Backstage With



In an exclusive column, Broadway performer John Carroll takes Advocate readers behind the scenes of Lincoln Center Theater's hotly anticipated musical production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. 

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is finally in the Belasco Theatre, our newly renovated home away from home. It's hard to express the emotions that came over me walking into the theater, onto the stage for the first time. It's been a long road, and I've finally made it to a rather wonderful destination — 111 W. 44th St., to be exact.

I started settling into my dressing room and I got to meet the stage crew, the group of people who will be the backbone of this production. I got to meet the man at the stage door, the man who will shield me from the endless hordes of screaming fans after the show ... cricket ... cricket. I'm figuring out where the closest coffee shop is and which streets are best to travel to beat the wall of tourists that creates gridlock in Times Square. It's a lot of new things to consider, and they are all welcome.

We are officially in tech rehearsals. This is the time when all the technical aspects of the show — sound, lighting, sets, etc. — are worked out and rehearsed. A whole other layer of magic is added to the show. While it can be a slow, arduous process, when it's done, the show is that much more complete. This time really isn't for the performers. We have had the luxury of weeks in the rehearsal studio figuring out our part in this show. However, it is now time to be patient and give the show's other elements their time. The technical side of WOTV is stunning. We have four treadmills, spanning the width of the stage, used to transport sets and performers. There are people literally hanging from the rafters and some of the most beautiful, crystal-clear projections that will make you feel you are in the outlandish world of Pedro Almodóvar.

Let's face it, I'm extremely grateful. It's easy to forget how it is when you're not working. How frustrating it is to audition for job after job, casting a wide net yet catching nothing. At times you question your talent, you question your training, your life choices, and sometimes even that second helping of macaroni and cheese that you really wanted but knew you shouldn't have had because the lactose always makes your stomach ... but I digress. Then, just when it feels too much to bear, you land that big job and suddenly you've been chosen. You are no longer on what feels like the island of misfit toys. I never want to forget what it's like to fight for that next job. It keeps me focused. It keeps me humble.

Tags: Theater