Exclusive! Read Excerpt From Actor Friend's Book "#GRATEFUL" Where You Host Broadway Flea Market Auction | Playbill

News Exclusive! Read Excerpt From Actor Friend's Book "#GRATEFUL" Where You Host Broadway Flea Market Auction "#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason," by Annoying Actor Friend, a choose-your-own show-business destiny book (and the sequel to "#SOBLESSED: The Annoying Actor Friend's Guide to Werking in Show Business"), will be released Nov. 30, and only Playbill has your first look at a chapter.


Available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle, "#GRATEFUL" places the reader in the middle of the Broadway industry and in control of his or her own fate. With over 100 different choices and endings, your potential trajectories could lead you to an early closing or Tony triumph.


Here is the opening sequence of "Broadway Junior," should you choose it.



To make certain you set out on the career path that most closely resembles your current mood, you must first decide if you are a Broadway Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior. The classes at Broadway High School are assigned not by your level of success, but by how you feel about the business at the given moment. Remember, Elaine Stritch probably never made it past sophomore year. Contrariwise, I know at least three Newsies who made their Broadway debuts as seniors. Allow me to recap what you learned in "#SOBLESSED," in 140 characters or less: BROADWAY FRESHMAN: You love Broadway. Social media. Fans. You do every BC/EFA event and there’s at least one GIF of you on Tumblr. 

BROADWAY SOPHOMORE: You love it, but pretend you’re above it. You play it cool. Like, you follow Broadway people on Twitter, but don’t favorite anything.

BROADWAY JUNIOR: You hate it, but pretend you love it. You want to do something else, but never learned any other skills so you lie to yourself.

BROADWAY SENIOR: Why the fuck are you reading this book? Thanks for the money, though!

So, which are you…?

Broadway Freshman.

Broadway Sophomore.

Broadway Junior.

Broadway Senior.


Broadway has been getting you down, but you're not to the point where you want to quit. There isn't anything else you know how to do, or care to learn, so it's easier to put up a front and pretend you love it. This blasé point of view you have towards the industry has begun to color how you behave in your personal life as well. It makes you unable to truly connect with people because there's this deep secret about yourself that nobody knows. As much as you should probably be addressing this issue in therapy at the moment, you can't, because your Broadway Junior status has made you contractually obligated to work the Broadway Flea Market this year.

Now, no matter how little you like to deal with industry traditions, you're always obliged to help out with BC/EFA whenever possible. Be it collecting during Gypsy of the Year and Easter Bonnet seasons, or donating your own money, BC/EFA will always be an organization you feel passionately about and are eager to assist whenever possible — unless it has to do with a large event because some of them give you hives. Broadway Bares is easy to get around by throwing money at your friends' Strip-A-Thon pages, but the Broadway Flea Market is damn near impossible to avoid when you're employed.

Since every show running on Broadway puts together a booth for the Flea (with company members working in rotation throughout the day) you look like a major douche when you neglect to help out. It's not that you don't want to support BC/EFA, it's that you don't know what to do with so many theatre fanatics in an uncontrolled location. While you appreciate their presence when they are following you on Twitter, you feel the same way about most Broadway fans as you do about audience participation…it's just better when the fourth wall remains intact. Individually, fans are great, but if you put enough of the wrong ones together in an open space crammed with access to actors and niche memorabilia, there's bound to be chaos. Chorus calls give you anxiety; how is the Broadway Flea Market going to be any different? 

This season's Flea, however, is going to be unlike years past. Normally, you casually pop behind your show's table or booth for an hour or two in the morning, and then clear out of Midtown after your matinee. This year you've been asked to co-host the Live Auction with Ann Harada, and there was just no way you were going to turn down the opportunity to joke around with her in front of thousands of screaming fans, no matter how many Broadway Bowling trophies they might own. You'll be safely positioned on a stage anyway, so it'll be fine.

Choosing when to be jaded about this business is tricky. In other circumstances, perhaps you wouldn't be so willing to accept such a public position at one of the largest Broadway fan events of the year. But hosting the live auction will perpetuate the idea that you care about the business more than anything else possibly could, thus providing you with enough karma to cover a year of backing out of things you're asked to do. This is a fairly inspired plan for someone who doesn’t quite know what they want out of life. 

As far as Broadway Flea Market Live Auction hosts go, you and Ann Harada are probably the best ever. There is true chemistry between the two of you, and it actually looks like you're having fun. Just because you are literally dying inside doesn't mean you're going to mark it when there are that many iPhones pointed at you. Moreover, the one character trait from your history as an actor that you'll never be able to deny is your unparalleled love of attention.

This specific year's auction has the distinction of being the first one to break all records of moneys raised during a Flea Market before it even comes to an end. This is partly due to your charisma, but more so because of Ann Harada, as well as the truly unique collection of lots available for bidding:

Personal Tour of Billy Porter's Closet – $12,000
Vial of Ramin Karimloo's Sweat – $14,000
Watch Patina Miller Work Out – $13,000
Walk-On Role in Misery – $10,000
Box of Dye Idina Used to Go Blonde for the Last Two Performances of If/Then – $7,000
Signed Christopher Walken Cue Card from Peter Pan Live – $9,000
Mystery Box Containing Something from Smash – $87,000
Anything from Hamilton – $412,000
The Guitar Sting Wrote The Last Ship With – $12 

The final lot in the live auction is the cast recording of Bernadette Peters' Gypsy, signed by Patti LuPone.

"This rare entity," you explain, "is the only known copy in existence…I give you…and don't forget to bring her back when you are finished with her —

Ann Harada rolls her eyes. 

"The Bernadette Peters' revival of Gypsy soundtrack, signed by —

A ripple of audible gasps races through the crowd, causing you to pause and stare out at thousands of horrified faces waiting in total silence. It's chilling. You are completely unaware of what just happened to cause this turn. Then, slowly, a woman in her mid-thirties wearing a Once t-shirt steps forward…

"It's called a cast recording," she spits with rage. "Not a soundtrack."

A single tear runs down young Iain Armitage's face.

Another woman in a Bonnie & Clyde hat shouts from several feet back, "Who are you!?"

"Yeah!" screams a man holding a life-size cutout of Cheyenne Jackson from All Shook Up.

More people start screeching, "It's a cast recording!" and "You don't deserve your Equity card!" The outcry doesn't show any signs of letting up. 

As the throng gains strength, they begin chanting, "Soundtrack is whack!" over and over again as they descend upon the stage. 

Ann Harada whispers, "See yah," and quickly disappears. 

Three fans in the front row hop on stage, waving old Elphaba brooms as pitchforks. More follow suit, leaving you a mere moment to decide if you can take on this angry mob or not. This is literal fight or flight right now. What do you do!? 



Visit AnnoyingActorFriend.com.

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