The Show Business – The Los Angeles Years Take Two
I moved back to Arizona from Los Angeles with little direction and even less cash. I didn’t know what I was going to be eventually in my life but I was pretty certain that whatever it was I was going to end up being it wouldn’t happen in Arizona. When I was growing up we used to say, “Do you know why California doesn’t fall into the ocean? Because Arizona Sucks!” Now when I go back to Arizona I appreciate it as my hometown where I spent most of my childhood and really like it but having had a less than successful career attempt in Los Angeles, Arizona seemed to just be where people who didn’t make it went to live. And although I was only there for a little over a year, it seemed a lifetime before I would try once more to make my LA dreams of fame come true. The Show Business – The Los Angeles Years Take Two – Don’t Get Me Started!
The first thing I did when I got back to Arizona was to get a job. I worked retail. I worked in the box office at a department store (selling concert tickets) that was connected to the gift wrap department so I did that too. In the off times I dreamed of getting back on stage and so it would come to pass in the month of April of that year I did just that in a local community production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was playing the role of “Benjamin” the youngest brother and the director was the foremost theatre director in Arizona. There was once a review written about this director that said having his name on a show was like having the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I was featured a lot in the show and by opening night I was the featured boy in the director’s life too. I always screw things up. Instead of screwing someone to get a part, I actually got the part and then the screwing began! He was eleven years my senior (although the age he gives everyone now makes him five years younger than me or something). He was my first real relationship and I thought that my life was all set. He would direct me in all the shows that I would undoubtedly star in and we would be the number one gay theatre couple in Phoenix! My fantasy of once again becoming famous by someone else’s doing crumbled rather quickly. I had all ready signed up to go in the fall to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia because my parents were moving back east to care for my father’s father so I decided I would spend the summer with my director/boyfriend in Houston where he was directing a show and then go back east in September. This was my coming out scene with my mother:
Me: I’m going to Houston for the rest of the summer to be with <Insert name here>.
Mother: What?!? Why the hell would you do that?
Me: I’m in love with him and he’s in love with me.
Mother: Don’t tell your father, it’ll kill him.
And so I went to Houston and then in the fall began the dumbest thing I’d ever done in my life. While I began classes in Philly, I thought I could sustain a long distance relationship in my first ever real relationship. By the end of the semester I was done with the school (too many problems to go into here about the actual school but let’s put it this way, the head of the school said to me at the end of term, “You’re going to need to change your attitude if you want to come back next semester.” To which I replied, “You’re going to have to change your curriculum so that it is actually what it says it’s supposed to be in the brochure or I won’t be back.” It was best for both of us that we parted ways) Christmas was spent in Arizona where I felt like a Catholic kid. My director/boyfriend had gotten me so many gifts I didn’t know where to look first. He got me everything from a silly nightshirt in a Coke bottle to a bubble gum machine (and everything else you’d buy for a ten year old in between). I didn’t know it at the time but this would be the closest I would ever get to being a boy toy.
I encouraged my director/boyfriend to seek opportunities outside of Arizona. I tried desperately to talk him into moving to LA to no avail and then fate intervened. Through someone who knew someone who got me an audition, I auditioned and was cast in a supporting role in a movie starring Rosanna Arquette and Eric Roberts that was being filmed in Arizona. I was over the moon.
When I read the script for the movie I knew it was lousy but hey, this was going to make me a movie star so I didn’t care. Who cared that in the script it had me being accidentally set on fire? The stunt coordinator on the set assured me that I had seven seconds before the heat I felt on my leg meant I was really on fire. After four weeks of filming, the production company went to LA and I went with them. My director/boyfriend had gotten a gig working in an upstate New York theatre company for the summer where he would get his Equity card and then join me in LA in the fall. Everything was perfect for ten minutes.
I got to LA and thought that I would surely be able to get an agent quickly this time. After all, I had a movie coming out. Not only did it not open any doors, it closed a few – that’s how lousy the movie was. Eventually I got an agent because the one I had been with as a kid in Arizona had opened up a branch in LA and out of pity or something they took me on as a client. They sent me on the worst auditions imaginable. I would be so excited because I had an audition for a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial that was National (which meant residual checks every time it played). I opened the door at the audition and in the waiting room everyone was either red haired and freckled or black, everyone except me of course. I was sent on an Asian cola commercial that was supposedly going to film in Hawaii where everyone was a body builder but me. When it came time to be filmed for our audition, as the other guys stripped down to their Speedos with great abs, I pulled down my pants to reveal a pair of Dolphin shorts (think Richard Simmons) and feeling completely ridiculous at my 100 pounds with little to no definition other than short, white Jewish, gay kid, I did a dead on Pee Wee Herman imitation to try to get them to laugh with me, not at me.
The movie came out and was a flop. My director/boyfriend finished in New York and moved right back to Arizona. By this time my father’s father was quite ill so I went back for a visit. I had never seen my father so upset. I was to stay for five days. On day four a cousin of mine who did community theatre back east said that she knew of a local dinner theatre that was doing a production of A Chorus Line and someone had dropped out a week before the opening. I made the decision to stay and do the show. After all nothing was happening for me in LA and I really felt as though I needed to be close to my parents and grandfather. I called my roommate and had her describe the clothes in my closet. I told her what to pack and what to leave. My brother came from San Diego and took the stuff that was to be left for when I would someday supposedly move back to LA. I never saw that apartment again. My director/boyfriend would tell everyone that my moving to Delaware was me ending our relationship. When in truth the relationship was done long before this move. And so it was that for the second time I left LA.
There was a print of James Dean that my boyfriend/director had bought me for that big Christmas, we had seen it in a gallery and I fell in love with it. It was James Dean walking on a street and it said, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” That’s how I felt when I left LA for the second time. The print was in Arizona with my director/boyfriend, my furniture and some of my clothes were in San Diego with my brother and my life was now in Delaware. How could there possibly be a happy ending? The Show Business – The Los Angeles Years Take Two – Don’t Get Me Started!
Final Installment Tomorrow - The Show Business – The Dazzling Dinner Theatre Years
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com