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    Posted March 6, 2008

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Ten Proud New Equity Members Celebrate


L-R Jacyn Fain, Ellen Condon, Chris Carter, Tom Del Bello, Michael Padgett, Travis Nesbitt, Nicolas Davila, Julie Bell, Josh Fingerhut
Photo: Sandy Rosenberg
Cupcakes: Lauren Blackman

Ten members of the cast of the Yeston-Kopit PHANTOM at Westchester Broadway Theatre, an Equity Dinner Theatre, recently became the newest proud members of Actors' Equity. They were pleased and grateful for the opportunity, reports Sandy Rosenberg, an Equity member since 1977 who was playing Carlotta in the production, and who interviewed the members. Here's who they are, and what they had to say:

Julie Bell is from Lafayette, Indiana and received a BFA in Music Theatre from Millikin University. "I was an Equity Membership Candidate after working at Paper Mill Playhouse in Ragtime. It took me three years after moving to New York to finally get my card. I hit a lot of open calls and waited all day to get seen for Equity Principal Auditions (EPAs) {although} getting my EMC card with Paper Mill made it a little easier to be seen at these Equity calls. This past August I went to the open call for PHANTOM. I was shuffled in, sang my eight bars and the next week I booked the job. Thanks WBT. I am thrilled to be a new member of Equity."

Chris Carter is from Huntsville, Alabama. "I graduated from college in 2006 and spent a year on tour as a non-Equity performer. I auditioned at the PHANTOM open call as a non-Equity member. Got the job and got my card!"

Ellen Condon grew up in Pearl River, New York, about 14 miles north of Manhattan in Rockland County. "Living so close to the city gave me the opportunity to see lots of theatre and decide to pursue this career. I graduated from The Hartt School with a BFA in Music Theatre in May, 2005 so it's taken me about two and a half years to get my card. I got my job at Westchester Broadway through the non-Equity open call in August. I sang eight bars, danced, read, and the rest is history. It's fun to be working at a theatre that I made high school field trips to when I was a teenager. I became an Equity Membership Candidate just this past summer in June from doing a production of WEST SIDE STORY at the Woodminster Amphitheatre in Oakland, California. I only had four points so I'm happy to be doing this the easy way."

Nicolas Davila grew up in Northern California and came to New York City for college. "Although my studies at Juilliard were concentrated in opera, I always knew I wanted to do theatre. Since graduating, I've kept myself busy with theatre and concert work in the city and regionally. Last summer, I attended an open call for PHANTOM and booked it! Through PHANTOM, I've had the opportunity to work with a very talented cast and crew and happily walk away with my Equity card."

Tom Del Bello attended school in Toronto. "My first job here in the US was at Gateway Playhouse where I became an Equity Membership Candidate. I then left the city for a year to tour the US and Canada with JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Over the summer of 2007, I did a fringe show in New York and while doing that I heard from several cast members about the PHANTOM auditions at WBT. I went to the audition early in the morning hoping to be seen during the Equity Chorus Call. I didn't get seen at that call, but there was an open call in the afternoon and, thankfully, I was number one on that list after waiting all morning. I guess being first was a good thing because a year and a half after moving to the US I got a job that would give me my Equity card and the chance to work with an amazing cast and crew. I have been really fortunate since moving to the city and am excited to see where the future takes me now that I am a proud member of Equity."

Jacyn Fain is originally from Kauai, Hawaii. She went to the open call for PHANTOM. "This was only my second show, so at first I wasn't sure if I wanted to become an AEA member so soon. But after speaking to successful AEA members, the pros of me becoming Equity definitely outweighed the cons. So I decided to go for it, and I'm really happy I did."

Josh Fingerhut is from upstate New York, near Syracuse. "I'd been enrolled in the Equity Membership Candidate program since 2006. An acquaintance mentioned the auditions for PHANTOM to my partner and was also kind enough to submit my headshot and resume to the company (thanks James Van Treuren!). My uncle gave me round trip train fare to NYC and I came to the auditions hoping for…anything. Since work was scarce for me in 2007 I had no opportunities to put any weeks toward my candidacy. The contract with PHANTOM guaranteed an offer for Equity membership."

Travis Nesbitt "grew up in sunny Orange County, California. I stumbled upon the PHANTOM audition in Back Stage and really went on a whim. I was actually on my way to another audition, but decided PHANTOM was a great opportunity. I had just gotten off the non-union national tour of THE PRODUCERS, which I jumped on directly after graduating from the Boston Conservatory. PHANTOM was literally my third audition back in the city. I had no EMC points and I had literally never even been in the AEA building. I was so excited…Equity card…Check!!!"

Michael Padgett is an Air Force brat and has lived in Korea, Hawaii, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama and moved to New York after graduating from Florida State University School of Theatre. "I couldn't get seen at the EPA, so I went back for the non-Equity auditions, and kept getting called back for the two parts I was really hoping to be considered for-The Count and The Phantom. When I got my final callback, I was giddy with knowing I was so close to landing my first professional job. As a non-union member I looked for projects that interested me, that I felt would help me grow on an artistic level so I could, hopefully, hold my own with the professional acting community and feel ready when I was finally offered Equity membership. I'm proud to be in the Union."

Steven Rich was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. "I became a Membership Candidate about five years ago while performing at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. After performing the last few years as a non-union actor, I am excited about continuing my career as a member of Equity."





 
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