Written by Victoria Myers
Photography by Jacqueline Harriet
October 4th, 2016
Many years ago, at some event or another, I ran into Stephanie J. Block in a bathroom. Or, more aptly: I was hiding from people I didn’t want to talk to in a bathroom and proceeded to ambush Stephanie J. Block, who seemed like someone I did want to talk to. She was very gracious about it. And she’s used to it. Stephanie is one of those actresses who people are excited to see on stage and off. She made her Broadway debut in The Boy From Oz playing Liza Minnelli; did the original readings and workshops of Wicked as Elphaba (and later played the role on tour and Broadway); starred in The Pirate Queen, 9 to 5, and Little Miss Sunshine (among others), and received a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And now she’s back on Broadway as Trina in Falsettos, casting that the theatre world was, once again, excited by. Shortly before the start of previews, we talked with her in her dressing room (much better than a bathroom) at the Walter Kerr Theatre about her rehearsal process, parts for women in theatre, why there seems to be more interest in the off-stage lives of women, and much more.
Let’s start with the show and your process for the character. You got the script for Falsettos, and?
The script, meaning the score, because I think there are only about half a dozen or ten different lines that are spoken, the whole show is sung through. I was called by James Lapine about a year and a half ago with the idea that they really wanted to bring back Falsettos. I loved working with James and Bill [Finn] on Little Miss Sunshine. When this project was being bounced around and they were threatening to bring it back, threatening I say lovingly, of course, I was totally interested because of the role and because of the creative team. It sounds so silly, but when I was on the phone I was painting my nails, which I do to just veg out, and the little nail polish bag that I had was called Trina. I swear, it had a little label on it, on the outside of the bag that I had never seen before, and this is a bag I’ve had for at least ten years. There it was: Trina. And I thought, “I know this is ridiculous but this is a sign from the universe. The nail polish gods know I’m supposed to be a part of this.” Then Jordan Roth came on board, then all of a sudden we were postponed a little bit, and then Lincoln Center came on board. It’s been about a year and a half of me marinating in this idea of playing Trina. When I was first approached, it was February of 2015 and I had just given birth the month before, so I wasn’t quite sure if my spirit, my physical person, my mental person, would be ready to jump back into work, but now it being 2016 it timed up perfectly. I think that has greatly helped my process with Trina. I’ve played mothers in the past, but I can tell you that having a little person of your own, you hear every line differently. I’ve heard the score for 20 years, and things that used to perk my ear, now it’s something different that makes my eyes well up and my chin quiver, and it’s because I have a child of my own.
What was the rehearsal process like?
The process had been awesome with this because it is a revival, and it’s such a well-known piece, we jumped in headfirst. Within a day and a half we were singing through all of Act One, within three days we were singing through Act Two, and at the end of the week we were stumbling through the entire show off book. It was scary. We made huge fools out of ourselves. Also, the beauty of Act One only having five actors, and Act Two having seven actors, is it gives that sort of trust and allowance to be playful and moronic and make huge mistakes. Everybody just was so loving, but in a kind of a big brother sense. We constantly tease each other, but it was through that process that we found who these characters are and [developed] this really awesome rapport. I love these guys. I love Christian [Borle] and Andrew [Rannells] and Brandon [Uranowitz] and Anthony [Rosenthal]. We spend most breaks together. Even on our days off we’ll text each other and say, “I miss you.” As corny as it sounds, I think it’s really helping us, to use a phrase from the show, become a really tight-knit family.
Besides the nail polish and the sign from the universe, what was your way into the character? Do you look for ways that she’s similar to you?
She’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown for most of Act One. Any new mom can tell you that you get no sleep, you have tears that settle at the base of your throat 24 hours a day, so it’s very easy for me to connect with this character. Maybe not because my family is fracturing and my husband has left me for another man, but because all of my emotions. I’m very sensitive and it’s all very raw, and it’s all at my fingertips. When I embodied this woman, even though her circumstance may be different, that emotional fragility is very much a part of my life. When James offered me the role I said, “Hey, I’m going to be messier than I’ve been in the past, and I’m going to be a little more scattered and I’m going to be on the verge of tears.” He’s like, “Bring it, that’s exactly what we need.” And I said, “Well, have you told Christian and Andrew this? Because it’s going to change the way I work in the room,” and it has. I am a bundle of emotions, and I do think about Vivienne half of the day. Not that I’m not in my work when I’m in my work, but to be divided in such a way creates, to use a word I’ve used before, a bit of a fracture in a person. I’m a little fractured right now.
