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Work 1-on-1 with Dane, host of You Booked It.
EP 173: Michael Minarik (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 173.
[00:00:05]Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Michael . Are you ready for this? Michael
[00:00:18]Michael Minarik: [00:00:18] I’m so ready.
[00:00:20] Dane Reis: [00:00:20] brilliant Michael hails from Fairfax County, Virginia. He went to school for business, but came out of school, a performer after performing on four national tours and a Broadway show, he tried his hand at producing.
[00:00:35] Michael is a Tony nominated Broadway producer of the hit show. Rock of ages. Which he was also a performer in and then was in the Broadway show Matilda following that he co-founded the Institute for American musical theater, which is a conservatory that has been in existence for five years. Michael is also a recurring singer at Yankee stadium where he sings, God bless America and the national Anthem.
[00:01:02]Which he’s done that seven times now. Michael was also the lead producer of the hit off Broadway show fat camp, Michael. 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.
[00:01:25]Michael Minarik: [00:01:25] Oh, my gosh. All right.
Um, filling the gaps, I guess. Okay. Well, I was a business major in college and , uh, I went to take a musical theater performance plastics. I did a little bit of in high school, but my sister told me that I was really bad at singing, but we kind of kind of later that she was tone deaf. So it was actually singing on pitch.
[00:01:39] But she was wrong the whole time.
Um, so a bunch of the kids in college were like, you should take voice lessons. I was like, you should take voice lessons because I thought they were insulting me, but they’re like , no, no, you have like a gift. Maybe you should do this. So , um, at my school, they didn’t have a lot of like baritone, better tenor.
[00:01:52] So they’re like, Hey, we’re doing carousel. Do you want to do Billy? I’m like, I don’t know what that is, but that sounds good. So I just kept doing these shows and I
really, really enjoyed it. And I stopped playing rugby. I started doing musical theater and it was a big switch for me. I was a rugby player and a volleyball player for my school and I’m in a fraternity.
[00:02:07] And. And that
, um, I followed this girl to Busch gardens Williamsburg because she wore leather pants. And I was like, that sounds like a good idea. And so then I worked at Busch gardens for a summer and the best house wearing Liederhosen , um, and learn how to dance. And then, yeah, I kind of, my senior year, I went to this non-equity national tour audition for the music of Angela Webber and I luckily booked it.
[00:02:27] And so I left school with
like 20 credits left in my degree. And my mom’s a teacher, my dad’s a lawyer and they were like, yeah, you got one life. Just go for it. And so then I got on tour and then from that square, I got another tour on another tour and then underscore and I got really, really blessed and lucky.
[00:02:38] And then I got my real estate license. Everybody says you needed a survival job in the city. So I started selling and renting apartments, which was actually really a wonderfully awesome financially. But then my mom called one, since it already there to be a real estate agent or an actor. And I was like, you’re right.
[00:02:52] So I quit the real estate and I auditioned for LA Ms on Broadway. And I luckily booked that and I was like, this is fun. And that’s
, um, kind of when I sort of sort of wanted to produce it. And so I did the workshop of rock of ages. And when I did that and I was walking in the aisle and the lead Brewster was like I said, this is going to make a billion dollars.
[00:03:06] And he stopped me. And he said, why? I said, because all the guys that I played rugby with, who’ve had to come and see me and little women and all these other shows. I didn’t like, but they were my friends. They were like, they’re going to see this it’s eighties, music and beer and strippers. And they will be, and he was like
, well, do you want to help produce their show?
[00:03:22] And I was like, I would love to, and he’s like
, well, that sounds good. So I raised a bunch of money for it and I helped produce it and marketing it. And then I auditioned for the Broadway version, but none of the creative staff knew that I was producing it. So when I booked it um, , um, I can say a few of them were not the happiest because on opening night they found out that I was the producer and they were like, wait, so are you my boss?
[00:03:43] Or am I your boss? And I’m like, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just enjoy the show. And. Yeah, it was
kind of, I really wanted to produce and be at the same Broadway musical. That was a big goal of mine because I really wanted to learn how to own one of the shows from my finance background. Um, It turned out to be an interesting experience because you know, some of the actors would talk to me about their contracts while I would be going on in a spandex bodysuit to sing don’t stop believing.
