EP 133: Christine Cornish Smith (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 133.
[00:00:10] Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Christine Cornish Smith. Christine, are you ready for this?
[00:00:20]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:00:20] ready.
[00:00:21] Dane Reis: [00:00:21] Oh, right.
right. Christine was most recently seen on Broadway in the original revival cast of kiss me, Kate, where she was a featured dancer in the ensemble and covered Lois lane slash Bianca.
[00:00:34] Christine is most well known for her portrayal of Bombalurina in the OBC revival of cats, where she was nominated for a 2017 Chita Rivera award. For best female performance in a Broadway musical. She was also seen in the OBC of my fair lady in 2018 at Lincoln center at Humalog, a graduate of Cincinnati college conservatory of music.
[00:00:58] Other credits include. Laurie Williams in Susan Stroman is Oklahoma at the muni. Sheila Bryant in a chorus line at the Riverside theater, original revival tour of Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat helmed by Andy blink and Buehler and more. She has also performed as a principle vocalist with.
[00:01:17] Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Phoenix and Niagara symphony orchestra, as well as a finalist in Kurt files. Lot of linear vocal competition in 2014, she appeared in the 25th anniversary concert performance of crazy for you at Lincoln center and has also appeared on . HBO is last week tonight with John Oliver.
[00:01:39] Good morning America. The today show the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and the Tony awards. Christine is also a teacher for CLI studios Institute of American musical theater, Broadway workshop, Broadway classroom, among other programs she’s been featured on playbill broadway.com inside dance magazine and Broadway box as one of the incredible debuts of the 2016 Broadway season.
[00:02:05] Christine. That is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:02:20]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:02:20] Yes.
Um, yeah, it is so easy, right. That, that those kind of, um, list of accolades leaves out all of the failures and struggles and all the other stuff.
[00:02:30] Dane Reis: [00:02:30] It sure does.
[00:02:32] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:02:32] it definitely does, but,
um, yeah, so I, um, currently am still based out of New York and I feel like. Currently in this, uh, crazy year that we’re having it is 2020.
[00:02:44] I sort of
sort of identified more as a teacher just this year, I think. Cause I feel like that’s where I can be of most help. Um, you know, and, and so I feel like. That’s been my role for 2020. Um, and yeah, I’m actually currently in Dallas, Texas right now. Um, I’m originally from Dallas and my parents live here. And so in an effort to sort of save up my coin, move back, come to New York.
[00:03:13] I am down here and teaching for a couple. Studios and teaching over zoom and doing a workshop with a local theater here and just
kind of, you know, doing some stuff in Dallas for a bit before I go back up to me or,
[00:03:26]Dane Reis: [00:03:26] yeah. Beautiful. I think that’s probably, a good place to stay put for the time being
[00:03:31]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:03:31] yeah. It just,
you know, it was definitely a sobering moment, you know? Cause I wanted to. Want to be in New York, but when you, you realize, okay, all of my work has been canceled and the industry is shut down. All these things you sort of sort of have to factor in your life and go, all right, what’s the smartest move.
[00:03:49]For the time being besides what do I want to do?
You know, I think there’s always a time for what do I want to do and what am I going to shoot for? And all right, this is a temporary moment of what’s going to be smartest longterm. Um, but it’s actually, there’s been a lot of great parts of it personally, you know, for being in Dallas, but I definitely am excited to get back up to New York soon.
[00:04:14] Dane Reis: [00:04:14] Yeah, for sure.
Well, let’s move on to our first section here. And Christine, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is
[00:04:24] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:04:24] Me too.
[00:04:25] Dane Reis: [00:04:25] to share with everyone? Yes.
[00:04:27] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:04:27] I am a sucker for quotes too. Like when I was in college, in my dorm, I had, I would always have
like a wall of little pieces of paper that I cut them out and like put, paste them on my wall. I think they’re just such a good way to motivate. I th I actually feel like this has really morphed.
