Rise of Roxy Ch. 06byEgmontGrigor2011©
Roxy arrived in New York with nothing planned, deciding to relax and enjoy being in limbo. She speculated she could always become a hooker if she came up empty handed over movie, TV or theatre opportunities. She wondered if becoming a hooker required training or was wide-ranging experience sufficient to build such a business.
Instead of dwelling on such speculation, Roxy found a pleasant room in an affordable hotel and set about being a tourist because this was her first time in New York and it was true what they say: the city really buzzed.
A week later she began thinking about sex. God what a time to start feeling horny. She decided to register for work and went to a couple of theatrical agencies and was aghast neither was interesting in adding her to the books because she had no reputation.
"Get a job for me and I'll establish my reputation."
"Yes and that's what they all say. Off you go," said the rude bitch who had the job of weeding out cranks, no-hoppers and actors they'd never heard of and who weren't on their databases.
Roxy had told them she'd taken the lead in the very successful TV blockbuster, 'The Amazing Miss Young' and both interviewers said dismissively they'd never heard of it."
Roxy went off angrily both times, thinking the interviewer needed to be slapped around a bit to wake up to her responsibility to assess the applicant properly instead of adopting the attitude of 'You're not on our database and so you are scum, get out of my office'.
She bought one of New York's famous hotdogs and sat on a street seat, opened the bag, looked at it and groaned oh god and tossed it in the trash can.
The overweight woman sitting at the other even of the seat and obviously resting her feet laughed and said, "Young lady you should eat Italian food."
Yeah well she looked Italian.
Roxy spoke rapidly in Italian, "You are correct ma'am and I often eat Italian food out of preference."
The woman looked quite stunned and said, "You speak Italian and yet you look very American-American."
"Oh is that how I look? I guessed by your noble nose and reference to Italian food you might be Italian."
"My noble nose," the woman laughed almost hysterically. "You are a very funny young lady."
They introduced themselves and chatted for a while.
"So you are new to New York,"" said Mrs Renata Ricci. "Well come on, I invite you to come with me to my sister's restaurant that's not far from here. Although I call it my sister's restaurant it is owned by her husband's family and she runs it during the day. We'll eat with her; she's expecting me today."
"Oh darling your noble nose looks very majestic today," Renata said to her look-alike sister Dona De Luca, who touched her nose and asked had Renata been drinking.
"I'm sorry for speaking Italian, Dona said, speaking in English and introduced herself.
"I'm not offended," Roxy said in Italian. "Italian is my preferred restaurant language when I'm with Italian people or people of Italian descent.
"You see, my new friend is not one of us and yet so is one of us."
Roxy's mind stretched to comprehend what Renata was saying but Dona obviously was used to her sister and said yes that was very true.
Dona kissed Roxy warmly and seated them and sped off and returned with a bottle of red wine and three glasses.
"We must celebrate my sister finding such an interesting person, yes?"
"Yes," cried Renata and Roxy almost in unison.
It was late and most of the lunch guests were drifting off. The three women drank, ate, chatted and laughed and for the first time Roxy felt at home in New York.
At one stage Dona made a phone call and twenty minutes a guy the sister's called Uncle Vincenzo arrived. He kissed his two nieces flamboyantly and then eyed Roxy and said, in Italian, "So this pretty young woman is the out-of-work actress."
"Pretty? She's so beautiful your knees should be knocking," said Dona.
"Well they would knock if they were to slip between her thighs."
"Careful Uncle Vincenzo, our friend is fluent in Italian."
"Renata to joke you have to be believable."
He looked at Roxy who said, "Non parlo italiano."
He said in Italian how did she know he was about to ask that question and she replied in Italian she wasn't stupid."
He laughed and slapped his thigh and said in impeccable English, "Dona, a bottle of wine please. This conversation is becoming very dry."
An hour later, when Uncle Vincenzo was leaving, he gave Roxy his card and said, "You come and see me at 11:00 in the morning and well see what we can do with you Roxy. Please bring your CV and any DVDs you have showing you performing."
The three women kissed him and the portly guy left.
