Vin Kridakorn took a leap of faith -- and landed on two feet.
With little experience and a lot of passion, the Downers Grove native moved to New York after college to see if he could turn his acting hobby into a career. He did it and has now returned to Chicago to appear in "The White Snake" at Goodman Theatre.
"It feels very full circle," Kridakorn said.
Kridakorn plays the boatman in "The White Snake," a love story about a serpent who transforms herself into a human and finds true happiness, then must withstand a vengeful monk's efforts to turn her back.
The show has traveled across the country from Oregon to California to New Jersey and now to Chicago.
"I have done the show over 100 times and hopefully will 100 more," Kridakorn said.
He attributes his interest in acting to his experience in choir and musical theater at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, which he attended after living in Thailand in his early teen years.
Kridakorn went on to get his bachelor of science in music education from the University of Michigan and turned down a spot in Northwestern's prestigious choral conducting program.
"I started panicking and called them to apologize because I didn't think that accepting it was the right choice," he said.
That's when he took a chance and moved to New York.
"I always wanted to be an actor, I just didn't know how," Kridakorn said. "The only thing I knew was that I needed to get into a program."
Kridakorn auditioned for a spot at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York and got in. He picked it because Juilliard requires applicants to recite a memorized monologue from Shakespeare, something he dreaded.
"It's actually kind of funny because my first show after college was 'The Taming of the Shrew,' which is written by Shakespeare," he said.
Kridakorn said that "The White Snake" has been his favorite overall acting experience.
"It's a show for everyone," he said. "It's about looking beyond the surface and showing who you really are."
Even after 100 performances, he said the show stays fresh.
"It has a new energy every time," Kridakorn said. "In that sense it's very exciting."
He credits Goodman veteran and director Mary Zimmerman, who adapted the story for the stage. Kridakorn said she continued to work on the play during the rehearsal process.
"She would bring in three pages and then write three more while we were rehearsing," Kridakorn said. "You feel like you're really contributing to the process and really a collaborator. It's been an adventure."