Holy Week of Hell

I got four auditions in yesterday, all of which, I think, went well. One was an Equity call, and the pianist was… not the best. That said, I still sang well, but it was frustrating because it felt like they were straight-up not paying attention to me at all.

Anyway, I got in a total of 11 (or 12 maybe?) auditions last week, so if feels good to be back in the swing of things. I’m hoping to get at least four again today, if not break the record and hit 5. I’m signed in for a bunch, but all but two of them are Equity calls, so it’s just a matter of seeing who has time to see non union and if the timing of everything works out.

What’s crazy is that I got out and about an hour earlier than I normally do today, and still I’m number 180 on one of the non-union calls and number 73 on the other. I went to bed early last night because I was tired, and when I woke up before my alarm I decided to just get up and get out. Thank God I did, otherwise who knows what number I’d be for those.

I’m trying to get everything in that I can right now for two reasons: 1) summer seasons are going to be starting soon and casting will be winding down and 2) I’m going away (to The Republic of Georgia!) for two weeks in the beginning of May, in addition to four five days out of town first with Matthew for our anniversary (Pittsburgh… just so we can be together) and the Minnesota/Iowa with Julie and Kelly so we can road trip to the RENT 20th anniversary tour. I’m going to miss several weeks of auditions, so I’m trying to get as many in as I can now.

In addition to all that, it’s of course Holy Week, so I’m super busy at the Cathedral. That said, I’m going to have to skip things if the timing doesn’t work out with auditions. Today I’m likely going to miss Chrism mass, because Weathervane Theatre (the company in NH that is thinking about bringing me on as an intern for the summer) has an ECC today at 4pm (which I’m number 6 on the list for!) and Chrism mass starts around 3:45. I need to be seen at that call (they didn’t see any non-equity at the EPA yesterday) so that’s that. I’m going to go by at the end of the women’s call to see if they’ll hear any men, but it’s a brief call so I find that unlikely.

In any case, I’m busy, I’m tired, and I’m happy.

Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse

I took a few weeks off (10 of those days were vacation to Barcelona and London) but have dived back into the deep end this week. I’ve had six auditions fo far this week (it’s only Thursday!) and four of them were Equity calls.

What’s interesting, and a very happy side effect of doing this, is that I start each day with a positive attitude, thinking “This could be the day!” It wasn’t even a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. I used to walk to the train, even if I was in an otherwise decent mood, thinking about how it was just another day of the same old same old. This is hard, exhausting even, but it just solidifies that this is what I want to be doing, and it feels good.

Goodbye gals, I’m going to Boston

A bunch has happened, and yet it feels still like nothing has really happened. I didn’t get the Mamma Mia that I was called back for, but oddly enough got called in for a different production of Mamma Mia to play one of the dads. WTF. As if I wasn’t already confused about what my portrayable age range was, now I’m being called in to lay two parts in the same show that are literally twenty five years different in age. But– it is nice to be called in.

I’m on my way to Boston for the NETC auditions this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m singing the solo in the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral’s Irish Heritage Concert next Thursday, which will be fun. Then I’m going to London and Barcelona (literally to the airport from the concert…) and when I come back it will be time for my cabaret show. Things are still happening, and the goal is to always have SOMETHING in the pipeline to be looking forward to. As I do this more and more, I hope that that’s the case.

Not in the Room Where it Happens

Yesterday was a tough one. Got out the door super early and was signed in for five auditions before 9am. I hadn’t brought all my stuff with me for the day, because I didn’t think I’d bee seen for anything before noon or so. When I signed in for the only one of the five that I knew I’d definitely be seen for, I was number 19, and since the call started at 11, figured I’d be auditioning around 11:45. What I wasn’t expecting was to be number two on the non-union list for one of the other productions.

I scrambled back home to get everything and turned around to get back to the Equity building. Chances looked good that I was going to be seen, and pretty early. As time ticked by, however, I had to get to the one that I knew I’d get to audition for, so at about 11:20 I left and walked over to the other studio. I did in fact audition at about 11:50 or so, and as I was packing up my things learned on one of the online community forums that the non-equity list for the other one was brought upstairs. This means that they’re going to see people as they can, so I rushed back over there.

Every other time this has happened it’s been at least an hour between the list being brought upstairs and anyone auditioning, but that was not the case this time. I got back to the Equity building right around noon and headed upstairs, only to see that I’d already been called and missed my slot. No big deal, I thought, there’s still not too many people on the list so I signed the bottom of it (now number 14) and figured there was still a chance to be seen before lunch.

