Audition #1: Guys and Dolls, Engeman Theatre

So Audition #1 is one of your typical Equity Chorus Calls.  For the dance call (which are the only calls I’ll do) you go in, you dance for a bit, then if they like you, you stay and sing.

The catch is Equity people get to go first.  I’m not Equity.  So depending on how crowded the audition is, sometimes you may not even be seen.

The tough part about these auditions for me is I have to be ready to sing, and singing has always been the bain of my existence.  I’m really good when I sing by myself.  In the shower.  Or home alone.  But I have issues with singing in front of people.  And I HAVE to get 16 bars together, stat!

I called on my friend Lauren to help.  Lauren comes to my ballet classes and works in musical theatre all the time.  She’s a trained opera singer, a very experienced performer, and teaches voice on the side. We met last Friday (note: Friday was my first time going through music and the audition was TODAY, Monday.  The following Monday).

Lauren worked with me a little bit and chose “Not for the Life of Me” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. I was in love with the song once we started running through it, and left our hour together thinking “I might actually be able to do this for once!”

I met on Saturday with an accompanist, who made an accompaniment track and a guide track for me.  The guide track has the melody of my lyrics and the accompanist track does not, so I can practice singing it with the piano music.  So I practiced all weekend.

It’s the day of the audition, and I got myself around at 7:45 this morning and ended up looking like this:

pre-Audition #1 look
Pretty fierce, right?  Ms. Musical Theatre in the making, I thought.  Except I didn’t have those nice nude colored fishnets they all wear… Oh well.  I made do with black. Goes great with my La Ducas!

I leave the apartment with coffee in hand, headed to trusty Staples to copy my music and think to myself “gee, a headshot and resume might help me with this audition…”  I go back to the apartment to get said headshot and resume.  Goes to show how long I’ve been off the audition circuit!

I make it to the call by 9:30 am to find some of my lovely lady friends from dance class warming up.  I’m number 44 on the non-union list but only 28 Equity women have shown up this morning (though apparently over 150 signed up).

We are in group 3 for the dance call and they spend about 45 minutes on each group ahead of us.  It’s kind of funny how top secret audition information starts leaking out into the audition room “there are isolations,”… “the combination is really fast!”…”be ready to learn it really quickly”.

I’ve already had to put my hot rollers back in TWICE before we go in, it’s so warm in the holding room.  (And my hair still goes flat within 5 minutes of being in the audition room).

All of my theatre dance ladies and I get to go in together – first time I’ve had friends and allies at one of these things! – and the combination is… ridiculous.  Ridiculous as in, somehow I’ve found myself doing some kind of crazy hip hop dance moves to the music from Guys and Dolls.  I thought this was old school musical theatre!  Not to this choreographer apparently.  Definitely one of the strangest and hardest combinations I’ve ever been taught for this kind of call.

From across the room, my friend Alison and I give each other a look of “what have we gotten ourselves into” or “well this is going to suck but let’s just go with it!”

So I got it down to “ok, I touch myself here and pop the hip this way, shoulder, shoulder, posse turn, booty pop, and shoulder shoulder, ok… you want me to get into a battement how exactly?” and managed to get through the choreography ok but still kinda shaky (for my standards at least).  I mean, after all they taught it to us in 15-20 minutes or less.

I left the room with Alison and my other gal pals fully expecting to not be called to sing. Lo and behold, I was asked to stay.  Well crap!  Now I have to sing!  Thank goodness I got that song together on Friday!

This is the first chorus call I’ve been to where I had to stay and sing, and I’m pretty sure my teacher, who was on the panel, had something to do with it.  I warm up, listen to my accompaniment track, and 30 minutes later I’m in the room.

I handed the accompanist my music, we set a tempo and I went.  And I effing SANG!  At one point I heard the belt coming out of my mouth and was like “holy crap did I just hit that note and actually belt it?”  I could hear myself over the piano, nothing was wobbly, I actually didn’t suck!  I probably didn’t do great, but I could care less.  I sang!  I sang and I didn’t totally suck.  Success in my book.

Of course I didn’t know at all how to act, so I just smiled and played with my skirt.  My teacher told me later I should step farther into the room and actually sing to the people on the panel (probably not a bad idea I thought – one of those “duh” things like having a headshot and a resume on hand…) but hey, at least they know I have a voice.  And it will get better next time.

Here is the after audition shot:

I think I need to invest in some better hot rollers, maybe a bump-it (eewww!!!).   Definitely some way to keep my super straight hair in curls!  And definitely some of those nude fishnets…

So Audition #1 – moderately successful.  Learned a few things for the road and going on to Audition #2.  It’s funny, I’m not even sure I care so much about getting the job.  If I actually book something it might surprise me a bit.  This project in and of itself kind of makes the journey a lot more exciting than the destination.  Remember that when you go to auditions.

I’m going to have to start getting creative because there are no dance auditions posted this week, and I have to skip a LOT of work to do these chorus calls.  Hopefully I can find one for next week!



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