My 2021 Blog-mencement Address to All the Graduating Theatermakers Out There.
June is bustin’ out all over with graduations.
High school, colleges (and even pre-schools!) are sending their students off to their next “stage.”
And from what I’m hearing from the theater students who I’ve spoken to, they feel a little . . . weird.
And who wouldn’t?
I can’t imagine being a student PERIOD right. Never mind a theater student.
One student Facebooked me and said, “What the @#$% do I know now?”
Here’s my answer:
Now look, I have never spoken at a graduation (except my own high school ceremony – where I quoted Les Miz and also sang “Memory” – and thank God there is no footage of that!). But, if you’ll imagine that I’m in a cap and gown, I thought I’d deliver an e-version of what I’d say to any graduating theatermakers in 2021.
Here it is. Ready?
Congratulations. You effin’ made it!!!!!!!!
And that’s pretty much it, in a speech-shell.
See, if you’re a graduating TheaterMaker right now, you survived the hardest period the entire theater industry has EVER experienced.
And I’d wager money that this is the hardest period that the theater industry will EVER experience.
And you made it!!!!!!!!!!!!
And if you got through this past year? And if you’re still as passionate as ever to make theater? To act in theater? To produce theater, market theater, direct theater, or whatever THEATER?
Then you’re going to be more than fine.
Because what this business requires of you to be successful (MORE than others) is simple.
Success in the theater demands relentless perseverance and commitment to your goals. It requires a, “I don’t care how many times people say no or how long I have to wait or what I have to sacrifice . . . I am going to make it,” attitude.
And this past year has been the ultimate test to see if you have that “gene.”
And if you’re here. If you’re reading this. If you’re writing your next play (or your first). If you’re auditioning. If you’re looking to move to New York, Chicago or LA. If you’re taking classes. If you’re taking action towards your future?
You will be successful.
Because you made it. Congrat-u-effin-lations. I don’t know that I could have. But YOU DID.
And you should be so proud. You should be smiling bigger than any generation of theatermakers who have graduated before you. You DID have it harder. And you made it.
And you will MAKE IT.
As long as you put that “I don’t care how many times people say no, or how long I have to wait, or what I have to sacrifice, I am going to make it,” attitude to work.
I can’t wait to collaborate with you all.
Cue “Memory.” (Just not sung by me, for the love of Pete!)
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If you are graduating and want to meet other graduates, join our free TheaterMakers Facebook Group. Networking and accountability buddies are so key to success in the theater, which is why we created this group. See you in there.
On my morning commute, I scoot past a giant hole…
Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.