I was cast as a starring role in the original cast of the world premiere of the stage show “An American In Paris” in 2008.
The show started at The Alley Theatre in Houston.
Far from Paris and Broadway, but The Great White Way was the eventual plan, and this production was the beginning.
I love being a part of the birth of a project. Exploring the show, the role and given the privilege of playing. My character was all French but just loved American Movies. At one point in the show I impersonated 10 different American Movies, and it was the first time you heard me without my French Accent. It was a very surprising part of the show but so fun! And I had such a ball impersonating everyone from Judy Garland to Greta Garbo.
On Opening Night, I was told by the heads of the Gershwin Estate that when this show gets to Broadway my role will earn me a Tony Nomination. I have never heard that before or since! I thought, Wow! If that comment isn’t job security, I don’t know what is? Whether I was going to get a Tony Nom or not, I believed in my soul that I was going to go on with the show and be on Broadway. I loved the show, the dancing, the comedy, the role was tailored made for me and everything I did well.
The show was a hit in Houston but honestly needed some revamping before it continued to Paris and then Broadway. That revamping included my role. The creatives decided to change the show and so, my lovely role ended with the production in Houston. In fact, no one from that production really continued on.
It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t intended or malicious. It wasn’t about my performance or anyone else’s at all. It was just what happened. That is what we as artists have signed up for in this business.
And this isn’t the first time it has happened in my career....nor will it be the last time.
And I will admit. sometimes it feels very personal. It feels very silly, like when someone replaces you, regardless of skill, simply because they have more social media likes and followers (happens all the time). It hurts, it makes you take deep breath’s and maybe even cry. That’s ok. Give yourself your 5 minutes.
But then move on. Let it go and move on.
The point is you, as the artist, have to bounce back. Be resilient. Know it’s part of the game. You will find another role. You will get another job. You may not find something so perfectly suited for you and your skills, but that’s the game. You can’t live your life bitter and angry about what was not truly yours.
We have to be so emotionally accessable and yet incredibly thick skinned.
Every performer has these stories. Roles they didn’t get or were close to, that may have ended up giving the other actor an award or a career changing advantage.
Celebrate them anyway. Celebrate your part of this business, however complicated. I used to believe there was room for everyone to thrive in this crazy business, and the truth? There really isn’t. But maybe life has more in store for you?
What is meant for you will not pass you, what isn’t you can’t hold on to.
Let it go and love what you do, when you get the chance to do it.
I loved my role in “An American In Paris”. I know I knocked that role out of the park every performance. I got to work with some of the finest performers, creatives and musicians in the business. That was what I was supposed to do.
And that’s all I can do ❤️
These are confessions of my life as an actress working on Broadway, TV and Film for 20 years
Copyright 2017 M Patterson