AMA: Have you considered doing Broadway?

“Have you considered doing something on broadway like live theater or do you consider Improv as being essentially the same thing, but maybe on a smaller scale?”

This question was sent in response to my post where I talked about backing off of acting (I guess that’s how I would summarize it?).

Improv is a form of live theater, but a play or musical (scripted theater) have their own unique aspects. Any time I can perform to a live audience, I’m going to prefer it. Hearing the audience, and letting their reaction inform how I perform, whether scripted or not, is a big draw for me. I find the audience-performer conversation fascinating.

Have I considered being on Broadway? I don’t know about “considered,” as it’s not like there’s a job offer on the table. “Imagined,” absolutely. Just as I’ve imagined being in Hollywood movies or on a network TV series or any number of other “break through” scenarios.

The reality is that it’s just not very likely, especially living in Los Angeles. It’s fair to say I’m not going to catch a flight to New York City, stroll down Broadway, and get offered a job.

That’s not to say getting to Broadway is impossible. My friend Kris Coleman and I used to work at the same company here in Los Angeles. He worked his butt off for a number of years, strategically pursuing commercial auditions and other work. His manager did a lot of good work for him. He risked his job ducking out for auditions. He got a few roles in some commercials. He was doing musical theater and other gigs. As more auditions came, he got more worried about losing his job. He was really in a precarious spot. And just as it seemed like he couldn’t get away with it much longer, he was auditioning for Jersey Boys on Broadway. Call backs and interviews followed. It was tense. And just like that, he got the call. He gave his notice and was off to New York City.

Writing it out, I actually don’t believe it myself. But miraculously, he really did it! He deserved it too. He’s talented and devoted all his energy and resources to making it happen. Plus some amazing timing worked in his favor too. He’s a wonderful guy, and I was so unbelievably happy for him. It was such an inspiring moment to see him really beat the odds. Because make no mistake, statistically, it is a miracle that anyone can make it through the crazy system to end up with an actual role in an actual thing that actually gets made.

I was so grateful to get to witness him go through all that, and it really motivated me to redouble my efforts. This was probably 9 or 10 years ago. So yeah. Needless to say, I didn’t follow him. Is it possible for me to do what he did? Absolutely. Have I been able to dedicate my time and energy and resources to doing what he did (or some version of it)? Because that and probably more is what it will take to do what he accomplished to get to Broadway.

In 2002, my wife Nahleen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 2010, she was also diagnosed with lupus. I’m sure someone else could more skillfully navigate that while also chasing acting and working a full-time job. I couldn’t. The business side of acting is crucial and that was always what I’ve dropped first. At this point, I don’t want to run that marathon (more like triathlon). Instead, every time, I’ll choose my wife.

As it turns out, I’m completely thrilled doing improv, which has a steady schedule and takes work, but is not as all-out demanding as going after Broadway or Hollywood. I actually feel like I’ve ended up exactly in the right place. As I said in my last post, it’s like I got rid of all the stuff that annoyed me or I was terrible at in acting, and just get to do the fun part that interests me. It’s joyful work.

Having said all that, yes I have done a number of plays while out here in Los Angeles. There’s an annual Halloween show that I do. So it’s not something I’m against. I love a live audience, so I like doing live theater, whether with a script or not. If I’m asked or if the opportunity presents itself, I do it. But I don’t need to go to Broadway.

***

Thanks for the question, anonymous person! This is exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to get to talk about while blogging every day this month. I also love that I’ve been getting a mix of serious and silly questions – it’s perfect! Let’s have some more!

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