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EP 145: Maria Briggs (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it episode 145. All right, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Maria Briggs, are you ready for this Maria?
[00:00:15] Maria Briggs: [00:00:15] I am. I’m so
[00:00:18] Dane Reis: [00:00:18] brilliant.
Playbill playbill recently featured Maria’s historic feat of doing five Broadway shows in 16 months and has had the honor to be labeled as a top Broadway commodity. She made her Broadway debut in cats and continued with frozen. Hello, Dolly Anastasia, and mean girls Maria started dancing at a young age in her home.
[00:00:40] State of Minnesota finding her love of performing. She moved to New York city, studied at AMTA and received her BFA in musical theater at the new school, she has performed across the States with tours and multiple regional shows. Maria is excited to continue to share her Broadway experiences and is thrilled to have the opportunity to connect across the world.
[00:01:03] Maria. 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, filling the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:17] Maria Briggs: [00:01:17] Sounds great. So again, I’m Maria Briggs. I am originally from the NOCCA County area of Minnesota. I am currently in Manhattan with my boyfriend, Kevin Schering, who is also another actor. And I guess. Half of my Broadway career has been swinging. And a swing is usually someone who is an offstage track.
Uh, I cover most of the female ensembles sometimes even the male ensemble.
[00:01:47] And that has happened a few times actually. And. When I go on, it’s usually when someone might be on vacation, they might be sick that day. They might have a personal day, or unfortunately, sometimes when injuries happen, I can hop on as well.
Um, and honestly, sometimes injuries happen in the middle of a show.
[00:02:08] And so I have to be ready at any minute to go on.
[00:02:12]Dane Reis: [00:02:12] Yes, I am also one of your fellow swing peeps.
[00:02:17] Maria Briggs: [00:02:17] yes.
[00:02:19] Dane Reis: [00:02:19] Yes. There was a show that I was doing and it was a crazy turn of events. They had, the ASM was gone. So I ha I was literally ASM in the show and then had to go do a couple of scenes.
[00:02:33] Maria Briggs: [00:02:33] I think you’ve done the most out of
[00:02:36] Dane Reis: [00:02:36] that’s ridiculous. I was like, this is stilly doing calls. Yeah.
I mean, Hey, the show’s got to go on though, right?
[00:02:42] Maria Briggs: [00:02:42] It certainly does. And my gosh, we go through a lot and that the audience has no idea of which is really
kind of exciting and fun.
[00:02:52]Dane Reis: [00:02:52] for sure. I love the swing life. It’s not for everybody. That’s for sure. But I like it. It keeps me on my toes. Keeps my mind sharp. It’s great.
[00:02:59] Maria Briggs: [00:02:59] Yes, absolutely. I love it too. And
uh, the amount of information that we hold in our brains is kind of crazy and it that’s exactly. It like keeps me sharp, keeps you on your toes. I love that. Like excitement and that thrill of just like, okay, you’re on because you have no choice either
[00:03:16] Dane Reis: [00:03:16] Exactly
[00:03:16] Maria Briggs: [00:03:16] in it.
You’re, you’re saving the show and what an exciting title to get to have.
[00:03:22]Dane Reis: [00:03:22] , I completely agree. I got to the point where I was. Cause I’ve been, I performed a lot in Vegas and I was one time I was performing in five different shows in 11 different tracks and it was hard to keep it straight. Right.
Right. But it was weird. My mind did the strange thing. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen to you or if you have a similar experience, but I.
you know, as track started kind of piling up in my brain, I would get a bit stressed out about it, you know, cause it’s so much information to hold on to, but eventually it’s like, like, I reached this threshold where I just didn’t care anymore. Like it, like, I just it’s like I trusted my brain. I stopped getting in my own way and be like the information’s in there and I got on stage and I couldn’t probably tell you exactly what I’m supposed to do as soon as I’m going out on stage.
[00:04:06] But I know it’s in there in that. To trust your brain is such a weird thing to just let it all go. Otherwise I’d be freaking out every day.