Roxy looked at the business card and blinked hard and read it again: Uncle Vincenzo was general manager of a theatrical management company that operated four theatres off-Broadway.
She burst into tears and Dona and Renata hugged her, delighted that Roxy was obviously pleased they had given her a good connection into movies or theatre in New York.
Uncle Vincenzo who Roxy addressed formerly as Mr Rossi, introduced Roxy to the two women he had with him and they chatted for a while and then one of the woman put on the CD and it was projected on a big screen. Roxy had chosen the fully edited scene of almost five minutes from 'The Amazing Miss Young' which showed the young child being lifted from the vehicle inspection pit and then pronounced dead and women crying, the bereaved mother collapsing and everyone looking mournful. It then switched to Miss Young (Roxy) marching resolutely into the Mayor's office and then launching into her relentless attack on the mayor and his council and her call to have the council vehicle depot to be securely fenced and the entry/exit to be guarded by an attendant during working hours when the gates were open.
"Oh you certainly can act," said Uncle Vincenzo.
"Yes and so can many other out-of-work actors," said one of the women dryly.
"Lillian please take down and file Roxy's details," said Uncle Vincenzo. "Roxy we will be in touch."
Yeah right, thought Roxy. That's unlikely. But four days later Lillian called her and asked if she could come in as soon as possible.
"I'm on my way," said Roxy. "I'm only wasting my time shopping and amusing myself by attempting not to buy anything."
"That's the professional attitude producers and directors like," Lillian laughed.
The second female lead in a whodunit, "Who's Killing Our Female Cops' had been rushed to hospital an hour earlier and was confirmed to be suffering from appendicitis and was awaiting surgery.
The director of the Earl Larch Theatre greeted Roxy warmly.
"We don't expect a problem. The third female lead has gone into second lead and the second lead's understudy has gone into third lead and my assistant is rehearsing them now. Your CV we were given shows are have an enormous capacity to memorize an entire script. When I say we don't expect a problem I could be jumping the gun. The third lead appears nervous in making the switch. So to secure the ramparts I wish to recruit you to learn the second lead part. If Susan finds the switch too much I'll place her back in third lead and ask you to take second. This is asking a lot Roxy and please say..."
"Not a problem Jacki. Give me the script and give me a quiet room."
"Omigod, you're not over-confident are you?"
"What has to be done has to be done Jacki. If I'm needed I'll be ready but not ready in time for tonight's production."
"Right, go girl. This could be a panic over nothing but we have an audience who pay good money to see a good performance. You know my feeling Susan will have enough gas in the tank to scrape through the one performance with prompting and then her bubble will burst."
"Well let's hope it become no worse than that. I'll watch tonight's performance and make note. What's the stage name of the second lead?"
"Captain Nancy Willow."
"Actually she's a hard-nose cop and saves Lieutenant's Kim Ryan's life and together they nail the murdering bastard."
"Ooooh, very dramatic. I like the sound of it."
"And I like the sound of you and your enthusiasm Roxy."
As it happened the temporary second lead proved to have enough gas in the tank to pull through.
Three days later after becoming involved when Roxy was word-perfect in the under-study role, she had lunch with the director and producer and was told about the company's next production, a bitter-sweet love story and the producer said they were unhappy with the actress who was being trialed. She unfortunately was excellent at being bitter because that fitted her natural unhappy disposition but she played the part of the woman at last finding love 'like a teething baby teething'.
Roxy agreed to audition and won the part and became involved in rehearsals during the day and being on hand at night waiting in the wings of the show in case she was needed to go on. She reveled in her long working day as she found it so interesting. At night she talked to and watched the back-stage crew at work and increased her knowledge about theatre.
The play 'Uneasy about Love' by an obscure Canadian began in half-filled theatres and never drew crowds larger than that and the decision was made to terminate its run. An assistant director of another theatrical company spoke to Roxy at the second to last night of the show to congratulate her and to ask about her contract.
"Alas it ends this week."
"Hooray for that," Rosalind said, giving Roxy her phone number and asking her to call next day. Roxy, who's not been called on stage for the murder of policewomen play, had been advised the company had no ongoing work in mind for her.
