Tia Altinay will be on stage for tonight’s sold-out performance of “Hamilton” in Orlando, but earlier today, she dazzled an audience of theater hopefuls at Davenport School of the Arts.
The Broadway veteran spent more than an hour sharing personal anecdotes and professional advice with drama students at DSA. One key piece of wisdom she offered: Don’t give up on yourself.
Altinay said she nearly did exactly that while auditioning for a part in the touring production of “Hamilton,” before ultimately landing a role as just one of four female ensemble dancers.
“I was floored on so many levels,” she said. “It was a huge example to me of why I should never count myself out of anything in this world. I’m still learning, even at this age.”
Altinay, who also serves as an understudy in “Hamilton,” was part of the original Broadway cast for “Aladdin,” “Mary Poppins” and “A Christmas Story.” Her additional stage credits include the touring productions of “High School Musical” and “Mamma Mia.”
Altinay, from Sacramento, Calif., said she discovered an interest in theater as a child while attending performances with her mother, a season ticket holder. She credited her teachers for helping to nurture her talent.
“I was a theater kid, but I was never made to feel weird about it. Part of it was being at an arts school,” she said. “Having really awesome teachers really inspired me to keep going, because they believed in me. Being on Broadway is a lofty goal … I had teachers who let me know that it was possible.”
The timing of Altinay’s visit to DSA was fortunate, as the school prepares to debut its own production of “Mary Poppins” in late April. Many of the cast were in attendance for Wednesday’s talk.
Altinay encouraged the young audience to explore the many possibilities in the theater world and value each other’s work.
“Theater is a community,” she said. “There are costumers, there are stage managers, there are props. There are so many jobs out there, and all of these jobs matter.”