Artist of the Month: Austin Phares


Allison Klei, Staff Writer

As his longstanding involvement in theatre clearly shows, senior Austin Phares has always had a deep love for acting. “I have been acting for as long as I can remember!” said the February Artist of the Month. “My grandma is on the board at McCarter Theatre in town, so I grew up going to all the shows, and I participated in all the child workshops.” This early immersion into the performing arts world inspired Phares to cultivate a passion for performing.

Ever since he was a child, Phares has attended shows with his family, and he is grateful to them for encouraging his interests. “I’ve always been interested in theatre. I’ve been blessed in that my family can take me to see lots of different kinds of shows. It’s been something that we’ve all done together,” he said. After recently reading This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan when looking for audition material, Phares decided it was his all-time favorite play. He went on to describe how enticing he found the plot, which was performed two years ago in New York and featured both Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.

Since joining PDS in junior kindergarten, Phares has participated in about fifteen school productions. In the Upper School alone, he has performed in seven regular season shows (Gypsy, As You Like It, Urinetown, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Once Upon A Mattress, Our Town, and the soon-to-be-seen The Boy Friend), and took on the role of assistant director in last spring’s show Radium Girls.

“My favorite production is Urinetown. It was the winter musical when I was a sophomore and it was really funny,” said Phares. Urinetown went on to earn recognition at the state level— Paper Mill Playhouse awarded PDS with Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, and PDS won seven Rising Star Awards that year, more than any other high school has ever won.

Acting, like any sport or skill, is extremely challenging to master and requires countless hours of rigorous work and dedication. When asked what he thought was the toughest part of acting, Phares responded: “I think it depends on the style. If it’s a play, the most challenging part is how to make something read true, make it sound right so it doesn’t sound fake. It needs to seem like a natural, real, and honest interaction.”

Commenting on his overall theatre experience at PDS, Phares exclaimed, “It’s great! I’ve been at PDS for fourteen years and I’ve never really felt lost. It was really cool coming in as a freshman and feeling like you have a place where you belong – a place where people take it very seriously and it’s a cool group effort.” Following in the footsteps of his sister, who also was involved in performing arts at PDS, Phares looks to pursue his acting career at the college level at NYU Tisch next year. The Spokesman wishes Phares all the best in this venture.


Get To Know Austin

Favorite Music Artists: John Mayer and Chance the Rapper

Favorite Classes: AP Art History and Creative Writing

Favorite Food: Red Bull

Favorite Sport: Lacrosse