Gratitude for Early Exposure to Theater

Gratitude for Early Exposure to Theater

I created a gratitude list that I prepared to broadcast on Thanksgiving but I didn’t publish the recording so I am going to do each item of gratitude as a show. Today I talk about my early exposure to Broadway theater and how that fed my acting bug later in life. I also talk about the gift of the uplifting Christmas movie genre, even if it is super cheesy. Couldn’t we all use that right now? ?

Full Episode Transcript

I am going to talk about today a list that I made that I was going to do for Thanksgiving, which would have been 10 things that I’m grateful for in relationship to the entertainment industry and my involvement in it and art, the art scene in general that I’ve I’ve always been somewhat connected with for as long as I can remember. But I recorded it and then I realized this really I could do a whole podcast of every single one of these.
So I very well might. And that’s where we’re going today, but before I get into that, I just want to say that I mentioned in the last podcast that I was going to ponder changing the name of this podcast or. I don’t know, just making sure that it really isn’t a misleading title because saying how to produce movies is a bit of a boxing in for where I’m going and where I’ve been thus far. So it will probably change to just being my name until I figure out where it’s going, because I feel like I could talk about media, I could talk about movies, I could talk about creativity, and I can talk about producing.
But I’m also going to talk about directing and equipment and that kind of thing. So it boxes me and a little bit, but for people who are interested in that level of conversation, that’s who this podcast is for.
I was going to begin my gratitude by saying I am grateful that I grew up in New York. And I mean, my formative years The early, early ones that were influential on me and at the time I didn’t realize how influential.
I think an adult observing me would have probably realized that. The theater and entertainment aspects of my life were significant to me and had a high impact on me as a child and probably could have predicted that I would want to do it as an adult. So when I was little, I grew up in Manhattan and that was not Manhattan like it is today or was a year ago. Now it’s a little bit different vibe again, but it was working class people.
And so it wasn’t like the chi-chi thing. It felt very grounded, actually, and it was. More dangerous than it was a year ago, I don’t know how New York is right now, I can’t say on personal experience. I’ve heard some stuff, but I couldn’t speak on it. But it was a rougher place, certainly, and it was, as a child, a fantastic place. I didn’t know it was rough. All I knew was that.
It was a lot of interactions with people was so interesting, we walked everywhere, I happened to grow up in a part of the city that was very green, which is different than the rest of the city. And but mostly it was just those kind of buildings. It was very grounded people, normal people. And I appreciated that, even though I didn’t recognize it as anything unusual because it was my own little fishbowl. So that’s what I knew.
And so what this exposed me to. So New York in in the 80s was very. Rough and things like theater were. Considered a treat, but not outrageous, not like whole paycheck for one ticket, outrageous, that wasn’t what theater on Broadway was at the time. So I got to see a lot of theater as a child and very good theater in New York. It influenced me a lot and to the point that I remember I wanted to take tap lessons at the 92nd Street Y and I when I was like a little little kid and then the instructor got a Broadway show.
So I was not able to take tap. So I ended up taking stretching or something, which was not nearly as fun. I just wanted to mention that because it was like, again, it was in retrospect, very influential on me, but look at who was going to teach me tap dancing. That’s pretty cool. And so I would go to these Broadway shows and I had a babysitter. My parents had to leave me sometimes because they both left early for work.
So they had to leave me with a babysitter and she had daughters. And so they were very close friends of mine. They still are. And. I. We loved the show, Annie, and that was so influential on my life and I just imagined myself not just as that actress playing Annie, but also as the character Annie was the first time that I realized people dressed up and became characters. And so we would run around the giant Annie wig.
And I was that for Halloween. And I would just run around with that and singing all the songs from that show, and as time went on, I also would do this.
I noticed that every time I got really into a show, I would just end up being that for Halloween. Sometimes for years on end, I was a cat forever. I was obsessed with the show Cats. Like I knew every word from that show.
I got Elliot’s book. I just knew it front and back and it was so fascinating to me the aspect of Cats and then just living that, just loving it. I can’t even explain it, but it was really just something I got really into. And then I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And this is what’s funny, because eventually we did move to suburbia and we used to have this little parade in our town. And in the town was a lady who came up to me…