It helps with the neurotic Jewish aspect.
It really helps.
Do you like to come into rehearsal with a lot prepared?
I made a lot of big choices right away. I think James likes that about me. Now of course, half the times he says, “Oh, that’s great, okay, you can save that for your sitcom when you get one.” He’s very attuned to the way I play, and I try to give 150% right off the bat, and then you can start paring me down. That’s my process. If I come in tentative, I won’t find who this woman is until six weeks into running the show, and by then it’s a bit too late. You’ve had thousands upon thousands of people see the show, and it’s not fair to your fellow actors. It can be jarring, I think, for some who work with me to see that, “Oh my gosh, she’s already made choices.” They’re not the right choices. I’m not assuming they’re the right choices, but I have to go big, and then I pare and peel away and say, “That’s not right, that’s not right,” and find other things along the way. I can’t half-ass it or else it will take me too long to find her. Especially in this rehearsal process. With most musicals, when you’re starting them you’ve got about six weeks in the rehearsal studio and then you move into tech. We had three and a half weeks in the rehearsal studio. It was a shorter process, so I knew that a lot of homework had to be done before. I also knew, since this was my first time back as a mom, that when I got home I wasn’t going to be able to sit down for three hours with my script and really dissect and figure things out. I was going to have to make meals, get her in a bath and put her to bed. I made sure a lot of that work happened at least two, three months before we even walked into rehearsal.
I’d think coming in with big choices would be helpful in a short rehearsal process.
It is. Christian is just a genius. His choices have been different all along the way, and then he connects to something that’s right and then we move from there. Andrew kind of just walked in looking perfect, sounding perfect. I think the end of Act Two is a little more difficult for him because he’s such a vibrant and gorgeous and full of life man, that when half of his act is lying in a hospital bed, that’s where his challenge begins. We all took it differently, but we were all so respectful of what each other’s process was, and we fed off each other. I think that is attuned because when there’s five of you on stage, it’s going to start bleeding into one another.
Do you find that sometimes rehearsal rooms are more or less receptive to actresses coming in making big choices rather than actors coming in making big choices?
I have found that in this workspace, especially with my co-actors, they have been so on my side, so beautifully protective, if I can use that word. Not that I need protecting. But if I did break down into tears, they would either give me space or feel the energy to see if they needed to come to me to console. If ever somebody was a little feisty and I seemed to be the target of that prickly energy or whatever, they would really come to my aid. I never looked at it as, “I couldn’t take care of myself,” I really looked at it as a family. They saw what I needed at certain points of the day, and they were so aware and paying attention. They were there. I can’t say that that’s ever happened in the past. It’s kind of to each his own and fight for yourself. Now, James is collaborative in a sense that he trusts his actors, and I am very lucky and proud to say that because we have worked together in the past he does trust me, and I think he likes my big choices. He also—and this went across the board, it had nothing to do with female or male—constantly said, “Please play to this room.” If we were doing a run-through in the rehearsal room, not the Walter Kerr, he asked us to constantly adjust our performances for the space. But to say that perhaps my big choices were welcomed differently than the men’s, I don’t believe so. It may lend itself because this character is so not over the top, but she’s frenetic. She really is not a meek little thing that’s going to just be sitting in the corner making these small, nuanced things. I’d like to think that my bigger choices have nuance to them, but she’s not a minutia character.
Was being confident in your choices something that you had to learn?
Yeah. I think I’ve lost a lot of jobs because even in auditions I try to do that. I feel like if you’re just saying the lines without making bold choices they may think, “Oh, she was good,” but somehow you get lost. If you’re working in a room with whoever is behind the table and [they] see that you’ve made choices, and they’re willing to work with you and see that you’re malleable and direct-able, then to me, whether I get the job or not, those are some of the most fruitful and best auditions I’ve ever given. Tina Landau, I’ve never worked with her on a project but I’ve auditioned for her, and she stands out in my mind because she’s one of those directors that really is going to go with the best idea in the room. Whether it comes from the producer or herself or an actor or the actor’s mom that happened to be there one rehearsal and says, “Well, I wonder if she were to do…” She’s very open in that regard and it makes for such a beautiful, sort of artsy-fartsy workspace, but you culminate these ideas when there’s no ego involved and you’re just going for art, and you get the best product.
