Category Archives: Theater

Audition!

Photo by Kevin Patterson

When I went to see 42nd Street at The Coronado Playhouse back in February, I started to dream of dancing on stage again. I told myself that it was a fanciful notion, that I’m too old and it’s been too long, but my friends were so supportive and encouraging that I found myself hoping I might find a way to participate in community theater again.

My sister didn’t push, but she did send me a link to a website that listed auditions in my area, so I couldn’t use the excuse that I wasn’t plugged in to the community. I checked the page from time to time, but I got busy and forgot about it. Then I heard a few people at my dance studio talking about being cast in Fiddler on the Roof. I’d missed an opportunity because I wasn’t paying attention.

Not long after that, though, I heard about another audition. This time it wasn’t for a musical, but for a tap dance company.  The California Rhythm Project was looking for new dancers and they’d scheduled an open audition for the following week. My stomach flipped and my joints started to quiver. I felt a goofy grin creep onto my face. Was this my chance?

I drove home from the dance studio imagining being a part of a tap company again, something I hadn’t done since the year I taught English in France twenty years ago. Did I still have the energy and the brain power to learn a repertoire? Was I even good enough.

The day of the audition, I tried to convince myself it was just going to be a lark. I’d do my best and que sera sera. Then, I got to the studio, filled out the audition form and wrote my name on a tag. My stomach knotted and I had to force myself to breathe. I was shaky on my feet, but I felt better once we were all called into the studio to start learning the combination. We began slowly, then added music and sped things up. No problem, I had it.

We were split into groups and I was in the first one. Not so bad. It would be good to get it over with. The music started and my mind went blank. Somehow, I faked my way through the first few steps, got the combination back and fumbled my way to the end.

Disaster.

I found myself at the edge of the room watching the next group perform the steps and I realized that I’d completely forgotten to smile. My heart pounded painfully as I watched everyone else dance, all the while kicking myself for having let my nerves get the better of me.

They promised to let us know by the end of the week and I dreaded that phone call. My husband and I had plans to go visit my parents, so I focused on preparing for the trip and tried to forget about everything else. On the morning we left town, I found an e-mail in my inbox. Much to my amazement, I was in! I guess my audition wasn’t as bad as I thought. Bruce reminded me that I’m my own worst critic.

Now I’m caught up in rehearsals for a Labor Day weekend performance.  I’m thrilled to be a part of The California Rhythm Project, getting ready to perform again for the first time since 1993. I’m nervous, of course, and afraid that I’ll get onstage and choke, but with four rehearsals a week, I should be able to do the steps in my sleep.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that all of this extra dancing is charging up my creativity.  I’m more excited about writing than ever, so maybe having less time to write will turn out to be a good thing after all.

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Filed under Creativity, Dance, tap dance, Theater, Writing

I Wanna Rock

I guess I’m not a kid anymore… I know this because they’re now making Broadway musicals just for me. There are days when my aches, pains, wrinkles and grey hairs remind me that I’m forty-something, but most of the time, I still feel like I graduated from high school thirty seconds ago.  Last night, Rock of Ages took me right back there.

Set in L.A. in 1987, it’s the story of young dreamers, Sherrie and Drew, who fall in love on the Sunset Strip. The storyline isn’t complicated and many of the scenes are silly, but you know how I love spontaneous song and dance numbers. The performers in the touring cast were terrific, particularly the leads, Shannon Mullen (Sherrie) and Dominique Scott (Drew). I also loved Katie Postotnik (Regina) and Justin Colombo (Lonny). Colombo must have been exhausted at the end of the night because he was onstage in almost every scene. The award for hardest working performers, though, goes to the Rock of Ages band: Darren Ledbetter, Chris Cicchino, Maddox, Alan Childs and Andy Gerold. They truly were the heart of the show.

It was hard to keep myself from singing those songs that I’ll probably still remember when I’m in the nursing home; twenty-eight songs from groups like Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Journey, Quarterflash, REO Speedwagon, Survivor and Twisted Sister. I had to buy the CD even though I already have a lot of the music, some of it on LPs and 45s that I bought with my babysitting money.

The Hollywood version comes out in June 2012. Drew and Sherrie will be played by Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough and the movie also stars Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Tom Cruise, Will Forte, Paul Giamatti and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Tickets to the show were an anniversary present from my husband. Great job, honey! We’re definitely going to see the movie this summer.

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Filed under Music, Musical Comedy, Theater

The Dancing Chorus

I love musical comedy.

I know a lot of people are annoyed by spontaneous song and dance numbers, but that’s my favorite part of a show. I saw my first musical at a community theater when I was eight years old. My sister and I sang the songs from Camelot nonstop…

“If ever I would leave you, it wouldn’t be in springtime…”

Until we saw Showboat a few weeks later at the same theater.

“Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly…”

When I was in high school, I started auditioning so I could join in the fun. I was in the cast of the spring musical at my school every year and in summer, I tried out for the dancing chorus in local community theater productions. I loved the long rehearsals learning songs, dances, and blocking on a bare stage. Then came dress rehearsals with imaginative sets and colorful costumes and finally, the thrill of performing for an audience.

42nd Street cast performing"We're in the Money" at Starlight Theatre, Rock Valley College

I’ve lost track of the friends I made during those summer productions, but I can still see many of them so clearly. Liz, Melinda, Jennie, Doug, Sarah, Erika,  Brad, Julie, Andreas, Marlene, Ginger, Melissa… By day, we were ordinary, but we were transformed into larger than life characters on stage.

Last weekend, I had the chance to see a fabulous performance of 42nd Street at The Coronado Playhouse.

It wasn’t a big production but the dancers were so talented and the small cast filled the theater with those songs I love. I had to force myself to sit still and not sing along; I wanted so badly to be up on stage with them. On the way home from the theater, my husband bet me that I’d be auditioning for a show again one of these days.

I wonder.

Would I have to lie about my age? Would my hip and my foot hold up to the hours of rehearsal and four performances a week? Would I be able to handle the late nights and still wake up early to walk Lola and write?

Probably not. It’s a nice dream, though. But maybe one of these days, I’ll forget caution and try out for the dancing chorus again.

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Filed under Dance, Musical Comedy, tap dance, Theater, Writing