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Student Blog: An Interview with Dana Steingold

Learn more about Dana Steingold's career, inspirations, dreams, and experience during Beetlejuice.

Student Blog: An Interview with Dana Steingold
Picture Credit: Justin Patterson

Audiences have fallen in love with the ghost-with-the-most ever since Beetlejuice opened on Broadway in 2019. Although the musical's run was cut short due to the pandemic, a production recently opened in South Korea and audiences are anxiously waiting for a national tour. Recently I had the opportunity to ask my cousin Dana Steingold a few questions about her passions, career, and experience during Beetlejuice. For her Broadway debut, Dana originated the role of the Girl Scout and she understudied Lydia. She has also been seen Off-Broadway in Avenue Q and in the first national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Read on for some inspiration, advice, and hope for the future of the theatre industry!

What have you been up to during the pandemic?

I've been teaching a lot which has been really wonderful and strangely healing. It's inspiring to see so many young artists who have absolutely no doubt that our industry will return. It has selfishly provided me hope during this time. Like so many of my other colleagues, I spent the rest of the year throwing all of my energy into our state and local elections and trying to make sure I do my part to make sure we come back to a better industry than we left.

What inspired you to pursue a career in theatre?

I think I was always naturally a ham and extremely type A. Performance was a good way to merge the two. I did my first proper musical at 7, heard applause, fell in love and never looked back.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

This changes constantly depending on what I have just seen, but as a kid, it was Bernadette Peters. I watched the Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George videos over and over.

What was your most valuable learning experience from being in Beetlejuice?

If I am being fully honest, the greatest lesson of BJ is to never say never. The trajectory our show took could never have been predicted and each time we thought something couldn't happen for us, it did. It is the greatest example I can think of in regards to trusting the journey and just enjoying the moment.

Do you have any funny backstage stories from Beetlejuice?

It would truly be impossible to choose a story without incriminating somebody, but we had a great time backstage. We all really enjoy each other which is what made the show so special.

What was it like to perform at the Tony Awards and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

For the TONY's, I've tried to describe this before, and the best way is that it's this sort of tangible energy of 120 performers' having their dream coming true at the exact same time. The sense of community is unreal. Each show is cheering the other because every performer knows it's like catching lightning in a bottle to be there.

The parade was genuinely the most exciting thing for our cast. We truly lost our minds. That was my first introduction to musicals as a kid and it was the coldest, earliest, best experience. You're on holiday schedule, so you've done like, 10 shows already that week, and your alarm goes off at 3:30am for your 4:45am wig time and you truly do not feel it because you're so excited.

What do you hope for the future of the theatre industry?

I hope for a more equitable, just and safe industry. I hope companies come together and hold each other accountable to the work we've all promised to continue doing. I hope we vow not only to protect and advocate for our current friends and colleagues, but to also make sure we address accessibility and start paving the way for future artists to enter a space that is better than the one we inherited.

What advice would you give to young performers?

Learn how to reframe the word "no" for yourself into "not this time." Remember that at the end of the day, all people in the room want to see is a piece of your heart and who you are. If you have done that, your audition will have been successful. Booking the job has so many factors that are beyond your control, but I promise, people remember a good, smart and grounded audition for other projects later.

Also, remember to take the work, but not yourself, seriously. Those are always the best people to work with.

If you could be in any technical or creative role, what would it be and why?

I love seeing someone new that totally blows me away, so I think I'd enjoy the casting process.

What is your dream role?

Of current shows right now, I'd love to do Anne Boleyn in SIX at some point in some company literally anywhere. But after this last year, my dream is to walk through any stage door and go to work, laugh with my castmates and have a shared experience with a live audience. It is something I will never take for granted.


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