5 Things We Learned from Motown’s Devon Goffman

Motown actor Devon Goffman shared tips on the theater life with Camryn Clune.

Motown actor Devon Goffman shared tips on the theater life with Camryn Clune.

By Camryn Clune & Amanda McNulty   

Theater life can be full of high points and “bumps in the road.” But this week, actor  Devon Goffman’s road is taking him to his hometown of Buffalo with the national tour of Motown.

Standing in the grandiose lobby of Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Devon shared lessons from his experiences on national tours including Jersey Boys, Grease, Titanic, and the Buddy Holly Story to share lessons for all of us who aspire to become future actors and actresses.

Be nice to everyone. Never have a negative attitude toward anyone you meet, Devon said. You never know where you’ll see them again – or even if they’ll be able to help you in the future.

“If you work hard, you meet a lot of people, and you’re nice to everybody that you meet, I think that eventually, these things can lead to success,” he said. “You never know who’s going to be the one to get you that next break. In theater, we are all one community of people, no matter if you’re doing theater at a community level, a theater here in Buffalo, or on Broadway, we’re all just doing theater.”

Always be kind, not only since it’s the right thing to do, but also because “you never know, the classmate next to you could end up being a huge Emmy winner.”

Do everything you can in school. In high school, Devon participated in everything he could possibly get his hands on! Not only was he a star linebacker on his football team, but he also participated in activities people usually would not pin an athlete as doing.

He was also involved with student council and anything he could get involved in that would be fun.

“I did the musicals and the plays, I played trombone in the band, I was in the choir…swing choir…I basically did every music class you could possibly take,” he said.

Always have a Plan B….but first you should have a Plan A! Surprisingly, Devon didn’t really want to be an actor, he wanted to teach music.

“When I went to college, I was actually studying to be a music teacher,” he said. “It wasn’t my plan B, It was my plan A!”

But then after two years, Devon decided that acting was his true calling and realized that was the path he should take.

Stay healthy. Taking care of yourself can make or break how you feel and impact your work ethic. Devon wishes he would have learned that lesson at a younger age.

“If you have energy to wake up in the morning,” he said, “(you can) have a full day of work, play, and everything you want to do in your life.”

Bumps in the road are not always a bad thing “As an auditioning actor, you try to see bumps in the rode as lessons learned,” said Devon, who sees those bumps as ways you can improve yourself or as a sign that this wasn’t really your job.

In New York, he had to work many different jobs, but what he really wanted was to do theater.

“It takes getting through those times,” he said, “and taking ‘no’ in an audition as ‘maybe next time.’”

Amanda McNulty and Camryn Clune are students in our program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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