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Why I‘ll Never Make It


Actors and creatives share insightful stories of the challenges and struggles they have faced in the performing arts. We discuss their personal journeys and lessons learned along the way.


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Actors and creatives share insightful stories of the challenges and struggles they have faced in the performing arts. We discuss their personal journeys and lessons learned along the way.




Welcome to Season Seven!

Welcome to Season Seven of Why I’ll Never Make It, an award-winning theater podcast. After a few weeks off, I’m so excited to be back for another year of great guests and wonderful discussions. Some of these artists are just getting started in the business, while others are Tony-nominated actors and directors. I’m your host and producer, Patrick Oliver Jones, an actor and singer living in New York City with more than 30 years of experience. This season I’ll be talking with guests every...


Bettering Our Mindset with ”Dr. Drama” Alisa Hurwtiz, PsyD (REWIND)

Each of us has an inner voice that can be very loud and persuasive. Hopefully, it’s pushing us to do better and reminding us of all we can accomplish. But sometimes it leads us to believe that the theater industry is too hard and constantly tells us we’re not good enough or don’t deserve an amazing acting career. With an inner critic like that it’s gonna be really difficult to motivate ourselves to keep going, to go to that next audition. The very title of this podcast is an example of the...


Bettering our Acting Training and Practice with Brooke Macnamara (REWIND)

Happy New Year! Thank you for listening to Why I’ll Never Make It! The next season is just a few weeks away and I wanted to start off the year by going back to conversations I had to with two psychologists in 2020. I think their insights are a good reminder for us as we continue to grow and better ourselves as artists. The first one you’ll hear from is Brooke MacNamara, Ph.D. We talk about the amount of training, coaching, and practice it takes to continually hone our craft as performers....


A Look Back at 2022

Happy birthday and thank you for joining me as Why I’ll Never Make It turns 5 years old today! It was on December 28, 2017 that this theater podcast began from very humble beginnings and has slowly gained attention and even some accolades in the past five years of talking with actors and creative professionals. There’s a certain kind of magic in the art of theatre, as the Tony award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell once said, ”It has the power to transform an audience, an individual, or...


Angela Lansbury and Her Bumpy Road to MAME on Broadway

Back in October of this year we lost a beloved star of the stage and screen, Angela Lansbury. Her performing career spanned 80 years in which she received six Tony Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, and one Laurence Olivier Award. And despite her years in television and movies (her last film role was Glass Onion in 2022), theater was always her first love, having appeared in 14 Broadway productions and four national tours. But as you’ll hear in this special episode (with a big help from...


Jeremy Stolle Shares 15 Years at Phantom of the Opera and the Struggles He Faced Getting There

Back in September of this year, news came out that both shook and shocked the Broadway theater world: Phantom of the Opera will be closing and have its final performance in February 2023. After 35 years, the longest running Broadway show in history, this iconic show was going to be leaving the Majestic Theater for good. That closing date has since been updated to April 16th, no doubt due to the increase in ticket sales after that initial closing announcement, nonetheless the end of an era is...


Simon Tam and The Slants Battle Asian Stereotypes and the Supreme Court

During the past 30 years there’s been a growing list of pop and rock musicians trying their hand at musical theater. And they range in style and scope from artists like Cindy Lauper, Dolly Parton, and Elton John to rock bands like The Who, Green Day, and The Go-Go’s. Well, today’s guest has been venturing into musical theater and is from a band you may not have heard of, but their name is certainly one you’re not likely to forget: The Slants. Simon Tam, founder and bassist of the...


Ben Curtis Found Fame as the Dell Dude But Found Himself as the Wellness Dude

Do you want to be famous or do you want to be an actor? Very few truly achieve both. For most of us it’s a choice, and the direction we choose impacts the roles and opportunities that we pursue going forward. Today’s guest has been presented with both during his career and came to discover which one mattered more to him. Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers (Part 3) In the early 2000s, Ben Curtis was training to be a serious actor at NYU, but one commercial audition for Dell...


Elaine Romanelli Battles Criticism and Self-Doubt as a Singer and Songwriter

One of the greatest obstacles to becoming a better performer is thinking you aren’t good enough, that the dreams and aspirations you have for yourself are just too far out of reach and beyond your capability. So in today’s episode we explore that feeling with someone who knows all too well the crippling effect of self-doubt and self-criticism. Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers (Part Two) Elaine Romanelli is a singer, songwriter, and actress who has performed off Broadway and on...


Jules Helm Explores Personal Growth and Self-Discovery On Stage and Off

Every November, as the weather and leaves continue to change and we enter a season of Thanksgiving as well as gift-giving, this podcast sets aside a few episodes to focus on how we can make our lives and our careers better and more fulfilling. And so we begin the third annual presentation of this enlightening series... Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers (Part One) You’ll hear from artists, coaches, and performers and how they have a found balance between their on stage and off...


