Meghan Glogower: We don’t need to be SO hungry. We can be fed other places.

meghan headshot
I met Meghan in college in 2010. When I moved to the city she became an even closer friend and source of support in this crazy business! She and her husband Scott, have poured a lot of love into Douglas’ upcoming folk musical Johnny and the Devil’s Box, so we’ve spent lots of time together lately. We even got to spend a whole week together in May when we workshopped the piece in Nashville. Most recently she was a part of the Johnny and the Devil’s Box in Concert at Rockwood music Hall! In addition to all the work she’s done on Johnny she keeps herself busy working as the Company Manager at ALMA NYC and FIT, being cat mama to Hudson and Ellis, taking class, and prepping for what’s next! We decided to meet up at her neighborhood coffee shop Manhattanville Coffee. It’s literally ON her block. The place was buzzing with creative juices, smells of delicious brews, and filled with warm, happy, caffeinated faces. It is officially my new favorite cafe and Meghan’s interview might be the most inspiring one we’ve had yet!

Drink of choice: Cappucino
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AF: We have Meghan Glogower on the blog today! I’m drinking an oat Milk Flat White and she’s drinking…

MG: An almond milk latte!

AF: Is that your drink of choice?

MG: Cappuccino is usually my drink of choice. But I’ve been convicted lately to drink less dairy. It’s just better for the environment!

AF: And we are in your neck of the woods at the most gorgeous coffee shop called Manhattanville Coffee. How often do you think you go here?

MG: Oh, far too often. At lease twice a week…especially since it’s on my way to the train!

AF: Wait… you guys gifted us that Espresso machine for our wedding. You’ve changed our lives! How can you not be friends with fellow coffee lovers? We like our coffee strongggggg.

MG: We also have that espresso machine. If I don’t feel like doing the French press I’ll just whip it up.

AF: I feel like I may be in the market for something quick… sometimes you just gotta put it in there! So- where do we even begin? What is your backstory? I feel like I know a lot about you but I want to know when you came to the city, what it’s looked like so far… give us the scoop!

MG: I grew up in central Florida in a town between Orlando and Tampa… about thirty minutes from Disney. I grew up dancing mostly in the dance studio world. I did dance competitions. I went to a performing arts high school. I majored in dance for the first three years but I always loved musical theatre. I always knew that’s kind of where I wanted to go with dance. I wanted to strengthen my technique because the arts school that I went to was very ballet-focused. I tried to be a “trina” for a second even though I’m definitely not! The more I did theatre, I did the all school musicals. I did community theatre… I realized I really wanted to focus on the musical theatre aspect of training. I had never really taken a voice lesson… I sang obviously in church and things..

AF: Wait, when was your first voice lesson?

MG: My first real lesson started my senior year of high school.

AF: What!

MG: I would take one here and there if I had an audition for a community theatre audition… but I didn’t know real technique.

AF: Who needs it!?

MG: So yeah I switched over… they were pretty gracious to let me do that. It was kind of a big to-do. People didn’t do that… But I realized that’s what I wanted to do and I recognized that I needed to work on monologues and acting and all the above… and musical theatre style. Then I went to Belmont University in Nashville, TN and there I really focused on singing and realized that’s really where I needed to focus because that’s something I hadn’t really done. Then I worked a couple summers between my years in college. I met my future husband at one of those… the good ole Mac-Haydn, the summer of 2011, right before my senior year!

AF: That is insane.

MG: Yeah. Creepy! We didn’t exclusively start dating until the following April. We had both recently gotten out of serious relationships. But I would go visit him on trips to New York that year so we were definitely in denial…

AF: Always good to take it slow… but y’all are married now so it’s fine!

MG: I moved to New York the August after graduating in 2012. I just celebrated six years! It feels like not a lot of time but it also feels like it’s been forever.

AF: So what’s been a high since moving here and a low? And what has helped you balance it all out?

