Greetings all! My name is Kirsten Johnson, and as I'm sure you can already tell the trend, I am a senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Tulsa. As with most schools across the US this week, TU is out for Spring Break, so there really is nothing new to update with regards to the Showcase project. However, I have chosen to spend my Spring Break in NYC in search of jobs after graduation, and since that is the overall purpose of the Showcase project, I thought it would be worthwhile for me to keep our readers updated on my progress so far in the city.
First of all, I would like to reiterate that you should ALWAYS show up to the airport AT LEAST 90 MINUTES PRIOR to the allotted take-off time, even if it is the po-dunk Tulsa airport that usually takes less than 10 minutes to get through to your gate. I was silly and decided I could just get there 45 minutes ahead of time, and I would have plenty of time to make it through security and onto my gate. My flight left Tulsa at 7:00 in the morning, so I thought it would be fairly scarce on crowds of people to fight through in lines. However, as we all know, assuming makes an ass out of you and me, but in this case, it just really made an ass out of me. I got in line to check-in, and the attendant there to check people in had found one of her high school friends checking in with her family for a Spring Break trip and decided to waste 20 minutes of company time talking about how their lives had been since last they saw each other. I was the unfortunate next person in line. By the time she did turn to me to help me, after long hugs to all five members of this friendly family, I had missed the 30 minute cut-off for check-in and was put on stand-by for the next flight out. (Just FYI, NEVER get put on stand-by for a flight during Spring Break, or at any point during the month of March PERIOD!) I was, again, naive and stupid, and thought that this meant that I was guaranteed a seat on the next flight out, and would still have time to make my connecting flight in Dallas to Laguardia. Silly me. No, there were 10 other people ahead of me, who had also missed the 7:00 flight for the morning and were now in the same unfortunate state of stand-by as I was. After sitting at the airport through 7 different flights out of Tulsa to Dallas, during the weekend of Spring Break, which means full flights and no one being as stupid as I was and showing up late for their boarding, I was lucky enough to take advantage of the fact that some unfortunate soul was still stuck at airport security 15 minutes before the flight took off, and I was able to snag their seat. You may find this harsh, and judge me for taking this poor person's seat on the flight, but understand that I have now been at the Tulsa airport for over 12 hours, after spending nearly 800 dollars on this ticket, and this just happened to be the last flight out of Tulsa to Dallas for the day. Put yourself in my shoes. If you had been experiencing the small, persona hell that is the Tulsa airport for 12 hours and facing the prospect of having to spend the night and the entire next day there as well, you would have done the SAME THING!
So, made it out of Tulsa eventually, and again, the stars must have been watching over me as I was lucky enough to be the second name on the stand-by list in Dallas for the last flight out of Dallas for the evening to Laguardia. This time, I could actually see the person whose ticket I was taking running for the gate as the gate attendant printed off my ticket and I hurried onto the plane to avoid eye contact with this person. Ok, I was desperate! Missing this flight would have meant spending the night in the Dallas airport and missing my internship convention in NYC in the morning! Neither of which I was willing to sacrifice or risk. So, I entered the 3 hour flight from Dallas to Laguardia with the other stand-by passengers and the poor, unfortunate guy whose ticket I took boring a hole in the back of my head with their glares of hatred. The airport industry is blood-thirsty. So, what have we learned? DON'T EVER FLY STAND-BY DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH and SHOW UP EARLY, EARLY, EARLY for your flight. ALWAYS.
So, made it to NYC by 1am got my week-long metro-card, and trekked back to my brother's apartment by 2:30. I was out cold by 2:31.
The next morning, I had RSVP-ed to an email I had gotten from the American Theatre Wing mailing list about the A.R.T./NY Internship Fair 2011. I got up early, made sure I had plenty of copies of my headshot, resume, and non-theatrical resume to hand out and headed into the city. I got to the venue space 20 minutes early (I have learned my lesson for this trip...) and commenced with the onslaught. It was actually a great experience. I got to meet with over 50 representatives from various theatre companies across NYC. Most were small and/or non-profit, and even fewer had any sort of performance internships available. However, the fact that I had technical experience on my resume made me a much more attractive prospective intern, I think. The companies that most appealed to me were the smaller theatres putting on New Works and/or classical theatre. There were only a few theatres even offering anything Musical Theatre. However, I could tell that the majority of the rest of the prospective interns milling about were from colleges in NYC or the New York area and seemed to lack any interest in any of the companies not offering performance internships. I think the fact that I traveled all the way from Tulsa, OK and was willing to take anything any theatre had to offer made me a bit more attractive than everyone else there.
I would also like to reiterate to our readers the importance of dressing appropriately for these types of things. Firstly, this was clearly NOT an audition of any kind. So, showing up in hooker heels and extremely low-cut dresses is not appropriate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, jeans and your local band's t-shirt are also unacceptable. Do people not understand the term business casual anymore? I am not saying by any means I am the most fashionable person around, but I at least know how to dress appropriately for prospective employers.
Ok, Kirsten, get onto the meat of the story. So, essentially, from day one - very effective trip. I got to meet with over 50 companies. I have interview and auditions set up with about 10 of them for the remainder of the week I am here. A couple of them look like REALLY go fits for me. Simply from the demeanor of the representatives behind the table, I could tell that we could get along. I even got to put in a plug for Brownie's Hamburgers, as one of the guys at the table makes trips down to Tulsa with his dad for the antique car show every other year. For the rest of the theatres that I found interesting, I have their information and access to their applications from their websites, and need to get on to applying!
Shortly after I got done with the Internship Fair, my brother called me telling me to meet him a few blocks away for the Book of Mormon the Musical lottery drawing that he and his friend had entered into. They did not win, but we ended up finding student rush tickets to Driving Miss Daisy with Vanessa Redgrave, Boyd Gaines, and James Earl Jones. It was spectacular. I am determined before I leave the city this time around to actually see a musical on Broadway. So far, I have seen straight plays on Broadway, but no Musicals. I think we are going to try for Book of Mormon again tomorrow night, or later this week. We are also going to try to see Angels in America at some point before I leave. Tonight, my brother and I are going to Le Poisson Rouge for two seperate performances. my brother is going to see Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, and I am going to see Michael John Lachiusa's Hello Again.
As the interviews of the week progress and with NETC's next weekend, I will keep you all abreast of my progress. So, 'til later this week!
-Kirsten L. Johnson