©Megan Elyse Fulmer 2014
Its been a month since you performed your way through final callbacks. You have a new manager rooting for you, you’ve formed new relationships with big choreographers in the industry, and you are rehearsing for your second tour in LA. It’s a good feeling to have so many positive distractions from not knowing if you got the job.
It’s your first time rehearsing a show in LA. Rehearsals are held at Abby Lee Dance Company Los Angeles. After years of watching “Dance Moms” on the couch, you are now in the room where it happens. It’s a great boost. After being told, “you can’t keep up with LA dancers,” you are proving that you can. You are on a ten-minute break laughing with your new tour family when your phone buzzes. You step away from the group to answer the call.
“Hi, Megan? This is Paul from casting. I’m calling regarding The Bodyguard. Do you have an agent/manager that we can get in contact with?”
“Yes! I’ll send you his email address and phone number now!”
“Great. Thank you, Megan. I’ll be in touch.”
You immediately start jumping around and rolling on the floor. This has to mean you got the job! If you got it, that means you only have a month between closing this tour, and starting rehearsals for The Bodyguard. That is the performers’ DREAM—CONSISTENT WORK. You’ve never known what it feels like to have two jobs lined up one right after the other.
Your new friends notice your sudden outburst of excitement. They ask about the call, and you tell them your theory of having the job. You reiterate that nothing is set in stone. You explain what this opportunity means to you. Most of these dancers don’t do much theater, so you explain what audition life in NYC is like. The more they learn, the more they cheer you on. It’s an amazing feeling to have their support. They’re crossing their fingers for you. As the break ends, you all step back into the studio. There is a lot of choreography to learn in a short amount of time. It’s a new style of dancing for you, so you have to stay extra focused. Regroup, breathe, and stay present.
The next day, you receive a voicemail from your manager.
“Hey Megan! I’m just checking in to see how rehearsals are going. Since you are in LA I wanted to see if you had time to grab lunch or dinner! I’d love to touch base on a few things. Give me a call when you get a chance! Talk soon!”
You hope he’s heard from Paul. Regardless, it’s so refreshing to have a representative that makes time for you. Someone who makes time to discuss the steps to take in order to pursue your dreams. Someone who wants to understand who you are as a performer and person. It’s important to be on the same page. It’s important for you both to want the same things. After all, If you’re not working, no one is making money.
You plan for dinner with Gregg, your manager, after rehearsal tomorrow. Until then, You need to focus on memorizing every step of this new show. Drill the choreography now so you can take a break at dinner tomorrow night.
It’s 6:30 on a Thursday night. You hop in an Uber and head to dinner. When you get to the restaurant, you see your manager. He always has the most welcoming smile when you see him. His positive energy is one of the many reasons you want to work with him. You two grab a table outside and settle into your seats. As you sit across from him, you notice a shift in his smile. His arms hug into his sides as a look of boiling secrecy spreads across his face. Before he even opens his mouth, you prepare for what he’s about to say.
“So, I called you for dinner because we need to discuss some things. You, my dear, have been cast as an Ensemble Member in the First National Tour of The Bodyguard the Musical! YOU DID IT! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Rehearsals will start October 17th…”
Tears of pure joy trickle from the corners of your eyes. There’s this adrenaline shock that almost sends shivers through your body. Your heart feels like a seed that is blooming into the most beautiful red rose. It fills your chest as you begin to sit with the posture of pride. You can still hear the sound of Gregg’s voice as he continues to list all of the wonderful details included on your next big journey. Seeing his smile, and hearing his excitement creates this smile like one of a cartoon character’s that spreads passed it’s cheeks. This is the job you have been waiting for. This job will give you your Equity Card. You will officially be a member of the Actors Equity Association. This means an increase in pay, benefits, better contracts, and so much more.
Absorb it all.
“Gregg, I can’t thank you enough for handling my contract! Real quick, I have to call my parents and tell them the news!’
You call your mom and put the phone on speaker. You make sure your dad is present, and tell them both this life-changing news. You can hear the amount of pride they have bursting through the phone. Hearing this intensifies each emotion currently flowing through your veins. You have been fortunate enough to have parents that encourage you to work towards your goals. There aren’t enough people in this world that look at the arts as a realistic place to get a job. Your parents understand the effort it takes, and the rewards that come with doing what you love.You can’t ask for anything more.
After a positively eventful dinner, you give Gregg the biggest hug, and Uber your way back to your temporary apartment. On the way there, you begin to reflect on the last 4 years. You were a junior in college when you booked your first tour. A 19-years old cast as the only female swing. After 7 months, 80 cities, and 48 one nighters on a crazy roller coaster of a show, you walked away as a 20-year old with many new skills to take back with you to college. You earned your BFA in Musical Theater in only 3 years.This prepared you to do shows at credible, equity Regional Theaters, but you were still a non-union actor. You did double the work for half the pay. The reward was the experience of learning from seasoned professionals, and earning points towards your equity card. You are a proud Equity Membership Candidate who was convinced that she would spend many years working show-after-show to earn each point. 25 points later, you are cast in a show that will be giving you your full membership.
The Bodyguard will rehearse in NYC and open at Papermill Playhouse. The show will sit there for 6 weeks. In that time, you will have to remain a non-union actor, but the very first day the tour officially launches, you will receive your card and the benefits that come with it. Since you will be living in NYC for two months making non-union money, you will probably have to continue teaching a few fitness classes after rehearsal. You have to be smart with your money. Rent isn’t cheap. Continue to budget and save during this tour and the month you will have free before the next round of rehearsals.
You slow down the endless thoughts racing through your mind. You arrive at the apartment. The future thoughts can rest as you reprogram yourself into the now. Do a quick choreography review, shower, and get some rest. You have an entirely different show that you currently need to focus on. You can’t help but think, “Two shows back to back. Wow. It’s shocking how all of your hard work has paid off.” In this moment, you’ve never felt more driven. Tonight, you sleep with pride.