[00:04:14] Maria Briggs: [00:04:14] Yeah, exactly. And cause I even remember like when I would first go on for a track, Oh my gosh, it would be going over my notes
[00:04:21] Dane Reis: [00:04:21] Yeah,
[00:04:22] Maria Briggs: [00:04:22] over and over. And I did think to myself, like when is that going to end? Is this always going to be a
[00:04:29] Dane Reis: [00:04:29] Is this my life?
[00:04:30] Maria Briggs: [00:04:30] Exactly.
Um, but then there was one show I had done the track that night before.
[00:04:35] And so I was like, I think this is the time I think I’m going to do. Trust that I’ve done my homework. I know what I’m doing. I literally just did it last night and I did.
I, I knew everything. It was. It’s all there. As long as you do your homework, you can trust it.
[00:04:50]Dane Reis: [00:04:50] Yeah. But it’s cool. Once you can get to that point.
Right. And then it’s really, then you can be living in the rules properly and in that world,
[00:04:59] Maria Briggs: [00:04:59] You’re more in the moment. And at that point too, you can start adding a little more personality and like possess to the character as well. Because I feel like at the beginning it’s
like, just stand in the
[00:05:10] Dane Reis: [00:05:10] just be a buddy.
[00:05:11] Maria Briggs: [00:05:11] Yeah, exactly. Am I singing the right notes today?
Uh, and once yeah, once you find that flow, it is, Oh, it’s so exciting.
[00:05:20]Dane Reis: [00:05:20] Yeah, totally agree. And let’s move on to the first section here and Maria, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:05:34] Maria Briggs: [00:05:34] I love this question. So currently my favorite quote is you are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in. I bet I am very
dyslexic dyslexic, so I’m so sorry if I say this name wrong, but I believe it’s. Elizer you cohost you Koski lies. Are you Polsky? I’m not
[00:05:57] Dane Reis: [00:05:57] sorry, I can’t help you on that one, but I love the quote.
[00:06:01] Maria Briggs: [00:06:01] but it’s
beautiful, beautiful quote. Uh, and I actually found that towards the beginning of the pandemic and, uh, in America, we are going through the black lives matter movement as well. And that’s when this popped up and it just made so much sense to me.
[00:06:17]Dane Reis: [00:06:17] . And it’s so pertinent. You’re right. For this very specific time in history, it really should be something that should be a quote that’s a thousand plus years old, but. It’s
really, really pertinent for this time. And I think you’re right. We do have to be, have hold ourselves to a higher ethical responsibility because at the end of the day, everything really should progress.
[00:06:41] Technology progresses our skills, progress, society progresses.
Why, why don’t our ethics progressing? Let’s keep it going.
[00:06:48] Maria Briggs: [00:06:48] a better world.
Why, why wouldn’t we?
[00:06:51] Dane Reis: [00:06:51] Exactly.
[00:06:51] Maria Briggs: [00:06:51] too. It applies in so many different ways.
[00:06:55]Dane Reis: [00:06:55] Yes. Agreed, thank you for sharing that. And yeah.
Well, let’s dig into this next section here. And Maria, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries in existence. And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to, to, to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot.
[00:07:24] Of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement 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.
[00:07:48]Maria Briggs: [00:07:48] That is such a great question. And I feel like my biggest obstacle was comparing myself to others. And I think a lot of people go through that similar obstacle and I still have to remind myself of it today. And I think what’s really important is just to keep reminding yourself to always be yourself and that.
[00:08:13] You are enough and no one can be you and you can’t be anybody else. You are you and it’s and you, Oh, everybody brings something so special. And so I think that is a huge thing to remind myself of is to not compare myself to anybody else and just keep being enough.
[00:08:36]Dane Reis: [00:08:36] Yeah, a hundred percent. I had Jennifer Apple on the other day and she had a great little quote. She said, compare leads to despair. And I was like, Oh, there it is. Summed up right there. And it’s so true.