I was wearing this outfit, I think it was about third grade. And she goes, “What are you, dear?” And I was just like, “I’m the narrator from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, which is so specific and sort of I was obsessed with that show for a very long time. I had the fez. If you’ve ever seen show books from probably not because this is mostly a filmmaking thing. But I’m going to get into the film aspect later that this is it was.
So if you get a booklet from a Broadway show and if you go back to the 80s and you can see it wasn’t anything special.
[The narrator] She had a fez on and an interesting sort of outfit, and my mom was pretty good at sewing and so she, you know, was able to make that for me. And my dad helped make the fez. I mean, it was really kind of cool. But I think at that point, my parents should have been like, this girl really wants to be here on a stage.
So but they weren’t. They were just like, go play Piano Girl. And so it was. But they tried. They were good. You know, at least I got to wear the costume, which was thrilling to me. And so I just think that that I’m grateful that my parents were half encouraging. They’re like, well, she’s into this, let’s get our costume. And that also I had that kind of exposure. And if you have kids and you’re exposing them to creative stuff, especially live creative stuff, it can be so enlivening.
And I have to say that the happiest moments of childhood, some of them were me just really being into the music and singing the music and dancing around as a little kid to the music of these Broadway shows. And so as time went on, it kind of shifted in its manifestation. I still started off as a theater actor and that was interesting. That’s going to be another podcast but of how that happened. But it was very. interesting that I went I always wanted to act and I didn’t know what that entailed, except that there were these Broadway people and I knew what the shows made me feel like.
Oh, and like I could tell the whole story about Rent. And even in the modern day, I it’s not I understand how it’s influencing me, but I loved Hamilton. Didn’t see it again. Whole paycheck. I’m not really it for me. There’s a principle to that. I don’t think it’s meant for me. I don’t want to support a system that’s meant for the rich classes and pay that money. I’ll watch it on television.
I haven’t done that yet. But the music is lovely, so I haven’t paid to see Hamilton, I have a problem with spending five hundred dollars for a Broadway show as much as I value it. I also think that that’s wrong because I would have never been able to see all the shows that I got to see if those tickets were that expensive in comparison to what, you know, people make and the expenses that they have right now.
So I just yeah, I haven’t seen that. I did see Book of Mormon, though. That was fun. That was fun.
So anyway, I just really appreciate that I got that exposure and then I went into theater and then I went into film. It’s funny because at some point there was a pivoting from this is super fun, too. This is a business. And I think that’s when I really lost interest in acting. And it’s been hard for me to work up the interest again, I have done some shows, live theatre shows that I have loved.
I’ve gotten the lead in a few productions that I have really enjoyed and I am grateful for. But it’s interesting because this past month I found somebody I’ve been following someone on Facebook who has seems like a very excellent coach and she would be able to coach me on the business side. And I’ve been teeter tottering on whether I should engage her services or not. For me, it seems like a little bit crazy because, again, if she’s like, “you need to get headshots” I’m like, “I’m not going to get headshots right now”.
That’s a little bit for me. I know there’s other people who are like, “I’m not worried about this whole covid thing. I’m going to go.”
But I’m in a collective where that could make other people vulnerable. So I’m not choosing that. And same thing with, you know, just going on to a set, although I feel like that would be safer. I don’t believe that I would choose that right now and so so this coach is probably not something I’m going to be working with at the moment.
And I’m talking business side, which I have never been good at, I have to admit I have never been good at it. You hand me a camera, I can work it, but you hand me, you know, an agent and I’m like, OK, so it’s very interesting how that has influenced my life. I think it kind of also goes to the question of whether monetizing something that I consider almost sacred is really something.
I want to do because there’s always. Oh, my brain is saying a selling out, but I don’t want to put it that way because there’s no judgment around the people that do choose that none at all go for it. But I think internally I stop it before it gets to that point or when I don’t, I feel really bad. I can think of numerous times when I’ve used what I think is something very special in my creativity, in a way where I feel like it’s not either appreciated or it’s being shoved into a situation that isn’t what I want it to be because of the way it’s not [honored].
And I guess that’s why it’s being paid [for]. But then again, if I talk about my producing, which in itself is a creative endeavor, there is the stuff I get paid for. So, OK, I’m not doing the stuff that I love and the stuff that I adore. And I feel like I’m on the precipice of being OK with using the acting for something that is paid that isn’t necessarily a pet project, but it pays the bills. And I feel like I’ve been digging my heels in.