It seems like this character, Trina in Falsettos, has a lot of things about her that resonate with women today.
Even though the first act takes place in 1979 and the second act takes place in 1981, I’m finding so many similarities. There are two songs that Trina’s very well known for. One song is called “Breaking Down,” and that’s just an awesome all-walls-fall-apart song. I get four minutes alone with the audience to put on a smile, but they see the crack coming through, and by the end she’s completely lost her mind. It’s cathartic, it’s amazing, it’s funny. Then there’s another one in Act Two that’s called “Holding to the Ground.” It’s a real honor to be able to be the voice of the audience, to what they’re seeing, through this song. But the song that I want to mention, it’s not as well known, it’s called “Trina’s Song.” Literally the first line says, “I’m tired of all the happy men who rule the world.” When I read that line I was like, “Oh my God.” However you want to put that, whether it’s in corporate America, whether it’s in the political climate that we’re living in now. It was so timely. She envisions herself in that world and what that must be like. Now we can take it in one way in 2016, but go even further back to 1979 and how women really had our place. Trina is a housewife, and she’s raising her son and trying to keep her little family together with as little damage as possible, and she wants so much more. She just wants to be her own self, and she’s not able to do that because of all the rules she feels are out there in order to raise a healthy young man, and to maintain a relationship with a narcissistic husband who wants to still keep her and her son close, but run off with another man that he’s fallen in love with. It’s all such an interesting dynamic and it all lands on the woman.
She’s got to bend and she’s got to make it all work, and she’s got to make it seamless. There too, in that song, she breaks down a bit, but it’s really so telling. Just that one line still is so appropriate in this day and age. “I’m tired of all the happy men who rule the world.” I always used to joke, “Gosh, if there’s life after death I’m coming back as a tall, attractive, Caucasian man.” You know what I mean? Because it really is, the world is at their feet just by how and when and who they were born.
It’s interesting too, in terms of gender roles, to think that if you were to flip the roles and have a woman behaving more narcissistically and going after her wants and desires…
Right. “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!” I don’t think it would be so universally acceptable or palatable. I don’t know how many tickets would be sold to that show.
Something that comes up a lot is the idea of women and likability, and how much people feel that they have to play to that a little bit.
We do. It’s very sad to say, but… The word “bitch” comes to mind so often. If you are successful, and you carry your posture in a certain way, and you use a certain tone to get business done, all of a sudden you’re not efficient, you’re a bitch or you’re hormonal. I’m not pointing the finger at any particular demographic or gender, it even runs with women, sadly enough. I really hate to say it, but it does. I would love women to be each other’s strongest advocates, and sometimes that’s not the case. I’d like to start there first before we ask the men to come on board. I think it’s easier to reach out to our fellow sisters and say, “Guys, we’re in this together.” If a woman is standing up and speaking articulately, but it’s not in the manner in which you would, that doesn’t mean she’s an angry woman, or a power-hungry woman, or a bitch, she’s just getting shit done.
Right. It’s just something people are less used to hearing and seeing.
I think so, too. We can’t have this conversation avoiding Hillary. Her likability numbers are [not that high], but at the same time do I want to sit down and have a beer with Obama? No. I want the smartest person in the room to be the leader of the free world. Whether that’s a man or a woman, African American or Caucasian American or Asian American. They don’t need to be my friend. I don’t need to like them. I just want them to be smart and know how to handle domestic and foreign affairs. I’ve got plenty of best friends. I don’t need that in a President.
You want them to be responsible for not starting a nuclear war.
That’s exactly right.
One of the topics I’m obsessed with asking actresses about is how being in an industry where there’s typecasting and so many people telling you about yourself—what you should audition for and what you shouldn’t audition for, what you’re good at, what you’re not good at—how does that affect how you develop as an artist and a person?
