The business manager’s reaction was a classic. She said this: “You’re not ready to go; I watch you and you look like you’re still having fun!”
“You know why I look like that?” I shot back. I then leaned forward and said quietly, “Because I’m a professional. It’s my job to look like I’m having fun!”
Now in point of fact, I actually am having fun. But if I don’t leave soon, I will stop having fun, and I don’t want to go through that. I’d much rather leave while I’m on top of my game, especially because of the fact that it won’t really be goodbye – I have no doubt that I will still be called up and asked to fill in here and there when someone calls in sick or there is some other cast problem, and when that happens, I want to feel good about going back and doing that.
The TnT folks normally request a 3-week notice, but I’ve given them 6 weeks. My final show will be the Wednesday matinee on September 5. I also wanted to mention that date because I know there are some of you who’ve thought for a long time about coming to see me in the show, so I want you to know what the time frame is in case you want to make plans. You can see the performance schedule and make reservations at the Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding web site. Bear in mind that I do not appear in Wednesday or Thursday shows, other than the once-a-month matinees.
Back to my reasons for leaving – as I told our director, I hear the tolling of a bell, and when that bell goes off, you would do well to heed its message. After well over 1,000 performances, I think I have gotten all that I’m going to get out of the Tony n’ Tina experience. It’s time for me to explore other creative and performing outlets. And frankly, it’s time to get some balance back into my life. As rewarding as these five years have been, they have come at a price. Various areas of my personal life have been neglected or have been put into an extended state of imbalance because of my schedule. On top of that, one of the things that told me it was time to go was that the thought of just sitting on my ass at home in front of the TV on a Saturday night actually began to sound like a very good thing.
I wouldn’t trade these past five years for anything. Working on this show has made me a better actor and a more confident performer. I’ve also met a lot of terrific and talented people and even made a few very good friends. I’ve had many thousands of hours of pure unbridled fun and have entertained many tens of thousands of people on an up-close and personal level. And the rate of turnover in the TnT cast means that I now know dozens, perhaps hundreds, of actors all over town.
So has it all been roses and warm fuzzies at TnT? Oh no! Some of the stories I could tell… some of the characters I’ve had to deal with… it would curl your hair! There have been some mightily trying times and personalities along the way. But you won’t be reading those stories here; not today anyway. Maybe far into the future, I’ll have the distance and perspective to feel comfortable recording some of those tales. But for now, if you want to hear that part of the saga, I suggest you ply me with fine food and drink and ask me about all of that in an off-line forum. Yeah! That’s what you should do!
I’m sure I’ll be writing more about TnT in the weeks to come, as the days dwindle down to a precious few, toward my September swan song.