Interview with Broadway Performer Stephanie Kurtzuba
Broadway Blogspot is thrilled to bring you a Star on the rise Stephanie Kurtzuba. We love her and so will you and her great advice! Enjoy!
BB: Where did you got to college for theatre and/learn the trade in order to move to NYC to pursue theatre as a career?
SK: I attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and through the acting program there, I studied with Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. It was ridiculously expensive, but it was an exceptional training program and it literally taught me how to be an artist. I had a few teachers who helped me shape not only my technique and craft, but also my aesthetic.
BB: As far as schooling/training what were some great attributes to studying there and/or some negatives if you are willing to offer that?
SK: I found that my training was exceptional because it focused on the WORK of the actor. My teachers demystified acting by giving me the tools and processes to analyze text and structure. And the emotional connection needed to breathe life into a play was the basis of our daily voice work.
I would say that the weaker side of my training had more to do with not being prepared for the world of auditioning. I know the program has improved in this area significantly since I went there, but I often say that NYU taught me to be an artist, but not how to get the job.
BB: What is one thing that you learned while actively pursuing a NY stage career that you wish you would have known/learned before moving to the city that you could impart to others?
SK: I have learned that theatre in NYC is just like community theatre...only there are more people doing it, the talent is level is unbelievable, and the shows have a better budget!
I do wish someone would've told me that the people you work with at age 23 in a basement in Brooklyn can be the same people you work with in a Broadway show 10 years later.
BB: How was the transition from going from school to pursuing a NY career?
SK: The transition from school to the real world was challenging for me. As I said earlier, when I graduated I knew how to DO an acting job, I just didn't know how to GET one! It took me several months to adjust to the audition process learning curve. I had to really pay attention to what other actors (who were booking jobs) were doing differently than I. That meant choosing audition material that best suited a 16 bar cut, what clothes to wear at a call, and how to behave confidently in the audition room.
BB: How/when did you get your first Broadway job?
SK: My Broadway debut was in The "Boy From Oz" starring Hugh Jackman. It was a dream come true and I got to look at Hugh for hours at a time. That didn't suck.
BB: Can you offer a piece of audition advice?
SK: My biggest piece of audition advice is to be a real person at all times in the room. I think most actors focus on presenting a 3 dimensional human being while doing the audition material, but don't forget to be a 3 dimensional PERSON as well. The folks behind the table are hiring YOU as well as your talent.
BB: What was/is your day job/other ventures in between gigs or do you do both simultaneously?
SK: I have worked all types of stereotypical survival jobs- temping, waitressing, et cetera. But my favorite thing to do, even when I am working an acting job, is teaching. I love helping other actors find the path through new material. It invigorates me and reinforces exactly what I love about being an actor.
BB: Do you still train/work on your craft? How? Where?
SK: I am part of an incredible group of women that have formed our own "class." We meet weekly to work on material, support each other and share resources.
BB: Any words of inspiration or anything else you want to say/impart?
SK: There have been a few phrases that I've picked up from different people/places over the years and they've become mantras for me. They are:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Your responsibility is to do good work in a public forum whenever you can.
Define success by your own terms.
Stephanie Kurtzuba is a NYC based actress. Her career has spanned the mediums of film, television and live theatre. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and later graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a degree and honors in Acting. Broadway credits include "Boy From Oz", "Billy Elliot" and "Mary Poppins". Amongst many tv/film credits, Stephanie recurs on the television shows "The Good Wife" and "The Leftovers" and played the roles of Kimmie Belzer in "Wolf of Wall Street" and Mrs. Kovacevik in "Annie" with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.