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EP 183: Marc Tumminelli (autogenerated)
[00:00:00]Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it episode 183. Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Marc. Tumminelli, are you ready for this Marc?
[00:00:12]Marc Tumminelli: [00:00:12] As ready as I’ll ever be.
[00:00:14]Dane Reis: [00:00:14] All right. Mark is the founder of new York’s top training program for young actors, Broadway workshop, as well as the nonprofit project Broadway Mark adapted the book, music and lyrics as well as directed the developmental workshop.
[00:00:29] Productions of the school additions for over 20 titles, including Spamalot Adams, family, head-over-heels zombie prom, and we will rock you now being licensed all over the world. Directing credits include the marvelous Wonderettes sweet charity. Bring it on over the Tavern. I love my wife. Pippin Carrie legally blonde Zen ado, Annie and cabaret as an actor, Mark, as appeared as Eugene in Brighton beach, memoirs, Biloxi, blues, and Broadway bound at theaters across the U S and in gypsy, starring Patti LuPone directed by Lonnie price.
[00:01:07] Mark is also the host of the popular podcast. Little me growing up Broadway on the Broadway podcast network. Mark. 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.
[00:01:28] Marc Tumminelli: [00:01:28] Well,
Well, thank you for that excellent introduction that I wrote. It’s a, you really hit all of my highs and highs. Um, I own, as you mentioned, probably workshop and that is the focus of what I do. I work with young performers all around the world. Now that we’re virtual, but I’ve been working with performers for the last 14 years.
[00:01:48] I probably workshop doing classes and camps and productions. And
, uh, through that experience, it just sort of opened up other doors, like the adaptations of the musicals you mentioned. I also have an events business where I have probably performers do concerts for corporate clients. And that’s been really busy in the last few months.
[00:02:05] So I’m sort
sort of a New York, not Broadway adjacent Renaissance, man. So I’m not working directly on Broadway, but I work as close to it as you possibly could get.
[00:02:16]Dane Reis: [00:02:16] Hey, that’s amazing. I also do a lot of corporate production and things like this, and it’s a crazy world.
[00:02:23] Marc Tumminelli: [00:02:23] It’s a crazy world, but I’m always very grateful for any corporate jobs that comes into my email box.
[00:02:29]Dane Reis: [00:02:29] Aren’t we all.
[00:02:31] Marc Tumminelli: [00:02:31] Thank you money.
Um, yes, a completely different world. You know, we, from the theater world where it’s like, you know, like, you know, you’re trying to save every penny to put on a production or, you know, you know, get a guest teacher in or whatever it is.
[00:02:44] And then you’re dealing with these huge corporations that have lots of money and,
you know, are willing to spend it. And it’s really exciting to be able to share that with some amazing theater artists who. I love and I love working with, and that I get to, you know, sort of work with at that level. So it doing the events is really fun for me.
[00:03:00]Dane Reis: [00:03:00] for short and the production level that you,
I mean, that comes with having a budget, right? It’s amazing. Isn’t it?
[00:03:05] Marc Tumminelli: [00:03:05] Yes.
[00:03:06] Dane Reis: [00:03:06] Yeah, for sure. Well,
Well, let’s dig into this first section here and Mark, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:03:19] Marc Tumminelli: [00:03:19] I’m not like a super quote person, but the one that recently the one that is on my bill, like my corkboard over my desk is ride the horse in the direction it’s going. And
, uh, Hi, that like, just really sticks with me for so many reasons. When I first heard it, I was like, yes, that’s it. Um, and to me, that sort of means that, especially if you’re a kid who grew up being obsessed with Broadway or obsessed with performing, sometimes doors opened up that are not that.
[00:03:45] And it’s so easy to. Block it out and say, no, I’m want to do this other thing that I said I wanted to do since I was four. And the reality
is is that all these other opportunities might be coming your way and you’re pushing them away. So, uh, the direction that it feels like you should be moving the doors that are opening for you, the people who are saying yes to you, that is that’s.
[00:04:04] That’s where I think the gold is found. So ride the horse in the direction that it’s going, his mind quote.
[00:04:11] Dane Reis: [00:04:11] that’s so good. I’ve not heard it before, but I love that. And I can absolutely attest to riding the horse and the direction that it’s going, because so much of my career I’ve always been the person that’ll just say yes to. everything, you know,
you know, but it also takes me down crazy paths. Right.
[00:04:29]That had no idea, like next thing,
you know, I’m a, what did I do once I was really weird? Oh, I was, I was created a mascot character for rockin Rio, which is like the world’s largest music festival, but it was like this $300,000 costume that I got to be part of and create and go to Rio and do all these crazy things.
[00:04:48] But that’s. So strange.
