The Question - "Am I Too Old?"
I answer with another question: "FOR WHAT?!"
The "corporations" of opera and music theatre are there to make money.
The reality of making art is something else.
The "corporations" say gotta do it while you are young - we want skinny and young.
The REALITY of craft is something else.
Let's look at Music Theatre: not all roles are typed the same, thus, it will not be cast with the same intention in mind. This "I gotta "make it" by the time I'm 25" is a bunch of crap.
Why? Because there are MANY roles that require deeper, more established craft and experience! There are MANY roles that are OLDER than 25!
I'll let you in on a secret, those of you who wish to try your luck at the corporation of Broadway: the average age isn't 22 - the average age on Broadway is 37!!
And I work with MANY Broadway and Regional Veterans who are well over 40 who are still working thank you very much.
In opera - there is a ageism when it comes to competitions and YAPs etc. However, again, we need to examine the physicality maturity of the VOICE to recognize, youth (under 30) isn't always healthy in the operatic stamina! The muscles haven't yet matured! Too soon means done too quickly.
So, to the general question - are you too old? Too old for what?
Are you 22 with nothing on your resume and think you are too old for Hamlet? or 25 thinking Desiree is gone?
Shake your head. Recognize the difference between corporation and art!!! BUILD YOUR CRAFT!
The youngster who hits Broadway right out of an undergrad is not going to be able to bring anything more than potential to a role that is age appropriate; they do not have the gravitas nor the craft and acumen of a Judy Kaye (who continues to work worldwide, thank you!)
Your age/age range and your ability and potential will "type" you - no matter what!
Your age reveals your time in the world. How you claim your potential with that worldly knowledge is how that personal craft is developed and nurtured.
Quit wasting precious time and energy on things you have no control over - be who you are! Recognize the business/corporation is on a youth kick right now - but the reality is, youth isn't everything. There are simply roles that cannot be cast unless there is AGE, craft and depth of characterization.
So welcome your age. Be where you are. Quit comparing. Embrace your birthdays!
Your question should be: am I a more realized artist this year? Do I have more to offer? What roles could I claim NOW that I couldn't claim THEN?
And if someone is stupid enough to ask you in a casting room "So, how old are you?"
You can smile and say "How old would you like me to be?"
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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