I was in college as a full scholarship biology major and hating it. I had done theatre in high school, but really as an in-between of track and cross country seasons. But I loved the genre, and saw shows as often as they came to my university. I remember sitting in the audience of Rent and seeing the huge effect the actors were having on the audience, and it clicked. I’m supposed to be doing this. I loved it, I was decent enough at it, and here is an example of it being a viable money making career. So I made the switch. The rest is American history.
My parents oddly enough never batted an eyelash when I dropped my scholarship and transferred schools. They just said, as long as you can earn a living, we don’t mind what you do. And they came to every show they could. They are a constant inspiration, as I always want to make them proud.
Yes, I had decided I wanted to make the leap from ensemble member to leading man. It felt like the only way to extend my acting career, since my body was beginning to tell me “no more dancing.” But that switch was hard. It meant I had to change the way all the casting offices saw me. It meant saying no to good jobs and auditions because they weren’t leads. It meant putting myself into the mix with already established stars. It didn’t go so well at first. But I kept at it. And am glad I did.
I want to leave a lasting emotional presence in the world. When we think of Judy Garland, there’s a collective inner sigh we all have. We remember the way she made us feel. We remember the escape she gave us from reality. We remember how entertained we are by her (now digital) presence. I want to leave the world better than I found it. I still have a ton of work to do.
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