My first time onstage, I was three years old. A friend of my parents had just opened a new dance studio, and she was looking for a few more students in the 2-4 year old class. I was the only guy. The recital we worked so diligently toward fell apart about a minute after we hit the stage. An accidental slip by one of our classmates led the entire to the rest of us replacing our carefully-rehearsed routine with a series of increasingly-ridiculous pratfalls.
However, what could have been a run-of-the-mill evening of children riding roughshod over months of preparation was actually an evening that changed everything for me.
At the end of the show, all of the students took the stage to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” The plan was for our teacher to bring out some trophies for all of the participants, but in the lead-up to the show, she had misplaced the box. The song ended, and suddenly three things converged that probably shouldn’t have – an empty stage, a rapt audience, and a little boy with a bit of an imagination.
I’m not sure exactly how or why I got the idea, but sensing an opening, my three-year-old self confidently strode to the front of the stage. I launched into an impromptu speech – something about “all these peoples on all these stages” wanted to thank the audience. My plan quickly ran out of steam, but I knew I needed to finish strong. I pulled off the tiny white hat, got a glimmer in my eye, and proclaimed, “And now…I’ll pick a rabbit out of my hat.”
I reached in, pulled out a handful of air…but the audience roared. And in that moment, perhaps I pulled off the greatest magic trick – I made the rest of my life appear before my eyes.
In 2007, I was lucky enough to live as a working actor in New York. I appeared in the world premieres of both Bukowsical! at the NY Fringe and The Brain from Planet X at NYMF. I also got a chance to sing on the Original Cast Recordings of both shows. NOTE: The Brain is pretty PG, but Bukowsical! contains very NSFW language. Enjoy!