Tag Archives: playwright

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Katie, Reservation Specialist

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I’m starting close to home and bringing you my sister Katie’s story. Her official job title is “Reservation Specialist” but you’ll soon learn that her talents and passions lead her to wear many more hats, even in a single day.

katie-head-shot-4-0

Hi there!  My name is Katie and if you asked me what I do for a living, I would probably answer “I’m a professional actress and playwright” without blinking an eye.  If we are being completely honest with each other though, that’s not always how I make my living. I also work full time at an Italian restaurant in Downtown St. Petersburg.  My official title is Reservation Specialist (I even have a business card!  Fancy!). Since taking on this position I’ve had to learn how to balance my artistic endeavors while pulling a paycheck in a completely different industry.  It’s a lot, but I thrive on stress.  What follows is an account of a recent Monday where I had to juggle several facets of my career.  Come along with me and make sure you have had a LOT of coffee. 

9:00am – Up and fed and caffeinated.  I don’t have to be at the restaurant until 10am so I usually use this time to look at upcoming auditions, make my to do list, or write.  For whatever reason, I tend to write my best stuff after I just wake up. Today, I also update my acting resume for my auditions this evening.

10:00am – We open at 11:30am so I clock in, fill up my water bottle, put my stuff in the back room, and say hi to the day bartender, Jessica.  I start flipping chairs off  the bar and high tops.  The openers arrive and start cutting lemons and setting up the outside dining area while I check my emails.  I get through as many emails as I can before we open, while Jessica and I watch the morning news on the TV at the bar.  

11:15am – The manager on duty gives me the floor plan for the day and I make a copy of it.  I check in with the servers to make sure they’re ready to go.

11:30am – I unlock the front doors and seat the first few tables.  It’s a slow start today because it’s cloudy and gloomy.  It’s amazing how much the weather affects our business, but it truly does.

12:00pm – 2:00pm – It’s a pretty slow lunch rush today so I have plenty of time to take phone calls and answer emails as they come in.  We are closing in on the holiday season so there are lots of big party reservations coming up!  There are already days that are completely booked, and I have started having to tell people we don’t have room for their parties.  

4:00pm – I go upstairs to the office but instead of printing menus, I have to print my acting resume because I have THREE auditions this evening.

4:30pm – I go back downstairs to gather my things and say bye to my coworkers.  I get plenty of “break a legs!” from all my friends.  I love these people.

5:00pm – I run to Staples to print my new head-shots!  I just got them done (thanks Beth!).  I go home and trim them and my resumes down to 8×10 inches, and staple them back to back.  I have done this so many times that it only takes me a few minutes to do 10 of them. 

6:00 pm – I drive to Tampa, where my first audition of the night is.  

7:00pm – I audition for A Skull in Connemara, a play by Irish playwright (and one of my favorites) Martin McDonagh.  It goes pretty dang well.

7:15pm – I say a hurried goodbye to my friends who are also going in for the same role and drive back to St. Pete for my other auditions.  

8:00pm – I arrive at USF – St. Pete’s campus and check in for my St. Pete Shakespeare Festival auditions.  I’m auditioning for Ophelia in Hamlet and Viola in Twelfth Night.  Two different shows.  Two different directors.  Lots of words.  I read a lot of scenes with some of my favorite people and I’m the last person of the night to be released.  

9:30pm – I arrive back home, feeling great about my reads.  I say hi to my two roommates and get out my music binder.  I’m playing in the pit for Blake High School’s production of Full the Musical and I need to make my script and music a little neater and easier to read for rehearsal tomorrow.  (Oh yeah, and I wrote Full.)  I’m pretty hyped up from all the audition adrenaline, so I work on music until my eyes start to slam shut.  

12:00am – I set my alarm for the following day, which includes work at Bella, Full tech rehearsal at the high school, and helping my friend plan her wedding. Because why not.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Katie! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you balance creative endeavors alongside a 9-to-5?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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Full. The Musical

full program

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Tampa to see my sister star in, Full, an amazing musical which she also wrote and produced! Katie played a high-school girl grappling with recent tragedy, young love, and her own demon’s brought to life right in front of the audience’s eyes. After several readings created a lot of buzz, Jobsite Theater presented the WORLD PREMIERE of the show at the Straz Center of Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. The result? A beautifully acted and expertly staged presentation of an honest, well-written script.

full collage

As any proud sister would, I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s thoughts on the show and it’s impact. Here are three lovely quotes:

Michael Canon Henry (writer): “Ms. Berger has an open, expressive face that makes her wonderful for all sorts of roles (in my book, at least; I’m not a theater critic). Of course, she’s good mostly because she works at it.”

Molly Miller (mother): “I saw Full. the musical. last night. What an amazing show! from the opening line to the very end it caught me, and held me. As the mother of a teen age daughter I was especially delighted with the authenticity of the dialogue. A beautiful and heartbreaking story. I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried in a theater, and 2 of them were last night. The song lyrics were spot on with the production, and the actors had amazing voices. Each and every character was cast perfectly, so meshed into their roles that I actually felt more like a voyeur than an audience for a lot of the show.”

Broadway World: “I recommend Berger keep writing and exploring the musical genre because she’s a strong, intriguing songwriter with an interesting, twisted world view. And she has a keen ear for snappy dialogue. She may be known for being a local performer, but now she’s become something else: a real writer.”

Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with the world, Katie! Your story is so important and you bring delight to us all! I was lucky to see this first staging but I can’t wait to see where else this show will take you.

P.S. I love this shot of my mom and I with Katie after her show…

family pic full

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P.P.S. Check out the official website for Full the Musical HERE and enter your email for a FREE download of one of the tracks from the show!