Giving/Growing/Verbally Throwing Up
I’ve tried to write a blog for NewMusicalTheatre.Com about four times now. The concept of jotting down my thoughts in an organized and public manner intrigues me, but every time I start I always write a paragraph and give up. Hannah Ehrenberg, who runs the blog, probably thinks I’m a flake and tells everyone behind my back (she isn’t that type of person at all, but I’d like to think that she cares enough to be mean behind my back).
I’m a huge proponent of giving up. Wait… that doesn’t read exactly as I’d hoped it would. It’s also not entirely true. Even so, sometimes it feels like it might be. Boasting 22 years of age, I’ve dropped out of college and gave up on my dream of becoming an actor.
But, then again, this is something that has been drilled into my head ever since I was a kid by my mother, an incredible singer, Lois Sage.
“If you can do anything else,” she would say in an all-knowing/abrasive tone, which she must have acquired in the nightclubs where she used to sell out all her shows, “you should probably go and do that. You should only really do this if it’s all that you can do with your life. Otherwise you’re just wasting time.”
I was not a very wise child. I am not a very wise child. However, sitting in the back of my mother’s mini-van with my two older sisters (trying to convince me that I should probably shave my legs), there was a little pearl of wisdom that I received from my mother that day. “Make myself useless to society in any way other than screwing around with a costume on.”
No, not exactly.
Here was my mother, a singer that some of my icons have personally told me is one of their very favorite singers, and she is sitting in a mini-van in Central Florida, driving me to South Pacific rehearsal. For all intents and purposes, she gave up. But that’s because she found a new dream. She wanted to have children and to build a different kind of life.
That’s what growing up is about, right? It’s about making those tough decisions and deciding what you really want with your life.
An extremely wise person once told me that “No matter what you want to tell somebody else to do with their life – people always end up doing what they want. They always end up making their own choices.”
I really want to write. I really love actors and want to work with actors – I don’t want to do it myself. So, I quit school – and though my eldest sister thinks I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life – I wouldn’t have it any other way, because, looky here. I’m a featured writer on one of the coolest sites that I’ve ever seen. And I’m so incredibly proud right now that it doesn’t quite matter what I’ve given up. The only things that matter are the things that I’ve stuck with and the people that have stuck with me.
I’ll leave you on what I believe to be a funny story. I was one of the first people to ever shop on NewMusicalTheatre.com. I got an email from Benj Pasek when I was a bright-eyed seventeen-year-old kid in high school, just about to go on college auditions that said, “Hey, we’re testing out this website- go on and buy some sheet music and let me know what you think.”
I was astounded. It was like iTunes, but for New Musical Theatre songs. I was in heaven. There were only 6 people/teams selling on the site at that point- Nick Blaemire, Adam Gwon, Joe Iconis, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, Ryan Scott Oliver (RSO for you brand-y people) and Pasek & Paul. There was a small dream right then and there that little Alex Oyen (my mother made me put my middle name, her last name, into my professional name) could one day sell on that site.
Take some percents off my songs. Please, sing my tunes. Nobody will be happier than I.