The Most Talented People I Have Ever Known

I assure you, acting talent is something you are born with. It can be improved upon, but it can not be learned without the initial talent itself.

 Actors are highly regarded in our society. Some of them deserve this admiration: Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis… some actors truly catch your attention. And while it may be nice to meet these people  from Hollywood— even talk to them just for a minute, I want to talk to you about some actors I know personally. They may not be famous yet, but they will be. And I’ll get to say, “I knew them when…”

In no particular Order—

Brendan McCay:

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I met Brendan during play auditions during college in 2007. I was beyond nervous and he offered words of encouragement. I first saw Brendan act in 2009, where he played Jack, in The Importance of Being Earnest. It’s here where I learned the young man has a knack for being extremely expressive with his face, is excellent at comedic timing, and can do wonders with his voice. We got to work together in 2010 for a student directed one-act play.  A Cold Day in Hell, in which Brendan played Steven, a man who dies and is shocked to learn he’s gone to ‘the bad place.’ This experience was especially enjoyable, because I felt as though I was working with one of the greats. After college, Brendan took to working with an improv troupe. I’ve seen him perform three times and it’s always a barrel of laughs. The last time I saw him perform, some family came along. I was worried they would be hard to please, but in the end, they were raving at how he had talent and was ‘the best one up there.’

 Brendan now lives in L.A, living the dream. I know it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in a comedy pilot or on SNL.

Brendan as Jack in 'Earnest.'

Brendan as Jack in ‘Earnest.’

See a bit of Brendan’s talent in his acting reel:

JJ Hansen: 

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JJ and I went to high school together. He was a few years younger than me, so I didn’t get to see him perform until much later. I saw JJ in two separate shows where he essentially mimed — making the audience laugh without speaking. His talent will remind you of Charlie Chaplin or one of the three stooges. His talent is one you can’t exactly describe. But, his gift is the ability to make you laugh. Being funny isn’t an easy thing. Take away speech and it’s even harder. But JJ succeeds.

 A few years later, I saw JJ perform in a student- written work at his college. The story was a series of vignettes. But one stood out in my mind. Something I truly had never seen on stage before. JJ portrayed a Rooster in this scene. There’s this running joke that once actors get into a serious school, their first acting exercise is to pretend to be a an inanimate object or a strange animal. And here was JJ, as a rooster. While this might have been daunting for most people, JJ embraced the role. The audience was in stitches. It’s one of those things you wish you had on video because it was so great. Physical comedy came into play and JJ is a master at that.

 A few years ago, JJ landed a spot in a commercial, which you can see here:

 Matthew Cordon:

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Have you heard of a triple threat? A triple threat is a term given to an actor who can act, sing and dance. Not every actor can do all three. But if you are a lucky one, you are basically set. Matthew is a triple threat and a joy to see perform. He was the brother to one of my friend’s in high school. I remember visiting said friend and Matthew was playing the piano and singing as well. I knew then, that this young man was one to watch.

 Matthew and I always joked that I never got to see him perform. I’d always hear stories from his brother, that he had just landed the lead in some musical downtown. It wasn’t until 2009, when I visited my old high school and got to see Matthew portray Dickon in The Secret Garden. It was here I finally got to see Matthew show off his talent. The young man is a gifted tenor, exquisite dancer, and can be dramatic in a way that feels sincere. I saw him perform once more in a professional production of Spring Awakening, playing the part of Mortitz. Here, Matthew’s vocal performance was in high gear, particularly during the number, “Don’t Do Sadness.”

 Matthew is one of those actors who would be brilliant for Broadway, and I wish him the best. I know he resides in Florida, currently.

See a bit of Matthew in Spring Awakening:

I mention these three, because they truly are masters of their craft. Each of them has unique talents.  And, for me, it’s a pleasure to have know them.  I wrote this entry, because, I found myself wishing I could  meet a handful of famous, great actors. And then I realized, Wait a minute. I already know some amazing ones!

So, keep their names in your mind.   Because — you might just see them in lights.

I take no credit for the videos or images in this post.

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