It's the moment you've been waiting for. You rush down the stairs after a stellar Swing performance, bust open the Stage Doors and prepare to be flocked by the screaming fans! But when you get out there, people look at you puzzled, simply trying to figure out if you’re the stage manager, wardrobe supervisor, or an usher. And yet, as any humbled and hardworking swing will tell you, you NEVER let your smile, or inner applause, come down.
This is the story of the un-sung hero. The one from the paper insert in your program. The reason why that last lift - lifted. The strongest band-aid no company could replicate and one of the most hardworking people in the cast - THE SWING.
I have the utmost pleasure (and pressure) of covering 12 phenomenal women in the new hit show Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. How have I done it since September 19, 2017 (boy was that a birthday I’ll never forget)? Below are the top five ways I've manage to earn, learn, and maintain my SuperSwing status in the #SwingNation Of the Broadway World.
#1 Don’t wait to BOOK the part to LOOK the part
When I first began I had no idea what a swing was suppose to do and how they were suppose to do it. But I had to arrive on the job with the same confidence I had walking into the audition. I couldn’t wait until I got on stage to believe that I could handle the work that came with it.
#2 Just Take The Note
The director and choreographer have watched the same person do the same scene 100s of times on a particular way. When it’s your time to go on in rehearsal, or in the show, you are bound to get a note. Take NOTHING personal! Just take the note and become better - not bitter!
#3 Never say the “B word”
There is a dirty little B word you always want to avoid. BORED. The moment words like “I am bored, I feel bored, I was bored, etc” are uttered out of your mouth, someone calls out that is #10 on your priority list. Stay focused, stay motivated, stay encouraged, stay humble, and stay EXCITED.
#4 Be your own football field
Between rehearsals, at-home reviews, put-ins, call outs, and re-explaining to friends and family that you have a REAL job, you ARE a part of the ensemble, and your job is also challenging - being your biggest cheerleader isn’t enough. You have to be your biggest cheerleader, coach, teammate, and fan. You have to constantly validate yourself and know that when the “time to shine” moment happens and the applauses are rumbling it was ALL worth it.
#5 Remember Why You Do It
If it’s about the money, quit. If it’s about the fame, stop. If it’s about the praise, run! Jay Z’s famous line applies to the role of a swing: “IT AIN’T FOR EVERYBODY!" You have to remember why you do it. The adrenaline, the butterflies, your signature style in a track, and the ultimate - Saving the whole darn show from cancellation!
Hopefully this inspires people like me with a naturally wild swing brain or re-inspires veteran swings who may be feeling the boredom itch. Until next time...