[00:04:43] Over time for me. Cause when I was younger, it was always to thine own self, be true from Hamlet.
Um, because it always reminded me to just be honest with myself and do the right thing. Um, and then I, for many years lived by the quote. Everyone is fighting a battle, you know, you know, nothing about be kind. I actually don’t know who said that.
Um, I lived by that for a long time and then I feel like it started. Getting me into trouble. Cause like I was overly empathetic and then people would walk all over me. So then now I feel like the quote that I’m I’m. Uh, living by is, um, it’s a little section from, um, a poem by Mary Oliver called sometimes it’s just pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.
I, I really like because it’s simple and it just reminds me too. I think, especially for this year. You know, it’s easy to want to just shut everything out and ignore things. But part of our jobs as artists and creators is to pay attention, you know, and, and really, really listen to people and really observe, and then take that in and, you know, create something from it.
[00:05:54] So I think that’s my quote, my favorite quote, as of late.
[00:05:58] Dane Reis: [00:05:58] Yeah. I really liked that. And you’re right. It really does. It sums up the work of what we do.
[00:06:07] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:06:07] Yeah.
[00:06:08] Dane Reis: [00:06:08] Yeah.
[00:06:09]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:06:09] Yeah. And listening,
you know, I just, I always have to tell myself that I think I’ve always tried to be a good listener, but I feel like. Artists that I admire the most, you know, in this business or any other businesses, they’re always such good listeners. So I always try to, you know, remember that and, and do that myself too.
[00:06:30] Dane Reis: [00:06:30] Yeah, for sure. And let’s get into this next section here. And Christine, of course you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most brutally honest, subjective, personally, emotional industries. In existence and you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now a lot of dedication and hard work.
[00:07:03] And while yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer, being on stage, doing what we do. There are also our fair share of. Obstacles challenges and failures, we are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it
[00:07:27]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:07:27] Yeah.
I mean, there are so many, I wish I could just name one. Um, but, but yeah, I mean, I think, Oh man, too. put it a little more, um, you know, short in a more short manner. I think, um, resilience is something you have to practice. You know, you, you have to sort of get good at being rejected because , one thing that I’ve, I’ve really learned is that many times some of the best jobs come after some of my.
[00:07:55] Biggest failures,
you know, and I think that’s partly because in those moments I did a pretty good job of, of not dwelling so much on, you know, something that I just didn’t get. And I really tried to. , you know, extrapolate what I learned and then move forward. And so, because I was able to really be ready for that next opportunity, um, I was able to, you know, seize that moment, whereas I think.
[00:08:20] Sometimes it does get easy to just really want to dwell
and, and live in the negativity of either a job, not going our way or us getting some negative feedback or whatever that is. It’s just really important to, to understand that the. The projection is what shapes us and shapes our work. I’m sure that’s what you’ve found as well.
[00:08:45] And that is
sort of builds who we are and like build the kind of work that we ended up doing. And, um, that that’s actually crucial to being an artist. You know, I, I I’m really uninterested in the seeing somebody’s work. Who’s just gotten everything they wanted, you know, like, I don’t really want to see them.
[00:09:01] Sing a song. I don’t really want to hear what they have to say if they haven’t faced something. So sometimes it’s,
you know, it’s, it could be a good thing too.
[00:09:11] Dane Reis: [00:09:11] Yeah, absolutely. And I think right in the beginning, when you’re talking, you said what I extrapolate, what I learned. And I think that nails it right on the head of everything yes, you have failure. Yes. You have to build up resilience in practice,
you know? Being rejected. That is a, that is a true thing that comes with this industry.
[00:09:30] And it is a muscle in a way you have to do it again and it gets easier and
easier and easier and the more you do it, the more I find, the more you’re able to focus on you and what you are bringing to the table and what what’s in your control, but yeah, relating what you learned from any of those negative experiences and the good ones.
