“Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong. “
You and I know each other pretty well by now.
I’ve shared my theatrical life with you, screamed in a New York Valley Girl accent about Lin-Manuel Miranda, and been properly annoying the whole time. You’ve had my back through Tony losses and Tony parties, been by my side as I did meet Stephen Schwartz and did not meet Patti LuPone.
To quote the musical about the thirty-year-old high school students, “We go together, Like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong”.
Yeah, I know.
And so, after all these years and all we’ve been through together, I think it is time for me, Broadway Lil, to get serious.
It is time for me to discuss the Art of The Hustle.
I was first acquainted with the art of the hustle through a very reliable source, a source filled to the tippity top with Heathers the Musical bootlegs and videos of young pianists wearing goggles and playing “Freeze Ray” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. YouTube.
I watch YouTube a lot (um, hello, mom, how else am I going to learn about the beauty trends we’re ditching in 2017, a roast?) and for I while I was OBSESSED with watching videos by a YouTuber named Lilly Singh.
Those of you who are of a youngish age have probably watched her channel, IISuperwomanII, at some point in the past, (she is rather a hit, with 11.1 million subscribers) but even if you were obsessed, even if you were a SUPERFAN of Lilly Singh, I can assure you that you never came CLOSE to the level of fandom that the fandom I was in had. And my fandom only had one person in it so it was even more remarkable.
I may be exaggerating a little bit, here, I am going to admit that. Some people bought Lilly’s line of lipstick titled “Bawse”. I did not. Then again, I spend all my money on theatre tickets. Let me continue.
Lilly Singh has exceedingly long hair, raps, and identifies as a unicorn. She dresses up as her Indian parents and makes strange and amusing videos of, for example, My Parents React to “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift!
Very educational, my friends.
Anyway, Lilly Singh often talks about being a hustler. She told young, geeky me that being a hustler, continuing to hustle, and in general being very persistent, loud, and wearing backwards baseball caps to achieve your dreams was the only way to go.
I was already fairly persistent, mildly loud, and not entirely opposed to wearing backwards baseball caps at that point, but I didn’t really think about the Art of The Hustle that much. I was much more interested in learning about the rest of the things Lilly was telling me, such as what would happen If My Cell Phone Was A Person (featuring Connor Franta).
But then I decided to write a musical.
I am, as most of you are probably aware, currently in the process of writing a short musical about mind-reading and strangeness. When one is writing a short musical, especially one about mind-reading and strangeness, one can become a bit of an Artist (to be pronounced in a French accent) and start wearing all black, frowning more than necessary, and drinking ginger tea at 2 o’clock in the morning. These things can happen. But there are also other sides to the process, the dramatic artistical process, and since I’m being perfectly honest with you, I am going to tell you the other sides.
Last week, while I was meeting with the collaborator, director, and teacher involved in the musical I’m writing, I realized something. I realized something as I broke down crying because of the chopping that was happening to the script I’d written. As probably all of you know from various experiences, things gets chopped, things get smushed, and you have to make a lot of compromises in life. But that to me doesn’t mean in the least that you should stop trying to get what you want.
Why am I telling you this?
Sometimes, I think, theatre geeks can get stomped on. You wouldn’t think it, considering the power of our vocal chords, but if we step back and look at situations we’ve recently gone through, I’m sure we’ll wonder if we were really in charge. I’ve had to attempt to conquer this, and the main way I’ve had to conquer it has been by writing this musical.
So I looked at my collaborator. And I looked at my director. And I started hustling, thanks very much, Lilly Singh.
I told them why I’d written what I’d written and how the themes were being represented, and why the freaking frak this character was doing that. I stood up and began walking around the room in my loud stomping shoes meant for just this purpose, and my strange New York accent came back, and I started crying.
And they let me keep most of the script.
Now. Here is the part where I should put in the disclaimer and everyone smiles and cheers, but I’m not going to put the disclaimer in because, firstly, I am irritating, and secondly, I meant what I said! The Art of The Hustle is really quite an important part to being utterly and exceptionally fabulous because if you professionally let people know that you won’t stop hustling until they hear you, people will hopefully begin to respect you, and if they respect you, they will listen to you, and if they listen to you, they can be the audience member for your one-woman production of Dreamgirls.
That’s obviously what this is really about.
Tonight I’m meeting with my collaborator, director, and teacher again. This time we’re talking a song I wrote and which they feel is too gloomy. Maybe they’re right but I am still going to say what I think, stand up, and use what Lilly Singh taught me, because if we learned nothing else from 13 The Musical (and we really didn’t learn anything else*) we have to “put one foot in front of the other”. And to me that means using the art of the hustle.
That was so dramatic.
I love you all and hope Serious Lil didn’t scare you too much, ‘cause she kind of scared me…