They say if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.
Ali Grieb is well on her way to proving it true.
In May 2009, four days after graduating from LaGrange with a theatre arts degree, she moved to New York to pursue a career on the stage. Those were scary days, Ali says.
“There are millions of people in New York, and I didn’t know a single person. It can be a very lonely place,” she says. “But there is so much life going on around you. You can either decide to embrace it or stay in your room and be sad. I decided to go out and experience everything and meet new people.”
Ali must have been doing something right, because she is now appearing in her second off-Broadway show.
“The first show I was in was ‘Press #93 for Kosher Jewish Girls in Krakow’ with the Jewish Theater of New York,” she says. “This next show is with the Alternative Theater Company, and it's called ‘A Night in Vegas.’ It's a comedy and it’s a lot of fun. We open June 5.”
The young actress credits her education at LaGrange College for much of her success.
“The Theater Department knows exactly how to shape a very professional actor,” she says. “There are thousands of actors in New York, but I learned that I was very ready to go into auditions and know what I was doing and be able to audition with confidence.”
She says she learned how to quickly analyze a script or scene, and how to learn music fast.
“There are a lot of people who lack those skills and it hurts them, because you have to go into those auditions and think on your feet. That depth comes from so many skills I didn’t even know I had, skills I learned at LaGrange College.”
Ali recognizes that she’s been lucky, because there are many young actors in the city, all going up for the same job.
“It’s extremely hard and very tiring,” she says. “I wake up four days a week at 4 o’clock in the morning to go to auditions, and I also work, waiting tables. There are thousands of us – thousands of me – and it’s very hard to stay motivated when you are in a line with five people who look just like you and sound just like you. The girl next to you gets cast, and you don’t know why, because you are exactly the same. You just have to keep trying.”
The life of an actor is a difficult one, but one Ali embraces.
“It can be very scary, but I have friends and work that I love. I’m very happy.”