“Hey, I’m DeMarius R. Copes – originally from Birmingham, AL. Started doing theatre when I was 15 and I probably have buffalo wings at least 4 times a week. I’m currently on tour with the Philip Company of Hamilton. I left Mean Girls on Broadway in June and joined this tour in August of this year.
Q: Can we start from the beginning… What was your journey to Broadway?
A: I started training as dancer when I was 15 yeas old. I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do in the entertainment world but I definitely didn’t grow up wanting to specifically be on Broadway. I just knew that I wanted to entertain people – be on stage, perhaps. I went to college for musical theatre and did a few regional jobs while I was still in school. Then, I got the opportunity to be a part of the original touring cast of the Newsies First Nat’l tour when I was 20. From there I was able to work with some awesome choreographers and directors when I finished the tour about 19 months after we opened. One of those being Casey Nicholaw who exactly a year later, I was able to work with on the developmental lab of the Mean Girls Musical, then I stayed with the show through it’s opening on Broadway in April of 2018.
Q: What’s your personal definition of being “Fit for Broadway”?
A: I think that the phrase Fit for Broadway goes further than physical fitness and for me it has a lot to do with mental fitness. We get the wonderful opportunity of working directly with people everyday and because of that, it’s best that we’re in a good mindset to do so 8x a week. A lot of times, if the moral of the company you keep it’s in good shape then, it would be a little harder to tell the story effectively and truthfully. I find that taking care of my mental health (and that means something different for everybody) allows me to willingly come to work with a smile on my face, ready to do the show every chance that I get.
Q: How have health and wellness been a part of your journey as a performer?
A: A good friend of mine, who’s been in the business a bit longer than me, told me early on that the show needs to be the highlight of my day. Meaning that I should try to stray away form doing anything that was going to make me physically incapable of performing to the best of my abilities. So, I find that I need different things on different days. Some days, I need to do yoga as soon as I wake up because my body is cranky, some days I want to ride a bike a long the water, etc. I’m not the most routine person and that’s what works for me. That being said, there’s ALWAYS room for dance, voice, acting, and camera classes. That’s where the real work comes in. Perfecting the craft in a classroom setting so that you feel the most comfortable on stage in front of audiences.
Q: Top 3 tips for maintaining energy for your show.
- Drink all the water you can handle without exploding.
- Safe space in your day for moments of stillness.
- Make sure you eat before the show. And if you can’t, get some things at the theatre that you can snack on between stage time and during intermission.
Q: What are 3 lessons you wish you had learned in school about this career?
- I wish I’d focused on how to manage my time and money a little better.
- The importance of being incredible kind to EVERY person involved in your work place. We’re all here working towards the same goal.
- In the colder months, you have to work a little harder to get the body and voice to where they need to be for a good show 😉
Q: What’s been a personal challenge you’ve had to navigate as a performer?
A: I think that realizing that not everyone is the same in regards to the morals and standards helpful in the work place. Some people are only in the building to do the job and go home with little to no extra human interaction. I’m the opposite of that person and an extreme extrovert. So, I had to be okay with not being friends with everybody.
Q: What is a surprising hack, tool, or practice that keeps you “Fit for Broadway” that people might not expect?
A: To circle back around to the mental aspect of being fit, especially while on tour, I have to talk to one friend that’s not on this tour at least once everyday.
Q: Can you tell us about life on tour? What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
A: Life on tour can feel very distant from the rest of the theatre world. We don’t have the luxury of goings to auditions or classes in the city and seeing all of our friends or meeting for happy hour on our day off to catch up with people. We can’t go see other shows or be in the know of the things that are happening in our respective major cities. The biggest lesson I’ve learned on tour is to connect with the local people in each city and try to gather the not so tourist-y information about the place and the people who live there. You never know when a job will take you back to some of these places and you can say “Hey, I’ve been here and I know a few cool things about this place that you can’t just learn with a quick visit to google.”
Q: Top 5 products, companies or brands that are shaping your healthy lifestyle right now.
- Spotify (because music, amirite?)
- Youtube (I like to watch different video blogs and what not)
- RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Q: Fill in the blanks…
A: The best part of working on Broadway is… getting to say you’ve worked on Broadway.
The most challenging part of working on Broadway is… the ever changing schedule of working on Broadway. Lol
We don’t get much time off to leave jobs to go visit family at home outside of NYC and that sometimes gets extremely tough with the limited amount of off time that we get every year.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I’m constantly inspired by the extremely hardworking people around me. My friends in and out of the theatre world who continue to get up and grind towards their next goal every single day regardless of the obstacles. I’m very grateful to have developed a contact book of people who are genuinely excited to be doing whatever it is that they chose to do and that’s incredibly inspiring.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: Please know that we’re not entitled to ANYTHING. Take in every moment that you’re allowed to better your craft. Open your eyes, open your ears. Listen carefully before you respond. Make sure you mean everything you say, if you don’t mean it then don’t say it. Kindness will ALWAYS win.”
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