How to Succeed on Broadway, Without Going Crazy

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Aspiring NYC actor Madee Seagle performing as Mrs. Tottendale in a production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."

Madee Seagle, 23, moved to New York from North Carolina six months ago to try and make it in musical theater. In that time, she’s found that show business requires more than just talent — it demands a lot of patience.

As an early-career actor, Seagle doesn’t yet belong to Actors Equity, the union for performers. Membership would give her access to Equity-only auditions, where you get a specific appointment time, plus other benefits like health insurance and higher pay. But for now, auditioning means showing up early, signing up on a list, and waiting — sometimes all day — for her name to be called.

Like many other aspiring actors, Seagle works a “survival” job as a server and host at a cigar lounge, but her 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. schedule can make timing her arrival to auditions tricky.

“I’ll have to play this game where I don't want to get up too early because I have to audition all day and go to work right after,” she said. “But, at the same time, I have to wake up early enough to be seen before work.”

One day, WNYC followed Seagle from her early morning commute, through her several hour wait, until her 90-second audition for a part in a traveling tour of "Pippin." Did she get the role? Will the wait pay off?