Unmasking Strategies For Broadway And Life With The Woman Oprah Calls A “Legend And An Inspiration”
“On stage, and in life, to perform at a peak level, we must be committed to staying authentic, truthful and alive in each moment.”
Today I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Sandra Joseph. Sandra is the woman Oprah calls “a Broadway legend and an inspiration.” Best known for playing Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” for nearly a decade, Sandra is now using her voice in a new way — as an author, keynote speaker and thought leader — to inspire audiences everywhere.
Congrats on your new book, Unmasking What Matters: 10 Life Lessons from 10 Years on Broadway. What can you tell us about it?
It’s a book about embracing your gifts and cultivating the courage to share them. My goal was to give people the mental, emotional, and spiritual loft to go after their dreams without in any way trivializing the demands of the journey. I pull back the curtain and share what it takes to not only achieve your goals, but to rewrite the script of your life so you’re living in alignment with what matters most to you. It’s part memoir, but it’s also a practical book with research and experiential exercises to help readers mindfully work through their fears, stand in their authentic power, and build a life rich with meaning.
What separates your book from any others on the subject of Broadway?
Most books about Broadway are about Broadway. My book uses my time on Broadway as a backdrop to share how the reader can find the courage to go after what may seem out of reach to them. It’s not a guidebook about how to make it to Broadway, it’s about cultivating inner resources to move through self-doubt and fear and create the life you most deeply desire. We play many different roles throughout our lives, and we sometimes get stuck in certain personas or find ourselves living according to the expectations of others. This book is about how we can develop the skills to love ourselves enough to drop the mask and become who we were put on this earth to be. I believe that everything we are seeking lies in our willingness to live an unmasked life.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you during the course of your career on Broadway?
The most interesting thing that happened to me was falling in love with my costar, Ron Bohmer. Ron played The Phantom and later became my husband!
For our readers who aspire to take the stage on Broadway, what are 3 strategies or tips you could give them today that will greatly improve their chances tomorrow and several years down the road?
1. Study, study, study. Training is non-negotiable. You’ve got to invest the time and money if you’re going to excel.
2. Practice self-compassion. You need to learn to develop resilience to help you move through the failure, rejection, and heartbreak you will inevitably face. It’s a tough business. Auditioning is not for the faint of heart, but I don’t buy into the typical advice about “mental toughness” and having a “thick skin”. It’s far more skillful to learn to be kind to ourselves. As artists, we need to stay open-hearted and vulnerable — to feel things deeply — without drowning in the painful experiences. When things don’t go your way, don’t beat yourself up. Remember Rilke’s words: “Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
3. Trust in your enoughness. Tibetans have a word — “wangthang” — that means “authentic presence” or “field of power”. The big temptation for all of us when we’re feeling like we’re not enough is to enter the realm of fakery — to put on a mask. But we are always looking for the ring of truth in each other. On stage, and in life, to perform at a peak level, we must be committed to staying authentic, truthful and alive in each moment.
Thank you for those helpful tips. Can you tell people where to find your book and also where they can go to keep up to date with your latest projects?
You can find my book and learn more about my keynote speaking, workshops, and retreats on my website at SandraJoseph.com.