Saturday, January 28, 2012

One last time for Stro...again

I had my callback for the Big Fish workshop this past Tuesday.  I had been given the music I learned on Friday to practice, so I knew I had to sing that again and I was also told to bring my book.  When I arrived, it had the feel of final callbacks and there were 15 girls there in total.  All of the girls had been in before, except for one and she was a notable Broadway veteran who had me very nervous.  The girls who were in for the same part as me, there were four of us, had to get to the audition early to go over the music.  So just the four of us went into a room with the accompanist to sing through the music.  Just a bit intimidating.  After the singing finished I had to go sit by myself to get my mind together, because I was letting myself get a little intimidated and freaking out.  YES I can be freaked out at auditions.  I'm still waiting to get my Broadway credit and when you are competing with girls who are constantly working on Bway it can get the best of you.

So after a quick pep talk from a friend and taking some time to get it together, it was time to go audition.  We first reviewed the tap combination very quickly and then we performed it three at a time.  Then five girls, including myself, were taken in to do the ballet combo for the featured part.  We reviewed it and then we each got to go one at a time for Stro!  After that it was time to sing.  Apparently I missed the memo about bringing an audition dress to sing in!  Now, yes it is standard to sing in a dress, but a lot of times dancers won't change to sing after dancing because:

1. You want casting to remember who you are.  i.e. the girl in the pink leotard etc. and if you change into something different they might get confused if the girl dancing in pink and the girl singing in green are the same person.

2.  A lot of times you go right from dancing to singing and there is not enough time to change.

So I didn't bring a dress to sing in, because it honestly just didn't cross my mind.  Oh well.  When it was finally my time to sing, and I was the LAST girl to sing.  I went into the room and sang the given music first with Andrew Lippa.  After the first time through, I received a correction on the acting/music and then was told to sing it again.  I implemented the change he asked for and he told me I did a good job on the correction!  Then I sang my own song Don Juan.  Stro told me "well done" and that was it!  The whole audition went really well, and I don't think I could have done any better.  Which, is really the best way to end the day, that way even if you don't get it you know that you couldn't have done anything else.  No Regrets!

I think the lessons that can be learned in all this is that:

1.  Sometimes getting cut at an audition has NOTHING to do with your dancing.  You go in a bad group, you are standing too far to the left to be seen, casting had to sneeze while you were dancing and thats all they could thing about..etc.

2.  There is nothing wrong with going in for the same thing over and over.

3.  If you feel something is awry, ask to be seen again.  The worst they can do is say "No".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be Aggressive Be Be Aggressive.....Big Fish pt. deux

We last saw our heroine...

No really, after the Big Fish audition fiasco, I got angry...and then I got a bit aggressive.  Hence the title.  I emailed my agent, yes I have an agent now, and asked him if he could get me into the invited call for Big Fish.  He told me that he had submitted me but that they were not giving out that many appointments and that I hadn't received one, but he told me he would push for me.  However, about a week later I got a call from the agency saying that I had an appointment to be seen!  Hooray!

So on Friday of last week, I went to Pearl studios to audition for Big Fish again.  Given that this was one of many callbacks they were having I didn't know what to expect.  What I found was that they were doing a callback for some character actors/singers as well as looking ethnic female dancers for the chorus.  Oh and Stro was in the room!  We learned a short character combo first, which was primarily a chance to see if the actor/singers could move.  They then excused everyone but four dancer girls and we had to learn a tap combination.  Luckily it was a shorter version of the combo I had already learned the day I got cut!  I performed the combination really well and they asked me and one other girl to stay and sing.  Now I was told that I should be prepared to do acrobatics at the audition, so when casting came out to tell us to get ready to sing I asked them if Stro wanted to see me tumble.  be aggressive be be aggressive The casting director went in and asked her and she said sure, so I went in and tumbled for her.  A few aerial cartwheels and a round off back handspring.  Then went out to get ready to sing.

