Rella Jr., Richard. “Waiting, Wondering, Wrapping.” Backstage 13-19 May. 2010: Vol. 51, No. 19

Getting out of the city is sometimes a good cure for many ailments. With “30 Rock” finishing shooting season four this month, I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I decided to take my daughter on a road trip to visit my brother and his family in upstate New York. April has been filled with fulfillment, enjoyment, indecision, rejection, and outright anguish, so getting out of town was necessary.

I love going to work every day so “30 Rock” wrapping always seems to disappoint me more than I care to admit. Being around such talented producers, directors, actors, and writers always inspires me and I will miss the daily grind at Silvercup Studios.  But as the reds and greens of the Hudson Valley speed past me on Interstate 87, I am reminded that I have much to do this summer.

As I sit sipping on a newly poured cup of coffee, gently prodding the glowing embers of my brother’s fireplace, I realize how precious and fragile acting jobs are. The New York company of “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” had some major shake ups this month. The show changed venues and we are now performing at “Sweet Caroline’s.” In addition, the show nearly went non-union putting some thirty Equity actors out of work. I know that this is a for profit business and producers are charged with making the best decisions for the profitability of the company, but it is always hard to accept these types of decisions. Fortunately, the new producers of the show and Equity came to an agreement and we all managed to keep our jobs.

While watching the snow fall across the Adirondacks, I realize the struggle that I have maintaining a healthy, positive, and productive mentality in this business. It seems to me that every day brings peaks and valleys that challenge me to the very core of who I am. Should I wake up and get to those EPA’s? Is anyone really looking at those things? I know that they are because I received call backs to audition for the production teams of “Jersey Boys” and “South Pacific” from attending EPA’s. But the questions still arise for me. I trudged on nonetheless this month and auditioned for “Mamma Mia,” the Vineyard, Shadow Lawn Stage, and “Les Miserables.” I was offered a stage managing role at Shadow Lawn Stage in Long Branch, New Jersey but I respectfully declined the role. Instead, I passed along a colleague who was responsible for my getting hired with “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding.”

At the end of our weekend getaway, I find myself speeding southbound on Interstate 87 amidst the black night with only the occasional bright lights from Canadian bound traffic. Suddenly, my cell phone vibrates once indicating that I have a text message. It is my colleague that I recommended to Shadow Lawn Stage. They offered her the stage management role for the summer and she happily accepted. My long weekend is over and I am reminded of the words of John Adams that I keep on a folded piece of paper in my wallet, “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”