Actors Trump Hate

Anger is passion. Passion is love. Love the passion that is the fight against hate.

“This was unexpected,

What do I do now?

Could we start again, please?”

Jesus Christ Superstar – Movie


Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell


November 9, 2016 wasn’t a morning of light for many but a gray day of mourning. That on the U.S. east coast the day was chilly with rain seemed cliché for the frightening prospects from the results of the U.S. presidential election. But a darkness shadowed many hopes and footsteps the morning after the election. I was among the grieving. Lost. Hope seemed cynical. How was I, in 24 hours following, to be a positive guide to young actors I was to visit at a university?


I looked to actors for a flicker of light to guide me through my darkness.


On Facebook I posted:


“Help. I’m a little lost here. I’m leaving this morning for a weekend of teaching young actors at Elon. At the end of my stay at each school I visit I stress to the ambitious actors the importance of retaining their idealism. For if they lose that on their journey– its game over. With my own idealism diminished greatly, what do you suggest I tell the young actors?”


Over 2 dozen actors lit flares:


Broadway actress, and teacher Rachel Ulanet posted…

“Encourage them to get involved. Kids feel empowered when they feel that they are part of a greater whole, especially one that works to make things better for all. We have told our girls this repeatedly over the past 24 hrs, and while they are still very teary and anxious, it does seem to calm them down. Also- that they are part of the ebb and flow of history. We all are! We have lived through bad presidencies before (though admittedly yes – this one is particularly scary), AND we will get through this one.”


Actor, (and former student of mine) Joseph Christensen offered…

“Art arises out of times of great struggles. Remind them that these events can be a catalyst for making change and telling stories that need to be heard. Finding expression is essential now so they don’t build a blockage on their creative energy.”


And then there came advice which had me uncontrollably sobbing as I shared it with the Elon students.


Actress, and TONY recognized acting teacher Beth Baur wrote…

“Remember that they are artists. There is their power! Write, Create, Paint, Dance. Create! Let your art guide you, speak, be the voice of your spirit. Even if it explores diminished idealism!! Or the pain. Or the anger. Or the confusion. MAKE ART.”

(Above: Elon B.F.A. Acting Majors Class of 2016, Paul Russell (center), Fred Rubeck – Department Chair (seated) and Marty the pup)

Many actors shared wonderful, hope inspiring words of support and encouragement. We must look to the best within ourselves, and each other, to trump the hate that barrels towards us. Anger is passion. Passion is love. Love the passion that is the fight against hate.

My best,

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has taught master classes at dozens of acting programs at universities including Hofstra, Elon, Wright State University, and Rutgers. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information on Paul’s projects, please visit

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Author: Paul Russell

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