2016 Musical Theatre Alumna Viveca Chow Makes Broadway Debut in Miss Saigon Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Meet Viveca Chow
Current role: Swing in Miss Saigon on Broadway
Degree earned at Point Park: B.F.A. in Musical Theatre, 2016
Hometown: Hong Kong S.A.R.
High school: Island School
Now living in: New York City
Hobbies/interests: Eating, sleeping, vlogging, blogging, taking pictures and going to coffee shops
LinkedIn: Viveca Chow
Broadway World: Viveca Chow
You were born and raised in Hong Kong. What led you to pursue a degree at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa.?
I honestly didn't know very much about college. I flew all the way from Hong Kong to Chicago for the Unified auditions to audition for several schools. In my audition, I met teachers from Point Park (Zeva Barzell and Sheila McKenna) and felt an immediate connection with them. I wasn't intimidated when they gave me re-direction on my monologue, and I knew I would mesh well in Point Park's musical theatre program under their guidance.
What were some of the challenges you faced as an international student?
-- Viveca Chow
Growing up, I didn't get as much exposure to musical theatre training as the kids in the United States do. The training in Hong Kong is very limited, so I came into the musical theatre program constantly doubting myself. All of the classes at Point Park gave me a solid foundation for technique (especially acting), and built my confidence up so I started to feel like I could be competitive in this field after graduation.
Another challenge was feeling homesick. I have no family in the U.S., but I had an incredible support system from all my friends and teachers. The teachers really care about you and your individuality at Point Park, and that's what I loved the most.
What did you love most about Downtown Pittsburgh?
To be honest, Bluebird Kitchen in Market Square was my favorite thing about Downtown Pittsburgh - I'm a passionate foodie. But I also really loved the close proximity to a lot of the prestigious theater companies in Pittsburgh.
How did your Point Park experience help you advance in your career?
I came into the program as a strong singer, but wanted to improve my dance ability. All of the dance classes I took instilled better technique which allowed me to feel more comfortable at dance calls.
Musical Theatre Techniques class also helped me become the actress I am today. Acting is so important. While we learned the fundamental process of analyzing a scene/song/character, one of the biggest things I took away from the class was how to bring my individuality to everything I did. When I auditioned for Miss Saigon, I have never been more myself in an audition setting, and I have learned that's what they like to see in the room. My auditions weren't perfect, but I was perfectly myself.
What have you enjoyed most in your current role?
Being a swing is the most challenging thing I've ever done in my entire life, but I like being challenged because I have grown so much. I have enjoyed the process of discovering how important it is to trust myself. I also like the variety that comes with being a swing. Saving the show is pretty fun. I made my Broadway debut in a split track (where I had to keep switching between two to three people throughout the show). I also went on for a male track once. I'm never bored and it keeps things fresh.
What are your key responsibilities as a swing?
To cover the nine girls in the female ensemble and step in if they're sick or have a personal/vacation day.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Work hard and dream big. Don't be lazy. Never stop learning and listening. Be fearless in everything you do. Work on your weaknesses and embrace your strengths. Take the focus off of yourself and make it about the work. Love and support one another. Stay healthy and in shape. Be genuine and kind. But most importantly, love yourself and your gifts you have to offer to the world.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep an audition journal! I have a small journal to keep track of all the auditions I've gone to. I write the date, the show I'm auditioning for, what I wore, what I sang, who's in the room and any comments made by the people behind the table. This helps with consistency (if you keep singing the same song for the same call as well as wear the same outfit, they will be more likely to remember you), and you want to be familiar with who's seeing your work behind the table.