When I first came to New York I was fortunate enough to be cast in a rock musical. I had been here three weeks: had my first acting job, and my first regular job working at Glaxo Welcome (the pharmaceutical company). I was temping, and my job was to arrange conferences, and hotel accommodations for doctors. We (Glaxo Welcome) would create a drug and pay doctors to come to New York and try our product. I did this over the phone, but really… I was just a reminder, a check-your-inbox call, (we sent this information to them online so all they had to do was click “yes” and the date), but I was a temp, and just got to New York, and trying to impress everyone; I thought it would look good if I got the doctors to call me back.
“Who am I speaking with? Dana? This is Daniel Levine, calling from Glaxo Welcome. How are you? Good. Tell Dr. Stevens, I’ve booked him at the Radisson on the 18th, and the car will be picking him up on the 19th at 9am. You got it. Hey, remind him not to wear his OR scrubs? Okay.”
I’d go to lunch. Come back to work. I’d have fifteen messages on my voice mail, and my boss walked out of his office right up to me and says,
“Who’s Daniel Levine?”
“Your name’s Elon, right?”
“Elan, yeah. My name’s hard to pronounce; thought it would be easier.”
Yeah. It worked so well, I used the same technique to call agents and casting directors, giving them the address and show times of my play. But now that I had all these doctors calling me back—I became important? (This is my first day of work.) I was talking into my headset, in my cubicle, I had this cute girl, Marsha, right next to me—and now that these doctors were pursuing me; I no longer needed them.
“Daniel, I can’t make the 18th, is there any way I can get a room on the 19th, and make it to the conference later that day?”
“No. Dr. Stevens, (smiling, winking to Marsha). I wish I could do that, but I can’t.”
And it’s possible they would allow that, but I was getting off on telling them no, cause really when do you ever get to say “no” to a doctor? They barge into a room see a man on the floor.
“He needs 55 CC’s of fluid. Stat!”
“No. (Mime squeezing gesture.) He just needed the Heimlich manoeuvre.”
So. On top of the world, I was offered the part in the naked rock musical, and at the same—did I not mention that I had to appear naked? Yeah, the script called for minor nudity, for two characters, and it was a very large cast (so that was lucky) and at the same time, I had another role offered to me (in another theatre company); it was a touring company doing the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I had a big choice. Touring schools outside of New York, being an inspiration, pouring over brilliant works of literature and poetry. New York City, singing rock music, naked. Yeah.
The actual moment I get naked, I’m convincing the female lead that there is an ocean where the audience is. The name of the rock musical is Cardboard Moon, and there was a large cardboard moon, cut out and hung above the theatre. And I’d say, look at the moon.” And she’d say, “that’s not the moon.” It’s sort of a play within a play, where she’s the voice of the audience, and I am in the play, and I’m singing.
“Look, look, the waves have never been so cool.”
I’ve got a microphone belt on. I’ve taken my shirt off.
“Look, loooook, the waves have never been so wild.
Listen, listen, you will hear it soooooon.
Way out there-”
I’m completely naked now. My mom’s in the audience. She brought friends.
“The ocean swells…”
Anyway, my penis is not very big. I’m not small. I’m not big. It was also getting into September, which can be a cold month in New York especially when you’re performing in the theaters basement. I had a moment before the song, where there was a break for my character in the play, and I was backstage in the wings, and I was new in the city, and it was my first play, my first musical, and I was trying to impress everyone, and I took to touching myself before I went on stage, till I found out, or more accurately, the director pointed out, that under Equity rules—that was not permitted. Which goes into a whole thing of, it’s my body, I can do what I want with it, as long as I’m not hurting anyone—like abortion. Anyway, they ruled that I was hurting someone because one of the cast members was eleven years old. Yeah.
Next day I show up for work, and my boss calls me in to his office, and he says, a Dr. Stevens had shown up in New York to attend a clinical symposium on “Advances in Skin and Wound Care” and wound up at the Looking Glass Theatre on 57th Street, for a matinée performance of Cardboard Moon: a rock musical. I had confused the people. A week later, I was let go. And I got a letter from Glaxo Welcome that had my check, and in that letter was note from a Dr. Stevens, and in that note was a prescription for eczema.
Which was lucky, cause I didn’t have health insurance.