My first theatrical performance in NYC was a scene from Lysistrata and it was just as tantalizing as it sounds. The theater company had a space on 8th Ave in the Theater District, and when I was cast I thought surely I had arrived.
If you note in the picture above, there is an empty lot. This lot is where the building stood that housed the theater. The place was filthy and falling apart. I wasn’t surprised that a few years later it was torn down.
The theater office shared a space with the dressing room and that is where we rehearsed. In the dressing room/office there were file cabinets full of headshots and resumes, and actors being actors, we regularly looked through the headshots. However, it was a common occurrence to pull a headshot from the cabinet that would come out with a few roaches attached to it. I would stand there shaking someone’s headshot vigorously until I flung the roaches across the room.
However, it wasn’t just the headshots. There were roaches all over that theater. It wasn’t uncommon to get ready at the makeup table, and have a roach run across your makeup.
When the show opened there were two people in the audience, and it was a huge flop. The show was absolutely terrible. However, if you counted the roaches in the theater we were very well attended. So I guess that counts for something.