No other non-union people were seen before lunch, but no big deal. I went back at 1:45 and waited my turn, which, unfortunately never came. Only 1 additional non-union person was seen that day, so I was there until 5:30 when the audition ended. The other three I was signed in for were long shots, and no non-union people were seen for those anyway, so nothing missed there. It’s just frustrating to know that I had a chance to be seen but of course the one audition that I was definitely going to be able to do was at the exact time my name was being called. I know it happens, but it’s frustrating.

So, only three auditions this week. I can’t expect every week to be like last week, where I made it to 14, but I’d like there to be more than 3. I think at least one a day is not only reasonable, but should be the norm. On to next week!

The rest of Friday went well, and it turned out to be another 4 audition day. Two in one week! I got seen at a total of 14 auditions last week, which is probably close to the amount I’d go on in a single month (if that) they last time I was working at this.

2 more Equity calls on Friday made for a total of 7 last week, or exactly half of the auditions I did. This is getting exciting. Also, I got another callback for the Mamma Mia production I got asked to dance for, which I need to video myself reading some sides for and submit by tomorrow. It’s for the role of Sky, Sophie’s fiancé. The part is written as though he’s about 25, if not younger. I think my eye cream and skin-care routine has been paying off! Not only can I keep up with the 23 year olds, but I can get cast as them too!

I’m now waiting to audition for a company I’ve auditioned for at least three other times in the past month. They cast for a bunch of cruise lines and theme parks, and this is yet another of those. Something I’ve learned is to take risks at auditions, because in a sea of people it’s the only way to stand out. I’m going to sing something very different than I have the other times, and it either works or it doesn’t. What I’ve done before hasn’t, so there’s nothing to lose.

Later I have an audition for an intensive summer training program, which would be nice if I’m not working on a show someplace. I’ve always wanted more training than I have, which is part of what has led to my feelings of inadequacy in the past, so to get some real training behind me would, ideally, take that away even further.

Snatched, the bootcamp I was doing at the gym, is officially over, and I had my final check-in this morning. I lost some weight and gained some muscle, but the most shocking thing is that I’m down to 4.3% body fat. That is insane to me. I feel good, I look good, and I’m doing what I want to do. I genuinely feel that it’s only a matter of time before things take off. It seems that every day there’s another step in the right direction, and it’s very exciting.

Dancing Through Life

This week has been crazy in a good way. Yesterday I got seen at the call I knew I would be seen at, because I had an actual appointment at noon. I was at the Equity building early to see if I could get in for a season at Cape May Stages, and sure enough, I got in for another union call right around 11:15.

It. Went. So. Well. One of the best auditions of my life, I think, and certainly the best this year. The panel was laughing and having fun with me and then asked me to play the piano (one of the shows they’re casting require two actors who can play– I don’t know how proficient they need to be). I sat down and started but my hands were shaking rather uncontrollably, and I couldn’t make it more than a few notes before hitting something weird. Also the D key stuck, and also my brain wasn’t working because I was excited and surprised. They were totally cool about it, and the artistic director said something to the effect of “it’s ok, don’t worry, I know I just threw that at you out of nowhere.”

It would be amazing to be cast for one of their shows, but I know that it probably won’t happen, because I’m non-union. That’s ok. I had an incredible audition in front of people who have worked with some of the top names in the industry and it felt good. Off to the next audition!

I got to my noon appointment feeling incredible, and so when the time can to sing I had a sense of joy and freedom and I just let it all out. It sounded so good! Seriously. When I was done they asked me to stay for the dance call, which was exciting. The dance call didn’t go great, but it wasn’t terrible either. It’s a weird one, because it’s for a production of Mamma Mia, and I have no idea who they’d cast me as. Age-wise I could be considered as one of the potential fathers, but looks wise I’m one of the younger like, pool-boys or whoever they are. Anyway, it was nice to get a bit of validation and be asked to stay.

So then I got home and immediately recorded a quick video of myself playing what I had attempted to play on the piano at the first audition, and emailed it to the artistic director with a thank you. I don’t know if this is normal, or possibly even frowned upon, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Late last night I got a reply (which I was not expecting at all) thanking me and saying he’d forwarded it to the director.

It was a really good day, after what had already been a good week audition-wise. I have now been seen at 10 auditions this week, FIVE of which were Equity calls. Again, it just really feels like things are moving in the right direction.