MG: I think a high was working consistently after moving here. I was Non-Equity, had a few EMC points because of summer stock. Honestly that didn’t really make a difference for me because I wasn’t really going to EPAs. I was going to mostly dance ECCs or open calls. They hold those because they DO hire Non-Equity! That was nice and validating, being able to work regularly. I would go a couple months at a time between gigs. Then I did the Mamma Mia! National tour. It was a full year and I was a Swing! I learned seven tracks… and went on for all of them many, many times. We went international!

AF: That must have been amazing experience.

MG: Yeah, it was really cool… going to a different country for a month! People loved it, and we had supertitles so people could read it in Spanish. The show is fun! I never want to see it again.


AF: And every theatre is doing it…
 

MG: I’m not dying to do Mamma Mia! right now… but I met some incredible people on the tour. One of my best friends from tour was actually one of my bridesmaids! We instantly clicked. It was an unforgettable experience. Learning how to Swing a show was invaluable.AF: What are some tips you would give to somebody about to embark on a similar experience?

 

MG: Mamma Mia! was not the most difficult show to swing… it’s not like swinging Cats or Hamilton or something like that, so I would say think of it as looking at the show from a bird’s eye. It’s knowing every part of it and knowing where you fit into it… That was the best way for me to think about it. I had to look at it as a big picture so I knew where the missing piece was and that’s where I fit into it.AF: I feel like it takes a very special brain.

 

MG: It might! I don’t know if I could swing every show… but this was a great introduction for it because most of the choreography was the same for most of it.AF: I feel like having swing experience opens up doors for other tracks! And then after Mamma Mia! you did some other regional work…

 

MG: I worked at Fireside and then I did the Elf tour right after that… it was really great, I was traveling a lot, I like working a lot…AF: And who doesn’t love working!?

 

MG: I enjoy creating and I enjoy doing the hard work. I enjoy meeting people. So I got my Equity card the fall of 2015. I earned all fifty points after working and doing the hustle. I was working at Theatre by the Sea that summer which is the first theatre I ever worked at! I started as an intern there in 2010 and then got to back!AF: Full circle!

MG: I earned my fiftieth point with Young Frankenstein. Then that September when I got back, it was pretty difficult. I thought waiting in line for hours was difficult. That was not difficult… because people want to hire you when you’re Non-Equity. People are not as quick to hire you when you’re Equity… There are less jobs. I was still trying to get the same jobs I was working before and realized… they don’t want me anymore because I’m expensive. I chose to take my card because I wanted to be paid what I’m worth, wanted pension and a 401k and at some point qualifying for health insurance. My callbacks went from 85% of the time to maybe 15% of the time. That was such a blow to my self-esteem. What am I doing wrong? Is it my look? Is it my weight? Is it my headshot? What is it about me that they don’t want now…?

AF: It’s the hardest thing. Most of the time it has nothing to do with you.

MG: It still doesn’t change the fact that they’re not keeping you for whatever reason. So thankfully I got a job that summer and then I didn’t work after that for two years.

AF: But I will say… I noticed your life shifted in those two years.

MG: It was definitely a huge growing experience. Well one, I got married. So I was kind of out of commission for several auditions. I started learning that as I get older life takes priority. The business will always be there, life is more important. I have started prioritizing life experience over work and that has helped immensely. If something is big enough that I need to change my plans for life, I’ll consider that but most likely I’m going to choose life and exploring and adventure.

AF: That’s more rewarding!

MG: Absolutely! I’d rather spend the time to go on a trip with my husband, visit family, go to a friend’s wedding… do the things.

AF: That needs to be PREACHED! It’s so easy to get in that rut of “I need to work” and take anything…

MG: And you’ll burn out. And I did burn out! I burned out very easily because I was burning the candle at both ends. I was trying to do it all. I realized I could not do it all and I had to start prioritizing.

AF: So when did you have that realization? I feel like so many people can relate to this.

