Most actors dream of moving to New York and landing a big role on Broadway, but for Isaac Powell that dream is a reality. Just two months after graduating from college, Isaac was cast as Daniel in the revival of Once On This Island. He stars in the show with Hailey Kilgore (also making her Broadway Debut) and they get to perform alongside Broadway royalty, Lea Salonga and Norm Lewis. We asked Isaac where his love of theater began and what his Broadway experience has been like so far.
When did you start acting and know that you wanted to be on Broadway?
When I was in the seventh grade. I tried a lot of different sports and none of them were really sticking. I didn’t really like sports very much, and then I met these two girls who were really active in our community theater and they invited me to come and audition for that year’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I did it and I got in.
Who did you play in The Wizard of Oz?
I was a Munchkin. But it was really fun for me. It was the first time I really felt like I was doing something that I was enjoying in the same way that my family enjoyed playing sports. It felt like I had found my thing. I loved it so much that I just kept doing it, and I started learning more about Broadway musicals and got really interested in that whole culture. I took my first trip to New York and saw my first Broadway show and fell in love with it and that was that.
What was the first Broadway show that you saw?
I saw Legally Blonde. It was wonderful, I just really fell in love with it.
I ended up going to a performing arts high school where I studied more theater, and then transferred from that to a rigorous boarding program at the North Carolina School of the Arts. That’s where I really got serious and started to have more confidence in my abilities and got the courage to really try for it. It was there that I decided that I would go to a conservatory program to study and I auditioned for all of the top programs. I had really fallen in love with North Carolina School of the Arts because I spent a year there and it was close to home and the training was excellent. I decided to audition there and I got into that program.
I spent four years there and at the end of the four years, I auditioned for a bunch of shows and I got some summer work. While I was doing my summer work, I found out that I had gotten Once On This Island.
How does it feel to land on role on Broadway so quickly?
It feels really surreal. I had spent five years studying rigorously, and I told myself I wanted to be on Broadway within five years. I wanted to get out of it what I put into it and so I was really expecting to come here and audition my butt off for several years just to be seen by casting directors and be recognized for doing good work in the audition room, and then eventually I would book something. It was actually my third audition in New York and I ended up getting it. I had never really entertained the thought of actually booking the job, and so to hear from my agent’s mouth that I had booked it, it was a total out‑of‑body experience.