So today, as is now the norm, I woke up early and set off to sign up for everything I could today. I am currently signed in for 5 auditions in 5 different buildings, so we’ll see what happens. I know I’ll be seen at at least one of them. I’m currently in the holding room for an open call casting a replacement understudy for Fiyero for the National Tour of Wicked, and it feels ridiculous. Two months ago I don’t think I would have even considered being in this room. What’s funny, too, is that everyone here is clearly the exact same type. You know that seen in Garden State when Zach Braff is waiting for an audition and looks around, only to see that everyone else there looks exactly like him? That’s a real thing. That’s this. In this case, the call specifically said they were looking for actors at least 5’11”, fit, and handsome, but it’s just funny to walk into a room full of people that all fit that type perfectly.

What’s interesting about being back in this life and hitting the ground running is that I feel like I’m getting so much more out of each day. The fact that my birthday was three weeks ago is astounding to me– it feels like it was three months ago. The fact that last Thursday was the first time I’ve ever been seen at an Equity call feels like a different life that happened a long, long time ago after this week.

Good. Things. Are. Coming. My. Way.

Happiness is what happens when all your dreams come true

This week has been crazy so far– I’ve been seen at 8 auditions, and 4 of them were Equity calls! It’s also only 9am on Thursday morning, and I’ll definitely be seen at an appointment I have later today, and I have a very good feeling about being seen for the Equity call I’m currently waiting for. I’m #7 on the list, and it seems there aren’t all that many union members or alternates waiting to be seen.

The experience I’m gaining by being out here doing it all day every day has been invaluable. Even if nothing comes from this week’s auditions everything is a learning experience that works toward making the next one that much better. It feels like things are heading in the right direction for the first time in a long time, and it’s very exciting.

I am happy when I walk to the subway in the morning. I’ve realized that a few times over the past few weeks, but it hit me again this morning. I’m leaving my apartment about an hour and a half earlier than I used to, when even on the best day I’d still have an unnamed feeling hanging over me– the sort of thing that you don’t notice is there until it’s gone, like when the heat or a/c turns off in your house but you didn’t notice the sound until it was gone.

Things feel good. They feel right. Like I’m in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, and (I think I’ve mentioned this before) it’s incredibly freeing. I don’t feel nervous in an audition room because it’s becoming so commonplace, I appreciate every opportunity, and I am so happy to be doing this.

To Infinity and Beyond

Something exciting happened yesterday, which was that I actually got scene for an Equity call! Last week I learned that it actually happens, and this week I learned that not only does it happen, but it can happen to me. It’s been a good week.

The audition itself didn’t go all that well, but it wasn’t terrible. I wasn’t nervous, I think more than anything I was too excited. It was like seeing what’s on the other side of the curtain. I ended up skipping to a new part in the song I was singing, but thankfully the pianist followed me, for which I thanked her profusely when I finished. But because I’d done that I wasn’t focused on singing and performing, but on trying to make sure that the pianist actually was playing the same part I was singing. I didn’t sound horrible by any means, but it was probably clear that I was distracted. In any case, it was a very good learning experience. Hopefully next time I won’t be so excited and things will go more smoothly, now that I know exactly how it works when it does actually happen.

I’m now back at the Equity Building, waiting to see if non-union will be seen at an audition for the North Shore Music Theater. It would be fun to be seen for this, if only because I grew up in the town next to this theater and went all the time as a kid and teenager. I think there’s a chance, at least.

I’m also signed up at a different studio for another Equity call, which will hopefully happen as well. If the timing works out that I get to do both of them it would be a small miracle, but we’ll see. I have a good feeling. Until then, back to work! The good thing (or silver lining, I guess) about sitting in a holding room for extended periods of time is that I get a lot accomplished, both for my career and for work. Onward and upward!

History is Happening in Manhattan…

It’s been a busy week, and there’s good news: I was offered two things! Unfortunately I was unable to accept the first one, which was a real struggle emotionally because it was so great to be offered something and I so badly want to get out there and perform, but the schedule just didn’t work for me and there was no way around it, so I had to decline. It was for an improvised theater company, and I had a feeling after the audition that I was going to get the offer, but didn’t know the schedule until after. Oh well.

On the other hand, just a few days later I was offered a spot in a Cabaret at Don’t Tell Mama, which will be happening on March 26th. It’s a five person set and I sing two songs, which is kind of ideal at the moment. It’s not a huge time commitment, I don’t have to spend a ton of time learning new material, and I get to get up on stage and sing for a room full of people who are paying to be there. I think it’s a perfect way to jump back in and feel comfortable with all of this again.

The audition itself happened in one of the cabaret spaces at Don’t Tell Mama, on the stage, with a mic. I sang “Giants in the Sky” from Into the Woods, which I’ve sung a million times, but something about this audition just made me absolutely sing the shit out of it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older, or because I’m so committed to wanting to do this (and not as a secondary thing), but I just feel a lot freer when I’m auditioning I also don’t tend to get even close to as nervous as I know that I used to, which is great. I’m able to actually perform and be myself without worrying about the circumstances.

