WHAT WAS I THINKING?
So I did something completely crazy last night! 39 days short of my 55th birthday, I did something I never imagined I’d ever do. I auditioned for a show. Yup! I did.
Back story first:
This summer, we went to a local community theater to see some students perform in a workshop production of The Matchmaker. The president of the company (a former student, mind you) announced the new season and, among other shows, he mentioned Man of LaMancha. Now I must tell you that there are many shows that I love and many shows that are very dear to my heart. And of course, Man of LaMancha is in both categories. The reasons are many but I’ll be glad to list a few:
1) As a high school student, our music department traveled to Alexandria VA to see a high school production of MoL and it was very well done. I became acquainted with the show and purchased the LP (remember vinyl?) and fell in love with the show. Not to mention the story and songs are incredible.
The rhythms are just so neat. I love the songs. I still have that LP somewhere in my collection in the basement.
2) Freshman year in college, I auditioned to play bass in the college production of MoL and the experience was amazing because I had only been involved in high school productions and this was a quality performance.
4) Saw a production if MOL at LaSalle Summer Theater and it was a truly professional production. The next year, I became involved with La Salle Summer Theater playing bass for a couple of seasons.
5) Saw some professional productions of the show, most notably at Living Arts Repertory Theater.
6) Finally saw it on Broadway with Raul Julia as Quixote and (get this) Sheena Easton as Aldonza! Craziness! And then Raul Julia died soon after we saw him.
7) Actually was music director of our high school production back in maybe 1999 or so.
8) We are probably moving to North Carolina in the late fall. I just started thinking of all the things I’ve wanted to accomplish in my life.
Enough back story… now to the audition.
So I checked the website for audition dates and instructions and decided to sing 16 measures of “I’m Only Thinking of Him” from the show. We were also required to do a cold reading from the script. When I got to the theater, I filled out some paper work and then we were herded into a rehearsal room. There were 12 people auditioning each with varying degrees of experience. One woman had no experience whatsoever. And while I have scads of experience behind the scenes, I have never performed in a show.
And so we began, each person singing 16 measures or so of a song they prepared. Many sang songs from the show and they were just amazing! Most of them were well-trained and just blew me away. I started having second thoughts but then figured, what the heck! I couldn’t really walk out at that point anyway. Well, I could’ve if my legs would’ve worked! And then it was my turn…
Now I sing every week in church – at the very least there are 200 people there – often more. But in this room with 12 other potential cast members and about 7 members of the theatre company that would be involved in casting, I had my doubts. And of course, I was horrible – from the very start…. I mean – on the outside I appeared calm and collected and poised (acting skills) but my voice totally betrayed me. I can’t tell you how nervous I was… I even forgot to breathe and screwed up a phrase totally.
Well, then they gave us a break and told us they would have some discussions and have us come back in and do our readings. I suppose I could’ve walked out at that point, but I really wanted to see how some of these amazing voices would act. I also figured, the worst was over – I’ve been acting most of my life so this part wouldn’t be so bad. And I was right!
Some of these folks were truly the total package – great looks, build, voice and acting all rolled into one very lucky person. Some folks were wrong physically for the role they were most interested in, but had a great voice and acting skills. Some folks were just adequate all the way around. I put myself in that group and cross my fingers that there will be room for me in this production. If there is – maybe I’ll start a separate blog about it!
In the meantime, there is another audition session tonight and callbacks. I have not been called back, but we were advised that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean that they were able to recognize our capabilities and didn’t need to see us again.
In truth, I read the same role 3 times. Maybe that’s a good sign…