Gina Argento is the CEO of Broadway Stages in New York. In the following article, Gina Argento discusses the challenges and rewards of being a stage performer, and how to balance personal space in the public-eye.
Every day, countless children and adults wake up dreaming of a future when they might one day see their name in the spotlight. However, while there are several valid reasons to idolize the life of a stage performer, the job is not without its challenges.
Gina Argento of Broadway Stages in New York explains that the challenges and rewards of performing tend to change over time. Newcomers may face low wages and unsteady work, while long-term professionals must contend with grueling hours and the pressures of constantly maintaining a perceived persona. Would-be stage performers must always strive to seek balance amidst chaos.
While this might make stage performance sound like less than the dream job many perceive it to be, it can still be a worthy career. Gina Argento of New York says that those who wish to pursue a performing career must simply learn to understand it more objectively.
The Early Years of Stage Performance
Although some dream of a life on-stage out of false perceptions of fame and fortune, there are just as many who dream of becoming actors out of a love for storytelling and entertainment. Unfortunately, Gina Argento of Broadway Stages in New York states that these noble dreams share one of the same major pitfalls as those of the ego-driven agenda, which is that such dreams tend to skip to the end of the story.
The initial years of stage performance require a lot of work for very little payoff. Before he became a movie star, Peter Dinklage appeared in relatively few plays while living in a run-down apartment, which was all he could afford at the time. New actors face a slew of challenges, such as:
- Zero promise of steady work between shows
- Highly competitive casting calls
- Incredibly low wages when first starting out
- Constant battles with the fear of rejection
- Difficulty proving range with an underdeveloped resume
- The need to balance a second job with performance schedules
For those able to push through these challenges, however, the rewards begin setting in long before achieving any measure of true financial success. Every new gig offers not only a slightly greater sense of accomplishment, but also a new adventure as budding performers learn to work with diverse casts in a variety of spaces, all for the love of entertaining others.
The Rewards and Challenges of “Making It”
Just because a stage performer works their way through the ranks to achieve greater job security and a steadier stream of acting roles does not mean their struggles are over. As the face of Genie in Broadway’s Aladdin, actor Michael James Scott gets only one day off per week, while double-headers on two of his performance days keep him on his feet for nearly 14 hours straight.
According to his interview with CNBC, those hours are not necessarily the hardest part of the job. Not only do some casting directors value appearance, but his work on Broadway means he needs to stay in top shape simply to manage choreography and ensure that his costumes always fit. This means relentless attention to diet and exercise.
Once again, however, every coin has two sides. Gina Argento of Broadway Stages in New York says that professional actors may endure long hours while exercising extreme caution not to let their foot off the pedal, but the rewards of the job make it ultimately worth the effort. To name a few:
- Every show is a collaboration with similarly dedicated colleagues
- Past fears give way to a growing excitement to perform
- Many performers enjoy the parasocial connection with their audience
- Audience reactions offer constant job affirmation
- Different shows offer the chance to experiment with performance styles
- Every show offers a new set of personal challenges to enjoy overcoming
In the End, it is What You Make it
Gina Argento of Broadway Stages in New York notes that many of these challenges and rewards may sound quite similar to those associated with other career fields, and they should. “The dream job you take is the job you stress over,” writes self-help author Mark Manson, and this applies to stage performance as well as it does in any other career path.
When Dinklage began as a stage actor, his struggles did not take away from the wonderful connections he made with fellow cast and directors, many of which contributed to his success as a film actor today. While Scott may endure grueling hours and little time off, he’s learned to embrace the lifestyle and still find time for family and friends.
Whether working hard to balance a day job with a new acting career or trying to squeeze personal time into a chaotic (but successful) life on the stage, all performers must eventually learn the same skill as experts in any other field—balance.
Achieving balance allows performers to push through the challenges at any stage in their career without taking the rewards for granted. They must find time and space away from the grind to keep it from becoming overwhelming. Successful performers know that the day they give up their personal lives to pursue their dream job is the day it ceases feeling like such a great dream.
Navigating the challenges of performance in pursuit of the rewards can be difficult throughout the stages of an entertainer’s career. Those who learn to balance professional pursuits with personal space often find the greatest success. Regardless of the number on their paycheck, Gina Argento of Broadway Stages in New York maintains that a performer who embraces the life they’ve chosen for both the good and the bad is one who has achieved true success.