[00:04:04] And I was like, I don’t really have any power over that because in Broadway shows the general partners, but once the power, I’m just an associate producer where I raised money and help with decision-making on like marketing friends and some other friends. I didn’t really have any power over
like the main decisions, like when people come and ask me about casting.
[00:04:21] Yeah. Because I knew a lot of the actors in the industry. But the final decision was never mine.
Right? It’s the guys that own the more, the higher percentage points who started the show years and years ago. So there’s, it was odd thing. Like some of the casts that I was a narc , um, even though like I had a Broadway show on my resume before that and some national forests before that.
[00:04:37] So it was a really interesting dichotomy of emotions being backstage with people. Who thought that I somehow had power over them?
Um, so why I enjoyed it, it, it was also interesting at other times. So , um, and then while I was doing that, I produced a show called Beck camp, which was off Broadway. And , um, we were about to move into Broadway.
[00:04:55] We actually got a Broadway theater, but then we lost it and cause another show took it, which when they nameless and Broadway is a lot about real estate. It’s not just about what shows the best, but it’s about who can get their deposit in first.
So. All of this money that I invested in raised for Pat camp, we did an album that was a huge hit.
[00:05:10] People, loved it. It just never went anywhere because we lost our theater that one time. And once you
kind of get out of line, you kind of kind of lose other theaters. So I was going to leave the business, but , um, I got called by my agent saying, Hey, want to audition for Matilda? So I did. And I luckily booked that.
[00:05:25]And then in the middle,
well that I met this guy, Andrew DROS , uh, who was in front of the opera. We were on riding the train home together all the time. And he was like, You know, I think I’m going to start a school that’s taught only by people that are actually in the industry. And I was like, I think that’s genius because personally I think that a four year school charging $180,000 for a BFA musical theater is absolutely ridiculous.
[00:05:44] And I think that’s true because of the financial ramifications of that in the sense where I believe that tuition should be almost based on the economic viability of your major. Where all my friends who majored in finance and became an hedge funds. I understand why they’re going to drop 60 grand to get their finance majors, to get into some hedge funds and to bear into Goldman or bank of America.
[00:06:06]But if you’re in, I tried to be an actor or a singer. The economic viability is less. And to be perfectly honest. So look, we look at the numbers, practice equity and from stag. Yet, we’re still paying the same amount of tuition.
Um, the teachers at schools, you can actually look them up. They, they pay the arts teachers like half what they pay the finance teachers and biology teachers.
[00:06:25] It, all the kids pay the same tuition. And so I was like, I think this is unethical.
Um, if the schools, do you value the major that much by paying the teachers less? Why are the kids paying the same amount? So Andrew started the school and I came on board as a partner very shortly afterwards, and we built a school.
[00:06:42] And now we’re five years in. We have our own 8,000 square foot space, upper West side. We finished building two building. Two years ago, we have a hundred kids. We just finished our semester fully in person. No COVID cases, masks windows, open fans, two of our kids that Brook Broadway shows and Netflix pilot, eight national tours, regional theaters, independent films.
[00:07:02]Because they have access to all the people that I know, and I’m somewhat loud and obnoxious at times. And so I’ve met a lot of people over 20 years of this industry, and we’ve all
kind of grown up together, me being on one side of the table as a producer or a Broadway show and me being on this side as an actor.
[00:07:18] So I bring in all these people, as well as the other teachers do. And we teach the kids from people that are currently doing it. Like one of our teachers is Jenny Denoia, who’s a standby for Elphaba. So she’ll teach the kids. So I’m interpretation during the day and at night she’ll go be Elphaba.
Like if I had that, when I was a student, I’d lose my mind.
[00:07:35] So that’s
kind of where I’m at. And, um , uh, on that side of it and performing, I’ve been able to do some really wonderful things by a lot of awesome people that have given the opportunities to do some amazing stuff. I’ve been really, really lucky. So I was like, that’s a
[00:07:48] little bit of a nutshell for you.
[00:07:50] Dane Reis: [00:07:50] Brilliant. What. A journey of a career. Very cool. And, yeah. Amazing. And I think what you’re doing with your school is absolutely incredible. You’re right. I think like you said, the economic viability of the arts is just far less. It just simply is.
is. Then if you’re going to go work for a hedge fund, you know, that’s just
[00:08:12] Michael Minarik: [00:08:12] Yeah
, unless, unless you become, and I, you know, unless you become, uh , uh, an actor who , uh, you know, like Jesse Tyler, Ferguson who hits on modern family, then yeah, that’s awesome. Right. Or if you are Patty Wilson, you know, I played softball on with Patrick when I first started in the business and he went on to have an amazing movie career, or, you know, Josh GAD, like some people will make it out or, you know, you know, It does happen, but you know, Stanley, those are anomalies and I’ve had a really wonderful career for 20 years.
