Interview Christina Gomes
Photography Sarah Roberts
Amidst Skyler’s captivatingly robust personality, it is no surprise that he’s involved in musical theater. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, the 25-year-old actor, singer, and dancer moved to New York City last February. Skyler Bean’s passion for theater began at a very early age. He debuted into the world of performance at just 8 years old when he had his first dance role in his elementary school pep assembly. A pivotal moment for Skyler, it was during this performance that he discovered his love of being on stage. Today, he still carries that rush—the energy an audience exudes—in all of his work.
Along with the excitement from his first time on stage, Skyler was greatly inspired by his older sister to pursue musical theater. The many days of listening to her sing songs from Hairspray in the back of the car, on their way to school, eventually transformed into his own unique passion for theater. In his early teens, he began working with his community and participating in the theaters his sister had before him.
Teaching was Skyler’s greatest instructor in musical theater. During the summers, 17-year-old Skyler led workshops with groups of children. “I loved teaching, I did. I loved how much I grew, personally and as an artist, and being able to just do it every day.” All of the advice and instruction he provided his students, he parroted back to himself at his next audition. He then taught at Counterpoint Studio of Music and the Performing Arts at 19. During his last two years of college, Skyler taught three classes a week—jazz, hip-hop, and tap—and choreographed for three performance groups. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2012 with a double-major in English Literature and European History. While he did not study theater at ASU, he did perform a few shows with the university and worked all over Phoenix. Foregoing theater in his coursework offered him ample time to perform in hundreds of shows, gaining valuable experience that he brought with him to his new city.
From over two decades ago to this very day, the same energy fuels Skyler’s passion for performance—the ecstasy of being on stage in conjunction with the palpable connection he experiences with his audiences. “That connection is very, very important and it drives me to continue to perform.” An aspect of today’s theater he revers is the actors’ ability to make an audience think and feel. Actors provide a “lens” to their audience that allows both parties to explore a new point of view, personality, or even reality. While an audience gets enveloped in an enthralling performance, for the talent on stage it’s more than “just putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, it’s about finding the part of that [character] that’s already inside of you. It’s about exploring within yourself, and exploring humanity.” With a keen eye for nuances, Skyler strives to explore “the tapestry of humanity” in all of his roles. Whether it’s in a comedic role (his favorite) or a dramatic role, he is sure to leave you buzzed with emotion.
Currently Skyler is preparing for his one-year anniversary in NYC—aka the big audition season fast approaching in February. The fierce competition this city presents drives Skyler to consistently perfect his necessary assets. “So much of the New York auditions are about just having the determination to walk in, stand, and deliver…every time.” He notes that this endurance is crucial for any type of success in the industry. With 30 seconds to impress a panel who’s been watching the same thing over and over again, actors must bring 200% to each and every audition. “Go all in,” Skyler advises to any aspiring actor/actress, “If you want to be there, on Broadway, it’s all in from the very beginning. Everything has to be about that. Every single thing in your life has to be circumscribed around this singular goal, which is terrifying but amazing. If you really live for it, you will get there.”
According to Erving Goffman, we are all actors acting at all times. However, it’s people like Skyler who push past the boundaries of their given reality to truly “explore humanity.” For a moment, the rest of us take a break, and enjoy the magic of alternate worlds that theater amply provides. Throughout his career, Skyler has brought this magic to countless people through musical theater. We are very excited to showcase part of this wonder to WIP as he performs a few songs. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates on when and where you can see Skyler perform in the near future!