A place to belong. Isn’t that all anyone really wants? A place where they feel accepted, loved, encouraged, and safe. For some, that place may be their church, or their hometown, or simply being with their friends, wherever they decide to meet up that day.
For me, that place has always been the Theatre. Please understand, I had an awesome church youth group, and still have wonderful friends and family, but, for me, the Theatre has always been where I feel most at home. There is a certain magic that fills the space, even when it’s empty, and I love to feel the energy of all the past productions and all the potential productions that the space has. Which is a big part of why I feel so drawn to New York City.
There is no other city like New York. This much, I think, is obvious to everyone. For some, it’s really exciting, and for others, it’s simply terrifying. I definitely fit into the former group. I am so excited by the prospect of living in a city that is constantly changing and evolving, and in which so many people find their voice and their art. When I tell people that I’m moving to New York to pursue acting, the first response I often hear is, “Oh! You’re gonna be on Broadway?! How exciting!” And, yes, Broadway is exciting, and I will be auditioning for Broadway shows, but Broadway isn’t all there is. New York has such vast opportunity for making Theatre, it’s almost overwhelming. You have Broadway musicals and plays, but there are also Off-Broadway shows, Classical Theatre companies (Shakespeare in the Park, anyone?), and so many Theatre companies specializing in presenting new work, that to limit myself to Broadway is to limit my opportunity for success and, more importantly, for growth as an artist, and as a person.
Last week, Kendall and I flew to New York for two days. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but, in my opinion, completely and totally worth it. We walked all over the place, through Central Park, along the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. We were so tired of walking by the time we came home! Kendall had a job fair on Thursday night, and while he was there, I visited a little bookstore on West 40th Street called The Drama Book Shop. It’s my new favorite place in the city. Not only is it full of plays, musicals, and resources for actors, it houses a Children’s Theatre upstairs, and a Black Box Theatre space downstairs. They also have regular events and discussions with playwrights, directors, and actors from all over the city. I foresee myself spending a lot of time in this shop, simply because it is a place so clearly devoted to Theatre, and therefore, a place I can belong, even if I’m not rehearsing.
I feel that New York City is where I belong. Because it’s not just one Theatre in one town. It’s a countless array of Theatres all over an amazing city with awesome stories to tell. And one day soon, I’ll be able to help tell those stories. And maybe even have some of my own amazing tales to tell.