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February 05, 2022 4 min read

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Minami Yusui is an actress and creative based in New York. She pursued formal theatre training in NYC, where she gained her first musical experience as a Performance Intern with Maine State Music Theatre, which provided her with a foundation of the Arts across all departments (and provided her with a lifelong love for the industry). After 88 auditions (yes, she counted!), Yusui finally booked her very first professional show! Since then, she’s served as the Assistant Director and translator for the Japanese premiere production of Spring Awakening, and Love Life at New York City Center’s Encores, and has produced a Broadway Jazz album (Playful) with her husband, Dan. Now, Yusui is the Dance Captain for the National Tour of My Fair Lady! She advises young artists to “Always remember the moment that inspired [them]. It’ll help [them] stay grounded and also lift [them] through difficult times.” Read on to learn more about Minami Yusui and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 



Name:   Minami Yusui


Heritage:   Japanese


Hometown:   Kanazawa, Japan


Current City:   New York City


Current project:   I’m currently performing in The National Tour of My Fair Lady, also serving as Dance Captain.


What are some of your favorite credits/projects?


Assistant Director/translator for the Japanese premiere production of Spring Awakening, Love Life at New York City Center’s Encores! (written by Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner) directed by Victoria Clark (we were in rehearsal when the Broadway shutdown was announced.)


Any advice for young people getting into the arts?


Always remember the moment that inspired you. It’ll help you stay grounded and also lift you through difficult times.


How did you get your start?


I’m from a small town in Japan, and even though I was always performing (singing, dancing and acting) there was no place to experience musical theatre growing up. So after graduating from a drama school in NYC, my first musical theatre experience was my first job as a "performance intern" at Maine State Music Theatre (MSMT). I had never done musicals until then! They provided such a wonderful and comprehensive education to the world of musical theatre. I got to work in every department (wardrobe, set, props etc...) and more than anything, they showed me the incredible warmth and love that come from their common passion for theatre.



Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share? 


Many! But the one I often share is my audition journal. It actually took me 88 auditions before I booked my very first job. That means I got 87 “NO"s before anyone said “YES" to me. And I still have that proof, my journal. It’s always a gratifying reminder that perseverance always prevails. 

 


Do you have any mentors?


Yes. I have a handful of Yodas in my life, and I’m so grateful for them.


Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?


During the pandemic, my trumpet player husband Dan and I produced a Broadway Jazz album. It’s called “PLAYFUL”, and it’s available on most streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify. We were able to present a concert in Japan last year, and it was so fun to introduce both worlds of Jazz and Broadway to the Japanese audience!


Also, I have been offering workshops and programs through my company YU-project for the past 8 years. YU-project’s "YU" stands for “You are Unlimited.”  Also, “YU” represents the meaning of Japanese words pronounced “YU”, that mean courage, playfulness and freedom. I love seeing participants' transformation through theatre exercises!


If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?


Every moment is a lesson, and you’re gaining something. Instead of complaining, ask “How can I learn from this?” You’ll go much further.


What are some goals you hope to achieve?


Over the years, I have received so many incredible “gifts” from this beautiful theatre community. And my goal is to share these “gifts” to wider audiences, some who might possibly have never stepped foot into a theatre.


I have also been offering programs through my company YU-project to Japanese speaking audiences for the past 8 years, and during the pandemic, I was able to do even more online. Being able to reach beyond theatre audiences and help them express their authentic selves brings me such tremendous joy and a sense of purpose.


What do you love most about what you do?


Being able to touch human hearts every night through stories.


What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?


When I finally realized that my career or credits cannot define who I am. I was obsessed with achievements before and couldn’t accept myself until I accomplished my goals. I made myself suffer from it for a very long time. When I could finally let go of my attachment to accomplishment, everything started to align and fall into place in such a harmonious way. Ironically, when I accepted who I was, the accomplishments came. 


Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane?


I check in with myself every morning before I connect with the outside world. I don't touch my phone until I do my morning physical routine (mostly yoga) and meditation.


If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?


After going to many many open calls for Mary Poppins, one day I bought the cheapest seat to Mary Poppins on Broadway. And when I saw "Anything Can Happen If You Let It.”, I cried. I really heard it, and I let myself believe it.  And… a few months later, I was cast in the national tour of Mary Poppins.  It was one of the moments I realized how much I was being in the way of myself. ;-) 


Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?


More than ever, we need compassion and kindness. We don’t always know everyone’s full story. So always choose love and kindness. And that applies to how you treat yourself, too. ;-)



To find out more about Minami Yusui, please visit her at: 


Instagram:   @minamiyusui

For Japanese speakers:   @youunlimitedproject


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