I love New York City. My favorite thing is going to Broadway plays. I’m amazed at the level of talented actors and production staff that go out night after night and give wonderful performances.
Think about it. The typical play will have seven performances per week, and involve a cast of as many as forty, not counting lighting and sound technicians, stage grips, an orchestra of musicians, costumes, ticket takers, ushers, security, merchandise vendors, refreshments and, yes, the all important bartender.
Every show, the actors, with the support of their team, must give a great performance. The audience has paid for their ticket and they expect to get their monies’ worth. If you don’t deliver, the play gets shut down.
If the ticket says the show starts at 8pm, the show starts at 8pm . . . not 8:12pm.
The actors, in many ways, are just like us. They have arguments with their spouses, their kids make bad choices, it’s pollen season and their allergies are in full bloom, and the mother-in-law is coming for an extended visit. It’s real life. It would be easy to be off your game when the curtain goes up and give less than your best, but this is Broadway. Every show is mission critical. Having a bad show is not an option.
I have learned an amateur does well when all the circumstances are right. A professional does well in spite of the circumstances.
I was recently reminded of this in my own band. Jason, our trumpet player, is the main caregiver for both his mom and dad. Both have serious health issues that have them in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. Last month, they both had major surgery on the same day. In spite of all the stress Jason has been under, it has never affected his performance. He always gives his best and never complains.
Broadway is a reminder to me that it doesn’t matter if we sing songs or sell shoes.
A professional shows up on time, and gives their best – regardless of their circumstances.
It’s not easy. That’s why so few ever make it to Broadway. We don’t have to live in New York City to have a Broadway state of mind. It reminds of the lyrics to New York New York – “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.”
Maybe the anywhere is in our heart. If we play nice with others and reach for the highest and best in what we care about, we can make it anywhere. Each of us has a role to play. I encourage you to play it like a professional.
And the next time you see a play, make sure you’re in your seat on time.
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