I sang first out of the two of us, and sang "Don Juan" from Smokey Joe's Cafe.  It went really well. After I finished the song I stood there while the people at the table kind of looked at each other and then Stro told me that they had kind of changed there mind about what track they were considering me for!  That's when Andrew Lippa himself, stood up walked over to the piano and had me learn a song with him!  Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??  I learned a cut of a song, for the role of the mermaid.  It was all sung on La La's so at least there were no words to remember.  After I learned it sufficiently, I then had a solo/duet with Andrew Lippa in front of the entire creative team.  Insane, especially after only learning the music three minutes beforehand.  I thought it went alright, I had a little trouble finding the tricky last note in the duet, but overall not bad.  Casting then asked me to go wait outside.

The other girl went in to sing and they told her she was done for the day.  At this point I am now the last girl standing!  They asked me to come back into the room to learn a ballet combination. BY MYSELF.  So its just me learning a combination with the entire creative team watching me.  Its a fairly short combo, but there are a few turns and a final developpe turn sequence to work around.  After I learned it, I performed the combination alone in the room with Stro and the creative team watching.  A la Cassie in A Chorus Line "Music and the Mirror" style and that was it.  Stro told me I did a great job as did everyone else and I went home for the day.  A few hours later I got a call saying I was coming in for a callback!  Hooray!

Callback pt. 3 coming soon...

THE Donna McKechnie performing Music and the Mirror.  1. listen to the opening lines of her monologue..fantastic! 2. The legendary dance starts at 2:00


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Big Fish Comes to Broadway

Ever since I saw this notice in Playbill I've been excited about this new show Susan Stroman is doing.  Primarily for the fact that if she cast me once, I have a better shot at being cast again!  Well two weeks ago was the audition for the latest workshop of Big Fish.  If you don't know, it takes years for new musicals to get produced.  Usually the creative teams spends a very long time just writing the book and music, then they will have readings of the show, next workshops, and then an out of town tryout.  IF all of that goes well then the show, if it has enough funding, gets to go to Broadway.  Its a very long and arduous process to say the least.  So this most recent audition was not for Broadway, but for a workshop; however, often times the cast gets to stick around and be on Broadway.  Therefore, being in a workshop is a good way to become an original company member of a new Broadway show.

Whew, after all that explanation lets talk about the audition!  First off, Stro likes her tall girls so the call was only for girls 5'6-5'10". however she actually doesn't mind if you are above that height requirement  This is always nice because it means the audition won't be nearly as crowded as they usually are.  Still, 90 equity girls showed up to audition that day.  I got to the audition in time to hear my name called on the list, and I was going to be in the first group.  The audition started with a tap combination in which we were supposed to be USO girls.  As we learned the choreography it was really cute, but hard AND it was the combination that would NEVER end!  I could feel my brain fighting itself to prevent a freak out.  There were so many points when I thought we had finished, we would take it from the top and get to "the end" only to have the asst. choreographer say "and the next step.." Ahhh!  It was quite honestly the longest tap combo I have ever learned in an audition! sixteen counts of eight to be exact

After finally learning the combination it is time to do it in groups of three.  I was number four so I was in the 2nd group to go.  When combos are long and difficult going in the beginning can be a risk.  My group started the combination but the downfall of tapping in a group is if one person gets off it can bring down everyone and that's what happened.  At some point things went awry and, though I personally didn't mess up, the taps became unclear and off the beat at some point.  We got it back together and finished fine, but I immediately had a bad feeling.  After all had danced my bad feeling was confirmed.  I was cut!  In the first round!  I  gagged! (mortified) After spending an hour and fifteen minutes in the room it was a major let down to not go on.  They didn't keep many of the girls in my audition group maybe 7-10 out of the thirst, but darnit I felt like I should be in that group!  After that round they did ballet and sang afterwards. *sadface*

P.S. I don't usually make a big fuss about getting cut at auditions.  I believe it is best to have a laissez faire attitude about it all, so that you don't take rejection personally.  I failed after this audition.  I was a little too personally invested, so shoot me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anything Goes!

