group of elementary school kids in one number in their musical (which happened to be Bye Bye Birdie when I was in 2nd grade). The second grade teachers each chose 2 or 3 kids that could afford to miss class for rehearsals. That was me.

The next year they used MORE kids so I got to go again.

In 5th grade, I was requested to perform a solo in the jr. high christmas concert. They sang, I danced. (Does anyone else remember a Christmas carol entitled The Magical Toy? I was the toy.) Applause for me directly. I was hooked.

I am the luckiest person that my passion in life is a part of my life nearly everyday. And I get paid for it!
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#12
Posted: 8/11/11 at 7:23am
double post.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Updated On: 8/11/11 at 07:23 AM
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#13
Posted: 8/11/11 at 7:31am
I used to watch The Kids From Fame TV series when i was younger (1m 32 now) and used to sit there wanting to be a singer, dancer and actor. I bugged my mum enough until she let me go to a theatre school. I got TV work through that but hated it (sitting around doing nothing for hours is so not my thing) so i focused on theatre and worked really hard dance.
I started at college studying dance, choreography and theeatre but saw an audition come up for the touring cast of Fame, i went and i got it......i was a kid from Fame lol.

I kept doing musicals on Tour/London/Abroad etc then gave up to start up my own theatre production company. I now direct, write and produce and sometimes get back on the stage. I love it
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#14
Posted: 8/11/11 at 7:49am
When I was in the 4th grade my teacher used to set up field trips to watch shows. I remember watching a musical version of Hansel and Gretal and a college production of the King and I. Fast forward to my teenage years and as the tours came to Boston I was the 1st in line to buy tickets. My friends never understood my love for the theatre so I usually went alone or I tried to introduce folks to live theatre. Today I try to go to all the shows, but once in awhile I take a trip NYC and see a couple shows.
You know, ma'am, ? there's nothing I wouldn't do for you. ,If there was a monster or an ogre or anything bad like that wot was after you, I'd rip it apart with my bare fists, I would. - Sweeney Todd
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#15
Posted: 8/11/11 at 8:17am
I first got into theatre in 6th grade for a middle school production of Annie Jr. But, I first got hooked on theatre in 9th grade in a production of Annie Get Your Gun. I was so excited but there was one problem...I didn't know how to dance. I was horrified . I ended being cast as a featured dancer and I learned to ballroom, and the feeling was amazing! I love to dance now (along with acting and singing) and year by year I have been getting better and better, being cast as a featured dancer in all the musicals :)
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#16
Posted: 8/11/11 at 8:30am
I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs, so Broadway was always just a bus ride away. I came of age thinking that amazing theatre was this easily accessible to everyone, and it wasn't until I got a little bit older that I realized this isn't the case for most people. Anyway, because of New York's proximity to my hometown and my parents' enjoyment of theatre, they began taking me in at an early age. Even though I distinctly remember disliking CATS, the first show I ever saw, I remember becoming hooked on the unique rush and immediacy of live theatre. Every chance I had, I talked my parents into taking me to see a play. I borrowed cast albums from the local library and learned all the lyrics to GYPSY and SWEENEY TODD and SHOW BOAT. By the time I was a young teenager, my parents allowed me to take the bus into the city alone to see shows; I went in pretty much every weekend (or at least every other weekend) throughout high school. By the time I moved to New York for college, I was averaging 100 shows a year.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#17
Posted: 8/11/11 at 10:30am
I was always into "weird" sh*t. Loved old movies, especially silent movies, and old tv shows. I was the weird actually started with going through a Natalie Wood phase and seeing the movie versions of West Side Story and Gypsy, and LOVING both. Somehow I got ahold of the OBC of these shows, and that was it. I was maybe 8 or 9 at the time. I'm 26 years old now.

I got teased a lot in school, needless to say, so much that I dropped out sophomore year at age 15 (I did get my GED). I was always teased in school, but bullying was taken to a new level in high school, especially when rumors began swirling that I was a lesbian (I have no idea how those rumors started because I wasn't out to anyone at that point, I was never a butch or even a tomboy so I didn't "look" gay...good gaydar on those bullies, LOL!)

Anyway, the day my mother signed me out of school, I went to and found a job listing to usher at a prominent off-broadway theatre. Was hired on the spot, and from there, basically networked like crazy. I've worked at all the major theatres, onstage, off-stage, on broadway, off broadway, WAY off Broadway, etc. I loved my ushering job, and it is what you make of it. I made some very good connections there.

ANYWAY...fell in love and moved to another state 4 years ago, 4 hours away. I was working on a Broadway show at the time. Now I work in a boring office. In retrospect it was a stupid, impulsive decision to move, but I am happily married to a great wife and HAPPILY we are both moving to NYC in the next few months. I.CAN'T.WAIT. I do visit monthly to see family/theatre.