[00:08:50] Maria Briggs: [00:08:50] absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:08:52] Dane Reis: [00:08:52] Yeah, you don’t do yourself any favors going down that rabbit hole, the comparison rabbit hole. Sure. Stay up to date with what’s going on.
[00:08:59] But when you start feeling bad about yourself, especially I think it really happens very easily when we go on our social media scrolls and our binges in that you have to be so aware and conscious. And if you really do feel like, man, this is not making me feel good. Just stop and go. Okay.
I’m, I’m repeatedly doing this to myself, recognize when that’s happening and put a stopper on it.
[00:09:23] Maria Briggs: [00:09:23] Yeah,
I, so for myself, I take social media breaks all the time. And how can you not compare? You’re literally just sitting there scrolling. You’re probably sitting on your couch doing nothing while you’re scrolling. , what I like to do is just learn from everybody and appreciate what they’re bringing into the world.
[00:09:43] And if I like what they’re doing, I try to incorporate that into my own life and start changing my own actions. So I’d never try to necessarily compare, but start to learn.
[00:09:55] Dane Reis: [00:09:55] Don’t compare, learn. I think you said it right there and let’s be honest. It is easier to say than to do in practice,
[00:10:03] but yeah, no, that,
that, that exists and be purposeful and actionable about what you’re doing. And you’re going to give yourself a leg up versus mindlessly going through things and beating yourself up for no reason. Yeah. And 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 a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:10:42] Maria Briggs: [00:10:42] I really didn’t know. I could do this as a profession for the. Longest time. And I just grew up dancing and I loved it so much. And I would watch see in the rain all the time. And I just, I loved it. I loved it, but I didn’t know exactly why or if that could even, I didn’t know, it could be oppression. I thought
people were just, people were just doing it for fun and.
[00:11:06] I was about to be a freshman in high school. And my parents saw in the newspaper that a performing arts high school it’s opening up. And they said to me like, if this is something you want to do for your profession, this might be a good way to explore that. Is this something you want to do day as a part of your life?
[00:11:24] And I remember responding and saying
like, what I can do this. It’s more a living thing. Goodness. Cause I can’t just to remember hearing the question of like, what do you want to be when you grow up? And I was like, I don’t know, like. Maybe a veterinarian. I know that doesn’t sound right. I was even playing with the idea of becoming a forensic doctor and obviously that didn’t happen.
[00:11:46] But once I found out I could do this as a living, I was like that, yes, that is it. That’s exactly what I want to do. And it actually grew from there too, because again, I grew up dancing and then when I went to this performing arts high school, that’s where I was introduced to musical theater. And it was just like, Oh, I think this is more the route I want to go.
[00:12:09] So it was really neat to
like continue to expand my talents and explore this whole amazing world.
[00:12:18] Dane Reis: [00:12:18] Yeah, that’s so funny. Yeah. Someone’s like,
like, hold on. You’re telling me this is something people get paid to do.
[00:12:29] Maria Briggs: [00:12:29] exactly. I was
[00:12:30] Dane Reis: [00:12:30] Of course. I want to do that.
[00:12:33] Maria Briggs: [00:12:33] That sounds amazing.
[00:12:34] Dane Reis: [00:12:34] Yeah, so good. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs if they happened to be a part of it, but what was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book moment?
[00:12:55]Maria Briggs: [00:12:55] So at this point in my life, I had been to us zillion auditions, and I was actually getting to the point of thinking,
Hmm, maybe Broadway isn’t going to happen. Maybe like, I would love for it to work out, but if that’s not my path, that’s okay. I’m still working, which is already such an accomplishment as an actor and an audition for a vacation swing for cats came up.
[00:13:21]And again, I was going in thinking like, all right, I’m going to
give it, give it my all, I’m going to do my best, but I try not to set my hopes up too high. And we went in, it was a coed audition. We started with the Gelica ball and then we separated and I learned the white cat solo. And at the end of that day, I was thinking like, I think that would pretty well.
