Inspiring Artists Stories
Today we'd like to introduce you to Lucas Blankenhorn
Current Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Lucas, thank you for taking the time to share your story. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I always knew that I wanted to do shows. I was always singing as a kid, my parents always say I was singing songs even though I did not know the words. Finally, things lined up correctly and my parents signed my sister and I up for a show at the Boys and Girls Club. We did Annie Jr.- and no, I did not play Annie, I was a very short and non threatening Rooster Hannigan. My parents realized this is what we were meant to do, and we went all in on doing theatre!
After doing lots of local children's, community, and regional theatre, we heard about OCSA and auditioned for my 9th grade year. I spent my four years of high school there, doing shows and spending more time at school than I did at home. I decided I wanted to continue my training in college and set out to audition for schools, finding my college home at The Boston Conservatory.
BoCo, as we like to call it, was extremely difficult, but having been used to having school for most of my day I was used to it! I felt very lucky. My peers struggled at first, but then we settled into the flow of school and its difficulties. I loved it, even when I was cursing its name. It was one of the most intense programs I have ever experienced. The school requires more dance classes than other programs, so I was constantly moving and working, sometimes till 11 o'clock at night.
During my time, I stumbled upon teaching group fitness. I was helping a friend of mine get certified at a private club, and I came so often they just told me to keep coming back for free, which then followed with an offer to audition! I fell in love with teaching fitness, since it was just another way of performing. I try to keep a fun atmosphere while teaching and am always cracking jokes to keep it fun. I was able to merge my love of performing with this new found passion for fitness in the best side gig I could ever ask for.
After four years at BoCo, I was exhausted from the work at school and summer stock shows, having done nothing but theatre for the past 8 years, including OCSA. I decided to move home to take a break from theatre, hone my craft just a bit more, and focus on my new found love for fitness. I had intended to not do theatre for a bit, but life gave me some opportunities that felt right. Since graduating, I have been extremely fortunate to work consistently, lining up a contract to start just as my current one would end. This of course was stopped when the pandemic hit and theaters closed, but I am so grateful for every opportunity I have had, and look forward with excitement for the future.
Can you tell us a little more about what you've been working on recently?
Right now, I am getting new certifications for my fitness career so that when I move to New York City to continue my theatre career, I will have multiple employment opportunities in a field that I equally love and can help sustain my career in theatre.
The road of the artist is a sometimes long and bumpy road. Have you had to overcome any on your journey?
It has not! I experienced extreme burnout, at times wanting to quit everything and walk away. BoCo was intense, and constantly put a magnifying glass on everyone's talent. After a while, I felt insufficient and thought I would never improve, and questioned what the point of continuing my education was. My family was so supportive though, which I am very thankful for. When questioning whether to quit school, my mother said she would support me should I choose to leave but also helped me question why I was feeling the way I was, find someone to talk to, and encouraged me to not give up on my dreams. I feel extremely thankful for her as well as my other family members and friends who listened and understood my struggle, but helped me come to a rational decision instead of an emotional and impulsive one.
Are there any lessons that you've learned along your journey so far? Something that you'd want to tell your younger self?
Theatre is hard! Emotions are valid and it's okay to get upset and frustrated, but acting ON emotion won't help anyone. Recognize that emotion, whether its sadness or anger, and use it to push yourself. Turn that emotion in action instead of an outburst of reaction.
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
Someone out there is looking for someone that is just like you, so even if you're not what the person in front of you wants right now, there is something just around the corner.
What inspires you? Can you tell us about a moment in your life you found to be inspirational?
I like hearing about actors' lowest points as strange as that sounds. Sometimes, it feels like those who are successful seem to have had it all, and have gotten it extremely easy. However, when learning about the struggles people had to go through, losing a job that was going to "make" them, or not being able to afford rent, or being too sick at the audition of their dreams, BUT then using that to fuel themselves into another moment that did bring them success is inspiring.
What do you consider your proudest moment?
When I was twelve, I know, very young, I got to perform on the Segerstrom stage in Costa Mesa. It's the theater I saw all of my shows growing up. I remember just thinking "Wow, I used to be up in the nosebleeds with a pair of binoculars, and now I am on this stage!" I hope I get to work there again.
The mission of The Rose is to make the arts accessible in the community. What purpose do you think the arts or artists play in today's society?
I think that artists have an interesting role in society. Some want us to just entertain and keep quiet. I think though, that the artist's most important role is to show society different world views and ideas through the creation of art. If we just lived to entertain and solely entertain, we should be called entertainers and not artists. However, if we are REALLY giving those viewing our art a feeling or idea that may change them or their thoughts on something, we are really doing our part as empathetic and sympathetic members of society.
What are your hopes for the future of the arts?
I hope that it becomes more diverse in race, gender, body, and sexuality. A lot of what we see, and the stories that are told are about the same looking types of people, and if we allow this to continue then the art form will become stale and wither away. We must focus on diversifying the people writing, directing, and performing these works if we want to truly be am honorable art form.
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