[00:08:36] And I’ve luckily been in production contracts for 12 of those 20 years. And I’ve made a nice living, but you know,
but you know, taxes in the city are a lot. And even when you’re on Broadway, after taxes and pension and, you know, agent fees, you still make a nice living, but to pay down $180,000 student debt, that’s insane.
[00:08:54] So we figured this is a better mouse trap.
[00:08:57]Dane Reis: [00:08:57] yeah, 100% agree. Yes. And let’s dig into our first section here. And Michael, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:09:11]Michael Minarik: [00:09:11] Oh
, um, every choice in life is based
[00:09:12] on love or fear.
[00:09:13]Dane Reis: [00:09:13] so true. Love that. Can you expand on that?
[00:09:17]Michael Minarik: [00:09:17] Yeah, I read that in a book, it was called conversations with God. I was staying with him after I got out fired from this regional theater show.
Um, when I played guest on for other reasons, which are another time for stories anyway. Uh, but they’re funny. And so I came home and I stayed at my friend’s place and he had this book on his shelf and I said conversations with God.
[00:09:34] And I was like, that sounds interesting.
Um, I love reading about spirituality and philosophy. And so the first page, like every choice in life is based in love or fear. And I kind of stopped reading there. For a while and just kind of looked at the, how do I wear my clothes? Is it because I love them because I’m scared that I’m going to be made fun of if they’re not cool.
Um, how do I do my hair? Because I love the way I do my hair or it’s because I’m scared of somebody who’s going to like , uh, not oppress me, but like, you know, just me for how I wear it. And that changed my direction of life. I’m going to take jobs because I love that. Not because I fear that it might be bad if I don’t, like I did take one tour when I’ll say nameless out of fear, because I was worried.
[00:10:05] I wouldn’t have any health insurance weeks that year. And it was not a great experience for me. And from that moment on, I decided every choice, as much as I can, will be based in the love of what I’m going to do in life. Instead of the fearful nature of, if I don’t do this, what will happen. And I teach that to my kids.
[00:10:20] When they come in, I was like, notice if these choices and your performing and your relationships and your family and your friendships, or even just whatever you want to do in life. Is it based on fearful nature of other people infecting you with that? Or is it because you really love and want to do it?
[00:10:34] We have one life to live. And I believe that most people sadly live their lives based in fear. Just the esky talks about it a lot from notes from underground, where he says you either live a life of lofty suffering or cheap happiness. And
I mean, would you rather have an algorithm that tells you exactly how to live a nice little life, but maybe some happy and some sad here?
[00:10:52] Or do you want to go for the gold and see what happens with the possibility of loss, the suffering. And neither way is right or wrong. I just like to choose
kind of the lofty suffering wave, because I just want to choose to love myself enough to make these choices, building a school out of nowhere, you know, quitting school out of a finance major to, you know, go be a singer for God’s sake.
[00:11:10] Like these things have enriched my life more than anything. And so that’s what I try to teach my kids is your choice based
[00:11:16] love or fear.
[00:11:17]Dane Reis: [00:11:17] Yeah, that’s really great. So simple yet. So profound.
[00:11:22] Michael Minarik: [00:11:22] Yeah, I agree. And I did not make it up, so it’s changed my life.
[00:11:27] Dane Reis: [00:11:27] Beautiful. And let’s get into this section here. And Michael, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you would agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries
industries in existence. And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now takes a lot.
[00:11:52] Of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer, 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.
[00:12:16]Michael Minarik: [00:12:16] Yeah, amazing question. I do believe, you know,
you know, it is the most subjective performance art form in the world as well. I agree. Right. The person behind the table did not go to school, usually how to cast somebody, right. right. Casting director school there’s it just doesn’t exist. Right? So people are making choices based on their feelings of you and how you are back there.
[00:12:34] And that’s an interesting thing. So when I learned that it wasn’t about the job. That’s when I started working, when I would try to go in and my friend, Jason, Helen, who wrote little women is one of the national tours I was on. He was a great close friend of mine and he was my first audition coach. And I had this final callback to the tour of Les Miserables as shop air.