So kids...what have we learned?

1. Drop out of school
2. If you're working on a Broadway show, um, don't leave it for a boring office job four hours away, no matter how in love you are, otherwise you too will end up being a crying mess at the next revival of Follies. Make them move to YOUR state right off the bat. How'd You Get Into Theatre?
"I chose and my world was shaken--so what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not. You have to move on"
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#18
Posted: 8/11/11 at 10:34am
Glad I inspired you Kad! I was always a fan of movie musicals as a child, especially after I saw a local production of The Sound of Music. From there, my uncle took me to see lots of productions at a local college and a family friend took me to see some high school producions. I saw shows like Anything Goes, Pippin, Godspell, and Carousel at a pretty young age. It's kind of funny though because nobody in my family is "into it" as I am. They like theater, but I live for it. Then I saw Beauty and the Beast in 2004, RENT and The Spelling Bee in 2007, and from there my love kinda took off even more. I've seen copious shows now.
"And that was that or so it seemed. Is this the end or the beginning? All I know is, she was right. I am an idiot. Itís even on my birth certificate in so many words. This is my rage. This is my love. This is my town. This is my city. This is my life."
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#19
Posted: 8/11/11 at 10:41am
Performing in my school production of Godspell.
Everything in only for now.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#20
Posted: 8/11/11 at 10:48am
Both of my parents and my maternal grandmother love going to the theater and so I was basically raised on the classic musicals...Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, The Fantasticks, etc. I saw my first Broadway show (Beauty and the Beast) at age 4, and I loved it. I grew up in suburban New Jersey about an hour outside of NYC, so I got to see Broadway shows fairly often. It was my parents taking me to see the original production of Ragtime at around 8 or 9 that really made me want to go into theater and act as a career...before then, I had no idea that theater was capable of being so moving and dark and complex and sophisticated.

When I was about 15, my parents started letting me take the train into the city alone to see shows with my friends, and then when I was 17 I moved to New York for college and started seeing as many shows as I could possibly afford on a student's budget (which, as it turns out, can be quite a lot if I'm careful with my money). I'm studying theater in school here, and hopefully I'll be able to make a career out of it. :)
Updated On: 8/11/11 at 10:48 AM
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#21
Posted: 8/11/11 at 10:59am
Ok, I am as big a geek as I sound: I got into theatre through my freshman year of high school marching band halftime show. It was a music of (stay with me) Andrew Lloyd Webber, feature 3 medley's of his shows Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express (the drum solo with crazy moving formations) and ending with Phantom (which was coincidentally my first professional show, which I saw in Cleveland the following year).
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#22
Posted: 8/11/11 at 11:08am
I was taken to the theater when I was little. The Prince Street Players were a major influence on introducing the theater to me.

When I worked in theater, I started out as an intern ($50 a month, plus a room in an intern house)
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#23
Posted: 8/11/11 at 2:26pm
I still have no idea how it happened. I grew up in a provincial area in the Philippines where there were no theatrical productions. Then I moved to the USA when I was 13... in San Antonio, Texas. So, liking the theater isn't exactly a popular thing to be interested in. I missed the music in the Philippines, so I downloaded a bunch of songs from Filipino artists, including Lea Salonga. I listened to two songs from Miss Saigon, and I became curious. I eventually figured out what Broadway was without having seen any plays or musicals. I used to think that Broadway was something like Carnegie Hall: basically a prestigious concert hall. I had no idea it was a bunch of theaters. And when YouTube came around, I saw the Tony performance of "Defying Gravity." Besides, I was also frustrated with the popular music at the time, and I really like songs with stories. To date, I've only seen 2 professional productions. I have seen all productions at my college, though. I'm still dreaming that I could move to NYC... or at lease Houston or Dallas where touring productions go by with a higher frequency than they do at San Antonio.
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How'd You Get Into Theatre?#24
Posted: 8/11/11 at 2:38pm
Well, I grew up watching the classic musicals (West Side Story, The Sound of Music, etc) and those inspired me to perform in church musicals when I was a kid (from ages 6-13). I always thought I wanted to act so I decided to take Theatre I in high school. I soon found out that I much preferred to work behind the scenes, mainly in costumes, which I've been doing ever since. I also didn't know much about Broadway until my friend in that class played me the recordings of Wicked, Avenue Q, Hairspray, and Rent. From then on I listened to as many musicals as I could, and I've been in love ever since. I've only been to NYC twice but I hope I can afford to go again this winter. I try to see as many touring shows as I can, along with local productions. I think I've seen about 70 shows live, three of those being on Broadway.
"Some people have jobs where other people donít clap for them. I donít understand that." -Laura Benanti
Updated On: 8/11/11 at 02:38 PM