校友 Stories: DeMone Seraphin (Musical Theatre '93)

DeMone Seraphin is an actor/director, artistic director, and educator. DeMone has appeared on Broadway, 在电影, and on television in shows such as MISS SAIGON, 拉格泰姆, 租金, LAW AND ORDER SVU, 和更多的. DeMone is currently a Producing Partner with Avant Bard Theatre in Arlington, VA. DeMone will be the emcee of our 40th Anniversary Gala 5月14日!

What was it like being back at The Academy?

It was far more emotional than I thought it would be, especially when Randy snuck up on me. I had literal tears in my eyes. Although he came to The Academy after I was gone, it was important for me and the black students to see him. In our program, there were only 4 black students. But Randy was a renowned choreographer in the dance world and the students loved to see themselves in him. 另外, Pam Jordan was the voice teacher at the time and she went on to become the Head of School. The Academy was a very different place back then. The teachers were young working professionals, so sometimes the teachers felt like older family. It was very intimate.

What was your favorite memory of The Academy?

My class was THE class to move everything from the old building to the new one. It was such an emotional community effort. We each took one box and kept walking back and forth between schools until everything was moved. “Everybody grab a box”! If it wasn’t on a truck, we carried it. It was like a family move.

Tell me about a teacher who changed your life.

I want to mention Jim Radloff, because he changed a lot of our lives. There is an entire generation of movers and shakers that trace back to Jim. All of the department chairs had a massive impact back on us. It’s a special place and my heart was full every time I walked in the door. Then to come back and see myself in the current kids was so meaningful.

By the time I got to college, I didn’t have to do a lot of tech work because I had already learned it at The Academy. That’s the difference between the teachers at the school and everywhere else.

What was something you were proud of at The Academy?

I got my equity card when I was 16. I started doing shows at the Goodman early on in my high school career. Who else can say that? We were able to compete for the roles at a high level. My best friend at the time auditioned for California Dreams in L.A. There were shows I couldn’t do at The Academy because I was doing shows at Steppenwolf or other theaters in town. The foundation that was laid allowed us to go do those things.

Describe your life after The Academy.

My career really took off at The Academy. I’ve been performing since I was 9, but under the leadership of Joyce Sloan, I was able to work throughout high school. With her support, I have not missed a beat. I went to school, worked through school. I went to college, worked through college. I went to grad school, worked through grad school, and so on. I started a theatre company, I did the Broadway thing, I did some TV stuff – I’ve done it all. 这是伟大的. Now I’m running a theatre company in Washington DC. After this, I’m driving to Virginia to speak about shifting cultures in theatre. So, I’ve been good! I’ve never had to do anything outside of our profession. Even when I’ve taught, I’ve guest lectured at Harvard, Princeton, NYU, and plenty of others.

What is one piece of advice you would give to graduating seniors?

 I would tell them that art without integrity is a sham. You can be as talented as all get-out, but if you’re a horrible human being, you’re a fraud. You must honor you and your neighbors. If you haven’t been kind, you’ve done nothing at all.