"After I got the part in Dream Girls, I kept asking myself, 'How did I get here?' "
"I moved from New York to Florida... I only had a one-way ticket..."
Melvy Concepcion has hit the road. After performing acting and two modeling showcases at SHINE, Melvy is one of a small handful of performers to get a standing ovation for a on-camera monologue at SHINE. A native of Orlando, Florida, Melvy recently relocated to New York City, where he currently pursues acting and modeling full-time. Having performed as the announcer in a production of Broadway’s Dreamgirls and after a recent appearance in a New York runway show, we wanted to learn where Melvy got his start, and how his faith walk is impacting his future and the entertainment world.
When did you first become interested in acting?
I never thought that I would do acting professionally. That was not even in my mind until I met the people at SHINE. And it wasn’t even acting that I was interested in; I was interested in modeling. And then I came to the audition and it opened up a whole different world for me.
What was your favorite memory from SHINE?
The environment. It was just great to be around so many other people who have a passion for the arts and love God at the same time. Whenever I talk to someone about it, I’m at a loss for words to describe the awesome experience that SHINE is. You have to experience it for yourself. It’s such a great event to be around so many people who love the Lord and want to pursue their dreams while also completing the purpose that God has created them for.
Did you expect to wow the judges as an actor?
Not at all! I had no idea that the opportunity even existed. In my mind, looking back it was all God’s grace, because He aligned every one of the showcases that I participated in. After it happened, I went back and read the SHINE study modules again, because I kept asking myself, “How did I get here?” And then I realized the performances I chose became a perfect fit for me. So when I saw that, I was like, this is nothing but God’s grace. Because I had no idea. I prayed of course about the showcases that I needed to participate in, and He was the one who lead me to choose (the ones that I did).
After SHINE, you received a scholarship to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts where you attended their summer program. What was this experience like for you in a nutshell?
It was awesome, because I learned so many things that I needed to know in order to go into the audition room. It built more confidence, and taught me how to crush an audition (laughs). The course was four weeks, and I moved to New York from Florida. When I was coming to do the program I only had a one-way ticket, so I was like, “Well God, I’m going into this, it’s serious, and You will be the one to guide me and provide.” So I came with an open mind. I said, “God, if you want me to stay, I’m here.” So far, He has provided and opened up all the right doors, and that has led me to believe that this is where He wants me to be right now.
While living in Florida, you played the announcer in a production of Broadway’s Dreamgirls. How did that come about?
While I was in training for SHINE, our consultants were always talking about getting involved in the community, and finding local productions. So I started researching and looking for things going on in my area, and I came across an announcement for an original production that was an hour away from where I lived. I commented about a show, and the producer replied back. So I finally came to the show with my friend, and I was going to leave afterward (laughs) because it was late and we needed to drive back. But my friend was like, “We didn’t come this far for nothing… we’re going to meet the producer and you’re going to let him know that you are an actor!” So we waited in line, I introduced myself and said, “The show was great, it was awesome. I am an actor myself; great job, the cast was amazing,” and I left it at that. Later, whenever he would post something online, I made an effort to comment on his posts, and message him. On one of his posts I wrote, “Hey, awesome job again, I really enjoyed the play. Whenever you need an actor with a strong accent, let me know,” (laughs). He invited me to another show after that, and I came to show my support. Later on, the week before SHINE, he sent me a private message saying, “Hey, I’m going to be producing Dreamgirls, and I have a part that I want you to audition for.” And that’s how it came about. The week after SHINE I auditioned for him; he liked it and they offered me the part. That’s why I tell everyone to be persistent and intentional about what they do. Because if I wouldn’t have made it my intention to connect with him and stay in touch, that probably would have never happened.
Is it tough being an actor and Christian, auditioning in and being involved the industry? Do you find that a challenge at all?
Not so much. Yes in the sense that whenever you go to a class your fellow actors you attend the class with, the kind of language they use, that I don’t necessarily use, in that sense yes. As far as auditioning, not so much, because I make sure that I read about the type of work that I’m going to be auditioning for, so as not to get myself in a bad situation. In that sense, I haven’t had any bad experiences. And right now I’m taking full advantage of the three months that SHINE has offered for free through Backstage. There’s a lot of work on there for New York actors.
What would you say to performers looking to get involved with SHINE in the future- what would be your advice for them?
I had dinner with a friend of mine recently in New York, and he was asking me about SHINE. What I told him was that it was totally worth it, compared with the experience and exposure that AMTC gives you, and being in front of all of these different VIPs from the industry. I have been in acting classes where other actors, and the amount of information that I know from going through SHINE training is amazing, because I see that many performers starting out don’t know much about the basics. So in terms of the knowledge that I acquired, and being sculpted by them, I just tell anybody who wants to get involved in the industry that this is your best chance.
Do you consider yourself musical, or would you consider doing any other musicals in the future?
Well (laughs) when I came to audition for Dreamgirls, my part was a speaking role, and I saw that they really liked it. They asked, “Do you dance or sing?” and I said, “I do not sing, and I do not dance (laughs). And they laughed, but I don’t! Of course I can learn it, and my voice is not that bad, but it’s not amazing. I prefer speaking roles and voiceover. After taking a voiceover class recently, I really enjoyed it, and my instructor let me know that it was a great way for me to receive an income, so I’m really considering doing that in the future.