Is that still my purpose? Yes, definitely. Well... Partially, I guess.
Having been here for a year now, I’ve seen that my purpose in this business, on this earth really, can be much more multi-faceted. And that’s what I want. I have the time, I have the energy, and I have the spirit to fuel it all.
I just need to remind myself that every so often. Like everyday.
This past December was insanely busy with catering work. Pure insanity. Don’t get me wrong, I was so grateful for the work, but I was dead by the time I headed back to Guilford for Christmas.
What got me through those tough gigs and long days was a playlist I pieced together from my iTunes library of showtunes, random pop, Bobolinks, and more showtunes: “Happy Songs”. Whether to and from a catering event, that playlist played; instantly I was reminded that life is great.
There’s one song from my playlist I can listen to on repeat: my great friend Emily Kron singing “What’s Up”. (I totally ripped it from YouTube so I can have it wherever I go.)
Have a listen. You’ll totally regret it if you don’t.
Then I realized... I love listening to happy songs. I love listening to my friends sing. I love performing with my friends.
I wanna sing happy songs with my fabulous friends.
So I’m lumping these all together and putting together a concert for the spring:
“Reasons to Be Happy”
A Concert Introducing
Schuyler and The Flies
An evening of happy songs sung by myself and my four fierce girl-friends: Melissa Greco, Raina Lynn Crawford, Michaela Lieberman, and Emily Kron. It’s gonna be a celebration of being happy. Simple as that.
I’m also hoping that Schuyler and The Flies can go on to do more concerts in the future such as a Disney concert (obviously...), a Holiday concert, etc. Basically, it will be an ongoing opportunity to get together with friends, perform, and be happy. What’s better than that? (The answer is nothing.)
Recently, I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can’t wait create opportunities for all my fantastic, fabulous, talented friends to perform. I want to be that person behind the table, whether as a producer, director, choreographer, writer even.
I love acting, but I know I know there are other parts of this world that intrigue me, other aspects I wish to explore, to become a part of.
Part of me wants to step into this creative world now and leave the pains and tribulations of acting behind. However, I am still learning so much in this actor’s life, not only about theatre and business of it all, but also about myself and my own aesthetic.
What I love most about auditions is the 99% possibility of running into friends. No matter what day, I always seem to run into someone I have done a show with or someone I know simply from auditioning. I love striking up conversations with new people as we sit, side by side, waiting for our time to sing. I learn about the creative teams and casting directors in the rooms, auditions at other studios, shows coming up, as well as people’s personal histories coming to make it big in the city.
These moments outside the room happen to be some of the best networking opportunities here in NYC. It always pays to be friendly to everyone in this world, and it surprises me everyday watching how naive and ignorant actors can be towards other theatrical compadres. These are your future cast mates and creators, and a bad memory of someone sticks the same, if not more, than a good impression of a person’s integrity.
Really though, I just love laughing and hearing people’s stories; it calms me before the stresses of auditions. While auditioning can be hard, painful even, usually scary, it’s these opportunities that bring me out of my little Harlem room. It’s the reason I started doing theatre: the honest, creative, driven, kind, invested people I get to hang out with.
The last thing you readers heard about my love life was the absolutely wonderful Kavin. We unfortunately have split up after some self-realizations on each end, understanding that the timing was just not right for us. While it was so hard to come to this decision, I knew it was right for both of us.
Kavin taught me how to communicate with the one I love, and I will forever be grateful to him for that. I now see how important explaining where I am, how I am feeling, makes for two adults working together rather than two kids holding in growing resentments towards each other.
I realized that I needed to be single in the city. Coming here, I was so excited to have a plethora of men to meet and date. In turn, I felt the need to meet as many as I could, hoping with each (as always) to find the one, my one, as fast as I could. I’m seeing now that I have time, and this time should be focused on understanding myself more and more as an individual entity.
Have I gone on a few dates during my single-dom? Yes, I have. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I have been truly single, separating myself completely from the gay-dating world.
What has been is casual and infrequent. I mean, does a boy refuse if a guy wants to bring him out? I think not... :-)
Right now, I’m in a relationship with New York City, and loving it.
With the time since “Braver. Stronger. Smarter.”, ways in which to amp up and recreate aspects of this piece have bubbled up at surprising rates. Along with these, ideas for new cabarets are surfacing almost daily with every little step I take. I’m excited to start on all of these when audition season slows down a bit.
Here’s a little teaser for a new piece: “The Lady Within”
For a few of my catering gigs, I’m given the task of being the “Shadow to the Hostess”. Aka, I follow either the bride, the mother of the bride, the mother of the mother of the bride, some other mother (you get the picture) with her clutch and drink in hand all day and night. I’m there to make sure she is taken care of, getting her anything she might need, or making her a plate of food to nibble on at some point of the night.