Right. And, but it’s cool and it’s fun, but you just keep picking up the ball and running with it. It’s so
[00:04:55] Marc Tumminelli: [00:04:55] And people will ask you to do things that you don’t know how to do. And if your gut is
like, yeah, I can do that. Then you probably can do that or find a way to do it. And that has really been my whole life of kind of just going by what , uh, I thought maybe I could try to figure out. And sometimes that was very hard and sometimes that was very easy, but , uh, I say yes to everything as well, which is, you know, why we’re here right now, which is great.
[00:05:17] Dane Reis: [00:05:17] Yeah, for sure. And let’s get into this next section here and Mark, 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 subjective, brutally, honest and 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 you’re having now, it takes a lot.
[00:05:45] 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
[00:06:08] Marc Tumminelli: [00:06:08] You only want one, right? Because
[00:06:12] Dane Reis: [00:06:12] I know we all have
[00:06:13] like a rap sheet of
[00:06:14] Marc Tumminelli: [00:06:14] when I looked at your list of questions, I was
like, like, this can go in a million ways, but I’m going to go with the biggest one, the biggest game changer one for me, which was, you mentioned earlier, right? That I got to do gypsy with Patti LuPone in Chicago, directed by Lonnie price before Broadway.
, uh, it was a really, really exciting experience. It was working with pave opponent. I was huge fan of, and she was so nice to me. And we just had this incredible, just thrilling experience. From beginning to end. And what we thought would be the next chapter was that we were going to do gypsy all. We were going to do a mini tour, do city center and then do Broadway.
[00:06:48] And that was the plan. And
, uh, I left that job, like with I’m going to Broadway, my dreams are coming true. Like it just felt so exciting. And , um, The obstacle there was that Arthur Lawrence had two. Okay. Patty LuPone playing this role in New York, I guess he had it stipulated in his will, that she was never allowed to play mama Rose.
[00:07:08] Like they had,
they had, they had such hate for each other, for some jobs that she had doing a play of his, that she quit during rehearsals and he just sort of wiped her out. And so she had to go to him and say, we want to bring our show into New York. Will you let us do it? And he said, Patty, I love you by God’s be bygones.
[00:07:29]Let’s do it, but I’m going to direct it. And so that was it. So we all thought,
you know, were fired and then Bonnie Walker. The choreographer called me and she said, Mark, I want you to do the show with Patty. You’re great in the show I played Yonkers and she’s like, you’re going to do it. You just have to go through the paces and re audition.
[00:07:46] I was like, of course,
you know, anything. So I start to readmission for this city center, pre Broadway , uh,Patti LuPone, gypsy, which I had just done two months earlier. And , um, I went through that whole process. I had a work session with Arthur Lawrence, Jay bender, the casting director took me outside and said, go home.
[00:08:03] You’re playing Yonkers. It’s done. And I just like. Have this, like this joy, like I was getting to continue this amazing process. And
, um, that following Tuesday, my agent called me and said that they did not actually have an offer for me. And , uh, it went in a different direction and , uh, there’s reasons why I went in that direction, which I won’t share today.
, um, they’re so silly. Anyway, the point is. I wasn’t doing it. And I was obviously devastated. And out of that devastation, I started Broadway workshop. And that was the reality was, is that I felt like God, this business has just misery. If it, you know, the highs are so high, the lows are so low. I’m good, but I’m not amazing.
Like, you know what I mean? There are so many people, you watch people like Betty Buckley and you’re like, you shouldn’t be doing anything else on earth, but this, you watch. There are so many times where you see a performer, Adrian Warren and Tina I’m like, this is, I cried watching that show thinking. This is a woman who was born to do this thing that we’re getting to watch right now.
[00:09:01] And I was not that, so it wasn’t that difficult to give it up. I was like, this sucks. And so I had been teaching and loved doing it. And initially I think I thought I’d do both. Together. And it just became very clear to me that my, all of my eggs should go into this basket of starting this educational theater program.
[00:09:19] And I got a lot of success from it right away, and I was making money and I was, and I had kids that were building with the business and I were having amazing guest teachers that were coming in. And I was like, I love this. Why wouldn’t I be. Focusing on this. And so out of that sort of tragedy of watching the marquee go up on Broadway and not being part of that
, um, I was building this business and for the first, you know, year or two, I had other jobs, I was still hustling.
[00:09:44] I still did acting jobs, but then very quickly it became my whole life. And I’m very glad that I did. So that’s the long, very long version of this story.
[00:09:55]Dane Reis: [00:09:55] Oh, that’s so good though, in what a devastating,
you know, end to that. But also the fact that it gave birth to what you’re doing now is amazing.
[00:10:06] Marc Tumminelli: [00:10:06] And that’s back to your quote, the quote, you know,
you know, ride the horse in the direction it’s going. So my horse was not. Stopping and kicking me off for this thing that I thought I wanted to do. And then it just kept writing like on the beach, like gracefully for everything else. So, um, my brain was set up to be a business owner in a way that I never imagined.
