EP 64: Stephen Petrovich (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00]
[00:00:00] you booked it, episode 64.
[00:00:05] Oh, righty. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Stephen Petrovich. Are you ready for this Steven?
[00:00:13]Stephen Petrovich: [00:00:13] I am so ready.
[00:00:15]. Thank you for having
[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Hey, my pleasure. Thanks for being here. Steven originated the role of in the North American premiere company of Andrew Lloyd. Webber’s love never dies playing in over 400 performances in 45. Us cities. He was most recently seen as mr. Wormwood in Matilda at the axle rod PAC. He has also reprised the scarecrow in the wizard of Oz at Kansas city star light.
[00:00:43]Theater by the sea and Moonlight amphitheater. He toured with beauty and the beast where he understudied Lumiere regional credits include North shore arrow, rock Lyceum, West Virginia, public theater and MGR Playhouse. Some of his favorite roles include . The drowsy chaperone, where he played Robert Spamalot hairspray three times street. Steven holds a BFA in musical theater from the Boston conservatory, Stephen, 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, who you are, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:32] Stephen Petrovich: [00:01:32] I’m Steven. I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut.
Uh, about 80 minutes outside of New York city. So. Uh, seeing a lot of. Broadway shows and a lot of theater from the pretty formative age. Went to the Boston conservatory.
[00:01:52] My bio and I am. Lived in the greater New York area, for about 10 years now. And I am currently back in my hometown. In the house that I grew up in Connecticut.
Uh, . Uh, Given the current socio political climate. um, . I’ve spent about 10 years in the city. Um, Hustling as an actor, doing all kinds of other stuff. In addition to, uh, Auditioning. Uh, sort of studying. And doing gigs. So it’s been, quite a decade.
[00:02:26] Dane Reis: [00:02:26] Yeah, absolutely. And not a bad idea to be a scaping Manhattan for the time being.
[00:02:32]Stephen Petrovich: [00:02:32] Yeah, no, I’m definitely not missing out on too much. They’re currently,
uh, Nothing’s open.
[00:02:39] Dane Reis: [00:02:39] Very true. All right. Well, let’s move on to this next section and Steven, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:02:51]Stephen Petrovich: [00:02:51]
Uh, I really liked the quote. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. I’m not sure if you’ve, if you’ve heard that one yet.
[00:02:58] Yeah. Okay. That’s a good one.
Um, I think it applies on like a micro and a sort of more of a macro level as well. Um,
[00:03:05] just as an actor and also as a human kind of trying to navigate this life.
[00:03:10] Dane Reis: [00:03:10] Absolutely. And can you dig into any specifics on how that’s applied to your career thus far?
[00:03:17]Stephen Petrovich: [00:03:17] I think as an actor,
uh, it’s definitely been interesting to observe. the past decade of my, of my work, uh, as a professional actor, I think. A lot of times coming out of a, a BFA program. There’s a lot of preconceived notions about, you know, What does the trajectory, how does it go when you’re. , a young actor and you kind of dream of moving to New York and. Um, you know, heading auditions.
[00:03:46] You assumed because you’re told by your professors and they would lead you to believe that maybe,
uh, If, you know, you don’t book a Broadway show and the first, you know, six months of living in New York that, uh, You know, maybe you should reconsider about actually, you know, we know that it takes years and years to develop a career and to make contacts. You know, to build any sort of work ethics. So it’s definitely. , a longer term thing than just, you know, I just got here this morning and, uh, uh, you know, I came to slay, so.
[00:04:19] Dane Reis: [00:04:19] Absolutely. , and those stories do exist. Right. And that’s why they bring them up because people do straight away book, a Broadway show right out of school. Or even before they graduate school, it happens right.
[00:04:31] Stephen Petrovich: [00:04:31] Yeah, we definitely had a couple kids like that, but the conservatory, so it’s a, it’s an interesting,
uh, Standard, you know, that is set by the BFA program, but I don’t think it’s really a realistic example of, of how it goes for the majority of, of people.
[00:04:46] Dane Reis: [00:04:46] Absolutely. And I think you said it right there. You said it’s an interesting standard because the standard is actually the outlier that they’re trying to. It doesn’t make a
[00:04:54] Stephen Petrovich: [00:04:54] Yeah, absolutely. Very
[00:04:57] Dane Reis: [00:04:57] and it takes a lot of work in most people, it takes time. And for, I would say for most people. We need. that time to develop as artists to develop our craft. in, it’s not to say that we’re not, don’t have the technical skill set, but there’s all the other things that go into having a
[00:05:14] Stephen Petrovich: [00:05:14] Absolutely.
