James Busam

Student Story

James Busam

What are you currently doing for your career?

The summer I graduated from RC, I was cast professionally in “Xanada the Musical” at Meadow Brook Theatre as an ensemble member and an understudy. I ended up going on for one of my understudy roles and from there accepted a full-time position as an actor intern for a year. I was then hired professionally to play Fred (and later, young Scrooge) in “A Christmas Carol.” Myself and other castmates were also featured singing songs from the show on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Fox 2 for four years. I have worked professionally ever since. I was hired for Waterworks Theatre’s “Shakespeare in the Park” in Royal Oak, where I played the host in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” I was later cast as Andrew in “The Cross and The Light” at the Detroit Music Hall.

I have also worked for the Open Book Theatre Company playing Mr. Grempkin and fighting prawn in “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Most recently, I was cast by the Detroit Actors Theatre as Johnny in “American Idiot,” and it was an amazing experience! This role led to being nominated for and winning Best Actor in a Musical by the company, as well as a nomination in same category from broadwayworld.com’s Detroit Awards.

How did RC’s theatre program help you achieve what you have become?

RC’s program was so great for me because I had the help and one-on-one attention from professors and mentors I needed to succeed! I came into RC as a transfer student wanting to be serious about a professional career in theatre and what I got was so much more. I learned so much because I was given the opportunity to work on all aspects of theatre, including lights, sound, costume design and set building. Because of Rochester’s small community feel, I was able to benefit from having to work as a team instead just being an actor or just being a student. It also gave me a chance to step up and become a leader. I was inspired and cared for by so many staff and faculty that it made me want to do the same for new students, friends, classmates and castmates.

What advice would you give to students who are thinking about becoming theatre majors at RC?

The theatre industry can be really hard and discouraging, but my time at RC also taught me to love and trust God, and through this foundation, I have been able to trust that with each audition and job, I am heading exactly where God wants me to go.

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