[00:10:26] I certainly didn’t go to school for that. I. Do you know,
all of the, all of the tragedies that come out of even owning a business that people who say no, or the things that fall through or the rights you didn’t get to a show you want it to produce, or those are easy things to move over and just be like, all right, what’s the next thing where it’s like being an actor is like, like, you put.
[00:10:44] All of your time and energy and to sitting in that hallway, Ripley Greer. So you can have your two minutes in the room and no one really cares. So it just felt like my effort and enthusiasm and love for the theater. It could be put in a much different place that was gonna, it was gonna feed me in so many other ways.
[00:11:02] And I’m really glad that the hindsight on that was never really difficult. I never looked back and was like, Oh God, what if I was like, Oh, that wasn’t really what I was meant to do.
So. There are moments where I’m like, Oh God, I see something I’d like, I’d love to be in that. Or, you know, sometimes you see a great play or something really fun.
[00:11:18] And you’re like, God, I wish it was in that, but it’s not often.
[00:11:21]Dane Reis: [00:11:21]
right. And I can imagine you get an outrageous amount of fulfillment with your, with your school and teaching all of the
[00:11:26] Marc Tumminelli: [00:11:26] It’s wild. Like seeing my kids do things that I could never do. I’ve had about 68 kids on Broadway from, in the last 13 and a half years.
[00:11:36] Dane Reis: [00:11:36] Wow.
[00:11:37] Marc Tumminelli: [00:11:37] getting to see them, people like Andrew Feldman, who has been my students, he’s seven or eight years old to playing Evan Hanson on Broadway at 17 was like a very exciting experience.
[00:11:46] And so many of my kids like that, Mikayla diamond, who played Sharon, the sheriffs show and Rachel Rochelle who’s been in eight Broadway shows was my students. And she was seven Ava demerit,
like. So many Casey Garvin, so many amazing kids that kind of started with me and then have a lot of probably success.
[00:12:02] And I’m a part of that in some way,
you know, you know, I’m not like a creepy part of that, but I’m just, you started with me. I maybe got you an agent. I maybe got you that audition because. Casting called me and said, do you have anybody who’s really like this? And I’m like, yeah, I have someone that’s great. And they don’t know them because they’re not represented yet.
[00:12:20] They’re not, you know,
you know, in the business. So I’ve been able to make what I thought my dream was happened for so many other people. And that has been actually so thrilling. Um, sometimes. But like, cause I don’t have kids or anything. So it’s like, I feel like that experience of that pride and, and true glee of getting to see someone living up to their potential.
[00:12:40]Dane Reis: [00:12:40] Oh, that’s so good. Thank you for sharing that. And I also think it’s so important for people to hear that story about how you transitioned through the industry. Because a lot of us will enter this industry thinking we, you know,
you know, we grew up singing, we grew up dancing, grew up obsessed with whatever it might be, and we get into it.
[00:12:59] Like you said, this is what I’ve been thinking. Since I was four years old, I’m going to do this. And then maybe that’s not something that happens for you or maybe. It’s something that could happen to you happen for you, but then you realize, you know what, I’m actually being pulled this direction and that’s totally fine.
[00:13:14] It’s great to know that there are so many different avenues in this industry that you can go, that can be just as fulfilling or more fulfilling than you originally thought. And to be okay with that and to embrace that
[00:13:25]Marc Tumminelli: [00:13:25]
Well, I told my kids a lot, you know, there are a lot of jobs in this business, you know, I know you’re sitting here right now because you were in high school or middle school or whatever, and you want to be on Broadway because that feels accessible or you’re seeing that. Or, and now we have so much connection to Broadway performers in a way that certainly my generation did not, you know, you know, I had no way of DM-ing Judy Kuhn when I was in, you know, Ninth grade.
[00:13:46] And now it’s just
like, they, there there’s so much connection to performers. So it feels always two inches from who you are, wherever you’re at, but they forget that there are so many other things you can do that are equally as fulfilling. And whether it’s. You know, You know, I have some kids that are like, I want to do a year doing and teach this.
[00:14:01] And I was like, that’s great. But the majority of these kids want to be stars. And then if you start thinking of
like, Oh, you’re really, you have a really director mind the way you’re thinking and the way you’re talking to me , like, have you thought about directing? You’ve thought about writing. If you thought about, Oh, you love doing makeup and hair.
[00:14:15] Like you could do that on Broadway. There are just so many jobs that they don’t consider because they have this eye on this. You know,
You know, I think about little kids being four and five normal kids, not theater kids. And they say, I want to be a fireman. I want to be a policeman. And they have no real idea what that means.