The director of the company Rosalind worked for after reading Roxy's CV said they were not hiring at the moment. He noted Roxy was fluent in Italian and joked, "You should call my sister Adeline. They are soon to do a play about a dysfunctional New York family of Italians.
The play opened with Roxy playing the third lead Christina who at twenty-four was the youngest in the family headed by the tongue-lashing matriarch Severina, aged seventy, who played the lead while her eldest son was second-lead and his wife Bianca was the only one who dared to stand up to Severina, that is until Christina returned home after completing college in Italy.
The dialogue was in English but when granddaughter and grandmother tore into each other with hilarious results, they lapsed into 'gutter Italian' and their expressions and gestures had even the non-Italian speakers in the audience screaming in laughter.
An Italian-language newspaper review of the show next morning claimed the great and robust performance of newcomer Roxy Reeves signaled a new star in theatre was emerging.
Roxy was knocked awake by Severina at 9:30 (who in fact was aged only 42), and yelling 'leave your phone switched on your stupid bitch'.
Bleary-eyed after the opening night party, Roxy kissed Caroline who said, "TV wants us at the theatre all made up to film the slanging match between you and me over my decision that the family hides Stephan from the cops after he stole a police car and took two of his girlfriends for a joyride and left it parked in front of the courthouse was lights flashing and siren wailing."
"Because our local community newspaper has raved about the show and its theatre critic described that scene as one of the funniest with the most disgusting language she'd ever witnessed in thirty-three years as a theatre critic."
"But why should that interest TV?"
"Its entertainment editor is married into a New York Italian family and I guess she wishes to please her mother-in-law."
The two women hugged and laughed until some guy across the hall yelled at them to shut up.
A clip of the haranguing, filmed with the two actors dressed for the stage, was shown on network TV news that evening, complete with lots of bleeps over segments of bad language. And then with the two actors dressed normally, they were interviewed by the entertainment editor in a light-hearted manner and the result produced very entertaining television. Two hours later the woman at a theatre agency hiring bureau who'd rejected Roxy almost four months early, but Roxy recalled the name, invited Roxy in to be placed on their books.
"Go bury your head. You rejected me four months ago you stupid cow," Roxy thundered and cut the call.
Offers for other work flowed in and Roxy decided to stay in New York and moved into a studio apartment.
The PA of prominent theatre producer Michael J. Bower called Roxy and invited her to lunch with Mr Bower. A date was arranged and when Roxy, devoid of makeup but looking tidy dressed in tight jeans and an even tighter sweater entered the restaurant she thought, perhaps this was it.
Two men stood to greet her, the brothers Bower. She recognized Michael by his photo that often was in newspapers and magazines. Until then she was unaware of the existence of his younger brother Paul.
The men were too polite to suggest she'd forgotten to make herself up.
"Is this about a part?"
"Yes," said Paul. "I'm an independent filmmaker for TV and Michael is helping me to become established in New York. I've been working in London and Rome gaining experience and now it's time to come home. Michael has purchased the rights for me of a movie script of the story of Sophia Giordano."
Michael looked startled and said, "You know of her?"
"Yes she was a novice nun but left Italy in the 1930s during the persecutions and also left the church for a few years. She became a leading female in the Resistance Movement in a dangerous part of France during World War 2 and lived to die of old age. I spent many summers when I was young in Lucca, Tuscany and in that area there's a memorial to her that I've seen several times. It's in the village where she was born. Are you interested in me being in the movie?"
"I'm considering you as director. I heard you on TV recently say you'd been assistant director."
"Oh but that was only at high school. I would be unable to direct a movie."
"Oh how disappointing. I need a director with some Italian experience."
"I'll gladly play Sophia?"
Paul grinned and said sorry, but he already had someone in mind for that.
Michael said, "But that's because she's your girlfriend Paul. Look at Roxy's face. Imagine that with a big of dirt and sweat on it; she'd look ravishing."
"Ravishing?" said Paul and the two men stared at Roxy and slowly turned her face and neck bright red.
"Shall we order?" she asked helpfully.
"Show us your tits," Paul leered.
Roxy was fairly certain that was a joke but pulled up her sweater. It was a no-bra day and the brothers Bower stared until she lowered her top.
