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thoughts 27 (3)

A Word for Teachers: UNDERSTUDY


Pronounced: [uhn-der-stuhd-ee]



  1. to learn (a role) in order to replace the regular actor or actress when necessary.
  2. one who is prepared to act another’s part or take over another’s duties


A Simple Reflection on the Word

An understudy is often considered to be the unsung hero of the theatre. Their job is to learn every detail of the role they are covering and be ready to perform on a moment’s notice. Often times they have regular parts in the show itself in addition to the one they may stand in for. An understudy literally puts in hours of work and dedication with no guarantee of being the star. However, the experience they gain and the respect they earn helps them to build the future they seek.


If you have ever been to a play and looked at the lead’s bio in the playbill, you would notice the many minor roles they have played. You may also notice that they were most likely an understudy in at least one previous show. There is a powerful lesson to be learned here …


In order to accomplish your goals and enjoy success, you must first be willing to embrace the journey that will get you there.


Many goals and aspirations never materialize simply because we are looking to have maximum success with minimal effort. If you have a goal or endeavor you want to accomplish, I want to encourage you to embrace the journey that will lead you forward. Put in the work required today that will help you earn the success you seek in the future. 


Want More?

Check out what Katherine McPhee did on the Broadway stage to uplift the understudies working with her in the show Waitress. Take a few minutes and be encouraged!

Listen: Two Minute Timeout for Teachers: Show Your Character in a Whisper


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