[00:09:48] That’s really what shaped us as people shapes our character shapes what we can bring to the table.
[00:09:53] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:09:53] Yes. Exactly. Yeah. And I also just feel
like. Nothing is a waste of time. You know, it’s so easy to look back and go, Oh God, I’ve wasted that time at that audition. Or, you know, wasted time taking that class or, you know, even people that change careers after 10 years, years of being in one career, and then they decide to go to another, like, I firmly believe nothing is a waste of time.
[00:10:15] Even if what you learned from it was how not to be, or what not to do. That’s still really important,
you know, that’s, you know, stuff that is going to be important for you moving forward. So I try to remind myself of that too.
[00:10:30] Dane Reis: [00:10:30] Absolutely. But. I think it comes with the caveat that you still need to extrapolate what you learn. If you just have these failures or if you just, or if you do career changes, but you never think about
what, what you did or how things went or you don’t try to apply that into your life. Then you’re not taking full advantage of that situation.
[00:10:47] You have to go through it consciously and then truly everything is a learning process.
[00:10:53] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:10:53] Yeah.
And, and just, you know, I think another skill is, is perspective, you know, and being able to zoom out in, in those moments and go, okay, like, Take myself out of the center of this take, you know, my, um, my own, um, filter away, you know, and really try to look at it from more, an objective point of view.
[00:11:12] And then that always helps, but yeah, always like zoom out, zoom out,
like zoom out, zoom out, zoom out, Christine, you know, and I think that is another helpful thing, but yeah, you totally, you you’ve said it exactly
[00:11:24]Dane Reis: [00:11:24] beautiful.
Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for all living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:11:47]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:11:47] Yeah.
Um, again, this makes me think of, you know, in my something from my younger years. Cause I think I’m constantly having those spotlight moments as you describe it as I’m going on with my career. But, um, One that really comes to mind immediately is, um, when I was younger, I was training to be a ballet dancer.
[00:12:07] I was more in the ballet world and,
you know, that was like the end goal, you know? Um, , uh, so I was. Dancing with this ballet company, the Dallas metropolitan ballet, and we were doing this big gala performance, um, for this national dance America arts festival. And we were in Pittsburgh at, I think it was the Bennett in center.
[00:12:27] I don’t remember a huge theater me and my like 15 year old self was like, this is the biggest theater I’ve ever seen in my life,
you know? you know? And, um, um, and it was something that. I mean this dance company, we rehearse six days a week, four to five hours a day after school plus Sunday. Like it was very intense and it was kind of.
[00:12:46]Your life. And then summers, we trained all summer would go off to summer programs back trained before school had started.
Like, it was a very intense, um, company and yeah, we had worked really hard for this moment all year for this one performance in Pittsburgh. We, you know, All flew up there and it had, um, it was this very challenging athletic piece with like tons of partnering and group work.
[00:13:11] And we were even like throwing and catching balls on stage and doing this like jump rope, like this crazy piece. So it was like 15 minutes long or something. And,
um, it was just one of those pieces that required teamwork, you know, it was like, you have to. Constantly have your eyes on everyone else on that stage and be exactly in time and really work as a team.
[00:13:38] So it was so that much more rewarding because
you know, your win was everyone else’s win, you know? And, um, I just. Had this moment after we finished that piece and we really nailed it. And, um, we all got off stage and the audience loved it. It was just like such a positive, energizing exchange. And it, it really.
[00:13:59] For the first time I was like, I know that I want to be a part of these ensembles. Like I, what I loved about that piece was there was no star. we all depended on each other. And yes, there were certain roles that were bigger than others and whatnot, but
like, it was just such a team effort. And I remember thinking, Oh man, what I will do to have them feeling again and what I will do to help others know this feeling and, you know, That’s what I want to do with my life.
[00:14:27] I want other people to feel this, I want to keep feeling this,
you know, it was just like euphoric. So, um, I think that that moment in the ballet company, when I was a kid was probably that spotlight moment.
