Fight that shit hard.
As an artist, you hear a million different things from a million different people about what you should and should not do. Everyone wants to give you advice, and sometimes they’re credit worthy and sometimes they’re complete nut jobs. My own mother still gives me career advice and essentially knows nothing about the entertainment industry. Who do you listen to??? Right now I’m struggling on straddling the fence between two voices in my head..
In a recent conversation with one of my mentors, she told me “Nobody else is like you. You’re unique, be yourself. People want to see that!”
But what do people want to see? I use the F word a few zillion times a day, and my headshots will NOT show you that I essentially look like a fetus without any makeup on. I’m a huge weirdo who is obsessed with bunnies and loves butterfingers, and it currently reads “sequined dog clothing” in my google search bar. That’s me ya’ll.. a huge dork who desperately wants to be loved.
And there’s the other side of the spectrum.. fitting in. Working out to get that body to a sample size because no one wants to look at a fat person on stage. And you better learn to belt way above the staff and be able to riff the shit out of anything, because no one writes legit stuff anymore. Be fashionable. Whiten your teeth. Dye your hair. Use the words ‘totes’ & ‘fierce’ once every 5 minutes.
This industry is such a hypocritical bitch! They want all the mushy good stuff on the inside, but want to dictate what’s on the outside. You see what’s out there and want to emulate what people receive well, but in the end you’re doing yourself a disservice by not being authentic. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. So where is the ‘ME’ in all of this? I’m still figuring it out.
It’s all about trial and error. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Gracefully straddle the fence. There’s a fine line in there somewhere.. you just gotta find it.
“Let the moment go, don’t forget it for a moment though.”
Fucking Sondheim. Always proving a damn point just when I want to be stubborn.
Today as we were wrapping up another show of ‘Dear John Mayer’, I struggled with the looming reality that in a week it will all be over and I’ll be on a flight to New York to start the next chapter of my life. Since WHEN is it August, 2011, and where has my life gone? I just want to freeze time and grasp onto something tangible and never let go.
It still shocks me at how quickly moments come and go. Like today, for instance. I arrived at the theatre in the morning to get ready for the show, by mid-afternoon we started the run, and just a couple hours later it was over. We striked the set, everyone went home, and a reading of a new show took place at night. There was no trace of what had happened just a few hours earlier, other than the ghosts in my mind that were still dancing across the stage that now supported a whole new cast. And NOW I’m just sitting here on my couch writing this blog. It’s a feeling I’ll never get used to, or like.
I live in my memories. I hate change, I hate when things end, and I HATE goodbyes. I spend my days fondly recalling something that happened last week, or counting down the days until something that will happen next week. I’m incredibly nostalgic, and I’m terribly impatient. And what it leaves me with is the present that I so often underestimate.
My new goal as I begin this next journey, is to just take things day by day. To let the moments come and go, take them for what they’re worth, embrace, and press on. I’m constantly wishing I could relive a certain moment to feel that exact emotion I felt last week, last month, last year, 5 years ago.. I need to get better at accepting the fact that things can’t last forever and that the future is as bright as you allow it to be. Have a little faith in the universe and know that there will be a million more wonderful moments for the million of ones that have past.. but you gotta let go and move forward first.
For the past month I’ve been fortunate enough to work on @ShoshanaBean’s new musical @dearjohnmayer, as the dresser. What’s a dresser, you ask? In real life they usually have someone much more competent than I, you know.. someone who can actually sew costumes and fix things. I mostly just take out the dry cleaning and glue rhinestones to various costume pieces and make sure Shoshana gets from one sequined dress to another during the show in all of 20 seconds. Bless her soul for trusting me with getting her dressed.. most days I cant even dress myself. But that’s a whole different story.
Anyway, I just wanted to write a little blog for myself so I can remember at least SOMETHING that happened this summer. I move to New York in less than a month, and let’s be honest, half my brain and sanity will probably be gone after a week in the city, so I figure I better write some stuff down.
