In preparation for the next piece on motherhood in the theater, here is a beautiful interview from Broadway actress Blair Goldberg. From pumping in her dressing room to overcoming PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), she’s no stranger to the dynamics and demands of motherhood and theater colliding. As I collect testimonies of mothers who have been supported by their communities, I’m more encouraged than ever. Reading Blair’s story of a dream fulfilled and harmony found – both as an actress and a mother – provides a wonderful guiding light for the argument we are crafting in making a path available for motherhood in the theater arts.
Auditioning Mom and Blair are working to make working moms visible. There is so much community to be found. Working theater moms exist at every point in the spectrum, and here Blair shares a bit of the hard work and magic we all fight for. She’s working it at Kinky Boots on Broadway and loving the miracle in her home. To check out more, you can follow her at http://www.Blair-Goldberg.com.
Name: Blair Goldberg
Profession: Actress/Singer/Dancer currently in KINKY BOOTS on Broadway
Status: Lyla, 1 year old.
What surprises you about having a child and working your performing arts life:
What surprised me the most was just how strong I am capable of being on a day to day basis. Becoming a mother leaves very little time for self-care, and you’re constantly in a state of being in over your head, with a million things to get done. I never could’ve imagined how much stamina I really had, deep down, to be a full time mom and a full time Broadway actress. Before I had Lyla, I was perfectly content to sit around all day and relax before my show at night. Sure, I would run errands and go to the gym (occassionally, ha!), but there was always time to relax and make sure I was fully resting my body for my job. Of course, this just isn’t possible as a mother, and I was really proud of myself for the fact that I openly accepted this challenge and still maintained some sense of sanity. I had always accepted that I would just be in a constant state of exhaustion as a mom, but it really did surprise me just how much my body and mind are capable of. As the mom of a baby who refused to latch, breastfeeding was also terribly exhausting and difficult- I ended up exclusively pumping breastmilk for her, which was double the time and double the work- but it was so worth it. Somehow, I always found the time. That’s what we moms do; we make it work! It’s a new way of life for me! I rarely make excuses for things that I used to in the past, especially in my performing arts life because being a mother, we just get the job done!
What excites you about having a child and working your performing arts life:
I was and am so excited to share my world with her. I love that I can expose her to the beauty of live theater and all of the gorgeous souls that are a part of it. I got pregnant while on the tour of Kinky Boots, and having that little baby in my belly while I performed a show every night, that preaches tolerance and love, was such a gift. I went back to Kinky Boots (this time on Broadway) when my daughter was 3 months old. I love that the show is such a prevalent part of my journey into motherhood. The first time I took her to the theater and stood with her on the Broadway stage is a moment I’ll never forget.
What challenges you about having a child and working your performing arts life:
Motherhood is by far the toughest (but also most rewarding) job in the world, so, where to begin? Pumping milk between scenes, backstage, was so difficult and draining (literally)! I look back and seriously have no idea how I did it. Giving the amount of energy required for my job every night on very little sleep at first was a huge reality check. But luckily, my baby became a great sleeper pretty early on, and I quickly got in to the groove of juggling career and motherhood. My wonderful husband was, and is, so hands on and helpful, and we worked as a team to make sure both of us got the amount of rest we needed to do our jobs well (he’s a high school choir director). It is still a challenge to get enough sleep-I get home from work anywhere between 10-1130 pm depending on what night of the week it is, and it’s hard to quickly unwind and force yourself to sleep after a performance. The baby wakes up between 6-7am, so it’s always a race to catch some zzzz’s-I’m sure all of my fellow mamas can relate! Also, my husband and I play tag team- he gets home around 4pm and I leave for the theater around 6-635pm, depending on the day, so we make it a priority to use my nights off as date nights-it is so important to us and we love that time together. Lastly, another challenge is the sheer fact that as a mom, I’m using my voice all day to talk and play with Lyla, so it’s difficult to truly ever be on vocal rest for work. Now that I’m 8 months into my run on Broadway, I need less rest between shows, but it’s certainly difficult to navigate when I’m not feeling my best. My technique is, as a result, better than ever.
What you look forward to about having a child and working your performing arts life:
I can’t wait to take my daughter to her first Broadway show. And, of course, I can’t wait for her to see me on stage for the first time. She’s still young, so she has some time, but I think about how cool that moment will be, very often! I hope I make her proud.
What you think people should know about having a child and working your performing arts life:
That it can work. If being a mother is something that you’ve always wanted (which I did) then you CAN have both. I dreamed my whole life of being on Broadway and worked my butt off to get where I am today. But I also took my personal life very seriously and made it a huge priority. There is never a right time to have a baby. In my case, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in my early 20’s and was told it would likely be difficult for me to conceive. So I always knew that it might not happen for us or that it might be a long and possibly expensive road to have a family. When we decided we were ready to start our family, we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy rather quickly, despite my diagnosis. Of course, I immediately thought about my career. At 26 years old, I had an amazing, once in a lifetime job that I was going to have to compromise. However, life has a way of working itself out if you allow it to. Though I was cerebrally concerned about the future of my career, something in my heart told me that everything was going to be okay. I felt a sense of calm during my pregnancy. During my maternity leave from the tour, the same role opened up on Broadway, and I was transferred to the NYC company. You have to take a leap of faith and trust your gut that everything else will fall into place. If you live your life in fear, tunnel visioned on your career only, you’ll miss out on all of the other beautiful things life has to offer. I believe having a child has made me a better actress in ways I could never begin to explain. My heart is literally on the outside of my body now that I have Lyla, and I am grateful to be able to use that feeling in my work going forward.
My Favorite Quotes from this beautiful piece:
“The first time I took her to the theater and stood with her on the Broadway stage is a moment I’ll never forget.”
– Blair Goldberg
“My technique is, as a result, better than ever.”
– Blair Goldberg
“If you live your life in fear, tunnel visioned on your career only, you’ll miss out on all of the other beautiful things life has to offer.”
– Blair Goldberg
“My heart is literally on the outside of my body now that I have Lyla, and I am grateful to be able to use that feeling in my work going forward.”
– Blair Goldberg
Stay tuned for more theater initiatives and moms taking action in the next post of our series. And share your light with your baby and bring your baby into the light. You deserve to be seen, mama.
More profiles coming soon!
If you are or you know a performing artist professional and mom who wants to share thoughts, answer these questions and shoot them to me at this contact form!