[00:12:53] And I was like 26 and I was pretending I was 40 or whatever I was trying to do.
, um, and I tried to go in there thinking that there was a math problem that I could solve going in. And then when he said you’re never ever going in for that job, excuse me for that job. And I said, what do you mean? He’s like, that’s director that casting person, everybody behind that is also casting nine other things or directing 10 other things.
[00:13:15] He’s like in the future to go in there trying to. Decipher what they want. You’ll never going to do it. And then you’re also not going to be authentically yourself. So you won’t be able to share who you are. And I, that’s a brilliant fricking point. And so from that moment on I, my next audition was the national tour of Urinetown and I booked it and I’m like, Oh my God.
[00:13:34] Okay. Not that I, maybe, I don’t know if this was the reason. Of course there are many other reasons for it, but this is an interesting perception I had. And in the next. Audition I had after that was
, um, the little women national tour. And I booked that and I’m like, Holy crap. And that changed my life. So before that, I tried to be the smartest guy in the room thinking, okay, here’s the character, here’s what they want.
[00:13:56] And they don’t, I don’t know what they want. They came from Kentucky or Guam. I’m making it up. Right.
Right. And their life experiences up to that perfect point. Have made their decisions as such where they know what their job areas. And I come from Virginia and my HIV might be different, but I have no idea what their one shove areas are there, Kentucky shove areas.
Right? So what I just go in and show them my authentic self and it actually happened for me once I lost a job, but I got a call from the director a few days later being like you weren’t right for this and my eyes, but I want you for this. And I was like, Holy crap, this is how to do this. And also I talk a lot at my school.
[00:14:27] That’s seeking the joy of your own experience. It’s not about. For them it’s for me. And that’s not a horribly selfish thing to say, but when I walk in there, I want to experience joy. And if I’m worried or have fear or trying to figure out what they’re trying to do, that doesn’t give me joy. What gives me joy is performing.
[00:14:45] And I get two and a half minutes where somebody plays a piano for free in the city where a lot of times pianos cost 50 to a hundred dollars an hour to play your stuff. And I’m like, I’m going to use this as a joyful experience. And then when I leave the room, I throw the sides away. I get a dairy queen and I go about my day.
[00:14:59] But I just realized that it doesn’t have anything to do with getting the job. And once I took that out of my mind that the goal is not to get the job, the goal is to experience joy in the moment. That’s when I started
booking and booking and booking and booking and booking,
[00:15:14] and my life changed completely.
[00:15:15] Dane Reis: [00:15:16] yes, I think you said it right there. The goal is not to get the job. The goal is to experience joy and be in the moment. that’s so good. And I’m, I’m so glad that you’re
glad that you’re on the show because it’s a, it’s a huge reason why I started this podcast in the first place is to have people like you who have been so successful and have been on all sides of the table.
[00:15:38] And you can share this kind of information with so many people that need to hear it right. It’s become such a great resource. And thank you for saying that. Thank you.
[00:15:46] Michael Minarik: [00:15:46] Yeah, I appreciate you’re having the podcast, man.
I I’m, it gives me joy to bring this ticket. I mean, I mean, that’s, I might start like tearing up, but I thought that performing would be the ultimate , like, hi , um, And it’s not. It’s seeing these kids come in with a preconceived notion into our school of fear of discernment, of judgment on themselves or the theater teachers or whoever the heck who taught them ethics.
[00:16:07] And that’s perfectly fine. And then after a semester or two, they started saying, I’m seeking my joy. I’m going to cut my hair a certain way, or I’m going to seek my joy and dance in the street or do whatever. And that makes them more authentic people. So when we were in casting agents
and, and directors to our school, they’re like, why are your kids so good?
[00:16:22] I’m like, they’re just happy people. And they’re sharing that joy in the room. And to be honest, when I used to raise money for shows, a lot of times investors would say, I want to buy your joy, which I thought was really interesting. Like they would write me these large checks for rock of ages and other shows.
[00:16:38] And I’m like, they’re like, you’re so excited about this show. I want to experience that. And I think that’s
kind of transcended with people that come and see musicals. They see people on stage and they want to feel that because they have nine to nine jobs as an analyst at Goldman, like my friends do and working 120 hours a week, but they get to see pure unadulterated joy on stage.
