Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Called back for Broadway!

At the end of my previous post, I was hoping to get a callback for Chicago.  I should tell you, now that it is all said and done with, that what really happened at the end of the audition was that the casting director told me they were going to call me back in the following week to sing and dance again.  I hate to jinx myself so didn't want to mention it beforehand.   Anyways, the following week I was invited back in for a replacement call for Chicago.  We were supposed to sing and dance in the morning and then possibly be available to sing and dance later that day for Walter Bobbie!  I was super duper pumped!

The callback happened Friday morning, which also happened to be the first night of previews for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (RCCS), so I had a lot going on that day!  I decided to wear the same black unitard I had worn to the previous audition, but this time I wore my hair out and put a red lip on.  I arrived to the audition in the morning and there were about 25 girls there.  I recognized several of them either from previous auditions or other broadway shows they had done.  This was seriously the big leagues!

We went into the room to dance first and were taught the same combination I had learned previously except it had one small eight count change and they added on a little more to the end.  We all got a little more into the details with the dance captain and got a chance to go over it several times.  Then we did it in groups of three.  They didn't make a cut then, but asked us all to go over and sing for the musical director.  We ended up having to wait awhile because the boys weren't done singing just yet.  Finally, after sitting around for a minute, it was my turn to go in and sing.  I sang Come Down from the Tree for just the musical director and Duncan Stewart , the head of the casting office.  It didn't go as well as I wanted it to, when does it ever, so I wasn't feeling all that confident afterwards.  The musical director was also giving me the evil eye the entire time I sang which didn't do much to help me feel any better.

After all of that they asked us to wait around so that they could make a cut.  Those who made the cut would perform for Walter Bobbie.  They also stated that they had somewhat changed what they were looking for and there were only 2 slots available at this time.  For both men and women!  Anyways, cuts were made and, true to my intuition, I didn't make it.  Boo!  They kept about 5 girls out of the 25, none of whom were tall.  I have to tell myself stuff like that to deal with the rejection better.  I went about my merry way to have a burger and then make my debut as a Rockette!  So honestly I can't really say it was a bad day and plus, its all about the small victories.  Today I'm getting called back for Broadway and tomorrow, I'm booking the gig!  One step at a time, one step at a time.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I love the musical Chicago.  In fact, I would dare to say that it is my favorite dance musical.  Not sure if I can give it favorite musical status, especially after just seeing Follies, but it is THE musical that I want to be in on Broadway.  That being said you would think that I would have been in to audition for it a million times in the past three years.  However, getting to the audition has never worked out until this past week.  I noticed that there was an upcoming chorus call for the show and knew they were actively looking for replacements, but the audition time was at the same time as rehearsal for Radio City.  So I emailed the casting department and asked if I could come to the boys call earlier in the day and they agreed!

I have never gone to a boys call before, and even though I was equity I still had to wait to be seen with the non-equity boys.  Boo to the waiting, but I was just happy to get seen.  I also wasn't the only girl there, in the end there were four girls who came to the call.  Glancing around I got a chance to do my usual audition outfit survey and there was a unanimous decision to wear all black amongst those auditioning.  Some of the girls had chosen two piece outfits, but I myself went with a black unitard.  I was also too lazy to wear a red lip or put my hair down.  Don't judge.

Anyways, the non-equity group of boys and all four girls finally got into the room as one big group .  There were probably around fifty people all trying to learn the combination at once so it was a bit crowded.  The combination was taught by the current dance captain of the show and was a little bit from the overture of the show, but primarily consisted of the number All That Jazz.  He taught the combination very quickly, stating that he needed to see how fast we would be able to pick the movement up.  We were given a chance to practice it once in smaller groups, then it was time to audition.  The boys went in groups of three and the girls went last, as a group of four.  I had a great time doing the combo and didn't make any mistakes.  They made a cut and I was given a chance to sing.

I sang a new song at the audition, Don Juan from Smokey Joe's Cafe and then the casting director asked me if I had something else a little more soprano like.  Much to my dismay the accompanist was flipping through my book of music and selected the song for me!  That is like audition nightmare central!  Luckily he picked Come Down from the Tree from Once on this Island, which I have been working on in class.  I sang the song and then casting told me that I should sing that song next time I come in as it is more what the musical director was looking for.  Who knew that Chicago didn't want to hear you belt!?  I love feedback at auditions because that means they are actually interested in you/think you have potential.  So here's to hoping I hear from them soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shine Out! pt. 2

If you haven't read the super long pt.1, scroll down and read that first.  Done?  Cool.

After eating a substantial breakfast of sausage and oatmeal I returned to Radio City for day two of Rockette auditions.  I didn't arrive too early, the audition was at 10am and I got there around 9:30-9:45, and when I walked into the holding room BAM!  There were about 40 additional girls in there than the twenty that were left from yesterday.  Joy.  It was obviously going to be a rough and tumble audition day.  I spent my time in the holding room, warming up, reviewing material, and trying to chit chat with people, but everyone was a little stressed understandably.  Thankfully, although running a little behind, we were ushered into the audition room to begin the 2nd day.

