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.

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