Adam B. Shapiro: Sometimes It's a Long Time Before the Phone Rings

MAC Award Winner and Actor, HBO's "The Normal Heart"

Photo Credit: Shefik

Adam B. Shapiro is an award-winning actor, known for HBO's "The Normal Heart" (2014), "Master of None" (2015), and "The Cobbler" (2014). He has also performed in two national tours, one international tour, and two off-Broadway shows.

Hi, I'm Adam B. Shapiro, I'm an actor and a singer. You might know me from HBO's, "The Normal Heart." I'm also a Mac award-winning cabaret artist in New York City. Now I moved to New York three months after I graduated college. I went to college in Indiana, got a theater degree and came out here, full of the piss and vinegar that every 22-year-old theater graduate has, thinking, "Okay, it's my time and I'm gonna make it." And you start going to auditions and you keep expecting the phone to ring and the phone doesn't always ring right away. Sometimes it's a long time before the phone rings. And man, that plays havoc with your confidence. And they always tell you the main thing you need is perseverance. They say, "Just stick with it something will happen." That's much easier said than done, let me tell you. In 2008, I got called in for a show on Broadway. I was coming over from London and they needed men that looked like me who could dance. I danced all through high school, all through college and I thought, "Oh my God, this is it." And for a while, it really looked like it was, I was called back six times and I danced my tooshie off. I sang for them, I read for them. I did everything they asked me to do. And after three months and six callbacks, the answer was, "No." I've never felt the way I felt after that phone call in my life. It didn't just feel sad or depressed, it felt crazy. It felt like, "Well, wait a minute, how could I have just gone through all that, done everything they want and the answer's still be no?" And I didn't leave my apartment except to go to work for about two months. I was severely depressed and I wanted to give up, but giving up means that they win. And at a certain point as difficult as it is, and it is hard. It is really hard. You still have to get out of bed, get out there and keep going because the more you do that, the more likely it is that the phone is gonna ring and that the answer is gonna be yes. And since then, I've had the opportunity to travel the world done so many different shows, had opportunities that might not have come up if I had gotten that show. So the magic, "What if," can be kind of dangerous. "What if I had gotten that? What I have become a big Broadway star or would I have snapped my knee two weeks into rehearsal and never worked again?" It's very, what if, because at the end of the day, you can't change the past. You have to be in the present, you have to look to the future and you just have to keep going. Because the longer you can keep going, the more likely it is that you're gonna get where you wanna go.

Last Updated: August 15, 2022

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