i ran into cameron at NYSC in harlem yesterday. we were working out next to each other on those machines that are like long distance ice skating. when he heard my name he balked and reached out to grab me. how sweet!
cameron and i did a production of the wiz in the round at the arena theater in houston, texas some time ago. i was addapearle. i was in the show for probably all of 15 minutes -- the beginning and the end, really, with one hot number to make me really happy. i heard that it might go to broadway, so i did the part because i wanted to be a serious consideration if that happened. george faison choreographed/directed this one. i'd heard the stories about him and how crazy he is, and somehow instinctively i knew that if i was funny, he'd leave me alone. and he did. we had something outrageous like 3 weeks to rehearse and that he got the whole thing choreographed and up on its feet in 9 days.
when cameron told me that he was still doing theater, i told him to stop. on-camera work pays so well, i'm not so sure i'll ever do theater again -- unless it's something that i'm writing/developing, or something that i can originate. we talked about our options on broadway and otherwise. cameron told me that india.arie is going to star in the broadway revival of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf as the woman in purple, with whoopi goldberg producing it. i had no idea she knew how to act. if you are a musician with little or no theater experience, is broadway really the place to learn? especially if you're doing an iconic black feminist play? hm...
i remember when molly ringwald did her star turn on broadway. and christine applegate. and john stamos. and deborah cox. and toni braxton. and p diddy. these people don't originate work. they guarantee ticket sales, bolster sagging box office reciepts and give themselves a little credibility. but at what price for the rest of us? at what price for broadway?
and therein lies the irony: for actors like cameron and i who want to originate work, it's a bleak scenario for us because we haven't done lots of film/tv. we're not famous musicians. not yet, anyway. as far as the acting stuff is concerned, all we can do is keep auditioning. all we can do is stay in a constant state of readiness. all we can do is wait our turn.
well. this isn't a waiting room situation for me. i don't like to wait for the phone to ring, so i'm doing all this other stuff -- like writing another one person show or making another CD -- while all of that acting stuff does whatever it's going to do.
of course, none of this has anything to do with being talented or being good enough. go figure.