Kerry Butler, The Best Man
My husband Joe Mazzarino and I chose to adopt. We found our beautiful daughter, Segi, in Ethiopia. The process took about a year. I was on One Life to Live at the time, and I was let out of contract just as we brought her home. It actually worked out great because they still had to pay me for six months. Segi was 13 months, so I had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. Then, that spring, I got Xanadu. Life became hectic. I had to learn accents and how to skate.
There's not a lot of privacy at the Helen Hayes Theatre, where we did Xanadu. The dressing room walls didn't even connect to the ceiling. Joe and our nanny would bring her for visits in between shows. Then, we discovered the nanny, who'd been recommended by a friend, was being vocally abusive to Segi, so the search began anew. That's how Terry entered our lives, and what a blessing she was.
I was leaving for rehearsal at 9:30am, and getting home at 6:30. I'd take Segi to the park when she woke. At 7:30, we'd usually be the first on the scene. We'd spend an hour. I scheduled skate lessons during lunch break, so I could get home to tuck her in. I'd be up into the wee hours practicing dance moves and studying the script. I never worked so hard! Thankfully, at the orphanage the children were somehow trained to sleep through the night.
My goal now is to leave six months between shows, which is why The Best Man is my first show since leaving Catch Me If You Can. When Segi's in school -- she's now six -- I can take jobs, like voiceovers, that fit into the schedule. I won't take jobs that require me to be away. There are sacrifices, and you hope for the best.
With The Best Man schedule, I pick her up at school at three and don't leave until 5:30. I try not to schedule anything on non-matinee days so we can spend time together. Still, I can't be home to tuck her in. Segi's gotten used to Joe tucking her in, so in the middle of the night she never calls for me; and, now, doesn't want me to tuck her in. We love Disney World, but on occasion when we've been there and she doesn't want me to sit next to her on the rides, I've cried. She doesn't even get upset when I leave for work. Though I know she loves me as much as I love her, she's totally a daddy's girl. It's heartbreaking! To try and create a balance, I'm trying to negotiate having more shows off so I spend more time with her.
Christina Kirk, Clybourne Park
I'm a terrible multi-tasker, and when working I tend to be completely consumed, so the idea of starting rehearsal six weeks after giving birth in order to launch into two consecutive runs of Clybourne Park this year [first at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A.and then Broadway], was daunting. One of my biggest fears about becoming a mother was that I'd never work again, so the fact that I not only had a job waiting on the other side of my pregnancy but also one that was familiar and beloved, felt reassuring.
As crazy and chaotic as this journey has been, it's also turned out to be wonderfully cozy and containing. In a serendipitous symmetry, Annie Parisse had a baby a few months before we began rehearsing Clybourne two years ago at Playwrights Horizons, so she has been my guide and inspiration. Castmate Brendan Griffin became a father three weeks before our daughter Stella Louise's arrival, so we have comradeship in this disorienting terrain of parental responsibility and early mornings.
Yes, there've been minor embarrassments: [Clybourne Park playwright] Bruce Norris asking me on the first day of rehearsal how my birth canal was; having the entire cast and crew know exactly when and for how long I was pumping; and little heartbreaks: missing Stella Louise's bath and bedtime most evenings. At the end of the day, with the help of my very supportive husband, John Hamburg, Terry, our wonderful nanny, and Stella Louise sleeping through the night (hooray!), these past few months have been packed absurdly and beautifully full.
As a new mother, many things about being a parent still feel mysterious and confusing, but one thing I wish for this little girl is to live out her most cherished dreams, so it feels particularly sweet that her birth has ushered in just such a time in my own life.