For as long as I can remember, theatre has been the biggest passion of my life. When I was little I put on plays with my friends. When I was older I put on plays with my friends. Then I went to college and got a degree that says I can professionally put on plays with my friends. I made my parents’ ears bleed pretending to be Maria and Christine and every hooker with a heart of gold and an eleven o’clock number ever written. So it pains me to say, I don’t care about this year’s Tony Awards.
I mean, I care about them. If the Tony’s weren’t going to air for some reason, I’d grab my bedazzled torch with the rest of the angry townschorus and jazz walk, on the Beacon Theater in protest. But compared to last year, when I had a party planned and had seen every nominated show in every category*, I feel nothing for this year’s festivities. I didn’t even know the awards show was this week until I Googled it.
Though I’ve performed more this year than any other I’ve spent in New York, I have taken a huge step away from theatre. I stopped auditioning. I have seen one Broadway show this season, kind of by accident. Finances and grief have kept me from seeing more. Having moved away from the world that consumed me for over twenty years, I’m still figuring out who I am without the dream of one day winning a Tony for myself.
I’m still performing, but pulling myself out of the daily grind of auditioning, which entails discussing every show ever and what roles I’m right for and why a theater will or won’t take the unofficial sign-up list and seeing everyone around me either move up or move on while the constant parade of young BFA graduates never slows, has been both liberating and heartbreaking. As relived as I am to be out of it, that grind produced hope that tomorrow could be my last day at a shitty day job before going to work in a magical resort town all summer. There was continuous possibility of getting a tour or eventually working all the way up to Broadway. After the hours of sitting around and listening to a bunch of actors talk about themselves in a small, echoing midtown studio, the golden nugget of getting to go in and sing a beloved song and possibly being asked to sing another awaited. I miss that.
So this year, I don’t care about the Tony’s. The jazz hand that flutters in my heart isn’t dead, but I’m going to let it relax for as long as it needs.
*Editor’s Note: Except War Horse. This panda cannot handle sad animal stories. When Gigi and I lived together, she was not allowed to leave her copy of Marley and Me out in the living room because I found it emotionally disturbing.