Category Archives: Career Mamma

“Whatcha talkin’ bout Willis?”

I have a friend in Public Relations that likes to throw my writing out to different publishers and casting directors when projects come across his desk.  He called me last night to say that there is a new reality television pilot being cast that is looking for women in New York and surrounding areas who have successful careers, children, friends and spouses, and are navigating through the “have it all” scenario.  He sent her my information and blog link and she wanted to talk to me.

Putting aside the fact that I would rather eat three-week old fish wrapped in road-kill filo dough, than be on a reality television show, (that’s big talk. I don’t eat things that swim) I wanted to get more information.  This is an excerpt from the actual breakdown:

The POWER MOMS of NEW YORK.
POWER MOMS is a new docu-series focusing on a group
of successful women who somehow manage to do it all…
balancing work, kids, home, friends, events, parties and
family!

 

If this is truly a reality show, and not a sci-fi series where days are longer than 24 hours, there are glaring arithmetic errors.  I’ll get Nate Silver on it.

But, lets suspend our disbelief for just a moment while I tell you about this phone call.  It went something like this:

Casting Director: “So, let me describe what we are looking for and you can tell me if you fit the bill.  We need successful, career driven, educated, New York mothers who are able to work, spend plenty of quality time with their kids and spouses, plan events and parties and maintain an active social life.  Also, these women do not need to be wealthy, but can afford some of the nicer things.  For example, vacations homes and designer clothes.  This is a classy version of New York Housewives.  It’s an aspirational show that middle America will be inspired by.  Does that sound like you?”

me: “No.  It most definitely does not.  I do not own my own home, let alone a vacation home and fashion is not my thing.  I am not your girl, but seriously, who are you looking for?  You didn’t mean success in any career.  You meant CEO’s and the like?”

Casting Director “Yes.”

Clearly, she did not read by blog.  And clearly I will not watch her show.  Or maybe I will.  I must see who these women are and how they manage to defy the laws of nature.  Because, it’s going to be a reality show…meaning it is going to be 100 percent real, right?

have a click!

Embrace the Age

Not too long ago (or an eternity ago; it seems like both), I made my Broadway debut.

I was 22, portraying a girl in her late teens. Not unusual, and the fact that I looked about 16 throughout most of my twenties made it even less so. (you can read more on that here)

During the run of the show, an acquaintance, (a Broadway gal herself, but not working at the time) expressed frustration concerning my show’s producers for their unwillingness to see her as the understudy for my role.  Looking back, she seemed much older than I, but I think it bears noting that she was younger than I am currently.

It was always blatantly clear to me that she would in no one’s reality but her own, EVER be cast to play an 18-year-old.  (Unless of course in someone’s reality, she was a celebrity, in which case, talent, and appropriate age and type are completely optional, but as obnoxious as that is, it’s not the point of this post.) I was baffled that such delusions could come from someone so seemingly sane and level-headed, not to mention, fiercely talented and able to play a plethora of roles I was bursting at the seems to be old enough to play myself!

I have carried this with me throughout my performing career, to serve as a reminder of a promise to remain astutely aware of my own physical changes as I age.  But, something happened the other day that made me realize that that promise, strung through the trickery of passing years, may be more beguiling than it first seemed through my 20-something, crow’s-foot free eyes.

There is a reputable regional theatre near our home-town that just held auditions for one of my favorite shows; a show that just so happens to already be listed under my resume’s Broadway credits. I  understudied both of the lead female roles and performed them numerous times. When I learned of this possible opportunity, I flipped with excitement.

Some time passed and I asked a fellow performing Mommy, during a park playdate,

“Hey! Do you know when those auditions are happening?”

“Yeah. They were last week. You didn’t get an appointment?”

My heart-rate quickened, and grotesque actorish defenses surfaced and clenched my jaw. I left Isabelle by the slide and stormed off to fetch my phone from the stroller. Thankfully, before dialing my agency, she tripped and face-planted in the dirt. While brushing her off, this pivotal conversation happened:

“I just don’t get it! I performed both of those roles in the Broadway company?”

My friend, with much finesse, said,

“Maybe they’re just thinking that because you did the Broadway show, and it was awhile ago that you wouldn’t still be right for it?”

“It wasn’t that long ago. I just did it.  It was….

When was it?”

…(insert audible intake of breath)

Nine years ago. Nine. I was 26.

-Nine years, a marriage, two children and more life-changing experiences than in any of the other decades combined.

Holy crap!  I can’t play early 20’s!  What the hell was I thinking?  Of course they weren’t going to see me!  Did I think that time stopped here in New York during my six-and-a-half years touring and living on the opposite coast?  It feels like I just did the show because it was the last show I did before leaving town.  But I did NOT just do the show!

(My agents can thank Isabelle’s lack of grace for sparing them that excruciating bi-monthly phone call.)

