In a recent review in Loy Norrix Knight Life, Rachel Zook called the Broadway musical, “The Book of Mormon,” “shocking, offensive, and wonderful.”
On Friday, October 21st the Loy Norrix drama students were visited by special guest, Gabe Gibbs. Gibbs is currently playing Elder Price in the second national tour of “The Book of Mormon.” Gibbs was born in Muskegon, MI but later moved to Rochester where he met Paige O’Shea, the Loy Norrix drama teacher. O’Shea asked Gibbs to come talk to her students as a professional actor, give them advice and answer questions they had.
“My biggest take away from what Gabe said is to just be yourself. If acting and singing is something you want to do just go for it. If it doesn’t work out then try something else, but if it’s something you love you’ll find a way to do it,” said Loy Norrix junior Grace Erway.
Erway has played roles in two shows at Loy Norrix, Penelope Pennywise in “Urinetown”, and Rosie Alvarez in “Bye Bye Birdie”.
Gibbs went to Emerson College in Boston, MA where he studied musical theater and later switched his major to acting. After graduation, Gibbs moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting in film, television, commercials, and theater.
Towards the end of his visit, one student asked Gibbs what his biggest piece of advice for students was.
“It’s so much more about working hard and showing up and being kind. There will be people that are better than you but people [in the acting industry] want to work with nice people,” said Gibbs.
“I found Gabe’s advice very helpful. I think in the theater world that you very rarely hear that you’re wanted and so having a very successful adult who has chosen theater as their career, tell you that theater is important and that you as an actor in training are important, is very refreshing,” said Erway.
Gibbs answers a question about having an agent as an actor. Gibbs’ advice was to hold off on having an agent early in the game and focus on finding gigs yourself. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
While talking, Gibbs shared about some of his and his acting friends’ experiences with finding jobs. “Every actress that you’ve ever seen or known or heard of has been out of work or will be out of work, that’s just how this business goes,” said Gibbs. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
Gibbs shares his history with acting and how he met Paige O’Shea, the Loy Norrix drama teacher, in high school when Gibbs’ family moved to Rochester, Michigan. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
Freshman Brooklyn Moore and Senior Andrew Grooters listen to Gibbs discuss his own life experiences. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
Gibbs explained how film was all about actions and theater is all about text. Gibbs illustrated this point with an exercise where he had one student stand on the other side of the room while he silently used body language and a door to indicate he wanted the student to leave the room. Gibbs explained that in film you can communicate without words while in theater words are how you convey to the audience what you want. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
Gibbs talked about the difference between acting on camera and on stage. He acknowledged that a lot of people think that film is a lot quieter and theater is louder. Gibbs framed the differences in another way. His advice to students was to think about who they have a commitment to while acting. Meaning, on camera, you only have to talk to the other actors, and the camera will be able to capture the entire conversation, while on stage, your commitment is to the entire audience as well as the other actors on stage, so every thing you do or say needs to be done in a way that the people on stage can understand you as well as the people in the very back of the theater. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall
To answer Sophia Boismier’s question about the differences between T.V. and theater, Gibbs pretends to break up with Boismier two different ways, like he would on stage, and in front of a camera. Photo Credit / Grace Marshall