Selling Dirty Movies and Crying While Serving Coffee: Stars Of Broadway Share Their Worst Day Jobs! | Playbill

News Selling Dirty Movies and Crying While Serving Coffee: Stars Of Broadway Share Their Worst Day Jobs! Before they were stars, they were dog walkers, cocktail waitress and even telemarketers. asks the stars of the New York stage about the jobs they took to get by before they made it in show business.


Carolee Carmello (Finding Neverland, Parade)
I was one of the girls who sprayed perfume in Macy's. I also did the temp jobs on the streets like handing out cigarettes and packs of gum. I never waited tables, but I was pretty lucky to get theatre jobs that kept me going. Every time I was about to leave and go back to law school, I would get another job that would suck me back in.

Lisa Kron (Fun Home, Well)
In the beginning I was a temp for 10 years in law offices all over Manhattan.

James Snyder (If/Then, Ever After)
I was tending bar 8 AM–1 PM shift. It was a pretty rough job [to] open a bar. Right out of college I was doing that. One of the more fun survival jobs I did was singing in a cover band — a boy band/80s-90s hip hop. The Dope Emcees or Out of Synch. We played casinos and stuff.

James Snyder

Annie Funke (If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, Ever After)
I worked at Starbucks for about three weeks. I had never brewed a cup of coffee in my entire life, and I'd also never drank a cup of coffee. And I found myself at the 6 AM rush hour. People only go in because they're later or they're hung over or they're tired. They need their coffee. I did not work well in that high-stress environment. Everybody's on their phone. I had no idea how to work the espresso machine. I cried several times in three weeks. Quincy Tyler Bernstein (Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play)
I worked for a bathing suit company. I got the bathing suits from overseas to the US for about two years. It was extremely depressing. It's just not what I wanted to be doing. Swimwear is not really my thing.

Charles Shaughnessy (Urinetown, Ever After)
I sold X-rated videos over the telephone. I sat behind a desk. I had to cold call strange motels — go through the phone directory in Arkansas and find the Naughty Nightie Motel. I'd call them up and say, "We're doing a special on 'Debbie Does Dallas' and Swedish Erotica. I can send you three and a poster." They just thought it was either a joke or it was Prince Charles calling and it was too bizarre to have him try to sell them porn. I never sold a thing. I couldn't get a single seller.

I did it for about two months, and then a friend of mine said, "You can work for me. I'm a private investigator." So I spent one day as a private investigator and that was terrifying. I nearly got killed. I was knocking on doors trying to find insurance scams. And this guy said, "Come on in. Let me tell you about this." And then as we're talking I realized, "Oh my God, he's completely crazy." He started throwing a knife in the floor by my feet talking about how Clint Eastwood has angels and the angels who protect Clint Eastwood protect him. And he said, "You see these scratches? These are the angels' tears." I thought, "This guy has a basement full of insurance investigators."

Kelli O'Hara in The King and I Photo by Paul Kolnik

Kelli O'Hara (The King and I, The Bridges of Madison County)
I didn't grow up anywhere near the theatre. My first job was chopping cotton. I lived on a farm. From the time I was seven or eight till I was 15. I wore some sunscreen, but I chopped cotton in my bikini so I'd get a tan. I wore shorts and a bikini top. We all chopped cotton. You made a little money and helped your dad.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies, Ever After)
I had a plethora. I was a telemarketer, which is so terrible. I was hounding recent college graduates asking them to give money — in case they hadn't already given $200,000. People said really mean things to me on the phone. [Now] I know how to get off all the do not call lists.

Mara Davi ("Smash," Ever After)
I'm very fortunate to have been working in the theatre primarily, but the only real job I had besides working at Disneyland was working at the café at Borders, and I was fired for selling my brother a Harry Potter book at a discount. My last paycheck was two cents. I got a check for the nine dollars I earned the day I got fired, and then a few days later I got this two-cent check.

Mara Davi

Boo Killebrew (The Play About My Dad, The Momentum)
I was a cocktail waitress, which was OK except I worked in the financial district and I had to wear a short little dress, and the Wall Street guys would say things. I used to be an actress, so I would act like it was OK, but I was 24-25 so it didn't make me as sick as it would make me now. I also walked dogs. And then they gave me like seven dogs, and I said, "This is too much!"

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