Entertainment

‘Stout’ Attitude Leads to Success

Beck Stout“Creativity is just connecting things.”-­‐Steve Jobs

If that is true, then Becky Elizabeth Stout is a good example of what Mr. Jobs was talking about.
Ms. Stout represents a new type of young performer; one possessing a wide range of expertise,
education, personal experience and optimistic attitude. She connects all of her winning traits together into a
fine-­‐tuned 21st century artist, anchoring it with her dancing skills, but threading it with extra
attention to singing and acting. “If I take one dance class, I will take two acting or singing
classes,” says Stout, who possesses 20+years of dance training and works hard to compliment her
dancing with training in singing and acting. In a world of information and accessibility, where
young talent can be consumed by what they think the professional theatre world expects, Stout
stands as an example of how faith in one’s ability and trust in one’s talent can yield
unprecedented results. She’s not afraid to think outside the box and her fast success is proof she
is doing something right.

Becky Stout was born in Montana, but moved multiple times during her childhood. She gives credit to
these moves in her ability to adapt and be ready to reestablish when necessary. “I could take risks
because everyone didn’t know who I was. I could be a clown. I could jump up and do something,” says
Stout during a recent phone interview. While living in northeastern Washington State, the band
program was very strong, so she played piano and flute. Later in Davis, California during high
school, the jazz choir and dance teams were stronger, so she shifted to include those. “I really
feel these ‘teams’ gave me the ability to work within an ensemble, to understand what teamwork is all about.”
Becky also was an occasional choreographer for these groups and found an early love in
choreography.

On her 17th birthday, Stout took a family trip to New York City. She quickly realized that a move
to Manhattan might not be the best immediate choice. She even felt attending college in NYC
wouldn’t be beneficial. “I wanted a more conventional college experience. I wanted a ‘Ra-­‐Ra’
campus with college sporting events and more tradition.” Stout chose San Diego State to pursue her
degree, a location that provided more experience given her age and ability and supplied more
performance opportunities via local companies like Positive Energy Dance Company where she fell in
love with Latin and Ballroom dance. She also took advantage of San Diego State’s online classes to
allow time away from campus to work on theatre projects, something the new generation of artist
seems to be incorporating in larger numbers. During my interview with Becky, I prodded her to include some items that might seem
self-­‐indulgent if offered without invitation. I wanted to know what made her so balanced and less focused on “all
things theatre.” She credits a year spent abroad studying in Spain for many successes in her life.
She wasn’t afraid to take a year away from performing to find other things she enjoyed. She came
away with fluency in Spanish and gained experience as an ESL teacher (English as a second
language), not to mention the other wonderful benefits of living abroad. Later, she was able to act
as a translator of plays to Spanish for one of the biggest children’s theatres in the country and
she was the only Spanish-­‐speaking Rockette last season, enjoying extra coverage on television stations like
Telemundo requiring a Spanish-­‐speaking artist.

On the downside of the performing career, Stout also recalls many low points over the past few
years and told me she wouldn’t want any readers to think this article might paint a rosier picture.
“I called my mother many times crying, wondering if I was making the right choices,” she recalls.
During a particularly low moment backstage recently, she received some vivid words of wisdom from
actress Mary Beth Peil saying, “Discouragement is normal. If you weren’t discouraged, something
would be wrong,” a point that should stand as example to all performers young and old.

This past year was a big one for Ms. Stout on two accounts. Following three years of working for
well-­‐ respected cruise ships and regional theatres such as the Bigfork Summer Playhouse and
Arizona Broadway Theatre and a move to New York City, Stout was cast in the recent Broadway
transfer of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies to Los Angeles. It was her debut as a member of Actor’s
Equity Association (the Actor’s union) and she performed with Broadway stars like Danny Burstein, Jan
Maxwell, Victoria Clark, Ron Raines, Elaine Paige and the aforementioned Mary Beth Peil to name
just a few in that lauded production. Becky pointed out she almost didn’t get the job. “They were
looking for ‘local’ talent in Los Angeles to fill roles that weren’t transferring from New York.
When the casting agent called and asked where I was located, I said New York. She was ready to hang
up! I screamed ‘Wait! I will fly to Los Angeles for the audition!’ I took three flights back and forth to get that
contract.” Stout landed the role and got to sing and dance with Broadway’s Danny Burstein.

Following a life-­‐long dream, the second milestone for the season came when Becky was cast as a
world-­‐renowned Radio City Rockette. After nine years and fourteen auditions, she was thrilled to
join the famous line of Radio City Rockettes for their 85th annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular
“Shine Tour” visiting St. Louis and Chicago, among other cities.

In closing, I asked Becky what she hopes for the future. What does one desire after obtaining
something like the Rockettes? She quickly and pleasantly answered by saying she would love to make
a Broadway debut and plans on creating fertile ground for a career in teaching. “I love to teach.
Young and old,” sighting her cruise ship experience teaching seniors to dance. “They think they
have nothing more to learn and leave with something new.” That’s Becky Stout. She is always looking
for another way to help create something better. I look forward to watching her future unfold and,
no doubt it will be connected to everything she has accomplished so far.

                                                                                                             Contributed by Curt Olds

 

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