Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Never leave home without your jazz shoes

A couple of weeks ago, I registered for an open call for NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival).  It's a really big deal here.  For the first time ever, the casting agency in charge of the entire festival opted for an online registration process.  Last year, about 285 people showed up to the open call, so they made time for 300 auditions this year.  Little did they know that over 4,000 people would register with the online site and vie for those 300 slots.  This resulted in 700 clicks per second.  Needless to say, we almost crashed the casting agency's server.  I was one of the lucky 300 to get in, and my 9:45 audition that Friday went wonderfully.  I sang a cut from "Astonishing" for the first time in an audition.  I just felt like that was the time to do it, and I'm glad I went with my gut.

The next day,  I got a call from one of the NYMF casting associates, inviting me to a callback on August 6 for Show Choir! The Musical.  I was over the moon.  A next-day callback is an even bigger deal than a same-day callback in my book.  

Between the NYMF open call and the callback, I auditioned for Oceania, a super-luxury cruise line catering to the richest of rich.  I sang "I'm Not Afraid of Anything" and "At Last."  And of course, the day I forget my jazz shoes at home would be the day I get a callback.  Thankfully, Mom was in town and with me at the audition.  I left all my stuff with her and raced home to get my dance gear.  Two taxis and a bus later, I barely made it to the same-day callback.  I rounded the corner in Ripley Grier to find Mom ready to get me into the room.  They had just started.  Thank heavens I'd put on my tights and spankies back at the apartment.  I had to act fast.  "Mama, please forgive me for this," I said and pulled me dress up over my head, right there in the hallway.  I didn't care if I had an audience.  I just wanted to get in that room.  And I did---in my black cami, tights, spankies, and jazz shoes which, as luck would have it, I didn't really need after all.  "I don't care what you have on your feet," the choreographer told us.  "I care about how you move."  Well.  That's the last time I'm EVER leaving my jazz shoes at home.

The NYMF callback last Friday was fantastic.  Originally,  I planned to sing a cut from a song that would show off my high notes, but at the last minute I went with my gut and changed my mind.  I sang a different cut of "Astonishing" first.  The music director asked to hear something else.  

"I have 'I'm Not Afraid of Anything,' 'Don't Rain on My Parade,' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough,'" I told him.  

"Okay, so we've got Jason Robert Brown and the Supremes...Do you have something more legit?"  

"Absolutely!  Is Rodgers and Hammerstein alright?  I can sing 'If I Loved You'..."  


They cut me off before I finished "If I Loved You" and asked me if I could come back for the dance callback the next day at noon.   I was already thrilled at hearing that, but then the musical director tossed in one of the biggest compliments I've ever gotten as an artist: "You know, I liked your version of 'Astonishing' better than Sutton Foster's.  And I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it."

Sutton Foster is a Tony winner.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.

The dance callbacks for both Oceania and Show Choir went okay.  I didn't nail either one, and it didn't help matters that with Show Choir, my group was the last to dance that day, almost three hours after we'd learned the routine.  I'm being good to myself and trying not to be negative, but I know I need to improve here.  I'm slow to pick up the combinations, sticky in the transitions, and not as solid as I should be with my technique.  Plainly put: I need dance classes.

So that's the next thing on my list.  As soon as I know I'm set budget-wise for my transition from Taryn's apartment to the place in TriBeCa, I'm going to invest in a dance card.  Can't wait to get started.

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