Welcome to Dear Theater Mom.com!
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Linda Harkcom. I am a theater mom. I became a theater mom in 2004 when I enrolled my son Ben in a musical theater camp at the age of seven.
In the Spring of that year, Ben decided he wanted to sing in a couple of talent shows, the first at his school and the second, an area wide contest. While performing in the second show, it was clear to the judges that he had natural talent. They were shocked to learn he had not received any formal training outside of his school music class and encouraged me to get him voice lessons.
At seven he was too young for most programs I found and the programs I did find, he was too mature for. I finally found musical theater camp at a local community college. While it wasn’t voice lessons, it did involve singing so we gave it a try. From day one he was hooked and there was no going back.
Two years later he began performing with a local community theater and his second show, my daughter Aliya, then four, was asked if she would be in the cast. From that point on I had two on stage. Again we received guidance by one of the experienced actor/directors who was herself a theater mom with three amazingly talented children. She encouraged me to take him to get formal training at one of the area’s top theatrical schools. Thus began my children’s professional training and within a year, Ben appeared in two professional productions with one of the top regional theater companies in the country.
Fast forward to now, with well over 100 shows both professional non-professional, in each of my of children’s credits, we pretty much eat sleep and breath musical theater at our house. Both have also have some TV/film and other live performance experience.
For years people have called me with questions from “I have a kid who likes to sing where should I begin” to “We have an audition coming up, how do you make a resume,” “What should I do about a headshot,” and many others.
One day, after spending about an hour talking a father through prep for his daughter’s first professional audition, I first began to think of creating this site. Being a professional writer for most of my life, in one capacity or another, I saw it as a potential way to marry my personal life experience with my professional life.
My decision wasn’t solidified until after navigating the world of college auditions, which are highly competitive and confusing. It’s so incredibly important to have guidance or to even know the right questions to ask. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing a kid or talking to a parent, that is in the midst of it and woefully unprepared. In my opinion, for maximum success and lower stress levels, parents and their children should begin preparing years in advance, by gaining knowledge and proper training.
After going through the process twice, once with a boy and once with a girl, I have learned and experienced so much that I can use to help others. I’m happy to say we came out successfully on the other side of the process. My son now has a BFA in Musical Theater from, one of the best musical theater programs in the country, the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. He is now an Equity actor, living and working in New York City. My daughter is a BFA Acting student at Wright State University, one of the top programs for training well rounded actors who are prepared to do it all, sing, dance, act on stage, screen and even do voiceovers.
I am committed to sharing the information I have garnered over the years to help parents and their children. I combine my knowledge with my years of professional coaching experience to help parents and their children successfully reach their goals, whether that be college, a career or both, through one on one and group coaching.
I also use this blog to write about topics I have been asked about in the past, things I have observed over the years as well as new topics provided by you, the theater mom/dad, dance mom/dad, acting mom/dad or voice mom/dad. Really any parent who has a child interested in any part of the entertainment industry can benefit from my knowledge and this site.
I hope to fill these virtual pages with information that will be as beneficial to the beginner as to those who have been doing this for quite a while themselves. If there is a topic I am unsure of and sometimes even when I do have experience in a subject, I plan to consult entertainment industry as well as college audition experts for their input. I hope to also utilize my reporter skills to bring you interviews with other parents who have been where you are now as well as children who have been through the process and industry professionals such as directors, agents, casting agents, managers, etc.
Check back here often or follow us on FaceBook at Facebook.com/deartheatermom to be notified about new articles or to suggest a topic.
Many have helped me learn the ropes over these 17+ years and I look forward to helping all of you.
Dear Theater Mom
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*Information contained in this blog post updated April 2022.