In our first ever "College Week," The Ensemblist is celebrating the myriad of ways aspiring theatre artists receive an education in the arts. Today, we hear from Mike Baerga (Miss Saigon) about his experience at NYU.
About four years ago, I graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from NYU: Tisch School of the (F) Arts. Compared to many of my peers whom have performed since they were in diapers, I definitely started my training considerably late in my career. Admittedly so, there was initially this underlying feeling of “Catching Up,” and “Faking it till I made it” to keep up with my class.
Studying with such Incredibly wise professors at Tisch however, helped me close that gap quickly, with the counter notion that there was no catching up to do at all. What resonated with me most from their training at Tisch, now more than ever, is that Every Performer has their OWN Package of Experience and their own Qualities that make them Unique and special in their own ways.
In an industry that has us performers boxed into “types” and in a constant state of comparison, it is essential to bear in mind that everyone has their own path. You may not be able to battement as high as Jessica, Sing a High C like Tommy, or Cry on Command like Bethany-Lynn from Kansas, but you have your own Uniqueness, your own Story and THAT is your biggest secret weapon.
It such a different energy to go into an audition room and identify what makes others amazing and use that energy to empower you to be nothing more than yourself. (Although Mackenzie definitely made a CHOICE with her highlighter skirt this morning… but hey at least we’re all awake now!)
At NYU they helped me discover what I Bring to the table and what I need to Hide under the table. It wasn’t until I began to fully embrace and own my strengths and weaknesses that things started happening for me . . . (And I happen to love my Package!)
Listen to our episodes on college theatre programs here.