The first combination we learned was the one from the previous day.  Everyone who hadn't learned it moved to the front and we ran through it all the way through.  No stopping in between the first and second sessions like yesterday.  After everyone felt comfortable its time to perform it for the panel and wouldn't you know they want us to go two at a time!  Now, there are over 60 people in the room so this is going to take forever!  I wait and wait for my name to be called.  (I definitely prefer to be in the beginning or soon after, so that you can just get it over with no standing around letting your mind get the best of you.) What in the world is going on?  Oh, I'm at the end, its a bummer to stand around so long, but at least my name is in the pile.  Right before I went out, I decided to let all the nerves go.  I asked that God's will be done and remembered that this was not the end all be all of things.  I stood out on the floor, the music began, I danced, and it was good.  I was happy and felt much more stable in my shoes than yesterday.  Hooray!

They didn't make a cut and we moved on to tap.  They added onto the combination from yesterday and then we danced again.  Good.  Still no cuts.  Now it was time for the last jazz combination.  For the past few auditions it has been a combo from the number Shine and today was no different.  It was great to already know it and really get a chance to sell it.  In May after we did Shine, Linda told all of us auditioners that we had frozen up under pressure and not performed to our full potential.  I was not going to let that be the case today.  So I just went for it, arabesques, leans, kicks, and all...and...I had fun.  Don't tell, but I actually had fun at a Rockette audition!  After that, it was time for kicks; which, went off without a hitch (see what I did there?) and it was time to go.   She didn't make any cuts on the second day, so we all went back into the holding room to complete our paperwork and then I scurried out of there to my next audition. (more on that later).

Now the great thing about August auditions is that you don't have to wait months for a decision to be made.  RC made calls with offers just two days after auditions.....and I got one!!  After screaming at the poor women on the phone, I confirmed that I would be in the New York cast of this season's Christmas Spectacular!  I am thrilled, in a way that could never adequately be described in writing.  After turning it down last year to go on tour I was afraid that I had missed my opportunity, and after not getting the job from the May audition I was pretty sure that was it, but somehow I am going to be kicking it up for Christmas this year!

Blessings have literally been raining from the sky for me.  I am incredibly humbled and grateful for it all.  I'm checking something ridiculous of my bucket list with this one.  Four years ago I was sitting over at 380 Greenwich in a button-down shirt and trousers making pivot tables in excel.  Wearing sequins is sooo much better!

Signing off with my senior year h.s. yearbook quote: "Do what you love and love what you do"

P.S.  Man this entry got sappy towards the end, sorry about that.
P.P.S. Jeremiah 29:11

Shine Out! pt.1

A public service announcement:

This will be my last blog about Rockette auditions.  I mean seriously, I've talked about the process so many times my teeth are falling out of my head. But for those of you who want to hear it one more time...here we go!

I didn't get a call from Radio City after the May audition.  I flew myself all the way from Nashville, missed part of my last week with Young Frank, did really well at the audition, made it to the end, and nothing.  Really? REALLY?  When calls started going out, and I didn't get one, I was bummed.  Really bummed, but unlike two years ago, I did not breakdown, cry, and feel bad for myself.  (Ok, maybe I felt a little bad for myself)  To be honest I was a little fed up with the whole process and when people asked me if I was going to go back and audition again I just wasn't quite sure.  Truth is, it was a really tough year to get a job.  Radio City had to cut two of the out of town shows for the upcoming season and that meant that 40 rockettes would be without work.  Any open slots from the three remaining shows would most likely be given to one of the 40 with no place to go.  After not getting a job at the first audition, I figured there were just no spots available for me.

When I saw they were going to go ahead and have an August call, I debated with myself if I should go.  First, I would be missing some other great auditions happening those same days.  Second, rumor had it that there were only around 13 spots available still and that many of those were actually being reserved for current/former rockettes coming to the audition to earn their spot back.  But, eventually I just decided to go for it.  The Monday of the audition I rolled out of bed, did my hair and makeup, grabbed the same pink leotard I've been wearing for the past 2 years and headed to Radio City Music Hall.  As usual, there were far fewer girls at the audition in August than there were in May.  I was about #180 and was in the last group of girls to be seen.  So there couldn't have been more than 200-220 girls there.

I got into the audition room and they were teaching the same combination from May.  Well, almost the same.  They love to change up little details like head movements and arms, just enough to keep you on your toes if you'd been to the earlier audition.  After learning it we did it three at a time and a cut was made.  I got kept.  Then all the other girls who had been kept in the earlier groups joined us in the room.  We learned the second half of the combination, but whoa! they were trying to change things up!  Luckily it was a mish-mash of another audition combo that I knew so it wasn't completely foreign.  After learning it, we performed it for Linda and Julie and then they made another cut.

Next was tap.  Instead of learning the combination from May, we learned a portion of the dance from "Twelve Days".  I had never learned this before so I got really scared, asked questions and made sure I figured it out.  When doing a tap audition you always have to know it.  Other times maybe you can get away with watching the girl next to you in the mirror, but in tap those sounds have to come from YOUR feet and if you miss a sound or get off the rhythm it is painfully obvious.  I got the tap down, we auditioned, and they made yet another cut.  Now usually at this point we get told to come back tomorrow but not this time.  It was too tough of a year.  Linda tells us to put our heels back on and learn a kick combination!  NEVER in all 6 of my other times auditioning have I ever kicked on the first day, but here we were kicking.

