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David Valdez

Published April 22, 2015

David ValdezName: David Valdez

Position in School of Theatre: MFA Theatre Management – ℅ 2014

Hometown: Tampa, Florida


1.  How did you get your start in theatre?

I always enjoyed going to the theatre growing up; every year, my parents had season tickets to the performing arts center in town. My first memory of theatre was seeing CATS, sitting on the aisle, which was actually horrifying for a five-year-old. Later on, still many moons ago, I was an instrumentalist at a performing arts high school. It was my freshman year and an audition notice for the musical was posted everywhere. Some of my friends were trying out so I went with them — to see what all the fuss was about. I remember auditioning with the original cast recording in the background, practically screaming “I Want to Make Magic” over Gavin Creel’s voice on the CD (who was I kidding, really!). Callbacks were the weirdest thing I had ever experienced, and somehow, I was cast in Children of Eden, my first show ever. I remember my director, now a dear friend of mine, saying, “Next time, just leave the cast recording at home.” I guess, now, it is all history.

2.  What is the best performance you have ever seen OR what is the craziest thing that has happened to you during a performance?

I have been lucky enough to see some really amazing performances; Judith Light in Other Desert Cities, Heather Headley in Aida, Joe Mantello in The Normal Heart, and Jonathan Pryce in The Caretaker… but, I must say, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem was probably the most incredible, realized, and inspired performance I have ever seen. I remember not being able to speak for about 20 minutes after leaving the theatre. Simply incredible!

3.  If you could have any career outside of theatre, what would it be and why?

I am really inspired by travel and cuisine, so probably a travel and/or food critic.

4.  What inspires you in your free time/what do you do for fun?

See #3. No, but really, I am fortunate enough to have my family relatively near by, so I enjoy spending time with them. I love traveling and learning new things. I love theatre, food, wine, and beer. I enjoy yoga and baking and film. I will try most things once. I have many interests – never a dull moment, except when my INTJ self is a little overwhelmed; then it is just relaxing on the couch.

5.  What brought you to Florida State?

Before coming here for graduate school, I had a bunch of friends in the theatre department, so I came up here to see them in shows. (Remember RENT and HAIR? Oh, the good ol’ days.) After undergrad, I was accepted into an MBA program, but put it off after I (apparently) nailed a last-minute audition at FPTA. I worked on and off stage at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota for two seasons, and eventually decided to apply for MFA Management programs. Florida State was one of five programs I was accepted to, and FSU just felt right.

6.  If you could give an aspiring theatre artist or arts administrator any piece of advice, what would it be?

I would probably say, “Know yourself. Step out of your comfort zone. Take risks.” Theatre lessons are life lessons.

7.  Wild Card Question: If you were a television character, who would you be and why?

That is a great question! I rarely watch television without recommendation, so I feel like I have a limited understanding of what the kids are watching these days. Anyway, I loved Will’s style, humor, and delivery on Will & Grace growing up; I will always relate strongly to Will and his crazy friends. I wish I were a badass like Walter White (Breaking Bad) and I wish I were as talented as Chris Lilley (Summer Heights High, Ja’mie: Private School Girl).