MG: It was definitely a process. After the [2016] election I got into a really bad place. I asked myself, “What am I doing? This feels so unimportant.” Musical theatre dance felt so unimportant. And when I would express this so many people would say, “Everyone needs art, everyone needs an escape.” And I knew that wasn’t the answer… it wasn’t helping. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference in this world and help people. I always say…. I’m empathetic to a fault sometimes. I feel too much. I see other people’s pain and put it on myself and I feel it’s my responsibility to change and fix. I knew that there were things I could be doing but wasn’t sure what they were for me! I went too far to that side where I was feeling wholly responsible for everything going in the world. It put me in a very, very dark place.

AF: And that was right around the time you got married…

MG: We got married less than a week after the election.

AF: I also think sometimes it’s difficult for people to recognize that there IS grieving that happens after the wedding is over.

MG: Yeah! We had a beautiful honeymoon and then we went and did the Women’s March in DC.

AF: Which is amazing.

MG: It was an incredible experience. So I really struggled with anxiety and depression. I finally got myself a therapist, which was a huge help. Through that I was able to look at the root of why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I was able to find the triggers… I was also thinking about longevity if this was not going to work out. At that point it had been a while since I’d booked anything. Nothing looked like it was on the horizon… what do I do? How do I fill my time? What is my purpose? I was getting burned out just going from audition to audition to dance class, which…everything felt so selfish. I didn’t know how to do anything that could contribute to the world with my art. I know everyone says “create your own work.” That phrase works for some people… not for everyone. I am not necessarily the creator. I am a helper and I like to support.

AF: You help put it into action!

MG: Yes! But I am not a creator type. And that’s okay. I don’t want to go choreograph something. I don’t want to do a one-woman show. And that’s okay. I think most of the time people say the solution is the just create your own work and that’s just not fair… to everyone.

AF: I really agree with that. It sort of undermines how much work it takes to go and do that.

MG: I started to look for things that I also liked to do. That took a while but I came to company managing. I like organization, helping, supporting… I applied for a position at FIT. I work for their dance company! I was introduced to that world through that. It’s a very nice, easy, low-key introduction into that! Then I was looking at Playbill and specifically looking at arts administration jobs and knew I wasn’t fully ready to transition. I looked at an internship at the Public but it was such a full time commitment and I wasn’t ready for that yet. So I stumbled across a posting for a non-profit dance company called ALMA NYC. They’re a philanthropic dance collective in the city and they seemed so on mission with what I wanted to do. They do volunteering around the city through art and they also raise money overseas.

AF: That seems like the perfect marriage of the two things you wanted to find…

MG: Yes! So I’ve been working with them for less than a year. It’s been another wonderful community of people that I love. I love our mission, I love where we’re moving forward to. I’ve loved getting to raise money for the Bethel school, the class that you took part of! I love getting to serve artists! That is our main issue… serving artists of New York who don’t have the love and support that they deserve. It’s like how can we help artists have a home and family to come to every week? How can we make sure that they are loved and nurtured and encouraged?

AF: That is the most beautiful statement, ever. I mean after taking that class with Jen Waldman through ALMA, I left feeling so inspired. And obviously a big part of that is because of Jen but also the environment that is set up because of ALMA NYC is so comfortable. It felt like therapy.

MG: We want to create a safe space for the artists. We have free class every Tuesday. Maybe you got cut from an audition, maybe you got seen and you did really well and you want to celebrate- we’ll meet you where you are!

AF: That’s such a cause that people need whether they know it or not.

MG: I know I needed that. I’ve loved getting to do that. Being able to focus on these other things has taken the weight of musical theatre off of my shoulders. I don’t put so much pressure on myself any more. I have other things that I’m doing and I also audition.

AF: That’s the key ingredient! To have something that you love that you’re passionate about that’s outside of musical theatre.

MG: I also love dancing, but the joy gets taken out of it sometimes because it’s a business.

AF: Self-promotion…

MG: I’m picky about which classes I take because I want it to feel like a class, not an audition.

AF: You’re so cool!!

MG: No I’m not!!

AF: Yes she is, she is, yes she is! Okay so not to turn the mood… but this is a very open blog. I wanted to pick your brain about that tour because I think it’s important to be candid about production teams.

