It’s so inspiring to see someone who is always striving for more and pushing themselves to new heights! About five minutes into my photoshoot with Casey, he was already explaining his new personal goals after closing his most recent Broadway show. With qualities of both a lighthearted goofball and charismatic leading man, I have no doubt Casey will continue to soar on his journey of being FIT FOR BROADWAY!
NOTE FROM CASEY: Hey guys! Casey Garvin here. So excited to be a part of Fit For Broadway! Being a Broadway performer is incredible, rewarding, but also difficult at times and it’s awesome to see people getting together to talk about the dedication and hard work it takes to maintain our bodies and minds for an 8 show a week schedule! I’m a New Jersey native, have done two Broadway shows, and have a serious addiction to Game of Thrones (the books and the show). I love Broadway, love to have a good time, and now feel like I’m writing a Tinder profile, so let’s get to answering some questions!
“Built for Broadway” from Fit for Broadway Apparel
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Q: Let’s start from the beginning! The early years.. What was the journey like before Broadway?
A: Well, I started really taking the idea of wanting to perform as a career seriously in the middle of High School. I was a chunky goofball theater nerd in middle school, so I got a lot of “no you shouldn’t pursue this”. As corny as it sounds, I had a dream and I didn’t really care what other people thought. So when I realized I truly wanted to do this for real, I pushed myself hard, taking extra ballet classes everyday, stretching every night, commuting into the city once a week for voice lessons. I ended up dropping out of high school after my junior year because I started working, did my whole senior year online, and was able to solely focus on pursuing a career. I went on tour with West Side Story instead of going to college, and then a year after getting off of tour made my Broadway debut in “Bullets Over Broadway”. I don’t think I realized how hard I was pushing myself in the moment because I just loved it so much.
Q: Has your relationship with fitness evolved throughout your career as a performer?
A: Absolutely. I always wanted to workout and be fit in high school, but never knew what to do or how to get the results I wanted, so I definitely didn’t enjoy trying to put in the work in that sense. But as I learned from peers and friends how to workout correctly and what to eat and when, I started enjoying all of it more and more. Of course there are times when it’s hard to stay committed to those goals, but knowing what to do helps to enjoy the work. Now I understand that the effort pays off, my body is at its peak when I consistently work hard, and honestly blowing off some steam at the gym is the best stress reliever.
Q: Can we play “My Workout Week”?
A: This would be a typical schedule when I’m in a show.
M DAY OFF. Play video games, read a book, go somewhere cool. Take the day to myself to just relax and refresh for the week to come, allowing my body and mind to take a break.
T Cardio and core at the gym with a good arm (triceps and chest) workout or a more intense warm up at the theater. Get my blood flowing to start the week right.
W Two show day. No workout, but push ups and crunches before and during the show to build stamina and maintain.
Th Arms (biceps and shoulders) and Cardio and Core at the gym early to recover for the show. If I’m called to a rehearsal, a solid workout right after to recover for the show.
F Usually a lighter day. A nice run to start the day, maybe some core or circuit training and then enjoy a free day.
S Two show day, not normally doing anything but the show.
S Sometimes a run or circuits before a show, but usually just a nice easy going warmup at the theater to let my body rest and make sure it’s going to function probably.
Sprinkled through all of this are dance classes, park workouts, and the occasional day off to just relax and focus on other hobbies and interests. Balance is important and something I have recently been working hard to achieve and maintain.
In most shows, actually doing the show is great exercise, so if you have a week where you can’t workout the show is good to maintain and stay fit and active. But if I’m ever in between gigs, I remind myself that I don’t have the luxury of including the show in my workout routine and try to make up that time in the gym or yoga or dance classes.
Q: It was amazing to hear you just closed a show and already have your sites set on new goals! Can you explain what’s in store for this time post-Disaster the Musical?
A: One thing that I’m working hard on is cooking every meal and always having healthy food/healthier choices in the house. It’s unbelievably easy to order food or eat out in this city, so if I don’t consistently stay on top of buying groceries I fall back in to the pattern of buying each meal out. That leads to weight gain from eating incorrectly, slower energy from not getting the necessary consistent fuel, and spending way more money than I intend on quick and easy food. I now enjoy cooking because it gives my day a specific schedule, makes my energy level sky rocket, and I know exactly what I’m eating and how to get fueled without sacrificing flavor.
