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Never thought we’d be here

May 8, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , The Leader Herald

My dreams and aspirations to become an actor starring in film and TV never turned out the way I hoped. That's the story for a lot of people.

I remember back in Cleveland when I was in high school musicals and community theater, I eventually found myself auditioning for a theater troop directed by Thomas Q. Fulton where I met my dear friend Raj Bahadur. I'm still in contact with Raj today, and it brings back memories of where we started and hoped to wind up in our careers.

Raj and I were actors, along with our buddies Marty Grillo and Chuck Sawyer, who were all hoping to someday hit Broadway or Hollywood. It's funny where we all wound up. As a side note, I remember having an infatuation with Chuck, though it never came to a relationship, because, alas, Chuck turned out to like boys.

I was into serious plays back then, like Ibsen, Chekhov and Strindberg. It's funny; as I remember, these playwrights and their subjects seem so foreign to me today. It seemed foreign to me back then too, but that was the way one went about starting a career in acting. There were no reality shows or singing contests back then like "American Idol," "X-Factor" or the new show "The Voice."

The Fox TV network is carrying both "American Idol" and the "X-Factor." Fox also carries the hit show "Glee!" that makes me remember my days with the Girls Glee Club and Men's Chorus back in Cleveland Heights. Once again, today's shows have openings and opportunities that didn't exist back when I was starting out, and that's a good thing for aspiring artists today.

I guess it was a more innocent time, in some ways. Today's entertainers have to take on more responsibility and maturity at an early age than I had to back then. Let's face it, 16-year-olds who could win "American Idol" may miss some growing up and adolescent times due to pressure and schedules in trying to rise to the top.

Runners up like Crystal Bowersox, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert often rise to the top more than the eventual winners of the contests. And back when I was hiding in the kitchen with stolen chocolate cake laughing with Edie Falco, Mike Chiklis and Tony Bourdain, all stars today, who would have guessed where we'd eventually wind up?

The point of all this is to do what you love. You never know how things will turn out later.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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