I had the honor of attending Monday’s 2015 TEDxBroadway event at New World Stages as a representative of Green Room Blog, and boy, did I learn a lot.
The day was billed as a whole day of talking about how to make Broadway the best that it can be, and we were treated to 6 hours of talks on the subject from both theatre industry insiders and non-theatre people — think the founder of Warped Tour, a climate change expert, the VP of Marketing at the PGA Tour, and the woman responsible for running Governor’s Island, among many more.
It was an inspiring day talking about the future of Broadway, and lucky for those of you who weren’t there — I live-tweeted it all! And made a handy dandy transcript for those of you who missed the tweets.
Check out the transcript for wise gems from even wiser people. Already looking forward to next year’s event. Thanks for having me, TEDxBroadway!
Many women that work in theatre at some point come across doing in some way, shape, and form a production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” This month I had finally dipped my toe into working on the play that to some is considered the female theatre artist’s “right of passage.”
In December I applied for the rights (and got them 2 days later) after a friend of mine gave me the idea to do the play. It seemed like the right time since not only had I never done the play before, but I was in a place where I felt I needed to express my voice on women’s issues. Thankfully, it seemed the world agreed since getting everything together seemed to really fit into place from finding the perfect venue to the right cast.
From watching the show several times in the past, while I developed a strong appreciation for it, I never thought about my own artistic choices I’d want to put on it until preparing to do the show. The first thing I realized I wanted to do was to actually make the stage look like a vagina (with the actors sitting on the outside layer and one chair upstage center representing the clitoris). Most performances of the show have actors sit on stage anyhow so why not do it in a way that help show what the show is about? On top of that, the actors got to perform inside a vagina (and how many people get to say that one in their lives?). Also it allowed me to really think about what I wanted regardless of what I’ve seen before. Several monologues that we meant to be for one person, I divided up into 2 or 3 people to represent a wide variety of women or really show different personalities. On top of that, a lot of actors in this production never did or even saw the show before, so they went purely with their own instincts. I felt that that was perfect, since it really allowed us to go an artistically free route, as oppose to go with the traditional ways the show is done.
Being an actor is tough. So when there are fun resources available to us, I’m all for it! One of the most fun is The Conrad Cantzen Shoe Fund.
Mr. Conrad Cantzen was an actor who starred in films and performed on Broadway in an impressive 17 shows (check out this 1937 Playbill from when he played Mr. Vik in An Enemy of The People!). He died in 1945 and left his estate of $226, 608.34 to The Actors Fund with the express instructions that it be used to buy new shoes for unemployed actors so that they don’t look “down at the heels” when auditioning for casting directors.
Today, 70 years later, the fund is still available to help you purchase a pretty new pair of audition shoes. The fund will reimburse you up to $40 for a pair of shoes costing no more than $100 if you meet the criteria and provide the original receipt and fill out an application.
To qualify, you must be:
- An actor who is currently unemployed in the field
- A current and paid up member of one of the performing arts unions
You can only apply for the fund every two years.
Happy shoe shopping, fellow actors! Thanks, Mr. Cantzen.
If there’s any small, twisted comfort to be had, the Sony hack has shown us that even female celebrities aren’t immune to gender wage inequality. Actually, it’s not much of a comfort really, but at least I know that it’s not just me and it’s not just those of us whom I’d deem “working class actors.” Which doesn’t make the larger problem better, but it does help me to take it less personally. We all should be taking this personally, though.
There is a real problem in the entertainment industry with taking women seriously.
I’m sorry to get so real here on Green Room Blog, when I’m usually full of motivational wisdom and sharing successes, but if we’re being honest, I’m not really sorry at all because this is something that’s really been getting me down over the past year or so and it’s time that we all talked about it for all of our sakes.
If I had an acting job for every time in the past year that I’ve heard “You’re great, but we’re casting that [insert young female role here] locally” or seen a breakdown where all of the 12 characters are on equity contracts except for the two young women leads, I would be swamped with work and turning gigs down. Read more…
As I sit here in my break room at Disney World I say to myself where did the time fly by?
I just finished my 1st semester of graduate school at NYU. I am currently at NYU Steinhardt studying Theatre Education. It is such a rewarding experience to me. Leaving Disney 5 months ago was really hard for me and now I could not be happier. I thoroughly enjoyed my first semester at school. Being back in school, back in the greatest city in the world!!
What I find interesting when I was first accepted into NYU I had a lot negative comments from people saying “You won’t make it. Graduate school is extremely hard.” Well, don’t get angry for what I’m going to say but graduate school is not HARD at all, it is just a lot work at once and if you are not mentally prepared for it then it’s going to be rough.
Currently I will be graduating this summer with an MA but I’m applying to MFA acting programs. I hope to get into an MFA program after NYU. I would love to teach Acting but the whole idea of getting a Ph.d is just a bit to much for me right now.
Well, it’s time to go back to work but I will write something else later this week!!
We had a fabulous #ShowbizChat a couple of weeks ago that was all about networking. If you missed it, check out the transcript, and try to make plans to join us for the next one on January 6th at 1 PM EST.
There was a whole lotta incredible networking wisdom being thrown around in #ShowbizChat, but there’s one specific piece of advice about networking that I’ve really been wanting to share with you all lately because I think it’s crucial and it took me a long time to learn it.
Networking doesn’t have to be something that feels uncomfortable or forced because “that’s how everyone else is doing it.” Do it in a way that suits your style and personality.
Wow, that seems simple, huh? But it took me a shockingly long time to figure out that if late-night parties or targeted networking events weren’t my thing, there were a lot of other ways to network that I’m much more comfortable with and good at.
Sure, I still hit the occasional party or opening night gala or fundraising event (two in the past month actually, and I’ve gotten a lot more successful at them lately!), but there are so many more ways to authentically engage with people that actually leave me excited about the prospect of meeting people.
Some other options for theatre networking are:
Find your niche group — For me, it’s The League of Professional Theatre Women. Feminists who love theatre and love advancing the cause of strong women in theatre? Sign me up! I would get one thousand times more excited to go to a LPTW play reading or committee meeting than a networking party, and I am meeting incredible like-minded people all the same! Read more…
Please welcome Amy Lee Pearsall to the blog today! Amy Lee is an active and valuable member of the indie theater community here in NYC, most recently appearing in Wide Eyed Productions’ Dead Special Crabs. She’s here today talking about the Indie Theater Hall of Fame and what it means to have been inducted last year.
Earlier this week, Rochelle and Martin Denton of New York Theater Experience (NYTE) launched the online Indie Theater Hall of Fame after a decade of honoring performers, designers, directors, producers, and organizations for their contributions to the NYC independent theatre community. The inductees for 2014 were announced today, and social media within the local indie theatre sphere has been aflutter since this morning with the news.
As an inductee in 2013, I have to tell you – being recognized for my work by my community is a lovely thing. It’s a balm on days when I’m sitting at my desk job, eating cheese and crackers while trying to make sense of a spreadsheet, updating the social media for my theatre company, following up on digital footage for my reel that is way past overdue, and scheduling yet another seminar with a casting director whose eyes will almost certainly cloud over until I tell them I was inducted into the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame in 2013. And it’s nice to have good news to send home to family and friends – a missive of sorts to the effect that they shouldn’t give up all hope of ever seeing me on Law and Order: SVU. But inevitably, I get the question: “What’s independent theatre, anyway?” Read more…