Performer of the Month: Amanda Bushman

Amanda Bushman has started out as a Pirate in Hillbarn Conservatory’s summer program Peter Pan in 2014! Amanda has grown from dedicated ensemble to leading lady! We’re proud of Amanda and all her endeavors especially because of her hard work and dedication to the theatre doing her high schools fall show, and the Conservatory’s fall show, Kiss Me Kate, and her high school’s Winter show, and the Conservatory’s winter show The Boy Friend! Next fall she’ll be a senior in high school, and we are excited to see her future theatrical projects.

Q: You’ve played several different characters, what does it take to get into a character?

A: It’s really about getting into the mindset of who the character is. My thing before shows is that I like to meditate before the show, and get myself into the character. I can’t just pretend to be something because if I’m half my character and half myself, then I’m not really the character.

Q: You recently played Madame Dubonnet in The Boy Friend, what was it like working with a smaller cast?

A: I actually prefer working with a smaller cast. When I’m in a bigger cast, I feel as if there’s not as much attention with the director. It’s a lot easier to develop the character when there’s that one on one time with the director.

Q: This Fall and Spring you’ve decided to do your school musicals, and Hillbarn’s Fall and Spring shows, what motivated you to do both? Also, props to you for doing both.

A: Theatre is something that I recently became passionate about, and I wanted to do as much as I could. I love Kiss Me Kate, so that was one of the reasons why I decided to do two shows as once, even though it was a little hectic. But it’s possible to do two shows at once, it just takes a lot of dedication, and prioritizing.

Q: What makes Hillbarn different than other places you’ve done shows with?

A: Something really special about Hillbarn is they give every student a chance, and really makes them feel welcome. Whereas other places it’s really cut throat, and competitive.

Q: Why should someone do a show or a class at Hillbarn Conservatory?

A: There’s something really special about the bond between the actors with the directors, and staff more than any other place. It’s good safe place for you to get a chance to do theatre. It’s good place for beginners, it’s a good place for advanced actors. It’s great for beginners  because they can work with people who have experience, and no one feels out of place.  

Q: What is auditioning for a show like?

A: It all depends on how much time I have to prepare. When I first started auditioning, I didn’t know that I needed to act when singing, and that was my biggest struggle when I started auditioning. I started getting into the habit of embodying the character, and that really helped me during auditions. Also, the more time I have to prepare, the more confident I feel.

Q: What was the first musical you’ve ever seen on stage? What did you think of it?

A: I think the first show I saw on stage was Grease at Hillbarn Conservatory. I think the thing that popped into my head the most is that Danny and Sandy kissed, and I was like, “They make them do that?! That’s crazy!” But I was just so impressed, and I wanted to be a part of the theatre community.

Q: What musical are you currently obsessed with?

A: I’m always obsessed with Kiss Me Kate, and Chicago, but I am also obsessed with Dear Evan Hansen too.

Q: What would you say is something you’ve learned about yourself by doing theatre or have learned doing theatre?

A: Theatre taught me how to grow and get out of my shell, and it made me feel a lot more confident, and made me feel like I actually have talent. Theatre is where I found my place.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being in a show?

A: I love just pretending to be somebody else, and pretending to embody someone else. I think it’s so much fun to get out of Amanda for a second and be somebody else. And also the community of the theatre. Everyone is so upbeat and happy all the time.

Q: You’ve played so many different characters, what does it take to get into a different character?

A: In every show there’s always that line I’m afraid to forget. That’s pretty nerve wracking, but my main thing is I have to pretend it’s another dress rehearsal because all week during tech, I’m doing a show perfectly, and once the show comes I get nervous because the audience is there.

Q: What was your favorite show you’ve been in?

A: I loved Evita because it was a small cast, and it was the most fun ensemble cast I’ve been in, but I also loved Kiss Me Kate, Music Man, The Boy Friend, and Oklahoma!. I had a great character in Oklahoma!.

Q: What’s a dream role of yours and why?

A: I have a few. I would love to be Roxie in Chicago because she’s has so many different aspects to her character, so you kind of are a million characters in one. Since I was two I’ve wanted to play Sophie in Mamma Mia! because I love the songs and her character is so naive.

Q: Which Broadway performer do you feel is your spirit animal and why?

A: I think Sutton Foster because her story is so cool. I love the way she got into Broadway. Someone got fired, and she just went in. It just shows you how random and how anyone can get in with luck. Sutton’s style of acting is something I like to do, and I have a similar voice range.

Q: Does doing shows motivate you to do things to improve your talents such as voice lessons, acting classes, and dance?

A: Recently I haven’t had time to do that because I’ve been in multiple shows at once, but before when I wasn’t doing that, I took voice lessons, and I take dance at school. I think it’s important to strengthen skills outside of doing shows, but it’s just hard to fit it into my schedule.

Q: What person would you love to be on stage with? This person can be from any time dead or alive.

A: It’d be super cool to be on stage with Madonna just because she’s super cool, sassy, and she was one of my idols.

Q: What is the one song you sing when you are all alone belting your face off?

A: I’d have to say “On My Own”.

Q: Can you talk about any show mishaps?

A: In Kiss Me Kate the Act I finale music just stopped halfway through. It’s good thing Kiss Me Kate is about a show that goes wrong, so that was a good thing otherwise it would’ve been really awkward.

Q: What’s your routine that you go through before you go on stage? Do you have any specific warm ups or superstitious  things you do?

A: I’m a really superstitious person, so whenever someone tells me good luck I get really, really uneasy. My thing before a show is I like to have a few minutes to myself to get into the character, and really embody the character. Also before the show I like to drink Throat Coat, and warm up my voice.

Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?

A: My dream job is to do something in the theatre industry, whether it be production, costume design, on stage, or commercials. I’m not really sure exactly what, but something in the theatre industry.  

Q: Do you have any hidden talents no one really knows about?

A: Uh, I can touch my tongue to my nose.

Q: What do you look forward to for your future theatre endeavors?
A: Just all the opportunities I can get. I always hear people say, “Oh, you’ll never make it in theatre.” But I want to prove them wrong.