Kimberly Suskind


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EP 85: Kimberly Suskind (autogenerated)

[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it, episode 85. 

[00:00:13] All right. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Kimberly Suskind, are you ready for this Kimberly? 

[00:00:22]Kimberly Suskind: [00:00:22] Yes, I’m so excited.

[00:00:24] Dane Reis: [00:00:24] All right. Kimberly is an accomplished award winning performer of stage and screen arts educator and a casting director. She earned her BFA in musical theater from the Boston conservatory, where she was awarded the stew Ronson levy tap scholarship towards her degree. Kimberly has worked as a professional actress at many regional theaters across the country, including Walnut street theatre,  

[00:00:48] cape may stage Delaware theater company, the theater barn, Eagle theater, Buck’s County Playhouse, nightcap cabaret, Metro stage company, village theater and civic light opera.  And a few favorite credits include rec time, little women, John and Jen, and anything goes, Kimberly can currently be heard on the demo cast recording of brilliant, a new musical, where she originated the lead role of Sarah. In addition to performing shoes, a voiceover teacher audition, prep and acting coach, as well as a casting director, 4k and dance and entertainment based in greater Philadelphia. 

[00:01:26]Kim that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, filling the gaps, who you are, where you’re from and a little bit more about what you do in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:40]Kimberly Suskind: [00:01:40] Sure. So I’m currently living in beautiful Fort Myers, Florida right now, having moved from the greater Philadelphia area in March, you know, just in time for everything to get you. That down by COVID.


[00:01:54] Yeah. Yeah. I can’t really say where I’m originally from, because I moved every couple years of my life growing up. I like to say I’m from Seattle since that’s where I went to high school. Um, let’s see, I’m currently working on two really exciting things right now. Uh, one being. And extremely responsible social distance. Stay at home production. 

[00:02:15] Of the musical disenchanted with theater lab in Fort Myers here. It’s amazing, but it’s also quite strange as the cast will never be in the same room as each other, throughout the process, but we’re recording our vocal parts in a recording studio and our individual blocking on stage alone. And then the wonderful marketing director slash editing extraordinary is going to be patching everything together to then. 

[00:02:37] Broadcast out to our state home audiences. So it really feels like theater in the future. But, um, that’s a really exciting thing right now. And then I’m also developing a wonderful training and performance theater program. For Robin Dawn Academy here in Fort Myers for ages six to 18. So that’s, what’s currently occupying my time. 

[00:02:57] Dane Reis: [00:02:57] Very good. I love it. And let’s move on to this next section here. And Kimberly, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What’s your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone. 

[00:03:09]Kimberly Suskind: [00:03:09] this one’s going to sound super cheesy, but I’m a huge Disney nerd. And I am loving dories quote from finding an email. Just keep swimming. 

[00:03:18] Dane Reis: [00:03:18] Love it. Yeah. 

[00:03:20] And can you expand on that a little bit on how you’ve. Applied that quote into your career and your life. 

[00:03:26]Kimberly Suskind: [00:03:26] Absolutely. Um, I think it goes without saying that we were living in a. In very trying times, physically and emotionally, and I’ve just been using it as kind of a light mantra to remind myself, to stay focused and ride it through the best I can, knowing that eventually we will get through to the other side. 

[00:03:44] Dane Reis: [00:03:44] Yes, absolutely. 

[00:03:46] And let’s move on to this next section here. And Kimberly look, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you would agree this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, 

[00:04:00] Kimberly Suskind: [00:04:00] Hmm. 

[00:04:01]Dane Reis: [00:04:01] 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 takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, of course there was an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. 

[00:04:19] 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. 

[00:04:37]Kimberly Suskind: [00:04:37] Oh, absolutely. I think the biggest challenge I personally had as a performer, as many have had before me is the challenge to be unique and to stand out in a field where. It seems everyone around you at any particular time is the same type as you, um, The truth that I found is that you stand out when you are putting your heart into whatever you’re doing. So whether it’s an audition song you love to sing or a technique, your passion. 

[00:05:03]And about teaching. I think that when you truly love something, you’re going to be a guest will shine through without even trying.

[00:05:09]Dane Reis: [00:05:09] Yeah, I so agree. And you’re so right. That instead of doing that, I think a lot of our initial default setting is to. 