[00:14:39]Dane Reis: [00:14:39] . I love that. in you’re so right.
The, the, the comradery, the working together, the ensemble feeling when you’re everyone is there supporting each other and everyone is giving everything to,
[00:14:51] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:14:51] Yes.
[00:14:52] Dane Reis: [00:14:52] and you can feel that on stage.
[00:14:53] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:14:53] yeah. Yeah. And that really comes across
when it’s, when it’s genuine like that. And I also just think working, you know, in any ensemble, but especially as an ensemble dancer, It teaches you so much about even how to like, be a good citizen or be a good, you know, person in society that understands everyone.
[00:15:13] John has their own set of,
you know, wants, needs, worries, issues, you know, whatever it is and I think it helps you be a better person in a lot of ways, but, um, Yeah. Yeah.
[00:15:27] Dane Reis: [00:15:27] yeah, I a hundred percent agree. That’s also why.
I mean, this is completely unrelated for most of it, but it’s also, I like watching things like the Olympics or the world cup, because you see all of these different countries that are supporting their, their people. And you realize, I think on a world stage, suddenly you go, Oh, we’re all the same.
[00:15:49] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:15:49] Yes.
Uh, thank you. Say it again.
[00:15:51] Dane Reis: [00:15:51] stuff. We’re all the same, you know, we’re
you know, . Yeah, there’s a lot of minor things that might be different, but we all are showing up to support other people to support sport or to support the arts or we’re all in it together. And I think when you can see the world through that lens, you can see people through that lens, getting the opportunity and the pleasure to do these really.
[00:16:13]Focused intense ensemble performances and working at such a high level like that with everyone. And then,
uh, it’s, it’s something really special.
[00:16:20] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:16:20] Yes, it’s so rewarding and something that
I, I watched this, um, Right. New York times, I missed the theater, thing the other week. And, and they were talking about being affected by the stories that we tell. And, you know, what is so important about theater? Something that I have been reminded of in this time is that, you know, everyone’s coming together and we’re all finding the commonality.
[00:16:44]within each other and from the audience member to whatever’s happening on the stage, because it’s impossible that every single person in that audience has experienced the exact circumstance that this actor is going through,
you know, or this character on the stage is going through. But part of, you know, the theatrical exchange is okay, what, you know, this.
[00:17:06] This is a story about a trunk in Africa, but I know nothing about, but they are still experiencing loss or they’re still experiencing a desire. And I know those feelings and that’s our commonality.
Like, and then they can leave the theater, understanding something about, you know, you know, that might feel very far away to them, you know, or might feel very unrelatable to them.
[00:17:34] But it’s a reminder. It’s
like, yeah. I mean, man, dude theater now, anyway, totally. I’m getting on a tangent, but it is like, you know, well, it, um, that kind of unity aspect of theater is one of the major reasons why I feel like I’m in the theater. So
[00:17:50] Dane Reis: [00:17:50] yeah, absolutely. And the unity part really comes in. It’s something that’s unique to live theater as well, because. Movies , can be
very, very moving, but it’s impossible. I believe to get that transfer of energy that you get when you have people in an audience and people on stage telling a gripping story there’s that, and that you can, you can connect to it viscerally, you know, and you, you feel that.
[00:18:17] More so than what you can get out of a screen is beautiful and fantastic. His movies are,
you know, there’s something about live theater that just is so unique.
[00:18:25]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:18:25] Yeah. I agree.
You know, I think it’s, it’s just like a different craft. Like I look at theater and film as like apples and oranges, you know, like, it’s just a different craft. There are things you can do on film and tools you can use. That can get something across that you could never do on this stage, but same thing vice-versa, you know, there are things that you can do on the stage that you could never get with film.
[00:18:47] And, um,
um, you know, it’s, it’s definitely the live aspect of the like kind of comedic energy exchange is, is something that is really hard to replicate. It’s impossible to replicate.
