Performing Arts

Weekly conversations and insights on the fine line between setback and success in the performing arts. Fellow creatives share their own journey as artists and the lessons learned along the way with host Patrick Oliver Jones, an actor who knows first-hand the ups and downs we all face.


In this podcast’s continuing series, Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers we’re finding ways to improve how we work and create, how to push through challenges we face. So far we’ve looked at ways to better our public relations, our mindset and deliberate practice as well as branding strategies and how best to use social media.

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Today, as we head into a long Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll be tying it altogether by talking about persistence and gratitude with Team USA silver and bronze medalist Kristen Hetzel. She’s a runner and cyclist who is also an actress, personal trainer, and holds a doctorate in physical therapy. She shares her secret to getting it all done and how she overcomes what stands in her way.

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This interview was conducted back in August 2020, hence the reference to my air conditioner. Tony also mentions his episode with Lea Salonga, which has since been released.

He goes on to rant a bit about podcasting and getting interviews, and we discuss online classes from Domestika and General Assembly. And once again, the title of this podcast comes under the microscope.

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When it comes to our lives and our careers, perhaps no shift has been more dramatic or significant as our increase in time online and on our phones. The biggest driver of this is social media. Digital strategist Tony Howell pays another visit to the podcast as we talk about branding, online presence, and our use of social apps.

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Tony first appeared on the podcast back in season two. Since performing together on a national tour, he has left the physical stage behind and now helps us artists on the virtual stage, which in this pandemic has grown to be even more important. What I love about Tony’s approach is that it isn’t about tricks and filters and quick fixes for our social media lives. He takes a very personal path to growing and connecting with followers, helping us become a unique presence both online and offline.

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In part three of the month-long series bettering ourselves bettering our careers, this episode is a continuation from the previous conversation about deliberate practice and the 10,000 hours rule. Another psychologist, Alisa Hurwitz, PsyD, joins me today to dive into mindset and how we actors can deal with rejection and the challenges we face in this business.

Her moniker Dr. Drama comes from her many analytical interviews, discussions, and articles on theater, specifically her lifelong passion for musical theater. She’s even consulted on regional and off Broadway productions on elements related to psychological concepts and mental health issues. So she is the perfect person to help us face some of the realities of this make-believe world of theater, a profession that can bring us tremendous joy but also sorrow and frustration.

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When it comes to bettering ourselves as artists, it involves a lot of training, coaching, and practice. One popular strategy is called the 10,000 Hours Rule, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. But today’s guest, psychologist Brooke Macnamara, has done research showing the importance of quality over quantity.

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In his 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell proposes this rule based on a study of violinists conducted by psychologist Anders Ericcson. And the rule is pretty simple: mastery comes after someone practices one skill, like playing the violin, and according to Gladwell “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness.” Today’s episode is going to focus on this rule, its implications as well as how or if it can be applied to us as artists.

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This is the first episode in a new series on the podcast: Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers. And today’s guest provides a great example of both - Lisa Goldberg, Owner of LSG Public Relations.
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Lisa represents actors, writers, directors, and choreographers both nationally and internationally, who have won Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and Tony awards. She’s also represented companies and charities as well. But she hasn't always been talking about other performers. When she first came to New York, she was a dancer herself. Pounding the pavement and putting herself out there.
In this episode, she gives some good tips you can use even in a pandemic, ways that you can put yourself out there, network with others, and find projects to stay busy.

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On this special bonus episode all about the recent Tony Award Nominations, I’m so happy to introduce music director, conductor, and fellow podcaster Nate Patton. Nate and I first met when he was associate conducting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway. And his podcast called Booked It.

The title to one of his episodes was “Broadway is broken and I alone can fix it.” And it's this kind of witty, tongue in cheek and knowledgeable opinions that I wanted to bring on the show as we talk about these Tony nominations:

  • The lone best actor nomination of Aaron Tveit
  • The complete snubbing of the lightning thief
  • Only plays being nominated for best original score

Nate and I will also get into these topics and more, including what these nominations in general say about the state of theater today, and even make a few Tony predictions.

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Music in this episode provided by Chad Crouch and Admiral Bob.



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Meredith and I continue our conversation from the previous episode as she answers the Final Five questions. She shares her national tour ambitions and her love of interior design as well as what she learned from Ali Stroker.

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The time and expense needed to bring these guests and conversations to you each week is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. 

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In honor of Dysautonomia Awareness Month, Meredith Aleigha Wells joins the podcast to share her struggles and challenges onstage and in life all from the vantage point of a wheelchair. After becoming disabled at the age of 19, Meredith performed in a college workshop production of the new musical Donny Johns, making UMass Amherst history as the first actor who uses a wheelchair to perform in a Mainstage production.

Meredith graduated with a Bachelor's Degree with Individualized Concentration in Musical Theatre. Immediately after graduation, Meredith moved to Cleveland, Ohio to dance with Dancing Wheels, a physically integrated touring repertory company.

In this episode, she opens up about the hard-fought lessons she has been through and how much more there is learn, both in herself and for others.

Topics discussed in this episode:
 - Mayo Clinic Physician Philip Fischer, MD 
 - 10 Facts about POTS 
 - Dancing Wheels Company founder Mary Verdi-Fletcher 
 - What does the 30th anniversary of the ADA mean to youth with disabilities? - Youth Today 
 - Able-Bodied Actors Play 95% of Disabled Characters - Variety 
 - Ali Stroker's Tony Award acceptance speech 

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This month’s Recommendation comes from co-hosts Jill Jaracz and Allison Brown and their podcast: Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the greatest sporting event in the world.

Each week, hosts Jill Jaracz and Alison Brown explore the stories of the Olympics, which is basically the Broadway of sports. They talk to athletes and sports writers as well as coaches and organizers. They explore host cities and sporting histories, showcasing different aspects and perspectives of the Olympic Games. 

Here’s a bit of trivia, can you name some Olympians who have appeared on Broadway? 
 - One received both a Tony nomination and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. She played the role of Peter Pan into her 60s.
 - Another Olympic gymnast is gold medalist played Patti Simcox in Grease during the late 1990s and then went back to the Olympics for a third time in 2000 and won the bronze.
 - And in 2014, a world champion figure skater and two-time silver medalist played Billy Flynn in Chicago. 

Another thing I love about Jill and Allison and Keep the Flame Alive is they cover the Paralympics as well. In a recent episode they brought on author David Davis, who wrote the book Wheels of Courage. He talked about how paralyzed veterans from World War II invented wheelchair sports and fought for disability rights.


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