[00:14:31] It’s just, they, it looks cool or they’re watching a movie or their dad is. And then when that time they’re whatever age they are, they start having their own thoughts and ideas and dreams. And then they start going down that path and only in the theater world. Do you make a decision when you’re four and then clamp onto it?
You know, like a dog with a bone because you think that’s this thing you want and you don’t open it up to all the things that could be possible in your life.
[00:14:56]Dane Reis: [00:14:56] yeah, really well said. 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 in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.
[00:15:18] Marc Tumminelli: [00:15:18] Yeah. I think that when the thought of that brings me back to being a little kid in that moment of being like, this is the most magical thing in the world. We had moved. I grew up in Bayside Queens here in New York city. And then we moved to long Island when I was in fifth grade. And at that point I went to public school and that was the first time I was ever in anything, a show really where it was,
you know, singing, acting, and dancing.
[00:15:41] And I got to play like the artful Dodger in Oliver. And I was like
, Uh, this is the most exciting thing ever. And this was more like a review. We did three songs from Oliver and um, , um, I was just like cast as one of the Fagan’s boys, but I would sing louder than everyone. And I pushed myself to the front by the piano and they were like, why don’t you sing, consider yourself?
[00:15:59] And I was like
, well, of course. And they’re like, and you can sing. Whereas I got to sing all these songs from all over. And that being onstage that night we did that. She’ll like six times. And it was, you know, a community theater production. And it was just like truly so thrilling. And I can remember it, like it was yesterday of like being backstage with these other kids and doing the show and feeling special.
[00:16:20] And that’s really what it is. It’s
like, you feel so many kids never feel that where you feel like you’re special, people are watching you. People think you’re good at something like that is that every kid needs to experience that. In some way. Uh, and so getting to experience that at 11 or whatever , um, or nine was just like truly magical for me.
[00:16:40] And so that’s when I knew this was going to be my life and it’s never not been, I never decided I was going to do something else. I’ve always been working in the theater kind of since that moment. And when I wasn’t in a show, I was stage managing from the, or I was working backstage where I worked in the box office.
[00:16:56] Like I did anything and everything to be in the building.
Um, and so, but that all started there doing the red stocking review and , uh, Manor Haven, long Island. And , uh, you know, it’s like you have these magical moment. What was your magical child moment? Can I ask you a question?
[00:17:11] Dane Reis: [00:17:11] Oh
, yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. When I first realized that I wanted to be, it would have to be. So I didn’t start performing until I was late 17 and a half, 18 years old until the dancing. Yeah. So, but take that back before. So this is like an, a realization that I had even before I think.
[00:17:31]You know what? That’s probably not right. Cause that’s, I didn’t that, I can’t say that because I will often refer to that. It was going to say it’s like when I was listening to this Backstreet boys album with my sisters, or it was when I saw N sync on a Disney when they had their special. And I was like, Ooh, that I want to be an entertainer, but that’s, but that kind of got back-burnered cause I was just playing sports, but I remember having that very little, the thought,
[00:17:50]And then when I started performing, it was, I was doing
, uh, Dance production of the Grinch. And I remember standing. In the wings and I was a dancer night, the first dance production I’d ever gotten to do. And it was someone had, it was my sister’s friend. And it was, this was actually, I was doing a pot to do with her on the stage for this moment.
[00:18:11] And she had asked me, Hey
, uh, we need a guy to help us lift some girls in the show. Do you want to do it? And right before that, I had been concussed out of football. I’ve been needed elbow surgery. If I would’ve kept playing baseball. So everything, my whole life just kind of got flipped upside down for a handful of months.
[00:18:26] And I said,
you know, I’ll just start dancing and. I remember standing side stage or the side lighting. And I thought that was so cool. And then stepping out into stage and it, the whole piece just started with this big kind of like helicopter lift thing and into a fish. And it was amazing and that whole pot of dirt, and then that happened.
[00:18:45] And just that moment of being on stage with those with the first time, stepping out to the lights and seeing, you know,
you know, the. Semi the semi heads that you can kind of see in the audience without seeing any faces. And I it’s just that moment, I was like, Oh, that was so cool. That was everything. and that’s what I’ve just kept going back for
[00:19:03] again and again, and again,
[00:19:04] Marc Tumminelli: [00:19:04] magical and you cannot replace that. Uh, there’s no like child experience. I guess if you’re a sports star, it might replace that in some way, but there is, there’s something about being a performing young person and getting on stage and having people applaud for you. And I see that with my kids.
[00:19:20] Now, whether they go on to do this. For a living. I have many kids that are like going to be, doctors are going to be a lawyer, but they did this through high school and it was their focus and what a good focus to have to like every weekend we’re in rehearsal, we do these huge main stage productions of probably workshop and getting to see these kids every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, they’re with me from
like two to eight o’clock and they’re rehearsing, whatever.