At this point I was not feeling well.  Chalk one up for being dumb and not having a good breakfast/drinking enough water/something.  I got the kicking over with but was feeling a little woozy and nauseous.  I was a very strange auditionee trying to sneak pieces of bagel out of my bag while other girls were auditioning.  After the kicks no cuts were made; instead, its announcd that we will be doing the first jazz combo again!  Oh. No.  I do not have it in me.  I did my best, but felt crappy, and on the final pose when you are supposed to stick the landing like Kerri Strug at the Olympics... I bobbled.   Like started to fall off to one side bobble.  Oh Lord...come on!  Fortunately they let it slide, I made the cut and we were finally told we could come back tomorrow.  At this point there were about 24 girls left, but tomrrow, oh tomorrow, would be the day when the rockettes were coming to get their jobs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Its A Jolly Holiday with Mary!

 A few weeks ago, I went back to the Mary Poppins audition for the first time in almost two years.  The last time I went in I made several cuts, so I have been dying to go back in for it, but the timing has never worked out, until now.  This particular call was for the national tour.  (Do I really want to go on tour again so soon?  I don't know but I really like the show and it could be a way into the Broadway company) I made it to the call in time to hear my name called on the equity list (yay for finally being 30min early) but was still in the second group of girls to go into the room.  The call almost always starts out in tap shoes and this day was no different.  They tend to teach the same thing at these auditions so the more times you go back the more you know the combination.  Luckily for me I had been keeping the tap combination in my head, so I remembered it and was able to perform it well.  Then they made a cut, and I was kept.

After they went through the rest of the girls, they did see non-equity ladies, we were brought back into the room and taught a second combination.  This combination takes place when the statues in the park come to life (Jolly Holiday).  We had to pretend to break out of our stone poses and then go into a dance that was one part jazz and the other part ballet.  It was really cute, but not the combination I learned at the previous audition which was Supercal.  I learned the combo, and really focused on a couple of small details that were giving me trouble.  We all danced for the casting folk again and I managed to get through it without any mistakes!  At that point I can see that they are making piles for a cut, but instead of announcing it to us they just tell us they will call if they want to hear us sing.

A few days later I get a call to go in and sing for the music team of Mary Poppins.  Hooray!  I added Happy Working Song to my book last summer with Poppins specifically in mind, so  I knew what song I wanted to sing right away.  I had a week to prepare and then I headed over to Ripley Grier.  I got there slightly before my call time of 11am, only to find that they were running early! So no sooner than I had arrived I had to go into the room and sing!  The song went well, the people at the table looked generally pleased and I was told that I did a great job, but I haven't heard back from them.

Sidenote:  I know that some people were called back to read sides the following day and I also know that some people received offers for the tour, some leaving this September and others for the tour in 2012.  I'm also pretty sure that casting isn't finished yet for 2012 so hears to hoping I still have a shot with them!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The New York Musical Theater Festival

A couple of weeks ago I was in rehearsal for a small gig I was doing.  Rehearsal was supposed to run from 10-6, but we got out early around 4pm.  So I hustled my butt down to Pearl Studios to audition for the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF).  NYMF is a fairly new event in New York City that gives a lot of budding writers/composers/directors/etc. a chance to put up their new musicals in the city.  Now this year was the very first year that they held an ECC (equity chorus call) for dancers, and after going to the audition I can see why.

I arrived just barely on time; given that I had to rush from rehearsal to the audition.  I checked in with the monitor, changed my clothes, and was attempting to make myself look decent, when someone from the casting office walks into the room and tells us that they will be seeing us all at the same time.  Whaaaaaaat???!?  Yes, they were going to shove all the equity AND non-equity girls into the audition room at once.  Great, its always fun to learn a combination when you are standing in a room so full you feel like cattle in the pen before slaughter.  Oh well.  We headed into the room and it was PACKED and not only was it packed but the sweet woman teaching the combination must have been about 4'11" so no one can see!

She introduced herself and explained to us that the combination she was about to teach is a mishmash of a lot of different styles of dance.  You see, the room was filled with people from ALL the different NYMF shows in need of dancers.  Each show of course had different needs and rather than teach several different combinations, they saved time by making one crazy schizophrenic combo that had in it: sexy jazz, tap, hip-hop, and a little acting.  It was nuts.  After all of us sardines learned the combination we did it in groups and they made a cut.  I was asked to stay and sing, but was super confused because they didn't tell you what musical called you back.  Which meant I had no clue what type of song to sing!  I went with my standard "Waiting for Life" and that was it.

