Sierra Boggess: So you want to be a musical theatre performer?
The Phantom of the Opera, Little Mermaid and Love Never Dies star gives her tips for up-and-coming performers
West End and Broadway performer Sierra Boggess is back to perform at the west London Cadogan Hall on 2 February. With that in mind, we wanted her tips on how up-and-coming musical theatre practitioners can cut it in the industry – here's what pointers she has:
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Sierra Boggess.
2. When did you know that you wanted to be a musical theatre performer?
I have no idea, I get asked that question all the time and I don't have a specific answer of THE moment. So I suppose it was just always wishing me. I grew up in Denver Colorado and had no idea what Broadway was, it wasn't until I was in high school and our drama teacher took us on our first trip to NYC that I realized there was a place like BROADWAY! I wanted to sing and dance and act anywhere I could… didn't matter how prestigious… I just NEEDED to perform!
3. Who helped you during the early part of your career?
My teachers, my friends, my colleagues. This is such a team business. It really is. So the people I chose to surround myself with, helped me immensely. My family is incredibly supportive, I am the middle of two sisters, and my oldest sister, Summer, is a cellist in NYC so she was and continues to be a constant support system at all times. I wouldn't know how to do this business, or this life, without the support of the people around me.
4. What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are enough, you are so enough; it's unbelievable how enough you are!
5. What advice would you give anyone wanting to be a musical theatre performer?
You are enough, you are so enough; it's unbelievable how enough YOU are! It's awesome to have the desire to want to do this, so keep that, and then DO. THE. WORK. "The work" never stops… you must always be WILLING to do the work.
6. What resources proved most valuable to you during your early career?
My friends. My teachers. Brené Brown books. Wayne Dyer books. Stones like black tourmaline, selenite, rose quartz, pyrite. Palo Santo wood. Things that helped me clear my mind and my soul. Meditation. Yoga.
7. What mistakes do you think are the easiest to make when starting out?
Trying to be someone else. I always say it's good to be INSPIRED BY other people, but not to IMITATE. Remember, the world needs YOU and YOUR version. We've already had the other person's version that you may be trying to imitate. Do YOUR version. Come from YOUR truth. "There is no you, you-er than you" — Dr Seuss!
8. What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Realizing that the ACTUAL purpose of doing what I do is to help people feel better. Hopefully for that hour, that 2 hours, that one song, that anything, people are feeling better and lighter and getting to just be present with music for a while. It can be so healing. It HAS to be about that, or else I wouldn't love it so much.
9. What would you like to see in future generations of musical theatre stars?
There's a difference between being a "star" and a "leading lady or leading man". Stars have to make sure THEY are shining only. Leading ladies and leading men make sure everyone is taken care of too. Again, it's a team sport. I am always so excited when I teach master class and talk to the new generation of musical theatre kids. They are so excited by the possibility of it all! And I want us to never lose that excitement and wonderment! AND DO THE WORK! Don't cut corners! DO THE WORK! It makes it WORTH IT! I promise.