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Be "Humbly Ambitious"

Career Advice: NYC New Member Reception Guest Speaker Bobby Steggert

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Tony Award nominee Bobby Steggert (fresh off the heels of his Tony nomination for Best Supporting Actor in this season's revival of RAGTIME) was the guest speaker at the recent New Member Reception held Monday, June 21st, at Actors' Equity Association's National Office overlooking Times Square. Forty-eight New Members attended the afternoon event, hosted by Mark Aldrich, Equity Councillor and Chair of the Eastern Region Membership Education Committee.

Steggert, a 15 year Equity Member is currently performing in the Lincoln Center production of A.R. Gurneys' THE GRAND MANNER. Previously he was seen as Jimmy Curry in the Broadway revival of 110 IN THE SHADE and featured regionally in SAINT JOAN, SHAKESPEARE'S R & J, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, and BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS. On television he was seen as Sam Grey on "All My Children."

Bobby spoke briefly about his training and background: originally from Frederick, MD; graduated NYU's Tisch School of the Arts; studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Not fond of talking about himself, he eagerly asked if anyone had questions about the "business."

His answer to "How do you get an agent?" was to be pro-active in every way you can:
"Talk to friends - get referrals, do showcases, readings, attend as many auditions as you can. Be patient and believe that it is possible." Bobby landed his agent via a senior showcase and a referral from a friend. "Once you have an agent," he said, "you still need to be pro-active. Know what is going on in the business, read the trades, look at the breakdowns, and police your agent. Most importantly, your photos need to express who you are, and remember that you are unique. You are the only you."

When asked if he still had to audition - the answer was a definitive "yes." The main difference of late is that he is often up against a well-know name in the business.

On the business in general he advised, "do not to give up your power. You are in charge of your fate, so don't be afraid to make tough decisions. One often has to make tough calls, sometimes weighing the value of one job against another. Do you take the out-of-town job that pays well or the lesser paying in-town job that may get you more industry exposure?"

Bobby was asked about the slow times - how he keeps his spirits up in a business that is full of rejection. He said to have interests outside of the business. "Read novels - not just plays. Enjoy other forms of music. Have friends that have nothing to do with show business - enjoy nature...."

Ultimately, be kind - be professional - don't step on people. Create your own acting community with everyone you work with. Be "Humbly Ambitious" (A phrase which immediately resonated with everyone in the room).

The event, one of three held each year, was sponsored by the Eastern Region Membership Education Committee. New Members were welcomed by Member Ed Committee Members, Equity Councillors, and Staff. Attendees received New Member Informational Packets, and raffles were held featuring Equity, Actors Federal Credit Union and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids giveaways. Equity Staff representatives talked with New Members about Agents, Auditions, Contracts, and Professionalism.

Humbly Ambitious,
Joan Valentina, Membership Education Committee Member

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