What on this earth could I be talking about? There are so many ways that this post can go. As a younger woman, I could bring up the days of trick or treating with friends, the days of high school or college silliness, or even a sarcastic play on the days before Hubs was in my life.
NOPE. Today I’m talking about what I know, and what I know is musical theatre. Or at least what I thought I knew…
Quick back story: I have a great musical theatre resume. (You can even see it on my resume page!) That’s what talent, hard work, determination, and ten years of pounding the pavement will get you. Paid theatre work. PAID. Not free this, workshop that, stipend there. No, friends; paid contracted work, work that was earned at auditions. I was building a successful career. My resume is good. My experience is vast. I’m dedicated and always consistent. My talent is versatile and impressive. I have everything but the job to prove it.
Truthfully, it kills me that I took a break from my musical theatre career. I truly have no interest in doing anything but singing, acting and performing in general. When I went on what I call my sabbatical, I was just entering my prime. I was getting noticed by casting agents and called in for appointments. My agents believed I was worth representing. But I was losing my fucking mind. I was in an emotionally unstable relationship with my career. I was up for 4 major gigs and they all didn’t work out. One after another– POW POW POW! It’s like asking for it to keep going when you are that down. The break was necessary for my sanity; no matter how thick a skin you have, enough was enough for a minute. There are moments where you have to step back and really look at what you want and what you are doing. I think so many people stay in the game when they aren’t really all there. Shit happens- life happens! You gotta take care of yourself before you can think about being number 252 at your third audition of the week.
I wanted to work on whatever I wasn’t bringing into the audition room. I got a full-time and a part-time job to afford those discoveries and married the love of my life. Grown up stuff. No more couch surfing and rentals. The sheet music still covered my desk but next to it were all my PAID bills. Feeling like a grown up is pretty empowering and necessary for happiness; how could I be happy onstage if I was unhappy with my life? I took time off for me because I wanted more. I have “I want it all” syndrome. And I’m gonna get it. I don’t want “to make totem poles out of fruit cans,” (bonus to anyone who gets this reference!), but I think making your personal life a happy place is a step to a successful career in the theatre. I know it was an intelligent decision, but this business is admittedly not very intelligent. It’s all or nothing. So to some, I seemed to be giving up, quitting. They were looking at my life at face value but I’m calling bullshit. It’s always in you, the determination. That hunger never stops. I never stop wondering what would have happened if I had weathered the stormiest time of my life and stayed in the musical theatre game. Would I have been a big deal or a big mess?
The business is changing at an immeasurable pace. I mean, you have to have this today and that tomorrow. Websites, YouTube, reels, demos, headshots, video submissions, etc. It just keeps changing. What is the trend right now/today? I keep on top of everything even though I’m not actively auditioning. Do actors always feel behind the times? I’m not like a stay-at-home mom going back to work after 20 years. I’ve always been right in there, which is why I feel like I’m dating myself when I say things like, “those were the days!” I turn myself into an old fogey and maybe I am. Remember the days of going to an audition, waiting, going in, getting a callback, and maybe booking it? It wasn’t your YouTube video that got you the job, the webseries you edited 20 times before posting, or the fact that you schmoozed with the composer to get ahead. It was about you. It was about fucking talent. What the fuck happened to a business based on talent? Was it never there and I was just fooling myself? Does it really happen the way we all think or hope it does? Has it always felt this… low? Were people always going to such extremes to get the job? I think I have Anne Frank syndrome, believing everyone is good at heart. I’m not shady but I’m tough. I can roll with the big kids. I ain’t scared to get down and dirty to get what I want. But isn’t there a way to be respectful to earn you respect? Because honestly, our business is getting gross. Just GROSS. So I’m gonna complain once in a while and then try to make it better. Done deal.
Tune in for Part Two of this rant! I got more coming!