4.5 Years and Just Getting Started

I moved to New York City four and a half years ago with all of the confidence in the world that I would have an agent within a month, a Broadway contract within two years, and an Original Cast Recording within five. Clearly, I thought, my M.F.A. would impress people and open doors and exempt me from waiting tables. I can do musical theatre and Shakespeare! They're just waiting to snatch me up!

I could not have been more wrong.

Here I am, four and a half years later. I bartend, I'm still seeking the right representation, and I struggle just to get seen by the people who can give me the caliber of work I believe myself to be capable of. They say you should give New York at least five years and I'm creeping up on that anniversary with frightening speed, but rather than waiting six more months to throw in the towel, this five year mark is quite liberating.

"You probably won't work a lot for the first five years that you're out of school," one of my graduate professors said. "You're a leading lady who's not a leading lady yet." As much as I hate the idea of being typed out (how I can exist in the world but there isn't a "type" for me on stage is an ongoing frustration), there was truth in it, truth that is exacerbated by the lack of interesting work for women in their twenties.

But here I am. Those five years have almost passed, I know a tremendous amount more now than I did when I moved here, and I feel as though I'm just growing into my castability. Let's get this party started.


Jessica DiSalvoComment