Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophia Sapronov.
Sophia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am an Atlanta native. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have two loving parents who encouraged a budding interest in the arts. I gravitated to ballet, violin, church choir, school plays, and oddly enough, knitting! Musical theatre ultimately became my creative “home base.” A scholarship to NYU Steinhardt brought me to New York City, where I ended up living for eight years. My first acting job out of school was with Disney Cruise Line, followed by a national tour of a children’s show that afforded me my equity card. After a few regional musicals and pit gigs, I experienced a three-year performing dry spell. There were a lot of near misses, but no dice. During that time, I supported myself through teaching artist work and a corporate clerical job. Also, during that performing hiatus, I got engaged to, and subsequently married, my amazing husband in 2017. In early 2018, we found out that we were expecting. We moved back to Atlanta that summer and welcomed our daughter in the fall. Through a series of fortuitous circumstances, I was able to return to the theatre this year in the Horizon production of ONCE the musical. The world shut down due to coronavirus the week after ONCE closed, which brings us to right now!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes and no! There have been seasons of plenty and seasons of drought. But I can think of one figurative (and literal) “bump” in the road. When I found out I was pregnant, I was not at a point in my career where I felt satisfied letting it go. If anything, my seemingly forcible removal from the field, due to the physical ramifications of childbearing, made me hungrier than ever to get back to it. But the postpartum period was one of the hardest seasons of my life, personally and artistically. In spite of the joy of my beautiful new daughter, I had a very traumatic birthing experience, which resulted in an unusually long recovery. Coupled with the struggles of nursing, my day job (to which I was telecommuting), the demands of a high-needs newborn, and the severe lack of sleep, I had all but given up hope of continuing a career in the arts. It was clearly divine intervention that, around that time, a few friends and I decided to do The Artist’s Way. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, is a course for creative recovery, in which she equips artists with tools to work through blocks in their lives and work. She teaches the idea of synchronicity – the direction of your heart and work aligning with your circumstances.
And two months later, I experienced synchronicity in my own life. A little backstory – during my time in New York, I auditioned for no less than eight productions of ONCE the musical. I got called back for almost every single one, and never once (pardon the pun) received a job offer – humbling, and endlessly frustrating. Fast forward to completing the Artist’s Way. It was August of 2019, and at that point, my husband was enrolled in law school, and I had just left my clerical job to be our daughter’s full-time caregiver. I suddenly had pockets of time on my hands to devote to art. I started practicing again, both singing and violin. Two months later, seemingly out of nowhere. My high school voice teacher sent me an audition listing for a production of ONCE, happening here, in town at the Horizon. The schedule was such that my husband and mother were able to take care of my daughter while I worked, so we would not incur outside childcare costs. I auditioned for Heidi (McKerly) and Lisa (Adler), and they took a chance on a total stranger (I am endlessly grateful for this!). ONCE went up this past winter and I say with confidence, that it was the most artistically satisfying thing I have ever done. After years away, to come back, and come full circle, in such perfect circumstances, with a show I loved so much. I opened that email and cried, “there is a God!”
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a freelance performing and teaching artist, primarily identifying as an actor-musician (singer & violinist). The bulk of my work experiences have been in musical theatre and theatre for young audiences, but I have dabbled in voiceover and played a few pit gigs. I also worked in corporate operations for a few years. I most recently played Reza/Ex-Girlfriend in a production of ONCE the musical at the Horizon Theatre in Atlanta- that was definitely a career highlight. I got to play violin in that show (the cast doubles as the pit), which was a huge and fun challenge. Another highlight was working for Disney Cruise Line as a mainstage performer. We spent two months learning five shows, and we ran in repertory for six months. Working for Disney was wonderful. It was a very magical time in my life! I also worked as a teaching artist for a great company called Truthbase Theatrical (formerly CYT NYC). I taught classes and directed showcases for them.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is relative, success is incremental, and success is the fruit of rigor. What feels monumental to me might not be such a big deal to someone else. Celebrating small successes gives me hope and stamina to keep reaching for big ones (motherhood is a particularly good teacher for this). But the fruit of rigor is the most important facet. Things that have come naturally to me do not feel as successful as the things for which I have tirelessly worked, or things for which I have overcome some kind of obstacle.
- Website: www.sophia-sapronov.com
- Instagram: @mrssophiasaps
Greg Mooney Photography
Bethany & Bryan Scott (Ardent Story Photography)
Joshua South Photography