An Unusual Path to Broadway!
June 20, 2017 | Casting Director | Madelyn Burns
I am often asked how did you come up with the concept for The Performing Option. It was thirty-eight years ago but it feels like yesterday ..
Like most ideas it came out of the need to thrive in the industry. Thirty-eight years’ ago, I was an actress in between gigs and needed to change that status. I would meet with a group of actors in Manhattan Plaza. It was a great fellowship – like having a family in New York. The most successful member of our group was Patricia Heaton. Patricia was a lovely person and almost immediately became successful and moved to Los Angeles.
We were praying for work; in those days this was called a “charismatic prayer group”. I will always believe that this was divine inspiration. It occurred to me if we could get an agent to give us a lecture on working in the industry than perhaps we would learn what we need to do to become working actors –
at that moment the mission of The Performing Option was born!
That was the day I left acting and became a business woman. For the next 20 years I ran my own Casting office. People have often asked “any famous actors come out of your studio?” Yes! Many! The one that immediately comes to mind is Luke Perry who took classes with us in 1988. Oddly enough I knew he would do well and I kept his registration card. There was something about him that reminded me of James Dean, and I knew he would be extremely successful. Another favorite of mine is Dylan Riley Snyder of Broadway and Disney fame. I was so touched that Dylan thanked me in his Tarzan Playbill – he was such a pleasure to have in our acting classes.
The success stories are countless and extremely gratifying. It truly has been 38 years of launching actors in this industry. I started the children’s classes in the 90’s, so I may have missed being a grandmother in my personal life, but over the years I’ve had so much pleasure from hundreds of children and grandchildren that have come through my acting doors.