[00:19:41] I mean,
I mean, state show is, and they’re all in high school. When I was in high school, I was doing. You know, that kind of similar thing, but so many kids are like smoking pot and hanging out and not doing anything that is like work related. And then we have these other kids that are like in the rehearsal studio all weekend long, hanging out with their friends, from their theater friends that they don’t go to school with.
like created. Hire community outside of the four walls of their high school. And that is, I think, sets them up for adult success in a way that nothing else does because most people are just trapped in that high school experience. So it’s just like a really special thing to be performing, staying around theater kids.
Um, it’s just like a great thing to have kids be involved in if they’re interested in it. And if they’re not, then obviously there’ll be miserable. So we don’t want that.
[00:20:28] Dane Reis: [00:20:28] I agree with you though. You, the so much comes from being on stage. There’s so many life skills that you really have to tackle and deal with.
I mean, just the, just the simple fact that you’re going out on stage and it’s alive, something’s going to happen, right. right. It might be what you rehearsed. It might be.
[00:20:43] You forget your lines, you forget your courtyard. Things happen, right? That all happens on stage at some point. Right.
Right. And you have to deal with that in the moment. And to have that experience have that live experience is so good for life.
[00:20:59] Marc Tumminelli: [00:20:59] And also the demanding of excellence.
You know, as far as when I am, when we’re producing a show, probably workshop, I don’t think of it as a kid show, we spend a lot of money on costumes and sets and all that. And I, my eye is on every detail to make sure it’s perfect. Not only for me, but. For them, for the audience that I don’t want anyone to be like, that was a cute kid show.
Like that would make that makes me want to put my head in the oven. So I, you know, always want to make sure that we are, we are striving for excellence from our students, but also from the production team from me, there’s no, you know, half asking any of this. And I think that that gets into your DNA so that when you are doing the next thing or you’re, I have so many kids have started their own theater companies where they make their own YouTube videos and they do all of that.
[00:21:38] And that is because,
you know, they’ve seen from other adults. This is important and the work that we’re doing is important. And so it’s, it’s just that trickle down effect is really cool.
[00:21:48]Dane Reis: [00:21:48] for sure. And I guess to expand on that, it’s kind of
kind of like when you go to a different. Level, if you will, in this industry, as you kind of climb the ranks of quality, I guess, I guess, or whatever you want to call it. And , uh, you get to a new group of people that are kind of kind of at a different caliber and you are brought up to that.
[00:22:06] Or if, even if you go to a dance class and you’re suddenly the worst person in that class, it makes you better, faster, because you see that. Professionalism, you see the expectation of what it takes to be there, and that helps with lift you to that. So yeah, the trickle down effect also is pulling people up.
[00:22:23] It’s a, it’s amazing.
[00:22:24] Marc Tumminelli: [00:22:24] I love that. Yeah.
[00:22:26]Dane Reis: [00:22:26] Yeah. And. Let’s piggyback on that real quick. And let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day and the audition and callbacks. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.
[00:22:46]Marc Tumminelli: [00:22:46] I think my favorite book did moment would be
, um, I played Eugene and Brighton beach memoirs and blocks of blues and Broadway bound at a bunch of theaters. But the second theater I did it at was St. Michael’s Playhouse, which is in , uh, Northern Vermont. It’s a beautiful theater. Um, and I had sent the artistic director a letter and I said , uh, you know, I’d really like to be seen for this.
[00:23:04] I’ve done it two other times. I think that you’ll love having me in your cast. And I never heard anything back from him. And I had done the same thing multiple times for every job I ever booked. I wrote a letter to the artistic director. They would call me and say, thank you so much for your letter. Come in.
[00:23:19] But this guy, Chuck Tobin, who’s the artistic director of the theater did not call me in and a little bit. I was like
, well, they must have someone already because mostly people don’t choose to do that show unless they already have a Eugene. And so I just went to the EPA and I remember walking in and. He stood up and he went Mark to Minnelli, had been waiting for you all day and he just had hoped I’d show up at the opening
[00:23:39]And I was like, all right.
right. So that put me in the, you know, the right frame of mind, we just had this great session and, you know, obviously went back and worked with him again and the director. And , uh, they offered me that job. And that turned into really a life-changing experience because. Uh, he had only planted your Brighton beach and I convinced him over our time during by beach, you should keep going.
[00:24:02] We should do blocks of blues and Broadway bound, the next two summers. And so I,
you know, locked myself in for a few more years, but I created this family there of all these people that have some local people, some people who would come up to. To work at that theater for multiple years and I’m still going up there.
[00:24:18] So that was in 2004, and now it is 2021. And I have been up to Vermont back to that theater to do something, whether it was present my own camp to just visit people, to hang out. I rented a house there for the month of September. So that job really changed my life
in a, in a, in a very different kind of way.
