Friday, August 16, 2013

We've Got Magic To Do!

Let me just say that I love the revival of Pippin!  From the moment the intro to "Magic to Do" started and Patina Miller slithered out on stage, I've been in love.  So a few months ago, after seeing the show, I decided I wanted to play the role of Leading Player.  Who wouldn't?  I knew that the national tour would be going out in 2014 and I wanted to start getting prepared to audition when the time came.  So I started learning the music, got the audition sides, and figured over the course of the year I would be able to get myself together. Well Surprise! About a month ago I got called in to audition for the Leading Player understudy!

This was my first time going in for any understudy role and I did everything I could do to prepare with the limited amount of time I had.  I felt good about what I was able to work on, but as I walked into the audition building my nerves were still at a level ten!  I got to the audition room and there were about twenty girls waiting to audition as well.  The audition started with us learning the famous Fosse-choreographed Manson Trio.  I had learned a bit of it before, at my ensemble auditions for Pippin, but the entire beginning of the combination was new.  With all of the stylized and nuanced movement, the whole group took quite a while to learn the combo.  

After everyone felt somewhat comfortable, we moved on to a second combination.  This time from the number "The Right Track".  This time the choreography was much faster, but a lot more free and fun.  The tempo proved to be a problem for many because it is so hard to learn something new and then have to perform it at lightening speed! Your brain feels like it won't fire fast enough!  However, I managed to learn it well enough and then it was time to go in trios.  Each group performed the Manson Trio combination followed directly by  The Right Track combo.  When it was my turn to go, I just had a great time, focused on the style, and tried not to forget anything.  I felt good about myself and was kept to sing and read sides.

"The Right Track" combo starts at 2:44

They kept about half the girls, maybe slightly more and we each went in one at a time to sing and read sides.  I had a long time to wait before it was my turn and sometimes,  sitting down and waiting with everyone else makes me MORE nervous and I get into my head.  So instead I found an empty audition room and sang through the songs, walked the halls, and stood in my "power poses" until it was my turn.  Once inside the room I sang "Magic To Do" which went directly into the opening scene sides, and then finished by singing "Simple Joys".  I did my best, had a good time, and tried to just show who I was to casting.  After finishing everything I was told I did a "great job today", smiled, and left. 

Now,  I was not invited to final callback but I feel extremely proud of what I put out there.  It may not have been 100% perfect and ready but it was a step in the right direction.  I am so happy to see myself continuing to grow and hope that next time this opportunity roles around I will be even better!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

After Midnight

Remember that time when I flew in on a red-eye from Puerto Rico for an audition?  Only to discover it was basically an open call and to get cut 30 minutes after I got there....yeah.

Broadway 4D

There is always something so nerve-racking about your first audition back after a long hiatus.  The waiting, learning new choreography, the judgement.  It's such a hard adjustment after finally getting to relax and enjoy your role in telling the same story eight times a week.

So I found myself back in "the room" auditioning for something slightly unusual, a movie.  Broadway 4D as it is being called, will be a "4D" movie played in Time's Square that showcases many of the most iconic musical numbers of the genre.  I had been called in for the Rob Ashford choreographed section "Lullaby of Broadway."  The choreography was an adorably stylized showgirl number.  It blended the traditional Golden Age style of dance with a modern use of  musicality, resulting in a smooth-flowing combination that was punctuated throughout by sharp and often pushed movements.  And of course included a whacked side tilt, a kick to the face, and a double attitude turn.  (I've been noticing an attitude turn trend lately.  Whats up with that? They're no fun.)

The combination was lots of fun overall and despite the sweaty heat-stroke inducing July audition room I managed to remember all of it and perform, a victory in and of itself for my fist audition back.  After everyone danced, six of us were asked to dance again and we were obviously the tall ladies in the room!  They then made a cut, keeping a group of shorter girls to partner and asking us tallies to return in a couple of hours.  When we returned we were slated and filmed doing the combination for the choreographer who was in London and that was it.

Its good to be back.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Broadway Debut That Never Was

Remember this post? One Last Time for Stro...again Well what I didn't say is that I ended up booking this workshop!  I spent a privileged and glorious month workshopping and rehearsing the brand new musical Big Fish with the likes of Susan Stroman, Andrew Lippa, and John August.  I sang and danced and tumbled my face off.  I fell in love with the story these wonderful people created and a cast that was amazing beyond measure.  I had a contract that gave me "right of first refusal", which means they had to offer me the role next time they did the show or pay me thousands of dollars.  I planned my life around this show, which was to be my broadway debut.  I stopped going to auditions for shows that would have conflicted with Big Fish and I went out on tour because I knew I would be back in a few short months.

And then, I was fired.

Now, I have debated long and hard about how, when, and even if I should share what happened to me.    This business can, at times, be brutal and judgmental and I feared that by sharing something so personal people would think less of me.  I still fear that, but I offer my experience up anyways because I started this blog to help people see what being in this business is really like and unfortunately crushing disappointment and defeat is a part of it too.

How did I end up jobless? Well, to be honest I don't exactly know.  After the workshop ended there was radio silence for several months and then some of my fellow cast members started getting offers for the Chicago out of town tryout that occurred this past April.  As the weeks went by I never received an offer.  I frantically contacted anyone I could to see what was happening, fellow cast-mates  my agent, but in the end all I received was a check in the mail.  As though money could somehow soften the blow of losing my broadway debut.  I don't think I've ever been so unhappy to get paid.

So I took my checks went into my room and screamed at the top of my lungs for a good ten minutes.  In the days, heck months, that followed I doubted myself, my talents, and God's plan for my life.  I cried countless tears.  I tried to come up with the Why I now know I'll never get.  In the end I didn't fit into the final picture they saw for the show and I had to accept that.  Does it still hurt? Of course.  Do I think it had to do with my talent, performance, or work ethic during the workshop? No. Have I learned some really hard lessons about counting chickens/putting eggs all in the same basket? You bet.

Eventually I have been able to find some semblance of peace.  I got to see Big Fish in Chicago while touring with Anything Goes and, while the ache of rejection still stung, I was and am so incredibly proud to have been a part of its creation.  The cast and creative team are filled with some pretty amazing people and I sincerely hope Big Fish takes Broadway by storm this fall.  They deserve it.

*sidenote: This post may seem like its coming from a completely emotionally stable and mature individual, but it is also being written six months after the fact.  Only just now have I finally managed to get some perspective on the whole situation.  Up until a couple of months ago you would have found me ranting like a lunatic about the whole thing.  So yeah.