When I was in college, I was interning for a Broadway public relations firm. It was my first office job and my first look into the New York City theatre world...which is where I was sure I belonged.
That summer, I ran around like a maniac. I came home crying many days. I was paid about $5 a week.
However, one thing kept me going that entire summer...I knew that when our show performed at Broadway in Bryant Park, I'd get to go...and stand under the tend with all the Broadway performers.
I knew that tent was going to be a magical experience.
Finally, one day in August, I was under that tent. It was one of the hottest days of the summer. I took a bottle of vitamin water out of the same bin as the Broadway performers.
Thoroughly Modern Millie was on Broadway at the time and it was one of my favorite shows. That day, Sutton Foster's understudy was in her place, belting out "Gimme, Gimme". I said out loud to anybody who would listen, "EVERY time I hear this song, I get so disappointed because I KNOW I'll never be up there doing that!"
Somebody put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Oh, don't say that. It will HAPPEN some day."
I looked-up. Way-up. The guy was very tall.
You know when you meet somebody and somehow get the sense that you're supposed to be friends with them?
That's exactly how I felt at that moment! I talked to this very tall young man for a while. He was an understudy in Thoroughly Modern Millie and was leaving the show to go back to Seattle in a couple of weeks. As I was leaving, turned around and said, "I'm Diana, by the way!" He said, "I'm Cheyenne!"
When I went back to my desk at my internship, I investigated this young Broadway understudy named Cheyenne. I sent him an email through his website and just said, "We just met in the park. For some reason, I got a really great feeling about you and I just wanted to wish you all the best."
After that, the young tall Broadway understudy and I emailed very frequently, and when he came back to New York that winter, it was to play the starring role in my favorite show, AIDA. I've watched him completely skyrocket into superstardom over the years, but I'll always know him as that guy I got a good feeling about in the park that day. I knew he was special, I knew we were meant to become friends, and he is and we did.
I knew something really great was destined to happen in that tent and it DID...I met a wonderful person, who became the older brother I've never had and always wanted.
Fast forward nearly nine years......................
One thing I have been mourning for a while is the fact that I am no longer working on Broadway. I got into a bit of a funk when the Tony nominations came-out, knowing I wouldn't be going as I did in previous years.
I told myself, "Listen. The Tony Awards aren't everything. You never know what's right around the corner and if you just put it out there that you deserve to go to exciting events and to be a part of this community you love so much...it will all happen."
The day after I told myself that (I'm not even kidding), I got a text from my friend Cheyenne (you know, that tall understudy I met in the park who is now a huge star) asking if I wanted to go with him to a Broadway benefit for President Obama. (President Clinton would also be there.) Cheyenne was performing.
Wow, that was fast...that exciting event really DID come-out of nowhere.
I was in the "VIP" lounge, trying to pretend that I belonged there, and after about a half hour, I realized, I DO belong here! I am important. I am exciting. And even though I no longer work in a Broadway office, one day, I'll be a member of the Broadway community again. I'll be a playwright. I'll win awards. I'll have people telling me that Wendy Wasserstein would have loved me and taken me under her wing. Celebrities will be in my plays and come to my plays and everybody will really like me, because aside from being a really funny and inspirational playwright, I am also very very NICE. I'm one of the nicest people in New York City theatre and deserve all of this success!
It makes me smile to think of how I manifested things a bit...I knew that tent would be really great, and it led me to this terrific kindred spirit, who, in turn, led me to this VIP event that reminded me that I deserved to be there and there was so much left out there to live and experience.
You just gotta keep going...you never know when something wonderful is going to happen.