[00:24:38] It wasn’t that, Oh my God, it catapulted me to. Startup, but what it did was it opened up this like huge family of people that I have because of working at that theater and getting that job was I wanted it so desperately. And
, uh, it was just like a great, it was, the show was they had a huge budget. The show was amazing.
[00:24:56] I got to do this, the series of the three plays in a way that I hadn’t done it at any other theater identity at some other theaters where people were bad or the set was ugly
, um, or. Uh, you know, it was an afterthought, but this was a really, it was a really special three years of getting to play that part there.
[00:25:12] And then I went on to play other things there as well, but that was my favorite. You booked it moment.
[00:25:18]Dane Reis: [00:25:18] Oh, that’s a brilliant, and I think a big takeaway from that also is the relationship side of this business and how relationships really are everything in this industry.
[00:25:29]Marc Tumminelli: [00:25:29] Yeah. I mean,
I mean, it’s really so much about how you are with people. This is , uh, you know, I say a lot of times, like you, you have to be nice and if you’re not going to be nice, you better be really funny as, as far as like who you want to spend time with. I’m fine. If you’re like a little sassy, if you’re like hilarious, But , um, you know, people have to be nice and I don’t know if I’ve always been the nicest person at every moment and every time, but I certainly have tried to keep the spirit in the room really up to let people know.
[00:25:57] I really want it to be there to not be the first one to complain. I might be the fourth person to complain, but I try not to be the first one.
Um, And , uh, you know, there are definitely people who’ve worked with me who if they listened to this would be like, ah, that’s the opposite of the experience I had with Mark.
[00:26:11] Sometimes I’m the worst person to have in the room, but that particular experience was really wonderful, but being nice to people and just saying, thank you or writing, thank you notes or being genuine makes a really big difference. I think, in, in so many situations. And
, uh, I certainly have tried to do that one.
[00:26:29] When possible I have worked at theaters where I was definitely the worst person in the eye. I was a nightmare. They couldn’t wait for me to leave.
[00:26:38] Dane Reis: [00:26:38] Hey, we all have our moments, but
we, we, we can’t, you know, you know, figure out how to be. It’s difficult. I should say too, to figure out exactly how to conduct ourselves in the best way to conduct ourselves until, you know, sometimes we mess it up a little bit so that there’s, that’s part of the journey as well.
[00:26:49] Marc Tumminelli: [00:26:49] well,
well, it turned out for me that like, Oh, I need to be the boss. Like I’m not great at, and that’s why it was very easy for me to like walk away from acting. Cause you have no control, you know, you don’t, sometimes you can be like, Oh, I really want. This happened and manifested and work hard to get that to happen or that audition to come up.
[00:27:06] But mostly you have no control over anything.
So. If in this other version of my life, I can create opportunities like that. I love that show. I want to direct it. Let me find a way to produce it, or I really want this to happen, or I really want to be working with these kinds of people, or let me ask this person to teach with me.
[00:27:22] And so I have the opportunities to create things that I’m really excited about.
Um, whereas an actor, you don’t really get to do that and you know, I’m not great at. Uh, maybe taking direction. So it’s guide it’s better for me to be the director.
[00:27:36] Dane Reis: [00:27:36] beautiful. Hey, and then, you know, you know,
you know, you know, your path and that’s it. And that’s perfect. Great. Well, 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 kind of a crazy time still. We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:27:54]Marc Tumminelli: [00:27:54]
I mean, at least for us, we workshop it’s really tricky because we are, we’ve moved all of our classes virtually, and we’ve had a lot of success in that. And not only were we, we used to only be able to work with kids who would be in the tri-state area and come into New York city, whether that meant they were coming in for the summer intensives or, you know, they were coming in from Boston for a weekend and some parents would fly their kids in to do a class.
[00:28:17] But mostly you had to get to Ripley verse studios to take class. And so since we’ve moved things virtually, now we have kids from all over the world. We will do a class and now, and there’ll be a girl from Shanghai, a guy from Bangladesh. Like it blows my mind that they’re all, I’m like, what time is it there?
[00:28:35] And it’s
like, it’s 4:00 AM, but I really wanted to take Sierra Boggess his workshop. And so like, They’re kids coming from all over the world now because we’re virtual. So I do think that won’t change. I think we’ll continue to offer virtual classes because it’s just easier. And it’s , we, we are able to present really strong classes virtually.
[00:28:52] We keep the class size, really small. We keep the price low so that it’s accessible to everybody. So that is a really cool thing. That’s come out of this. And I think that will continue to change. Being a hundred thousand percent honest with you. Virtual productions are not my favorite thing. I don’t think it, it can possibly check the box that being in a live theater does.