[00:18:59] Dane Reis: [00:18:59] for sure. All right.
Well, Let’s piggy back on that spotlight question. And let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs if they happen to be a part of it, but what was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite?
[00:19:20] Booked it moment.
[00:19:22]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:19:22] Oh man.
You know, I have two like major book, DIT moments, but for the sake of time, I’ll just do the one. Um, and this one was see, uh, I guess it was about five, five years ago and I was still kind of getting my, my footing in New York. And, um, I had done the national tour of Joseph for. You know, I, uh, I guess almost a year, and then I left the tour because I got a job at Goodspeed opera house.
[00:19:49] So I was doing a show there. And while I was at Goodspeed, I found out , that muni theater in st. Louis was doing Oklahoma, but a very specific version of Oklahoma. It was Susan Stroman version of Oklahoma where the Laurie,
um, the Laurie Williams also plays a role and also dances the dream ballet, um, which is like rare, you know, it’s rarely that.
[00:20:15]As an actor, you get to also dance and yeah. Sing at the high caliber,
you know? So I had also grown up watching the Susan Stroman version of Oklahoma with Hugh Jackman and was obsessed with that. It was like half the reason why I left the ballet world and went into theater because I was like, Oh, I can see he’ll really dance and do theater.
[00:20:35] Okay, great. Because I saw this film,
you know, of the stage version. I’ll do theater now. Um, anyway, and so I, they was at good speed and I read that the muni was doing the Stroman version of Oklahoma. And I called my agents and I was like, Hey, I have got to play Laurie in this Oklahoma. And I think they were like, excuse me.
[00:20:57] Ma’am. I mean,
I mean, this is like, like, I just got my equity card. From tour. I had never, even when I was in college, I never really had a role. I had never, like, I was just an ensemble gal. Like I think they were like, okay, well, You know, I guess we can try to get you an audition, but like, do you want to audition for the ensemble?
Like come on. You know, I don’t, I mean, I think they did believe in me, but I do think there was a little bit of, Oh, the audacity
[00:21:20] Dane Reis: [00:21:20] yes, of course.
[00:21:21] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:21:21] but I was like, hell bent. I was like, this, I am, this is mine, like a crazy person. And I’ve never
like, like I moved to New York thinking. You know, I’ll probably be a Zumba instructor and like, I’m excited about that.
[00:21:35] Like I was not like,
you know, anyway, so , they were like, okay, Great. We’ll try to see if we can get you in. And at first I don’t remember. It was that I couldn’t get seen, but they were like, well, you can send in a video with, send in like the Lori songs and the sides and a video of you dancing that way, you know?
[00:21:55]And I was like, okay, like crazy. I,
you know, Spent like a whole day trying to get the perfect takes. And I sent in a video and a couple of weeks went by and I was like, Oh, dang, I probably missed it. Then I get a call. It was like, Hey, they want to see you next week. But I was out in Connecticut. So I had to drive in on my day off to go to this audition.
[00:22:18]And it was
kind of like they had narrowed it down to some people. And anyway, I. Remember driving in super early, dropped my stuff off. I was in the process of moving apartments and going through a breakup. It was like a very crazy time my life. And I was. Moving all my stuff into one apartment. Anyway, I saw on the thing.
[00:22:41] Okay. The auditions at Ripley Greer. Great. So I go to Ripley Greer and I was like, okay, I have 10 minutes to spare. Good. At least have 10 minutes to like, get my,
you know, my self together. And then I get there and I’m like, well, where’s the room. What? And then I look back on my email and I was at the wrong Ripley Greer.
[00:22:59] There’s another one in Columbus circle. And I was like, so I, of course it was also. The dead of summer. So it’s so hot. I did not have money to get in a cab. And I was like, that’s going to be probably. Slower,
you know, in the middle of the time square, like getting in a cab, I don’t even know if this, so I was like, all right, I’m going to run.
