I was brought up believing that everything happens for a reason. When life serves you something bad, there is something better awaiting you in the future. It’s my mother and father’s answer for almost everything. Even though I’ve heard this saying since I was a child, it wasn’t until I entered adulthood that I found a deep faith in the meaning of the phrase. You’ll never know or be able to predict what is waiting for you just around the corner, but regardless of good or bad, high or low, success or failure, it’s there for a reason.
As a professional actor, I’ve learned that I am very fortunate to have established faith in this phrase early on in my life. I know, and have always known, that this profession was not for the faint of heart. And wow, did my first year out of college prove that to be absolutely true. Post-grad life presented me with far more low points than I had anticipated, and my spirit and faith took a beating. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was fortunate to have been presented with many artistic opportunities that brought me some lifelong friends and plenty of worthwhile experience. But in the time in between booking jobs, the lights of Broadway shining in the distance, which I have longed to reach for as long as I can remember, proved to be even more difficult to get to than I had anticipated.
While struggling to motivate myself to keep going, I came to realize how difficult it is for “normal” (for lack of a better term) people to understand and relate to what I was going through. The grueling process of auditioning on a daily basis is hard to grasp unless you are experiencing it for yourself. Let me lay it out for you. Here is a very abridged layout of what a day of auditioning can look like for me:
You wake up around 7:00am. You shower, do your hair and makeup. At 8:12 you take the train to Grand Central. Then the shuttle train to Times Square. You walk 7 blocks to one of the many rehearsal studios in the area and find the holding room for the audition. You wait until it’s your turn. You have your headshot and resume ready, you check yourself out in the mirror, and you’re ready to go. Depending on what kind of audition it is, you either go in the room in groups and learn a dance combination or go in the room alone to present a brief song. If it’s a dance call, you can spend 30-60 minutes in the room. If it’s a singer call, you can spend anywhere from 1-5 minutes in the room. Then you walk out of the room, gather your things, and go about your day.
It’s a complicated process. And sometimes you can fit up to 4 auditions in one day! Sharing your talent with room after room of creative teams, with a yes or no awaiting you at the end of it all. It can be a lot to handle. Plus, unless you get called back or know someone in the room, you don’t necessarily hear anything post audition. No courtesy notice that you are no longer in the running. No “thanks so much, but it’s just that you’re too tall”. NOTHING! People will ask, “When will you know?”. Sometimes I know the answer is, “I won’t” because I got cut. But often the answer is “I don’t know!” (and I have to check my delivery and temper when that’s the answer!).
It’s the moment after the audition is over where my faith in the whole “everything happens for a reason” kicks in. “No matter what happens, yes or no, it’s for a reason” (that’s the sort of thing I’ll have repeating over and over again in my head). I believe that every “no” comes because somewhere down the road, there is a miraculous, sparkly, technicolored “yes” waiting for me. And sometimes it feels like that special “yes” is closer than others. I’ll be in a dance class, acting class, or walk out of an audition with this buzzing feeling. This sense of euphoria that reminds me why I’m here and why I stick with it. The “yes” is so close I can taste it! And other times… I am full of doubt and fear. That “yes” looks like a little speck of dust that is so far in the distance, I’ll never be able to reach it. My faith is tested. And depending on the day and how I’m feeling, it remains resilient or it gets knocked down a few pegs.
When I find myself on the bottom of the ladder, the universe usually hands me a reminder that that “yes” is still out there. One way it does that is by presenting me with this moment that’s like a scene from a movie. I’ve found myself walking in Times Square after a class or audition, and I can picture it. Zoom in on a girl (in this case, me!). She enters the middle of Times Square, looks up at all the shining lights with a grin plastered on her face, takes a deep breath, and knows she’s where she’s meant to be. Although super cheesy, in the middle of this moment there are often tears in my eyes. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of New York and Broadway, I tell myself, “One day that will be me”. I can confidently say that because deep down, I know that one day that will be me. I see it happening for so many of my friends. They reach their sparkly “yes”, and I feel in my heart and my gut that mine is coming! You must put in the work, and get rejection after rejection, so that when that miraculous, sparkly, technicolored “yes” is right in front of you, it’ll all have been worth it. You will have earned it.
I’ve only just begun to pave my way in this crazy life called show business. That “yes” gets closer and closer every day (even when it feels miles and miles away). And man… the day it comes is going to be one for the books! For all I know, it can happen so soon that it could be the subject of my next blog post! Who knows? All I do know is that “everything happens for a reason”, and I can’t wait to look back and find out why.
Halle Mastroberardino is a performing artist from Harrison, New York. She has been dancing, singing, and being quite dramatic from the age of 2, and she hasn’t stopped a day since. After receiving her BFA in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Dance from Point Park University, Halle returned home to pursue her passion for theatre and the performing arts. On top of commuting into and out of the city for auditions and classes, Halle uses her talents to teach dance and direct and choreograph musicals, working with young, aspiring artists in Westchester County and NYC. A lover of food, music, and passionate people, Halle constantly uses her energy, passion, and creativity to fill her life with happiness. She is so grateful to be living out her wildest dreams!