Then two weeks later I got a callback for the NYMF show Central Avenue Breakdown!  They were looking for a "a whisky-voiced jazz alto" for a featured ensemble roll.  If that doesn't sound like me then what does?  I was told to bring a jazz/R&B song and to prepare an excerpt of music from the show.  When I arrived at the call today, there was a mixture of both dancers and singers their, which was only setting us up for a long audition especially when we started late.  The dancers had to wait while the singers did their movement combination and then approx. 15 of us went in to learn the combination.  The combo was a super fun, low to the ground number.  Borrowing a lot from the 40s, with basic Lindy steps and the sugarfoot, it also had a high kick and tons of opportunities to show your personality.  We all learned the combination, did it four at a time, then were told to go back to the holding room and wait for our turn to sing.

After waiting for a while, I finally requested to be put at the head of the line because I had to go see a show later on that evening.  I walked into the room and sang A Sunday Kind of Love.  It went very well, but they didn't ask me to sing the music from the show.  However, the director/choreographer told me that I had a great audition today and thats all I can really ask for.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carrie the Musical

I'm so behind on blogging about auditions!  July has been a crazy month of auditions, class, and odd little projects.  But, the inspiration for last weeks post came from the equity chorus call for Carrie the Musical.  This 80s musical went down in history as a colossal flop, but is currently being reworked for an off broadway revival.  There are pretty much no youtube clips to go off of, so I had no idea what to expect at this chorus call. 

Now, this audition happened THREE weeks ago, so forgive me if the details are a little fuzzy.  It was a lovely 10am audition, which for most people might seem like a perfectly reasonable time for an audition, but I HATE morning auditions.  My life doesn't have a set schedule which means I usually wake up at 10am.  Forcing me awake a full 2 hrs earlier (and I still cut it close) so that I can get dressed cute, warm up my voice, and get to an audition at 9:30am is just torture.   As I roled into the audition at about 9:45 of course there were already a bunch of girls there. 

I always find it interesting to people watch while I wait to go into the audition room.  The responsible people were warming up and stretching (yeah..not me), others were busy gabbing away with friends (shyly raises hand), some were out trying to catch a glance into the audition room to see the combination, and the rest were keeping to themselves (me when I started this whole audition game).  There were people are wearing leotards and dance shoes, some are completely 80s, and everyone in between.  I myself had chosen to wear a pair of capris, a tank, and my favorite purple converse.  Trying to look  youthful, without dressing for the part.  See previous entry.

After waiting for about an hour, its my turn to go into the room.  The choreographer, Matt Williams takes some time to explain the musical to us and we then begin to learn the choreography.  Whoa!  First the combination is from the scene where all the teens are at the dance and Carrie unleashes havoc on everyone.  So there was a lot of acting like you had just seen the most horrific event of your life and also a move where we got to pretend we were levitating! Second, have you seen this clip from the Fresh Prince of Belair?

Ok, so it wasn't THAT bad, but still.  The choreographer basically taught us the ENTIRE combination, which had several changes of direction, and even included skipping in one take.  Then after he had gone through it said "Does anyone have any questions?"  I swear I've never seen so many hands shoot up so fast.  So after clarifying all the walking patterns, counts, and directional changes, it was time for the judging tables to come out.  I had a few small mistakes when it came to timing but other than that it wasn't too bad; however, sometimes you can just tell you're not being watched.  You glance over at the table and you never see any eyes on you.  Its a disheartening realization to have in the middle of a combination, but there is really nothing you can do about it.  After finishing the combo, I waited to be cut, and that was it.

P.S. Yes I just REALLY wanted to have that clip from the Fresh Prince in there.  I loved the original Aunt Viv!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Audition Outfit

What should I wear today?  This question plagues many people on the planet every time the sun rises.    Yet somehow, as a performer going on auditions, the decision holds a lot more weight than just being cute for the day.  Now, I do not subscribe to the idea that you must go in costume or even dress for the show you are auditioning for.  You will see me in the exact same outfit at almost every audition, a bright colored leotard/tank top and my trusty black skort.  I'll be wearing that at Annie, Wicked, Oklahoma, Young Frankenstein ;) , Memphis...you get the picture.  I truly believe that if you can dance it doesn't matter what you wear.  If you are right for the role AND can dance it REALLY doesn't matter what you wear.  There are only two instances where I think that an outfit can make or break it at an audition. 

The first instance is when you are borderline right for the role and can dance.  For example, the other day I auditioned for Fame which takes place in h.s. in the 80s.  Now, I am almost 5'9" which means I do NOT read as a high schooler.  So in order to look the part, I wore tennis shoes a t-shirt and my hair in a ponytail.  I dressed younger, like I was in high school, so that I would not be typed out immediately.  So if someone is trying to look younger, older, more ethnic, less ethnic, shorter, taller, etc.  then yes consider your outfit.  However, if you cannot get the choreography this will not help you in the least.

The second instance is when the audition is for something so specific that it is well known what you should wear, i.e. The Rockettes, A Chorus Line, Mama Mia, Rock of Ages, etc.  For the Rockettes and A Chorus Line you need to show up in a leotard, tights, and a heel.   NOTHING else.  Linda Haberman and Baayork Lee do not play and they do not want anything breaking up your lines like pants or *gasp* shorts.  Baayork nearly had a heart attack when a girl wore shorts in her chorus line audition.   For Mamma Mia they want you in street clothes, don't come in a leotard and a Laduca they will not appreciate it.