[00:16:57] When they see performers, they’re like, I want to buy that just for two and a half hours. And I,
And I, and I think that my students are starting to embody that a
[00:17:05] lot more, which gives me happiness in this way.
[00:17:07] Dane Reis: [00:17:07] Oh, fantastic. Love that. 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.
[00:17:30]Michael Minarik: [00:17:30] Oh, wow. Oh
, um, I have two. Um, but I’ll make them quick, even though I’ve been on like in a monologue so far, somebody first one was. When I was on the non-degree tour, the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I was lucky enough to be cast as like the Phantom. So I got to sing like the fans, the music of the night, and I opened and closed the show.
[00:17:47] I remember the first night in , grand forks, North Dakota. We’re staying at the westward home hotel and I didn’t understand what a non-equity tour versus an equity tour wise. I didn’t understand that I was.
You know, getting paid a very little amount of money to sing these songs in front of 4,000 people in this massive theater.
[00:18:02] I remember that first night when I was like 22 years old and I ripped up in this music of the night thing. And at the end I just felt this applause. And I was like, Oh my God, I just got paid for the first time.
Kind of to do this. And it was like cocaine for me. I’ve never done cocaine and ever done any illegal drug whatsoever.
[00:18:17] I’m just saying, I would imagine that, which this high would be, and even that non-union tour, we had one day off in a year. Every other day was either on the bus traveling. We never had a day off. And that was, we played from YMCAs to 5,000 seat houses on that tour. We went every morning. I was the guy who bloated the luggage for an extra $25 and 40 degree weather, a 10 degree weather and put it on the bus at
like four in the morning.
[00:18:45] Slept till noon, went to a mall, got into a best Western at four o’clock slept for an hour, came to the theater, did a soundcheck, and we did this every night. And I think I missed stick shows in a year doing it that way, but I couldn’t, I was never paid less and never loved something more. I didn’t think.
[00:19:03] And that was when I realized it’s not about the money. It’s what my joy is when I get up on stage with these people and make this music. And the second one for me is when I got to luckily do the show with John candor, from candor and ed. There was a candidate festival down in DC and it was, they did kiss the spider woman, the visit and the show called the happy time that he hasn’t done since 1967.
[00:19:24] And he cast me as this Robert Goulay role. And in this little
, um, signature theater complex Chita Rivera was doing the visit with George Hearn and then Hunter foster was doing his, the spider woman. And John would just go from show to show to show it to the leads. And talk to them about what he perceived these characters would be.
[00:19:43] And I viewed that as like Michael Jordan, trying to teach you how to shoot a jump shot. So John Ken, and I would spend
hours and hours and hours saying, okay, here’s what I want to relay to do. But what do you think this character should be? And I’m like, are you kidding me? And so he and I sat there for two weeks figuring out the show that happy time together.
[00:20:03]And then he came to opening night and gave me a hug and said some really personally amazing things. And I sang for his birthday party a few times. Like he’s the nicest man in the world, but I thought, and again, not to be gauche, but I was paid almost the same amount of money there at the signature theater that I wasn’t at non-equity tour 15 years prior.
[00:20:20] And that’s still is one of the greatest memories of my life. So while I’ve had some wonderfully, financially awesome jobs on Broadway, I think the two of them, it changed my life for the ones that I didn’t really get paid at all.
[00:20:33] And I thought that was kind of cool.
[00:20:34] Dane Reis: [00:20:34] Yeah, very cool. Love both of those. And I want to piggyback on them real quick and talk about your number one. Booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the audition and callbacks, if they happen to be a part of it and what was going on in your life. And what about that moment makes it your favorite book?
[00:20:55] That moment
[00:20:57] Michael Minarik: [00:20:58]
Um, I kinda, my favorite booklet moment. I got it. Well , uh, I know I’m stalling and I apologize cause we don’t have time. Um, I don’t, you know, you know, oddly enough, I would want to see one of the three Broadway shows, but oddly, each one of them kind of dragged on and then I kind of knew it was going to happen because I heard it.
[00:21:15] But I did like the book that moment that I would love to do is one where you just get the coal out of nowhere and say you got the job.
Um, can I say my favorite book? That moment is when I got called for the Yankees for the first time.
Um, I don’t know if that. Okay, great. Like when I was at, so when you’re in a Broadway show, there’s a thing called the Broadway softball league.