[00:05:16] Dane Reis: [00:05:16] you just have to, you have to learn by doing.
[00:05:18]Stephen Petrovich: [00:05:18] Right and living.
[00:05:20] Dane Reis: [00:05:20] Absolutely. Well, let’s move on to the section and Steven, of course, you’re an entertainer. I am an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry is one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries. Either of us experienced and you know, that. To create and have a successful career in this industry. Like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while of course there are. Outrageous times when we’re having a lot 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.
[00:06:18]Stephen Petrovich: [00:06:18] Good question. I think that again, coming out of a program like Boston conservatory, where there is an emphasis that is placed on. Being the best triple threat technical performer that you can be with sort of the brightest smile in the bunch.
Um, I, I feel like when I first came into the talent pool in New York, I had some preconceived notions about what kind of work I was going to pursue based on. What my experience in my undergrad was. And I, I definitely was pursuing a lot of work. Um, as a chorus boy, Uh, trying to sort of. Assume this kind of a perfect. boy, next store. Um, Performer image. That was someone that could, could very easily translate from project to project. And it didn’t take me very long to realize that. That wasn’t really the most direct route towards getting any exposure. I think as I’ve matured in the industry, I realized a lot of my skills and my talents and the things that would set me apart from others and audition scenarios. We’re actually, um, Very specific, uh, traits. Um, that actually helps me sort of discover a career as a character actor, which is actually not something that I necessarily learned how to do at the Boston conservatory. There definitely a lot of. The comedy that I have employed, um, And some of the silly voices that I’ve sort of had to pull out. And auditions and, uh, Yeah, there are definitely things that I was carrying with me and I didn’t realize someone would actually be interested in those kind of funny, authentic parts of yourself. That weren’t necessarily nurtured by, the conservatory programs. So. Um, does that answer the question and sort of a long winded way?
[00:08:14] Dane Reis: [00:08:14] Absolutely. And I think it’s, I think I love that you bring that up because. In any kind of a training program? . I mean, the Boston conservatory is. A small school, but there’s still a lot of people in it and they have to. logistically for them to teach,
uh, an entire program. They have to find some kind of middle ground standard for everyone. Right.
[00:08:36] And. Us as individuals, or if you’re going to put yourself into a training program like that or conservatory program. To know that that’s what they have to do and that’s okay. But to not discount your uniqueness and the things that make you, you, and the things that. people would be attracted to because only you can do them
[00:08:58]Stephen Petrovich: [00:08:58] The artistry. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:09:02]Dane Reis: [00:09:02] Okay, well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for living or maybe it was yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:09:24]Stephen Petrovich: [00:09:24]
Um, wow. I think the first time I really felt a deep resonance with the idea of. Pursuing, um, acting as an actual career and a lifestyle. I think was, if I, if I go all the way back, I think it was singing the role of In my high school. Production of lame. It is, uh, this is way back in like 2004. So it was around the time that they were first licensing, the student edition of Les Miserables two schools. And it was. A very big deal in our community that we work sort of putting on this huge show and everybody was really, you know, going for these peace, iconic roles. And. Um, I was probably about 16 and I saying this. Really. Epic characters, John Mayer, who is definitely not the first character. That anyone would necessarily peg me for, um, based on, you know, the rest of my body of work, which at that time I didn’t, I didn’t really have a body of work, so, but it was really a transformative experience and it was. It was a really hard saying, and I remember. The praise that I received and the feedback that I got after that was definitely different than, um, any other, onstage experience, school play kind of, you know, fan greetings that I had received up until Dan and, and I knew that that that particular role was particularly weighty and that there was, there was more there. And that that’s sort of like where the artistry was. And I was really able to express the beginning of, of that in that character.
[00:11:02] Dane Reis: [00:11:02] I love that. And would I be correct in saying I have, when you went into that story, I had a memory pop up. Of watching a video of that. If you showing some people on
[00:11:13] Stephen Petrovich: [00:11:13] my gosh.
[00:11:13] Dane Reis: [00:11:13] it was, yeah. Why would that be correct? That you have a video in the, in the production was giant. I remember looking at it. You’re like, Oh,
[00:11:20] there’s my high school. I was like, what? That’s your high school?
[00:11:23] Stephen Petrovich: [00:11:23] You have an amazing memory?
