Pierre Marais comes from a family of circus performing trapeze artists from Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey, who were undoubtedly influential towards his aspirations to perform in his own way.
“I still have very vivid memories of watching them perform and wanting to be up there with them,” said Marais.
It wasn’t long until Marais got his first break in the industry when he met Jean-Claude Van Damme at a training facility in his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa.
“We met and struck a conversation; being from Belgium we immediately had a few things in common,” recalled Marais. “By the time I had gotten home, without my knowledge, Jean-Claude had called the producers of the movie, told them to fire the kid they cast as his son, and hire me instead.” Two days later, Marais was screen testing to play his son in “The Wake of Death,” which was about him being captured by the Triads and Van Damme coming for revenge.
After coming to the realization that he would need to move to the U.S. to further pursue his career as an actor and performer, Marais decided to take up the 2-Year Musical Theatre Conservatory at the New York Film Academy.
“Broadway is a billion dollar industry; my New York training had a musical theater focus and most of the connections I made at college were in the theater world,” said Marais. “Taking classes with the right choreographers and casting directors has directly led to more job offers than I can count. Loyalty is certainly not dead. So taking classes and improving is a part of life. My friends who have been on Broadway for decades still take classes for acting, singing and dancing regularly.”
Since graduating, Marais has continued to work steadily as a performer. He recently finished performing in the musical “Rock of Ages.”
This summer he will be in Niagara Falls as a lead singer for a show called “Dancing Queen,” and then after that he will be doing “West Side Story” and “Saturday Night Fever” at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut.
“Doing different shows presents new challenges and those are the things that keep me excited,” said Marais.
Though he continues to book show after show, Marais said he still has a strong desire to return to Broadway. Surely, it’s only a matter of time. His next stop will be portraying the role of Paul in the national tour of “A Chorus Line,” directed by Bayork Lee next year.