[00:21:31] And that’s actually more important to a lot of my friends and I, and the actual Broadway show. So we actually rock of ages, won three championships and the owner of our theater at the time before it was sold at the signature theater, Jeff fig. It was our first basement. And so when we won these championships, he wanted us to put them on the set of rock of ages because he was so proud of this.
[00:21:50] And so I remember
, um, so we would play softball every summer. And so one summer and the Yankee sponsored the softball league and. They called me and said, Hey, do you know anybody in your house show who might want to sing the national Anthem for the Yankees? And at the time I was basically religiously a Yankees fanatic.
[00:22:07] Like I, I lived in died, New York, Yankees baseball. And I was kind of
kind of looking at myself as a producer at that time. My now wife said, you can do it. And I’m like, really? Yeah, you’re a singer dummy. And I was like, okay. So I sent it a tape and then I went and did a sound check for them at Yankee stadium. And I kind of kind of cried and I stole some grass and put it into a file.
[00:22:27] And I stole some like
, uh, dirt from where Derek Jeter stood on the shortstop and I put it into a little vile and they were like, this kid’s kind of nuts because they don’t usually get people that love the Yankees as much as I do. And then they’re like, listen, we’re going to call you at the Yankees, make it to a game five, meaning they have to win.
[00:22:42] They have to lose one game out of a series to make it. And I remember sitting in a sandwich shop on the upper West side on 72nd through with my wife. And I got a call from a two, one, two number, and they’re like, Hey, this is the Yankees. We want you to come sing tomorrow night. And I just I’m actually like tearing up.
[00:22:55] Now. I started screaming my face off in the middle of this sandwich shop and I started crying and my wife’s
like, save your voice. I’m like, it’s fine. It’s going to be, and I got there and I’m shaking. And then I get down to Yankee stadium and the Yankees are winning and I get out there and everything just goes silent.
[00:23:14] And the announcer prompts my name Raul. And he has for like,
like, Six out of the seven times, which I find odd, I’ve been doing this for like nine years. And so I get out there and I just took a breath and I took a moment and I was like, this is the greatest moment of my professional career. And the Yankees have been like family to me.
[00:23:34] I’ve had some personal hardships as of late and they send me flowers and they’re like, you’re part of our family now. And I. I don’t know, man, it’s just the coolest thing in the world to get a phone call from the New York Yankees to say, Hey, can you come down tomorrow night to sing? And you get on the subway in New York city to go to Yankee stadium and they give you a jacket and you come out of the tunnel.
[00:23:53] And Yogi Berra was there one night, Derek Jeter, and they compliment you and you go on the field
and you, and you sing into the night sky of New York city for the Yankees in the playoffs. It’s the coolest thing I think I’ve done in my life other than get married. Um, I know that she’s around and she can hear me.
, um, but yeah, it’s the Yankees to me. So I, I know it’s not a Broadway booked it, but this came through being in a Broadway show because the Yankees were supporting
[00:24:16] the Broadway softball date. So
[00:24:18] Dane Reis: [00:24:18] Yes. Yes. I love that book. That story. That’s so good. And. I want to take a moment now to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And, Hey, it’s a weird time, right? We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:24:43]Michael Minarik: [00:24:43] Yeah, I’m really psyched about it. I think I can’t wait for
like Hugh Jackman to come on stage and music man , and, and be like, you know, hell of river city and people losing their minds because I think you’ll want to be there. The first show was back. Um, cause I, I think Scott is an amazing producer and he’s going to be like all, you know level sport or doing this.
[00:24:59] I’m excited. I think people, I don’t want to say took for brands that I think a lot of times they’re taken away from people. They realize how much they loved it.
Um, even more than they did in the first place. And I think a lot of people will just have pivoted to see what’s really important in their lives.
[00:25:10] And I think that when people do go back to theater and see theater again, they’re like, wow, we just kind of
kind of took this for granted. This would always be here. Um, so I’m excited for that. I think they’re, they’re a part of a bigger, I don’t know, spotlight on the performers and what we do in this industry, which I’m excited about as well.
Um, I’m really, really excited about this new musical coming in. I have nothing to do with it, but I think , um, I got to see a , uh, a workshop of the outsiders musical, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve seen since Hamilton. Um, or before that maybe since like the original cast of Urinetown possibly. Um, it is one of the greatest musicals I’ve.
