Advice For Your Younger Self? Matthew Morrison, Chita Rivera and 10 More Broadway Stars Answer! | Playbill

News Advice For Your Younger Self? Matthew Morrison, Chita Rivera and 10 More Broadway Stars Answer! asked both newcomers and veterans of the New York theatre scene what advice they would have given themselves when they were starting out in their careers.


Joe DiPietro (Living on Love)
Something I've learned is keep challenging yourself by working with as many different people as possible. That's something I didn't do at the beginning. I sort of worked with the same people. I think there are people you want to repeat all the time, especially if you're lucky enough to work with great people. Everyone brings something different and you learn something about them and challenge yourself in different ways, and hopefully you challenge them. Maybe I would have branched out more and tried different things. I think I was in my comfort zone, and it was going well. My advice is to work with as many people as you can.

Robert Fiarchild with Leanne Cope
Robert Fiarchild with Leanne Cope Photo by Angela Sterling

Robert Fairchild (An American in Paris)
Don't compare yourself to anybody else. Especially as a dancer, you're always looking in the mirror, judging yourself, fixing your lines. Use the people that surround you in the field that you're in as inspiration. It will bring out the best in you.

Renée Fleming (Living on Love)
I think I would probably work less. I have two daughters. I would also work in a more focused manner. You have to have a lot of experience to understand what that means, looking back. I probably would have been less afraid to break the mold. I've forged a lot of new ground for opera singers, singing Broadway, jazz, indie rock…I did a holiday disc also. That was hard. It took a lot of courage. Probably now, looking back I'd be less afraid of doing it.

Brian d'Arcy James (Something Rotten!)
It's a marathon. Don't sprint. Get a good pace going, and breathe and drink water. Thomas Kail (Hamilton)
I would tell myself to slow down. I've never been very good at patience. It's a long way we're running. I think it's important to start strong and firm up your technique and take your time.

Marc Kudisch (Hand to God)
Good job. Keep doing what you're doing. Seriously. I always just said to myself, "I'm going to enjoy today and what comes tomorrow." If I try to do what my friends are doing, I'm screwed. I had a friend who moved to New York and got a Broadway show. If that was going to be how I rated myself, I was done. That wasn't mine. But I'm very happy with how mine turned out. Just stick to your gut and stay day to day.

Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland)
Don't take things so seriously. You get so wrapped in this world. Just go along for the ride and be your true authentic self.

Matthew Morrison
Matthew Morrison Photo by Carol Rosegg

Brad Oscar (Something Rotten!)
Find who you are and embrace that. Every artist is unique. That's what we have to work with — our bodies. I think it took me a while to sort of come into that, especially as a character actor. As we mature, we become more of who we are — more sellable, more castable. Just embrace that and not try to fit, "What do they want me to be? What should I sound or look like? Emulate?" Just be true to yourself.

Tonya Pinkins (Rasheeda Speaking)
I would tell myself to just do the work. To trust that it was going to work out if I just did the work, rather than making myself crazy over things I had no control over.

Julie White (Airline Highway)
I would tell myself not to go to that barbeque where I met my second husband, who turned out to be really awful. So, don't go to that barbeque! So many things... I did a little reading at Playwrights Horizons from a show I did in 2003 called Bad Dates. It was so fun and such a wonderful fun summer when we did that show, and I realized I spend a lot of time worrying about stuff that I didn't need to worry about. Don't worry so much! Don't sweat it so much. Things will come as they need to come. Try to stay in the moment and enjoy stuff as it happens. Chita Rivera (The Visit)
You're good! Stick with it. Stay with it. Your road is going to be just fine. You're going to do OK.

Victoria Clark (Gigi)
Have fun. Make it a game. Write everything down in a journal — these make great stories later on. Wear the same clothes to your callback as you did to the original audition. Laugh every day about it all with your friends. It goes by so fast!

(Carey Purcell is the Features Editor of Her work appears in the news, feature and video sections of as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillCarey.)

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