Note the hyphen in between the "Show" and "Business" in today's title. That's because there ain't one without the other. I could never get that through my thick skull. I thought if I were as well-loved and funny on stage in New York as I had been, well, at the University of Delaware, my career was assured -- along with fame, wealth and a corner booth on the main floor at Sardi's.
I had to settle for being a member of SAG, AFTRA and Equity which, if you remembered to bring your union cards with you, would entitle you to ask for "the actor's menu" at Sardi's, whereupon the prices were about half what the unsuspecting tourists would pay.
Every year, on this magical night, I start to watch the Antoinette Perry Awards (aka "The Tonys") which are not to be confused with the Sarah Siddons Society Awards, which you see Eve Harrington receiving in the opening scene of "All About Eve." But I digress.
I moved to NYC, in the Spring of 1978, having some vague notion that I was embarking on a glamorous career in show business. It turned out, of course, that in addition to a desire to be famous and wealthy, you also had to be incredibly talented and phenomenally lucky. I was passably talented (good enough for regional ... well, dinner... theater). But I never had a lick of luck at anything (other than surviving every feeble attempt I made to kill myself with liquor and drugs).
And every year, as I watch the Tonys being handed out to an increasingly younger and demonstrably gayer crowd of theater denizens I think to myself, "What have they got that I haven't.... oh, wait. That's right. Now I remember."
But as a lonely, gay teenager, hiding out in my bedroom, watching the first network broadcast of the Tonys in 1967 on a grainy black and white set, wondering who or what would ever come along to rescue me from the clutches of the Evil Queen (my alcoholic mother), my imagination caught fire and I got some hope. Maybe, someday, I would be up on that stage, accepting an award for best actor in a musical from Angela Lansbury or Joel Grey. And that would "show them", them being the people downstairs who were sucking the life out of me at such a tender age.
Well, I never got that award, and that's okay. I'm content to be who I am today. I'm content with me. And I don't need any awards to validate me. I certainly don't need to "show them" anymore because "them" are long since gone.
They say that "living well is the best revenge." You know what? That's true. I don't have squat, yet I still live better than most people I know.
Best of all, I get to write all my own reviews.