The Park-way to Broadway?
DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —
A group of actors who want to be on Broadway someday can be seen everyday, here in central Pennsylvania, at Hersheypark.
This could also be "Your Next Job" if you can sing, dance, act and handle lots of rejection.
"Drag. Close. Run, run run. Scoop down, open, open, close."
Those are the sounds of director Richard Hinds running the actors through their new moves for the country show at Hersheypark this summer.
With sweat running down their, everything, the actors, all of them in their 20s, pivot and two-step through nine hours of rehearsals to get the show ready. Then the crew gets to "relax" and simply perform five times a day, all summer long.
Why do they do this? Actress Emilla Brown is from Sweden. She's in the U.S. because of opportunities like this one.
"My goal would be Broadway," Brown said. "So in this show it's great. We dance and we sing, and we act, we do everything."
Dance dance, revolution
Dancing to country music, when you are from another country altogether, is quite a challenge.
"In Sweden I did not grow up with country music or line dancing or anything like that," Brown said. "So it's fun."
She's hoping to try many more things in the states, and she believes the gig at Hersheypark gives her resume a bump she needs. But what is the hardest part of the job?
"I think with a lifestyle like this, it's the stamina," Hinds said.
Try, try, try...again
But just as hard, may also could be the disappointment. Brown has been told that you have to hear 50 "no's" before you finally get that one "yes" you dream of.
"If you really want it, just go for it, and you will get a lot of rejection, but it's fine, everyone does," Brown said. "Even the people on Broadway. But they are really good, so don't doubt your talent, and go for it."
To get a job like this, the actors audition at regional sites, and then get assigned to different shows almost anywhere.
The actors at Hersheypark earn $525 a week, plus perks, like discounted housing and free tickets for family and friends to the park.
Their contract run April through September. The money is one aspect of this job, but the relief you feel when all the hard work pays off.
"Ah. That's the feeling. I get to do what I love, and get paid for it," Brown said.