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 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.