Somewhere in the back of my mind, there’s a child’s dream to be onstage. Growing up seeing Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson make it big here and abroad, theater acting seemed alluring.
Beyond it, however, is a rigorous life. Behind success, there are always stories of long nights and self-doubt. To be able to face an audience every night with confidence and with 100 percent faith in your talent is more pressure than one could imagine. But somehow, a few pull it off.
If you still want to be pursue a career in acting or if you need some motivation even in your current career path, here’s what the cast of West Side Story has to say. Before the show (which is still on, btw), we got to talk to Kevin Hack and Jenna Burns, who play the lead characters Tony and Maria, along with Keely Beirne (Anita), Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva (Bernardo), Kevin Hack (Riff) and Kayla Moniz (Francesca).
What would you say to someone who wants to be successful in theater?
Keely Beirne: I would just say to continue working hard. It’s a hard industry to be in because you’re constantly being judged and you will get more rejections than acceptances during callbacks. If it’s your passion, always continue to grow and take classes.
Kayla Moniz: Tenacity is key. One of the biggest reminders for me is a quote: “You’ll never miss out on something that’s for you.” If you don’t get the job, it’s okay. You move on to the next.
You tour the world to perform your shows. What’s always in your travel bag?
KB: A foam roller. It’s a tube you put on the ground to stretch out your muscles. Snacks also. Rehearsals can be long and you’ll get hungry.
KM: An eyelash curler because even when I wake up and go down for breakfast, I curl my lashes to look alive.
KB: I always bring mascara. Same idea. Without these lashes, God knows! [Laughs]
What’s the biggest challenge when auditioning?
Kevin Hack: I didn’t need to exactly audition for this run just because [I did] the show before. I just had to make changes to the Tony he wanted. It wasn’t a nerve-wracking experience. I just go in and think “If they like me, then they like me, if they don’t, then they don’t.”
Jenna Burns: I had done a regional production in Florida before and [the production] expressed interest in me doing this tour. It was weird though because I don’t get nervous, I knew they wanted me and they just had to approve. But for this, I felt nervous. I felt the pressure to be spot-on. It’s normal but it ended up working out.
I focused on the fact with the show before, I knew exactly what they wanted. I knew what they wanted, I just needed not to get into their head.
What’s important to remember when backstage?
Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva: You to do your vocal warm-up and stretching routine.
Lance Hayes: The group feel is essential. We all have to be on the same page. I really like to work out and warm-up. We all enjoy that. We like to stay as fit as possible. It’s non-stop acting, singing, and dancing.
What do you do to preserve your voice?
LH: I like tea. It’s great. Hot water and lemon. Ginger is also great. Especially with the different climate changes. With my part, I yell a lot so I have to protect my voice. Water is also a best friend. Gatorade is great also after the show. Some days, I do two shows and then after, I don’t talk for a whole day.
Photos courtesy of Concertus Manila
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