Los Alamitos High School, CA
(14 years at Stagedoor Manor)
Student success stories include Skylar Astin, Samantha Massell and more
Favorite show staged with students: 42nd Street
About his passion for teaching theatre:
I love watching kids grow into confident human beings.
The biggest challenges young performers face today:
I think the bar keeps being set higher in theatre every year. Young performers have to be able to have bigger vocal and acting ranges. The roles on Broadway currently are much more challenging then they were 20 years ago.
How has the industry changed over the course of your teaching career?
I think there are now many more venues for talent to be showcased. YouTube and other shows on TV have opened up more opportunities for people to shine and be noticed.
What new skill sets should performers have?
Not only does a performer have to be a triple threat but they also need to know how to market themselves.
The "truth" about theatre:
It's hard work. As a teacher we need to realize that the only limits our students have are the ones we place on them. As Jojo says in Suessical "Anythings Possible"!
What piece of advice do you hope all of your students will carry with them?
If you believe you can achieve.
What's the worst showbiz advice you've heard?
"Try and imitate a performer." I think it's important to find truth in every character and imitation isn't always the quickest or best path in finding a character.
What have your students taught you?
My students have taught me the importance of being prepared. Students have about a 17-minute attention span and clear and precise instruction will certainly keep the students on task and focused.
Proudest moment as a teacher?
Watching one of my students succeed in a role she never thought she could do. She tried quitting the show and I wouldn't let her. Once she starting receiving affirmation from myself and other cast members you could see her world had changed. She ended up majoring in music theatre and working on Broadway.
What is something everyone can take away from experiencing art in schools/arts education?
The arts allow students to become more connected to the school. Sometimes the arts classes are the only reasons a child will want to attend school. Kids involved in the arts have higher attendance and graduation rates.
If there is one thing that you hope your students take with them after studying with you it would be:
Don't spend to much time questioning every decision and believing in yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and others.