Tuesday, November 14, 2006

no business like it

WARNING: The following is a story I wish to tell. However, its inherent randomness does not lend itself to traditional narrative structure. Please bear with me.

Friends, I am a deeply ridiculous human being.

Basically, I am the kind of person who has three glasses of cheap Merlot at happy hour, hears about an open audition for a professional theater company and says "Brilliant! Let's go!"

Really. Really. Ridiculous.

Perhaps some background might help here.

I went to this audition because several of us from Company were gathered for the birthday of one of our own and several of his friends (hi C!). After a few drinks and a lot of mutual adoration (have I mentioned how much these people rock? because they do), another friend shows up and tells us that she's on a break from an audition over at Studio Theater, waiting to be called to sing. Then her eyes got really big, and she said "EJ! You should totally come with!"

Now, I'm not the kind of girl who just steals someone's thunder and tags along with their cool lives. This goes double when it involves sheet music. But I had spent the last hour bitching about how much I missed being in a show. And even though it was an Equity production, it was an open call audition.

And also, I was nicely drunk by this point.


So, to make a very long story very short, three hours later I found myself in a green room backstage at the Studio Theater. Everyone else was very small, looked about fifteen and was groomed within an inch of their lives. One girl had so much blush on it appeared she'd been slashed in the cheeks on her way to the theater. The amount of overdone makeup and nude pantyhose in the room made it feel like a Young Republicans meeting.

And so, you ask, how did the audition go? Well... let's just say I don't think this will be my big break. See, for auditions you're always asked to prepare 16 bars, or 32 bars, or something. Most often, the musical director will cut you off when he or she has heard enough. They let me sing about 44 bars, all the way to the end of the song, and I honestly couldn't tell if it was because they liked my voice or if it was like when everyone cheers extra-loud in gym class when the "special" kid scores a goal.

Lessons Learned From Spontaneously Attending an Equity Musical Theater Audition after Cocktails on a Monday Night:

1) Don't.

2) Okay, fine, do. But know that you're going to sober up halfway through and find yourself in a little hallway filled with short girls wearing nude pantyhose and insanely high heels humming songs from Hairspray! under their breath and you're going to wonder exactly how this happened. And you might freak out a little bit.

3) Actors at a professional audition? Not nice. Really quite bitchy. Am used to community theater auditions, where you sit with friends and people smile at one another and whisper "you did such a good job!!" as people sit back down after singing, even if they forgot the words and started crying onstage.

4) Three glasses of wine + sudden drop in temperature + complete lack of preparation + inability to warm up voice = cracking while trying to belt a high E on a song I last successfully sang in the shower. So, um, warm up. 'Kay?

5) Write a really disjointed post about it on your blog, abandon any sense of structure or order in relating the story and know when to stop.


I-66 said...

Ah auditions. The one thing that I miss least about the stage. Seriously, singing a Christmas song at a Ford's Theater audition in the middle of the summer was the greatest idea ever.

No callback.

Hey Pretty said...

Ah yes, the memories of High School Theatre Company. The single greatest humiliaton of my teenage life was not boy-related. No. It was the several times I found it neccessary to audition for the high school musical. Totally awful and humiliating. To this day, I refuse to sing anywhere, at any time.

I-66 said...

Sweet. Totally getting HP to karaoke.

Anonymous said...

You're a total bad-ass and get big points for just going. (thanks for the shout-out!!) See you soon...?

peter said...

It's good to read this now as a precautionary tale, as i'm sure destiny had me lined up with a drunk audition at some point in the future.

But, seriously, do you really think they would listen to you sing 44 bars if you weren't good? Certainly even with the blown E you weren't a train wreck of William Hung proportions?