After the Flashdance failure, I headed uptown to the chorus call for Anything Goes.  The musical, currently on Broadway starring Sutton Foster, is going on tour in the fall of 2012.  Now, I'm not sure if I'm even remotely interested in going on tour again, but there is always a voice in my head saying "beggars can't be choosers" so I went anyways.  I made it to the call in time to hear my name called from the list and was given number twenty-five.  Which just so happens to be my lucky number!  Once again there were 80+ equity women there and they refused to see any non-equity dancers.  Since we were in a smaller studio than earlier that day, I was in the second group and had to sit and wait.  The wait wasn't bad though and I was soon headed into the audition room.

Once inside the room, there are a couple of things I always try to do.  First, obviously, is to stand in the front or at least somewhere I can see whoever is teaching the combination.  Second, I always try to determine who all the non-auditioning people are in the room.  A lot of times you can figure out how serious they are about hiring people just by seeing who's in the room.  If you have the casting director, music director, and choreographer all in the room, then they are probably trying to cast a show quickly.  However, if you walk in and its the assistant dance captain and a random assistant from casting you know they are either: a) in the very beginning of looking and there are many rounds of auditions left or b) they are not looking for anyone at all.  The later usually happens at required calls.

Anyways,  I get into the room and go stand in the front.  The dance captain (d.c) and someone from casting are there but no one else.  Oh well.  We begin to learn a combination the "angels" in the show do during "Blow, Gabriel, Blow".  It was a sultry combination complete with hip thrusts and fan kicks.  While not difficult, we were told multiple times by the d.c. not to make the hip thrusts "vulgar" and that the combination was all about focus.  I love stuff like that, so I had a good time.  We performed it four at a time and I was in the very first group of dancers to go.  After I finished I noticed they were separating headshots into separate piles to make a cut, but after everyone had danced they just thanked us and told us we were done! Booo!  No cuts, only one dance combo, and no singing!  Who knows when they are planning to get serious about casting.  I feel good about my performance though so we will just have to see what happens next.

For your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a Feeling! Flashdance Comes to Broadway

Yes ladies and gentleman, you read that right.  The movie Flashdance has been made into a musical and will soon be making its debut on a Broadway stage near you.  The musical already had a debut in London (see here) and is making the big puddle jump over to the USA.  It is choreographed by Sergio Trujillo the wonderful choreographer of Memphis, so I was excited to go audition and see what he planned on doing with the show.  Getting back on the audition scene was a little bit of a shock to the system, there were just sooo many girls there.  They refused to see any non-equity dancers and the even closed the call to equity girls promptly at 10am.

I signed up on the chorus call list at the Actor's Equity building before hand, and made it to the audition in time to here the list called *see note if you need further explanation* I was number twenty-six and made it into the first group of dancers to be seen.  When we get into the room Sergio wasn't there but two of his assistants were.  They began teaching us a contemporary ballet combination!  What a surprise!   The combo was not at all what I was expecting for Flashdance and I immediately had to lose my shoes because it was so slippery in there.  The routine was fairly short and was a mixture of ballet, body rolls, and off the leg kicks to the side.  So much fun, but a little hard for me to do since I am NO concert dancer.

After we all learned the combo we went in groups of five  and I was in the last group to perform.  We did the combination twice and it went fine, but I had a hop on my double pirouette which is never good and felt a little awkward all around.  They made a cut and I was not asked to stay, boo!  They kept a lot of shorter girls, but there were a few taller girls in the mix.  I know that afterwards they did a second combination which was a mix of hip-hop and jazz and that no one sang that day.  While I was bummed not to continue on I am excited about what Sergio Trujillo is going to do with the show.  It looks awesome so far!

*side note: For every equity chorus call, both singers and dancers, there is a list that is put up at the Actor's Equity building about a week before the audition.  Anyone who wants to audition can sign up on the list.  Then 30 minutes before the start of every audition the names on the list are read and those people are given numbers in the order in which they are called.  Anyone who does not sign up on the list, must wait until all the names have been read and then they will get a number.  Signing up gets you a lower number and better odds at being in the first group, thus less waiting around time.  But you must get there in time to hear the list read or you miss your spot and have to wait until the end like everyone else.