[00:25:42] Ever seen.
Um, and I I’m very, I feel very privileged to see it, but what I’m doing right now is I’m actually producing musical theater inside the school. So what we do is we’ll take a lot of the kids or other people who want to present new musicals and we’ll put them on our students. I know other colleges doing this around the country, but like my friends who wrote Urinetown, Greg Kotis and Mark Pullman, they brought in like their new zombie musical.
[00:26:02] And they workshop that on our students. And I get to sit there as a producer, like helping it out. And then they, another musical came in that I got to direct the student reading of and our students get to work on it.
So. I think there’ll come a time when I go back to performing, when the school is kind of kind of very stable and I can guide teaching, associate what I do, but right now, my joy is really , um, sharing with this new crop of talented kids, how to create roles, meeting people that I’ve met throughout my life , um, and then helping them get to where they want to be in this industry.
Um, so that’s, that’s exciting for me. And again, but if I, again, I’m just so excited about the outsiders musical. I it’s like , uh, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s it’s unbelievable. It’s like Mumford and sons music with musical theater. Awesome. You’re going to lose your mind, man,
[00:26:41] when you see this thing.
[00:26:43] so that’s, yeah. I’m excited that people are so creating new things that gives me a lot of joy.
Um, so that, yeah, I know this is about performers and stuff, but if I can say as a performer and also producer in it, A business owner. I’m very excited about the new crop of kids coming up better, still ready to go and still training to be like, I’m ready for the fall.
[00:27:02] I’m ready for the late summer of 2021. Let’s do
[00:27:05] this. That gives me, that gives me hope.
[00:27:07] Dane Reis: [00:27:07] Yeah, brilliant love all of that. And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. 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? All right. First question.
[00:27:29] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:27:33]Michael Minarik: [00:27:33] Oh, ignorance that a career even was possible that you could actually even make a living out of this thing. I had no idea. So I, more education is needed for that. I think that people can do this for a living.
[00:27:44] Dane Reis: [00:27:44] yes. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:27:49]Michael Minarik: [00:27:49] And I think I’m going to reiterate again, you’re never going in for the job ever. You’re going in for your own joy. That’s it.
[00:27:55] Dane Reis: [00:27:55] so good. 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
[00:28:09] Michael Minarik: [00:28:09] Oh, gosh. Oh, it’s so quick. I’m sorry.
Um, I guess not caring. That’s the way to say it. Like , um, after you’re done with it’s your audition, you take your side, you throw them in the trash, you move on with your day. That’s it. You don’t sit there and analyze the whole thing over and over and over and over again. Cause you’re never gonna know the answer.
[00:28:24] So once you’re done with it, you’re done. You seek your joy and
[00:28:26] you move on with your day.
[00:28:27] Dane Reis: [00:28:27] yes. 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 you found is helping your career right now.
[00:28:39]Michael Minarik: [00:28:39] Oh, I guess Spotify, I didn’t have that when I was younger. So listening to singers that I want to emulate my voice off of
like, Chris squall or Anthony Warlow or some of these guys and to listen , listen, listen. And then also to listen to some of these really random off Broadway musicals that maybe nobody’s ever heard of before and find songs that you just love
[00:28:55] to sing.
[00:28:57] Dane Reis: [00:28:57] Yeah, love it. 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?
[00:29:13]Michael Minarik: [00:29:13] I kinda like where I got I,
, I, I think I’d keep it. I had a really , I, I had, I’ve had a really fun time, I think, because I didn’t, I don’t want to say care that much. I didn’t th the ramifications of not getting the job didn’t ever pull me down as much as. I don’t know, maybe I don’t want to say other people, but what I’ve heard, where the nose gets so difficult over and over again, the nose didn’t matter to me because I was always joyful with what I did in the room.
[00:29:40] So whether they said yes or no,
kind of didn’t matter. Um, Oh, and can I say one thing, excuse me. Before the survival job to me was everything. Doing real estate and not being beholden to getting a job for financial reasons was changed the way I look at it. So I was able to not worry about the notes, because if it didn’t work out, I would just keep doing my real estate job.
[00:30:00] And I love that as well. So finding the right job survival until you
kind of hit it , um, I
[00:30:05] think helps with those nos.
[00:30:07]Dane Reis: [00:30:07] yeah. Great insight. 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.