Um, yeah, I think I did. And there was another conservatory student named Matt Matthew grills, who was a voice major, but he went to my high school and he was in that production as well. And so I remember we showed That’s our classmates and it was a, it was a big, it was a big production and it was a huge undertaking. For, you know, we, I went to a public high school in Connecticut, so we didn’t even necessarily have an, you know, an arts program. But, um, yeah, it was, it was super formative and like some inspiring, I can honestly say , Years later, Les MIS is like, I spent so much time worth. With that material and learning that music. And, um, it’s, it’s very special to me. And I finally went the first time I traveled to London, I went and I saw it on the West end and it was so moving to like, see this piece of theater that’s been running for. 35. I mean, it’s, it’s older than me at this point. It’s gotta be 30, 35. Years old. And I was like, wow, like this is something I’ve. Carried with, for half of my lifetime. And it means so much. And that’s really funny that you remember that.
[00:12:25] Dane Reis: [00:12:25] Yeah. That’s fantastic. And I remember specifically you and Matt in that video and the two of you both are such incredible talents and wow. That’s so funny that that memory popped right into my head.
[00:12:37] Stephen Petrovich: [00:12:37] Wow. In the dorms. I’m sure we
[00:12:40] Dane Reis: [00:12:40] Yeah.
[00:12:40] Stephen Petrovich: [00:12:40] it off.
[00:12:41] Dane Reis: [00:12:41] Of course. That’s it.
[00:12:42] Stephen Petrovich: [00:12:42] funny. Still talking about it.
[00:12:46] Dane Reis: [00:12:46] Amazing. Well, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one book. Did moment walk us through that day and if the auditions and call backs happened to be a part of it, talk about that. What was going on in your life and what about that moment? Makes it your favorite booked it.
[00:13:08] Stephen Petrovich: [00:13:08] Wow. I think my favorite book did moment was when I booked, I booked the, the national tour of Love never dies. And it was,
um, Um, As a premiere, it was a us premiere that had obviously had played overseas and there was. You know, they were trying to produce it in the States for many, many years. And, um, I really, I really booked it by chance. Um, I was not, it was during a period in my career where I was not working with an agent, so I. I think I self sub submitted for it from like a listing. I read online somewhere on a total whim. For this get angle character, um, Uh, who’s, uh, sort of the sideshow kind of master of ceremonies of this kind of haunted Coney Island. Um, circus and turn of the century, New York city. Um, and yeah, I didn’t know anything about the show. Uh, I went in, I learned the material and , I actually sang for a woman, Kristen Blodget who is the music supervisor for all of. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals. Um, I don’t think I really understood who she was cause otherwise I would’ve been terrified.
[00:14:14] Um, And. Yeah, I definitely went and kind of semi blind and I think it was just, I had been in the city at this point for six or seven years. And finally, I just. Finally was in the room for the right person for a role that honestly felt like it was tailor made for me. And I, I had never, ever experienced anything like that before. I was always kind of trying to make myself smaller or bigger or. How can I fit into this box? And for the first time I was given a role that really felt like an extension of myself and.
Um, I was put through a few rounds of auditions for it, but it was pretty apparent that they were, they were pretty interested in me from the very initial audition, which I think is. Also such a luxury that never ever happens. And it’s always so difficult to know, uh, what direction of creative team’s going to go, or, you know, you wonder, can I trust it as it feels, it feels like they’re interested, but. , I know better than to get my hopes up. Um, and, and it did wind up going. Going through. And I received an offer for that. And I wound up doing the tour of love, never dies for 18 months and we played. Uh, over 400 performances and we opened for Andrew Lloyd Webber and it was really, um, a remarkable experience overall.
[00:15:35] Dane Reis: [00:15:35] Oh, that’s fantastic. I love that story. And you said you didn’t have an agent at that time.
[00:15:41] Stephen Petrovich: [00:15:41] I didn’t and, and that’s something that’s been. Really interesting as well. Is that in 10 years, I’ve. I’ve recycled a couple of agents and I’ve been with one at one time, and then I was unrepresented at another time. So it’s funny because I think,
um, a lot of the conservatory programs teach you that , you can’t make it big or you can’t have the success if you don’t have a good agent. And I definitely I’m an outlier in there. I definitely had the most. successful professional experience of my career thus far. And I got it from a self submit. I was not represented. So I always tell that story because, , it’s, uh, it’s important to know that that that can happen,
[00:16:23] Dane Reis: [00:16:23] Absolutely. Well, on top of. Keeping a hold of an extra 10% of your money.
[00:16:28] You also.
[00:16:29] Stephen Petrovich: [00:16:29] Oh yeah. That part
[00:16:30] Dane Reis: [00:16:30] that too.
