Saturday, November 28, 2009

To Broadway or not to Broadway....

Maybe not the question exactly at this point but a very real consideration and one that has elicited some surprising feelings on my part. There is not an actor in this world who at some point would not drink all of your blood and step over their mother for the opportunity to open a big hot show on Broadway, me included, but Im not so sure that's the point Im at in my life right now. As I type this there are no offers out to anyone so its a bit of an abstraction but they'll be coming soon and one can't help but think about how it all might play out.

If I were in the producer's meetings I think I'd be lobbying for a couple of different scenarios. My first option would be to offer my role to a star. Who? No idea. I have no feeling for that kind of thing but I'd put a casting director on that tout suite. A name sufficiently large would of course be a draw in and of itself but it would also insulate the show from some nagging unevenness that likely wont escape critical New York eyes and perhaps sell enough tickets to offset the potential of less than raving reviews. As major script changes don't seem to be in the offing I'd be pushing this option hard.

But lets assume nobody else wants to dig down and start cutting weekly checks to a star or risk upsetting the balance of music and story we've arrived at.

In that case I'd hire a local NY actor and pocket the per diem and housing that would be part and parcel of offering the role Now, Im not poor mouthing myself here. I think I do one helluva good job and I don't think I flatter myself unduly in feeling that the work I've done has gone a long way towards helping shore this thing up as a viable Broadway commodity. I think Im a real asset to the production but even so there is no way around the fact that Im saying that if my own money were at risk here I would strongly consider not offering myself the role.

What. The. Fuck. Is up with that?

Its a strange place to say the least. Its like Im at the intersection of Contentment and Sour Grapes and to be honest Im not entirely certain I know which road Im on but I guess its the perfect illustration of how things change with age.

If I'd been in this spot ten years ago and were not offered this part in New York I would have been crushed. Well fuck, beyond crushed, there is no word for that kind of rejection. It would have been one of those devastating kicks to the scrotum that this business doles out every so often and would have sent me shivering under the covers for an unknowable period of time. But ten years hence I see the larger picture somewhat and more importantly don't feel that my personal worth is nearly as bound up with my career to the same extent I used to. Which is not to say that I care less but is to say I don't care as much. Can't explain it any better than that.

In fairness this isn't strictly pass/fail. Regardless Im likely to continue to stay with the production in Chicago as long as I care to and it suits the producer's needs so its not like Im out on the street. If the fall back position is that I get to stay regularly employed in a show that I genuinely love to do, pays well, AND get to wake up next to my wife and take my kids to school everyday that's a better gig than lots of actors have so any disappointment I'd feel would be a tad unseemly.

I've likely jumped the rambling shark by now but this is a little like walking on the moon. Acting is premised on a completely unhealthy level of self absorption, don't let anybody bullshit you otherwise. Perspective is rare in this business and I'll probably lose it at some point, but its nice to have worn it around for awhile.

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