by Mo Brady
"I only did one Broadway show. And it wasn’t fun."
"Yes, it was the culmination of my life’s dreams coming true. Yes, it was a chance to prove to myself that I was capable of working at the highest professional level in our industry. Yes, I got to work with many beautiful people onstage and offstage who have made my life better."
"But it didn’t make me feel very good."
"As a replacement ensemble member, I stepped into a track that had been created with another person’s strengths in mind. Some parts of that track fit me like a glove."
"But many parts - most parts - of the show were not fun to perform. I felt like they accentuated my weaknesses instead of my strengths. Which made me feel bad about my performance. Which made my performance not as good. Which made me feel bad about my performance. Etc, etc, etc."
"It’s been over five years since I closed that show. In the time since, I’ve been able to encapsulate that experience for myself in a way that makes me the hero of my own story. And I’ve felt good about that."
"That is, I felt good about it until I got a text from a friend this week:"
“'Just found a full bootleg of Addams Family when you were in it.' Along with a URL to the video."
"I’m not gonna pretend I didn’t watch it. Of course I watched it. I watched it over and over, meticulously analyzing my every gesture, reaction and movement. Was it healthy? Nah. Was it what I did? You bet your sweet ass it is."
"And as I watched the 2011-version of myself falling out of turns and singing occasionally pitchy solos in front of 1,400 paying customers, I started to feel shitty all over again. It’s embarrassing to be handed an opportunity to achieve a dream (in this case, performing in a Broadway ensemble) and feeling like you didn’t rise to the challenge."
"I stopped auditioning about a year after that show closed, so it’s very unlikely that I will ever perform on Broadway again. If I had the chance to relive that year of my life, I would do a lot of things differently. First and foremost, I would worry a lot less about whether I was good enough to be there. However, I won’t ever get a chance to “rewrite that chapter” of my story."
"So where does that leave me?"
"Instead of sugarcoating that experience, I choose to face it head on. I can’t stop myself from falling out of a turn in front of 1,400 people six years ago. I can’t stop somebody from illegally filming it and putting the video on the internet."
"But I can chose not to let those mistakes define the entire experience for me. Today, I can see how being in that show changed my life, opened doors for me and gave me a new career trajectory that allows me to be part of the Broadway community with much more security and success than performing ever did."
"And that’s something that I can keep forever - messy turns and all."
Mo Brady is the co-creator and host of The Ensemblist podcast.