“Just like they say in Kinky Boots “Just be, who you wanna be, never let them tell you who you oughta be”. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be, that I started to thrive in life and in my career. I finally had to make the conscious decision that “I’m gay. I’m short. I love Broadway” and I’m okay with that. The most successful people in our industry or in any industry for that matter aren’t always the prettiest, or the most talented, or the most wealthy, or the most connected — they all share the same thing: they unapologetically live their truth. Embody that, and begin to thrive.”
I had the pleasure to interview Tyler Mount. The industry is buzzing with the announcement of Broadway smash Once On This Island scoring 8 nominations including “Best Musical Revival,” making co-producer Tyler Mount one of the youngest Tony nominees in history. Just featured by Forbes and The New York Times, Tyler is the co-producer of the Broadway smash through his involvement in the inaugural trial of the “Underrepresented Producer Initiative,” which gives a carefully selected group of individuals the opportunity to learn to produce on Broadway in the hopes of turning commercialism upside down.“Broadway’s biggest influencer” is the creator of the wildly popular web series “Playbill’s The Tyler Mount Vlog,” now in season five, with millions of dedicated viewers in over 168 countries! Tyler’s star-studded guests have included Gloria Estefan, Linn-Manuel Miranda, Todrick Hall, Perez Hilton, Anthony Rapp and more. The Tyler Mount Vlog has quickly become a platform for stage stars to reach their core audience of the Broadway-superfan in all of us in a brand new way.
What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in small town Texas and never felt like I fit in. I found solace in the Broadway videos and articles I could find online and started to immerse myself in that type of content. Fast forward 8 years later, I was living in New York City and auditioning as an actor and working on Broadway as a stage manager. I started an online vlog featuring Broadway talent and the rest is history. After three years, with millions of viewers in over 168 countries I accidentally created a concept that a lot of people seemed to like. Eventually, I was asked to join the producing team of the Once On This Island, which garnered me my first Tony nomination, due to my connection to the industry.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing career?
This story is half scary and half embarrassing. Years ago I was working with Broadway legend Patti LuPone and took her stage to show her the teleprompter she would be using during that evening’s performance. While showing her I stepped on a platform above the orchestra pit, only to find out that it wasn’t a platform but a untethered piece of fabric. At this point, I was plummeting into the Gershwin Theatre’s orchestra pit and was fortunate enough to cling on to the side of the stage instead of falling two stories to my inevitable death. Then two crew members walked out to pull me up and rescue me while Patti just blankly stared at me in disbelief. This, by far, was the most uncomfortable moment of my career to date.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Well, I’m really excited to be starting a new chapter as the Social Strategist and Digital Content Manager for NBCUniversal — a company I have wanted to work with my entire life. Additionally, I have one show coming to Broadway this fall (that I’ll share with you very shortly), and another this Spring. I wear many different hats, but that’s the way I like it.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Everyone I meet is incredibly interesting in their own way. I have been fortunate to sit down with and meet almost all of the stars you see on Broadway. I have had a very blessed career in the way. From Chita Rivera to Patti LuPone and Tina Fey, I’ve spoke with most of them all. My favorite part about my job is getting to hear people’s stories, but most importantly, to remind my viewers that these people are just normal humans like everyone else. Once my audience feels like they are on the same “level” of those they idolize, things just start to become easier.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
I am really inspired by recent history game changers — specifically people like Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Barack Obama, and Beyoncé. Yes, this totally categorizes me as a “basic bitch”, but at the same time I look up to them because they redefined success. They changed the world by being true to who they were, but above all else, by being kind people. They are living breathing examples that giving love, you can begin to thrive.
What do you do to “sharpen your craft”? Can you share any stories?
I try to be a part of the industry as much as possible. I am constantly reading the latest Broadway news, studying the key players of Broadway past and present, but most importantly always seeking new opportunities to get involved in the community. I always try to live by a “yes” mentality, and take all the projects and opportunities that are given to me. With rare exceptions, I am always game to try new things and to help others in their pursuits as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Gloria Estefan, whom I credit for much of my success, taught me a valuable lesson: with love to give, you will go far. The simple idea that if you love as much as you can, you can achieve your wildest dreams. Often times, we consume ourselves with making sure we are successful by putting other people down, by ensuring that others aren’t successful. What I love about our industry is that those who are most successful in it, are typically the nicest and most giving and I have adopted my entire business plan around it. By being kind, by being genuine, and spreading that love to the world — it makes my job infinitely easier.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) CIRCUMSTANCES DON’T DEFINE YOUR HAPPINESS
Sometimes we can’t control how we feel, but we can always control how we respond to those emotions. If something bad happens to you, or you get frustrated — don’t let that take over and ruin your day. Emotions are normal and part of the human experience — just don’t let them define who you are, because every single day you get to choose how you feel.
2) RESILIENCE IS KEY
In my career, and inevitably in yours, you will be told no time and time again. The difference between successful people and less successful people is their ability to ignore the no’s and focus on the possibility of future yes’s. When I wanted to interview stars in my home for a living, people thought I was crazy. The moral of this story is to keep going and don’t give up.
3) TRUST YOUR JOURNEY
Not a day goes by that I don’t at least once remind myself that “all timing is perfect time”. I use to constantly worry about not being talented enough, not being on Broadway yet, and not being famous. If I had only taken a breath and trusted the journey I was on I would have seen how all of my dreams (and more) were coming true — just in a different way. Your journey, whether you believe it or not, is leading you on the path of least resistance to your dreams and beyond.
4) GIVE LOVE
I try to live by the philosophy that lighting someone else’s candle doesn’t extinguish yours. Although it’s hard sometimes, my goal in life is to spread love and be kind to everyone I meet, because ultimately, hating someone who threatens you or you’re jealous of, doesn’t make you more successful, it preoccupies you from focusing on what really matters.
5) LIVE UNAPOLOGETICALLY
Just like they say in Kinky Boots “Just be, who you wanna be, never let them tell you who you oughta be”. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be, that I started to thrive in life and in my career. I finally had to make the conscious decision that “I’m gay. I’m short. I love Broadway” and I’m okay with that. The most successful people in our industry or in any industry for that matter aren’t always the prettiest, or the most talented, or the most wealthy, or the most connected — they all share the same thing: they unapologetically live their truth. Embody that, and begin to thrive.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Oprah Winfrey. I’m PERMANENTLY available to take her to breakfast at the restaurant at her choice (my treat) to talk all about her career. I’m crying at the thought, frankly.
Originally published at medium.com