I attempted to move to New York when I was 22. I had an agent and I was in the Union and I had enough regional credits that validated me as an actress to move forward into whatever this professional New York realm was. I kept shape-shifting to whatever I thought the people behind the table wanted me to be, and I completely lost my sense of self. That, to me, is the thing. It’s not about typecasting, it’s about knowing who you are as a person and an artist, and if you’re crystal clear on that, then it will clarify for the people behind the table. I have found that I have been less typecast since I’ve done that. Yeah, I’m never going to play Ulla in The Producers, you know what I mean? There is a certain range that, even for me, to look at myself in the mirror and honestly say, “That’s just not you.” But I love that I can play the ingénue in some, I can play Sarah in Guys and Dolls, I can play Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. I’m lucky enough to play Trina. Elphaba [in Wicked], Liza [in The Boy from Oz]. I feel very lucky that my roles haven’t been the exact same, cookie-cutter type of roles, and I would like to say it’s because I feel very strongly about who I am. I come into the room with a clear picture of who I am, yet I’m still open enough that they can throw something different at me, whether it be an idea or perhaps an adjustment to look at, which we have to do as actors. You can’t hold so true to, “I only wear this,” or, “I only do this.” We’re supposed to be malleable, we’re supposed to look like different people, and that’s part of the joy of doing this. But you also have to be honest with yourself and say, “Even though my voice would love to sing X, Y, Z…” I’d love to be Christine Daaé [in The Phantom of the Opera], but I’m not. I’m 44, I’m 5’9″, and it’s never going to happen. Or you’re a beautiful 27-year-old woman, who is of a gorgeous weight of 195 pounds, Christine Daaé isn’t going to be your role either; but there are all these beautiful character roles you can play. I don’t look at it as a limitation. I really look at it as a great freedom to play within, as long as you know clearly who you are, what you do, and what you can bring to the table. It’s actually quite freeing.
Can you go back and think of the moment when your attitude started to change from being 22 and trying to be whatever other people wanted, to knowing who you were?
Yes. I was auditioning for Rent. I was trying to be Maureen in Rent, and I’m doing all these gyrations and I’m trying to be this rock’n’roll thing, when all I want to do is sing “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” I was like, “What are you doing?” Of course I wanted the role, of course I wanted to be in the next big show that was groundbreaking, but it wasn’t the right fit for me and I needed to pay attention to that. I was just trying to do everything that I thought they wanted, and was slowly squashing out my little spirit where I knew I could fly. I was becoming less and less talented in the room because I was losing what made me special. It wasn’t going to work for them, it wasn’t going to work for me, and I think even if I was able to fool them in the room and perhaps a callback, and got the job, it just wouldn’t have fit correctly to service myself as an actress and to service the play. I really do pride myself on going, “Is this something that I truly want?” Because for actresses, and actors I think, there’s a great joy in being chosen. Then you have to sit down and say, “Am I just happy I’m chosen, or am I happy that I get to tell this story and play this role eight times a week for the next year?” There is a big difference. Whether you’re a woman or a man. I’ve had to ask myself that question, “Do I want to play this woman? Is this woman a part of me?” or “Is this woman so scary that I have to play her because it’s such a great challenge?” But if it just feels wrong or foreign, or you just want the job to get the job, these are not reasons to keep changing who you are just so you can be chosen for the part.
In an interview the other week with Rebecca Naomi Jones, she brought up something similar to what you were talking about. She felt happy to finally be old enough to realize that saying no was okay, and that was a part of not worrying so much about everybody liking you.
There’s great freedom in that, too. Things that you think are, “Oh, I’m limiting myself.” You can look at it a different way and say, “No, I’m not.” To me, success is only success if it’s on your terms and the way that you want it. If you’re working like a horse or doing projects back to back, but it’s not necessarily what you want to do, that to me is not success. You’re spinning your wheels and you’re working, and I congratulate you on that, but to say no to something because that doesn’t feel right or it’s just not the right time in your life, how amazing is that? Now, we all can’t afford to do that, I know the logistics of it all, but it’s nice to say no sometimes.
Parts for women in theatre is a tricky subject. There are some very good ones, but it does seem sometimes, with the way the seasons are arranged, there aren’t always enough good parts at once.
Things are happening now behind closed doors a lot more than we’d like, especially on Broadway. You know, it’s a phone call to say, “Are you interested and available?” Or, “In 2018 we’re thinking of doing this show, would you be…?” Phone calls are going out a year and a half, two years before, and so for those that just get the casting notices and go to auditions… [a lot has already been decided]. There are, of course, available positions, or that woman can fall through, or you can be a stand-by or an understudy, or you can take over for the tour, but I am finding that I go, “Oh my gosh, that show is coming in? I didn’t even hear about it.” A lot of the time a package is put together with the director and the leading actor and actress and the musical. Then you fill out the rest of the company by having auditions. Age is absolutely a factor. As a woman who is now in her 40s and just recently had a birthday, September the 19th, I would love to say that I don’t feel the pangs of “Oh my goodness, what’s going to happen three years from now? Six years from now?” But I did find myself saying that same thing when I was 35, “What’s going to happen now? I’m too old for this role, I’m too old of that role.” I think if you just stay true to who you are and you stay true to the art form, and you’re a kind person so your reputation precedes you as somebody who other people want to work with, then I think the work will find itself. I really, really do. I feel if people are honest in their discipline and honest in their work, that they’ll be rewarded. On what level, who knows. It could be community, it could be regional theatre, it could be Broadway, but I do feel work perpetuates more work and it’ll be there for us. Just not as much as it might be for a 44 year old man.
