Off Off Broadway has often been the date night for many broke college kids. It has also been a major form of entertainment for theater majors, drama students in high school, a night out with the family and a place to watch professionals who aren’t that much more advanced than you. It is also a major stress reliever and big break for many actors who have dreamed of being on the big stage.
Dominique Salerno has been performing at the PIT also known as the Peoples Improv Theater for the past six years. Before starting her one woman show that covers everything from a Russian spy G-spot to a gentle giant living in a small town, she was a college student trying to catch a break. She was taking improv classes at the PIT learning to perfect her trade, but classes for her became more than just a hobby.They became a leeway to freedom.
“When I first walked in, there was a man sitting in the corner at a computer selling tickets.Its almost as if he could tell I was new to the place. He started telling me about the different shows they run, and telling me about their improv classes.”
Salerno had always wanted to be an actress. When she was in Princeton University studying religion, she often felt trapped like she couldn’t really express herself. She came from a heavily religious home and her parents were not supportive of her wanting to be in theater. Her father was a minister and her mother was a middle school and Sunday school teacher. Over the years they had both expressed how much they wanted her to follow in one of their footsteps and get involved with the church.
“I remember my mom would always come visit me at school every Thursday that was our ‘day out’. She wouldn’t even wait till we got to the car to start talking about how proud she was that I was in school for religion. It was like a bum-rush.”
Salerno graduated college feeling pinned under her parents rule of religion, and made her first bold move when she decided to continue school for theater. She went to the American Conservatory Theater and received her MFA in acting. She continued to work on her skills as an actress, picking up different skills as she studied.
“One thing I’ve kind of always said to myself was not to stop going. My parents didn’t want me to continue with acting but I was an adult now. I graduated doing what you wanted me to do, so now I was going in my own path, and I wanted to be on stage.”
Salerno has gone from solo improv actress, to playwright to screen director to having two of her own comedy duo groups, ‘The Moustache Apologies” and “Ferminarchy”. The PIT has allowed her to train, teach and host her own classes and shows. The PIT mostly does improv, but they also allow basic acting classes.
“Honestly, I really enjoy what I do. I know some people say if you love your job you never work a day in your life. Well I feel like that everyday. I get to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Am I’m good!”
When she is not performing at the PIT, she performing her one woman show, “The Box Show” all over New York City and Jersey in off off broadway locations. The Box show is about an hour and a half of her doing over 25 different skits and characters of a wide variety. The New York Times, Theater Is Easy! And Timeout NY! Have all listed her show as a definite “must go see”.