Those two instances are the primary cases where you need to craft a specific look for your audition, but again they will never make up for poor technique and if you are fantastic enough they won't keep you from getting hired.  I have seen a girl in a unitard and ballet shoes make a Rockette cut simply because she was good, but that is the exception and not the rule and most of the time you will not be the exception.  So, do not go out and buy anything for a specific audition.   Make do with what you have and let's all focus on the dancing and not the fashion.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Superfly the Musical

A few weeks ago, I had a particularly rough week of auditions.  Following the Fame and Chaplin auditions, I auditioned for the workshop of Superfly the Musical.  The new musical is set to show life in 1970's Harlem using music from the era and is directed and choreographed by the legendary Bill T. Jones, choreographer for Fela! The audition was held at the Alvin Ailey studios (my old stomping grounds), which was an unusual setting for a musical audition in the first place and an indicator of things to come.

First they split the audition by having the "Harlem Beauties" come in the morning and the "Priest's Girlfriend/Caucasion Streetwalkers" come in the afternoon.  Yes, they really did split the audition along those lines.  I arrived in the morning, being the Harlem Beauty that I am (sorry couldn't help myself)  and got a chance to catch up with some of the kids from Ailey which was really nice.  The girls at the audition ran the entire spectrum.  There were girls from The Ailey School there, girls from the Alvin Ailey company (!) and then girls that I usually see at musical theatre auditions.  Given the population I was extremely curious what I was in for.

The equity girls were called into the room and greeted by the fabulous Bill T. Jones himself.  He was extremely kind and ridiculously fit!  He started the audition by having us learn two phrases, as we repeated the phrases again and again, he would lead in the front and then switch one of the phrases and we were to learn it and repeat.  It was actually really difficult because while you were dancing you were expected to be watching and learning at the same time, then to dance it right after.  We were all struggling!  I thought that that was probably the first cut, but it wasn't.  It was the warm up!  He then, had us all walk through the center of the room at the same time.  We were to just keep walking and going through the center of the room.  So that he could see how we moved.  Then finally we learned a combo.  It was very much modern dance, had no counts, and though the music was in eights we were not to dance with the music!

Sigh, I hate being out of place at auditions.  It rarely happens to me, but when it does the feeling is discouraging.  Now this was not like the wicked combo, where I was having a hard time getting the movement in my body.  I learned the combo fine, but the timing was just not something I could adjust to.  My body needs counts!  So we did the combination once and Bill T. Jones goes around making cuts by shaking hands and telling people thanks for coming one by one, and he doesn't eliminate me! Whew.  But the girls that he does cut, he asks if they would like to sing on the spot in front of everyone while doing some movement across the floor... um what?  I'm not even sure if that's OK with equity?  These poor girls after being cut then have to sing their songs in front of us all, while making up their own dance.  Yikes!  We then do the combination again in groups and this time I'm given the boot along with others, but he didn't ask us to sing and I probably would have declined anyways. What an experience!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ain't nothing gonna break my stride....

"Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin!"

Yeah yeah, last week was one of those kind of weeks.  Lots of auditions, lots of rejection.  Not the most fun I've ever had in my life.  On Monday, I went over to an audition for Fame, which will be touring through China for a couple of weeks in August.  At 5'8", I'm a little tall to play a high schooler in the theater world, but I'm not THAT tall so I decided to give it a whirl.  Now in comparison to the previous calls I've been to this summer.  There were a surprising number of girls at the call.  I showed up right when the audition started and was in the second group of equity girls to be seen.  The combination was to the title song "Fame" and was a very high energy number.  The choreographer was very specific that energy was the most important factor when doing the combo.  So I had a lot of fun just rocking out to the iconic song.  I made the first cut, and then went to the holding room to wait for them to finish with everyone else.

When we got back into the room, there were not many people left.  There were maybe 20 people in the room, but as I looked around I saw I was the tallest girl there.  Never a good sign!  So we learned a bit more of the combination, performed it, and I was cut.  No biggie, if your too tall, your too tall.  What can you do about it?  I certainly don't wish I was shorter!

Taking that in stride, I then, on Tuesday, had a callback for Becoming Chaplin.  It was just a singing callback and I chose to sing something pretty traditional, "Mister Snow" from the musical Carousel.
I've been working on this silly song for awhile now and really felt pretty prepared to sing it.  I headed over to Pearl, and arrived slightly before my appointment time.  As I sit there I get to hear what goes on in the audition room and listen to people talk about whats happening in there.  Not always a good thing.  Anyways, people are going in and having to sing two songs! And they are asking for a joke!  What the hay?  As I sit frantically searching for a joke on my phone and thinking of what the secondary song I could sing is.  I think I may have gotten a bit of distracted from the task at hand.