What’s something that you think can be done to help improve the development of new work?
I really think we need to pare down a little bit. I think our productions have gotten so lush and so lavish that the ticket prices are too high. It costs too much money to put up, therefore it takes too many producers to mount a piece of work, and that’s the trickle-down economics of it all. I think people need to get back to the basics and be, “I love this show and I’m willing to do it in an off-off-Broadway or a 99-seat theatre house and see what happens.” It doesn’t need to be a mega-musical. I know producers who love theatre, they love artists, but it truly is about a certain bottom line for them. I think if we put our egos aside, put that bottom line mildly aside, because I know we’re not living in a dream world, but focus more on the art and more on the creation and less on the, “We need a $16 million budget,” I think there’d be a lot more work. We would all become better artists because we’d have to rely on our imaginations and our creativity as opposed to, “Oh my God, we need a desk so we need to pay $30,000 to the shop house to build a desk.” That’s what I think would help a lot. From directors, to composers, to those who want to write new musicals, to actors that are just hungry to do good work. They’re not looking for the awards, they’re not looking for the big theatre, they’re looking to do good work. And it’s out there, that’s the amazing thing. I go over to friends’ houses and they’ve got these incredible scripts or scores that are sitting on shelves that will never see the light of day because there’s not enough money to put them on. Well, what does it cost and how can we do it for the bare minimum and still put on great work?
One of the things that I always find really interesting is that, to my mind, a lot of Broadway people with name value, for lack of a better term, are women. If you were going to ask a casual theatre-goer, “Name a Broadway performer.”
It’s going to be a Broadway “diva,” I say in air-quotes.
Yet that hasn’t translated into women having more power in the industry, and I’d love to get your thoughts on that.
That’s interesting. I think women have a way of resonating beyond a character. Women have extreme power in the sense of being translators, of being nurturers, of being empathetic. There’s a connection, I think, that women can have with an audience or individuals at a stage door. I’m not saying men don’t have it, but it goes beyond just a talent. My husband is the most extraordinary man and the most extraordinary father, but the first thing out of my daughter’s mouth will be “mama.” So I don’t know what that is, I don’t know if it’s a God-given thing, I don’t know if it’s a hormonal chemistry thing, but I think women are extraordinarily powerful. That doesn’t mean we’re in the most powerful positions in this world, therefore we’re not going to get that recognition except from those that don’t have a horse in the race, if that makes any sense at all. The person on the street who is just speaking their mind because it’s truly what’s touching their heart, they are going to name a woman, interestingly enough. I also think that men find a way to be little more private. I even coach myself, even before I met with you I was like, “Stephanie, okay. Try to answer questions in three sentences instead of ten sentences because you usually answer them in twenty sentences.” We have a way of divulging a little bit more than most men. We like to talk a little more, we like to share a little more, and that allows people to get more into our lives. Men are a little more private. I think that openness of a woman is what makes the general public, if they were to name their favorite actress or their favorite diva or their favorite Broadway star, I’d say a big fraction is going to be because we’re so open.
Women also get different questions in interviews and things like that, which I think affects that a little bit. Women tend to get asked more questions about their personal life.
That’s true, too. It’s interesting because a lot of actors will say, “I try to keep my personal life as private as possible, so that you believe whatever character I’m playing,” and the lines don’t get blurred as to what’s Stephanie and what’s the role that I’m playing. In this day of social media, though, we’re so encouraged to share on Twitter, share on Instagram, and that creates a whole different sort of recognition and, to bring back your word, of likability and accessibility. I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse. I’m kind of on the fence about that. I am not on Facebook, but I do Twitter and I do Instagram, and there are plenty of times when I say, “Is this too much? Should I be inviting the rest of the world into my home, or into my summer barbecue or whatever the case may be?” Because it does go beyond work, that of the workplace.
