Josh Pins is an up and coming actor, singer, and dancer. Josh was most recently seen playing Baby John on the Broadway National Tour of WEST SIDE STORY.
The Playbill Collector (TPC): At what age did you decide acting was what you wanted to do as a career?
Josh Pins (JP): It’s something that has been in my blood since I was probably about four. I grew up loving theater and the magic it can bring. I performed for my family on my living room table non stop and would write original musicals/films. I would force my brother and sister (Jared & Jordyn) to be in them. I grew up studying classic musicals like THE MUSIC MAN and OLIVER and I’d watch them over and over and over….. I wasn’t normal. Haha. This is just something that I always knew I wanted to pursue. Luckily, my parents have backed me up 300% along the way.
TPC: Did you ever go to theatre or dance camp?
JP: Yes! From the time I was 12, all my summers were spent training and preparing. I was never one of those kids that grew up in his moms dance studio or put my main focus on dance… but I always tried to equally distribute my energy on all three: acting, singing, and dancing. More so, on the acting and singing. I did musical theater/vocal programs at the Paper Mill Playhouse, NJPAC, French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, The University of Michigan, and Westminster Choir College of the Arts. Check out all these places! They are amazing. ESPECIALLY the Paper Mill Playhouse. I grew up taking part in there summer musical theatre conservatory. Truly an amazing place to grow as an artist.
TPC: What show did you get your Actors Equity card with?
JP: After touring with WEST SIDE STORY, I was fortunate enough to immediately workshop two incredible new musicals. One being THE FIRST GENTLEMAN, where I got to work alongside Sally Struthers, Beth Leavel, and Bob Cuccioli. Beth and Bob were my parents! Working on this was so fun and I am extremely excited and hopeful to see a future life for this brilliant piece. During the time I was in rehearsals for that, I was auditioning for a bunch of other projects.
Immediately following THE FIRST GENTLEMAN I was lucky enough to begin my next production, THE BLUE ANGEL. It’s based off of the Heinrich Mann novel and the 1930 German film but yet it infuses contemporary pop songs such as Firework (Katy Perry), Toxic (Brittany Spears), etc. I have never worked on anything like this so it was amazing to be a part of such a unique and new piece in its early stages. This is what gave me my AEA card. This is what’s known as an AEA LAB. We had a month to rehearse this musical (music, blocking, and choreography) that followed with two industry presentations. It was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to work with director, B.T. McNicholl (BILLY ELLIOTT) and choreographer, Josh Bergasse (SMASH, upcoming ON THE TOWN).
TPC: You have played some awesome roles in Regional Theatre such as John Darling in PETER PAN, Tommy Djilas in THE MUSIC MAN and also Baby John in WEST SIDE STORY. Of the three, which would you say helped you grow as an actor the most?
JP: I would have to say playing John Darling in PETER PAN at the Paper Mill Playhouse allowed me to grow the most as an actor. I was 17, it was my professional debut, and I was in the process of finishing my senior year of high school so I had a lot of balancing to do. I went to a performing arts high school in NJ… so I was balancing rehearsals, final exams, acting assignments, etc. It was a lot of work but it was SO worth it. I would be in school until about 11:30AM and then my grandpa would pick me up and drive me to rehearsals in New York. I missed many days of school, my senior prom, and graduation (… of course I didn’t mind any of that. Hahah)
I was working with great artists in PETER PAN such as Nancy Anderson, Douglas Sills, and Jessica Lee Goldyn. The production was directed by Mark S. Hoebee and choreographed by the amazing, Patti Colombo. The process was incredible and I just sat back and took in everything that I can. Everything. I was just thrown into the professional world — you know? So it was a lot of observing, listening, and learning on my part. PETER PAN was also the first production I had every done eight shows a week with, so it was a lesson in pacing, keeping a show fresh, and maintaing physical/vocal health. Plus I got to fly! So I got to sharpen those skills. I played Michael Darling (the youngest brother) ages ago in a community theatre production, so it was nice to move on to the next Darling brother and fly again!
