Introducing…Elizabeth A. Davis
For young actors, the road to Broadway is marked with passion, tireless endurance and grit. At least that’s what marked Elizabeth A. Davis’ journey.
In 2006, after graduating with her MFA from the Cleveland Play House, Texas native, Elizabeth A. Davis, drove an 18-foot U-haul into the middle of Time Square and moved in. Literally. The grind that then ensued after has probably sent many aspiring actors home after six months. Not Davis.
Her first job was from 4:30am-10am at Starbucks. The Starbucks bathroom was this star’s first NYC dressing room as she changed in there for her second job at J.W. Cooper where she worked from 11am to 6pm. Changed again in the J.W. Cooper bathroom only to rush off to work for another four to five hours at the Salvation Army Theater for a thankless Off-Off Broadway show. Finally at the close of each day, Davis made it back to her apartment, put her ear plugs in so she wouldn’t be disturbed by the sound of mice running across her floor at night and went to bed. Add being riddled with migraines to that grueling schedule and you’ve got Elizabeth Davis’ welcome party to New York City.
A few short years ago, Elizabeth found herself in Bryant Park one day, playing her violin, hoping people would give her a little money. Yesterday she found herself on the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater playing her violin on the Late Show with David Letterman with her cast from the Broadway Musical, Once
How did she do it? How do other actors do it? How do you make it from the street corners in Bryant Park to Broadway? Perhaps a little insight from a biographical play that Davis wrote and performed in her college town back in February will be insightful.
I’ve learned that in this business, in this life, you do the work that has dignity, that brings you deep joy and satisfaction and at the end of the day, if it hasn’t made you a rich woman. Oh well. Better to be filled up on the inside than be running on fumes in your soul and justify it by pointing to a fat 401K. I’m learning that my money has started coming, slowly and surely, but it’s shy. It likes to make sure that I’m sold out no matter what to the work I know God has equipped me for. Then, nothing can stop the bounty that unloads on a soul in the middle of their calling. Of course we aren’t the ones to determine the face of that bounty, and it comes in many different forms, but thriving seems to follow sacrifice. Of course sorrow and suffering follow us all, too. We never know what a day may bring. But may we all take courage tonight, regardless of your calling or whatever work you bring dignity to, in the wise words of my adopted Grandmother from Cleveland: Miss Ethel. She would say to me: “Child, you gotta take what you got and make what you want.”
For Davis, Broadway is not so much the destination as it is part of the journey. She continues her art in other ways. Check out below the creative new internet series Underground Sound that Elizabeth is spearheading.
I want you to know Elizabeth A. Davis. Close friends know her as Elizabeth Richard, the the beloved wife of Jordan Richard. If you are a Christian, pray for her as she seeks to shine the light and love of Jesus brighter than the lights of Broadway for everyone around her to see. She and other Christians in the arts need and deserve our encouragement.
Once, the Broadway Musical is amazing. Susan and I have seen it twice, and all I’ve got to say is watch out Wicked! Seriously, there is nothing like Once. And Underground Sound looks like its got the stuff to go viral. But my favorite art that Elizabeth creates is on Sunday mornings when she plays with our worship team at Gallery Church. Worship with an audience of one.
A little advice for emerging artists from Elizabeth Davis tomorrow but until then, you can follower her on twitter.