Another thing that normally (hopefully this is in the past now too) happens is that when I’m doing well and am aware of how well I’m doing during an audition, I start to freak out. You’re doing great, you’re killing it, don’t fuck up don’t fuck up don’t fuck up! I think. Inevitably this causes me to fuck up. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN THIS TIME. About halfway through I realized that not only was I singing well, but I was performing like my life depended on it, and I acknowledged it and kept going without anything crazy happening. I was booked on the spot (which I don’t think has ever happened to me before) and was elated when I walked out of that space.

So, it feels good to have been made two offers and accepted one in the two and a half weeks I’ve been back at this. There is, of course, no time to rest, and as such I’m sitting in the Actor’s Equity Building hoping to be seen for two shows. One is a production of Kinky Boots that I’m #16 on the non-equity list for, and the other is the first part of the season at the North Shore Music Theater, which I’m #27 for. The North Shore Music Theater is in the town next to where I grew up, and I went there many, many times as a kid and young adult. It would be incredible to get to perform there (I just remembered that I did once… I was a trombone player in The Music Man but I remember absolutely no other details about it…) and to be in a place that I know, and near my family. Hopes can’t get too high, of course, because I need to get seen in the first place, but I’ll hopefully cross that bridge when I get to it. If not today, there’s another call tomorrow, so I’ll try again.

My 37th birthday has happened since my last post, and I’ve realized that though the title of my blog is a nod to the play “To Gillian on her 37th Birthday,” it’s been at least fifteen years since I’ve read it and as such I think a reread is necessary.

I’ve spent the past week waking up early, signing in for Equity calls that I know I’m unlikely to be seen for, and here and there attending auditions that I do actually get seen for. All the while working from wherever I am to make that money.

I’m lucky enough that the wine shop I’ve worked at for the past two and a half years offered me the opportunity to basically work remotely 95% of the time, which has been an integral part of my plan to get back on the audition trail. I think it’s going to work out, though I’ve got to give it about a month to see how much I’ll be able to fully support myself this way, and then analyze to see if I need to add something else to supplement. Part of my work is now going to be commission based, so if I have large sales and can make a whole lot of money one month, perhaps I’ll be able to then take a slow month if it happens.

Currently I’m waiting for my turn at an audition for Celebrity Cruises, where I’m number 135. It was approximately 5 degrees when I left my apartment this morning at about 8:15, and I was signed in before 9am, and still 134 people were here before me. That said, the other day I was number 270 for something and had gotten there at about 9 as well, so this isn’t so bad. It will be a long wait, but I’m pretty certain I’ll be seen for this one.

I’m also signed in on the non-Equity list at the Equity building for Flat Rock Playhouse’s upcoming season, and I’m number 27 on that list. This is an Equity Chorus Call, which means that the Equity Membership Candidates are in the same boat as non-union people, so there are a whole lot fewer people that could possibly be before me. They’ve also had Equity Principal Auditions two days this week already (which I woke up and signed in for, but they didn’t have time to see non-Equity those days) so perhaps everyone who was looking to be seen has auditioned already. I can hold out hope, anyway.

I’m nearly two weeks into doing this all again, and I feel good and focused. I’m trying to list and work on goals for the day, week, and month in order to get all the little career things done that I need to have done, and should I actually follow this plan, I think it will be a good way to get shit done. Every day is a step forwards, and if I get all of those things done I’ll be in a vastly different place this time next year than I am now.  Not everything works like American Idol, and not every success is immediate. That’s this week’s mantra.

Something of note was that on Tuesday I accidentally found myself at another dance call. I don’t know if the wording in the casting was weird, or if I just got confused, or what, but there I was. I’d already signed in for three auditions that I didn’t have a good chance of being seen at, and since this was for some non-union production in the middle of Ohio I figured I couldn’t embarrass myself too badly.

Not only did I not embarrass myself, but I wasn’t even close to the worst in the room. It was to the point that after they conferred and came back to the holding room to announce who they needed to see again, I was half expecting my name to be called. It wasn’t, but that’s not the point. At a dance call you essentially all go in the room, learn the combination, and then dance in small groups, while everyone is still in the room. The whole time I kept thinking, I am here by accident, am ten or fifteen years older than all of you, and yet not only am I keeping up but I’m outperforming a bunch of you. How did you guys get here? It was weird. If nothing else, it was a free dance class, and I felt really good about myself when I left.