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Geraldine Leer Headshot

Julia Roberts, You Stole My Boyfriend -- Now Please Help Me Find My Career

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I haven't been on stage since 1991, when I last performed at The Roundabout in New York. I was such the blonde, blue-eyed, pre-millennial darling of that era that my date decided during the curtain call that he wanted to marry me. I let him.

Six moves in nine years and two fabulous children later, my career had gone on the back burner and my marriage into the recycling bin. So I traded TV shoots for T-ball games and opening nights for bake sales. And I loved being home with my kids. But suddenly, my nest is looking empty. It's time to go back to work. What's a mother to do?

The industry coach has advised me that I need to network. So I've decided on dinner for eight -- people I encountered during my Act I who might be willing to toss me a bone.

Sigourney Weaver, I'm hoping you can make it. I bumped into you in the bathroom the first day of my first job. You were very lovely and handed me a paper towel. Rocking my new Princess Diana haircut and ready for footlights and fame, I was promptly outfitted in armor and a codpiece. I carried a spear behind you all summer, Sigourney. Dinner's at 8:00. We're having cod.

Hello again, Julia Roberts. You stole my boyfriend in Mystic Pizza, and that has made all the difference. It was scripted, of course. But I'm hoping you go, "Oh, yeah. The blonde in the pool hall." Come to dinner and you can call me a hustler -- of work.

Neil Simon, you are so invited. You were probably seeing your show for the eight hundred and forty-seventh time and were spotted taking notes during Act I. "He hates us," we thought. "We're all being fired." Instead, you came backstage and handed out new punchlines during intermission. Thanks for showing me how you continued working so hard at it, even after winning a Tony for it.

By the way, anybody a vegan?

Hi Karen Allen -- you're my hero. When I last worked with you, you were feeding your baby backstage between shows. Now you're hobnobbing with Indiana Jones again after all these years. Please tell me how you did it, 'cause my baby is driving now, and her Mommy needs a job.

Don Johnson, I hope you can make it. I wasn't feeling too well when I guest-starred on Nash Bridges. Five minutes after doing a pregnancy test in my trailer, I had to film our big goodbye. My future baby was between us on top of a desk. She's about to leave for college, Don, and I need to get a life.

OK, people: brussel sprouts or broccoli?

Dear Mike Nichols: You were the first big director I met after moving from Dallas to Manhattan. I was down to the wire on a lovely role in your film, and you told me fabulous stories about life in the City -- like overhearing a little old lady point to her friend and excitedly whisper, "That's Mike Nichols! From my window, I have a clear view into his living room!" Maybe you'll have just as clear a view into my future career?

Kirk Douglas, we had a funny scene together in Take Me Home Again. I've been home for 14 years. Please take me to work again!

And, Eileen Fisher, I'd be tickled pink if you joined us. I realize you're thinking, "I make clothes. Why the hell do I have to come to her pity party?" The thing is, Eileen, you understand middle-aged women like nobody's business. I need your help with a savvy workplace wardrobe. My teenage daughter is now the one saying, "You're not going out of the house dressed like that, are you?"

It's a lovely table of eight, or better yet: a small reality show called Getting That Mom a Gig. Here's the pitch: you all scroll through your iPhones during hors d'oeuvres, make a few calls while we yuck it up together. It'll be like Six Degrees of Separation on steroids. You'll leave with gluten-free leftovers, and I'll leave with some small but plum roles to fill the gaping hole in my work history. No longer the All-American ingénue, but ready to play her doctor, her divorce lawyer, her 50-year-old neighbor successfully coping with empty-nest syndrome...or else that crazy lady up the block.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille, and I'm bringing my crow's-feet and Spanx along. Please, Julia, save me from Poise commercials. My Act II has got to begin.

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