On August 2, I audition for a gig with Oceania Cruise Lines (via Gary Musick Productions of Nashville, Tennessee). They ask me to the callback, and I dance and sing some more. I don't hear anything, so I write it off and move on to the next audition. Ten days later, I get a phone call. The production company offers me a job with Norwegian Cruise Lines as a production singer on the Norwegian Gem. That was Thursday and Day #57 in the city.
I spend all day Thursday and through the weekend weighing my options. I swing from one end of the pendulum to the other.
- At the end of five months, if I spend little to none of my income, I could potentially pay off 30% of my student loan debt.
- I'd have a single cabin with no roommate
- My first paying job as a singer/actress
- Meeting tons of new people from 50+ countries
- As Patti says, it would be "trial by fire" for my vocal technique, and I'd have to warm up and sing well every time to keep my voice safe--great preparation for the vocal demands of Broadway.
- I'd have to leave a job in New York that pays well and that I genuinely enjoy
- I'd have to give up a killer room/board offer from the family I work for
- Casting directors aren't impressed by cruise work. The only credits that carry a lot of clout are those with first or second national tours and reputable regional theatres.
- The shows on the ship are collections of songs centered around a theme, dressed up, and choreographed. They're not "real" musicals, and more importantly, they don't challenge me to build my acting chops as a character in a recognized role.
- I don't really like cruises
- The ports of call aren't interesting enough to outweigh the negatives of life onboard a ship for five months
- I'd miss fall in New York which, as I'm told, is absolutely "electric" and the best time to be in town as an actress
- I'd miss out on New York workshops, voice lessons, and dance classes
- I'd have to start completely from scratch in March because at this point, important people in the industry hardly know who I am, if they recognize me at all
In the end, I make a phone call on Monday the 16th to turn down the job. After weighing feedback from a number of trusted sources, I really feel like it's the best move for me. And as one wise friend advised me, "saying no doesn't burn any bridges. People will understand that the timing just isn't right. And there will always be jobs on cruise ships." She's right. If I were flat broke, subsisting on peanut butter and carrots, hated New York, and was sick of auditioning with no luck, the cruise job would be a perfect break for me. But right now, there's too much I don't want to leave, especially for something that may not necessarily fulfill me as an artist or a human being.
It was immensely flattering to get the job offer, and I definitely appreciated the recognition, as well as the boost to my self-confidence. But I'm staying in New York for as long as I can stand it. Hopefully, that will be a long time. :)