I'm in the process of writing my story of when I was living in NYC studying acting. There's a lot to my story and for many years it's been so private and special it was hard to even talk about. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times :) If you're just tuning in, I suggest you start at Part I for it to make sense. All links in order at the bottom of this blog entry. I promise it's a juicy read. These entries often include actual journal entries from that time in my life. I'm so grateful I documented so much! Once I finish here, I hope to expand into a book. I'm posting these frequently but they'll also be interspersed with real time blogs :) Thanks for reading & supporting!
*All names are changed
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That summer at CAP21 I became close to a few of my fellow students. There was Matt, who was the other "favorite" of the acting teachers. We nailed whatever scene or exercise we were assigned and often had magical moments. Particularly in a scene from "Key Exchange" and in a monologue I delivered to him from "Romeo & Juliet".
Ashley was a squeaky clean very young looking performer. You know how sometimes you meet people that seem to really like you and you're not quite sure why? They are drawn to you and desperately put themselves in a position to get to know you and be around you? That was Ashley. I guess it goes back to being an only child, but I have always liked to take a little time out for myself when I'm around groups of people for a long time. So I often chose to go to lunch alone. I'd rush out as fast as I could when it was our lunch break. I would get a sandwich at Subway because while it wasn't the closest place, it was out of the way and I liked that bit of time to myself. One day Ashley caught up with me as I was making my usual mad dash and invited herself. She made it known on the walk there that she completely agreed with me, that it was nice to get away from school for awhile and she liked going with me much better. Great. Now I had a little lunch buddy. She sold merchandise at "Les Miz" and was certain it was going to get her a job in the show. She told me one day over pizza in midtown that her rendition of "On My Own" was "better than anyone I know".
Then there was Paul and Diana. They were my favorites. Paul was young but very mature and an adorable gay boy. Diana was from Brazil. She was loud, funny, everyones favorite and could belt like nobody's business.
I'll never forget her renditions of "Maybe this time" and "A New Life". She had such a natural gift. It came so easy to her, but it was almost too much for her to handle. The way she had to stand to brace herself for this enormous sound to come out was unlike anything I'd ever seen. That was one of the most interesting things about acting school. Both at CAP and at ATC. Seeing everyone's beginning. What they could do and could not yet do. What they were aware of and not yet aware of. How they learned to harness their gifts. Watching how everyone developed and gained awareness was nothing short of incredible.
I went out with Paul and Diana a few times. I have pictures of us all out for mexican food and margaritas. I really loved hanging out with them but a threesome is awkward. I remember feeling like they were really bonding and I felt a little left out.
I was in awe of the bios of all our teachers back then. Tours, broadway, you name it. Once one of my dance teachers and I found ourselves alone in the bathroom at the same time. I was so excited to get the chance to ask her some questions and show her how I'd read her bio by asking her about certain roles she played. She seemed pretty young and I was in awe of all she'd done. Plus, she had a tattoo of her sign on her ankle that I thought was pretty badass. Performers weren't supposed to get tattoos, right? We'd both played the role of Diana in productions of "A Chorus Line" so I figured that was a good place to start. But when I tried to talk to her she was very cold and gave me one word answers. I told her I'd done the show, too. "Judy?" She asked. "Uh, no. Diana." I responded. "Oh". She said and left. Um...okay.
One day toward the end of CAP I snuck out of a ballet class early and got yelled at by that teacher the next time she saw me. This teacher was older, she'd been doing this a long time and she didn't take any bullshit. Oops. I felt bad, I felt guilty. I was disappointed in myself. If I remember correctly I had no excuse other than I was being lazy that day. I was tired, and I'm pretty sure I wanted to get out and see The Guy.
I remember a voice teacher I had who was very supportive and made sense to me. I liked learning from. I liked the new songs he was introducing me to. I always wished I'd had the funds to continue on in private lessons with him.
I passed his info to The Guy who needed an emergency vocal coach once. I can't remember why he needed him, he wasn't a musical theatre performer. The Guy came back with a story about going to his house where the voice teacher kept referring to what The Guy was pretty sure was his partner as his "houseguest" and later that night when I was at The Guy's he kept calling me his houseguest.
