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Rory O’Malley’s Climb was a Slow One, but It Was Worth It

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Tony nominee for “The Book of Mormon,” Rory O’Malley who just finished playing King George in “Hamilton” and can be seeing co-starring on Jenji Kohan’s “American Princess” recently shared his climb to the top.  And, he started from the bottom.  He recalls his 20s as a dark time of working various temp jobs while trying to make it big and watching as friends were getting booked – or, not watching, because he was working.

“There was that day I was going to celebrate with a friend who had just booked his Broadway debut, but couldn’t because I had to stay late at my temp job until the filing was done,” O’Malley said, adding, “There was a night I was watching a late night talk show and heard that a former acting classmate was the next guest up; I was so excited to see him on TV, but couldn’t stay home and watch because it would have made me late for my overnight shift at the hotel I was working at.  There was that time I was so excited to have booked a role in a new play that I ran into my restaurant to quit my waiter job only to find out the show would pay a measly $7 per performance and parking and gas would cost much more.  I had to sheepishly ask for more shifts just so I could afford to do it.”

O’Malley knew having a job to pay the bills was vital, though, to being able to stay out there and active in the big city.  Eventually, of course, his luck would turn around and O’Malley was finally able to quit all of his 9-5s to pursue acting full-time.  

“These moments were not the only times in my early career that I had to choose my side job over my dream job, but they are just a few examples of when I felt the most defeated,” he recalled.  “The truth is, most days I was showing up to these jobs feeling like a failure, as though they were proof that I was on the wrong path.”

Now, he can look back fondly and think of those early years bouncing between temp positions as stepping-stones to his future success.

O’Malley explained, “I no longer look at…the countless…jobs I had during that time as failures.  Those gigs were the building blocks of my career…a part of my story as an artist.  I spent too many years being resentful of the jobs that were providing me with the most valuable resource that an artist can have: Time.”

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