[00:23:22] So it’s me running to the other Ripley Greer. I
[00:23:26] Dane Reis: [00:23:26] Get outta here.
[00:23:28] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:23:28] And I was like, Oh my God, like just totally out of breath. And I was like, they’re going to think I’m so irresponsible,
like, blah, blah, blah. So I get in, thank God. They were like running a tiny bit late, but I. Walked in. And I was like, hi, I’m so sorry.
[00:23:41] I’m here.
Uh, I’m just gonna, I went into the bathroom. To like, get on my leotards. We were dancing first and I had like, this moment, I like looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, Christine, you gotta like, like, get your stuff together. Let’s do this. And I went in anyway and I ended up going really well.
[00:24:00] And then I got kept to sing and I sang all the stuff. They made me sing, like the high version,
you know, where she. Options up. And people say, people will say we’re in love reprise or whatever. And I left being like, it was one of those auditions where I had just left and right. I was like, okay, if I don’t get it, I guess I’ll be okay with it because I did my.
[00:24:24]The best work possible.
You know, I was like, all right, it’s fine. I left it all out there. We’ll get it. It wasn’t meant to be just like, let it go. And I didn’t hear anything for a couple of days. And I was like, I don’t think I got it. And then I got a call that I got it. And then I got to do my. Dream role from this show that just had such an impact on me and got to work with like, you know, to have strong men’s associates.
[00:24:50] And then I ended up getting to work with her later on in my career, partly because she knew that I had done that because it was the regional premiere of her version.
Um, Anyway, so that’s that story, but it was just, I think it sticks out to me so much because that was even anything after that too. Like, I’ve been determined.
[00:25:11] But that just takes the cake, like young, overly ambitious Christine being like, I have to get this wrong.
Um, and it ended up working out in it, you know? Yeah. So, so that’s probably one of my number one looked at moments, I guess. Yeah.
[00:25:26] Dane Reis: [00:25:26] Aw, that’s such a good story.
[00:25:28]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:25:28]
[00:25:28]Dane Reis: [00:25:28] Hey, at least you were warm when you showed up the other ripple Greer
[00:25:31] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:25:31] Oh,
so warm, so warm, maybe too warm, but, you know yeah. But then it was good.
[00:25:35] Cause after that, I think my agents were like, Oh,
okay, okay. You know,
[00:25:38]Dane Reis: [00:25:38] you can tell us, so what else would you like to do?
[00:25:40] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:25:40] yeah. They were like, okay,
well we’ll believe you next time. You’re insane about trying to get some roll. Cause you know, anyway, so yeah.
[00:25:48] Dane Reis: [00:25:48] that’s so good. I love it. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And we’ve talked about it a little bit and it’s a weird time, right? We’re amidst this
global pandemic global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:26:10]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:26:10] Yeah, that’s
um, that’s a tough question right now. Well, all those questions are tough questions in this present moment for sure. Um, It’s interesting. Cause I feel like you asked if you would have asked me those first two questions at any other time in my career, I’d like list off like four things I’m working on and you know, 10 things I’m trying to look forward to, you know, I’d like have my list ready, but this year I really feel like I’ve taken a big step back and like, and really tried to use this time to, to, um, be quieter, you know, and, and be calmer and, and really take advantage of this time with family and this. Time where I’m not running around and frantically trying to, you know, climb up to the next thing that’s going to happen.
um, so right now the projects I’m working on, I mean, I’ve, I’m doing a couple of things here in Dallas. Just did a, a socially defense stint concerts that was LA that was streamed, um, with this. Great theater down here called water tower theater. Um, I actually was set to play Francesca in bridges of Madison County at Watertower, but then, you know, the virus happened and, you know, we had to cancel the show.
