After four Summers as a Singing Ice Cream Waiter, Steph is excited to be a part of TMM’s magic still but in a new and unique way as the Casting Director. Steph has a Bachelor of Music Performance in Voice from the University of South Carolina. She started at The Music Man in 2018 as a rising senior in college. Since then, Steph has gone on to sing, act, and voice act in a variety of projects from opera to television to podcasts. Being a small part of the casting process last year, she’s excited to find wonderful new cast mates this year to become part of the iconic and caring family that is the TMM cast.
CURRENTLY: Casting Director of The Music Man Singing Ice Cream Shoppe
I started at The Music Man in 2018. I was a rising senior Music Performance major from South Carolina eager to take a leap and start auditioning for jobs outside my home state. Thanks to Backstage, I found The Music Man and was immediately intrigued by the concept of the business and the idea of singing my favorite genres of music while serving ice cream. Little did I know, at the time, how significant this place would be to me as a performer, worker, and person.
As a performer, there is much to gain and enjoy at TMM. When I started, I knew I would be singing show tunes and popular music while interacting with the audience, but I did not know how much more I would get to do. You are encouraged to keep the creative process going. You don’t just have a few songs. You’ll perform the same way every time. You are challenged to find new songs, genres, materials, and bits to keep our shows exciting, versatile, and authentic. You can take a risk and know that if it doesn’t work, it’s alright because there’s another show about to start with a whole new audience. As your repertoire expands and you try new ideas, you build a shoppe persona that TMM regulars come to know and want to interact with. One of my favorite analogies that Aggie uses to describe how we create our shows is to imagine that the cast members are all writers for SNL. We pitch new ideas and materials that let us tap into our creative talents and help us improve our abilities as entertainers.
As a worker, you learn how to work hard at TMM. There are so many elements and processes going on that the customers don’t even see what we do to maintain quality and efficiency at a high standard. You will find strength and stamina that you didn’t even know you had, and you will sharpen your wit to think faster and to be a better problem solver. I was overwhelmingly shocked after my first Summer when I went back to school for my senior year, how much more productive I could be in time. It’s always been an adjustment after each Summer because whatever you are returning to can almost feel like everything’s moving in slow motion.
As a person, you will experience self-growth and self-improvement sometimes in ways you didn’t even expect, and the best part is you get to do this while being a part of a family of performers who encourage each other every day to work hard and dream big and to have fun along the way. After the end of each Summer, I always took time to reflect on my journey from May to September and listed all of the incredible things I learned from my own experiences and my cast mates. I think it’s rare to find a place where the people you work with become so vital to you that you feel like they will always be significant in the story of your life in such a positive and heartwarming way.
TMM is not just a home to cast mates but to customers too. It’s here where you connect with customers that spark lifelong memories of joy and laughter with people of all ages. It’s true that when you work at TMM, you become a very recognizable person to the locals and people vacationing at the Jersey Shore. It’s a beautiful feeling of accomplishment when you’re outside the shoppe, and a person quotes a part of a song or comedic bit they remember you doing or when a kid runs up to you with a hug and genuine excitement to talk to you. To know you leave a lasting impression on someone, whether as simple as making them laugh or giving them a moment of joy they will remember, is genuinely an incredible gift that comes with being a singing ice cream waiter.
At TMM, I gained much more than I could ever express on a single page. This place made me a stronger and more confident performer. It gave me so many opportunities to achieve greater potential in the things I felt most comfortable in and overcome the hurdles and conquer fears I had in the things I felt less confident in. At TMM, I found a home to grow in and a family of people I couldn’t be more thankful for.