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BWW Blog: My Unsolicited Advice

I think I speak for the majority of people when I say that 2020 has been a bad year. The coronavirus has killed over half a million people worldwide, and for most others it ended college, jobs, and/or social interactions. Protests demanding equality are being met with militias, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Wildfires destroyed much of Australia's wildlife. This is a trying time for everyone in the world right now, and for many, there is no foreseeable return to a normal way of life.

I'm sure many of my readers are also aware of the closure of Broadway until January of 2021. For the artists, students, working professionals (which is no one right now), and those seeking future employment on Broadway, things seem hopeless.

You didn't ask for it, but here's my bit of advice in finding success once this pandemic is over: don't be an actor! Sorry... don't ONLY be an actor. Try something different! "What?? Is he saying that I should give up my dreams of making it to Broadway?" No, but I am saying that you should be willing to find success and enjoyment in other ways within the entertainment industry. Don't set your mind on only being a Broadway actor.

For so long I told myself and others that my dream was to perform on Broadway, and that I was set on being a professional Broadway actor. Is that still a dream of mine? Absolutely! But, do I only commit myself to being a Broadway actor by auditioning for acting gigs, rehearsing my rep book, and working on reaching that high C consistently? No. Plus, most days that high C does not come out.

I believe the best way to be successful in the entertainment industry is by creating your own work with your community of fellow artists.

This is a lesson I have learned thanks to my family of creative artists at the University of Miami. The faculty and students of the Musical Theatre department at Miami have consistently challenged me to be more than an actor singer, dancer. They encouraged me to write profound plays by bringing in guest lecturer and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz (Anna In The Tropics) to teach an intimate and poetic semester of playwriting. From the emotional teachings of Tony nominated Forrest McClendon (Scottsboro Boys) I learned that what matters most is to connect with one another. Have a deep sense of self-worth and recognize another artist's worth as well. That is what art is all about.

The faculty and students at UMiami have taught me that I can find success as an actor by writing, designing, directing, working backstage, etc. Last year I even replaced an ensemble actor in Little Shop of Horrors who literally broke their leg four days before opening night, because I was working backstage and I already knew much of the show (plus, it's a favorite of mine). My point is... collaboration is key, and success as an actor can often be found in ways that don't involve acting.

Mindy Kaling gave a great interview in Office Ladies, where she mentioned that her and a friend wrote and starred in a play called Matt and Ben which won the Fringe Festival and gave her a great start to her career. She soon became a writer for The Office, which she of course also acted in because the show's creator loved her so much. She attributed much of her success to this play that she wrote with a friend. Her story is just one of many that inspire me to branch out of the "acting bubble." My belief is the same as Mindy's: create your own work.

So there it is. My unsolicited advice! Take it or leave it.

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