Imagine not just seeing your favorite Broadway show, but actually being in it! Thanks to the Find Your Light Foundation, one lucky young actor won a walk-on role in the sensational Broadway musical The Great Comet. Aaron Bertucio was born and raised in San Francisco and moved to New York City to study theatre at NYU. We got the chance to talk to him about his experience at the April 1st performance, which he said was "a dream come true."
A month before the performance, Aaron had a costume fitting. It was his first time going backstage of a Broadway show, and he called the experience “surreal… it was what got me really excited for the show and when it started setting in that this was actually happening.”
The night before the performance, Aaron met with the show’s dance captain and some members of the ensemble to learn the numbers he was going to be in. Since he has been performing since the age of six, he was able to pick up the moves pretty quickly and only had to rehearse them two or three times. But that didn’t stop him from being nervous the day of the performance.
The day of, Aaron told us, “I was extremely nervous. We did a final run through for me, and I was basically having a hot flash, and they had me get right into costume. My makeup was insanely cool. They put a giant tattoo on my neck and ‘guyliner,’ which I secretly liked and wish I could wear in real life."
Before Aaron went on stage, he said, “I was terrified. The stage manager had to talk me out of my nervousness, but right when I got on stage, that nervousness just turned into adrenaline. It was so amazing that I almost cried after, but had to stop myself so I didn't ruin my makeup. It was just a dream come true. I've been wanting to perform on Broadway since I was a kid.”
Aaron had nothing but glowing things to say about the cast and crew. “Everyone was so nice! I got to hang out with the stage manager backstage, and she was one of the nicest people I've ever met. She took me on a tour of the backstage area, brought me into the audience when I wasn't on stage to show me cool parts of the show, and let me ask questions.”
And of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without meeting the show’s star, Josh Groban.
“I was scared to talk to Josh because he's a big star, but he was hands-down the nicest celebrity I've met. We talked about his song on Beauty and the Beast, and then he invited me to come meet him in his dressing room after the show. He was just so nice and seemed really excited to see me, especially since I got this walk on through his foundation. He also seemed happy that a theatre student got the opportunity to do this. The arts in education really saved my life when I was in school and helped me become the person that I am today.”
Josh Groban's Find Your Light Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience a quality arts education. Josh took the grassroots passion his fans shared with him for arts education and created Find Your Light. As someone who himself was inspired at a young age through his own arts classes, he deeply wanted to pay it forward.
Of the whole experience, Aaron said he would do it again. “I love Broadway, and there is something so amazing about being in a show in front of a live audience. You feed off the energy of the audience, and it makes you perform even better.”
A big thank you to Aaron for taking us behind the scenes of his amazing experience. While you can’t catch Aaron anymore, you can catch Josh Groban as Pierre until July 2. Make sure to get your tickets now before the opportunity, much like a comet, passes you by.