[00:16:32], it’s such an encouraging story to share and let people know that are listening to this because if you’re going to go do the New York thing, Yes, people will always say you need representation and wild representation can make things a bit easier. It can save you some time because you can get yourself into appointments, especially if you don’t,
uh, Have your equity card and things like this. It’s certainly not a make or break thing. And it’s certainly not a reason to not move to New York and pursue your dreams.
[00:17:02]Stephen Petrovich: [00:17:02] Yeah, definitely. It’s not an end all. And I think that’s something that I wish I had accepted earlier. In my career. Cause it took me years and years to sort of, , deal with that and figure out how to get the perfect agent. And then I had a great agent and I wasn’t happy with. I honestly, wasn’t that happy with the things I was being submitted for us. So it really there’s really not, , a recipe for success, if you really have to be pretty self-directed about it. I think.
[00:17:29] Dane Reis: [00:17:29] Absolutely. I think that is such great insight. 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 look, it’s a crazy time. We are a bitch, this global pandemic. How do you see the industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:17:50]Stephen Petrovich: [00:17:50] Oh, wow. I was actually working,
um, on a show. I was doing a production of Matilda. Uh, in Asbury park, New Jersey, I was doing the role of mr. Wormwood, uh, Right. When the coronavirus really started to pick up in mid-March. And we were sent home early. It was definitely. Uh, like a first for me to be told, Hey, , We’re canceling the show, go to the theater and, you know, pack up your things. Uh, it was, it was very humbling. Uh, And. it became very apparent that there was going to be, a very solid amount of time where there wasn’t necessarily going to be. Theater and the way that we are used to seeing it presented and the way that we’re used to participating in it. And so I had a kind of a brief grieving period for that. And. You know, ever since it’s been, honestly, I I’m saying this out loud. It’s been really nice. I can’t lie. It’s been nice to take a step away from the industry because there isn’t really an industry right now. Uh, there’s not really like products. Objects to audition for it, people to impress and, uh, you know, songs to learn. Um, it’s nice to sort of reconnect with my. Humanity that that exists, , separate from theater. And I think so many of us as actors, we choose this as a life from, you know, The time were 12 years old and we think about it every single day. And then. What happens if it doesn’t exist anymore? You know, we have a total identity crisis. And I’ve really, um, I’ve really enjoyed sort of reconnecting with who Steven is, as , just a person. And not someone that is. , always trying to poke a job and. That’s sort of where I’m at. , I still saying, and. Uh, I put a little bit of stuff on self-tape, you know, for an agent here or, um, actually participated in a song because for my boss to conservatory voice teacher, Um, who reached out? I haven’t sang for him in like 10 years. So he asked me to sing a song and. Uh, it it’s nice, but I’m enjoying the break from it. If I maybe.
[00:19:55] Dane Reis: [00:19:55] Yeah, I love that. And you know what that has been. ,
uh, quite a common sentiment from a lot of entertainers that I’ve been speaking with and don’t get me wrong. When, when it first happened, it was chaos and everyone’s like, Oh no, the jobs. And as time has gone on. People have relaxed and realized like, wow, I love what I do. I love the arts, but I have been hustling for a decade and it is nice too. Just go. Ahhh. And like you said, focus on Steve and focus on yourself and reground yourself. And I’m really hoping that through this and when the industry begins to come back.
[00:20:35]It’s going to be such a refreshed industry. People are gonna come back with a. better perspective of what it means to be a professional
[00:20:44] Stephen Petrovich: [00:20:44] Right. And how we can bring some of this piece too, you know? The next chapter of the industry when it’s time to, start hustling for a job again. Hopefully everyone’s mindset is adjusted. We’ll see.
[00:20:57] Dane Reis: [00:20:57] We will indeed. Well, it’s time to move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview. I call it the grease lightening 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?
[00:21:20] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:21:27]Stephen Petrovich: [00:21:27] I think some preconceived notions that I had and,
uh, about the industry that I, uh, took from. My undergraduate experience and a lot of comparing and contrasting myself two other actors.
[00:21:39]Dane Reis: [00:21:39] Absolutely that comparison rabbit hole can be very dangerous.
[00:21:44] Yep. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:21:52]Stephen Petrovich: [00:21:52] Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think one of, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, and it wasn’t even really advice. It was just kind of,
uh, Some reassurance, but it’s actually from an actress. Karen Mason, who is a veteran actress, she played Madame Curie on. Love never dies with me. And she has a long relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber. And. She’s someone that I was so honored to be working with. And she said to me, I was explaining to her. Um, about an experience I’d had auditioning for going to. An equity, chorus call or having a sort of dehumanizing experience auditioning for the ensemble. And she just turned to me and she said, why are you auditioning for the ensemble? You’re you’re you’re, uh, principal material. And I just. Thought to myself. Wow. If Karen Mason believes that I’m good enough to be a lead, then I guess I can
[00:22:37] believe that as well.
