NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One man’s way of coping with the tough economy is music to a lot of people’s ears.

Struggling actor Dotan Negrin turned to ticking the ivories to make a living.

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As TV 10-55’s Alex Denis reports, he plays in some amazing places.

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Negrin, who has struggled as a stage actor, now tours with his piano. In a little more than a year, he’s logged 19,000 miles, making music in 53 cities — three of them in Canada.

“I really love doing this. This has brought me so much happiness in my life. It’s changed my life,” Negrin told TV 10-55.

He’s also played in outrageous places, like on a cliff overlooking Yellowstone National Park and inside a California Redwood.

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“The last trip I did. I did a one-month tour of the northeast and Canada, starting with only two dollars and one gallon of gas…and ended up doing a full circle. I got gigs. I played on the streets of, I think, 11 cities and I ended up coming back with $2,400,” Negrin said. “It was the first time where I actually realized I can actually make a living playing piano and doing what I love.”

Negrin also has constant companionship. He travels with his dog, Brando, And when he comes home, he has tons of tales to tell.

brando the traveling piano dog Once Struggling Actor Now Making A Living By Taking His Piano And Dog On The Road


“On that road, you can just go on forever,” You know, it’s one thing to sit here and play music and collect money from people, but it’s another thing to come on the street and have a meaning, have a message, a purpose,” Negrin said.

Who knew you could have fun pushing around a 450-pound piano?

“When I first started doing this, I used to be so embarrassed. And then slowly, slowly, this has actually…helped me build up my confidence,” Negrin said. “Someone came up to me and he says, ‘You know what’s so great about you is that you’re happy and we can see that.’”

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If you want to see Negrin in person, try Union Square. It’s one of the places he often parks his piano.