[00:05:17]Lean on what other people have done or try to be what other people are, what we see or perceive as being the right thing to do, or the successful thing to do. And. We don’t for the most part, don’t initially start trusting ourselves and trusting that we’re enough, that what we have to share is enough. 

[00:05:35]Kimberly Suskind: [00:05:35] It’s so true. And oftentimes you’ll compare yourself and that just leads you down a bad road, you know, and you want to uplift other performers and not feel like you’re always competing with them. Cause they’re in the same boat as you, most of the time.

[00:05:46]Dane Reis: [00:05:46] Yeah, absolutely. We’re all in this together. 

[00:05:52] Kimberly Suskind: [00:05:52] And that’s gonna be my head, the rest of the day now. 

[00:05:53] Dane Reis: [00:05:53] Yep. Sorry about that.

[00:05:55] Kimberly Suskind: [00:05:55] That’s okay. I’ll forgive you. I said, I’m a Disney nerd, so I had to come in. 

[00:05:59]Dane Reis: [00:05:59] right. Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that. 

[00:06:19]Kimberly Suskind: [00:06:19] Yeah, I think this one goes way back to when I was about six years old, which also happens to be when the theater bug bit me. Um, I was probably the only six year old in my first grade class. I was absolutely sure of what I was going to be doing. I grew up. Um, there’s actually this great and ridiculous story that my family loves to tell about. 

[00:06:37]One time we were in olive garden having dinner. And at that time at six, I was absolutely obsessed with Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston. And Whitney is, I will always love you. Came on the radio in the restaurant and don’t, you know, you know, little Kimmy just jumped up and started full out, belting the song with. 

[00:06:58] Whitney. I’m so obnoxious, but people in the restaurant, I think we were pretty stunned and probably annoyed, but cheered for me anyway. When I was done. And honestly, I think I just fell in love with the attention. Um, being the second child, I think I was always thrilled when the attention was on me. 

[00:07:15]So after my first professional theater experience.  at eight, I was absolutely hooked and I just never looked back. 

[00:07:23] Dane Reis: [00:07:23] He loved that story. It’s so 

[00:07:25] funny. And it’s so true because now my daughter will stand out in the yard and just sing to the neighborhood.

[00:07:33] Kimberly Suskind: [00:07:33] I love it though. Don’t you wish we could be? Ah, I wish we could be more unbridled like that, but then I guess it would be a very loud world. Louder than it already.

[00:07:41] Dane Reis: [00:07:41] yeah. All right. Well, let’s piggyback on that question real quick and talk about your number one book. Did moment walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. 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. 

[00:08:01]Kimberly Suskind: [00:08:01] Oh, it’s such a tough question, but I think off the top of my head, um, my number one booked a moment came when I was living in New York city. I was on it. for a million summer or socks, you know, like we all do in our early, early twenties. Um, and just was feeling a little exhausted by the grind of getting up at the ungodly hour, but convince myself to go on one more audition. 

[00:08:22] Which happened to be for the theater barn in upstate New York. So they were doing young Frankenstein, which I just love it. And I watch it every Halloween because I do not watch scary movies. So that’s like my Halloween tradition that in Harry Potter, Um, so I went and just expecting the usual experience. And when I walked in the energy in the room, just, it felt different. It was. 

[00:08:42]Friendly and warm and it just felt awesome. So I sang my cut and. And the dreaded, what else do you have was. And the accompanist started flipping. Yeah. It’s, they’re buying the accompanist started flipping through my bucket. Of course my heart’s like pounding and you happen to land on another song that was like my other go-to. 

[00:09:03] Dane Reis: [00:09:03] Oh, 

[00:09:03] Kimberly Suskind: [00:09:03] is truly a miracle cause that never happened. They, they always usually pick the song that you haven’t like touched since like freshman year in college that shouldn’t even still be in your book. Um, so I feel like I lucked out, but I finished, they thanked me and I walked out and I kept telling myself that either way, it was just a really great experience and those can be so rare when you’re auditioning and. 

[00:09:24]Um, I got an email later that day for a callback and went in the next day and that went equally as well. Just felt really connected to the room.  so I left feeling good. I didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks. And so I had kind of let it go. But then that moment came with an exciting two, one, two area code call came in. 

[00:09:42] And, uh, yeah. As it’s such a moment and I was cooking dinner and they offered me the summer. And honestly, it was such a great experience. I worked there then the following summer also, and it just honestly getting that moment just felt. It felt great to feel like I stood out to them and knowing that they felt the same energy match as I did. And it kind of renewed my belief in myself and just to keep pushing from my goals that eventually things will happen if you, if you keep going for it. 

