[It] was not about my career, but about high school. [A senior] named Matt directed me in a play. I was in eighth grade...He turned to me at Dallas BBQ where we were having our cast dinner and said: "Sink your teeth into this school while you're here." That idea of really appreciating the time you're in and making the most of the time you have stuck with me and hit me right when I needed it.
Brian d'Arcy James
Best advice – most helpful and sincere – is to just breathe. Breathe through things. Especially when you’re onstage. It's very important to acknowledge how lucky we are and that we get to do this.
It's not the first time I've heard this but it was reiterated by Robert Redford at this event that I went to. He talked about how it's about the journey; it's about the craft and about the work. It's not about where you go but about the journey getting there. And to hear somebody of his success and his height say that — you've got to listen.
The best advice I've been given is to stop comparing yourself to other people. I would give that to anybody and everybody. It's the best advice I've ever gotten. No one can do you do like you. Honestly, as soon as I started being comfortable being myself onstage and bringing what I can bring to a character, that's when things started to fall into place for me. I stopped comparing my career to other people's careers. It's just not productive. You'll never be that person. I'm never going to be Kelli O'Hara. We can try as hard as we would like. She’s just everything.
[It was] from my friend George C. Wolf, who I call whenever I need anything. One of the things he said to me is: No matter what's going on in the room, it's your job to just go in there and be brilliant. Ignore any politics that are going on in the room.
The best advice I ever got was: "Don't take drugs and pay your taxes." And unfortunately, I didn't take that advice on either account for the early years and I wish passionately with all my heart that I had.
Always be nice to your mum. I learned that a long time ago. I've always remembered that.
Be the most prepared person in the room.
Just keep at it. Don't let those setbacks — of which you will have many many, many — turn you away.
I believe in a tremendous work ethic and resilience. Always improving your craft and not accepting your limitations. What we do is very Olympic in nature. It's very physical...To project over a 4,000-seat hall takes power and strength. I absolutely also think that you have to find your own unique whatever it is that you have. I've been given that advice.
My dad always taught me that if you want something bad enough you'll end up getting it. It's about wanting it badly enough and persevering and believing in yourself. I think that's something every human being needs. He taught me that and obviously that's helped me enormously.
Just to stay in the game. Ride with the ups and downs and keep learning and studying...I've been very lucky and always been surrounded by smart, talented people who have taught me a lot.
It was a quote from a director back in my hometown of Baltimore: "I think you could do this for a living. You should give this a shot."
My voice teacher from an early age — who I'm still in touch with and I just worship — taught me about keeping my head on my shoulders, staying grounded and realizing that what we do is not necessarily who we are...life is a much bigger picture. Because this business can get so heady. I'm very grateful to have had an influence like that at an early age to start to program that in.
Herb Gardner — the great playwright of long ago — told me I needed to be a good shepherd to my money. So when I did a job that really paid a lot, to really take care of that money. You use that money to buy your talent back. Those were his words.
One of the best pieces of advice I got once was: "It's always for credit." It's sort of true for anything. No matter what you're doing in life — you’re behind the counter at McDonalds or the assistant manager of a clothing store or the ensemble of a Broadway chorus — if you do your work well and are very present and prove yourself, people will notice. Be present in whatever you're doing.
I teach students now, and one of the things I say is to watch out for the poisonous people in your life...When you work with great, encouraging people you're guaranteed to create some really great artistic value in yourself and probably you're going to be successful no matter what. That's what I've learned along the way. My father's been an incredible encourager of that positivity. You want to be able to surround yourself with really great artistic, positive people and just say goodbye to the rest.