Saturday, May 31, 2008

my last-minute audition

    So, I saw a post for an audition for a new show that is premiering here in Los Angeles.  The title of the show is Minsky's, and the director/choreographer is somebody named Casey Nicholaw--a man who has made quite a name for himself in the world of theater.  He directed and choreographed the broadway show, The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as choreographing Spamalot, another Bway show.  Anyway, there was a slight buzz around our cast with people saying they were going to go.  I had pretty much decided I was not going to go because, being the uber prepared individual that I am, I had left my book of audition music--as well as dance shoes--at home.  Luckily, I had thought to grab one headshot and resume (not a stack, just one--now that's thinking).  However, my housemate offered me her book--which happened to have one song in it that I knew.  Plus, she offered me her shoes, which I happily took.  So, I thought, why not?  

    See, no matter how talented a person is, auditioning is a skill that one must develop. So I like to force myself to audition as much as possible--just to get better at it.  To get more used to it, so that when I do audition, it's not such a big deal.  That way I can trick my nerves into calming down, since dancing and singing and acting for a judgmental stranger becomes such a normal happenstance.   That's the plan, anyway.  Plus, its really nice--almost fun--to audition when you already have a sweet job.  No pressure.  
   I had never auditioned in L.A. before.  It was different from NYC--not so many people and they all seemed to know each other.  Some of them recognized me from ACL and were very nice about the show.  I overheard a conversation in which one dancer was telling another that they had seen the show the night before.  She said it was amazing, which made me feel good--especially since she wasn't telling me directly, so I know she was genuine and not just flattering. Anyway, there were maybe about 35 of us there.  They took us all in one group and proceeded to teach us a cute dance combination.  It was simple, nothing too difficult.  Just dancey and a little showgirl-ish.  
   They took their time teaching it to us, which was nice.  Then they broke us into 3 groups so we could spread out and perform it full-out, one group at a time.  I could feel the director's eyes on me and got a good feeling from him, which was encouraging.  Finally, we did it in groups of 4, two times in a row.  I was the very first person to be called, in the very first group.  I love being in the first group.  That way the combo is fresh--plus you don't have all this time for your nerves to get worse just watching others go before you.  You do it bam! right away and then have the sweet relief of knowing that you did your best and can simply wait it out.  Anyway, I felt good about it...After everyone had danced, they said their standard line: We appreciate your coming out, now we are going to ask some people to stay and sing.  And so, the moment of truth.  It's funny, even though I was not totally sure I would even want this job--and I already have a great job--at that moment, when they were making a cut, I really really wanted to stay.  I wanted to be one of the special ones whose name is called.  That feeling is amazing.  But, of course--we all have to keep our poker face on when we hear our name called, acting like it's not such a big deal, like we are not having a little party somewhere hidden away inside our minds.  
     So, my name was called. First.  And yes, I did have the party inside my mind while I looked up nonchalantly.  But then they asked for us to sing something funny and character-ish.  And that is when I really wished I was in possession of my own book. Really.  Because the only song I knew in my friend's book was about the Mother Mary, carrying the future of the world.  And I don't care what kind of comedian you are, that's just not so funny.   Intense and inspiring, absolutely. But funny? No.  
    Anyway, I went in to sing and I explained that I was here with ACL and did not have my book, so did not have my funny stuff (or at least funnier than the Virgin Mother Mary!).  They were very kind and said to just sing what I have.  So I did.  It went fine, though I sort of repeated a lyric--but that wasn't such a big deal. I hope.  And that was the end of the day and I am glad I went.  Who knows? Maybe I will hear from them again.  But either way, I was glad to be seen by someone new in this business and I feel like I left a good impression.  


laura said...

I am so glad that you went. It says something about a person that keeps pushing themselves despite where they are. Plus, what a good opportunity. A win-win, if you ask me.

KathieK said...

I agree with Laura, Jessica...and,like you said, "auditioning is a skill that one must develop." If you do hear from them again, is it something you would be able to do, since you're touring with ACL? What is Minsky's about? It sounds familiar.

peaj said...

I'm glad the pain doesn't keep you down. Not that I really expected it to.

Do you need someone to FedEx a stack of stuff to you? Should we take up a collection so Drew doesn't have to pay it? If you need resumes and head shots to get the world to see how great you are, I'll be glad to chip in a few bucks to make that happen.

Jason said...

Awesome job! There must not have been much indecision if they picked you first. So now if you don't make it you can be sure it's because they didn't think you could sing. :-)

It must be nice after being rejected night after night on the audition line as Christine in ACL to be called first in real life!

Lindsay said...

That's awesome! Auditioning sounds like the one of the scariest experiences that I can imagine!! I guess it makes sense that you have to condition yourself to feel like auditioning is normal in order to neutralize your emotions about it...or at least perfect your ability to mask your emotions about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the offer, Peaj-but I think I can get someone to mail me the headshots and my book!

oh-and this is jessica