A few weeks ago I had an audition for a musical. It was a pretty big audition, at least for me. The last musical I did was in 2006 and I was nervous about auditioning for another one. I trained my entire life as a singer before I even got into acting, and I've always been really confident in my vocal abilities. The positive feedback I receive from people inside and out of the industry further reaffirms my decision to pursue what I love. But when I have a vocal audition coming up, I begin to freak out. Particularly when it's a big audition for a company that will pay me a living wage. Isn't that every actor's dream, to book such a gig? No pressure.
Except I was feeling the pressure. And tons of it. When I toured with Bombay Dreams in 2006 I finally understood what it meant to sing 8 shows a week - and I had one of the less strenuous tracks in the show. Having to sing on a regular basis meant keeping your voice in tip-top shape. One little sneeze, tickle or scratch and your chords decide to say "Fuck it - I do what I want!" Then you stress. Will I be better by half hour? Should my understudy go on? The day goes on and you think the stress is making it worse, but you're a goddamn professional so you show up and do your job.
I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet. (We're all busy; we all have ADD.) I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest after getting married and never imagined my career taking off in the way that it has. And to think I was going to give up what I loved just because I thought no one would hire me if I were to be my true self. "Just Be" from Kinky Boots, the Musical plays on loop in my brain. Particularly when it comes to auditioning for things like musicals! And plays. And films and tv. Basically being in show business. It is a daily struggle to 'just be' the true you while trying to give everyone else what they want, all the while fighting nerves enough to get the call-back. Add on top of that knowing that some of these people you're singing for knew you when you weren't the real you. On any given day that vital piece of information about myself could be my greatest asset or my worst liability.
I have much admiration for so many of the women (#girlslikeus) that have made a name for themselves in their respective industries. Candis Cayne has a career I can only dream of having. Janet Mock is a best-selling author. Laverne Cox is an Emmy-nominated actress. Aneesh Sheth is a Tony-nominated actress...
Well, it's nice to dream.
This blog will serve as a reflection of my experiences navigating my failures and triumphs in this wonderfully thrilling, scary, and exciting industry we all love/hate, while validating my own gender identity and finding success in show business.