[00:22:39] Dane Reis: [00:22:39] Yeah, absolutely. 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.
[00:22:53]Stephen Petrovich: [00:22:53] I think what was working for me and something that I was really enjoying playing the role of mr. Warren would specifically was just really exploring comedy and being funny and. Being silly and stupid talking in. , ridiculous voices and kind of winging it a little bit and not being quite so uptight and just kind of lay, trying to ease into,
uh, being a character actor, as opposed to sort of a musical theater, cookie cutter type.
[00:23:22] Dane Reis: [00:23:22] Yeah. And I
[00:23:23] can imagine after 400 performances of that, that you realized that you were like, wow, maybe you had a revelation. I’m envisioning this. Ideally, you’re like, I’m literally just going out there and really just playing and just being so silly. And I’m getting paid to do this and travel and perform to all these people. It’s amazing.
[00:23:42] Stephen Petrovich: [00:23:42] Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
[00:23:44] Dane Reis: [00:23:44] Great. And the fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether it’s a book, a movie, a YouTube, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:23:59]Stephen Petrovich: [00:23:59] Well, first of all, YouTube in general is just amazing because I don’t know about you, but I think, , you’ll remember when we were coming up through the industry and we were younger and. We were trying to learn, you know, things about shows or songs, or there was no YouTube. There was no, there were no resources. So now if I have to learn a song in two minutes, Or I need to understand the, just of a character. I can look into a search engine and , I can do a little bit of research. I don’t have to. You know, go to the Boston conservatory library and,
uh, , Xerox 20 pages of music and then go and plunk it out. Um, So I think you’d have in general, but I will say this is a little bit of a long winded answer. Um, for grease lightening, but the best man memoir I’ve ever read by UN stage actor, his time steps by the damn sorry, Donna McKechnie. And it’s really, really enlightening about sort of what I was talking about. Uh, a career being a marathon as opposed to a race. And she, she talks about decades and decades of her career before, during and after a chorus line, which is kind of what she is remembered for. Um, now she’s in her seventies and she had incredible stories and it was really, it was really, um, special to read about the experience of a dancer that. You know, kind of falls in and out of dancing. And that was a fabulous book. Everyone should read it.
[00:25:17] Dane Reis: [00:25:17] Fantastic time steps. Great. I will have to check it out. 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?
[00:25:40]Stephen Petrovich: [00:25:40] Wow. You know, I don’t know if I would change anything because I think there have been difficult times and there have been. Confusions and frustrations. But when I look at it all in retrospect, it makes sense to me, you know, it’s like, okay, I was doing this show. And then I kind of maxed out on that opportunity and I met this person and they get. Some cast me in that show. And then, , I got my equity card and I. went.
Uh, when a period of time without working, but then on the other side of that, there was this amazing opportunity and the ebb and flow of it is something that I can’t really, I can’t really deny. Um, So, yeah, there’s a million kinds of, there’s all this minutia that you would, you’d like to thank you. I would have done this. I would’ve done that, but honestly, it’s been, it’s been a pretty authentic journey, I think. So. Um, I wouldn’t change anything about it.
[00:26:26] Dane Reis: [00:26:26] I love that. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your career in this industry that you’d like to leave with everybody?
[00:26:38]Stephen Petrovich: [00:26:38] Golden nugget. Drop. Oh, my goodness. I feel like. I’ve shared that maybe I think, well, one thing is definitely just to be patient with yourself and to understand that it takes a long time. , like I said, You know, it’s really takes a really long time. To, to develop any, any kind of linear career progression that you can look back on and say, Oh wow. Like I actually, you know, I actually achieved something and.
[00:27:05] Dane Reis: [00:27:05] absolutely. I think that’s fantastic. And to wrap up this interview, Steven, 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?
[00:27:19]Stephen Petrovich: [00:27:19] Oh, my goodness.
Um, you can find me on Instagram. , that’s kind of like the center of my sphere of. social media activity and any updates about what’s going on. With my career or my art is, is probably going to be posted there. So it’s at Steven Petrovich, just one word. And it’s S T E P H E N P E T R O B.
[00:27:44] Dane Reis: [00:27:44] Perfect. And for everyone listening, I have put the link to his Instagram in the description of this episode. So you can easily click that and connect.
[00:27:53] Steven. Thank you so much for joining me today. It has been so great to speak with you and to catch up.
[00:28:00]Stephen Petrovich: [00:28:00] So good to reconnect. Thank you for having me.