Television boy Logan Smith – Professional Photos by David Kaptein Photography. Broadway boy Athan Sporek – Photo by Matina Sporek.
What’s that saying? “Boys will be boys.” Well, guess what? Not THESE Broadway and television boys…
Logan Smith of NBC’s Blindspot and Athan Sporek of Broadway’s A Bronx Tale are not even teenagers yet, but they’ve been constantly working as professional actors in New York.
Things look very smooth to the viewer when we watch a show, but what do kids in show business really go through behind the scenes? How do they juggle family life?
These two successful young men give us some great insight as to what it’s like to work in the world of television and on Broadway.
LOGAN SMITH – 11 years old
You play Sawyer Weller on NBC’s Blindspot. Tell us about your audition.
It was awhile ago but I do remember being really excited! We found out about the audition when we got an email from my amazing manager Lauren Singer! There were some lines to learn but not too many. I did work with a coach though because I was really new to acting. My mom took me to all of the auditions. I think there were three — the original audition, a callback and then a Director / Producer meeting. It was so exciting!! I wore a solid color t-shirt and a pair of nice shorts to all of the auditions.
You have an older sibling. How does your family juggle schedules?
Yes, I do have an older brother! His name is Hunter. He’s 13 and an AWESOME big brother! He’s not in the business. He likes sports, video games and hanging out with his friends. Depending on the season, juggling schedules can definitely be challenging but my mom and dad always figure it out. Since my mom is the one who always takes me to auditions and stays with me while I’m on set, my dad leaves work early to make sure that Hunter doesn’t miss his practices. Thankfully, most of his games are on Saturdays so we can usually all go to watch!
What was it like on your first day of Blindspot?
My first day filming Blindspot was absolutely amazing! Everyone in the cast and crew were so fantastic and they all made me feel so welcome. The first cast member I met was Sully [Sullivan Stapleton], who played my uncle. I was in the makeup trailer when he walked in and introduced himself to me and my mom. I was feeling a little shy but after talking to him for awhile it was like I’d known him forever. I remember that he picked me up and of course my mom snapped a photo. I’m really glad that she did it though because whenever I see it , it makes me smile! I did get my own dressing room and my name was even on the door! I still remember looking around and not believing that I had my own couch, desk and even my own bathroom. It was so cool!
You started acting when you were seven years old. How did you get your manager and agent?
I first started acting when I was seven years old when my friend’s mom asked me if I wanted to be part of a children’s book video. From there, I signed with some local agents and took some classes here in PA. After awhile my acting teacher suggested that I do a showcase in NY. We weren’t sure if we should do it but we decided to give it a try. I’m so glad we did because that’s how I found my manager!
Since you live in PA, how long is the trip to Manhattan? Do you travel by bus, train, car?
We do live in PA but it’s really not that far. It usually takes us about two hours to get into NY. We typically drive to Secaucus, NJ and take the train into Penn Station, however sometimes when the weather is bad we drive to Hamilton and take the train all the way in. Then, depending on where we have to go we either walk or take the subway. When we film Blindspot, if it’s an early morning call we typically stay in NY and they send a car for us. That always makes me feel super special!
Tell us about your foster dog, Decker.
Decker is AMAZING! We’ve only had him for about two weeks and we already love him so much! He loves to play frisbee, chase balls, play tug of war and give lots of kisses! He also loves to sit on your lap which is pretty funny since he weighs almost as much as I do! Anyway, we’re fostering him for Salfid Rescue, an awesome, local rescue group based in Souderton, PA but I REALLY hope we end up adopting him! However if we can’t adopt him, I would love to help other dogs and foster them.
Update: Decker was adopted by someone else, but now we have another amazing foster puppy named Sammy! He’s a black lab mix who loves to play and run around! He also loves to snuggle and give lots of kisses!
You recently booked a feature film. Tell us about your role. Have you started filming?
Yes I did book a role in a feature film and I’m so excited about it! It’s a top-secret project that I can’t say much about yet, but I’m really looking forward to being a part of it! We haven’t started filming yet but I think we’re going to start in April.
Did you ever have a palette expander, retainer or braces?
Yes, I did have all of that. I do remember having some problems pronouncing certain sounds in the beginning but after that, it wasn’t a problem. I also had some clear braces for awhile but they came off a couple of months ago!
What activities outside of acting do you do?
Outside of acting, I do play sports. I currently play roller hockey and played Little League last Spring. I loved baseball but this time around, I’m going to play Flag Football because my best friends will be doing that and I want to try something new. I also love hiking, going Geocaching and riding my bike/ATV. When I’m inside, I love to build with Lego’s and play Sporcle because I’m a HUGE geography buff! I also enjoy Nascar, rail fanning, plane spotting and a good Nerf battle!
What’s the hardest and easiest things about being an actor?
I think the hardest thing about being an actor is not knowing what your schedule is.
The easiest thing about being an actor is being on set! I really love filming and hanging out with the cast. Everyone we’ve worked with has been so AMAZING! It’s also really cool to see what goes on behind the scenes. Before I became an actor, I had no idea how many people it took to make a show or movie.
What advice do you have for young performers just starting in the business?
The advice I’d give to someone just starting out is to do your best, be patient, and most importantly, have FUN!! Also, just try to be natural and real. Be yourself!
