School of Music, Theatre and Dance

OU alumni have ‘talent’ for helping others find roles in performing arts industry

icon of a calendarDecember 2, 2021

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OU alumni have ‘talent’ for helping others find roles in performing arts industry
Andrew Barikmo and Jackie Gubow
Andrew Barikmo and Jackie Gubow

Whether it’s on stage or in front of the camera, Oakland University alumni Andrew Barikmo (BFA ’18) and Jackie Gubow (BM & BFA ’14) have a talent for helping others find the roles that are right for them.

Gubow is a talent representative at Professional Artists Talent Agency in New York City, while Barikmo is a talent relations manager/junior agent at The Price Group, which is also in New York City.

Andrew Barikmo
Barikmo in "Bullets Over Broadway"

“My role is to make sure our clients (actors) are supported in the best way possible,” Barikmo said. “I handle submissions, which means submitting our clients to casting directors for various roles and/or projects that they are right for. I facilitate all auditions, callbacks, and self-tape requests. But most of all, I’m there for all my clients to answer/help all their questions and concerns.”

One of his clients, fellow OU alum Em Hadick (BFA ’18), recently landed a role in the Broadway National Tour of “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” which was at the Fisher Theatre in November.

“Em has been one of my best friends ever since we met during our freshman year, but they are also one of the most talented and genuine performers I know, Barikmo said. “It was a no-brainer to bring Em onto the roster. Landing a role on a national tour like that generally starts with a submission. That’s where we (The Price Group) come in.

“We submit and pitch our actors to casting directors to get the appointments to be seen by casting directors for major projects,” he added. “That is exactly what happened with Em. From there, we facilitate the initial audition, the callback, and if the client books the job then we negotiate to make sure they are getting the best offer possible.”

Andrew Barikmo
Barikmo in "Rumors"

Barikmo majored in acting at OU, but it was during his senior year that he discovered a passion for “the other side” of the entertainment industry.

“During my senior year, I met with OU’s incredible showcase producer, Shorey Walker, to discuss what still needed to be done for our senior showcase,” he said. “After that meeting, I basically became Shorey’s assistant for our showcase and helped her facilitate the business side of producing it.

“After graduating, I didn’t move to NYC right away,” Barikmo said. “OU had asked me to come back to help run the 2019 Senior Showcase, which I gladly did to get more experience and to work with Shorey again. I moved to NYC in the summer of 2019 and was trying to become a working actor, but I realized maybe there was more for me on the other side. I reached out to Shorey to see if she had any leads on theatre jobs that weren’t acting, and she introduced me to Lisa Price, the owner and head agent of The Price Group, and the rest is history.”

Gubow also took an indirect path to becoming a talent representative.

Jackie Gubow
Gubow in "Anansi"

“When I was initially attending college at the University of Michigan, I thought I might become a cantor in a synagogue,” she said. “It felt like a stable singing job with a regular schedule. But upon graduating, I realized that I didn’t want to be anyone’s religious leader, so I went after what I thought was the next, most stable path: becoming a music teacher. I pursued attending Oakland University because I heard good things about their music education program and was accepted as a post-baccalaureate student.” 

Shortly after her acceptance to OU, Gubow — who had already earned a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan — chose to double major in musical theatre and music education. 

“I decided to do both simultaneously and pursue all of my passions,” she said. “But I found myself struggling with what was feasible for me as a career path. I didn’t know if teaching was ultimately the best fit, but I wasn’t totally confident in my performing abilities either. After completing my student teaching and doing several seasons of summer stock theatre as an actor, I preferred the summer stock, so I figured I would move to New York and see how it went.” 

Gubow moved to New York in October 2015. 

Jackie Gubow
Gubow in "Carrie"

“I wanted to attempt a performing career in New York City, but I went to one audition and I hated it,” Gubow said. “I was so stressed out and nervous; I felt like I did a terrible job and I knew I couldn’t have a life of that anxiety. Luckily, an entire industry opened up to me — one that didn’t exist in the same way in the Midwest — and I started interning at an organization that put on classes and showcases for actors called The Growing Studio. While working there, I met many casting directors and industry professionals and was able to do additional internships at two different casting offices, which were both great learning experiences. 

“I thought I may have found my place in the industry with casting, but as luck would have it, I wound up at one final internship with my current talent office,” she added. “The timing was right, and I was able to work my way up to ‘assistant’ and finally ‘talent representative’ over the course of a few years. I never set out to be a talent agent, but it’s been a great fit for me — I have the routine of a regular work schedule while also utilizing my creativity. Unlike in casting, where you work with thousands of actors, I enjoy nurturing my smaller roster of talent and celebrating their successes. In submitting my clients for projects, helping with auditions, negotiating contracts, and ultimately seeing the finished products on stage or screen, I get to build wonderful partnerships.” 

Barikmo and Gubow say they both felt “love and support” from OU faculty while pursuing their degrees in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

“I had a great experience at OU,” Barikmo said. “My training as an actor definitely helped my work as an agent. I know what a lot of my clients are going through, and I feel like I have a point of view and vocabulary that helps support them in an understanding and positive way. I would not be where I am today without all my experience in the theatre department at OU.” 

Gubow said she also enjoyed her time at Oakland.

“I felt a great deal of encouragement from my professors,” she said. “I was an unconventional student, yet I always felt cared for within the smaller university setting, which I hadn’t experienced previously. I think now, with where I see the program heading, the students are even more connected to New York and the industry there, and I’m very hopeful for the future of the program.”

To learn more about Oakland University’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, visit

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