Aren’t you thankful for friends you’ve known forever? Today’s What Its Like feature is written by my long-time friend Andrew Arrington. Andrew and I went to high school together, hung out in the same group, and I am pretty sure we even went as friends to a homecoming dance. Andrew is creative, funny, and incredibly talented and I am thrilled he’s sharing a little bit about his life as a Broadway entertainer today!
Side note – his voice is like butter. I am waiting for him to make an album of these dreamy covers, but while we wait, you have to check out his gorgeous rendition of Smile and Sunday Kind of Love.
Okay, now without further ado, here’s what it’s like to be an entertainer.
Imagine for a minute your favorite coffee shop. Feel the worn leather chair that envelops your booty like a good pair of jeans. See the cappuccino made with such expertise & care, that you’ve come to literally love it. Picture the atmosphere: a perfect balance of work flow and creative energy that eases all stress and starts your day with mix vibrancy, focus, and love. This reliable coffee shop has become an oasis. You look forward to this experience everyday. Now imagine this coffee shop vanishes, literally isn’t there anymore. All that is left is the memory of this gem. You must find a new coffee shop. Well, when you tour with a Broadway show, that is exactly what you have to do.
My journey as a performer perpetually teaches me. One lesson that remains constant is the notion of change. This universal truth manifests itself in my life in super direct way. Over the past 8 years I have moved to 65 different cities, had roughly 3000 performances, allowing me to share my gift with 6,000,000 people.
Acting is change. My particular role in Lion King is called a swing. I cover nine roles. It’s a high pressure job in which I have to be prepared to go on at a moments notice. Its basically like playing Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, & the episodes’ 2 guest stars at the same time. It’s taken years to get to a place where I feel at ease in my position. It was infuriating to me at first knowing that my performance would always be compared to the person who actually gets to live in the role everyday. My job is to make the role my own in a super short amount of time. It has taught me the beauty in non judgment. The power in embracing change. I have seen Jesus in that change. I must give myself over to the higher power every time I step on that stage. He must fill in my gaps, so that the beautiful message of the show shines through. Ultimately, this unique job allows me to have diversity which makes it way more fun & more fulfilling.
Why Change? I often wonder why God has called me to a career filled with so much uncertainty and change, given my first inclination is to fear change. I don’t freakin’ know why. One definite I do know is that travel has completely transformed how I view the world. Moving from Montreal, to Wichita, to Portland, to Honolulu has given me vastly different views of the world. People say variety is spice of life, but for me it’s the meat of life. My ever shifting 9 year living arrangement has profoundly shaped me for the better. It has made me extremely open. I have created lasting relationships with people from all from all walks of life. From my South African cast mates, to my Madison Wisconsin housewife sister, to my transgender Hawaiian friend, & my Dutch lawyer buddy. We relate, accept, and learn from each other. Experiencing that exchange is beautiful. My capacity to love is greater, my ability to accept deeper, and the gratitude I have for diversity profound. My faith deepens with every new experience & this gives me joy. Most importantly God continues to uniquely reveal who He is through this journey. He is love. This loves inhabits my work as an artist more and more.
I hope this quick post will help you to see the changes happening in your own life and encourage you to embrace them with a bit more love and excitement. That isn’t always a feat, but as we continue to evolve into the creatures that God intended for us to be, change is necessary. Change makes progress possible. Change makes our service to the world more fulfilling. Change allows love to occur in a rich way. Rich, fulfilling, and necessary, just like the perfect cappuccino.
Andrew Arrington is a self-proclaimed man-child artist who is all about love vibes. Art in all its forms is a unique way to tap into deeper levels of connection. He’s been a professional actor for over 15 years and is currently blessed to be combining his love of travel & art, performing in the touring company of Lion King. You can check him out on Instagram at @andrew_arrington.
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience,take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process,have male factor infertility, and be a stay at home mom. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!