Listen: THIS IS US' Blake Stadnik Discusses Theater And Disability On WHY I'LL NEVER MAKE IT Podcast

Stadnik and Jones also discuss how both of them met in the recent production of 42nd Street at Goodspeed Opera House, which has aspirations of coming to Broadway.

By: Jan. 30, 2023
Listen: THIS IS US' Blake Stadnik Discusses Theater And Disability On WHY I'LL NEVER MAKE IT Podcast
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On the first episode of Why I'll Never Make It's seventh season, Blake Stadnik (This Is Us, 42nd Street) joins host Patrick Oliver Jones to talk about his early beginnings in theater as well as the television show that has propelled his career. They also discuss how both of them met in the recent production of 42nd Street at Goodspeed Opera House, which has aspirations of coming to Broadway.

Listen below!

Stadnik actually started tap dancing at a young age with the encouragement of his mother, and it all came about after he was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease at the age of six. Nine months later, he was legally blind. His insightful mother decided he needed some sort of extracurricular activity, so he began tap class. "Because I was definitely not gonna be playing any sports, which was totally OK with me anyway! I loved it, and I started singing shortly after." Later on in third grade, Stadnik had to give a book report, so he decided to do a four minute version of the Phantom of the opera in costume, with singing and accompaniment. His teacher ended up putting him in THE TALENT SHOW doing said to book report, and it just grew from there.

Despite his enjoyment of theater and dancing, Stadnik also battles his own self-doubts and argues with himself about his selfishness for wanting to be performer. "There's definitely something about the brain of someone who likes to get onstage or in front of a camera, knowing that potentially thousands of people are going to be watching you." And he sometimes wonders what he's actually contributing to the world by just being an actor. However, there are times he has been able to see first hand the impact he has had on others, He recounts a specific example when he was in Los Angeles with the 42nd Street national tour, and after the show he met a group people who were in recovery from addiction. They were so appreciative of the joy and hope in that show and from his performance.

Lastly, Stadnik shares the tragic loss of his father, who battled his own addition to alcohol, and led to his parents divorcing when he was young. Though his father passed away before THIS IS US began, he did know about Stadnik being cast in the show and was immensely proud and supportive. There was a particular scene in which his character, Jack Damon, was to have this sensory flashback of a traumatic event. "And I definitely accessed some baggage for that one." However, Stadnik maintained a good relationship with his father throughout their life together and continues to honor the memory and legacy his father left behind.

Other guests to join Why I'll Never Make It throughout this seventh season include Dan Knechtges (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Xanadu), Sharon Catherine Brown (Dreamgirls, Caroline or Change), Lisa Howard (9 to 5, It Shoulda Been You), and E. Clayton Cornelius (Wonderland, Ain't Too Proud). There will also be interviews with other writers, actors, and coaches like Jocelyn Jones, Noah Crandell, Corrie Legge, Clifton Duncan, and Jocelyn Panton.

And it all starts off with Blake Stadnik on Why I'll Never Make It, available on all podcast platforms.

Blake Stadnik is most well known for his role as Jack Damon on NBC's This Is Us. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Stadnik discovered acting after he lost the majority of his eyesight due to Stargardt's Disease. After receiving his BFA in Musical Theatre from Penn State University, he had a successful theatre career appearing in Sweeney Todd, LES MISERABLES, Newsies, and 42nd Street. As an actor with a disability, Stadnik advocates for all disabled artists.

WHY I'LL NEVER MAKE IT is one of the Top Theater Podcasts on Feedspot and received a 2022 Communicator Award of Distinction. This podcast comes out every other week and is hosted and produced by Off-Broadway and National Touring actor Patrick Oliver Jones (The Addams Family, Evita). WINMI Podcast has had the privilege of featuring other performers with disabilities, sharing the challenges and joys of a performing arts career, including Misty Rosas (The Mandalorian), Samantha Figgins (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), and Meredith Aleigha Wells (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).



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