I was leading a tour of friends backstage at ANNIE (in 2013) when I described my schedule: “We’ve got eight shows a week, including Wednesday and Saturday matinees.”
“Whoa. How do you do it? When do you see your kids?”
“Oh, it’s great,” I said. “I get to spend all day with them five times a week. Before leaving in the evening, I feed them and they basically go to bed an hour after I leave.”
“When do you get home?”
“You must be exhausted.”
“Well, it’s a good exhaustion.”
But this description was filtered. Usually I say, “I’m stuck ALL DAMN DAY with my kids and around 4:45 I count the seconds until the sitter relieves me and I to blaze a trail out of my apartment.”
I’m lucky to have such complaints.
When Ellison was born, I was in PRISCILLA… and my partner was unemployed. He’d joke with anyone who’d listen, “Yep, Gavin gets to put on a wig and high heels and talk to adults while I’m stuck babbling with a 5-month-old. So I pour another glass of wine…”
(Disclaimer: I never wore a wig in Priscilla. But yes, I wore heels in a couple of the production numbers. And my partner was stuck home in “witching hour” hell.)
So, when employed, I can say my day job is fatherhood. Then, at night, I have a well-paying hobby: entertaining on Broadway. I mean…talk about living the dream.
Plus, when I’ve done a show for months (or weeks), I don’t have to think too hard about my job. That was helpful during my boys’ first few months. I was sleep-walking through my show.
HOWEVER, I don’t bring a tired performance to the stage. (Actor friends: insert snide comments, below. Go ahead. But re-tweet this blog post, while you’re at it.)
As I see it, the difference between Broadway and not-Broadway is the talent (or mental devotion) to hide fatigue (whether baby-caused, alcohol-fueled partying, or mental weariness from your 456th performance.)
And Dr. Spotlight helps tremendously.
Somewhere in there artistry fits in, I’m sure.
Also, having kids places me in a minority on Broadway. I try to keep my kid anecdotes to a minimum in the dressing room. No one cares about Ellison eating a jar of capers or Colton saying “bye bye baby poop”.
And after the show, when my cast mates still have another few hours for TV (or drinking), I look at the clock and think, “ohmigod, I gotta sleep NOW.”
When cast mates come in for a matinee looking like they went to bed at 6am and woke at 11, I smirk.
I remember those days.
I miss them.
No I don’t.
Fellow actors: chime in with your parenting/performing comments.