What an amazing and surreal experience! My first professional job since moving back to New York City for acting and I got to dance backup for Busta Rhymes on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday while he rapped his song 'My Shot' from Hamilton Mix Tape by Lin-Manuel Miranda with Tariq Trotter and The Roots.
It was sooo amazing, did I mention that? So cool to be on set at 30Rock for the first time- and yes it really does look exactly like the 30Rock the TV Show by/with Tina Fey in real life. And it was so fun to see the real-life 'Kenneth's' and 'Tracy's' and 'Jenna's' and 'Liz's,' It even felt a little strange to me that Liz Lemon wasn't there, I mean she had a show to run right?!
But even more exciting was meeting Jimmy and his amazing film crew and casting people, and the Roots and Tariq Trotter and Questlove. And Busta Rhymes- Busta especially impressed me. He was the consummate professional and very gregarious towards everyone, but even moreso, in every free second that he had to himself before we performed, when directors and camera crew and lights weren't vying for his attention, he got into his own zone in his own corner of the stage, warmed himself up and practiced to himself. As someone so accomplished, a seasoned 11-time-Grammy winning artist who has performed the world over, Busta probably could have easily winged-it. But that's not how you sustain a performance career for as long as he has, he took the utmost care of his craft and was so focused and deliberate in the way he practiced. It was so humbling, instructive and admirable to watch his process and work.
Oh, and the food there is amazing!! They have this beautiful huge cafeteria on one of the top floor with an amazing menu, where they will make anything you want to order- I had a steak for lunch :) Secretly, this was maybe my favorite part!
I confess I have had this weird affinity for cafeteria's since I was a little kid and we spent a lot of time staying at the hospital for my grandfather who was dying of colon cancer. My sister and I spent a lot of time just waiting in a little private family waiting room and tried to amuse ourselves with Mad Libs and card games, but generally it was just really sad and boring. BUT the highlight was getting to go to the hospital cafeteria ourselves everyday and order anything we wanted for lunch and getting self-serve frozen yoghurt from the frozen yoghurt machine WITH sprinkles! I ate sooo much frozen yoghurt during those weeks that my parents would have been appalled had they actually been able to pay attention. So I suppose it's a very bittersweet memory but it groomed in me a lifelong love for cafeterias. In fact, to this day, if I am ever at a hospital for any reason - that's where I will definitely be eating lunch that day. In any case, the 30Rock cafeteria is miles and above any hospital cafeteria or any cafeteria I have ever been to, and it had a frozen yoghurt machine to boot.
This was certainly a wonderful experience I will never forget. And I hope it set the pace for many more wonderful performance experiences in New York to come.