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Forest Vandyke (Lion King) – Do your craft, show love, the universe will follow you

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Originally from Austin, Texas, Forest Vandyke is an actor/singer currently in The Lion King’s US National Tour and has been a working actor in NYC for over 10 years. With a passion for singing through his Father and acting through study at Texas State University, Forest continues to work both on camera and in the theater.

How long have you been a part of the industry?
I’ve been a professional actor for about 17 years.

What inspired you to pursue acting, writing, directing?
I have always lived in my head and created stories and characters and have loved observing people. I’m curious about them and the world. I learned it is possible to take what I was doing in my little room and do it for a living. I just love it and there is nothing else (besides singing) I could think about doing every day. I know this is what I’m put here to do.

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What work are you most proud of recently?
Hmnm. I would say I’m most proud of the current show I’m in rehearsals for, The Lion King U.S. Tour! I have put in a lot of work and time, doubts and fears, successes, etc to get here and I am so grateful for this opportunity! Along the way I’ve been able to be in some other great shows: West Coast premiere of “Choirboy”, world premier of “Dog Man: The Musical” and, most recently the world premier of “Mystic Pizza: A New Musical” at Ogunquit Playhouse!

What advice would you give to actors, writers, filmmakers?
Practice your craft as much as you can. For the sake of the craft. Doesn’t matter where that is. A friend’s living room, over Zoom, in a rented space if possible, in a class. Doing the work puts out a message to the universe that this is what you want and what you enjoy doing. Then watch the universe meet you where you are.

How do you stay motivated and active in your career?  
Honestly, there have been ebbs and flows. I think what has kept me coming back is the fact that I know this is what I’m here to do and I wouldn’t want to do anything else at this point in my life. I love getting to tell stories. I love the potential theater and the arts have of illuminating something in the viewer/audience that they didn’t know was there. It’s the potential for growth and change in them.

What are you working on now?
I am in rehearsals now in Nashville to play the role of Banzai (one of the hyenas) in The Lion King National Tour and I’m having a blast!

How can we learn more about you?
forestvandyke.com

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