"Jesus," breathed Michael.
Later outside the restaurant and a white limo drew up, Michael asked, "May we drop you off somewhere Roxy?"
"No thanks I wish to walk off my food and wine. I'm working this evening."
The guys kissed her and she walked off. Nothing was said about any further contact.
That night after the show a messenger arrived with flowers for Miss Reeves.
"Great show, you were great. Gloria and I enjoyed it. Paul B."
She was pleased with the flowers and pleased he'd seen her act. Roxy suddenly thought it might not be long before Gloria would be watching Roxy audition for a part that Gloria had believed would be hers.
However the call never came and Roxy went about her work thinking what a waste of time that had been fiddling around in vain waiting for Paul to come through for her. Finally, curious to know what had happened with the movie, she called Michael and left a message. He called her two days later and apologized for being too busy to return social calls until now.
"That's okay. I'm busy too and yet found time to call you."
He laughed and said cheeky bitch.
"I never heard back from Paul about an audition and was curious to know what happened?"
"Gloria has insisted on playing the lead role and then discovered she was required to speak Italian as part of her cover in working in the Underground in France. So the project is held up while she is taking intense tuition to learn to speak Italian but she's so dumb she'll quit soon and then will dump Paul and he'll contact you."
"Well he can go to hell."
"Oooh I bet..."
"Michael he's had this chance with me and that's it. For your information I researched records about Sophia Giordano and found she was only a two-bit player in the resistance but the Italians being Italian made out she was a heroine when she returned home over the war and groveled and was finally taken back in the convent she'd deserted. I also traced the guy who wrote her story into a script for a movie as part of his master's degree in filmmaking in Rome and he sold the movie script to an Italian film studio where it languished untouched because similar war stories were a dime a dozen. It was offered for resale three years ago when the studio archives were tidied up and was bought by a bookstore owner along with thirty other movie scripts as a bulk sale for the equivalent of US $85.00. That guy added those titles for sale on his website and in three years you were the only purchaser suckered in to buy one of those scripts."
The bookstore owner put a price of US$3800 on the sale of that movie script. How much did you pay for it Michael?"
"For a script that my inquiries found that according to university records the author's professors were suspicious that the story was heavily exaggerated and contained suspected instances of plagiarism."
"I sue the bastard."
"That former student would be in his eighties now if he's still alive."
"You are quite quick and also thorough for a woman Roxy."
"And I suppose that means you wish to date me?"
Michael said smoothly, "I'm old enough to be your father."
"Yes and you know I know that. You are a handsome man Michael and I know you are married."
He said he assumed Roxy was after his assistance to make it on Broadway.
"Yes and if you are willing to do that without the sex, I suppose I would accept that."
"Oh very cool Roxy. Very well I'll try to get your something and make no demand for sex."
"Well I probably wouldn't satisfy you anyway. I'm only comfortable with big dicks."
He laughed so much that he coughed.
"Jesus Roxy you really are a cheeky bitch. I'm becoming quite fond of it. I'll be in touch. Bye."
She made no attempt to reply and heard the call cut.
Roxy waited a full month but he never called. She decided to never call him.
She continued to get work off Broadway but regarded that as living on scraps. Eventually she gave up being so stubborn and appointed a personal agent who had other clients who worked on Broadway.
Mrs Adams reminded Roxy a little of Mrs Smith, being about the same age and just as dedicated and just as distant but she was better looking and dressed very well.
"Roxy I'll land you work but not major parts, do you understand?"
"Yes Mrs Adams," Roxy said, "but you must accept I have big ambitions."
"Yes darling. You all do and therefore don't consider it an ailment."
Roxy muttered so she'd have to prove herself all over again.
"Yes, until my confidence in you grows I cannot have confidence in you. I would come to see you at work but at present you are in limbo. But keep the faith, you had kept good records and have a collection of good reviews or honorable mentions. I'm afraid what you regard as your big break in TV will pass unnoticed because it's never been screened in New York, or so you say. I've certainly never heard of the series."
Roxy sighed and said, "Do your best for me Mrs Adams."
"Well sign this contract and you may call me Rosemary."