JP: It was crazy. CRAZY. I had gone in for WEST SIDS STORY twice before. I went in for the International Tour (made it to finals for Big Deal/Arab & was fitted for costumes), and the 1st National Tour. When the 2012-2013 “West Side Story” national tour was announced, I said to myself… “I will be doing this”. It was a series of cuts, and callbacks. It was mostly dancing. It was always to Cool, and then eventually Cool and Scherzo. It was intense. There were SO many guys. I actually had already booked the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF national tour prior to the West Side audition, so I was able to breathe a little more because I had a job lined up. But… I had to be a Jet. I left my heart in the room for those auditions. Gave everything because I wanted it so bad! I was living. After a series of dance auditions, we finally got to sing and then we were put into two groups to read the scene prior to the Jet Song. I was always reading for Big Deal. I was never asked to read anything Baby John related until the very last time we did the scene. The last time we read that group scene, it really clicked and worked with everyone in the room. Half of the guys in the group were our actual Jets. The waiting was the worst. THAT’S THE HARDEST PART. After 4 weeks of checking my phone and e-mail 24/7, I finally got a call at like 11AM. I was in my apartment and I was sick. My day was immediately changed for the better.
TPC: Hypothetically, if you could swap roles with someone in the show for one night, who would you love to play?
JP: Hahah. Everyone always made fun of me for this. I would love to play Riff. Riff is such a juicy role and I’d love to put my mark on it. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be playing Riff anytime soon unless a middle school or elementary school wants to bring me in. Haha
TPC: What’s your favorite number in WSS?
JP: This is a tough one. I’d have to say my favorite number was performing Cool. Cool is therapy. Any negative energy or frustrations I was feeling during the day, were featured mainly during Cool. There’d be some performances where I’d be SCREAMING my lungs out, or ready to break into tears because I was so choked up… there is nothing like that. Just being open and vulnerable and allowing whatever you’re feeling to come through via the choreography.
TPC: What’s your favorite Sondheim show?
JP: My two favorites have to be INTO THE WOODS and SWEENEY TODD. The scores are beautiful and all the characters have so much depth to them. I have played Jack before and have been a standby for Toby so I hope to revisit those roles in the future.
TPC: If you had to pick one actor and one actress to do a show with, who would you star alongside?
JP: I would love to work with Norbert Leo Butz. He is insane. INSANE. I saw his show at 54 Below, and recently saw BIG FISH twice… he is an incredible storyteller. Incredible. I’d love to work with him. Maybe he can play my dad?
As for an actress, I’m not too sure… Too many. I’m going to hold off for now.
TPC: Any advice for aspiring musical theater performers out there?
JP: In my New York apartment, I have this big poster hanging on my wall that says… “Don’t just dream, INSPIRE. Don’t just imagine, CREATE. Don’t just believe, ACHIEVE”. As corny as it sounds, it’s so true.
I am probably one of the most positive people that you will ever meet. It’s a tough and crazy business, so NO energy can be wasted on the negative. If you want to accomplish something… set your mind to it and make it happen. It might take some time and patience but it will happen.
We are all human, and are capable of whatever we want to accomplish. Of course, life will throw us curve balls here and there but that’s the fun!
Never stop learning and being a student. Whether it is seeing plays or musicals, watching YouTube videos, reading articles, taking classes, or going to the movies… expose yourself to art. The more you are exposed to, the more rounded of an artist you will be.
TPC: What’s next for you and where can readers find out more about you?
JP: That’s a good question! You know as much as I know. I’ve gotten close to many projects but they haven’t worked out just yet. Waiting for that perfect fit! I’ve been actually going in for a lot more TV and plan on pursuing that as strongly as theater but who knows! Life works out when you least expect it. In the meantime, a vacation to Mexico with my family will do!
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