Canadian-born Haley Ostir is beyond thrilled.
Taking the plunge and coming to the United States seemed almost out-of-reach … until she gave it a try. In no time she was performing in myriad productions showing off her range of abilities for prominent names then Frankie Valli himself watched her audition for the show about his career.
Today she is working with the original Broadway team to be a part of national tours, cruise lines … and the current Off-Broadway run!
Another victory for the Alliance of Alien Artists.
Haley had only a few minutes to speak, we grabbed her fast! No kidding … she literally had to hang up and dance!
What made you decide to brave the USA for your career?
Broadway has always been the dream since day one. I knew to have a shot in the states and legally work for a year, I needed to attend a US College. When you participate in a BFA program, you have the opportunity to work during the summers through CPT and one full year after college called OPT. I remember googling Singing/Dancing/Acting Schools and Boston Conservatory came up. I wanted to school that would focus on all three aspects of performing. It was important to me to continue my dance training at a high level. After several auditions, BostonConservatory by far was my favorite dance call. The language Michelle Chasse used and her dance audition… was exactly what I wanted. I felt Boston Conservatory would give me the training I wanted. In the end, I felt like I got a triple major. Now that I’m here, I don’t want to leave. The connections I have made are invaluable and I only want to expend on them and see where my career can take me!
How helpful has the Alliance of Alien Artists been to you?
Its honestly nice to be apart of a community of artists like me, dealing with the same things. The process can feel lonely at times and can be very isolating. It’s nice to have a community who knows exactly how you feel. It’s a place for me to go for advice, questions that need answers, a support system or seek out other performance opportunities. I think its a brilliant company.
What were some of the difficulties in working here.
The toughest thing about being a Canadian, trying to perform in the states is the constant feeling of the future and how much time I have left. I’m always on a time limit. It’s already tough enough, feeling the pressures of getting a job. Most of my friends have time on their side. I know Careers take time to build and that everyone has their own journey. However, as a Canadian…. my visa status doesn’t always allow me time. It’s got its positives though. It forces me to go all in and not waste any time! I don’t allow myself any slack. I do get frustrated occasionally. Sometimes I feel it’s unfair that I have to do all this extra work to stay here. However, it’s only taught me to work harder and manage my time better. It can be hard being away from home at time. I was ready to leave home, and pursue my dreams. I think that’s why I am able to handle it. I’m lucky to have a supportive family and we make sure we see each other for Christmas and other important events. I do miss my grandparents and feel guilty at times. I haven’t been home in 2 years and They are unable to visit due to health reasons. I think that’s the hardest part.
You’re a triple threat… tell us about your training.
I grew up in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. I starting acting lessons at 5 at Manitoba Theatre For Young People. I then started taking Musical Theatre classes at a dance studio, 5 minutes from my house. The studio was called Shelley Shearer School of Dance and from there on I was hooked. I eventually was taking 13 classes a week (Tap/Ballet/Jazz/Hip Hop/Tap/Lyrical/ModernMusical Theatre etc.), competing at high level dance competitions as a soloist and in group numbers. I began taking voice lessons on the side, as well as acting lessons (For both Film and TV and the Stage) and piano lessons. I played Snow White in middle school and realized “I could do this”. I think my mom was the most stunned. I remember her saying to me a few weeks prior to my audition “Sorry Haley, I’m afraid you got my bad singing voice”. Needless to say she was stunned when I got the lead and then even more when she heard me in the dress rehearsal for the first time.
I was in my first professional show when I was 14 years old. I was in Beauty and The Beast and that gave my the first taste of professional theatre. I was working with incredibly talented people and I learned at a very young age, proper rehearsal etiquette. I did a few more shows after that and eventually applied for colleges in the states. I was accepted to my top school choice in Canada and the US. I ended up picking The Boston Conservatory. We were in classes 9am-6:50 and then if you were in a show you had rehearsals 7pm and on. They were long long days. I wouldn’t trade my training for anything. I can truly say I grew so much during those four years and wouldn’t be the individual or performer I am today with out it. I think I learned the most from my voice teacher- Lisa Sheldon. That woman was with me all four years and was a miracle worker.
You’ve lucked out – you’re in one of the touring casts of JERSEY BOYS. Tell us about it. Are you working with the Broadway people?
I saw The US Jersey Boys Tour when I was going to school in Boston and I absolutely adored it. Dance shows are usually my cup of tea. Yet, Jersey Boys may be my favorite musical and that says a lot… since it is a JukeBox Musical! I knew after I had seen it that I wanted to be in it someday. I remember heading to my voice coach and asking for material that would be good to bring into auditions, should I have the chance. Sure enough, shortly after graduation I had the opportunity to audition. After many callbacks, I didn’t end up getting it. Flash forward 5-6 months. I’m back in the room and make it to finals. It’s between me and one other girl. I don’t get it. Flash forward 5 more months. I get the email asking me to join in! My point being, things take time! It’s awesome because half the cast has done the show before, whether it be in the Australian Tour, NCL, OffBroadway, US/UK Tour etc. the cast is filled with people from all over, which has been a really cool experience. I’m fortunate to be working with a creative team, who has been with the show since it’s successful run on Broadway. (Danny Austin, Richard Hester, Des Mcanuff, Bryan Hindle, Jenn Rapp). I feel incredibly lucky to be learning from the best and on such an incredible show.
You heard the Frankie Valli himself viewed your audition… how does that feel?
Proud. That’s not a word I use to often and I think when I found our this news, I finally took that info in and gave myself credit.
What does the future hold for you now?
After this gig is done, I am on call for the next 6 months In case they need me to jump in. I’m currently waiting on my visa applications status of whether I’m approved or denied. More than anything, I hope to be approved. But, I know everything happens for a reason and I will make whatever the outcome is, work. My hope is to get my O-1B Visa approved and then book that Jersey Boys US Tour shortly after!