When she’s not teaching children’s ballet and dance classes at Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance (MSTDA), Canadian born Haley Ostir is deeply entrenched in the life of a triple threat Broadway actress. Currently cast in the role of rehearsal swing for the Jersey Boys Tour Company, Ostir must learn all three female parts of the show, and like an understudy on steroids, jump in to play any one of them as needed.
"It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…" and the same holds true for a Broadway show’s rehearsal swing. Rehearsal swing is a particularly demanding position—essentially as a pre-production understudy in overdrive—as Ostir explains, “Instead of learning one part, I am currently learning the three female tracks, Lorraine, Mary and Francine. This means my work doesn’t finish in rehearsal, it continues throughout my night, and we rehearse six days a week for eight or nine hours.
"It’s a lot of drilling [with] the different harmonies, dance moves and blocking."
This is no mere repertory regurgitation—it’s helmed by the original creative team who made the original show a smash hit, and Ostir’s audition tapes had to be personally approved by Frankie Valli and the surviving Four Seasons members.
The award winning jukebox musical, based on the dynamic life and career of Valli and the Four Seasons, has taken on a life of its own. Frankie Valli and members of the Four Seasons personally approved Ostir’s audtion tapes.
“Essentially, I need to be prepared with all roles perfected ASAP,” Ostir said. “On the second day of rehearsal, I actually was asked to ‘swing on’—they needed me to jump in for one of the parts. That usually doesn’t happen right away, but it set the standard that I had to really know my stuff—and fast.”
Ostir with some of her MSTDA ballet students
Ostir began her training at the tender age of five years old in her hometown of Winnipeg. She loved to perform and her parents supported her interests. Barely out of her teens, Ostir did a year long stint at Maine State Music Theatre, playing alongside acclaimed Broadway stars and working with top directors and performing five shows (Grand Night for Singing, Evita, Mamma Mia, Aladdin, and Fiddler On The Roof) to capacity crowds
Along the way, Ostir earned numerous awards and recognitions (the Ken Peters Memorial Trophy for Most Memorable Performance, the ‘Be Discovered $1,000 Scholarship Award
Broadway Bound New York City Intensive,’ multiple first place trophies at the annual Canadian National Dance Championship competitions, and numerous other competitive juried scholarships).
Enrolled in the prestigious Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, she began aggressively perfecting her craft, graduating with a BFA in Musical Theater and almost immediately found herself working full time on New York’s stages.
“Even outside of rehearsal. I practice any chance I have,” she said. “So, whether that be going for a walk and singing my harmonies quietly outside, practicing while I’m putting my makeup on in the morning or just finding some moments throughout the day to fit some extra time in, I take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.”
Ostir’s discipline and dedication to her craft is sure to take her far as a performer. Children attending her classes at Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance this fall will be learning from the very best in the industry.