Thursday, July 12, 2012

Proving yourself

When I started my theatre career I was in Ohio.  I flew out to NY during the heavy Spring and Fall audition season, slept on friend's couches and attended open calls and agent submissions.  After about 3 or 4 weeks of auditions I would often have a summer gig or Holiday show for my efforts.

It wasn't Broadway.

I did dinner theatre, outdoor theatre, regional theatre, blackbox theatre, big ol theatre, and everything I could to keep working and adding to my credits and making connections.

It wasn't Broadway.

My agents would call me in Ohio for an appointment for a show and I would fly out to do it in NYC or Chicago.  Sometimes I would hitch a ride with a friend who had a plane when he was coming out to NYC from Ohio.   My agents asked me once "how are you doing this?" and I replied that the money I saved living in Ohio I applied towards coming to NY for those periods of time.  I lucked out many times and got shows and built up my credibility with folks like Jamibeth and other great casting directors.

I wasn't on Broadway yet.

Then we moved to CT and I was an hour and a half train ride away from NYC.  I wasn't in my 20's anymore and so took classes of casting directors.  Four-week classes often cost $400 and up, but I got to know many casting directors in a setting that was more than a 2 minute audition.  I was building up my "credit" with them and learning what they liked and how to do auditions better.

I wasn't on Broadway yet...but I was getting called in for Broadway shows.

Finally, I got my Broadway break.  Was in a Tony Award winning show that got taped for PBS and lives on in DVD.   It was a dream of a lifetime.  A lifetime of theatre work that led to this Broadway show.  It was not overnight. Or even five years of work. It was more like 15.

If I had stopped to think about how much money I spent or time I "wasted" or mistakes I made, I would have quit long before that 15 year mark.   If I had taken to heart the "no's" and let it affect my self esteem I wouldn't have gotten to the amazing experience of "Company".   If I had not gotten on Broadway at all, it would still have been worth it because I learned so much and enjoyed so much about the theatre experiences I have had at:  Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Actors theatre of Louisville, Fords Theatre, Opera Columbus, La Comedia, Schiller Park, Marin Opera, American Stages, Papermill Playhouse, Cortland Playhouse, Sondheim Center, Ashlawn Opera, European tour, Lancaster Festival, Musical Theatre of CT, etc etc.

I would not be where I am without the Pre Broadway experiences and all those millions of auditions.

Ironically, if I were in Ohio today I could find a barn and turn it into a theatre pretty easily.  I know a lot of farmers.   But we are in CT and space is a premium this close to NY.   Had I moved to NYC right after college I would have been swallowed alive....but I waited and did the work and got experience on my resume before I moved here.  I saved money. I learned the "system".

Why should the building of this New Paradigm Theatre be any different?  While it will not take 15 years (!!!!! see me stomping my foot)   building your reputation for good work, making networking connections, doing shows, and saving/making money, might just take a more "proving yourself" path than the theaters of the past.   A building does not a theatre make and we are proving that.

I can wait it out like I did Broadway because I know it will happen and I have a roadmap for perseverance now.

1 comment:

  1. Kristin - so, so true!
    Roadmap for perseverance - brilliant!
    about my career as well --- though my efforts eventually went to areas of show biz that better suited my life (Voice Overs, Broadcast, Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre, and writing a published memoir )

    I am so proud to be even a small part of this emerging theatre, and I know you will do it!