The Audition Journey

I recently had the joy (and pain) of auditioning for one of my favorite musicals of all time: Rent. Since the rights to perform Rent opened up recently, hundreds of community theatres have taken up the challenge to put on Jonathan Larson’s masterpiece.

The audition took place at a semi-pro community theatre 5-minutes from my house in Northern California. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.  It had been a few years since I had auditioned for a Broadway musical, so I was nervous.  I had spent the past few years performing in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and focusing on my day job as a Marketing Manager.  Would I have a chance to be accepted back into the musical theatre community?

I prepared for weeks for my big audition.  The first challenge was choosing an audition song. Given that Rent is a rock musical, singing a traditional musical theatre piece did not make sense. I eventually settled upon Desperado by the Eagles.  I sang the song for whoever would listen: parents, girlfriend, friends and unwitting strangers.  Finally, I had mastered my song.

The next step was to produce my resume and take some new headshots. Taking headshots was enjoyable – except for the stark reality that I had gained 10lbs since my last formal headshot.  Putting together my resume was less painful. With the help of the StageAgent resume builder, creating a professional-looking resume was a snap!

The day of the audition was thrilling. I loved the tension in the waiting room where various young artists prepared to make the best of their 2-minutes of fame.  When my name was finally called, I confidently stood up on the stage and aced Desperado.  Immediately, the Director handed me a packet and said that I was called back next week to sing for the lead role, Roger!

The week before the callback was so much fun! I studiously listened to the Rent CD over-and-over and memorized the songs in the callback packet. My voice felt in tip-top-shape.

Finally, the day of the callback arrived.  Not surprisingly, the production staff was behind schedule, so I spent hours again in the waiting room.  Eventually, they were ready to hear the Rogers. To my amazement, they had only called back two other potential-Rogers.  I actually had a chance of getting cast!

My excitement quickly ended. Due to a clerical error, they had given me the wrong packet of songs to learn!  I tried sight-reading, but it was clear that I was completely unprepared for the songs the Director wanted to hear.  After the callback, one of the potential Mimi’s told me not to worry – they couldn’t possibly blame me for their error! Well, she was wrong. In the hyper competitive world of musical theatre, Directors are always looking for an excuse not to cast someone. Not only was I not cast for Roger, I was not even offered a spot in the chorus.

Oh well. Even if I did not make it to the destination, the journey sure was fun!

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