Sometimes an Actor Writes a Blog Post After A Long Drought

Sometimes an actor hasn’t written a real blog post in months, and she feels guilty about it. And then she sits down to write and a lot of stuff comes out that she’s pretty sure many people can relate to. And sometimes she realizes she’s talking about herself in the third person and wants you to just read it, already. For all of the family, friends, colleagues, Muggles, aliens, actors, artists and humans who stumble across this, thanks for being here.

Sometimes auditioning takes forever. Anytime you’re told that you’ll have some news by the end of the week, they don’t necessarily mean THE PARTICULAR WEEK YOU ARE IN. It just means the end of whatever week they decide to give you the news in.

Sometimes the most nerve-wracking auditions are not the ones for people you’ve never worked with before, but the ones where you’re in front of all of your friends and the people you respect not just as artists and creatives, but as humans. The ones you’ve probably had a glass of wine (or 4) too many with, or who let you cry on their shoulder when you got divorced. Personal example: Andrew Lloyd Webber? Easy as pie! Alex Timbers? I can’t handle thinking about potentially disappointing him. I would have to quit the business and become a sherpa.

Sometimes you go to an audition feeling incredibly proud of yourself for not conforming to the “audition uniform” of a dress and heels, and then the casting director tells you that while you were the most talented person there, you didn’t get it because you looked like you were going out to the club. And that you need highlights. And to learn how to use makeup. And she’s completely right.

Sometimes they make you audition for roles you’ve literally created, and played for 6 months. And sometimes they give your role to someone else. And sometimes you have to look at press photos on Twitter of the person who got it, who is wearing your old costumes. And sometimes that’s a really terrible feeling.

Sometimes very important people eat entire bags of chips during your audition ballad. Very, very loudly. Like, I’m talking crunching so loudly that the piano is drowned out and you mess up because you’re having a debate inside your head about whether or not you should stop in the middle of your song and say something, but how could you do that because this guy is basically in charge of whether you get this job or not, and now the song is over and you’ve completely blown it. But at least his blood sugar has been maintained.

Sometimes you have to say no to auditions, jobs, concerts, etc. Sometimes your life is more important and you’re not willing to be away from your new husband to do a show for 3 months in Connecticut. Sometimes you love your life more than your career, and that’s okay.

Sometimes everything is going exactly the way you’ve always dreamed of, but you can’t help feeling unfulfilled.

Sometimes the thrill of walking in your stage door every single day is much more satisfying and emotional than a billion Opening Nights combined.

Sometimes you get really bored waiting to work one day a week on a TV show. And even though it’s very well paid boredom, it can still make you feel useless as a human.

Sometimes when people call you a “Broadway actor/actress,” you can’t help feeling like a fraud, as it’s been years since you’ve actually set foot on a Broadway stage.

Sometimes you audition for a workshop of a new musical, and you book said workshop, and you love it and meet one of the best directors you’ve ever had the privilege to work with. And then said new musical is announced to move to Broadway, and you’re going with it, and you have to drop out of a project that would have taken you out of town for 3 months. And then said new Broadway musical is cancelled just two weeks into rehearsals, and you are devastated. But then you audition for the most exciting project in your career, and you book it, and if you had been out of town for 3 months you would not have been able to audition. So sometimes, in the bizarre cosmic strings of this universe, Cancelled Broadway Musical = Most Exciting Moment in Career Ever.

Sometimes you read the paragraph above and realize just how confusing it is. Bottom line: Sometimes bad things make way for good things.

Sometimes, “But it’s work” is not a good reason to accept a job or an audition. If you do not want to understudy, you do not have to. If you want to dance joyously in the ensemble for the rest of your life, you do not have to pretend to want anything different. If you pass on 37 auditions because you only want to play leading roles, that is okay.

Sometimes, “But it’s work” is absolutely a good reason to accept a job or an audition. We are humans with bills to pay and other humans to take care of. Who says actors aren’t allowed to be unhappy at work sometimes? Just because we’re living the dream doesn’t mean the dream isn’t difficult at times.

Sometimes, the girlfriend of the guy you’re playing opposite in a show hates you, and you get into a drunken screaming match in the lobby of a hotel in Atlanta. And then 4 years later she becomes one of your best friends, and one of the strongest, most honest women in your life. And the story goes down in the books as a win for all of you.

Sometimes you and your husband both go out of town on different tours to play dream roles, and in exchange for that dream coming true, you end up getting divorced. And sometimes, that’s okay.

Sometimes, your ex-husband marries the girl he played opposite while on said tour. And that is also okay.

And finally, sometimes, the random guy you’ve known for 8 years who once got your mom and dad house seats for his Broadway show asks you to marry him. And you finally have clarity on your perspective as an actress, as a woman, and as a partner. And even though happily ever after is not instantaneous or constant, you realize that it’s a state of mind rather than a state of being. And sometimes, you find the strength to keep on going.

