I’ve been at this 30 years and the fun of staying at any endeavor becomes the folks that come your way with every move throughout your many station stops. I have met the biggest stars and celebrities the biz has to offer. Carrie Fisher told me years ago; “money doesn’t change people, it just lets them be who they really are.” Yeah, I met (and oddly, had a catch with her. I had a catch with Princess Leia? Weird but true.) Carrie Fisher, and she was right. So, I find if fascinating to silently study the behavior of my fellow artists, especially veterans like me. I’m always curious about how their journey has treated them and how they then treat the world around them.
Why I’m writing about Jim J Bullock is because he taught me how easy it is make the world fall in love with you. There wasn’t a trace of anything but authenticity in his every move and manner. He was genuinely happy to be doing what he was doing every day. He had a mid-show ceremony where he’d walk to his dressing room after intermission and yell something like “Please replace my Tony!” and it made the green room die with laughter. Every day they’d wait for his fake Diva tirade concerning his missing or or moved out of place, Tony award. It became a highlight…the dancers would gather with knowing smiles waiting, and with little effort he always paid it off. One day one of the crew stayed up the night before and made him a very real looking fake Tony award and put it in his dressing room. And they waited. Looking at them sharing smiles and expectant looks, holding back their laughter, told me just how much affection he had garnered from this cast of 64. He went into his dressing room, and they quickly crowded in front of his door. He burst back out the door with “My Tony is back!” What a payoff. Then he said guiltily; “To be honest, I didn’t even know what a Tony looked like!” He’s just always himself and he’s really comfortable with that, so you are too.
It’s watching actors around you with a great life point of view that yields great information about how many different ways you can make this life as an actor work for you. I love learning lessons like this because I’ve been in the presence of the other side of it where I’m learning what not to do from someone I’m working with. The lesson is good to get, but getting it hurts. Crossing paths with Jim J Bullock gave me more good life notes and they were fun to get.