In that moment, I felt a little more compassion for that old acquaintance, and hopefully caught myself before heading down the same path of delusional and unhealthy Make-Believe.

For some reason, our own changes happen right under our noses, but often without our knowledge. I look at pictures of myself from my 20’s, and honestly, other than the lack of dark under-eye circles, I see no glaring differences. (at least, none that would be obvious to an audience of the stage)

But, does that mean that casting directors and producers are flat-out wrong and on some sort of quest to keep me from supporting my family?

Absolutely not.  All too often that is the slippery slope that traps aging actors and earns them the off-putting, fluorescent-orange “bitter” badge.

Just as I was able to see all of the roles open to my friend if only she could have embraced her age, I intend to do the same for myself.

Thank the Lord I can’t play 18, or 23 for that matter.  I don’t have the energy.  And, if I carried myself with the freshness and naïveté I did ten years ago, it would surely mean I was on some highly dangerous and illegal uppers.

I have earned these dark circles and crow’s-feet and I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste my 30’s fighting for my 20’s.

Yours Truly,

Un-Bitter 30-Something Entertainer

Performance Clips

Hello lovely subscribers!

I added a new Page to Motherfog should any of you want to check out my “Professional”side.

Thanks for listening!

https://motherfog.wordpress.com/performance-clips/

If A Tree Falls In The Forest….

David Paul Bayles • Corvallis, OR (photographer)

We were blessed with a bit of rare, coveted adult conversation a few evenings ago. We had the pleasure of a visit from old friends, fellow actors. An interesting topic bubbled from our luxuriously yummy bottle of Malbec.  We were discussing the component of an audience’s response and subsequent validation (or lack thereof) in our work as live performers.

A show like Wicked can certainly play a large role in enabling this unhealthy addiction in an artist.   I can honestly say that during the six years with both the National Tour and the Los Angeles company, our cast never took to the stage for final bows without a sea of standing theatre goers stretched before us.  But Wicked is Wicked. A freak of theatre, if you will.

So, here is the thought-provoking, hypothetical scenario we came up
with. (in actor speak)

You are starring in a show. Throughout the two hours and 45 minutes of your performance you are riding the exhilaration of your character portrayal, feeling like there is something special about this particular show.  Your work this evening is good and something to be proud of. The house is full, 2000 plus.  You feel the electricity of your audience, a symbiotic flow of energy back and forth through the fourth wall. Your pulse quickens with giddy anticipation before you enter upstage center to take your final bow.  You rush downstage and notice the house is empty. Not a soul is clapping. Nary a person is standing.

Dead. Quiet. Silence.

Do you hold to the unwavering faith that your performance was a good one, even if no one stood waiting at the stage door to tell you so?

Our conclusion that evening was  a unanimous no.

This unhealthy habit of relying on accolades and awards to gauge and quantify the value of our work is often the plight of the actor,  although some may not be open to admitting that fact.  But, I will venture to say that it bleeds into all career paths in some form or another, just maybe not as blatantly.

Perhaps the best vocation to beat it out of us is that of parenthood. I can’t remember the last time one of my children said to me,

“Mom, thank you so much for putting so much effort, time and thought into our meals, seeing fit that we have built within us the foundation for healthy eating habits and therefore have the best chances possible for avoiding the current obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics. You are appreciated, profoundly, and we love you!”

Or maybe that’s exactly what Isabelle is saying when she looks up at me from her high chair, mouth half upturned, a wicked gleam in her eye as she slowly and deliberately grasps noodle by noodle of homemade macaroni and cheese with roasted butternut squash and cauliflower, and chucks it to the floor with a guttural giggle.

Yes. That must be it.  I will just have to believe that on my own.  I don’t think my kids are going to beg for my autograph any time soon.

What about you?  Are you able to hold faith in the integrity of your work, however it is defined, without an occasional pat on the back or reflection of approval?

Sit or Squat – My Commercial

As promised….

My commercial

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10100798702555600

Gotta pee?

What Happened to My 20’s?

No. Seriously. What happened to my 20’s? I don’t mean this in a nostalgic “they went by too fast, I miss them” sort of way.  I mean, according to the Business of Show, they never happened. I have been jipped. Bamboozled. Short-changed. Tricked.

Allow me to explain. I graduated from college and shortly after, joined the cast of a little skit called “Annie Get Your Gun”.  Don’t fact check me, but I believe the role I was hired to portray was 16 or 17. I was 22.

Ok. Not a huge stretch. But, throughout the remainder of my 20-somethings, I was told repeatedly I looked too young for the all-too-plentiful roles of characters in their 20’s. I was also often told that my youthful look was not synonymous with my mature and somewhat forward and abrasive demeanor. This impression of being a bit hard is a current theme even still, which baffles me as I view myself as a big pile of sappy mush. But the overcompensation for my insecurities and hence facade of (sometimes) overbearing confidence is not the point of this story.  Moving on…

After years of being unable to play my own age, I came to peace with the conundrum and looked forward to my 30’s.  A decade in which I would finally grow into my 20’s. It must work that way, no?  Wouldn’t all of the decades just shift, giving me an extra ten Golden Years?