[00:13:42] I think
like that felt pretty great. All right. Okay. I can leave. Pretty happy. I had a call back the following week and that was to sing. I started off with my own song and then I had a few sides that they had given me as well. And again, same thing. I left feeling like that went well. I don’t think that could have gone any better.
[00:14:04]I also try again. I, as I said, I try not to get my hopes up too much because of course, as actors we hear no. All the time. So I try not to set my heart too much onto any audition. And it had been about a month. I still hadn’t heard anything. And so of course it was just like that little Oh, bummer, but, okay.
Well, moving on onto the next. And so I was at another Broadway audition. And, Oh my gosh, we were dancing all day and partnering and it got to a point where we took a break and we’re about to sing. And so I saw that my agents called and I was like, Oh, I don’t really want to be sidetracked. Like I want to stay focused on this audition.
Um, I’m going to get my own room so I can go through my songs. And if I have time, then I can give them a call. So I went through all my songs and I felt pretty set and I gave them a call and my agent said, Um, Maria, we unfortunately can’t get you seen for this regional show that I was asking for.
[00:15:09] And he also said, unfortunately,
um, the tour I was going on was going to have a conflict because I was,
[00:15:19] Dane Reis: [00:15:19] Oh, wow.
[00:15:20] Maria Briggs: [00:15:20] and I of course like burst into tears. I was a blubbering mess and I just remember him like still talking to me, but I was
kind of going out in one ear out the other
[00:15:29] cause. Couldn’t believe it was happening. And he was like, obviously we’ll check it again. I’ll give you more details and everything. I was like, okay, great.
Well, I’m going to go get ready to sing for this audition. I just had to, again, like put it off to the side and like do my job, but I don’t think I sung any better than I had that day, or I felt pretty proud of it going into that audition. Just getting that, that news. It was so exciting.
[00:15:56]Dane Reis: [00:15:56] Oh, that’s such a good story.
[00:16:00] Maria Briggs: [00:16:00] it was,
I, I wish I could create that feeling again. Just sitting here again, sitting at this mic, it was, Oh, just such a wonderful moment that I will cherish forever.
[00:16:11] Dane Reis: [00:16:11] Oh, I can imagine. Wow. So good. 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 it’s a weird time. We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:16:33]Maria Briggs: [00:16:33] So recently I had filmed this parody with my friends, the socialites, and at the beginning of the pandemic, we did a video of the zoom block tango. So you can check that out.
[00:16:47] And we also just recently had one come out. That’s called let’s light the poles up again. And it, I haven’t seen it yet, but it should be really fun. And. I guess on top of this too, I’ve been studying voiceover and I’m planning to set up my own vocal booth and it’s, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do my whole life.
[00:17:11] And so I’m really excited to dive into that field.
[00:17:14]Dane Reis: [00:17:14] very cool.
[00:17:16]Maria Briggs: [00:17:16] Also on the side, I’ve been teaching workshops and if you are listening, you can go to you booked it podcast.com forward slash Maria. And if you enter the code book debt, the first 10 new clients receive 10%, which is really exciting,
uh, in these workshops.
[00:17:39] I will teach group lessons and we’ll dive into original choreography of any of the Broadway shows I’ve done. We can also structure it to whatever needs you might need. So sometimes I can give you like an old classic, like MGM musical theater, dance class as well, but it’s a whole range. We can talk more about that again.
[00:17:59] That’s at you booked it. podcasts.com forward slash Maria and enter the code booked it.
[00:18:06]Dane Reis: [00:18:06] Right on.
Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. Yeah. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:18:26] Maria Briggs: [00:18:26] Hi, I’m ready.
[00:18:27] Dane Reis: [00:18:27] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:18:33]Maria Briggs: [00:18:33] money
[00:18:34]Dane Reis: [00:18:34] Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:18:39]Maria Briggs: [00:18:39] treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
[00:18:42]Dane Reis: [00:18:42] So easy gets you a long ways in this business.
