The voice in my head said,
"He doesn't want to meet some no-name chorus girl. He's here to meet the stars!"
And that's how everyone in an eight person cast got to meet Marvin Hamlisch, except for me.
I rushed to my car making sure I avoided any eye contact with the crowds gathering at the stage door. I have no recollection of that particular evening once I got home. All I can remember more than ten years later is that I missed the opportunity to shake hands, give thanks, and take a photograph with an absolute icon in my chosen field.
Let's examine this:
"They're Playing Our Song" has two leads, and this particular production had theatre heavyweights, Jason Alexander and Stephanie J Block, helming the show. Each lead has three back up singers. And that's the whole cast.
This production reinstated a song that was cut from the original Broadway release, called, "Leon," a wonderfully bizarre fantasy number about killing a character we never meet sung by Alexander with all six backup singers.
So beside the big name talent leading our show, we had the distinct privilege of debuting a song that got cut from the original production. No wonder Mr. Hamlisch came to see us!
What was going on in my head?
It's an oldie but a goodie. A confused and overfed ego blended with a fragile sense of self worth.
How can these two ideas possibly co-exist?
I am no anomaly, my friend, you too can have a giant ego made of glass!
Here's how it works:
I decided who theatre master, Marvin Hamlisch, would want to meet after the show. No matter what his actual desire was, I chose for him presuming to know what he thinks. For goodness sake, he wrote a musical for eight people, that's a small number in musical theatre terms, and yet, I decided he only needed to meet the two stars. If the other five back up singers wanted to meet him, that was on them, I was in no mood to pander.
Do you see how much ego is involved here?
It almost reeks of, "I'm too good to meet the composer when all he's written for me is this insignificant role."
BUT, here's the other side of the coin...
The question really was, "Why would he want to meet a nobody, like me?"
And now we can call it what it is; a self-sabotaging thought.
I had an opportunity to have an elevated shared experience with the cast and one of the creators of "They're Playing Our Song," but I chose shame in isolation instead.
What is the secret to ending self-sabotaging thoughts?
The truth will set you free.
Is this true?
Is this thought based in truth?
What is the truth?
When you arrive at an answer, ask again! Keep asking until you feel the truth. The truth feels calm, still, deep, simple, when you land on the truth, you can breath, you relax.
As an exercise, let's break through my self-sabotaging thought all those years ago.
"Why would Marvin Hamlisch want to meet a nobody like me?"
Am I a nobody? Well, I am currently a working actor, and even when I'm not a working actor, I am somebody to my family and the kids I nanny, and even when I am alone, I have the distinct feeling that I actually exist, so, the answer is, I am a somebody.
Fine, you're a somebody, but not in this industry. You're a nobody in the theatre.
Is that true? I know a lot of stage managers over the years who have counted on this somebody to show up to rehearsal on time. And even if I didn't have the resume that I currently have, I love this craft and I will continue to show up for it whether I'm a "somebody" or not.
Fine. But Marvin Hamlisch doesn't want to meet you.
Is that true? Did he send flowers backstage with a card that read, "To Jason and Stephanie only. Everyone else can get lost!" Did he send a couple of body guards backstage to make sure no-one but the stars could shake his hand?
No, he came right backstage and stood in the main hall that leads to the stage door. I know this because I passed right by him with my eyes downcast.
Fine, Marvin Hamlisch would probably be happy to meet me, but I don't feel good enough to meet him.
Is that true?
Yes. I'm in my early thirties and I haven't accomplished much and I don't deserve to meet Mr. Hamlisch.
Is that true?
Yes, only people with big awesome resumes and talent should get to meet a master.
Is that true?
No. Of course not. Dear God, this is the man who wrote the music for "A Chorus Line." Who understands the heart of a chorus girl more than Marvin Hamlisch?
Now go out there and shake hands and smile and listen and have a shared experience for crying out loud!
This self-sabotaging thought has been de-bunked! And all I had to do was excavate the truth.
Now it's your turn.
Become an excavator of truth and kiss self-sabotage goodbye!
You can visit Actors Wellness Studio on FaceBook for all kinds of valuable mindset coaching!
"They're Playing Our Song" at Reprise! L-R Sylvia MacCalla, Christopher Jon Zenner, Jamey Hood, Stephanie J. Block, Jason Alexander, Daniel Guzman, Christa Jackson, Dennis Kyle.