Anthony J. Piccione
OnStage New York Columnist
Here we are, at the beginning of 2017. For many people, the beginning of a new year also marks the time of year in which people try to come up with resolutions, in the hopes that these specific goals in their lives will have been achieved by 2018. Those of us who are highly active in theatre most likely have already come up with such resolutions related to theatre. However, there might be a few additional ideas for resolutions that some of us might not have thought about, and should be willing to consider in order to make their year in theatre even better than last year. Hence why I went and made this new list to kick off the New Year.
So without further ado, here are just a few New Year’s resolutions – in no particular order – for everyone in the theatre community to consider…
• Reconnect with old friends in theatre
Many of the people reading this blog, whether they are old or young, might have some memories of people that they knew when they were in a show (or even multiple shows) many years ago. Yet aside from an occasional “like” or two on Facebook, they might not have seen or heard from these people in a while. During this time, consider taking a moment to get back in touch with them, and see what they‘re up to. You never know who might be happy to hear for you, after a long time.
• Do some volunteer work at a new theatre company
A lot of the time, some people get so attached to one particular theatre group, they stick closely with ONLY those groups, instead of branching out and seeing what other theaters are out there. Last year, I suggested that actors try auditioning at other theaters besides where they usually audition. This year, I will take it a step further, and suggest the idea of simply volunteering extra time to helping out a theatre group, outside of being part of the cast. Whether it be working as an usher, helping out with building or striking the set, or anything else you can do to help the production team, it’s worth considering. Without volunteers – especially in the case of community theatre – much of us artists aren’t able to put on the great shows that we do.
• Sell more tickets than last year
Every theatre organization in the world has at least one goal in common: To fill as many seats as possible, so that as many people as possible are able to see the art that they’ve created. This year, try pushing yourself – regardless of what role you play at your theatre organization – to do more to promote your shows, and maybe try some more creative ways of doing so. There are plenty of articles – on this website, and elsewhere – with suggestions on how to do this, and I strongly encourage all of you to check them out.
• Don’t have a theatre program at your school? Start one!
For many school kids out there reading this, I know for a fact that this is a problem. Indeed, when I was in high school, I felt compelled to do tons of community theatre, in part to compensate for the fact that my school barely had much of a Drama Club, in the first place. (While I can’t be certain, my understanding is that it actually fell apart completely, soon after my senior class graduation.) If you happen to be one of those kids, try getting a couple of your classmates together, and start up a small student-led Drama Club at your school. It doesn’t have to be big. Just enough to do a small performance or something, and from there, it can potentially grow. After all, the best thing for theatre kids to do if they can’t find theatre is to create theatre to find, as far as I’m concerned.
• Host a Tony Award watch party
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but notice that while most of my theatre friends watch the Tony Awards every year, it’s not every year that you see lots of people getting together to watch the award show together. Perhaps this year, for the 2017 Tony Award ceremony, consider planning a get together with all your theatre friends, so you can all watch it together. (To make it more interesting, try inviting one or two of your non- theatre friends, and show them what they’re missing out on!)
• Next time you’re in NYC, try checking out some off-Broadway shows
For me, one of the most exciting parts of the past year is getting to move to New York City. During my first few months here, I’ve discovered that the incredible theatre scene here in the city is so much more than Broadway, even if that’s where some of the bigger and more well-known shows may be. If you are looking for a show to see next time you’re in the city, and you’ve already seen some of the hottest shows on Broadway (more on that later), be sure to check out some of the fresh and innovative works being presented off-Broadway (or off-off-Broadway). For all you know, you could be seeing the next star on Broadway somewhere, well before they make it big!
• If you see something wrong in theatre, don’t be afraid to call it out
During the past year, several columns – including a series dedicated specifically to this topic from our editor in chief, Chris Peterson – have already been written on this website, highlighting the many illegal and unethical behaviors that occur, from Broadway to community theatre. Personally, I believe it would be nice if more people involved in these theaters did something about these incidents themselves, so we would be able to report on it less. So if you see something that you know has no place in the theatre community – whether it be stealing money or items belonging to the theatre company, sexual harassment, bullying or intimidation, etc. – don’t be afraid to call out whoever is responsible. At the end of the day, you’re just helping make the world of theatre a safer, better place for us all.
• Don’t be afraid to get political
This might be one of the more controversial suggestions on this list, depending on who is reading this, but here it goes: As we all know, one of the more unfortunate realities of 2017 is that on January 20th, Donald Trump will officially be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. If there has ever been a time for artists in the theatre community to go bold, it’s now. More than ever, all of us – from actors to playwrights, from producers to directors, etc. – need to start thinking about how our shows can be part of a meaningful resistance toward the incoming U.S. president. Indeed, as the cast of Hamilton showed us back in November, it’s not that hard for the theatre community to get under the skin of this particular president.
• Do more to show how proud you are to be a theatre lover
I hope I’m alone when I say this one, but when I was in college, I could name at least one classmate who was clearly embarrassed to admit to others that she was a theatre major. Given the typical audience for this blog, I would think that this goes without saying, but just in case, please don’t be like that person. Even if you already aren’t, when you’re around your family or your non-theatre friends, maybe take this year as a chance to go even further – whether it’s belting out your favorite show tune in public, blasting the Hamilton soundtrack in your apartment/dorm/etc., or even something as simple as wearing a T-shirt from your favorite show – in showing off your unapologetic love of theatre, for all the world to see.
• FINALLY get tickets to Hamilton!!!
Because let’s be honest: For those of us who still haven’t had the chance to see the show, it’s something that we’ll ALL be trying to achieve this year, even as we eagerly await some of the newer shows that are now coming up.
Do you agree with this list? Anything that you’d like to add to this list that you don’t see here? As always, be sure to let us know in the comments section!
Also, be sure to check out last year’s list for some extra New Year’s resolutions – which can still be used this year, as well – by clicking here.
This column was written by Anthony J. Piccione: Playwright, producer, screenwriter, actor, poet and essayist based in New York City.
To learn more about Mr. Piccione and his work, please visit www.anthonyjpiccione.tumblr.com. Also, be sure to follow him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AnthonyJPiccione.OfficialPage) and on Twitter (@A_J_Piccione).