I’ve never really written a blog before, so I have no idea what I am doing. With that said, when Broadway Spotted approached me about doing this, I got very excited. I have just begun my month long journey into the depths of regional theatre land. Hopefully this will be a funny, entertaining and interesting look inside what it is like to be what I call a Blue Collar Actor. A blue-collar actor is someone who is lucky enough to work. Mostly in theatre & sometimes in film and TV.
Leaving NYC is always bittersweet. For example, I am writing this at the airport and listening to depressing ballads….and thinking about my cat. Yes. My cat. I am a single gay dude that loves his cat. His name is Sweeney (the demon kitty of Woodside)…and yes, Sondheim’s assistant does think it’s odd that I named my cat Sweeney. He didn’t say so. But I could see it in his eyes.
My cat sitter, David, arrived last night. David is an adorable wee gay lad that slightly resembles Zach Morris from “Saved By The Bell”. Naturally I went over every slight detail there is with him. “Be sure to feed him dry food in the morning and half can of wet at night”, “He likes to sleep on the furry blanket on the left side of the bed”, “Sing to him twice a day. He prefers old standards and classic rock. No contemporary theatre or riffing”. You know, the usual. I could go on and on about my tear filled goodbyes to my cat but the moral of the story is I’m going to die alone and I have much to discuss with my therapist.
I happen to be leaving town at the very beginning of Pilot season. Pilot season is a very busy time for actors and therapists in LA and NYC. Every network out there is casting their spanking new TV shows. A few of these ‘pilots’ get picked up and WALA!!! Suddenly you are a TV star and making more money than a blue collar actor such as me could ever dream of. Being the neurotic actor I am, I naturally went through all the ‘breakdowns’ (casting directors send out ‘breakdowns’ of the roles they are looking to cast). Oddly enough there were no character descriptions for “Funny character male. Someone who eats heavy meals late at night. Experienced with improv. Probably has awesome taste in music and needs to meet more people other than catsitters”. Some actors refuse to leave the city during pilot season. Normally I would think twice about doing so as well. But this job means a lot to me for many personal reasons that I will get into soon, dear readers. Luckily we are living in the year 2013 and I have the greatest agents on earth. I seriously love and trust them. If anything serious comes up, I can always put something on tape, right? Right.
Being that it is the very first travel day, my favorite game to play at the airport is “spot the actor”. It is a fairly easy game. You basically look for people around you wearing skinny jeans, thick scarves and a fedora. There was one woman I recognized from my final callback, but that didn’t count. Shockingly enough I only spotted 1 out of 10 correctly. Better luck next time.
After 4 quick hours we were in Houston, Texas! It is warm! There are palm trees at the hotel! Hallelujah! I located my car that the theatre rented for me, found the grocery store, almost caused 5 or so accidents (New Yorkers don’t drive much, you understand) and went back home to go over my script and get ready for the 1st day of school.
I’m not going to lie. Arriving in a new city and not knowing anyone is never much fun for me. It is when all my insecurities come out and I get to feeling pretty lonely. But as soon as I start to feel slightly sorry for myself I realize how lucky I am. How I am finally getting a chance to work for a theatre company I used to not even be able to get an audition for. That I’m living my dream. And tomorrow…everything is going to change. We are going to start teching this show in 8 days. Not much time to learn a show and make all the character choices you want to make before you are performing it for a few thousand people every night. No pressure. Rehearsal begins tomorrow. Time to get to sleep. Till next time my comrades.
*Josh’s traveling actor tip: Always bring a pillow from home. There is nothing more comforting than your very own pillow.