Thursday, May 17, 2012

TMI Casting rumors: Austin Ku auditions for Magnus Bane

Austin Ku, an actor, model and musician from New York, tweeted today that he had sent in his taped audition for the role of Magnus Bane.

 Austin is one of many actors who have stated that they have auditioned for the role of Magnus. So here's the lowdown on this very talented actor:

Austin trained heavily in theater and musical theater and acts in all media (musicals, plays, TV and Film). He also has experience as a commercial actor/model and hand model (print and commercial), and plays classical violin.
He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, and began his artistic studies at the age of 6 with the violin (which he studied privately through college and still plays today). As a teenager, he also dabbled in piano, viola, and various visual fine arts before becoming most active in choir and drama during high school; in his junior and senior years of high school, Austin was in Honors Acting Studio and was selected to both All-State Choir and All-State Orchestra. Austin was also very academic, and was a National Merit Scholar who graduated fourth in his high school class.

Austin went to college on early-decision scholarship at Rice University in Houston, Texas, a first-tier school in both academics and music (Rice's music conservatory is also known as the Shepherd School of Music). Although he started as a biochemistry/pre-med student, Austin was torn between academics and his love of the arts, and he soon found himself drawn more and more into the University musicals and operas (as well as playing violin in the school's Campanile Orchestra). Mid-sophomore year, Austin successfully auditioned to transfer into the music school as a Vocal (Opera) Performance major, as well as adding a double major in East Asian Studies (reflecting Austin's interest in exploring his own ethnic heritage). During his time at Rice, Austin performed constantly and received a nomination (as Berger in Hair) and later a win (as the Emcee in Cabaret) in the "Actor in a Musical" category of the Rice University Thresher; he also began acting professionally in Houston area theatre, on-camera/commercials with Pastorini-Bosby Talent, and modeling with Neal Hamil Agency.
Unfortunately, Austin had to drop the double major in music in order to graduate on schedule (due to the late transfer, it turned out that he would have had to stay in college at least 2-3 extra semesters in order to make up for the late transfer), and Austin ended graduating with a B.A. in East Asian Studies (cum laude). 

After Rice, Austin was torn between academics and the arts once again, and he ended up attending UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), in Berkeley, California, with the thought of possibly channeling his love of the arts into becoming an entertainment attorney. However, even while in law school, Austin was soon performing once again in on-campus shows at first, and then in professional Bay Area theaters, and finding area commercial and print work with San Francisco's Tonry Talent. Austin did graduate law school and passed the California Bar (becoming a licensed attorney), but continued to book professional acting jobs all over the Bay area on the side; before long he parted ways with his post-graduation law job (which incidentally was indeed at an entertainment company) to fully pursue a career as an actor/performer.

Austin then decided he needed to go back to school and complete an arts program for real, and he was fortunate enough to be awarded scholarship to the master of musical theater program at the prestigious Boston Conservatory of Music (one of the top musical theater training schools in the country); he graduated in 2009 and attained professional representation in New York City through the school's graduate showcase--he moved to New York City shortly thereafter and hasn’t looked back since!

Austin now performs in principal roles in plays and musicals all over the country as well as in NYC (Off-Broadway debut in 2012), and is beginning to break into TV/Film as well; recent career highlights include being nominated for both a 2011 BroadwayWorld Boston Award for "Best Actor in a Musical - medium theater", and a 2011 IRNE Award for "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical - large theater" for two different shows that year; he also received an SF Bay Area Dean Goodman Choice Award for "Supporting Actor in a Musical."  Austin has been a vocal soloist with the Boston Pops and Great Waters Pops Orchestras, and is now a featured soloist with the USO Liberty Bells, performing at military events around the country. Austin has also appeared in many national print ads and commercials. 

So, what do you think about Austin? Can you envision him as Magnus? Share your thoughts with me below or send them to @TMI_Institute on Twitter.  

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