It’s no secret I am OBSESSED with The Great Comet. Like seriously completely obsessed so it’s no surprise I’m going for a record of cast member features (and creative team!) on FFB, including today’s FFB inspiration, Josh Canfield! I remember seeing a picture of Josh awhile ago and thinking yep, he’s TOTALLY Fit for Broadway! The next time I saw him was on stage at Comet rocking out in basically a speedo and looking incredible, confident and strong. I reached out to Josh because I knew he’d have amazing fitness and health insight but I was excited to be able to share his journey to Broadway, one of the most unique I’ve heard! If you haven’t seen The Great Comet I highly encourage placing it at the top of your list to get an up close look at, not just some major AB-inspo, but a mind body confidence and spirit of being 100% Fit for Broadway!
NOTE FROM JOSH: Hey guys, this is Josh and heres a quick list of my career and random interests for your scanning pleasure…
- MFA at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- 3rd child of 6
- Puck in a Midsummer Nights Dream in Ohio
- Loves/lives for coffee
- Written 3 full-length musicals
- Jesus in Godspell in Miami
- Plays piano
- Never been to Paris (take me?)
- Was on CBS’ Survivor
- Claude in Hair in Germany
- Cinnamon Rolls are my weakness
- Billy in Anything Goes at Ogunquit Playhouse opposite Andrea McArdle and Sally Struthers
- Great at ping pong
- Plays guitar
- Coffee (yes, again!)
- Rocky in Rocky Horror at Gateway Playhouse
- Yes to volleyball
- Broadway debut was playing Liberius in Doctor Zhivago
- Always up for an amusement park
- Parks and Recreation (duh)
- Other things
Q: Josh! You have had one of the most unique paths to Broadway I have ever heard!! Can we start from the beginning. What was your journey to The Great White Way?
A: When I was a kid, I traveled around the country with my family (8 of us) because my dad was an itinerant preacher, we did a lot of family singing much like the Von Trapp’s. I knew from very young that I enjoyed this performing life, and when my older brother brought home two CD’s of Broadway shows, Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera, it immediately became my dream and goal to be on Broadway. I went to a small christian liberal arts school where I majored in theatre, but upon graduating I had no idea what the next step for me should be. I decided to look into MFA programs. I googled Masters in Musical Theatre, and the first school that came up in the feed was the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It seemed like an interesting adventure, so I decided to apply. Shockingly, I got accepted (I say shockingly because you should have seen my audition tape…yikes.). I moved to Scotland the following September and after completing my degree, London seemed to call me. I worked in the city and around Europe doing theatre for a couple years until I decided I needed to take the leap to NYC. I had never even been to a Broadway show at this point, but knew that the Great White Way was were I should be. After doing the exhausting grind of non-eq in New York, I finally got my American equity card. Booked a few leads in regional productions, and then a little role named Anatole in an off-Broadway production of a strange sounding musical, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. After that, CBS’ Survivor came calling, and then I finally booked that coveted first Broadway credit by playing Liberius in the short-lived production of Doctor Zhivago…and that little 11 year old boys’ dream came true.
Q: Top 3 Tips for energy & focus pre show? Do you have a pre-show ritual?
A: Top 3…
- Coffee (of course)
- Stretching, and brief cardio to get the blood pumping.
- Prayer for safety
Q: How have health and fitness been intertwined into your journey as a performer?
A. I honestly wouldn’t be able to do most of the roles I get cast as without a strict diet and gym regimen. Heating healthy and staying fit is now just intertwined into my daily life as a performer. For instance, my last show before Great Comet was Rocky Horror where I played Rocky. I beefed up 10 pounds by healthy eating and LOTS of protein, plus being at the gym literally everyday.
Q: Fill in the blanks.
A: The best part of being on Broadway is this is so hard, there are so many “best” parts. I guess if I must pick one thing it’s the daily acknowledgment that I had a dream and it came true.
The most challenging part of being on Broadway is having to deal with the crowds in Times Square. Lol!
Q: Your costume for Great Comet is next level!!! What are your go to exercises that make you feel most confident every night on stage?
A: I work on my abs everyday! Ha! They are highly accentuated in the Duel costume, so I make sure I keep them tight. I do many crunches with weights on a medicine ball. Also squats!
Q: Do you have any daily practices that keep you grounded and centered?
A: I usually read a devotional and a chapter from the Bible to keep me centered on what really matters.
Q: I’ve had a recent request from readers who are interested in knowing about your survival jobs pre-Broadway? Any advice for performers who are looking for part time work while auditioning?
A: Lets see, I worked for Abercrombie as a model recruiter, a server at multiple restaurants, an exercise man for assistant living homes, a dresser for west end shows, and a caterer. I suggest catering for those starting out. It’s great pay, and you get to make your own hours, which is great for auditions.
Q: Favorite Fit for Broadway Workouts?
A: I’m all about jumping jacks and squats right before I go on stage!
Q: How does nutrition play a role in feeling your best for each Broadway show?
A: As most of my cast mates could tell you, I don’t eat much sugar. I limit myself to 9grams of added sugar a day. Which is SUPER hard, but I look at the ingredients of everything I eat to check. I think the way I eat does a lot to keep me healthy for the rigorous show I perform every night.
Q: What’s your favorite pre-show meal or snack?
A: Im all about Dig Inn and Fuel for pre-show meals. My go to snack is cashews. And I always eat a Simply Protein bar at intermission. After the show I’m usually ravenous and ANYTHING is game!
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by people who are selfless and take the time out of there busy schedules to help those in our city that are less fortunate. There are many of those beautiful humans doing this in my cast.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: Know what you want and WHY you want it, then commit to going after it with determination. There will be rough times, so find a good group of friends you can rely on and you’ll be just fine. Don’t stop creating even if you’re not on Broadway YET. I started writing a new musical while I was waiting for ‘Broadway to call’, and now I’m getting a workshop of that show with a dream cast!