Why I’ve Decided Broadway Isn’t For Me

Cute, but not for me

Most of you probably saw my performance as Jean Valjean, the lead in Les Misérables, back in high school. To those who encouraged me to take my passion for singing, dancing, and gesturing expressively with my hands all the way to the Big Stage, thank you. I hope you don’t take what I’m about to say next as an insult, then, but, after thinking about it long and hard, I’ve decided that Broadway isn’t for me. This is a personal choice, and even though I’m expecting to be met with some resistance, I want everyone to know that, for the time being at least — or perhaps just until the casting director situation changes — I will not be auditioning for any more Broadway shows.

Part of it is a matter of taste. The Broadway I fell in love with wasn’t just ahead of the pop culture movements of its time, it was the pop culture movement. Think of diverse, politically ground-breaking shows such as Oklahoma!, or Guys and Dolls. What do we have now? Shows about Comets, Mormons, and Hamiltons? It’s not the same. It’s not the type of theatre I want to be a part of.

Part of it is also a matter of practicality, which is to say legality. This doesn’t have as much to do with my decision as taste does, though, so until the casting director situation changes, I don’t want to talk too much about this.

Part of it has a lot to do with — to be frank with you all — feeling like the odds are stacked against me. I read a casting breakdown just the other day that read: “African American and Latino/Hispanic and JOHN O’MALLEY DO NOT COME TO THIS AUDITION OR WE WILL CALL THE POLICE.”

It’s hard to come out and say these things, but when I read stuff like that, it feels personal, and I begin to wonder if I’m being singled out. This has, however, broadened my worldview some, as I now know what it’s like to be systemically oppressed.

To those of you in the know, this has nothing to do with what happened last year. To those of you in the know who also talk to my sister, she doesn’t have the whole story. Seriously, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. All I will say is until the casting director situation changes, I will not be answering any calls from Broadway.

For three years I did the thing that every actor is supposed to do. I cater waitered. I dog walked. I got an apartment and lived in a walk-in closet. I got fired from cater waitering. I let a dog off its leash and watched it run out into the street. I subletted my walk-in closet for $600 more than I was paying, pocketed the cash, and then used that money to hire the catering company that fired me and made them wear silly hats. I buried a dead dog in Central Park. I took over the lease at the apartment, became a tyrant, and demanded my roommates pay me in expensive bottles of wine. I did it all. Ultimately, it just wasn’t for me.

But, and this is very important, none of it has been time wasted. Time lost, perhaps, things I can’t remember, faces I can’t place to names, names I can’t place to faces, names I can’t even pronounce, and text messages from unknown numbers threatening me with restraining orders — but no time wasted. I’ve learned a lot of lessons. And learning lessons, I’ve learned, is one of the hardest things to learn.

Before I forget, I want to say thank you. Thank you all for supporting me. Thank you for donating to my GoFundMe, my Patreon, my Indiegogo, my PledgeMusic, and my Kickstarter. That money went a long way when it came time to pay rent and all I had were thousand-dollar bottles of wine. Thank you.

If I promised you certain perks for your donations, I think you probably understand by now that I’m not going to follow through with those. I simply don’t have the time. I’m too busy chasing my dream — which, in this case, is quitting the thing I was trying to do before.

If anything changes, I’ll be sure to let you all know. But this is what my heart is telling me to do. And if you hear of any changes, specifically in the casting world, please, please, please let me know. Like, as soon as you can.

Thanks in advance.

John

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