[00:29:14] And so for us, we are doing some virtual productions and things that are set to work on zoom or things that we can film remotely and put together as a movie.
Um, so we are doing some of that and I’m looking at some new titles to sort of do in the spring like that. Um, but we will get back on stage probably a year from now is what I’m imagining. And we’ll come back to doing some big productions. We were right in the middle. We were about to start taking our main stage production of Chicago. And only yesterday did I put all of the costumes into storage because I was like, Oh, we’re never doing this. And I had boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes that were made or ordered.
Uh, for our production of Chicago. So that is now on the shelf probably for another few years. And then we’ll try to do it again. So I’m excited to do a big musicals again, as soon as we can. Right now, we are just doing our virtual productions and classes and summer. Summer’s a really hard thing to figure out.
[00:30:09] Cause I don’t know if people are going to be traveling when we’re talking about August, 2021. So we’re planning a seven virtual programs in three. Live programs right now. And they’re selling very well and people want to do that. So those are the things that are happening now, I’m writing some things that I’m excited about for some of the licensing companies that might be live programs might be virtual productions.
[00:30:33] We’ll see how long this all goes on, but that’s kind of,
kind of, I don’t have an answer, but we’re doing lots of things. I’m
[00:30:40] Dane Reis: [00:30:40] yeah, very cool. It sounds like it, and that’s brilliant that you’ve embraced all of the virtual side of things, even if it’s not necessarily the most ideal in all regards, but it’s great that you can, you have a greater reach now as well, which is fantastic.
[00:30:53] Marc Tumminelli: [00:30:53] I also have two full-time employees that their job is to,
you know, figure out where we’re going and what we create next. And they are instrumental in figuring out like, What we should do, and let’s try this and see if it works. And let’s try this. We started doing these Broadway days and for $30 we do a dance class and we bring together the stars or the original stars of a show to come back and just do a Q and a.
[00:31:19] So we are getting 30 or 40 kids, high school and middle school kids on zoom for an hour and a half to do a movement class. And then.
You know, talk to the original stars of Newsies after they had a Newsies dance class and we’re bringing back some old shows and they’re selling like crazy because it’s a really great low cost opportunity to do something fun, interactive that is only, you know, an hour and a half long.
[00:31:42] And you’re not stuck on zoom all day because I have zoom fatigue. You have zoom fatigue, everyone is doing fatigue. So if I can’t create an opportunity for a young person to be excited for 90 minutes on zoom, then I’m not doing it. And that is. Just where my standard is, as far as I don’t want it to be another time suck or ice water experience.
[00:32:04] I want small classes where everyone gets to do a lot or big classes where big groups are doing the Watts.
So, you know, that’s sort of how we are navigating the zoom online class world.
[00:32:14]Dane Reis: [00:32:14] Yeah, very cool. Love it. 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.
[00:32:36] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:32:40]Marc Tumminelli: [00:32:40] Money.
[00:32:41]Dane Reis: [00:32:41] Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:32:45]Marc Tumminelli: [00:32:45]
well, your mother , uh, says you can’t unring a bell and she is so right. And that is the best advice.
[00:32:53]Dane Reis: [00:32:53] Can you explain that a
[00:32:54] Marc Tumminelli: [00:32:54] Yeah, you can’t unring a bell.
So, you know, So, you know, once you’ve done something, you’ve done it and you have to keep moving on. So if it’s something you regret, we’ll say, you’re sorry, and move on with it. Or if it’s something you created and it didn’t go well, how are you going to make it better?
[00:33:08] The next time you can not go back in time and fix things that are done. So
think, think on that one.
[00:33:13] Dane Reis: [00:33:13] one. Yeah. Beautiful. 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.
[00:33:25] Marc Tumminelli: [00:33:25] is working for me right now?
Um, I think saying yes to things is working for me now, and it’s worked for me then, and it seems to be working for me. And , uh, it’s just, when you get an opportunity or someone asks you to come on their podcast as a podcaster myself, I always say yes to that, obviously, but you know, you say yes to anything that comes up.
, uh, cha that feels right to you. Obviously, you’re not going to say yes to like, you know, going to Indonesia for $150 to teach a math workshop. That’s not going to be, that’s not gonna be something I’m going to do, but I’m going to say yes to anything that, that feels fun and right. And could be exciting, even if it’s a little scary.
[00:33:59]Dane Reis: [00:33:59] Yeah. Great. 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 you found is helping your career right now.
[00:34:11] Marc Tumminelli: [00:34:11] My best resource, I would say. Say is a little wonderful gem called YouTube, and I don’t know how we ever lived without it.
Um, it is such a great way to see how other people do things, how not to steal it, but to say, Oh, that’s like, that’s an interesting way to do stuff and I’m going to do it differently yesterday.
