For years, Patrick Compton has been working behind the scenes lighting stages and running soundboards for local productions. A couple of years ago, Compton decided to step out from behind the stage and into the lights. His most recent audition was for a Broadway play in New York City.
Compton, a 1994 graduate of Franklin County High School, has been a member of First United Methodist Church since a child.
“I can remember back to third or fourth grade, the church would bring in a guy to run the lights for Madrigal and I would help him set up everything,” Compton said.
Eventually, Compton began running the lighting equipment for services and other productions at the church.
“Occasionally, when I can, I help local high schools and elementary schools with their shows,” he said.
In 2016, Compton decided to step out from behind his switchboard and into the spotlight to perform a song from his favorite Broadway show “Phantom of the Opera” for the church’s Chautauqua series that year called “Best of Broadway.”
“This was the first time for me to do a character on stage,” he said. “I had to face stage fright, but I did it and I liked it.”
Since then, Compton was hooked. He began covering songs and posting them to his YouTube page. He has taken voice lessons with Dr. Dennis Bender at the University of Kentucky School of Opera. This summer, he did a weeklong opera workshop in New York City that he had to audition for. He also recently auditioned for a role in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
For his day job, Compton is a state duty officer for the Kentucky Emergency Department. He has a degree in electrical engineering technology-power systems and communications. He also volunteers with Franklin County Emergency Management.
FRANK.: When did you decide to try acting in New York?
Compton: This year, the church choir received an invitation to go to sing with other choirs at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Frankfort is my home and my community and it’s my comfort zone. The whole idea was like a dream, but scary. I hadn’t been on a plane since 1992.
We went in April. That was my first trip to New York. I fell in love with it. I saw “Phantom” while we were there. I met Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical director. I loved the trip.
I came back home and a few months later I got wind of a Broadway workshop that was “Phantom of the Opera” intensive. I started emailing the director who runs the program.
He said “send me your stuff” and he’d take a look at it. I had to send him a headshot, resume and clip of me performing. All I had was the clip I did for “Phantom” at the church. The next day, he emailed me and I was in.
A few days later, I got a list of everything I had to have. Day One, I had to audition. I started to freak out and wondered what I got into.
The workshop consisted of staff that was made up of current and former members of the cast of “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. There was a one-on-one session with a vocal coach. The vocal coach from the show was also there. The dance captain and four main characters from the show also helped run the workshop.
FRANK.: What all did the workshop entail?
Compton: It was a weeklong course of basically audition prep training and learning parts of the “Phantom of the Opera,” and we learned the business behind show business from a casting agent. At the end of the week, each person in the workshop auditioned for a New York talent agent.
You sit behind a desk and dream about things like this. You always think, “Can I really do that?” I got the opportunity and I did it.
I sent my resume and clips out for four shows. I recently went up to New York for an audition.
FRANK.: What was it like to be able to audition for a Broadway play?
Compton: The win for me was preparing and being determined to go up there and do it. If I hear back from them, I would be ecstatic.
I talked about dreams. I don’t like goals because goals set you up for failure. Being down on yourself if you don’t meet your goals. So, I like dreams. You can always chase after dreams, and if you don’t get there, that’s ok because you’re still chasing them and chasing after what you love.
To borrow a quote from Alex Brightman from “School of Rock” — “Don’t postpone your happiness.”
I’ve thought a lot about that this year. When I saw the “Jesus Christ Superstar” audition, I sat there for a week, and thought, “Should I?” Why not? I have absolutely nothing to lose.
FRANK.: What kind of advice do you give people who are thinking about trying something new?
Compton: The community here in Frankfort is full of the arts. Get plugged into a church, the Capital City Band or the choral. Take an art course in painting. Try to do something creative.
If that’s not for you, look at community service. The soup kitchen, food pantry, men’s and women’s shelter — all of those organizations need love.