Blake Stadnik from ”This Is Us” Doesn’t Let His Disability Stop Him Onstage or in Life

In This Episode

Welcome to Season 7!

One of the joys that can come from being an actor, besides getting to perform on stage, and feeling the energy of a live audience, is that of working with other wonderful actors and collaborating on stage as well as building friendships off stage. Throughout the past six seasons, I’ve had the pleasure of bringing on some of these wonderful castmates, and not only share with you their stories, but I to get to learn a little more about them as well.

This past year I was cast in my second production of 42nd Street, this time at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. You heard from Kate Baldwin last season, and so for this first episode of the season, I wanted to bring on another wonderful performer from that production. 

Blake Stadnik is probably most well known for his role as Jack Damon in NBC’s This Is Us, but he’s actually been performing since his childhood thanks to his mother, who introduced him to dancing and performing after he lost the majority of his eyesight due to Stargardt’s Disease. He went on, though, to get his BFA in musical theater from Penn State University.

In our conversation, Blake will talk more about this disease and how it’s impacted his life on and off stage. We’ll also discuss the responsibilities of being an actor, and how Blake has had to remind himself at times why he is a performer. Lastly, he shares the tragic events that led to his father’s passing, the impact of that loss, and the ways in which he carries on his father’s legacy.

Timeline of this episode’s conversation:

[03:12] – Blake and Patrick discuss 42nd Street at Goodpseed 

[06:54] – How Blake dances with Stargardt’s Disease

[13:53] – Story #1: Not getting cast because of his disability

[19:47] – The limits others place on Blake vs. those he places on himself

[33:11] – Story #2: Blake’s internal struggle with selfishness for being an actor 

[38:55] – Story #3: Losing his father just as he was about to start This Is Us

[49:23] – Missing his father and carrying on his legacy



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Why I’ll Never Make It is an award-winning, Top 25 Theater Podcast hosted by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones, and it is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. Background music in this episode by John Bartmann and Blue Dot Sessions is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.



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