Jesus Christ Superstar performer Aaron LaVigne says young artists shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes
“My biggest asset was being able to navigate everything,” said Aaron LaVigne as he reflected on the ups and downs of his acting career. LaVigne came to Hillel at Stanford on Thursday to speak to students at an event hosted by the Ram’s Head Theatrical Society. LaVigne is currently on tour with the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and is playing the lead role in the musical.
LaVigne began acting in high school, where he took an elective course in musical theater in his senior year and then landed lead roles in the Spring Musical. During this production, he not only discovered his craft and how he fulfilled it as an artist, but he also became part of a larger community of creatives. He also mentioned that his college improv group was a milestone for him.
“It opened me up to this world of theater and music students that I had never hung out with before”, LaVigne noted.
Throughout his speech, LaVigne stressed the importance of being patient and open to making mistakes in the industry. He told the audience when he first moved to New York City, where he experienced the revealing culture of a cosmopolitan city, but faced the challenges of working as an actor. He failed several Broadway auditions while working in a restaurant. Reflecting on these experiences, LaVigne emphasized the need to persevere, describing how he continued to write songs and show up for auditions despite his fatigue or, at times, his grief.
“Wake up early in the morning and go”, LaVigne noted. He encouraged young actors to jump in and take advantage of the opportunities of the highly competitive but growing entertainment industry.
“Do it now,” he said of his candidacy for internships and summer programs, which helped him better understand who he was as a person and as an artist.
He also encouraged artists to network, saying it is valuable to meet people and develop a supportive creative community.
“Yes, you have to be good at your job or your skills, but if you want to be successful and work in an environment that you can enjoy, then it’s about people. It’s all about people, ”said LaVigne.
Above all, LaVigne told young artists to pursue what they love. He encouraged the students to take the time to determine what they want to accomplish as performers and not to be afraid of making mistakes.
“There is a change in the culture of the arts,” said LaVigne. “I feel like we’re in this cool neighborhood where we can kind of create what we want to be for ourselves.”