[00:34:30] I was like, Oh, I want to start doing this different thing with. My podcast. And so I don’t use garage band. I don’t know how, but I watched a YouTube tutorial for eight minutes and now I know exactly how to do that. So it’s just, for me, I’m a visual person. I like to see things I like to
, um, watch how someone else does something and then figure out how, what my interpretation of that is.
So, um, I would say YouTube is a wonderful tool. It’s also a really, as much as we shouldn’t be saying bootlegs are good, but. You know, I spent this past weekend kind of doing a Betty Buckley sensible of our deep dive. And I was like, God, that performance was thrilling and there’s no way I would have been able to see it, have that not existed.
So, um, that I’m loving a YouTube moment.
[00:35:12]Dane Reis: [00:35:12] beautiful. 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?
[00:35:26] Marc Tumminelli: [00:35:26] I would have taken class. I was so afraid of acting class of dance, class of looking bad. I was so afraid of looking like the worst in something. And in the reality of that, it’s the stupidest thing. And it just totally held me back from. Being a better actor, singer dancer. I did not want to ever take class.
[00:35:47] So I did. So I feared it and I would see a class and I’d be like, Oh, I want to take that. But the fear of that would keep me from doing it. And now I’m an educator and all I do is teach class and teach people to act and teach people how to be better. And it’s so mind boggling that I was so afraid of this thing that is truly.
[00:36:06] So wonderful and helpful, and you learn so much by watching other people and you learn so much about being vulnerable and by making yourself, putting yourself in vulnerable situations. But I was just my, I had this fear of being bad. So if I think if I had to go back, I would get myself in class. I would not have feared it.
, uh, and I don’t know what that would have meant for my career. It may mean I was right back where I am right now, which is. Being a better teacher because I took those classes or being a better performer. And I would’ve done that longer. Who knows, but , uh, I do wish if I had gone back in time, I would have been in every class that I could have managed.
[00:36:42]Dane Reis: [00:36:42] yes, for sure. 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
[00:36:52]Marc Tumminelli: [00:36:52] Be nice when you can advocate for yourself.
Uh, don’t let people walk all over. You. And , uh, be educated about the thing that you want to do. So if you want to be a director, you better see theater, you better replace. If you want to be a performer, you better know songs. When I have a student or someone comes to me and they’re like, want all of these things out of life.
[00:37:13] And they know,
you know, four songs and they’re from 13 and Les Mis and waitress. I’m like , well, you’ve done no work. So my suggestion is do the work dive in and , uh, You know, be a student of the theater, be a student of the thing. If you’re going to make wigs, you better study the best possible ways to do that and learn from the best and watch the YouTube tutorials and listen to the podcast about it.
, uh, become an expert in your field.
[00:37:37]Dane Reis: [00:37:37] yes. Do the work. And to wrap up this interview market 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?
[00:37:49] Marc Tumminelli: [00:37:49] Yeah, we’re promoting always promote, always hustle.
Um, follow me on Instagram at Mark to Minnelli MIRC, T U M M I N E L L I, but , uh, you can also listen to my podcasts. Little me growing up Broadway for the probably podcast network we’ve been , uh, Releasing episodes since March of 2020. And , uh, it’s been really exciting.
[00:38:07] We have 30 episodes that are running now and
, uh, we’re releasing weekly and it’s such a blast to do. I talked to past Broadway stars that had a lot of successes, kids and current young people who are working in the industry. And we talk about what it’s like to have that level of success as a kid, either looking back at it as an adult or being in the middle of it now.
[00:38:28] And it’s,
you know, it’s like a really interesting thing to hear what people say about that time. You know, being a 15 year old, starting in a Broadway show, what a weird, what a weird thing to do. And so kind of hearing those stories is really interesting. So you could check out the little mini podcasts and follow little me at little me podcasts on Instagram.
[00:38:45] you can go to Broadway workshop.com. Get on the mailing list. Or you can go to the art Instagram at Broadway workshop and
, uh, get on the mailing list to find out what’s going on with classes, workshops, camps, intensives productions, coachings.
[00:38:57] We do it all. And we do it with truly the best teaching artists in the world. And I’m so proud of the work that probably workshop has done and will continue to do for the kids who love theater in a really safe, wonderful, fun, and challenging environment.
[00:39:12]Dane Reis: [00:39:12] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I put the links to everything. Mark has just said into the description of this episode, you can easily connect with him and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know,
you know, aspiring to create a career in this.
[00:39:33] Industry you booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point, everything Mark just talked about today in the episode, all those amazing golden nuggets. If you liked this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button.
[00:39:51] So you don’t miss the next guest. Mark. Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for saying yes. It’s been such a pleasure to have you on.
[00:39:58] Marc Tumminelli: [00:39:58] Such a dream Dean. Thank you so much. And I can’t wait to hear more of your podcast.