Nope. I turned 35 last weekend.  On my actual birthday, I had an audition to play a woman in her 40’s. I made some sort of joke (as I often do when nervous) about being excited to celebrate my 25th. The comment was met with boisterous laughter from those behind the table.

Um….when did this happen?  When did I all of a sudden become the middle-aged woman who cracks jokes about being young and instead of responses of confusion, wins jovial hysterics?  I am under no illusion that I have the face of a 25-year-old, but is it that funny?

I blame the children.

But, don’t get me wrong. I also thank the children.  The feathers near my crow’s-feet aren’t really all that ruffled. I’m finding it refreshing to play exactly my age and demographic. It’s exhausting to have to reach backwards ten years into one’s youth. I have no desire to play 25.

But, I may have wanted a crack at it when I was 25.

Ho, hum….

How many delightful years have your children aged you?

Mother’s Day Magnificence

I have flown the coop this weekend to shed my nursing tops and comfy jeans, and transform into a singing Diva, donning floor-length gowns, strappy heels and perhaps a touch of lipstick.  Another “Wicked Divas” concert is on the docket.

It wasn’t until yesterday when I received an “Enjoy Mother’s Day!” text from a friend, that I realized I would be spending the special day without my husband and babies.

Feeling a smidge sorry for myself, I mechanically tossed the usual concert trip items into my suitcase.. minus the ambien. (Laughing at my poor decisions never gets old if you want to have a click).

Once in the car, I opened my printed itinerary to instruct the driver at which airline to drop me.  Upon a closer look, I noticed that although Sunday’s performance is at 3 pm, I am not booked on a flight home until Monday. Annoyed, I made a mental note to contact my agent to see if this could be changed. There must, after all be a plethora of flight options late on a Sunday night out of Little Rock, Arkansas, no?

The 50 seater puddle jumper bumped through turbulent air pockets and made a jarring but successful landing.   Within 20 minutes, my red rolling suitcase and I were gliding through muggy mist to the car that would bring me to my home away from home and a long-awaited good night’s sleep.

On our way to historic downtown Little Rock, I asked the driver if this hotel was a nice one. I often ask this, my impatience making the 10 or 20 minute wait to see for myself simply not an option.

He chuckled.

Uh oh.

I have stayed in hundreds of hotels across the United states throughout the past 13 years of my performing career. Some have been lovely, some just ok, some not suitable for mice. You just never know.  The most luxurious accommodations were at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, also courtesy of Wicked.

Pulling up to the glass double doors at the hotel’s entrance, I was greeted by a bellman in a 3 piece suit and a top hat.  Once inside, I felt like Little Orphan Annie laying eyes on Oliver Warbucks’ mansion for the first time.

Chandeliers flickered over pristine marble floors and red velvet couches flanked candle-lit tables scattering throughout the lobby and leading to a sprawling stone staircase that wrapped around both sides of the atrium. I half expected Cinderella to appear in glowing silhouette at the top.

I was personally escorted to my room and given a tour of the suite in which I would be staying. The four cherry posts of the king-sized bed stretched toward the vaulted ceiling, cornered satin sheets and a white down comforter.   Squares of toffee lay atop the bedding.

On either side of a towering armoire stood two-floor to ceiling windows dressed in embroidered drapery.

The bathroom was large enough to be an extra bedroom itself. A jacuzzi tub sparkling in the center of the room bookended by two doors of frosted glass.  One opened to a shower with enough space to do a vigorous yoga practice.   The other, a separate toilet room fully equipped with a phone in case of a hankering for shrimp cocktail whilst relieving yourself on the porcelain throne.

The concierge gestured toward a glass of French Cabernet glowing red through the flame of a tea light resting on the table in the dimmed sitting area. She turned with a warm “Enjoy your stay, Ms. Rozek” and the door closed behind her with a click.

I stood in the center of the room, silent albeit the ache of a cello softly crying through the television speakers set on the classical music station.  I turned in slow circles, panning my surroundings. I glanced from the bathtub, to the shower, to the wine, to the bed….at a loss for which luxury to partake of first.

No longer finding it necessary to make that call to my agent to rush home sooner, I settled in and accepted the unfortunate circumstance of being forced to stay an entire three nights in this shabby shack.

So, respectfully asking Señorita Guilt to check out, I am going to bask in the luxuriousness of this weekend for which I am actually being paid.  Perhaps, although I miss my babies like crazy, spending Mother’s day, every so often, just like this was exactly what Mother Nature herself intended.

P. S.
I would love for all of you to come join me at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. But as that may not be possible, I invite you to enjoy 20 or 30 minutes in a bath or a quiet candle lit room. All to yourself. You deserve it.

Happy Mother’s Day.