[00:10:10]Dane Reis: [00:10:10] Yeah.

[00:10:10]You know, I love how you said that the energy match and I can, 100% relate to that. I mean, every single thing that I have literally ever booked has. It’s been that it’s you 

[00:10:21] walk into the room and for whatever reason, things just feel different. Thanks. Feel in sync with the team whoever’s in that room and it’s such a wonderful feeling. Isn’t it? 

[00:10:30]Kimberly Suskind: [00:10:30] It really is. And I agree. It’s a lot of the things that I booked it’s been the same way. And I, I kinda get that sense even in like the, the waiting room, you know, you start to the holding rooms, like you start to kind of feel like this just feels. Usually when the monitor’s really nice. That’s a good sign.

[00:10:43] But yeah, no, it’s, it was very, I felt very fortunate to have that opportunity. 

[00:10:48] Dane Reis: [00:10:48] Oh, absolutely. 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 is a crazy wild time. We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years? 

[00:11:08]Kimberly Suskind: [00:11:08] Yeah. As I mentioned before, I’m working with the wonderful Robin Dawn and creating a theater training and performance program for her performing arts Academy. Here, we’re starting with classes and are looking to start producing cabarets and full-scale productions, you know, once it’s safe to do so. Um, so I’m super, super excited to build a program like this, and I’m so thankful she trusts in me to head up that program. Um, I also mentioned how I’m working on the state home production of disenchanted, which. 

[00:11:34]If you don’t know, it is super fun. It’s this untold story of like the real Disney princesses and their opinions on the way Disney chose to tell their stories. So it’s. It’s hilarious. It’s like super empowering and it’s just all around ridiculously fun. So those are kinda the two things right now. I’m working on. 

[00:11:52]Dane Reis: [00:11:52] Fantastic. . And it’s now time to move on to one of my favorite sections in 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? 

[00:12:11]Kimberly Suskind: [00:12:11] I am ready.

[00:12:12] Dane Reis: [00:12:12] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer? 

[00:12:19]Kimberly Suskind: [00:12:19] Probably in my fear of failing and my family’s expectations of quick success. 

[00:12:25]Dane Reis: [00:12:25] Absolutely. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

[00:12:32]Kimberly Suskind: [00:12:32] To know my worth.

[00:12:33]Dane Reis: [00:12:33] Oh, 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. 

[00:12:45]Kimberly Suskind: [00:12:45] I think just doing everything possible. Small to stay creative and really using this time to keep growing and learning as an artist and a person. 

[00:12:54]Dane Reis: [00:12:54] Absolutely. Absolutely. You, uh, what do they say? Stay ready. So you don’t have to get ready. 

[00:12:59] Kimberly Suskind: [00:12:59] Yes. Oh, I love that. 

[00:13:00] That’s my new favorite quote.

[00:13:02] Dane Reis: [00:13:02] Oh, thank you. I did not come up with that.

[00:13:06] Kimberly Suskind: [00:13:06] We’ll give you the credit for now.

[00:13:08] Dane Reis: [00:13:08] Great. Fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, uh, YouTube video podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now. 

[00:13:21]Kimberly Suskind: [00:13:21] Well in this age of video submissions galore, definitely my ring light, uh, I movie is wonderful. Uh, the app piano tracks, which is , a great resource for resource for at piano backing tracks. If you can’t afford a live accompanist, which is always of course, ideal. Um, and then probably my planner, honestly, oddly and. 

[00:13:39]Differently busy right now. And staying organized has been super, super important.

[00:13:43]Dane Reis: [00:13:43] Perfect. Are you a digital planner or are you a paper planner? 

[00:13:46] Kimberly Suskind: [00:13:46] No, I am an old school paper planner. I have to write things down in my multicolored pens in order, in order to have it stick in my head. I’ve tried digital and I just can’t, I don’t know. I can’t hook 

[00:13:57] Dane Reis: [00:13:57] Fair enough. That’s exactly how my wife is. I’m I’m, I’m all in on the, on the digital stuff and I love it. But 

[00:14:03] Kimberly Suskind: [00:14:03] Yeah, I wish I could be. Cause I wouldn’t have to carry this book around with me, but eventually I’ll have to bite the bullet and move over digital. 

[00:14:10]Dane Reis: [00:14:10] Right. 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? 

