"Getting to Know You" with Trevin Stephenson
WESTMINSTER, CA - "Being called in twice for Hamilton on Broadway. That whole experience was a lot of fun," was what actor Trevin Stevenson said when asked what he considers to be one of his proudest accomplishments as an actor. A Pace University graduate, getting his BFA in Commercial Dance, Trevin has trained with many of the industry's biggest and most notable actors, vocalists, dancers, and choreographers. Having spent 12 years training to further perfect his craft, and with dreams of making it in the music industry as well as taking his talent to the big screen, Trevin is a young performer who hopes to continue his performance career for many years to come.
Back on the Rose Center Theater stage after his hilarious performance as Portia in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella this past December, Trevin is ready to tap into his years of training to take on the iconic role of Bert in Mary Poppins!
Excerpts from our conversation:
What attracted you to being an actor/performer?
I remember growing up watching Michael Jackson when I was younger. Everything he did was so theatrical and told a story. I remember watching the Thriller video, and I think that was the moment I knew I wanted to be a performer.
How do you usually prepare for auditions? Any good luck rituals or tips for other actors?
I am probably the worst audition at preparing for auditions. I usually don’t know what I’m going to sing until the moment my name is called into the audition room. I always have a lot of choices prepared ahead of time, but it depends on the moment. I guess that means I am prepared; I prepare many options, and then I choose a song based on how I feel in that moment.
What is the most frustrating part of being a performer for you?
The most frustrating part of being a performer is seeing myself perform. I hate to watch playback of me performing because I am super critical of myself and all I see is what I did wrong.
How would you say you handle rejection?
Rejection is something I don’t let get to me. I never go into an audition with expectations. Whatever happens, happens. I never walk in the room with my hopes up, all I do is my best and if they don’t like my best, then that’s ok.
Does anything particularly motivate you as a performer?
The feeling I get when I am onstage. That motivates me to keep striving forward so that I can make a living performing and have that feeling everyday of my life.
Do you have a dream role you hope to play one day?
My dream role is the Emcee in the musical Cabaret. I think in all of musical theater, this is one of the deepest male roles. I think I would be able to dive into the depth of this character and reveal parts of the role that have never been presented before.
Can you tell us what your process like in preparing for a role?
I study A LOT. I find any video I can online and watch other people portraying the role. I read a lot about the time period the role/show takes place in and I do a lot of research. Then I live the character at home. I believe the home is where every character in every show would be wholly themselves, so I live the character at home and begin to discover what they would be like at home behind closed doors. I think it is very important to investigate who the character is on the inside and how they portray themselves out in the world.
How important do you think training is as a performer?
Training is EXTREMELY important. I have vocally trained for about 12 years now, while at the same time, training myself at home at all possible times. I have also studied acting at the Lee Strasberg institute in Hollywood which delves into "The Method," which trains actors to use their physical, mental, and emotional self in the creation of a character, and stresses the way in which personal experience can fire the actor's imagination.
What is the most fun role you’ve ever played?
Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd. I loved diving into the darkness and creepiness of the character. It was also fun to create a backstory to a character that isn’t really given a backstory.
What is the hardest role you’ve ever played?
Dickon in Secret Garden. That Yorkshire accent was really difficult for me.
Do you have a favorite actor/performer?
Jeremy Jordan. He is a chameleon. I always appreciate when a performer can take on many different types of roles, both vocally and emotionally. Every performance Jeremy Jordan gives is so natural and genuine. He becomes the character onstage. I admire that greatly.
What is a fun fact about you that people wouldn’t be aware of?
I’m really good at baseball!
Any advice to other actors or aspiring performers?
Don’t quit! A 'No' is just a 'Yes' to another opportunity. Nobody ever got anywhere without trying.