Let’s hear from Mark Saunders- Happy Friday!!!!
Mark Saunders is a St. Louis native. He is a musician, actor, and proud “mover”. Most recently he was seen in Variety Chilren’s Theatre production of “Beauty and the Beast” as an adult ensemble member. Currently, he is a section leader for the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and will be performing in the upcoming performance of John Adams’ “On the Transmigration of Souls” and Mozart’s “Requiem”.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: I did my first full musical in high school during my freshman year, at Bishop DuBourg for those that will ask, and I was in Anything Goes. I was in the ensemble which was thrilling for me, but the “featured” moment I was given was being a drunk passenger on the ship. I came out, Moonface screamed “Man overboard! Man overboard!”, and I looked him in the face and screamed “WHERE?!”. That was my (obnoxious) debut.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: When I was really worried about upcoming auditions, I was told by a college professor that the people in the room want you to succeed. Up until that point, I had a weird complex about the casting directors, etc. So I always saw them as people waiting for me to fail so they had a reason to not cast me. I realize how silly this notion was now, but hearing that advice was really freeing and helped me get out of my own way.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: I was in a production of Much Ado About Nothing as Balthasar. I also had one scene as a page boy and then had a reasonable quick change, but of course something had to go wrong. As I was trying to get my page boy costume off, the drawstring got a knot in it and I couldn’t get it off. So after getting it off finally, my Balthasar costume wouldn’t zip up in the back. After trying and failing to get the costume zipped up, we threw a cape on me and I went out on stage just to realize that I had missed my entire first scene, and song, and they had moved on with the show. I then turned around and just left. I was nominated for a Cappie award that year for that performance, so I guess it wasn’t as awful as we thought. I’m just happy that I lived to tell the tale.
Q: What is your dream role/show?
A: Albin in La Cage aux Folles
Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd
Ursula in Little Mermaid
And yes, they’re all of equal importance to me.
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
A: I take NO shame in being completely obsessed with How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis and Shonda Rhimes are a match made in HEAVEN.
Thank you Mark- what a great piece of advice for all creative artists to take!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator.
See her work at gracemaustin.com