Dena Hammerstein, from Actress & Writer to Producer & Founder of Only Make Believe (REWIND)

Back in 2008, I made the move to New York City to finally pursue my acting career here. And after a couple of years of doing regional work, though, I was looking for more opportunities that could keep me in the city. So I went to the Actors Fund (now called the more generic Entertainment Community Fund and featured on previous episodes), and at that time they offered assistance to actors looking to beef up their non-performing resume. I talked with someone about places I’d work at in the...


Joe DiPietro and How Theater Has Made a Difference in His Own Life and Others

For the past 23 years, a non-profit theater company called Only Make Believe has been creating and performing live in-person and virtual interactive theater for children in hospitals, care facilities, and special education programs. It started here in New York City but has since opened an office Washington, DC with some outreach in other cities as well. In the next episode you’ll hear an encore presentation of my conversation with founder Dena Hammerstein. But for today, I’m sitting down...


Muriel Miguel and the Art of Story Weaving Her Native American Experiences

The art of theater is really just storytelling, and the stories that are told from region to region often come from within those communities and offer a shared experience on the stage. Broadway illustrates this with musicals like In the Heights, Allegiance, and The Color Purple—even shows like Noises Off and 42nd Street provide a backstage glimpse of the theater community. Well, today’s guest is here to share her stories as a Native American, and the specific experiences that have helped her...


Ricky Schroeder and Why Booking a Show Doesn’t Always Mean You’ve Booked the Show

The life of an actor is often a cross between a seesaw and a rollercoaster. Sometimes it’s as simple as an up or down choice between opportunities and trying to find the balance in our life and work. While other times we’re just along for the ride (especially when it comes to auditions and callbacks), going in ways we can’t control and just doing our best to make the best choices in the moment. And today’s guest reminds us how unpredictable that rollercoaster be and that finding balance can...


Kate Baldwin Looks for Deeper Creative Purpose Than Just Performing 8 Times a Week

For only the second time in my career, I’m doing back to back shows at the same theater. First there was Anne of Green Gables this past summer and now there’s 42nd Street here at the Goodspeed Opera House. It’s a show I’ve done before a few years back and in the same role as well, only this time there’s a lead producer who’s working to bring this production (and hopefully its cast) to Broadway. It has Carina-Kay Louchiey as the young starlet Peggy Sawyer and Max von Essen as the hard-nosed...


This Week...in the life of a Podcast Host and Actor

Two weeks ago we started preview performances for 42nd Street here at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. I’ve been so grateful to continue on at this theater after the successful run of the Anne of Green Gables musical. And so far audiences have been loving 42nd Street and the plethora of talented tap dancers on the stage. During these previews we have continued to rehearse and make the show the best can be, not to mention understudy rehearsals as well (I'm covering the role of Julian...


Marc Acito and the Steep Learning Curve from Theater Writer to Filmmaker

Sometime before the pandemic, I auditioned for a small off-Broadway production of the Lerner and Loewe musical The Day Before Spring. It was at the York Theater, which is known for reviving or refreshing older musicals that may not be done very much. I wasn’t cast in that particular production, and like most failed auditions I put it out of my mind as soon as it was done. But I do remember the director behind the table, and so I finally reached out to bring him onto the podcast. Marc Acito...


Steve Harper Talks About Non-Traditional Casting & Writing for Superheroes Like Stargirl

One of the themes of this podcast has been actors figuring out ways to be successful, even when the industry isn’t making that path an easy one. It can require to go beyond our actor training and discover new and hidden talents within ourselves as we forge new paths or even new careers. Steve Harper is an actor, writer, and producer of the stage and screen. He shares his own real life actor’s nightmare in a Shakespeare production in Cincinnati. But we also discuss how he found himself...


Daryl Eisenberg and the Evolving Role of the Casting Director in Stage and Screen

As noted in the previous episode, auditions are the backbone of this industry. It is the fundamental job of every actor to do as many jobs as we can and do each one to the best of our ability. But there is an important gatekeeper when it comes to submitting our self tapes or actually getting in the audition room, and that is the casting Director. You’ve heard from Actors and their experiences in front of the audition table. Well, now it’s time to hear from the other side of that proverbial...


Audition Stories 2022 with Jerry Mitchell, Carmen Cusack, Barton Cowperthwaite, Kathryn Allison & More

As much as we actors wish it wasn’t so, auditioning really is our job. Performing it’s just an added perk, if we do that job really well. That being said though, there are times when we mail an audition and simply couldn’t have done any better, yet we still don’t book the part. Such is the life and labor of an actor. Welcome to the annual episode of Audition Stories…the good, the bad, and the hysterical. And today you’ll be getting a sampling of the bonus episodes available to monthly...