Happy Anniversary to me.
As of yesterday, I have now been doing A Chorus Line for a year.
Who'd have thought?
I know with most careers, doing one job consecutively for a year does not seem like such a big deal--but, in this business it is. It's kind of like dog years to people years, I guess; Musical theater being the former and other jobs that don't involve leotards on a regular basis being the latter.
Last year at this time I was living on Broadway and Dyckman, in Manhattan. I basically lived off of yogurt, cereal, fruit snacks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, toast, fried egg sandwiches, and Ben and Jerry's ice cream--all of which I found in the corner grocery store in Inwood. I couldn't get much more since I had to carry it the five or six blocks back to the apartment. Oh--I also lived off of plenty of water and water is heavy.
Which is why I may have been a little dehydrated--not wanting to carry as much as I probably should have.
I remember Drew spending the night with me before my rehearsals started at the New 42nd Street Studios; and especially the cold and scared feeling that gripped me as I forced myself to walk away from him and towards the subway in order to catch the A train express that next morning.
Our head of wardrobe had just contacted me to tell me to go to the shoemaker's before our first rehearsal. This scared me since, not only was I going to a new place to do a brand new thing--I now had to navigate through the city to squeeze in another new place before I got to the new place I had already been anticipating.
Turns out my sense of direction gets no better in a big city. I got lost, and rather than be late for my first day of work, I skipped the shoemaker altogether and booked it to 42nd street.
At which point I jumped into the elevator and, arriving at the right floor, ran around the corner straight into someone who looked oddly familiar...After almost knocking him over with all the grace and subtlety of a newborn colt, I stuck my hand out and said, Hi, I'm Jessica. To which he replied, I'm Mario.
Oh right. Mario Lopez. Of course he looked familiar; I had only spent hours and hours watching he, Zack, Screech, and the gang do their thing on Saved By the Bell.
I quickly told him it was nice to meet him and got out of there.
The first thing we had to do was fill out some forms while listening to our union rep drone on and on about 401 k's and percentages and other such mind-numbing topics. Yes, these things are important and I am grateful that they do, as of this past year, apply to me.
But they tend to bore the heck out of me.
And I tend to be very good at going somewhere else in my mind and missing the lecture completely.
Then we sat in a large circle (which included the whole creative team, our producer, the general manager, the press reps, the head of wardrobe, the company managers, the stage managers, etc.) and went around one at a time introducing ourselves as well as naming our roles.
I sat there counting the people until my turn, not being so good at listening to them since I was so darned nervous about what I was going to say.
I know, I know--I literally had to say all of two sentences: My name is Jessica Latshaw. I will be playing the role of Kristine.
But judging from the way my heart was wildly beating, you'd think that I had to give an inaugural speech. Or at least recite a little of what I had learned from the 401k speech I had not listened to. And if that were the case, it would have been even shorter than the aforementioned two sentences I was already preparing.
But I said my bit and it was fine. I think I may have even smiled as a bonus. I stared around the room, not knowing a soul, not knowing the people with whom I would build this show and ultimately become friends with.
Goodness, what a difference a year can make.