Its my turn to go into the audition room, and I tell the accompanist about my song and how I'd like it played.  But it was all for not, because in the middle of my 16 bars I have a royal screw up.  I came in two measures early in part of the song and had to repeat myself to get back on track with the accompaniment.  Crap!  They smiled and thanked me, no second song, no joke.  How embarassing... Honestly, I never mind being cut when I do my best, because I know there's nothing else I could have done.  But when stuff like the above happens I get frustrated to the high heavens.  I am over it now, but it took me a week before I could blog about that one.  At least what I was singing sounded pretty.   Ish happens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Becoming Chaplin Audition

After finishing with the Northern Stage audition I hopped on the train to head to another audition for a workshop for the new musical Becoming Chaplin.  The Northern Stage audition had started at 9:30 and Becoming Chaplin was scheduled to start at 10.  So heading downtown at 10:30 I was in a bit of a hurry to make sure I got there in time to be seen.  Lucky for me when I arrived the first group of equity girls was still in the room and I was only #65!  Again, where is everyone!?

Now, originally the monitor, the person who runs the audition room, told me I would have to go with the non-equity girls because I had arrived so late.  But I quickly filled out my card and changed, just in case he tried to switch things up on me and surprise! that's exactly what he did.  As the second group was heading in he told me that I could go in with them.  So I rushed to put my shoes on and was the last person to get into the room.

Now, if you've ever seen a Charlie Chaplin film you know it has a lot of physical comedy in it.  So at the audition choreographer, Warren Carlyle tried to recreate this.  The first third of the combination was counted in sevens and sixes and was filled with acting, we were basically trying to portray someone waking up and stretching.  Then the combination broke into a little soft shoe number! Fun.  However, at the end it got very difficult.  The combination finished with a million chaine turns into a triple pirouette, into twelve fouettes, finished with a double pirouette and drop to a split! Seriously.....is this real life?

Now the combination was super long, but I managed to keep my brain on long enough to pick it up. Plus, I was in the very last group to audition so I had plenty of time to run through it in my head.  Watching 30 plus girls go before you is always helpful, but it also made me realize just how impossible that turn combination was.  You simply can't turn that much on a wood floor, with rubber soles, IN HEELS!!!  Luckily for me I have been too lazy to get my shoes rubbered so I had suede on my LaDucas.  Anyways, when it was finally my turn, I had a lot of fun with the acting and then when we got to the turn combination, I managed to get through the entire thing without stopping.  By the end I wasn't spotting and the entire room was just spinning by in a blur.  I'm also sure that they were the ugliest, most turned in, hiked up shoulder fouettes ever seen in an audition room.  But I dropped to my split and was finished!  Hooray!

Then choreographer told us that we could all be excused, but once in the hallway my name and one other girls name were called back into the room to dance some more!  But when we got in there he explained to us that we didn't need to dance again, that he simply wanted to let us know they would be calling us at some point to come in and sing again!  Awesome.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where is Everyone???

I think once about two years ago I talked about going against the grain and heading to a smaller audition on a day when there is a bigger call going on at the same time.  Well yesterday that is exactly what I did.  Northern Stage Theatre is a smaller equity house in Vermont that was holding a call for the musical Annie.  As a child I always dreamed of being Annie but given that I probably couldn't pull off the red hair, it was a dream never to come true.  (My mom and dad weren't Will and Jada..shout out to Willow!)  But I headed over to audition for it as an adult on the same day that auditions for a new upcoming musical called Becoming Chaplin was coming out.

Now, I expected fewer dancers to be there, but I walked in and there were only six equity girls there! Six!  And when all was said and done only twelve non-equity girls showed up!  So we all got to go in as one rather small group and learned a combination to the number "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here".  The combination was very ballet influenced and right up my alley!  Nothing makes you feel more joyous in an audition than being in your comfort zone, let me tell you.  So I got to have a lot of fun, which is not always the case. 

We get to go three at a time for the casting folk and I am in the 2nd group of three since there were only six equity girls total.  I had a lot of fun and felt good about my performance and I could tell that a cut was being made, but they never announced it to us.   Instead they had all eighteen of us come back and sing.  I sang a fairly traditional song entitled A Little Bit in Love from the musical Wonderful Town, which went OK, but I pretty much decided at that moment that I cannot wait another week without taking my tush to voice lessons.  After singing that was it! We were all free to go and I headed down to that other audition for Becoming Chaplin.  Two auditions in one day? You bet, but more on that later!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Minor Redemption @ Rocky Horror

After my championship performance at Wicked the week before, I decided to sign up to audition for the Rocky Horror Picture show this past Thursday Jun, 2.  A brief aside, you have the opportunity as an equity member to sign up for chorus calls a week in advance.  That way if you do it early enough you can guarantee you'll be seen in the first group and usually get the most time to learn the combination.  The only catch is that you have to be at the audition 30 min ahead of time or else you lose your spot and have to sign up in the order in which you arrived.  Of course although I signed up ahead of time, I missed my name being called from this list.  So to the end of the line I went.  Lucky for me there was barely anyone there, so I was still only #35.

