by Taylor Iman Jones
I moved to New York in September of 2016. I had been performing as much as possible in the Bay Area, making my way through as many companies and different types of productions as I could. I was commuting four hours a day, working a full time job during the day and performing at night, all in the hopes that it would pay off one day.
Although there are many performing opportunities in the Bay Area, very few of them pay enough to sustain a life, and there are limited amounts of equity contracts to go around. I felt like I had exhausted my choices, and worked as much as I could. I always planned to move to New York, so once I joined the union and found myself with representation, I knew it was time to go.
When I made to jump and moved to the Big Apple, I was terrified. I got a waitressing job through a couple of friends at a Five Napkin Burger. This was it, I knew this restaurant would be my new home for a while. I was preparing my mind for years and years of dedication to this place, but those years never came into fruition.
Two months in, one of the many auditions I attended was for Groundhog Day the Musical. I went through three rounds of callbacks, ending with a solo two hour dance call (my nightmare). I got a phone call a few days later saying I didn’t get the job. I had accepted my defeat and was a ready to move on, when another call came a week later and, to my surprise, I was in! I don’t know what happened to make them change their minds, but I am eternally grateful.
Even before I began, Broadway was already showing me how complicated it can be and that there will be MANY ups and downs. Shortly after, I was making my Broadway debut with this beautiful company. GHD did not have a lengthy life but it was incredibly meaningful to so many people. Once it closed, I was scared that my time on Broadway had been a fluke. It happened too quickly, surely it was a fun and exciting mistake. But I knew this career is unforgiving and only gets harder as you go. So I hit the ground auditioning for everything. Doing as many readings and workshops as possible.
Until one day mid-December, I went in for Head Over Heels. The sides were in verse, which was so intimidating, I never thought I was going to get it. I was going in for Michael Mayer, someone who I’ve always looked up to, and I was VERY nervous. But funny enough, it was one of the quickest audition experiences I’ve ever had. I only had one other callback, and found out I booked it that day. So crazy.
Now I’m finding and building confidence in myself, and feeling more secure in my place on Broadway. But that takes a lot of work. I’m fully aware the carpet can be pulled and all of my hard work can disappear at any time. But I also know this job will have unbelievable rewards if I continue to believe in myself and stick with it.