CUE & A REVISITED: When Did You Know You Wanted to Perform For a Living?; 60 Actors Respond
By Playbill Staff
The editors of Playbill.com have combed through the past seven years of our popular Cue & A feature to select some of our favorite answers to the question, "When did you know you wanted to perform for a living?" Sixty responses from Broadway actors follow.
(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor's entry in the Playbill Vault.)
After my second year at a liberal arts college in PA where they force you to declare a major. My dad encouraged me to pursue a career doing what I loved most in the world. How lucky was I? Great advice.
The minute a musical director at a summer camp I went to as a ten-year-old pressed on my diaphragm and said "sing from way down here!" That's when I learned to belt and it was something that felt that right. I knew I was never gonna be able to give up!
Rachel de Benedet
When I saw Michael Jackson’s "Thriller"
Playing Colonel Fairfax in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard... while I was working as an engineer for United Technologies.
When I was in London watching a play on the West End, I knew that was the job for me.
I saw a show when I was 9. I knew it at that moment.
Sarah Uriarte Berry
I think I was waiting for myself to not feel like a brat for being so lucky. When I felt like I was truly working hard to make money and was giving myself to the audience as opposed to just soaking IN myself onstage is when I knew something was right and I was meant to be here.
My freshman year of college. I was undecided in my major, taking a smattering of liberal arts classes, but doing tons of extracurricular student-produced shows.
I got up the courage to audition for the music school as a voice major, then transferred into the Musical Theatre Program at University of Michigan the following year.
The rush I got from singing with Wendi (also smokin' hot), who was a SENIOR (and I the lowly freshman), and the roar of laughter and joy from the audience when I dropped into the hook sent me over the edge.
When I performed in the East Village in a tiny performance art place called Home, and the crowd understood what I was trying to say and dug it. I knew this was my thing. I was testing out Mambo Mouth characters one by one.
How fast this little, stocky man zipped her in and out of her gowns, and how he just plopped her hat on her head and she just held it there. All the time, the performance going on on the stage as well. That was it! I wanted in on that world!!
I know I wanted to act when I saw my sister play Puck in excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was in sixth or seventh grade.
I loved it there - the costumes, the getting quiet as they readied for a take, having lunch in the commissary sitting next to a man dressed as a pirate. It was all magical to me then, and it still is.
I was 5. My family was on its annual trip to Daytona Beach. We got into the hotel and turned on MTV. The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)" came on. I stared at that TV for 3 minutes and 35 seconds... knowing what I had to do.
When I was about six, I went to the theatre with my dad to see the great English star Dame Flora Robson and that made me want to be an actress.
I later joined the Hurrah Players and became very inspired by Hugh Copeland to fall in love with theatre.
Birth. There was never a moment it wasn't a question for me.
My friend’s dad, who was a lawyer, wrote on the board what he makes a year. I thought to myself that that number could buy me A LOT of Pogs. I wanted to be a lawyer for a hot second, but beyond that... ALWAYS a performer.
I got to play John the Baptist in a church play when I was 7. I never looked back.
I've never had more fun or done anything as physically exhausting as those performances. I remember thinking at that time that I would regret it if I didn't at least take a shot at turning my serious hobby into my profession.
Sitting in my dorm room, spring semester of Freshman year. I loved theatre so much it seemed like a trick to actually get to pursue it as a career until that moment.
They were auditioning people in groups and asked for a volunteer to read the King of the Elves. My mom tells me my hand shot up straight into the air.
Full disclosure: I wasn’t lucky enough to do it for a living until I was in my thirties.
When I did my impression of the Cowardly Lion for my dad at dinner one night when I was 5.
When I realized that you could actually get paid for shouting.
I don't know if I knew it, but I've done it since just after I was on my parents' fireplace "stage" singing along to my Annie record at age 3. I don't think I had much choice in the matter... I guess it's always been a bit of a blessed curse that this is what I'm drawn to do.
The Christmas Pageant in church when I always wanted the little piece of paper with the most lines on it.
I remember listening to it on the way to school and being totally late for class because I was crying in my car in the parking lot. I remember thinking, "If I can be a part of shows like this, I want to do it forever."
Cut to me getting my audition appointment for the revival and trying to cancel it because I knew if I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
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