On September 11th I felt very proactive riding my scooter around down town Denver, I got lost in the tall buildings and my inspiration to move to New York was rekindled. The sound of cars and sirens. the sound of people rushing, each having their own stories and lives, and I am in it but for a second. The strange girl riding her scooter looking up not down.
I decided to talk to someone instead of idle dreaming. I rode to the Stage door of the Denver Center of Performing Arts (DCPA), and waited. I didn’t know what I was waiting for or who but I started to look at shows playing as people dressed in black walked into a door I can only dream of seeing the other side. Miss Saigon was the show on tour playing in the Buell Theatre. I decided I was going to talk to the Stage Manager, Michelle Dunn.
I waited and asked everyone walking in the door I was standing next to, “do you know Michelle Dunn?” most smiled and said no and wished me luck finding her. I was beginning to loose hope. I had 20 minutes until my next class started. A skiny man with long fingers and a small black backpack was sipping his coffee, “do you know Michelle Dunn?” he looked at me and smiled. “I do, I’m the assystaint acompanyest for tonights performance. Do you know Michelle?”
I was bubbleing with excitement. “No I dont unfortunetly, but I want to. I want to interview her for my blog. I’m studying to be a stage manager at MSU,” I pointed and he looked to the campus, “and I wanted to get some advice from her, can I give you my email or phone number to pass along to her?” He looked at me and smiled, “of course! She is so nice.” we exchanged emails and he wished me luck.
The week after on Tuesday I sat down with Michelle and we had lunch at the Corner Bakery. We talked for close to three hours about everything from family and relationships to her story of how she ushered and was in the right place and the right time and was asked to stage manage for The Lion King that night. Michelle’s biggest advice was to go to open auditions for actors and drop off a resume. She received many job offers this way. I had no idea that this could be done. She also said to try to plan jobs 2-4 years out if you can. I asked her if it was possible, she simply said, “anything is possible if you put the time in.”
Michelle reminded me that my dreams are not too big and what I want to do is very possible and attainable in the next 3 years. She reminded me that everything I did and do and will do will be known about everyone because the professional world is very small. It’s like being a celebrity, you spend so much time, anywhere from 9-12 hours a day with the people you work with, 6-7 times a day. Your life and your work should be separate but often they collide. You are friends with technicians and cast members of past shows and you will work together again in the future so you have to be aware of the invisible line that is ever moving.
If you think you are not going to be able to live your dream, go talk to someone who has already done it. Ask them how they got where they are and what they would do different. You can do what you want. The only person you can loose to is you.
You are loved!