Um, you know, we did that concert and then I’m. Doing a couple other things with them coming up here and I’m teaching a lot teaching over zoom and teaching at a local studio here. Um, I, it’s funny. It’s like, I kind of feel like I just want to go toward where I. Feel most helpful, you know, whether it’s phone banking and the singing for, uh, you know, some sort of phone banking event to try to get the good person in the office.
Um, or, you know, whether, you know, teaching little, little kids in a mask and making sure they still get some sort of physical activity in and they still get some sort of, um, You know, they’re in their developmental years and it’s really important for kids to have that kind of training. And so, um, and just like connecting with others, a lot of different students all over the country through zoom.
Like, it feels like that’s my project, if anything right now. and just, just trying to continue. I always like to choreograph on my own and, and continuing to try to. Record stuff and, and keep kind of building to my choreographic arsenal, I guess. I guess. And, um, um, yeah. And I mean, how do I see the industry moving forward?
I, I do feel like this time is going to. Hopefully, what I hope it’s going to do is kind of strip away a lot of the BS of the industry. It is a time where you don’t have okay, was doing what and, Oh my God, you know, so, you know, so, and so got this and, and all this is happening. It is this time where, you know, we are forced to do our own work and create and whatever our own work.
[00:29:10] Happens to be.
Um, but I, I do hope that we can kind of, um, hang on to that mentality as the industry moves forward. You know, the finding, I, I do think that it’s going to happen inevitably because we’re not going to have the budgets like we used to have immediately, like right when we can do theater again, I think we’re going to be forced to kind of.
You know, have theater be smaller and more authentic and you know, you know, we’re not going to have all the bells and whistles that we maybe, you know, would have had even just last year. Um, you know, and I’m, we still will have those big production musicals. I think those are so important. Um, but I, I do hope that we can kind of hang on to some of this, um, What are we really doing it for?
You know, I think this time I’ve constantly asked myself, okay, why am I an artist? Like why do I do this? And like asking myself all those big why questions and it’s made me commit even further to what I want to do and commit even. More intensely to being an artist. And I’m really excited to be back in New York and be part of the Renaissance of what theater is, you know, kind of bringing it back from the dead a little bit and this time.
[00:30:24] And I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.
Um, however that is, but yeah, I think it’s. That’s such a complex question and this time. Um, but also I think a lot of good is gonna come out of this. I think people are brewing up some pretty incredible stuff, so it will be exciting to see what all comes to fruition after, after all this.
[00:30:49] Dane Reis: [00:30:49] Yes, certainly will. Thank you for your insight on that. It was great
[00:30:54] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:30:54] Yeah.
[00:30:55] Dane Reis: [00:30:55] it is time to move on to one of
my, my favorite, my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round.
[00:31:03] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:31:03] Ooh.
[00:31:04] Dane Reis: [00:31:04] Yes, I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly, concisely as possible one after another.
[00:31:12] Are you ready? All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:31:21]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:31:21] fear and failure.
[00:31:24]Dane Reis: [00:31:24] Yeah, but like you said, you have to, if those are things that you have to practice, so you can get the resilience,
[00:31:31]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:31:31] Yes, exactly. But I think when you’re on the brink and you’re about to,
you know, go to New York or make the big break that definitely sometimes can feel overwhelming, but you gotta lean into it and you got to just go, alright, that’s going to be part of it. Let’s do it, you
[00:31:47]Dane Reis: [00:31:47] Yeah. And the second question.
Well, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:31:54] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:31:55] The kind because I think there are so many talented people in this industry and everyone is so good,
um, that people want to hire people. They want to work with, you know, they want someone that they’re going to be. Happy with being in a room with them for eight hours a day for five weeks straight in the rehearsal process and in the theater.
you know, so just be kind to everyone. Within reason, you know, you don’t want to be a total doormat, but, um, you know, you, you want to focus. I think that is just as important as your skillset and the talent that you bring is, is who you are in the room and you know, all that stuff. So, .
