‘Welcome to the Theater’: If You’re Scared to Begin
By Maxwell Granitz
The narrative of the Broadway actor/actress who has been performing essentially since birth and has found nothing but success since childhood is, in my experience, completely false. Many people I have met in the performing arts, at Grand Valley and beyond, have admitted to only beginning in the performing arts fairly recently.
I did not really act until I was sixteen, and in my third year of high school. I had tried (emphasis on tried) to get involved in the school musical the year before, but I will simply say the timing wasn’t right. So, at sixteen, I acted in a small role in that year’s straight play, Flowers for Algernon; began singing my school’s all-male choir; and, that spring, was a member of the ensemble in my school’s production of Hairspray. I did one more play in my senior year, You Can’t Take it With You, and spent another year in choir. Thus far, in college, I have only done one play: Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
However, I have stuck around the arts, and been an advocate and voice for the public support of the arts.
I know many people who are intrigued by the idea of performing, but are frightened of the thought of getting on a stage before a crowd. Speaking from personal experience, it can be scary. You can rehearse and practice and warm up as much as you want, but every performance is unpredictable and different to a certain extent.
Start by going to see a local production, or a national tour of a Broadway production. Don’t sink the money into traveling to Chicago or New York, when it comes to your introduction to the theater. The first show I really can remember seeing is the first national tour of Wicked, at the age of ten.
If your high school, college, or community theater is having auditions for a show, reach out to the person in charge. Ask questions. “What are the requirements for auditions?” “How long is the rehearsal process, and how much time would I be committing?” In the case of college productions, ask if you must be a theater or music major to audition.
One can only prepare to a certain extent. You have to understand that you, in all likelihood, are not the only person auditioning who is just starting out. Everyone has to start somewhere, even the greats.
Take the leap of faith. Take the chance. In my experience, I am so glad I did.