2015-01-24 - 5:16 p.m.
The Long(acre)est Month of My Life!...
I met Melanie at the New York Telephone Industrial Show audition and then again at the non-Equity cattle call for the upcoming Broadway show "Hellzapoppin" where we both fared really, really well. We'd scored 2 of the 15 spots (out of 125 auditionees) for the industrial show with the only downside being that it was 1) for only ONE WEEK'S work, 2) still a couple of months away.. and 3) we hadn't even signed our contracts yet!
But we were also lucky enough to be among the chosen few from the Open Call of "Hellzapoppin" who had been asked to return for the final callback on the 17th of September (almost exactly a month away!) The audition had been amazing!
*Journal entry from August 20th... "What a thrill to be dancing alone on the stage of the Winter Garden Theatre! One of the highest feelings I've had in a very long time. I mean, for a few moments there I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life!!!"
Meanwhile... Mel and her 12 bags moved into Doug's 4th floor walk up studio apartment with me.
And then, the hardest part about the rest of that long, hot August was just waiting for September!
Mel and me waiting for that phone to ring!
Me, writing in my journal...
*Journal entry from August 25th... So we went downtown to the DMV today to get our New York ID's. Never been put through more sh*t in my life!!! It cost me $10!... and with all the rude people I came out of there with tears just running down my face! Then we had no money to get home!...so we started panhandling until a cop came up and asked us if we were "soliciting!" So then of course I started crying again and he let us ride the subway for free."
Anyway, FINALLY, we heard that we had both definitely been cast in the Industrial Show... but that it had NOW been postponed until October! And so with the little time we had remaining at Doug's quickly running out we figured it was probably a good time to start looking for an apartment of our own.
*Note: Looking for an apartment with $24 to your name is pretty silly!
So after about a week of having our dreams of finding a sublet or an apartment completely DASHED we finally settled on The Longacre House - A Women's Hotel on West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, right in the heart of the Theatre District.
We each had our own room, which consisted of four walls (each), a bed, a chair, a desk and a dresser, with a communal bathroom down the hall as well as a small alcove which contained a shared sink and stove. I believe the rent was like $36 a week or something like that or at least that's what sticks in my memory. And I remember that number quite vividly, because I always had to come up with it! Fortunately, in the beginning, the refunded airline ticket really ended up coming in handy. (And yes that was back in the day when you were actually able to get one!)
Anyway, as odd as it sounds Women'a Residences were quite popular back in the day for both young theatricals and young professionals.
Who am I kidding? Melanie and I were definitely the only young "anythings" in that entire place! All the old ladies roaming the halls and peaking out of their doors really freaked me out at first, but after a while it was home. Of course it did take a couple of months to be able to afford to decorate it enough to make it comfortable, but once I had the wicker coffee table, the plants, the bamboo shade, new bedstuff, the mini fridge and the 12" TV... the place became totally mine and I loved it! (Just wish I'd ever gotten a picture of it!)
And I mean, really... Where else for less than $150 a month could one climb the stairs up to the rooftop and grab a view like this anytime they wanted?
But I'm getting WAY ahead of myself here...
One of our favorite hangouts was Joe Allen's on West 46th Street.
From Melanie's room, right across the hall, you could look out her window down onto the courtyard that backed the restaurant so it was just a quick little jaunt around the block for us. There we would sit for hours contemplating our futures. As part of the official "restaurant row" Joe Allen's has always been a very popular pre-show dinner option and an after-show gathering place for performers so we never failed to run into many of the folks we aspired to be. And with those brick walls lined with every Broadway show poster imaginable it wasn't very hard to get lost in the daydreaming.
The routine fare for us was the black bean soup WITH LOTS OF BREAD AND BUTTER (followed occassionally by a hot fudge eclair). Right? It was the cheapest thing on the menu, went down really easy and kept us full for a long time. And it really beat out the other option of heating up canned soup back in the communal kitchenette.
Another fun thing to do was to wander around inside the "Triton Gallery" right next door, where we could fill our imaginations with dreams of all the theatrical posters we hoped to be able to afford some day.
And ocassionally we'd get invited over to a friends place who actually lived in a real live apartment for dinner or something! (To be honest, we hung out with a LOT of people but mostly Mel's friends because she knew everybody!)
Vamping it up, somewhere on the Upper West Side...
In the meantime, my main priority was trying to get a song, a monologue and a headshot pulled together for the callback. I settled on "Don't Tell Mama" from "Cabaret" for my song. Can't even remember what I chose for my monologue. But I DO have this very painful reminder of my first headshot photoshoot.
What was I thinking?
Anyway...September 17th 1976 turned out to be one of the WORST days of my life up to that point (current perspective being everything...)
I didn't get the show!
Being a tall dancer had always been a challenge for me and yet this show had specifically called for tall girls! But as it turned out "tall" in this case meant more like 5'6" to 5"8" and not 5'10"like I was. Still, Melanie, who stood inches above me, made it!
*Journal entry from September 17th... "It's hard to be happy for someone when you're feeling so very miserable at the same time. I felt so choked up as I left the theatre after watching everyone hugging and congratulating each other and talking about out of town runs. God I wanted that job so much! And it hurts because I know I did so well and was truly better than some of the girls that got it and I was just THIS CLOSE! And I know I can't blame Melanie for being so ecstatic, and I am so truly happy for her!... but would give anything to be in that position again. I just wish that somebody thought I was good besides me."
^^^Pity Party to the Max!^^^
So anyway, there I was all alone again, depressed and not to mention broke!..
But Autumn time in New York is
And for the very first September of my entire life I wasn't headed back to school!
This here was school enough for me!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Meanwhile... here are a couple of pics of Melanie with Jerry Lewis during the out of town tryouts of "Hellzapoppin" that Fall...
The Girl From Venus
Star material fo sho!
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