Right. I think time will tell.
I think time will tell, too, and by then it’s already out on the World Wide Web and we’ve already created the noise or the damage.
That’s the complicated thing with privacy—once you give it away you can’t get it back.
That’s a very true and very strong statement, yes.
Now I’ll ask you a question that men should get asked, but don’t.
Since you have a child, what are some of the things the theatre community can do to make things easier for working parents?
I’d love Vivienne to be able to come to work with me a good part of the time. The environment is such that it doesn’t lend itself to that. It’s not safe for a 17-month-old baby to be walking around in an old theatre. It’s just not safe. That’s my chosen line of profession so I can’t wag my finger and say, “Why can’t my baby be here?” I will say this: In the last couple years, even before I got pregnant, I saw women trying to solve the challenge. Now women have found local babysitters that, if you go into an audition there’s someone there, you can literally call them up and say, “Who’s the nearest? I know her, she comes with a reference, she can come to the studio, watch your baby for 20 minutes while you audition and off you go.” There’s now a network, it’s called Broadway Babysitters. Women, again, rise to the occasion, figure out what their needs are, how we can come together as a community, and take care of each other’s children. I just recently read a quote that’s really touched me, and it said, “There’s no such thing as other people’s children.” I love that. It’s a variation on, “It takes a village,” but it really, really does. I’m not going to be upset, though, I can’t complain about the hours and me not being able to put Vivienne down for bed, because I knew that when I got into this. I knew what time the curtain goes up, I knew what time I have to be on the train to be at theatre on time. That is a hardship and a sacrifice, but it’s one that I consciously chose, at least for this time, which would allow me to do my craft and my passion. I think paid maternity leave would be great. They do allow us to be pregnant up to a certain point, but again, I think producers would say, “Yeah, if you can do your show, that’s fine.” Our industry lends itself to where you cannot do a big huge dance, or you can’t lift this set piece, or you can’t be lifted. At a certain point it’s up to the woman and her body to say, “I think I’ve reached my limit. I think for my safety and the safety of my baby I have to stop.” But it would be nice to know that we wouldn’t have to worry about income, income, income, and we could still feel like we can step back into our show after giving birth. That’s not available to us, unless it’s a particular producer who loves and adores you and is willing to hold the slot, but that’s certainly not in the Equity handbook, I’m sure it’s not part of a producer’s handbook.
Yeah, I don’t think it is either.
No. That would be a really lovely thing—that we’re not hit on the hand or penalized for having a baby. That if it’s a long running show, they would welcome you back.
What’s something you think the industry can do to make things more equal for women?
This is the first thing that popped in my head. We have a call board downstairs, and it says everything that we’re allowed to plug into our rooms, have visible in our dressing rooms, don’t come to work drunk. It’s a litany of things. And there is nothing, nothing, on sexual harassment. Nothing. That was a bit shocking to me. This is not specific to this theatre; this is not specific to this show. This is such an interesting part of, “Cannot do, cannot do, cannot have, do not show…” page after page after page, and yet there’s nothing on sexual harassment. There’s a lot of places outside of the entertainment industry where human resources will have almost an entire day of what is appropriate and not appropriate in language, in touch, in dress. Whether people follow it or not, that’s a whole different discussion, but that is interesting. We do know what this industry is. We’re not going to pretend like we don’t. Would we like it to change? Would we like it to be a little kinder to a woman who is aging? Would we like it to be a little kinder to women’s body shapes? Yes, yes, yes, yes. All of the above. But we also know what it is today, and yet I’m still auditioning. I’m still trying to hold myself with integrity. I still know that there are going to be some colorful jokes told around the room. It doesn’t matter whether it was the 1970s or right now, that still exists. I don’t agree with it all, it doesn’t sit right with me all the time, but I also have the choice to say, “Maybe my constitution isn’t up for this world anymore.” I can’t say that to be true. I feel like what I get back from the art form and how this fulfills me, I’m able to take a little bit of bumps and bruises. Do I want to? Do I think I deserve it? Do I think any woman deserves it? No. But I’m also strong enough to look at myself in the mirror and ask that question: “Are you willing to put up with it?” I am willing to put up with it, but I’m also willing to speak a little louder and fight a little harder to make even the slightest change, and I will be doing so for even a small little flyer that sits at the call board that says, “This is what’s appropriate and this is what’s not appropriate when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.”