Training, technique, and talent. These three elements are without a doubt three things that every Broadway performer must have. However, it doesn’t always look the same. For some Broadway performers, they were acting and singing since they were in kindergarten and danced their way all through high school and onto their theatre college program. Since a young age, they worked at their talents and craft to get them to the Great White Way. For some performers, it wasn’t until high school or college when they decided to audition for a show, and there are other performers who didn’t decide to pursue musical theater until after college. The theater is a place for diversity, and that includes the paths that it takes to walk through that stage door.
Unlike becoming a doctor, professional athlete, a lawyer, or almost anything else, there isn’t one way to become a Broadway performer. Every single path is different, but they all lead to the stage. Despite a different path, there are qualities that all Broadway performers share.
One needs to look no further than to Jon Rua to see who possesses these qualities. Regardless of not having classical training, Rua is a Broadway singer, dancer, actor, and choreographer. Hard work is what got him where he is today. After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in Public Relations, Rua dedicated himself to developing a craft he dabbled in throughout high school and college: dancing. This consistent hard work led him to working on shows like In the Heights and Hamilton where he was able to choreograph the dances, act in the show, and understudy the lead roles.
Whenever one comes across Rua in an interview or video, he carries himself with laughs, humility, and kindness. Arguable, these traits are the most important qualities in a Broadway performer. In the theatre community, no one wants to work with someone who is arrogant, selfish, and inconsiderate. In fact, these qualities are exactly what the theatre holds dear. Rua is a perfect example of who we can look up to to imitate these qualities.
If you believe that you cannot be on Broadway because of a lack of training, then you might want to reconsider as seen by the example of Jon Rua. Now, don’t get me wrong. YES, training is essential. YES, technique, is vital. YES, talent is required. HOWEVER, just because your path did not lead you to have the lead roles in every single musical at your high school, or if your path did not lead you through a rigorous musical theater program, that does not mean you cannot be on Broadway. Jon Rua had neither and has been part of the most groundbreaking shows in modern theatre history.
Start working hard and working hard consistently towards your dreams. Be humble and be kind. You will accomplish your dreams, I promise. Not only will you find yourself an all-star performer, but you will also find yourself a better human being.
Sample Jon Rua’s Broadway Master’s Masterclass here.