When I first set foot at the Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway (NSB), I was overwhelmed with dreams of stage lights, thundering applause, and those magic moments before the curtain goes up. Now after finishing the most incredible six weeks performing in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I realize this journey wasn’t just about stepping into a character’s shoes. It was also about my growth as an artist and an individual.
How Shows Work at Tisch Drama
In my first year at NYU, I remember hearing older Tisch students chat about NSB shows. These weren’t like any other old college productions. For one, being part of a show isn’t optional at Tisch—it’s literally in the curriculum! That realization came with its own mix of excitement and, I won’t lie, anxiety. When audition time rolled around at Tisch, the air was electric. Not because we were vying for the main role (okay, maybe a little!), but also these auditions were the directors’ first insight into where we might shine best in the production. It felt a bit like Hogwarts sorting—just with more theatrical flair!
After a nerve-racking few weeks of auditioning, the cast lists were released. And there was my name under The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I was ecstatic! This play was (and still is) my favorite play of all time. Furthermore, none other than the fabulous head of physical acting and professor at NSB, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, was the director. I felt like I’d landed in theatre-kid heaven!
Being cast in Curious Incident was exhilarating! But soon came the reality check that this wasn’t a breezy after-school activity.
Picture this: weekdays spent rushing from class to a quick dinner, and then straight to rehearsal. And Saturdays? Think of them as theatre boot camp from morning to early evening. The pace was intense, but it forged bonds between cast members that I can only describe as familial.
While these shows are part of our studio training, it is where we exercise the same professionalism and dedication required in paid opportunities. I can’t thank Professor Stewart enough for all the creative and professional wisdom she shared throughout the rehearsal process with the entire cast. Considering the experience, I feel like I walked away with much more than some performances under my belt. I also walked away knowing how to show up and show out every night with the same focus, no matter if it’s day one or day 101!
Tips to Look After Yourself
I quickly realized that I needed to be more conscious of my physical, mental, and emotional health if I was going to have any chance of bringing my best focus to every rehearsal and scene. Here are some things I wish I had known before rehearsals began:
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Not only did I have to learn lines and choreography, I also had essays and assignments. Pro tip? Start earlier and break your work into smaller chunks. Writing a paragraph or reading a few pages a day over a week felt much more effective than cramming all that work on your day off when you already have a million other things to do.
Organize Your Life
Trust me, you’ll want to use some sort of diary or calendar. Between scene practice and academic homework, it kept me from turning into a total mess.
Sleep Isn’t Overrated
I learned this the hard way. Sleep isn’t just about rest. It’s also when and how your body and voice recover. Especially when your Saturday is longer than some folks’ workdays!
Stock Up on Home Remedies
Whether it was honey lemon tea for the throat or lavender balm for nerves, these remedies became my secret weapons. Keep these on you just as often as you would your NYU ID. The more those rehearsal hours build up over time, the more you’ll need to be on the lookout that your body needs extra care.
Me Time Is Essential
Between the chaos, I found solace in quiet corners with a book or just listening to some chill music. Find your reset button. It’s also OK to say no! If your social battery isn’t full enough to do all the regular social activities you’re used to when you’re not rehearsing, that’s OK!
You Come First
There were days when the dance steps didn’t sync or lines escaped me. And it’s OK. This journey taught me to prioritize my well-being, always. Those quiet Sundays and the luxury of fall break were the little things that helped recenter myself ahead of a crazy work week.
When in doubt, the Office of Student Success has some great resources for all students to refer to!
The End Result
Then, show week. It’s like finals week meets a marathon. A whirlwind of costumes, makeup, lights, and action. Those ten shows were a roller coaster of emotions—from the sheer thrill of opening night to the sentimental final bow. When the spotlight dimmed and the audience left, there was this profound sense of achievement, mixed with a longing to do it all over again.
Being part of an NSB production is an education in itself. Beyond the scripts and the stage, it’s about discovering parts of yourself you never knew, building relationships, and truly understanding the magic of theatre. And trust me, it’s a ride worth every second. For a lot of students studying drama, the reality of performing in eight professional shows a week is what lies ahead. If you can survive ten shows in just over a week combined with regular academic obligations, you’re well on your way to the life of a professional theater superstar!