You are here:

Acting in Plays, Singing/What to do to fulfill my dream?


I am just about to start my first year of high school, and I am scrambling for what to do with my future. For my whole life I have loved theater, and up until recently I was sure that was what I was going to do. But I also wanted a steady job that would provide a large income. I thoroughly enjoy helping others and have always wanted to be a doctor. I had decided that this was the profession for me. I kept grades high and graduated middle school top of my class, with many awards. Yet this week I traveled to New York and saw Newsies. I hadn't seen a show for about a year. Afterwards I realized my passion again for performing. I still would like to peruse a medical career yet do acting as a side thing, because of its inconsistency. I have been in drama since I was 5, and I've taken vocal lessons for two  years now. I have also been in choir, show choir, and school theater for four to three years. Occasionally I do company productions in my city. Finally I haven't taken dance classes for five years but I just started tap, jazz, ballet, and lyrical again. My vocal range goes from a high G to a low F on average. Do I have a chance in the theater business? What should I do to fulfill both of my career paths? My dream roles include Eponine (Les Miserables), Elphaba and Nessarose (Wicked), Kathrine (Newsies), and Meg and Christine (Phantom of the Opera). Is my plan reasonable? Thank you for all of you help and response.

Hello, Nicki --

Thank you for the question.

A career in Theatre is all about a series of opportunities. Between now and the day you graduate from college, there will be all kinds of opportunities that will come your way. They will include school productions, local productions, perhaps a national tour, maybe something in Las Vegas. Even so, the shows and roles you mention may not be on that season’s calendar. No matter—because your need to sing and dance and act must be more important than the available job, whatever / wherever it is. And you already know that you will be standing in line to compete against however many other performers with the same determination as you and with similar or better skills—all wanting the same job.

But along the way, you will be learning the Business of Theatre. You and your family, teachers, friends and the local critics will be the first to know if you have what it takes to sell yourself to a team of Broadway Producers, much less survive relocating to New York and pounding the pavement day after day trying to build contacts. You will also discover that participating in it as a “side thing” doesn’t exist – unless you’re talking about performing as an elaborate hobby, i.e., occasional non-paying jobs in local productions while sustaining some sort of day job to pay your rent. That certainly can’t happen if you decide to pursue the medical profession. The years of interning and additional education required after you earn your undergraduate degree will suck-up every last ounce of energy you have. No one can tell a Medical Corporation, “Sorry, I’m late for dance class.”

No matter what the future holds, your primary job for the next four years is to earn the academic power to qualify for full scholarships to the best University or Conservatory of your choice.

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out my web site:

I'm also an entertainment and cultural critic for – and Classical music reviewer for – Let me know when you're ready to come to San Francisco for some vocal coaching.

See my interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on the San Francisco Bay Area entertainment and cultural scene:

Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano bids ‘Adieu’ to opera stage

‘Tales of Hoffmann’ Fizzles at San Francisco Opera

‘A Grand Romance’—A Spectacular CD from pianist Jeffrey Biegel

Philippe Sly Debuts In 'Cosi fan tutte' at San Francisco Opera

Nicole Henry redefines the '70s with her latest CD, 'So Good, So Right'

THE GREAT GATSBY—F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic goes Three Dimensional

'FILLY BROWN' — An Extraordinary Film from Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos

TINSEL TARTS IN A HOT COMA—Extended through June 29th at The Hypnodrome

Nonsemble 6 presents Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' – in corsets

Tenor Noah Stewart Debuts with Berkeley Symphony in World Premiere of New Work by Steven Stucky

Marnie Breckenridege, A Modern Soprano for Contemporary Opera

A Profile of Choreographer John Neumeier and his "Nijinsky"

Peggy Cummins Honored at San Francisco's Noir City Film Festival

In Conversation with Peter Gallagher – Coming to the Venetian Room

Melody Moore steps into Tosca — Opening Night at San Francisco Opera

'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie

'Drama Queens' – A Conversation with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Vasily Petrenko, BRIT Male Artist of the Year, Conducts SF Symphony, 10/5–6

Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera

A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19

Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut

Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

The Wizard of Oz Meets the San Francisco Symphony

Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'

'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD

Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco

A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet

Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall

RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'

DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni

CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo

ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

©2016 All rights reserved.