Maybe because of those early childhood experiences where creativity was just elation and theater and acting was just super fun and play, and then you throw the business into it. But the thing is, it’s interesting because then it also deadens that thing, that spark that it makes.
Not just what I consider art and not a contrived creation of something that is marketable, but then it also takes away that spark is what sells my art and me. And so when I go into a situation where I’m like, “this is a business situation in the entertainment business and I’m selling this service as a creative person”, suddenly it’s like my muse does not show up.
This is all off the cuff. I had no idea I was going to be talking about this today. This started as an honoring of of some aspects of my entertainment experiences anyway. So maybe this had to be said. I. Hope this is maybe. I have no idea. I hope this has helped you in some way and maybe it’s a good time, I think, in general, to just have gratitude. I feel that gratitude. Regardless, I can say I’m grateful that I’m up and awake this morning and then I get to record this, I live in a space of gratitude as much as possible because I feel like it really greases the wheels of good life and it also creates good feeling and helps to focus on the things that that really make a life worth living.
And I feel like that’s all perception, so in the midst of what would one might consider tough times, I guess ultimately this is a podcast about gratitude and not just the entertainment industry. I’m still going to get into these other topics because I think this is a good a good vibe to have for this time where things might seem a little bit off.
Things are challenging right now for a lot of people, and I think that shifting my focus is especially valuable right now. And so this is my way of doing it by making this list and telling these stories. And I hope that if you didn’t get anything out of it in lesson kind of way, like I’m teaching something or whatever, I hope that you enjoyed my story and just know that that was an influence on my life.
And maybe it’s good if you have kids when we start going out again to show them. Creative works, and one of my gratitude, which I’ll get into another day. Well, no, I’ll end on this. Maybe I’ll go deeper another day.
I absolutely love cheesy Christmas movies. It’s started a few years ago when I had to spend Christmas alone. And then it just became a thing where, like this was like a better Christmas than I’ve had with people.
All I did that week of Christmas was just watch cheesy, sappy Christmas movies. And I sat there with my dog and my dog watched me like every two hours. I’m like, “this is so beautiful” as I started crying because it’s like, oh, it’s so sweet but very cheesy. And it also made me laugh for that reason. So I watched this movie called “A Christmas movie Christmas”, like two days ago, and I have to say it was the happiest and most… It’s so it was so cheesy. But it was also cheesy in a way that it was making fun of its cheesiness. It was making fun of the cheesiness of the genre. And yet it also made a nice little Christmas movie.
So if you appreciate that genre…
So I walked away from it feeling just so. Happy. And it was so schmaltzy and it was so tug at your heartstrings in a very deliberate way, and but they commented on that, which is what made it especially good.
And because they commented in on it in a very eloquent way, it was a great movie.
So I’m saying that because that is the power of art. So if we have this whole situation where, you know, we watch the news and this is happening and this is happening and this is happening and this will happen
And then you go back and you watch a simple Christmas movie, which is meant to just have all this, you know, goofy, happy feeling where the challenge is not that much of a challenge.
“We got to put on a Christmas show and it has to be a headliner singer there.”
It just makes for this elated feeling. And that’s the power of art, because I think that when people feel that after experiencing art like that, they are able to create great things within their own life. If they walk in the world with gratitude and with observing media that is uplifting like that, where despite everything that’s going on in the world, they feel that…
That is a possibility of better relationships, and because then they’re interacting in the space of love and joy that they got from the movie… It’s also just an elated feeling of maybe they’re going to create something or that they will uplift other people with or they’re going to write some thank you notes or that energy will be brought into the Christmas cards that they write or whatever cards. I’m not saying, you know, everyone has to be any kind of religion or even religion at all.
I just you know, I’m saying for me, when I use that term, it’s me being self-referential and it’s not even. That’s not what this podcast is about anyway. Thank you for listening and thank you for letting me share some of the appreciation I have for my childhood. And I hope that you got something out of this and enjoyed it. And I’m always open to feedback. Yes, the name of this podcast is changing. Yes. We didn’t really get into much about filmmaking, but it was more about creativity, which totally relates.
And I guess we talked about uplifting films and media and so thank you. I hope you have a great day. Take care and I’ll talk to you soon.

Gratitude for Early Exposure to Theater
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