I assumed I was in the second group.  So I went to go change.  If you've ever seen Rocky Horror, you know that they wear some crazy little outfit.  Emphasis on little!  I don't have anything to crazy, so I tried my best to look cute and then went to the holding room to wait for about 45 min until it was time to go in.  The combination was something I can only describe as odd.  It was all about the drama, actings, and the character you could get into.. and it was quick.  There was this one really quick hand part, that no one seemed to be catching onto.  I've included a clip from the movie of the song we danced to for your enjoyment:

We performed the combination six at a time, and lucky for me by the time my name was called I had pretty much figured out the one section I was struggling with.  They then made a cut and I was asked to stay and sing.  Hooray! My good friend who was also asked to stay and sing had this great idea that we should rent a room to warm up in for the second part of the audition.   What an awesome concept!  Just a quick 15min to warm up and hear yourself sing your 16 bars really helps you feel prepared.  Especially this time when I was singing a song I had not yet done at an audition.
Anyways, they maybe kept a third of the girls to sing.  We lined up and one at a time went in to sing.  I sang this:

And that was it.  I think that it went pretty well.  But nerves always make you sound a little different than you do when you are not in the audition room.  But honestly I have no complaints.  Haven't heard from them, but don't much care as I really just needed a chance to prove my brain had not turned to much and to debut my new 60s/70s pop song!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Something Wicked this way comes!

It is unfortunately time to jump head first back into the audition circuit here in the city!  So Thursday, after returning from my dear friend's wedding (a seriously awesome, beautiful, never been so happy for someone ever wedding)...what?  Oh right this is an audition blog.  Anyways, Thursday I went over to the Wicked dancer chorus call.  I really love the musical, but its been on Broadway forever and they are rarely ever looking for people.  But I went anyways, because I had never been and wanted to see what the combination was like.

I was the 26th equity lady to get an audition card and they decided to take us in, in groups of 30, so I was in the first group to go.  Hooray for no waiting!  Well, can I just say that this may have been one of the worst auditions I have ever had!  Simply put, the combination was very contemporary ballet and well after about a year of straight jazz and tap, you could say I was woefully unprepared.

Here's a video that gives an example of choreo, but its not the combo they used.  Starts at 1:25 or so.

The combination instead of being taught in eights, was counted in fours, fives, and a seven.  Add to that movement that just refused to feel comfortable in my body and you have a recipe for disaster.  After just struggling to pick up the material, I finally got it at least well enough to not completely embarrass myself, but it was still terrible.  I can't sit here and pretend it was anything else.  However of our group of 30 they only kept 2 and I'm not even sure if they were asked to sing.  So I'm no too upset.  At least now I know what to expect and also if I'm serious about Wicked I should take my butt to some contemporary classes!  So it wasn't a totally useless or demoralizing experience.

On to the next one!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Elbow, Wrist, Hand...Eye High...and all that!

Its May, and of course that means its time for Rockette auditions again!  I think I've done more than enough blogging about the experience.  So I'm just going to do a couple of quick bullet points for anyone who is curious about the specifics of this year.
  • This year instead of having girls line the block and stand outside for hours, Radio City handed out slips with times to come back.  I got there around 8:15am and was given a slip for the 10:45 time slot.
  • When I came back at 10:45, I still ended up waiting an hour before I could come inside, but spent a significantly less amount of time waiting once inside the building.
  • They started out with a jazz combination, then made a cut.  Once they had seen all the girls, the ones who made it past the first cut came back in and learned the rest of the jazz combination. Then a second cut was made.
  • To finish out the first day we learned a quick tap combination; which is always a relief to me because thankfully its something I'm very comfortable doing.  A third cut was made and then those of us who where left were invited back to callbacks the next day.
  • 32 girls left
How did I feel about the first day, ok.  My double turn was off all day which was really annoying because I can turn just fine on the daily.  I also did one wrong head turn, but overall a solid day.

Day Two
  • I arrived around 9:15am and the audition began at 10am. 
  • We learned a "new" jazz routine, which is called Shine. This combo has actually been used in callbacks the past three years.   After all the girls went, Linda Haberman told us that she thought a lot of us, let nerves get the best of us.  So she made us do it again as a big group, and kind of walked around the room looking at us.  Fun.

  • Then we learned the rest of the tap routine and did the jazz combination from yesterday over again.
  • Then a surprise! They made a cut.  I have only seen a cut made one other time on the second day and that was early in the day, not all the way at the end.  
  • After the cut, we did a pretty long kick combination.  Then they had all the girls line up, link up, and kick together.  I have not seen that done at all in the past three years.
  • At the end of it all there were 26 girls left
 Nothing more to add.  My pirouettes were acting up, and man I was tired by the time it was time to kick, but here's to hoping that I can get that call again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Callbacks for Memphis

In March I wrote about attending the equity chorus call for the national tour of Memphis.  Well, in the middle of April I received an email from Telsey casting to come in for a call back! Hooray!  After a long harrowing ordeal to get to NYC, I arrived an hour late for my appointment and had to go in the next group.

Unlike some other equity callbacks, this call still had a ton of people, and the first group took a very long time in the audition room.  However, once they were done the later group of girls, and there must have still been 50 of us, went into the room to learn the combination.  The combo turned out to be the same combination learned at the chorus call, with a few differences.  Mainly that there were two different variations that you had to learn and then based on how you were lined up you did one or the other.  A bit much to have to remember in an audition situation.  But we learned them and then went five at a time.  They then made a cut, and I was kept.