MG: Oh Soul Doctor? The tour that never was? Haha

AF: It’s just so devastating when actors commit to productions and tours and set their life up for the next 7 months to a year and it all comes to a standstill. You’re excited for these new experiences, you’re going to travel, you’re building a community with these new friends in your cast… and the show abruptly closes or the tour is called off and all of that is taken away… walk us through your experience.

MG: It was really, really difficult. I booked Soul Doctor in February after not working for two years. I was sooo excited. I couldn’t wait to work again. I was excited about the opportunity of travel. We were going to go to San Diego, L.A., and Israel… I was so thrilled. I loved the choreographer I was about to work with. My husband had just worked with her on another production. She was lovely. The cast was great. But overtime the red flags just kept getting larger and redder…AF: And when did those first happen?

 

MG: Honestly the first day… we had our Equity meeting and they told us they didn’t have our contracts yet for L.A. because they told us it would be a different contract because it was going to be a larger venue and so they were trying to secure more money…. And for the Israel leg of tour they didn’t have a producer on… and all of our ears kind of perked up like, “What? If?” They brushed it off very nonchalantly… and kept saying we would get health insurance and we all thought THAT was a given since it was a full Union production… so that was disconcerting. But what are you going to do? Not believe them? We had our San Diego signed… weeks kept going, we keep asking about L.A. and they said the dates kept changing, blaming it on Equity… They kept shifting the blame on everyone but themselves. It just became clear the whole thing was not being run well. There was a lot of deception. They told us that L.A. was cancelled, and Israel was coming up… and they never officially told us we were “not” going to Israel. The blame kept getting deflected. We were never actually told we were not continuing with the production.AF: That’s unbelievable. That was last summer?

 

MG: It was pretty traumatic… and it sounds dramatic to say that but…AF: Of course it was!

 

MG: I couldn’t step foot in an audition room for a month after we got back because it truly felt like the ground had been ripped from under me. It was just so strange being back when I had been told I was going to be employed through August…. So I just slowly reintroduced myself to the New York world.AF: But! You have good news!

 

MG: So in December I’ll be going to the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta for Ever After.AF: That is ah-mazing!

MG: I’m really excited because I get to work with a choreographer that I worked with back in 2012 on Nutty Professor!

AF: Congratulations. If anybody deserves an amazing production and contract to be a part of… it’s you. We never know why people go through these roller coasters of experiences…

MG: You can’t ever really know why. I learned a lot. I grew from it immensely and made great friendships. Actually one of the girls I met on Soul Doctor, her sister was doing a Fringe show and asked me to audition for it and I got to do it – Yellow Wallpaper. It was so fulfilling. It was truly the most on-mission thing I could ever do. It’s a beautiful, feminist piece of art where I felt like I was really making a statement and making people think and question and just take a look!

AF: Challenge ideals.

MG: Yes! Challenge ideals! It happened right after the Kavanaugh hearings so that was like therapy, going to rehearsals for that.

AF: So on that note… what are some words you live by? Or what is a piece of advice you’d give to a young aspiring artist?

MG: I’d say, don’t compromise your ideas and your morals for a job.

AF: YES.

MG: If you don’t want to be doing a show or a piece of work that goes against everything in your being, you don’t have to do that. Or if you’re working for someone who makes you feel less than, you don’t have to work for them.

AF: We’re so hungry.

MG: You don’t have to be so hungry. You can be fed other places. You can feed your soul doing other things.

AF: And you’ve shown us how. You’ve laid down the groundwork.

MG: Another reason I’m so excited about Ever After is because it’s an all-female team… it’s the first time I’ll ever have gotten to do that!

AF: It’s just such a good movie and story!!

MG: I grew up watching the movie! She was such an inspiring lead character because she’s a strong female lead who made the male lead meet her where she was in terms of ideals, morals. She changed his mind. She never compromised.

AF: Danielle de Barbarac! This has been so great. I’m so glad I got to pick your beautiful brain. Cheers.

MG: It was so fun! Cheers!

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