Logan Smith’s Twitter & Instagram.
ATHAN SPOREK – 9 years old
You’re currently sharing the role of Young Calogero (a.k.a. C) in Broadway’s A Bronx Tale with Hudson Loverro. You also share a dressing room. Are you both in the play on the same days or do you take turns? Are you both there for rehearsals at the same time?
We’re not on together. We alternate shows, but we both have to be there for all eight shows even when we are not on just in case one of us gets sick mid show, or something bad like that. We sometimes have to go to put-in rehearsals. Also, when I did an event in Cleveland I had to rehearse new staging and choreography with The Jersey Boys. Other than that, besides A Bronx Tale sending us to a vocal coach every other week, I haven’t had any additional rehearsals. [Put-in rehearsals – The day before — or sometimes even the day of — the new actor’s first performance is a final “put-in” rehearsal, in which the actor goes through the entire role, in order, in costume, with all the cast members and all of the tech elements that affect the role. – Playbill.]
Tell us about your auditions for A Bronx Tale.
The audition process was actually very intense. There were so many callbacks, and for the final one there were only four of us. That’s when we had to sing and read for the entire creative team which included Chazz Palminteri, Jerry Zaks, Robert De Niro, Tommy Mattola and Sergio Trujillo. Before that, we had to sing, read and dance many times for many different people for over a week of callbacks. I was also in another show called A Day by the Sea when I was going to all the Bronx Tale callbacks so I was very busy. It was a lot of fun learning all the audition material from the show!
Who appoints your guardian backstage? What exactly does your guardian do? Where are your parents while you’re working?
My parents just drop me off and pick me up. Parents aren’t allowed backstage, and if they want to see the show they have to purchase tickets just like everyone else. Our guardian is Lisa Schwartz. She’s amazing. She taught me how to knit, and I compete with her on how many steps we take on our fit bits everyday. She also makes sure I get my homework done.
What excites you about show business?
I love performing in front of an audience. It’s really exciting for me to hear their reaction and to make people feel something.
Not including school, what types of classes do you take?
I take violin, piano, ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, and just started the ukulele.
It’s been hard to keep a regular schedule with all my classes while doing a Bronx Tale though. I had to give up my Greek and Polish lessons because there isn’t any time, but my parents still speak to me in Greek and Polish, so I’m keeping up with it.
You’ve done theater and screen. Which one do you enjoy more? Why?
I love doing both. When I’m on stage, it’s a different experience with every show. You’re in the moment, and it’s risky because it’s live and anything could happen and the audience is with you in that same moment. There’s no chance to do another take like there is when you’re filming a TV show or movie, so you always have to be on your game even if you’re tired or hungry. Much less room for mistakes – even small ones. I enjoy both though because there are so many fascinating things about TV and film, like all the different camera angles and so many cool special effects and editing tricks that you can’t really do on stage. It just makes everything look bigger.
Tell us about school.
I go to public school in Brooklyn. They have worked with my crazy schedule through all of the projects I’ve done. When I was in Les Mis, it was easier because I was only in the first grade and the rehearsal period was shorter. For A Bronx Tale, rehearsals and previews were much longer so Hudson and I had an onset tutor for a certain number of hours during that three or four month period. Now I just go to school every day. I just leave earlier on Wednesdays because we have two shows on that day.
Sister Angelina Sporek is also a professional actor and ballerina with the New York City Ballet.
You were very young when you became a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Did you even know you became a member at that time?
Well, I was seven years old so I’m not sure I fully understood what a “union” was, or what it did, or why it even existed for actors. Now that I’m nine years old, I totally get it. Honestly, I just thought it was really cool that I was going to have a laminated card that looked a little like my parents’ credit card. I guess I thought it was more like a club that you’re asked to join, which, in some ways, it is! I didn’t realize it was so important until my mom said that many actors spend a lifetime trying to become Equity members and to book Equity jobs and that many don’t ever get their Equity cards. It made me feel lucky when I heard that, even though I didn’t know the real purpose of the Actors’ Equity union. I’m so glad it exists though because if it didn’t there would be no rules… I might have to work too many hours, not have on set tutoring during rehearsals, and maybe not even have dinner breaks!
Are you a member of any other actors’ unions?
I could have joined SAG-AFTRA after I did The Knick and Odd Mom Out, but I was advised not to right away in case I booked non-union projects that I was interested in doing.
What do your non-show business friends think of your career?
They’re very supportive! So many of my friends have already seen the show. Some even twice. When I hang out with friends they don’t see me as a Broadway actor. We just hang out and do normal kid things — except when I sometimes might blurt out a song out of the blue because I can’t help myself. But they’re used to it.
What advice do you have for young performers just starting in the business?
If you really want to do this, make sure you really know the reason why and what it involves. You have to really love it and enjoy every part of it because it becomes your life. Also, even if you’re really talented, you still have to work super hard because there are lots of other talented kids out there who also want to do this. So if you’re talented, work hard, really want to do this, then you’ll need a great manger and agent to get you started.
If you book something, still continue taking your classes and learning new things, and always listen to notes anyone gives you so you could become the best performer you can be.
Athan Sporek’s Twitter & Instagram.