In these situations, I usually turn up the flame on my own Gay Barometer. The mothers LOVE IT; it’s like their own personal gay best friend for the night to make them feel fabulous and fierce.
Here are some of my regular lines:
“Your dress is fantastic! And no, your arms don’t look fat when you take off your shawl... Yes, of course I would tell you if they did look fat...”
“Oh, let’s put on a little more lip gloss.”
“Your earring is caught and turned around in your hair. I’ll get it...”
These past few weeks, I have been so grateful to have my Equity Card. With this little green card, I’m able to be seen at so many more auditions than before. Each time I get to audition, I find new nuances in which to highlight that relay positively and strongly in the audition room.
Auditioning - while similar to - is quite different from performing onstage. You have to make your audition for a usually small, fluorescently lit room with few people watching. Instead of making moments big and flashy, one can pull back and still the body, accentuating actions played in the scene with the spot on the wall above the heads of the paneled creative team. A new audition is a new chance to hone in on those skills, bettering with each time.
I have always wondered what it would be like to go out to sea and sing on a cruise ship. At first, the idea worried me. I would have to leave all the possibilities the city provides of getting a job in theatre. If you’re not here to audition, you won’t get a job onstage.
But this would be a way to travel, and be paid to do so...
Is this me running away from the city though? Am I simply tired of the rejection and the inability to land another gig and want out?
But this could be an opportunity to pay of my student loans and start putting some money into my savings...
Would this only be a temporary conclusion for my fears of not be talented enough to make it here?
But being on a cruise line could be a really cool performance opportunity...
I put in my application to work on Princess Cruise lines this past week and I’m waiting to hear back. If I do, I’ll go from there.
This past January I started babysitting here in the city, and I’m remembering how much I missed working with kids. My acting advisor from Middlebury, Alex Draper, is here in the city for his sabbatical year with his family. They all needed some help with afternoon pick-ups and dinner/homework help for a few weeks while Alex has been rehearsing for a show. I was so happy to be available and help out down in Brooklyn Heights.
Babysitting in the city is very different than in Connecticut. I mean, it’s New York City. There are speeding cars, open gaps in the sidewalk, not to mention crowds of people to have kids get lost within. With some ground-rules laid between Toby, Nora and I, we found a way to have safe fun all the time.
I’ve loved being able to explore Brooklyn Heights with the kids. I now make a mean chicken nugget, grilled cheese, buttered pasta, steamed broccoli, and shelled edamame. Reading “The Lorax” to Toby is now a mini performance opportunity for a fantastic, attentive audience member. Helping Nora with her math, writing, and spelling has allowed me to introduce some of my education studies techniques from Midd into the real world, proving quite exciting. Overall, I’m now seeing how much happier I am with a job like this in the city and I’m now looking for more babysitting gigs here for the future.
One year ago today I moved from Guilford to pursue dreams.
A year ago today I packed my father’s pick-up with my belongings and moved to North Bergen, New Jersey. Even though I technically wasn’t living on the island of Manhattan just yet, I was out of Jersey 95% of the time. I came into the city for auditions, to meet up with friends, as well as begin to figure out more about this city I dreamt being a part of. And here I was, a part of it.
To honor my first 12 months in the city, I thought I would write 12 anecdotes of recent events for the next 12 days. So be sure to come back and read the rest!
1. HETEROGENEOUS AUDITIONING
I heard this phrase at an audition this past Sunday, and it totally sums up the kinds of auditions we’re having recently. Great regional theaters from around the country come here to NYC to audition possible candidates for their upcoming seasons. These theaters do amazing work, bringing high quality theatre to audiences who may not be able to travel to or afford a Broadway ticket.
For these auditions, creative teams and casting directors ask actors to prepare one or two selections from songs that are “similar to our season”. But this is near to impossible, finding a song that encompasses an entire theater’s season, as shows can range from Golden Age classics to pop/rock modern pieces. Basically, I don’t want to sing a classic musical theatre piece even though a theatre may be putting on “Oklahoma” because they’re also producing “Cabaret” and “Altar Boyz”, musicals far from classic musical theatre.
It’s a big game, determining what you believe you’re best for in their season, then picking a song in that show’s style that could also possibly be translated for the other shows in the season. Not the easiest task, but I’ve found that the best way to choose a song for a certain audition is have a couple in mind and sing the one I want to sing when I get to that day. It’s all about making the audition an opportunity for me to have fun; create an opportunity to remember why I love doing what I do.