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Broadway Hopeful

Here we are. Closing out Black History Month (the shortest month of them all but encompassing my favorite holidays: Valentine’s Day and my BIRTHDAY, lol!) and embarking on Women’s Month which, I’m also low key excited about, because if you know me then you already know how much I LOVE being a woman! I truly feel like I was a drag queen in another life and in this life, I’ve got all the jiggly parts. It’s SO EXCITING!

Y’all, Broadway’s been closed for almost a full year (officially in two weeks). I still remember getting laid off from the Britney Spears Musical thinking we would all be coming back in a month. It’s crazy to think that the idea of being away for a MONTH felt like a lifetime. Fast forward 12 months…and counting. I was literally googling: What does Stay Home Mean while simultaneously rationing my fish sticks before realizing that girl: It’s a pandemic. It’s not a third world. There’s still plenty of food. I don’t have to starve. I was literally eating canned beans and scraping by on Cup of Noodle totally perplexed on how and why people were gaining a “pandemic 15.” When I realized that delivery was still a thing and there was no shortage of junk food, I was able to satisfy my FOMO (fear of missing out) and also get my very own Pandemic 15. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Obviously this year has been hard. It’s been tumultuous and confusing and a total mind boggling mess. I’ve literally fired the same therapist twice and I’ll probably once again go crawling back crying and begging the question: Zachary, WHO AM I?! Thank the Lord he’s so patient with me. But in the midst of the unknown and awful things happening all around me, there’s been some very beautiful realizations to come out of this time.

If you’ve ever had a glass of wine with me, you probably already know I’m a total geek when it comes to the discussion of the unseen world and time. I LOVE talking about time because I believe it’s SO relative. We can make it stretch. It can speed by faster than a speeding bullet. My last day at Beautiful, there was nothing I could do to slow that day. It was a fast moving train, slowing down for no one. And in recent months, I’ve been on a few zoom calls that seriously never end. It’s all relative. Well you know what I think? I feel like I have lived ten effing years in the last 12 months. TEN. There are things I’ve done during this pandemic that I can’t even begin to tell you because they are so jaw dropping…I still can’t believe I would do such a thing. And the after effects of taking big action steps…who knows where the pieces will land. It’s hard to say since the industry is still technically on pause.

But I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my Black Hair in the Big Leagues podcast. I’ve interviewed over 65 talented black men and women on Broadway and beyond and hired 6 interns. It got picked up with the Broadway Podcast Network and I’ve slowly begun exploring how to not code switch in predominantly white spaces. The team at BPN encourages me to be ME. When I do voiceover work for them, and I ask them how “mainstream” would they like me to be, they vehemently tell me to say it however I want to say it! I’m like wait, what? You don’t need me to be more black? You don’t need me to make it more white? I’m SO USED to shape shifting into whatever the powers at be need me to be and for maybe the first time ever, I am totally…myself.

It feels so free.

I’m proud to be 29 years old. I just celebrated my birthday on February 20th and I know I’m not supposed to say my age, but HERE I AM WORLD. I am 29. And I am fiercer now than I was in High School. I’m stronger, I’m faster, I’m more fit, and I’m a LITTLE softer around the edges. I was walking at my alma mater the other day. The entire school is completely renovated. It’s gorgeous. And I was thinking, wow. This school didn’t look this good when I was here. It’s beautiful. And my sweet dad reminded me that I sat on the board for two years in a row, voted in by the other High School student body Presidents, to represent 80,000 kids in Fresno Unified, and while I was there, I helped negotiate and vote in the budget for a project I’d never get to enjoy. I helped bring this gorgeous vision to fruition and I’d completely forgotten. 10+ years later. And it’s another reminder that time is fickle. Something may seem so far away, and then you blink and it has come to pass.

My friend Sarah said that it feels like a year ago, someone pressed Pause on time. That everything felt like it was at a standstill and that sometime in the last week or two, someone pressed Play again on life. I couldn’t agree more. And I am praying…hoping and praying (and preparing) that Broadway theaters will be opening up again this year. I believe they will. Last Decemeber I was joking about being on stage in a year but when I said it, my legs flooded with chills. Truth Chills. I always listen to the Truth Chills. Fast forward a couple months, and things are beginning to feel really normal really fast. It’s incredible. I just want to make sure I’m ready ahead of time instead of playing catch up, ya feel me? Because these hips don’t lie.

I hope you feel encouraged. Are you ready? Do you feel ready for the world to come back to whatever normal is going to be? It’s hard to imagine getting up early and putting on real clothes to get to places in not the living room to see other people IRL (in real life) at a designated time. It seems other worldly almost. I might….I might actually miss this whole Save The World From Your Couch thing. In what other world can I stay in bed while going to church? Making breakfast and throwing in a load of laundry before service is over, then going on a nice long jog before interviewing some Broadway star 3000 miles away for 45 minutes. Then sending in an audition for a commercial, and quickly recording a voiceover for Google all from my LIVING ROOM. That still leaves time for a nap, watching a B movie with my parents, going for a drive at sunset, and Facetiming with a boy.

I can do all of the above with pajamas on my lower half. Why have I been begging to go back to work again? AM I CRAZY?!

Haha, Totally kidding. I’d do anything to have Broadway come back like yesterday. It’s time to make a mental shift and get back in gear. If and when I hear any murmurings, you’ll be the first to know.

Xo, Salish


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