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23 thoughts on “Sometimes an Actor Writes a Blog Post After A Long Drought

  1. Dear Patti:
    My name is Diana Bastardo and I live in Venezuela. I found this blog by chance and I feel that its words are a breath for my soul. “Sometimes when people call you” Broadway actor / actress, “you can not help but feel like a fraud, since you have not set foot on a Broadway stage for years.” Not because I act Broadway actress, still, I hope so. But just because I’m training to be a musical theater actress, I always feel like I’m never prepared or it’s enough. It’s not your case, but these specific words told me how I feel sometimes. I am very afraid to add, sometimes I panic daring things, maybe it is my lack of confidence or I feel that I am not enough. Next Saturday there is an important musical theater program in the country and it will be my first audition, which I hope to be able to face with courage. I am working in a constant person and continue every day in my training as an actress, even if I ever reach my goal, I hope to form the whole path. Now that I start to read your message on this blog I connect a lot with your words, I like the humanity and sensitivity you have and it is the first time that I read so closely the experience of an actor so genuine words, I find something very beautiful . Thank you very much. You may never read my comment because this is a long time post and you are a very busy person. Soon I graduated from the university here in Venezuela and I will be able to pursue my goal completely, if one day I meet with you on the way to return a thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to write these words. A hug.
    P.S. Congratulations to Anna on Frozen, what little I’ve seen seems incredible. When I see you acting I feel that it transmits a very beautiful and genuine vibration.

    And I love your “Today” calendar. In my country can not be achieved, but I armed mine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes, you’re a thoughtful, introspective person with a heart as big as the all outdoors. And, sometimes, in spite of all the experiences and ups and downs and in betweens, you are still mouse #2 in the 5th grade production of Cinderella who is absolutely certain that next year you’ll be Cinderella. And, when you’re all grown up, you look around at the love that surrounds you and you know that you ARE Cinderella, and have been all along. And you write a blog. With love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have printed this out for my 13 year old daughter. Her passion is theater and performing. This is such an honest, brutal, beautiful account of what her future holds. Thank you so much for explaining what I couldn’t. Keep writing for us. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am guessing you are referring to a particular show that moved from CT and is now in tech rehearsals. I have to say I miss seeing your shining presence on this stage while I witness this current actress “attempt” to fill your shoes. Not to be cruel, but she doesn’t hold a candle anywhere near your performance. A sack of potatoes has more character than what she’s delivering. We all miss you so much and are equally as devistated as you! Keep pushing forward and do not feel like you are missing out on this production, one in which we all regret working on.

    Like

  5. If you ever get tired of acting, you can certainly write for a living.
    I am not an actor, and really had never thought about or known the process actors experience until I heard the actress, Allison Williams, talk about it when she was interviewed by Seth Myers for 92 Y. If you have not seen the interview, you can find it on Youtube. Keep watching while she explains how she creates the body coverings used in the sex scenes on “Girls.” I came away with a whole new appreciation for all actors. Thanks for this blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for shining a light on this today, Patti. It really resonates in me. So important to reflect honestly on our past choices, but to do so without regret. We never know what or who will end up being significant in our lives — best to live authentically. I’m trying to say yes to things these days…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: » Today on Broadway: Friday, August 19, 2016 BroadwayRadio

  8. Amazing as per usual, Patti. And exactly what I needed. I just graduated university and have been sitting on my butt for the past couple of months trying to find a job. I feel useless because going to school was supposed to help me, and I’m losing faith that it will. Then here you come with all you advice about it happening when it will and not to settle, instantly bringing me out of my funk. You’re awesome! And thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully written Patti – just what I needed.

    Sometimes I CRAVE to know or live the famous life (I was gonna be a rockstar you know….I wasnt tall enough for Supermodel. I played my guitar everyday, I treasured my guitar) and then things changed…
    and I had to learn to have a little perspective and accept that its okay to be …well.. just “Me”…..

    So, I will just be happy with my tin of Spaghetti and Bread Roll for lunch (because thats how I roll when I’m on a budget).
    I adore my son who I would never had had, if I hadnt met my husband because I was touring the world, playing sell out performances…

    I wanted a son who was going to be a star footy player (we even made sure that he had JD as his first initials, because we thought it would be a GREAT Aussie Rules Name) – but we were presented with Developmental Delay Disorders, Speech and Movement issues…. but now I accept I have the most amazing kid… who has NEVER kicked or caught a football in his 17 years…
    He’s stopped plenty of balls, usually with his head…. or man bits…

    So I declare it now!!! I am happy to be ME….

    And yeah – I was shit at guitar… what was I thinking?…..

    Thanks Patti xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a crappy day today, tried to take a break to read this and couldn’t, came home made a cocktail, took off the bra and pants and sat down to read this.
    sometimes things are timed just right
    all the times you are awesome
    thanks for this

    Like

  11. Patti, what a special gift you have been given! The gift of story telling, thank you for sharing that gift. Also I am glad you decided to take the time to write again. Have a wonderful rest of summer. Hope to hear from you again soon.. this fall, winter… when ever!

    Like

  12. Wow, what a wonderful story that non theatre folk like myself would not normally get to hear. Thanks Patti for your words. There may be just a few tears in my eyes

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for taking the time and energy to write this down (beautifully) and put it out there. It’s amazing how often we feel alone in our own particular hells in this insane profession and what a salve it is to be reminded we are not. Xo (Also, you should write the whole Atlanta story. Sounds like a good film to me!)

    Liked by 1 person

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