I Want Your Job: Broadway Actress

I Want Your Job: Broadway Actress

Amanda Rose '02 as Nessarose in "Wicked"

Amanda Rose ’02 as Nessarose in “Wicked”

Amanda Rose ’02 is a Broadway actress who recently performed on the Today Show. Her biggest piece of advice for students is not to take the cereal dispenser in the cafeteria for granted (you just can’t afford to have that much cereal variety in real life). The theatre major also reveals that sometimes you might find her in a bank mascot costume.

See more posts in the I Want Your Job series, which features Q&A sessions with recent College of Charleston graduates in exceptional positions all over the world.


Q: What are some of your credits?

A: I have done the Broadway national tours of Oklahoma (as Laurey), Dr. Dolittle (starring Tommy Tune) and Wicked (as Nessarose). I have been in and out of Wicked on Broadway for the past five years and recently got to perform on the Today Show to celebrate the Wicked 10th anniversary. I have also done various “regional” theatre roles

RELATED: Watch Amanda Rose as Louise in Gypsy.

Right now I am auditioning a lot and beginning to focus on the TV world, something I’ve not yet pursued. I’m also taking classes to “stay in shape” (I take acting and dance classes regularly and private voice lessons a few times a month as I can afford them).

Q: What was it like performing on Broadway? 

A: AMAZING. At some point every day it would hit me how lucky I was and how incredible it felt to look out at the audience from that stage. I always try to have a “keepin’ it real” moment to remind myself how hard I worked to get there, how challenging it was, how much I’ve accomplished, and also that it could end at any moment and I have to fully appreciate what I have experienced. I know so many people want it and for some reason I got there and I don’t want to ever take it for granted.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to say and do the same thing every night (sometimes twice in a day) for years and not get a little bored or tired or frustrated. But it’s so worth it when you hear an audience react the way they do for a show like Wicked and their enthusiasm pulls you back into the show and reminds you why you do it. It’s wonderful to know that I have been a part of something that inspires and makes people so happy. We also get letters from fans and audience members who have been so moved by the show that they have to express thanks to us. That feels great. And even the crazy letters I get make me happy. I mean, sure if you really want your socks signed by me… ok.

Q: What is it like to be on tour?

A: It’s so much fun and also so exhausting. Depending on what kind of tour you’re doing (how big the show is, how long it’s been on tour, how big the city you’re playing is, etc.) you may stay in a city for anywhere from a day to a couple months. You’re with the same people day and night so you really become a family. You have to get used to packing light and living out of suitcases. It makes you realize that you really can live with out a lot of “junk.” And it’s great training for future travel! I can pack in like 20 minutes for any trip and I can make some excellent hotel-coffee-pot-Ramen.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to do a tour that stays in a city for a month or so, you have time to travel around the area and REALLY get to see the cities. I like to go museums. Any museum. The worse, the better. I’ve been to a hair museum. It’s everything you’d imagine. But I refused to eat in the cafe.

Amanda Rose '02 Photo by Leslie McKellar

Amanda Rose ’02 Photo by Leslie McKellar

Q: If you could pick, would you perform on Broadway or do a national tour?

A: Tough call. I love being on Broadway and the feeling of going to “work” in a city where I live, but I LOVE touring. I love getting to see the country while also bringing a Broadway show to people who may not be able to make it to New York.

RELATED: Read more about Amanda Rose in College of Charleston Magazine.

Q: Is there such thing as “normal” when you’re a Broadway actress?

A: This business has such amazing highs and lows and the jobs ebb and flow. You get a show, and it lasts for a couple months and then it ends and you go back to catering or bartending or whatever it is you do to make the rent (sometimes you may find me in a bank mascot costume…) and just when you get to the point where you think you’ll never work again, you get the next show and you’re so grateful and happy it feels like the first job you’ve ever been offered.  It can be so disheartening and frustrating, and then so happy and life changing when things are going well. You have to be ok with the roller coaster and just take it one step at a time but no matter what, keep on walking.

Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

A: Getting paid to do what I absolutely love to do and what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. Actually, the money isn’t even a factor. I get to do what I love to do. It’s just a bonus that I also have money for rent and food. (But not much else. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’s a happy one!)

Q: How did you get your break after graduating from the College of Charleston?

A: If I had to choose a first “break” it would be that I met my friend Mary Giattino at the College. She’s from Long Island and she let me stay with her right after we both graduated so we could audition in the city every day. We both got in a summer production of Jesus Christ Superstar and that was how I transitioned into the New York acting world. I doubt I would have made it so smoothly to New York if it hadn’t been for that connection. She’s been pretty successful in New York as well dancing and choreographing on Broadway and for tours and regional shows! I’m glad we had each other, especially in those beginning times. I still rely on a lot of the friends and mentors I met at the College. Don’t know where I’d be without them.

Q: How did you land other parts?

A: I have no idea! Sometimes I worked really hard to get a show and sometimes I felt like I didn’t deserve it all because it seemed like I was just in the right place at the right time.

My first big show was the Oklahoma tour. I had TWELVE callbacks for it over the course of several months. I worked so hard and so long to get it and I fretted and agonized along the way.

Amanda Rose in "Curtains" at Theatre Under the Stars

Amanda Rose in “Curtains” at Theatre Under the Stars

But how I got cast in Wicked was more of fluke. I hadn’t gotten a show in about seven or eight months and I was feeling like my career was over. I took an audition class (you never stop taking class as a performer) and the class had guest teachers each week – mostly casting directors. One of them saw my work in class and passed my information to another casting director who just happened to be casting a replacement for Wicked in a couple days.

I went to the audition on Tuesday night and there were only four other girls. I didn’t think I had ANY chance, but Wednesday morning they called to offer me the role and asked if I could start rehearsing two hours later. It was one of the best moments of my life. I then asked them if I could come a little later because it was too late to call out of my day job and I didn’t want to leave them short staffed. They all laughed at me. (I quit my job and went to rehearse for Broadway!)

RELATED:Check out Amanda Rose’s website.

Q: What advice would you give current students?

A: Always roll your eyes at anyone who tries to tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. It’s going to be hard yes, and you may not end up doing exactly what you thought you would, but I don’t think it could hurt to try. Especially when you’re young. Just be smart about it. Know your strengths and weaknesses, have a goal, and have a plan for both the success and the “failure” sides of the equation, so you’re always prepared for either.

Also, save some money, have fun and don’t take the cereal dispenser in the cafeteria for granted. I miss that thing. You just can’t afford to have that much cereal variety in real life.