In 2011 I was in Arizona doing Smoke on the Mountain. Because of The Big Lebowski, Andy and I have this weird obsession with tumbleweeds. I saw a lot of tumbleweeds when I was there, but Andy had never seen one. So my dear friend Greg happened upon a tumbleweed one day and brought it home for me to send to Andy. I was so excited, I cried.
I was really good at orchestrating pranks early in my career. I loved the art of crafting a good prank, and lived for the reactions of the persons affected.
On a day off during a theater contract I was at the local bowling alley. I saw postcards advertising Children’s Bibles, and the prankster wheels started turning. I picked up one of the postcards and threw it in my purse. When I got home I read it, and it requested that you fill the postcard out and mail it in to receive more information.
I decided it would be hilarious to have a Children’s Bible Company send Andy a brochure in the mail. He would be so confused as to the origin of the mailing, and I would laugh my ass off. So I filled out the postcard with his information, adding the theater as his address, and put it in the mail.
Two weeks later, our company manager pulled Andy aside and told him a Children’s Bible salesman had just come to the theater and was asking after him. He was there to sell Andy some Bibles. The company manager had sent the Bible salesman home as there was no way Andy wanted to buy Children’s Bibles.
Andy told me about it and I was immediately horrified. My little joke prompted some well-meaning man to put his suit on and travel up to the theater to sell some Bibles. I could only imagine how excited he may have been at the prospect of closing a sale, only to realize he had been a pawn in some actor’s prank.
I just hope the Bible salesman had a sense of humor.
It was 2006 and I had just ended a run of Nunsense at a theater that was transitioning between artistic directors. They asked our cast to audition for the new artistic director before we left, but I declined as I was taking a trip to LA and thought I might move to the west coast.
A few weeks after the contract was over, I was at the Bohemian Beer Hall and Garden in Astoria and I received a call from the new AD asking if I wanted to join for the summer season. The reason? An actress they hired had signed a contract for the summer season (and was in their current show), backed out of the next show because the themes were against her beliefs as a Christian. Because she backed out, they released her from her contract for the rest of the season.
I ended up taking the gig for the season, and was lucky to have it because I met my husband. But, I learned a valuable lesson. If you are not comfortable portraying specific material on stage for any reason, you need to consider that before you sign the contract and show up at the theater.
I went to a wedding in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2006, right before I was leaving for a 3 month contract.
In 2006, I was on a multiple show contract with a group of people who liked to have a lot of fun. When you work in the sticks there is nothing to do, so people get into trouble.
When I first moved to NYC I was trying to figure out how to audition and make a living at the same time. It’s something I have always struggled with. In an effort to land a gig, I opened Backstage early in 2005 and there was a list of productions that were happening across the country that year. I went through and highlighted the ones I was right for, and did a mailing.
“Low Budget Beasts, bad ‘Joseph’ wigs, and 3 more Tumblrs about the indignity of community theater” was the headline in Entertainment Weekly on May 29th of 2014. THIS is the article if you want to read it.
If you are in theater in any capacity I am sure you have seen these Tumblrs posted on Facebook, and now there are articles like the one above in online papers and magazines. I happen to know the person who started the Low-Budget Audrey 2 Tumblr, and I’m stoked to see that he went viral. But these articles assume the Tumblrs are direct from community theater. Here’s the thing:
#1 I know and have worked professionally with more than a handful of people pictured in these Tumblrs.
B. Some of these pics are not from community theater (despite the headline), they are from professional regional theater productions.
C. Some of the people in these pics are Equity actors, in union shows.
#4 I find the situation hilarious, and I check the Tumblrs every once in a while to see if I see myself or one of the professional shows I was in on the feed. I would laugh until I cried.
With summer stock underway and actors out-of-town for the summer, I am dedicating next week to stories about my time in regional theater. Regional Theater Week will commence tomorrow!