[00:18:45] Maria Briggs: [00:18:45] absolutely the golden rule.
[00:18:48] Dane Reis: [00:18:48] Yup. 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?
[00:19:00]Maria Briggs: [00:19:00] I think it goes back to what we, you talked about earlier about
like, not comparing myself to others.
[00:19:05]Dane Reis: [00:19:05]
Hmm. For sure. Fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology you found is helping your career right now.
[00:19:18]Maria Briggs: [00:19:18] Honestly right now, therapy
[00:19:22] Dane Reis: [00:19:22] Yeah.
[00:19:23] Maria Briggs: [00:19:23] through this pandemic, it has been very helpful, but other resources, I think YouTube is really great for researching history.
[00:19:32]Dane Reis: [00:19:32] Yeah, absolutely. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience that you 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?
[00:19:50]Maria Briggs: [00:19:50]
Hmm. I think what’s really important is don’t let the opinion of someone hold you back from what you can accomplish. Uh, and just know that you can do anything. And so I think going into detail with this, uh, sometimes you hear the stereotype of like dancers can’t sing. They absolutely can. I think about like, The golden era and these celebrities became celebrities because they were triple threats.
[00:20:17] And so of course dancers can sing and everyone can act. And I think that even goes into, Oh, musical theater actors can’t act only more dramatic actors can act and it’s like,
like, wait a minute. We all can’t. That’s why we’re all in this.
[00:20:33]Dane Reis: [00:20:33] Yeah, a hundred percent don’t pigeon hole yourself, right?
[00:20:37] Maria Briggs: [00:20:37] Yes, exactly.
[00:20:38] Dane Reis: [00:20:38] The industry is already going to try to really hard,
[00:20:41] Maria Briggs: [00:20:41] Yes, they will. Yeah.
[00:20:43]Dane Reis: [00:20:43] you do what you do best and bring all of that to the table every time. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry?
[00:20:58] You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:21:00] Maria Briggs: [00:21:00] Ooh. Continue to be adaptable.
[00:21:03]Dane Reis: [00:21:03] Yes, so true.
[00:21:06] Can you expand on that just a little bit more into depth?
[00:21:08] Maria Briggs: [00:21:08] I think that goes into a couple of levels. I think knowing that our shows can close at any minute. And so sometimes you have to adapt to that. And I think this also goes to a level of shows of. Sometimes things happen. So for example, in one of my shows, these walls that we had, technically weren’t working and so they had to be moved manually.
[00:21:34] And so it’s just adapting to what the show is that day and adapting to when swings come on or understudies or standbys, and just, I think that’s the most important thing of just being adaptable.
[00:21:48]Dane Reis: [00:21:48] Hundred percent, a hundred percent.
[00:21:50] and to wrap up this interview, Maria, 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?
[00:22:02]Maria Briggs: [00:22:02] So you can follow me on Instagram at Maria R. Briggs. That’s M a R I a R B as in boy, R I G
G G S. And you can also look at my website. I will say I just bought my domain and it’s changing. So firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:22:24]Dane Reis: [00:22:24] Perfect. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Maria just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with her and be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, art and entertainment educators and anybody.
[00:22:44] That you know,
you know, who’s aspiring to create a career in this industry. You booked it as the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful career in this industry case in point. Everything Maria just talked about in today’s episode. And as of now, there are 145 other episodes and interviews for you to dig into and learn from all the people that have been there and done that.
[00:23:11] And if you enjoy today’s episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss tomorrow’s guests and Maria. Thank you so much for being here, taking your time to come on, share your journey so much. Great insight. Thank you.
[00:23:25] Maria Briggs: [00:23:25] Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a joy to share what I have learned and hopefully what others can learn from it and expand upon that as well.
[00:23:34] Dane Reis: [00:23:34] Absolutely. And everyone don’t forget to go to you. email@example.com forward slash Maria. Use the code, booked it. And the first 10 people that use that code get 10% off a class with Maria