[00:30:18]Michael Minarik: [00:30:18] Your friends are everything. This business is not built by the government it’s built by us. And I think that we need to keep remembering that it’s only here because a bunch of people a long time ago decided to build it. And when you start out, when you’re young, I remember talking to a very successful musical supervisor now who does like.
[00:30:35] I won’t say who it is anyways. So he, I am a, when I was a kid,
you know, all of your friends kind of run this industry now. And he was like , well, yeah, I guess that’s true. I never thought of it that way. And I was like , well,because I’m 22 years old when I asked them this question, I was like, so a lot of my friends will be running this thing when I get older.
[00:30:48] And he’s
like, yeah, I guess you’re right. And I said, so I guess, you know, my friends and my network of people and the community that we’ve built together is all trying to do the same thing. So maybe let’s all just be nicer to each other. And just because. This guy got a job doesn’t mean that I am lesser or worse than it is that we, as a community are keeping this wonderful art form moving.
[00:31:07] And again, the government’s not going to do it and not some nonprofits going to do it. We’re the ones doing it. We’re the ones making up casting records, becoming producers, becoming investors, becoming directors and theater owners or whatever, and building schools. So I think as long as we realize that we’re in a community of like-minded people.
Um, that’ll help you grow whatever way you’re supposed to grow in that joy of yourself. Um, whether that means that you keep acting or maybe you pivot to become a casting director or like I, or myself, a producer or a director, but again, you’re going to keep running into the same people over and over and over again.
[00:31:39] And so why I love what I do is because basically I just work with my friends every day and my friends come in and cast
, um, No. Or I hire my friends to cast back camp, right. Or I hire friends of mine to work on new musicals at my school. And they’re my friends. So it’s like we have a little tree house with secret knock and we’re all part
[00:31:56] of it.
[00:31:56] And it makes me really happy about that.
[00:31:58] Dane Reis: [00:31:58] Oh, that’s such great perspective that you and your network of friends, you’re the ones building this industry and creating, I love that perspective.
[00:32:06] Michael Minarik: [00:32:06] all are right. You are. I am. And so the more people we meet, the more symbiotic nature of the common goal that we’re looking for. And I think we just need to remember that this, the whole thing could burn down, but like, you know,
like, you know, a family called the neater Landers one day decide to build some theaters because they wanted to put up a theater.
Like that’s incredible. The government didn’t do it. Right. Right. Did you? Janssen’s like. like. Daryl Roth decided, you know what? I think I want to get into the theater industry. Thank God these people did these things right. Or, Or, or one day like, you know, the amazing Alex timbers. So I got to represent backhand was like, I want to go to Yale and become a director and I’m going to help build these shows.
[00:32:39] Like we’re doing this. It’s not some
, um, a morphic. Uh, amorphous like energy. That’s passed to make this go on. You’re building a podcast because you want to have well, , well, people like I’m building a school because I want to help kids. I, I think that we need you to remember that we’re all in this together and it’s a
[00:32:52] beautiful community of like-minded people.
[00:32:55] Dane Reis: [00:32:55] yeah, 100%. And to wrap up this baby, Michael, 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?
[00:33:09]Michael Minarik: [00:33:09] Well, I mean,
Well, I mean, my school, you can go to the Institute for American musical theater on Instagram. I’m very proud of it. Um, that’s really what I’m working so hard on right now. And I, it makes me really. Glad just to see kids that maybe weren’t able to afford these amazing schools. We’d have some kids drop out of pace, a CCM and other schools to come to our school because they’re like, my AI can’t afford it.
[00:33:29] And B I want to learn from people who are doing it and it just gives me joy. And
, um, so yeah, so my school, the Institute of America for American musical theater up in Washington Heights , uh, yeah, that’s what I like to
[00:33:39]Dane Reis: [00:33:39] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Michael just talked about into the description of this episode. You can easily connect with him and his school. Also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know, aspiring to create a career in.
[00:34:04] The entertainment industry you booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point, everything Michael just dropped for you during this entire episode. So many really, truly actionable takeaways you can apply to your career right now.
[00:34:24] If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next guest, Michael. I am so excited and so pleased that we got connected. Thank you so much for being here and being on the show.
[00:34:36]Michael Minarik: [00:34:36] Oh, you’re welcome, man. Thanks so much for asking. We had a great time.