It was 6:20am when the stewardess took my 7-year-old hand onto the plane to NYC. My mom yelled mimicking Ethel Merman “Sing out Lisa, sing out!”. I was her Gypsy. The day was booked solid with auditions; one for a musical, a commercial and a new agent. Then a dance or voice lesson if we could fit it in.
But the best part was getting to go to my dad’s office golden office. It was the most beautiful building I’d ever seen, and I LOVED going there. It had big gold doors and the lobby was gold too. It was called The Brill Building. I’d already memorized every theater; every running show and I could see my dreams folding out in front of me with each step just like in the movies. I felt free and I knew how lucky I was to be exactly where I needed to be.
Our first stop was my dad’s favorite donut coffee shop. We sat at the counter, which I had never done before, and thought was super cool- just like the movies! We headed up to his shared office where my big suitcase of outfit changes was stored. I changed into my first audition outfit packed up the rest and off we went into the wild, wild world of showbiz.
The day was booked solid with auditions; a Broadway musical at the Minskoff Theater, a Heinz commercial in Chelsea then back uptown again to meet another perspective agent. Oh and don’t forget the dance class and voice lesson.
We ended the day with our audition tradition, a steak dinner at Tad’s Steak House on Broadway during which I called my mother sobbing, begging her to let me stay one more night. She wasn’t having it. My dad and I walked to Penn Station and caught the shuttle to Newark Airport for the 8:20pm flight to Syracuse. I remember it was raining and we were soaked by the time we got on to the bus. I cried in my Daddy’s arms as the NYC skyline faded away.
Next thing I knew I was back in my bed, waking up for a regular day of school. By the time I got home my mom told me I had gotten a callback for the part! I would have fly back to the city again the next day and I was as happy as clam. I was going to be a famous singer like Olivia Newton John or Dolly Parton or Liza Minelli . . . no matter how scared I was of flying alone.
I continued this pattern for 3 more years until my entire family ended transplanting to New York City so I could pursue my dreams full time.