First of all, the show is fantastic. I mean, obviously you’re going to like it because as soon as Shoshana opens her mouth she’ll melt you with that voice, but the show is GOOD! Not just like.. some good tunes and a shit script (like so many shows these days seem to be), but it’s different and real and raw. It’s very relatable, which I think is the most important thing when it comes to a shows success. Its not like you’re watching something with singing ogres and princesses and donkeys and you cant relate at all, because I’m sorry, when was the last time YOU saw an ogre? When I came in for the first dress rehearsal I definitely shed a tear a few times. If you’re an artist, I garuntee you will relate to something in the show at least once. And sometimes a line comes out and you’re like.. wow, that happened to me last WEEK! It’s emotional. And knowing the show is based off of so many personal experiences, it gets in there. Under your skin. You hear these lines and it stings because you know it really happened, and not only did it happen to her, but its happened to you. Very honest.
Watching this show come to life from the ground up is also such an incredible thing to see. One day these two brave women (Eydie Faye, the fabulous book writer & Shoshana) decided to write a show, and a year later, here it is in a workshop production! It’s such a great reminder that all great things start from an idea and can eventually become a reality. But you gotta put in the work. And let me tell you, these ladies work HARD. First of all, Eydie is PREGNANT for christ’s sake! If I were about to pop out a kid in a month, I surely would be in bed all day having my husband fetch me chocolate milkshakes and pickles. But she is at every single rehearsal and every single performance! Making changes and writing down what works and what doesn’t. She comes in during intermission every show to pep talk the cast. She is dedicated, man. And then there is Shoshana, who I think is just a freak of nature or something. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met someone who works so hard. She is a perfectionist. Every show I walk into the theatre and she’s already there up on stage running numbers with the band or working with her backup singers. She very well could stroll into the theatre and hour before curtain and leave everything be, but instead she’s hustling. Until the tempo to every song is just as she wants it, to every wig head glued down on on a set piece, she is there. People are born with talent but achieve success. She’s as fierce as she is cause she works her ass off. We could all take a lesson from her.
Oh, and did I mention that the show is funny? Hilarious, even! If you come see it you’ll probably hear me chuckling from off stage because it STILL makes me laugh.
And finally we’ve got the rest of the talented and ridiculously sexy cast. If you don’t even like theatre, at LEAST come see the show to take a gander at Bryan Terrell Clark’s biceps. But really.. the cast is phenomenal. Melanie Nyema, Jordan Ballard, Tammy Fey, Brian Terrell Clark, Maia Rosenfeld, Dionne Gipson, and Allison Mattox. All extremely good looking and genuinely nice people. And people, this is not their only job! They all have a million other things going on in their lives, (singing for Barry Manilow.. recording their own albums, teaching..) and yet they show up each day ready to work because in that moment this show is the most important thing. They’re on their grind and it is certainly inspiring to be around. Also makes you realize how crazy you have to be to work in this business. It is NOT easy, my friends.
Ultimately, I am just so damn happy I have the wonderful opportunity of working on this show. Even though I am just a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty piece as to what goes on, it has been such a blessing to take it all in and watch true professionals do their thing. I am just starting in this business and the show couldn’t have come at a better time as an inspiration as well as a wake-up call. They’re all just normal people who work really, really hard. It’s not like Shoshana just snapped her fingers and landed a role in WICKED or came out with a solo album. Seeing the process and the work ethic is truly inspiring and I highly recommend anyone starting out in the entertainment industry takes a job that allows them to watch from a different perspective. Even if you think you’ve been in countless productions and you know how it works, I promise you it’s not the same. You will appreciate and love a show in a whole new way.
SO, now that all 50 of you who actually read my blog have suffered whatever mumbo jumbo I just barfed out, GO BUY TICKETS TO ‘DEAR JOHN MAYER’. And quick, because this bitch will probably be on the Broadway soon. Catch it in this intimate venue and before you have to fight off hundreds of fan girls all clamoring for Shoshana to sign 6 year old ‘Wicked’ playbills. Only 9 performances left! You won’t regret it, that I can assure you..
dearjohnmayer.com, www.openfist.org/#DJM, twitter.com/dearjohnmayer
Happy Independence Day! (Oh wait, nobody here gives a crap.)
In all seriousness, with July 4th rolling around, I’ve given plenty of thought to the festivities that the holidays entail, most notably, the fireworks, the food, and of course, the drinking. I suppose that living in the USA I’ve taken…