So I have worked in professional theater for over almost six years now. I have done hundreds if not a thousand+ performances in that time. Tonight will go down in history for me as a actor:
The night I first called out of a show.
Here's the story: I have a terrible history with foot injuries. Over the holiday, I re-injured my right foot and I was hoping it would be better by our first show in Toronto. Alas, today, it did not feel 100% percent and so it pained me (yuck yuck....get it?) to notify our stage manager and "call out".
I planned on going to rehearsal nonetheless as I wasn't sick, just a little broken. As I hobbled to get ready around my hotel room, I started having doomsday thoughts: "
I am sure that I could have powered through with a limp but I could have furthered my injury and slowed my healing. A small voice came over my shoulder (was it St. Jimmy?) and said "don't be a hero." Actually it was our director Michael Mayer and also several of my supportive cast members in their way.
When I came through the stage doors, there were nothing but smiling faces. Understanding faces. "Shit happens" faces. Still my doomsday voice came into command,
We had a put-in rehearsal today for Jen Bowles (fabulously joining our tour) and, for me, Vince Oddo (one of our fabulous swings). Someone once said ( I won't mention names-) (okay.... it was Matt DeAngelis), "watching a swing go on for you is like watching someone eff your girlfriend (in my case, my non-existent boyfriend). But you'll get over it." WHAT THE FUCK, MATT?! ..... But it was kind of true. I wanted to be up there. Vince was my hero, the show's hero. And I felt like the show's failure.
But then, as do all of Matt's theater philosophies that can sound blunt and unkind, it revealed it's important lesson: Sometimes you have to watch your Ex get fucked by someone else. In the end, it always sets this pit in your belly on fire and forces you to grow; to see things as they really are.
Because what I got to witness, in the audience with my icepack, was Vince Oddo onstage; killing it. I saw Jen Bowles onstage; killing it. I saw this incredible company of actors and musicians; all fucking killing it. This show: I know the ending, and I proudly cried like a little bitch anyway. American Idiot can be viewed as a show full of anti-heros. These characters live like rock stars and sometimes callously. But the actors who embody them: They are warm, caring, passionate people who are giving a unique voice to a generation. Eight shows a week.
And at the end of the show, when I walked through the audience and was recognized by some of our fans who didn't even see me onstage- they wished me a speedy recovery- they, in fact, made MY day. They proved that this is a crazy fucked up family and that we're all a part of it; Even the broken ones; On your best days and especially on your worst.
So, I posted a twitter challenge earlier last week: "How does American Idiot speak to you?" These are the responses from the Idiot family (excuse if I misspell any names, I'm hopped up on mucho PAINKILLERS!)!
Katie Marie: "since I saw it for the first time last November, I've learned who I am and what I'm meant to do with my life.
Aimee Kislin: "everything you jus said in your blog. I saw the show 146 times on bway and felt everything new every time.
Katie Fitzmorris: "
Katrina Harris: "truer words were never spoken about what happened at the St James.
Cristina Moreno: "I wrote this months ago, but it's still true. http://bit.ly/szWUkB
Olivia Alvarado: "
Sally: "My heart is like a bomb!
Mrs.VanDenburg: " I saw AI 3 times on broadway.. would have gone more but live in CT. best show ever made me realize you always have a chance to change.. best show ever. ..
Cara, awesome theater geek!: "
Shelly D: "My life was changed forever after seeing American Idiot on Broadway. Can't wait til you get to Detroit!
Amanda, lola oh lola!: "idiot tells the story of my life, my broken generation & hope it's given me a new family united with rage & <3
If I didn't have to eat, pay rent, or have dreams of one day owning my own ice cream truck, I'm pretty sure I would do this show for free.