Tony-nominated actor Josh Young joins School of Music, Theatre and Dance faculty


Courtesy of Oakland University

Star of Broadway’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Josh Young heads to OU.

The faculty lineup at the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD) has just received an industry-lauded boost.

Broadway actor Josh Young joins the SMTD in the Fall 2019 semester. In 2012 Young was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the role of Judas Iscariot in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Young’s love for theater began at an early age with an elementary school production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” After an informal career in community and youth theaters, Young realized the career potential of his passion in high school. He went to Syracuse University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater.

“When I was in university, I made sure to work in the theater every summer and spent one of my summers in New York taking meetings with agents and managers because I did not want to have to depend on the showcase,” Young said. “Every college does a showcase where they bring their students to New York and they do a showcase for agents and try to get an agent that way.”

Not wanting to rely too much on the college-arranged showcase, Young made DVDs of himself as a sophomore and sent them to agents. An agent took Young on and set him up with an ensemble role in a stage production of “Les Misérables,” which turned into the role of Marius. The self-made approach to landing the “Les Misérables” role echoes in Young’s stated goal as a faculty member: getting OU students hired.

“There’s about a 99% unemployment rate for musical theater actors, and I think it is a university’s job to make sure that their students are hired when they get out,” Young said. “I think a lot of universities spend a lot of their focus on making sure that [students’] craft is excellent, which we want to do for sure, but we also need them to be businesspeople because they are their own business as an actor.”  

Following “Les Misérables,” he traveled the world in 2005 as a member of the “West Side Story” 50th anniversary tour. While he enjoyed traveling, Young admits the international tour bug is out of his system. He knew he wanted to eventually start a family, so getting the big tours done early played well into that goal.

Family played a key role in Young joining the OU faculty. The Broadway lifestyle of long commutes, late nights and the congested city environment were not ideal for Young and fellow Broadway alum wife Emily Padgett.

“I have always found that I enjoy the art form so much when I am outside of Manhattan … and thank goodness my wife feels the same way,” Young said.

After looking over the details, the environment of OU and Oakland County proved to be the exact opposite of life in the Big Apple.

“I narrowed [the search for universities] down based on communities I wanted to live in,” Young said. “Eventually, it just came down to OU and another university, and I just really felt at home with the faculty that I met here. And then, having spent a couple days driving around the area and researching the public school system and all the other great things Oakland County has to offer, I thought that this was the place where I wanted to raise my family.”

Young will be teaching classes on auditioning, acting as a business, the one man show/cabernet and musical theater workshop, and will also do vocal coaching with some students.