[00:32:36] Dane Reis: [00:32:36] Well said. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:32:49]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:32:49] Oh, I’d say both pre COVID and in COVID is just continuing to do the work,
you know, whatever that is and at whatever pace that is, it, um, And doing the work pre COVID looked different than doing the work in COVID and it’ll look different doing the work after COVID, but just, you know, like always being a student, always trying to take class and train and, and do what you can under any circumstance.
I think, I think that’s just always something you got to stick to.
[00:33:22] Dane Reis: [00:33:22] Yes for sure. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology that you found is helping your career. Right now,
[00:33:37]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:33:37] Oh,
um, I I’m like blanking on one specific one, but I, the first thing that comes to mind is, um, interviews. I definitely try to find the people that I resonate most with in the industry and look up to, you know, Whether they’re doing exactly what I want to be doing or are they doing there? They do something that I admire and I try to, you know, listen to interviews and read their books.
[00:34:03] If they have one,
you know, like Twyla Tharp’s book, um, Uh, I’m blanking on the name of the book, but she has an amazing book that really helped me a lot in my formative years. And Agnes de Mill’s book dance to the Piper was a really, um, important book for me growing up. I feel like just trying to get inside the heads of people that I admire is always very inspiring and very helpful for me.
[00:34:28]Dane Reis: [00:34:28] Oh, so good. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, , but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry. What would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:34:46]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:34:46] I would keep it the same, but one thing that I wish I had known that I wish I had just cut out right at the beginning was constantly trying to. Emulate people in audition rooms.
You know, I feel like if I had just said, you know what, this is going to be, how Christine sings the song and go in.
[00:35:06] And one of the best moments I had in an audition room was I was. Brought in for a role that I was definitely not right for vocally.
Um, it was like the super Elphaba thing. And I was like, I don’t sing like that. But you know, I got it with my voice teacher and I practiced like my way of singing it.
[00:35:26] That was not anything like what I know they wanted, but I delivered a really solid, confident version of like my version and the casting director immediately goes. You navigated that so, well,
so, well, thank you. You’re not right for this role, but I’m sending you in for this role. Perfect. Like, and I was just like, man, I could have saved myself so much trouble, you know, going into rooms, trying to like strain to get notes that I didn’t have, or trying to emulate someone that I just wasn’t.
[00:35:58] I had just gone in and done my work version of it,
you know? So I think, especially for younger actors, um, That that’s something that I wish I had done earlier. Um, but at the same time, you know, it took me a lot of mistakes and weird auditions for me to get it right. So that’s okay too.
[00:36:17] Dane Reis: [00:36:17] yeah. Yeah. Such great advice and insight for everyone and anyone who’s coming up in the industry for sure. To pay attention to that one. And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:36:39]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:36:39] Golden nugget knowledge.
Um, Uh, it would probably be along the lines where we have already talked about, but always be a student, you know, you’ve never mastered anything. I just don’t think that exists maybe when you’re like 85, but it just feels like, Nope. Keep, keep on, keep on learn. There’s always something I think to learn.
[00:36:59] There’s always something to gain even from. Not great circumstances and just always try to continually be a student.
[00:37:09] Dane Reis: [00:37:09] Yes. I love that. Always be a student, so good. And to wrap up this interview, Christine, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:37:26]Christine Cornish Smith: [00:37:26] Ooh.
Um, well, you can find me on Instagram at, at Christine Cornish. Um, I also have a website, but I don’t know if people go to that anymore, but it’s Christine Cornish, smith.com. Um, and yeah, I don’t have anything to plug at this very moment, but you know, stay tuned on the Instas and some, some things will be coming up.
[00:37:45]Dane Reis: [00:37:45] . Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Christine just said into the description of this episodes, you can easily connect with her. Christine, thank you so much for being on the show today, sharing all of your amazing insights in this industry. It’s been a pleasure.
[00:38:03] Christine Cornish Smith: [00:38:03] Thank you, Dane.