Good News

Okay, so I don't really have any good news.  Good News happens to be the first Equity show I performed in one hot July, many moons ago, at the now defunct Hampton Playhouse in Hampton, New Hampshire.  I was still in college and was earning my "Equity Membership Points" by being an intern for the summer stock season there.  A typical week consisted of performing on the Mainstage in Good News seven times a week, rehearsing at 11:00pm after the curtain came down for the Saturday morning children's theatre performances the interns did, and hanging lights, sewing costumes and building sets -- all for a whopping $40 a week.

This month, my life feels a little like being an intern at the Hampton Playhouse.  I'm consumed by my creative pursuits.  I'm learning what my strengths and my weaknesses are.  I'm creating art, developing marketing plans, writing, organizing, and growing at a pace I never thought I was capable of.  I'm surrounded by lots of people who share my passion for music and theatre, and who are feeding my creative process.  I'm spent, stressed and occasionally done in, only to find that I have a reserve of energy, strength and resources that I never knew I had.  I'm excited for what the future holds for me in the theatrical business.  And I've got music, lyrics, choreography and staging going through my mind constantly, even in my sleep.  Thankfully, I'm making more than $40 a week, but if I actually tally all the work up, not that much more.

That summer wasn't easy.  In fact, in nearly did me in.  But, it was an incredibly rich and valuable experience, and it ultimately shaped how I approached my theatrical career going forward.  That summer, I made a vow that the next time I did summer stock, I would be one of those Equity actors, getting the posh housing, the lead roles, and an actual day off.  Five summers later, I returned to New Hampshire—this time to the Rochester Opera House—to play Maria in The Sound of the Music, as an "Equity Guest Artist."  I had beautiful housing, a livable weekly salary, and a per diem.  I was able to look back on that previous summer at the Hampton Playhouse, appreciate all that I learned there, and recognize all that I had done in those five years to bring my vow to fruition.  Just like I’m doing today.

And guess what?  On my required "Equity day off" at the Rochester Opera House, I found myself volunteering in the scene shop.   Go figure.