Performing Arts

Weekly conversations and insights on the fine line between setback and success in the performing arts. Fellow creatives share their own journey as artists and the lessons learned along the way with host Patrick Oliver Jones, an actor who knows first-hand the ups and downs we all face.


Samantha Figgins is currently in her sixth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. But what many people don't know is that this gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. In this episode, she shares her love of dance, her passion in telling stories, and the discipline that makes it all possible.

Listen to the previous episode all about Alvin Ailey.

Dance Spirit cover in 2013 

Watch Samantha dance in Revelations on TED: 

Follow her: Instagram / Twitter 


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The time and expense needed to bring these guests and conversations to you each week is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode.


"I Been 'Buked" and "Fix Me, Jesus" arranged by Hall Johnson. G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.

"Kitty In The Window" by Podington Bear is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Based on a work at

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When it comes to the performing arts and certainly to dance, there are few people more worthy of admiration, of inspiration and imitation than Alvin Ailey. He was both uniquely gifted and qualified to tell the African-American experience which he lived and saw and reacted to through the art of dance. 

If you follow me or the podcast on social media, you know that I’m a white man who also grew up in the South. I was certainly witness to and heard tinges of racism growing up, but was fortunately sheltered for the most part from those who held such a deep-seeded hatred. A bigotry that Ailey knew first-hand. Growing up in the South, he had his own struggles with self-esteem due to the acts of racial violence so prevalent in those formative years.
Within the theater, we have playwrights and lyricists who can put difficult feelings and hard lessons into words. They show us parts of humanity that can be both glorious and despicable. But theater is not with us right now, the stage is silent. And so in the last few days, in light of the events that led to George Floyd‘s death and its aftermath, I have looked for and listened to past voices for both understanding and action, comfort and courage. 
One of my most treasured experiences and memories of being here in New York City is getting to watch the Alvin Ailey American dance concerts each winter and summer. They consist of powerful and moving performances by amazingly talented dancers. And so it was only natural that my thoughts would go to the stories and emotions told through the pieces that Alvin Ailey choreographed himself, namely his iconic Revelations, which was inspired by his involvement within the Southern Black church. In fact, all of his work came forth from the people and places and experiences of his life. 
People and choreography discussed: 

Videos and interviews used in the making of this episode:


The time and expense needed to compile and edit this epiosde was at times challenging but ultimately rewarding. Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode. 

For further insights on the topics covered in this episode follow on Twitter @winmipodcast: 

Quotes and unreleased audio clips follow on Instagram @winmipodcast: 

Do you have questions or stories of your own? Share them with me: 


Music used in this episode:

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On the second half of AUDITION STORIES we dive into the comparison game with Justin Guarini. This kind of jealousy is so common to actors and affects us in the audition room more than we know.

Former guests share their experiences from onstage to on-camera, from the wonderful to the embarrassing, and everything in-between. (Listen to Part One as well.)

Those featured in this episode:



I want this podcast to be a resource for you as you discover more ways to pursue a career in this industry and sustain it through the many ups and downs that follow. You can always reach out to me:

Also, don't forget Miata Edoga's special financial empowerment offer for WINMI listeners from Abundance Bound.
For further insights and unreleased audio clips of these episodes, you can be a part of the WINMI community on Twitter and Instagram (@winmipodcast).

Lastly, this podcast is supported through kind donations of listeners like you by buying me a coffee.

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ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students. It’s goal was to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.
ASTEP is deeply committed to empowering individuals who suffer from an absence of choice, especially children. The right to choose is a fundamental human right, and we strive to end the poverty that robs us of that humanity. The performing and visual arts create a unique safe space to rediscover choice.
To talk about that mission as well as the recruiting and training of volunteer teaching artists is ASTEP’s Manager of Programs, Samantha Manfredi. She shares how these programs currently serve youth affected by immigration status, homelessness, gun-violence, incarceration, the justice system, HIV/AIDS, systemic poverty, and the caste system. Yet despite all these challenges ASTEP finds a way to reach these young people and change their lives. 
The Teaching Artists are highly successful Broadway performers, professional artists, or students and faculty from schools such as Juilliard, offering a variety of disciplines such as dance, visual art, music, and drama. They become transformative role models by combining their passion for the arts and their ability to use artistic tools to teach important life skills to young people around the world.
Learn how you can support ASTEP through a DONATION or as a TEACHING ARTIST.
Join the WINMI community by following on Instagram or Twitter as well as reaching out to Patrick with any questions or comments:
Your donation will go directly into the podcast, helping to grow the WINMI community and allowing me to do so with greater ease and effectiveness. I wouldn't be here without listeners like you, so your donations are greatly appreciated. All donors will be recognized in a future episode for their generosity.
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Welcome to the first annual Auditions episode! I’ll be sharing stories from those in the audition room as well as some tidbits of wisdom along the way. For the past few months during my conversations with guests I've asked them about their own audition stories. I saved those tales of wonder and woe, so I could bring them to you now for the first time. And that’s what today is going to be all about…sharing and commiserating on auditions - the good, the bad, and the funny. 
Here are the guests featured today with links to the their previous/upcoming episodes:

A big thank you to each of my guests for sharing their personal tales of triumph and dismay and also to you for joining me on this fun and insightful episode.


Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode.
Join the WINMI community by following on Instagram or Twitter as well as reaching out to Patrick with any questions or comments:
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Welcome to your favorite holiday: Tax Day! One of the most difficult but important issues we face in the arts is our finances. How to make more of it and how to spend (and save) it in the best way possible.

Rebecca Selkowe, head of the Financial Wellness Program at The Actors Fund, covers some of the challenges people working in performing arts and entertainment face when trying to balance variable income and expenses, and also touches briefly on important tax issues. A performing artist’s financial life is complex, so it’s easy to get confused when trying to organize your money. This episode will help you distinguish between regular and irregular income, and determine what this means for building yourself a financial cushion, saving for periodic expenses and investing for your future.

The overall goal of the Financial Wellness program? Establishing a stable method of managing your finances. So check out their free classes and seminars today!

Learn more about Rebecca Eve Selkowe and her book Dominate Your Debt.


Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode.
Join the WINMI community by following on Instagram or Twitter as well as reaching out to Patrick with any questions or comments:


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A good friend of mine and the podcast joins me for the first interview of 2019!

Tovi Wayne opens up about starting dance late in his performing career and how that put him behind other dancers but also motivated him to get better, to learn as much as he could.

He came to NYC with the dream of being in NEWSIES and through a lot of hard work finally did a regional production of the show down in Florida. But he certainly has a long career ahead of him with more shows he wants to do!

So join the conversation as we dig a little deeper into what it takes to make it in this business and why we keep going.


Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode.
Join the WINMI community by following on Instagram or Twitter as well as reaching out to Patrick with any questions or comments:


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