[00:14:27]Kimberly Suskind: [00:14:27] I would have put in more work. I think learning as much as I could. I 

[00:14:32] wouldn’t. Pigeon hole myself right away. Like

[00:14:34] I definitely . And a lot of us do when we first start out, uh, and I would definitely have stuck with ballet and learned an instrument. To be as marketable as possible. I can’t tell you how much I regret not doing those two things. Let’s see last legs. 

[00:14:50] Dane Reis: [00:14:50] Yeah, the, the musical instrument. I. 

[00:14:52]Look, I can play piano well enough to teach myself some music I’ve dabbled on guitar, but I never really committed to learning them. And I say, I’m with you. I really wish I would have done that in my life because. 

[00:15:02]I mean, I like music in general and I wish I could just entertain myself with the instruments, but there’s such a practicality in this industry. And then of course, jeez. 

[00:15:10] Ballet, even though you’re probably not going to be a professional ballet dancer, that 

[00:15:15] Kimberly Suskind: [00:15:15] Yeah, the foundation. Exactly. 

[00:15:18]I know, and luckily I read music, but as far as an instrument, I, I, I can plunk, but I certainly can accompany myself. Luckily my husband plays guitar, so that helps, but like, I wish we could go out and gig together. And I just, I don’t know. I guess I should never quit. Piano my badge.

[00:15:32] Dane Reis: [00:15:32] Yup for everyone listening. Remember that.

[00:15:35] And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge you drop? You’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners. 

[00:15:46]Kimberly Suskind: [00:15:46] It’s hard. It’s rewarding, but it’s hard. And I think it’s important to find your own place. I just, your goals to be what you really want. Uh, Broadway is not the only definition of success. And it’s important to reach into other aspects besides performing that fulfill you creatively. 

[00:16:05]Dane Reis: [00:16:05] Absolutely. And. 

[00:16:07]I love that you said you find your own definition of success. What is it you really want in this industry? Because. I think we can probably both speak from personal experience that when we’re growing up, when we’re in whatever the training program is, whether it’s your local home studio that you’ve been going to, or a conservatory training program in college. Uh, 

[00:16:27] You have to really be honest with yourself and think, what do I want of my career? What do I want now? Do I want to be on Broadway? 

[00:16:36]And if the question is yes,  then you have to take that a level deeper and think, do I want to be on Broadway because I want to be on Broadway 

[00:16:43] or because I was conditioned to want to be on Broadway and . 

[00:16:46] That’s everything.

[00:16:47] And Broadway could be quite literally anything, you know, if 

[00:16:50] it’s filled, remove your TV, but whatever that niche or that very specific part of the industry is. 

[00:16:55]Why do you really want to be that in is easier dream, actually, your dream. 

[00:16:59]Kimberly Suskind: [00:16:59] Exactly. I mean, that’s the thing of Broadway is wonderful and who doesn’t want to production contract, but at the same time, um, finding what you want and the balance, you know, I’ve always wanted a family. I, I want a full career and sometimes that’s very difficult when you’re on Broadway and you’re working those hours and I have many friends that are doing it and have done it. And. I’m unbelievably proud of them and jealous at times, of course, but I mean, adjusting for me working regionally or just simply making a living, doing something in the arts, that was always my goal. And that’s how I really found teaching. And then I found I loved it and it fulfilled me. In a different way than performing. So putting those two D. 

[00:17:36]Gather really makes me feel well rounded 

[00:17:39] Dane Reis: [00:17:39] Yeah, I love that. I love that. 

[00:17:41] And to wrap up this interview, Kimberly, 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? 

[00:17:52]Kimberly Suskind: [00:17:52] Uh, yeah, so I have my website. Hey, it’s www dot Kimberly’s My Instagram is at Kenny says, and  I’m an actor page on Facebook. That’s under Kimberly Suskin. That’s where I usually will post anything I’m performing in. Um, when things are back up and running, anything I’m helping to cast or anything I’m promoting. 

[00:18:11]Dane Reis: [00:18:11] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Kimberly just said in the description of this episode, Kimberly. Thank you so much for being here, taking the time to share your journey. It’s been such a pleasure. 

[00:18:25]Kimberly Suskind: [00:18:25] Thank you so much for having me, Dan, this is an amazing project and I’m so excited to listen to every single episode.

[00:18:31]Dane Reis: [00:18:31] Yay.