In a different type of #AuditionInspiration today, my friend Greg Treco was kind enough to share his thoughts with me on the business and booking Hamilton. (He stands by every night for Aaron Burr and George Washington.) But his path to Broadway has been anything but straight, starting with his Broadway debut in Taboo just out of college, to day job hell, to dealing with his partner's serious illness, and ending with the blow of not booking Hamilton-- almost! New York City Put Him Through It. But he never gave up. To hear him talk, it seems less that his dreams came true-- although they did, of course-- but more that his current job in on Broadway came from a lifetime of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
But I'll let him tell it...
The City Audition (CA): Where are you from originally, and when did you move to New York?
Gregory Treco (GT): I am originally from Nassau Bahamas! I moved to Denver for high school, went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and settled in NYC!
CA: What was your first paid acting job?
GT: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Arvada Center in Colorado. (That is, if you don't count working many summers at Six Flags, singing and dancing on the main stage. The pay, if you could call it that, was approximately $10 a show for five 30 minute shows a day!)
CA: What was your first gig in New York?
GT: My first paid acting gig in NYC was the first reading of a show called Zanna Don't. I got this job while still in college. I actually missed the last day of my showcase in LA to start rehearsal.
CA: What was your first "day job," and how did you obtain it?
GT: Waiting tables. Go figure. It was at B'Smiths on Restaurant Row. I was brought in by a close friend. And yes, I lied on my resume!
CA: Tell me about an epic failure.
GT: Not booking Hamilton on Broadway! I was very in my head and in my own way, which most of us are in auditions.
CA: Tell me about an epic win.
GT: Taking the criticism and notes, and channeling them into booking Hamilton on Broadway!
CA: When did you feel like you "made it?"
GT: I don't know if I'll ever feel like I've "made it." I think the closest I will ever feel to having "made it" will be when that feeling of financial worry leaves my head completely.
CA: Who were some people who helped you along the way?
GT: I definitely wouldn't be where I am today with out the support of my parents. I also have a great network of friends, both in and out of the business, and a very supporting husband that challenges me to better myself every day.
Though she probably wouldn't remember me now, Rosie O'Donnell was instrumental in helping achieve one of my main goals, which was to be on Broadway. She literally hand picked me at an audition.
CA: Did you have any bad habits that hurt you, either as an actor or as a person, or both?
GT: I used to have many bad habits. And I still do. But the one that I have overcome that I am most proud of is smoking. I can't at this point believe that I was a musical theater actor who smoked cigarettes. I'm so proud of getting past that hurdle. Like, anything you want to overcome, you just have have to want it bad enough, DECIDE to do it, and stick to that decision.
CA: What did you feel not particularly well prepared for when you came to New York?
GT: I don't think I was really as prepared for the social aspect of this industry. I came to NYC thinking that if you were talented enough, you would get the job. Simply. Now I know that it is a myriad of things. The acting scene is actually a scene. You play roles even outside of the audition room. Who knew?
CA: Did you ever have a moment serve as a wake-up call?
GT: My husband had a wake up moment concerning his health, which of course served as a wake up call for me. Through this, I remembered that there is no time like the present. If you want something, you must go get it. Now! There is no time for procrastination.
CA: Did you ever want to quit? What kept you going?
GT: I've actually never wanted to quit. I have strangely had a very specific flow of being in and out of the business. So it's never been overwhelming in any direction in which I would consider making a decision like that.
What does keep me going is the fact that there is only one other thing I want to do with my life, which is teaching. But I know I'm not quite ready to do that full-time, so performing, which is my first love, will just have to do until that transition happens. I'm not one of those people who feels they have a choice in the matter.
CA: What do you love and hate about the theatre industry?
GT: I love being surrounded by people that share the specific passion that I do. It is inspiring to watch other people in their craft. I hate the clique aspect of this business. For example, the idea that I have to wish you a happy birthday on Facebook just to make sure I'm on the right side of whatever theatrical endeavor you might have a space for me in is... gross.
CA: Do you continue to train anywhere or with anyone? Any classes or workshops you've found invaluable that you'd like to pass on?
GT: I haven't had the opportunity to yet. But I plan on it. Dance class. Acting class. Voice lessons. ALL! I do teach often with Broadway Theater Lab and THAT is probably more training than taking class myself. New and budding actors are AMAZING to learn from. I am so happy I get to do that.
Thank you Greg for your honest and candid responses! (Will you all remember what he said about never really feeling like you made it? And how you have no business smoking in musical theatre?!) In addition to his work in Hamilton, Greg's been in Taboo on Broadway, off-Broadway in Zanna, Don't and Miracle Brothers, and on TV in Popstars and Whoopi. He's worked all over the country in theatres such as Goodspeed, the Arvada Center and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. To find out more, check out his website at www.gregorytreco.com.