Stomping the boards

After graduating from Cardinal Carter School for the Arts, Sarah Magni headed to New York City and used her sizable artistic talents to take a stab at show business including a stint with the acclaimed Upright Citizen’s Brigade and an Off-Broadway sketch comedy show.

But she might never have accepted an offer from the prestigous American Musical and Dramatic Academy and had such a profound experience if it wasn’t for a particular school guidance counsellor that set her straight.

It was the first time going that far without her parents. Would she be able to make it on her own for that long? Magni wasn’t too sure so she turned to her high school guidance counsellor, Mr. Duckworth, who also was faced with a similar dilemma when leaving high school.

“He said just do it or else you’re just going to spend the rest of your life regretting it, and if you don’t like it then you just come home,” she says, remembering.

In retrospect it was a fairly easy decision she says, but she couldn’t have seen it that way at the time.

She made the leap to the New York theatre school, and she loved it.

“I’m glad that I did, I definitely would have regretted it. I think that was a turning point for me, that conversation,” Magni says. After her New York City theatrical experience, she came back home and started Thatz Showbiz, a musical theatre camp in Vaughan.

“I’m able to give this gift to other kids and watch them grow,” Magni says of her program.

“I still love performing and I still continue to do that. Both make me very happy.” 

So far she has managed to do both. She manages the school and tours around her solo show Stamped: A Story About Daniel, based on her experiences with her autistic brother Steven. The show was a real crowd pleaser at last year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.

Still, Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts plays a major role in her life. She regularly stays in touch with her high school friends, and one of them who graduated from the school’s dance program now teaches for her at Thatz Showbiz.

Magni also tries to stay in touch with her former guidance counsellor, who was a big help in her life, and she still looks back fondly at her time in high school.

“I think it was a really great environment,” she says. “Maybe I’m biased, but I think we had the best teachers anywhere.”