Alex Agard '06
When I graduated from Calvin College in spring of 2006, I made the decision to move to Rochester, N.Y. to work for my family's property management company. As much as I had wanted to move to NYC and get my theatre career up and running, I felt I needed more time to make sure I was absolutely ready for the big city.
While living in Rochester, I started making my preparations for a move to the big city. I auditioned for every local professional theatre, I found a great voice teacher and I made an aggressive attempt to learn as much about what was going on in the theatre world at large. After a few months I took a week off to attend the New England Theatre Conference and combined auditions in Boston as well as New York's Strawhat Auditions. From those auditions I was able to book my first major theatre job. I was hired to perform in the original musical revue Get Happy: A Tribute to Harold Arlen at the Timbers Dinner Theatre in Mt. Gretna, Pa. during the summer of 2007.
Upon completion of my contract in Mt. Gretna, I moved to New York City and auditioned for just about every production that would see a non-Equity actor. After being in the city for only a week I got a job offer to do a short run of Dreamgirls at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH. That was great, but I would not begin rehearsals for another two months.
One afternoon, I was in midtown Manhattan for an appointment with my temp agency. I had a callback later in the day for another show and had 3 hours between my appointment and the callback, so I looked at the audition notices for the day. I saw there was a Walt Disney World audition that was only two blocks away from where my callback would be. Rather than go home only to turn back around to come back out shortly after, I thought I would go check it out. I took a chance and signed in, thinking there would be no way I would be seen considering that the audition had already begun. Luckily they were still seeing people and I was able to audition.
A week later, as I was on my way to yet another audition, my phone rang. I stopped in my tracks as the voice on the other end said I was being offered a full-time Equity Principal Contract as a singer in "Festival of the Lion King" at Disney's Animal Kingdom (part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida). I accepted the offer and the day after Dreamgirls closed in New Hampshire, I moved to Orlando to begin rehearsals.
Theatre has definitely affected my life in a positive way. I don't express my feelings very well through my own words, and my involvement in music and theatre provided an emotional outlet for me. I never thought that having a career in theatre was something that was possible and I truly feel blessed that my dream has become a reality.
My faith has influenced my life's work in so many ways. With all the rejection and scrutiny we are subject to in the theatre business, I don't know how it's possible to be a performer without your faith there to help keep you sane! As I was getting ready to make the decision to leave my family's property management company and pursue my performance career full time, I dealt with a great deal of anxiety about whether it was the right decision and what would I do if I didn't succeed. I had emailed a group of my friends asking for their prayers and support during that time. I received a response from fellow CTC alum, Morgan Foster, that said, "It's hard to see where God is leading you until you are already there." It said that he would keep praying, not for my success, but for my experience and the impact that I could make.
My time as a member of Calvin Theatre company was a great starting point for a career in theatre. CTC instills a respect and appreciation in its members for the various disciplines that help create the collaborative art of theatre. It is hard to home in on just one favorite moment in my Calvin theatre experience, but one of the most memorable productions for me was the 2005 spring production of A Funny Thing Forum I had the privilege of working on the production as dramaturg and assistant director, as well as performing the supporting role of the Roman soldier, Miles Gloriosus. It was a grueling experience, but very rewarding.