After 14 years of performing for Walt Disney World, former Junior Guilder Amy Livingston has a message for aspiring young actors and actresses: be yourself.
Recently, Livingston returned to the Lucille Ball Little Theatre to speak with current Junior Guilders about the importance of perseverance when pursuing a career in acting.
"She's easily the most successful actress to come out of the Junior Guilders program," said Helen Merrill, Little Theatre board member. "We've had guilders go on to be doctors and lawyers and politicians and teachers and scholars, but with regard to acting, she's the most successful person to come out of our program."
Junior Guilders Taylor Techow, center, and Cameron Hurst, right, present Amy Livingston with a gift of flowers and chocolates during her recent appearance at Lucille Ball Little Theatre.
P-J photos by Remington Whitcomb
The Junior Guilders pose for a picture with former Junior Guilder Amy Livingston, now an actress with Disney.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
Currently, Livingston is celebrating her 14th year of acting for Walt Disney World, where she primarily played the character Ariel from "The Little Mermaid." More recently, she's taken a full-time position playing Dory in a stage production of "Finding Nemo."
Away from the Magic Kingdom, Livingston has acted in many regional commercials, as well as a few national commercials for www.alarm.com and Bob Evans.
Additionally, Livingston has just finished shooting the second season of a show called "Game On," which is her first television role. The show is currently syndicated in Italy, Spain and France, and is currently looking for a network in the United States to pick it up.
During a question and answer session with the Junior Guilders, Livingston gave the guilders her best advice on how to succeed in a mercurial field such as acting.
"It's a tough road, and I am not going to lie and say it isn't," said Livingston. "Being an actress, especially in music theatre, is tough. Just be resilient and know that you are talented, even though you may not get every part you audition for. The best thing you can do is be yourself - trust your heart and be a good person. Love the people that support you, too, because it's a small world after all, and everyone is connected. Ten years from now you might come to Disney, and I could remember you. Just be kind, polite and prompt - and always be prepared. You each know you have it in you, so always be your best. That's the best favor you can do for yourself."
After many different guilders asked, Livingston broke down and agreed to sing a song for them, even though she was not entirely prepared to do so. Pianist Lucy Miller had the score for "Part of Your World" from "The Little Mermaid," so Livingston agreed to perform it. Her performance was met with thunderous applause when she was finished.
"I really think fondly about my time spent in Junior Guilders as a child," said Livingston. "It opened my eyes - being on so many stages and working as a community of players - I think that's one reason why I've succeed in this business. There are no small parts. You've got to make the most of what you've got, and Junior Guilders taught me that. I have one memory about guilders that will always stay with me. I was 7 years old, and we were singing at a nursing home. There was an elderly lady sitting in the back crying because she thought what we were doing was the greatest thing she had ever seen. I remember hugging her and thinking how wonderful it was to be able to make someone's day better by singing for them. All the little things you do on stage can add up and change someone's life. Don't be afraid to give your best, no matter what the stage or who is watching."
Just as Livingston did during her early years with Disney, the Junior Guilders will be performing "The Little Mermaid Jr." at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre on Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 15-18. Shows begin at 8 p.m. with the exception of Sunday shows, which begin at 2 p.m. For information about tickets, call 483-1095 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.