At CAP one day we played a game one day called "Essences". I loved this game and I've always wanted to play it again within a group of friends in a cast or class. You sit in a circle and each person takes a turn. If it's your turn, you choose someone in the circle but you don't reveal who you've picked. You go around the circle then and everyone asks you a question such as: What season are they? What scent would they be? What color would they be? What animal would they be? etc. You can be creative in your questioning and when someone thinks they know who it is based on your answers they can ask you. It's fascinating. Fascinating to see how people see you and how, depending on who it is and how well you know each other, you can almost guess quickly. After we played, I journaled what others had said about me.
I'm sensual, mysterious, mature with a hint of naiveté as well as facade. A hawk, a peacock, forest green, a plum, france, turkey, a sugar coated pastry, fall...this is all according to Matt by the way. To Paul and Diana I'm jade, pink, sparrow, hyena, vodka, a cosmo, mexican food, pink.
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I'm glad I wrote those down. I never would have remembered otherwise and it's still interesting to me. Most of those weren't and are not how I would see, identify with or describe myself. I'd be so curious to hear what others would see so many years later, as a woman.
Meanwhile back in The Bronx, the foreign roommate that I literally never saw the entire time I lived there was suddenly moving out. A new roommate would be coming in! This time it was a guy, Darren. He looked like a young Mark Wahlberg. We became fast friends and started to hang out. He was mysterious. He was nice and we got along but he had a little bit of a bad boy vibe and I'm sure he did alright with the ladies. Upon meeting him you might have thought he was in NYC to be an actor, but no. He was a musician. And not the kind of musician you'd expect. I went to see him a few times, once where he was playing in a pretty nice restaurant. I went with Paul from CAP. Darren would play the guitar and sing some surprisingly pretty mellow stuff. One of his signature songs was "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay"! We also went dancing a few times, to huge crowded clubs in the city and stayed until the wee hours of the morning.
I remember he liked to smoke the ganja and was always knocking on my door to see if I wanted to partake. That wasn't really my thing so most of the time I said no, but always thought it was, um, nice of him to ask. And ask again.
One day he knocked on my door because someone had given him a box full of cigarettes. Cartons and cartons of lucky strikes. He knocked to offer me my own carton. Those I took from him, and took out on the town with The Guy and his roomate, Ty. We went to a beautiful, hip, modern bar where I almost wasn't let in. The Guy said not to worry, Ty could always get around this. Ty talked to the man at the door, I don't know what was said but the next thing I knew we were inside. Upstairs at a table in one of the coolest NYC bars I'd seen yet, smoking my lucky strikes from Marky Mark.
I was loving seeing The Guy and always getting butterflies in my stomach when I knew I'd be seeing The Guy. I don't think I could still grasp the concept that it was real. I still couldn't get over how handsome he was and how he was there to meet me when I'd see him coming down the sidewalk. I lived for the weekend when I could cross my fingers and hope for a call. I was always nervous about it and while I was certainly enjoying myself, a part of me was waiting for it all to mess up or disappear. Anytime he wanted to see me I'd drop what I was doing and jump at the chance.
My second year at Atlantic would be starting up soon. This was the year you had to be invited back for. While I wasn't worried about not getting an invite it was a sigh of relief to receive my letter in the mail to confirm my spot. And it wasn't really a surprise to anyone when Martha was not asked back.
Now that year one was done, we could also audition. I'd begun to go to auditions as soon as I could. I booked a reading pretty quickly. Wasn't a big deal, but it was nice to do something else. I also started auditioning for "The Donkey Show." I auditioned three times. As it turned out, three times was the charm...
Part 1: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind.html
Part 2: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind-part-ii.html
Part 3: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-3.html
Part 4: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-4.html
Part 5: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-5.html
Part 6: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-6.html
Part 7: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/im-in-process-of-writing-my-story-of.html
Part 8: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-8.html
Time to Press Pause: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/time-to-press-pause.html
Part 9: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-9.html
Part 10: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-10.html
Part 11: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-part-11.html
Part 12: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-new-york-diaries-par-12.html
Part 13 (with an extra shot) http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-new-york-diaries-part-13-with-extra.html