I’ve always considered myself fit and try to listen to my body as best I can, but now I’m ready to get to that next step. Someone told me, “You can be out of shape, and you can be unemployed, but you can’t be both.” Unfortunately shows close and I’m so sad to have said goodbye to this one, but I’m already using the free time to really push myself harder and get to the next level. Staying organized and giving myself a set schedule that I stick to are things I’m improving as I learn each day. It’s really hard sometimes to push yourself, especially with the inevitable up and down of this business, but I’m excited to use this time to grow and set and achieve new goals.
Q: What are your tips for managing the stress that can often be associated with this industry?
A: Surrounding myself with good friends, because laughing and having a great time will always keep you sane no matter how low you may feel. Honestly, forgetting about the business side of it helps when I’m stressed because I have to remember we are performers telling stories and entertaining and loving what we do at the root of it, and it’s easy to forget that when you’re trying to sustain a living and support yourself. I try to make sure I either take a dance class just to feel good and live for myself , or try out new hobbies to see what else I enjoy doing that isn’t related to my career, or even just leaving the city and visiting family and friends to remember where I came from and feel refreshed from the craziness of New York. If you’re making good money in a show, don’t get roped in to finally making a good pay check and spending it all on living large. Have a good time, treat yourself, but SAVE THAT PAYCHECK. It’ll help later in the inevitable down times. Living in this city is hard enough, facing rejection based on what you bring to an audition can get you really down and effect your full potential, so maintaining a positive attitude even when it’s hard is vital to your well being as a performer.
Q: Do you believe in the saying “Food is Fuel”?
A: Absolutely. I’m becoming more and more aware of how eating effects my mood, my energy, and my body and mind in general. Of course I’d love to order dominos and pig out with my friends, but then I know I will be sleepy and feel gross. Eating strictly healthy has allowed me to eat more in a day than I ever thought, and I love eating so that’s always positive in my book. Of course there are times when I want flavor over fuel, but it’s important to know how the things you put into your body will effect you.
Q: Any favorite healthy alternatives to traditionally “unhealthy eats”?
A: I’m a sucker for ice cream, especially late at night when I shouldn’t be eating at all. My remedy for that is either a protein shake or a bowl of cereal. I buy unsweetened coconut almond milk that I’m in love with, much better than regular whole milk, to use in protein shakes or cereal. Getting creative with healthy add ins, flavored protein, lots of ice and that milk has literally let myself trick my brain multiple times. I combined the right ingredients to make a chocolate protein shake that tasted like a Wendy’s frosty. It totally was not a frosty, but the consistency and flavor helped curb the craving for a whole pint of Ben and jerrys. (Chocolate protein, coconut almond milk, a scoop of almond butter, and enough ice to make it thick and not liquid.. Way healthier and almost as good) I love using that same milk with granola or a high protein healthier option cereal and adding in fruits and a little honey. The sweet and the crunch makes it less boring to eat, and usually makes me feel full and less likely to go get the ice cream. Grabbing one piece of candy, getting a small ice cream bar instead of a pint, sharing the order of fries instead of a whole side to yourself, it all adds up. I am a big culprit of eating for flavor, but just making those small changes can help point you in a smarter direction. And when I want a bag of chips or an order of fries, making homemade kale chips with a little olive oil and garlic powder has been my saving grace. Let’s be real, if you love bad food and I certainly do, it’s obviously difficult to do your job, so just always trying to chose the healthier option is a great start to making healthier choices.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: As a generic answer, anyone who’s made it, who still loves it, and seems like a genuinely happy person. The people who have made it through the hard times of this industry, are willing to share their knowledge with eager minds, and are wonderful and creative people to work with. Those people inspire me every day to work hard and remember the love, and to always be calm, courteous and collected. Talking to seasoned vets and asking questions has taught me more about myself and what we do more than anything. I am inspired by individual performers and love to think about why I was blown away and apply that to what I bring as a performer. Right now, Tony Yazbeck is an inspiration of mine. A song and dance man (and also more than just that) who, in my opinion, also leaves his heart on the stage. Not to mention he’s played a lot of the roles that I would kill to play, and his wide range of triple threat talents inspire me to work hard on every aspect of what I can do and how I can do it better.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring performers who are working towards a career on Broadway?
A: Stay focused, work hard, and be as positive and happy as you can be. It takes more than talent to thrive in this industry, and your energy walking into a room can set you apart from everyone else. Be kind to everyone, be a positive energy in any room you’re in, and don’t let other’s successes bring you down. Let your down moments or failures fuel you to work harder. It takes courage to put yourself out there, but the risk pays off no matter what. If you try and fail, learn from it and try again, and if you try and succeed, allow yourself to be proud of that. Everyone’s on their own journey and you have to really experience your own failures and successes in order to learn and grow.