What I did for love

I watched “Every Little Step” the other night. It is a documentary about both the making of the original “A Chorus Line” and the broadway revival from a couple of years ago. I got all weepy watching. I typically do whenever I see people who have the kinds of dreams that I used to have working to fulfill those dreams. They play bits of the score throughout the film and hearing the music again is such a strong sense memory experience for me. I am transported back to myself as a kid in my yellow room in our apartment on Schenck Ave (pronounced SKANK if you can believe it), listening to those songs and trying to belt along to the music and sound like the fantastic actresses on the records. I have a little bit of a sore throat today and I’m wondering if it’s because I was singing too forcefully in the shower yesterday? (At The Ballet! Hey!) I remember being so sure that I was going to have a life in the performing arts. I didn’t want anything else. College showed me more of the real world and it was hard to find myself not quite fitting into the box that I’d promised myself I’d be in. The movie goes behind the scenes for the long audition process they had for the revival. It was thrilling to see all the performers giving it their all at their auditions. I have my own set of regrets at not really going for it myself. I was too much of a mess right after college. I was desperate to leave Skank Ave and didn’t want to rely on just an iffy acting career to live. As it turned out I made the totally rational decision to move to Philadelphia and work as a telemarketress at a Dating Service instead (!) and ended up having to return to my yellow room at home anyway. Not long after I started working at the Writer’s & Artists Talent Agency. It was a little hard for me to be around all these young performers who were putting themselves out there. I was a teeny bit jealous of them yet too terrified to try the same thing myself. I told myself that I wasn’t going to get hired because my look was too untraditional but I probably could have made it work if I really wanted to. It was my first real NYC job. I used to get all dressed up (with pantyhose even) and commuted back and forth on the train to get there. This is my desk at W&A. I loved the lighting in that place. They always kept the florescents very low and had lamps on our desks and above the typewriters (!) so we could see. I thought my typewriter was the bomb back in the day. I figured out how to pre-format my submissions on that thing and simply had to push a couple of buttons and it would set up the entire page for me, margins and all. This office also featured a very busy fax machine that used rolls of paper that would emerge from the machine all warm and damp. There were always reams of curly faxes drying on top of the radiator next to the machine. It was only a little over 20 years ago but it seems like much longer. Everyone used to smoke at their desks, can you imagine?

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