For the second combination all the girls were brought back into the room and told to put our heels on.  The asst. choreographer, Edgar Godineaux, then taught us a second combination which was very fun!  It was a cute combo, which I can only describe as being in the style of a Motown doo-wop singer.  It was a little longer, but despite being exhausted I managed to pick it up.  When it came time for my audition, I gave it all I had at the time, didn't mess up, and thought I did pretty good.

Unfortunately when it came time to move on to the next thing, about nine of us girls, were called over by the casting director and told that "It wasn't a bad thing, they were just considering us for another track, and that they didn't need to hear us sing today"  Booooo, there were still about 50 girls left so I was a little disappointed not to sing.  At the time, I wasn't sure if I had just been cut or if they really were considering me for another track in the show.  But as of last week, offers went out for the tour, so I guess it was a cut.  Its all for the best though, but I sure do love that musical!  Maybe next time!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Walking in Memphis!

So the other day I mentioned attending an EPA and leaving to go to another audition in between.  Well, that in between audition just happened to be the equity chorus call for Memphis the musical!  The 1st national tour will be going out in the fall and while I'm not sure if I'll be ready to go back on tour just yet, I figured there would be no harm in going in and getting seen.

After leaving the Ogunquit audition, I arrived at Memphis around 10:45.  The awesome thing with having my equity card is that I was able to walk right in to the monitor and grab a number!  I was only #49 at that and they were doing groups of twenty-five, so I knew I would be in the second group.  I took some time to change and warm up and before I knew it, I was going in to the audition.

The combination was taught to us by someone who is still currently in the show running on Broadway.  It was a fun little combination called radio, where we were supposed to pretend we were bad, misbehaving teenagers.  It had an odd little penche step in it repeatedly, along with a short stomp combination!  This being my first audition in over six months words can't express how nervous I was to 1. now be in a room with all equity dancers and 2. to have to pick up, remember, and perform a combination so quickly!  After learning the combination, they told our group to leave and go practice it outside, while the first group went back in to do it three at a time.

We all filed back out into the holding room and began to practice.  Its always amusing and good to have time to practice a combination before having to do it for the casting crew, but at the same time you don't want to tire yourself out or get messed up watching everyone else do it.  So I practiced it a few times, and then focused on stretching, considering they had stated that when we kick our knee should be by our ear and they didn't care how it got there! LOL

After a very short time, we went in to perform the combo.  It was fun and went fairly well, I just had one minor mistake at the very end of the combo.  But I don't really think it mattered.  Unfortunately I will never know because they didn't make a cut!  Well they did, but they didn't announce it.  Instead the casting director told us that they were going to be seriously casting for the tour in April and there was only one Broadway spot opening up in May.  So we wouldn't be hearing from them for a while even if we did make the grade.  Booo!  Another anticlimactic audition, but it was good to dip my foot back in the audition pool.  Only two more months before I'm unemployed again!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Equity Principle Auditions??

So I've been on tour for the past six months, but more on that later.  Yesterday I had a day off and decided to come to the city to give a go at auditioning for the first time in 2011.  After landing at Laguardia and stopping by my apartment to get my things together, I headed out on a rainy day to try to make it to two auditions.  The first audition was an Equity Principle Audition (EPA) for Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.  They are doing Legally Blonde and some other musicals for the summer, but I am obviously interested in being Pilar!  It was my first time going to a principle call, and I got there around 10:15 for a call that started at 10am.

Let me explain a little about EPAs.  Usually an EPA call will run about 8hrs during a day and that 8hrs is broken into 20 min slots with five or so people able to sing during that 20mins.  However getting a time slot is on a first come first serve basis the day of.  So many people arrive an hour or so ahead of time to make sure they are able to actually get a time slot.  Once all the time slots are filled, any other equity members who want to audition must sign up on the alternate list and wait around all day to see if anyone doesn't make their time slot.

Now, considering I couldn't make it there early because I just got in town, there was no way I was getting a time slot. So I waited in line to be number 18 on the alternate list.  Then left to go to another audition with plans to come back.  After the other audition finished I came back to Chelsea to find that they had were only on alternate #3!!  Sigh, I'm obviously going to be waiting around all day.  Finally at 3:30 after sitting around for 3 hrs, the monitor was able to get me in to sing.  Yes sing, the bane of my existence but crucial if I want to ever move out of the ensemble.

I had prepared to sing Fairytale by Sara Bareilles because it was poppy and has a cute story, but its a little low for the range they asked, but after having a couple of people hear me sing that song and the other song I was thinking of, I decided on Fairytale.  I go into the room, explain my song to the accompanist and introduce myself to the casting folk.  They ask me if I dance and I tell them I'm a dancer then sing my song,   The song itself went well, but my acting was atrocious, lol, one more thing to work on...  Anyways, they casting director then asked if I had a pop song to sing.  A what? I'm pretty sure I just sang a pop song.  But then he explained further that he wanted to hear a 50s/60s pop song.  Crap.  Of course I don't have one, so he says thats ok and thanks me for my time.  Booooo!

I'm really annoyed because I had specifically been trying to think of a 50s pop song to add to my book for awhile.  Now its top of my priority list.