Understudying on the Fly

Okay, so I’ll admit, I’ve been a bad blogger for the past year or so. I’ve definitely been distracted. I blame my boyfriend. I also blame Star Wars…just cuz. And having a cute dog…Toby is cute

Essentially, I can’t be a good blogger when I’m distracted by good things around me.

Although, there’s much to talk about. So here I sit, drinking my freshly ground and brewed vanilla-coconut coffee, burning a vanilla-peppermint candle, and my vanilla-colored dog snuggled on my running pants behind me, forcing myself to focus and write.

So, first off, 2013 ended pretty busy after most of a year going by with nothing. I played Christine Colgate in the ARTS production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which was followed by Bruce Kimmel’s Pure Imagination musical review and then got cast in Musical Theatre West’s production of The Music Man.

But this is the story of how I ended up doing Pure Imagination.

So I got a Facebook message from Karen, someone who I worked with my first year in California and hadn’t seen since, and she asked me if I could cover one of the sopranos in Bruce Kimmel’s show Pure Imagination for Pacific Resident Theatre. Karen thought of me through another girl named Jen, who I hadn’t seen in four years either. A truly small world, the acting biz is. The show was a musical review of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse songs, so I knew I could handle the style.

I had two full weeks of memorizing 70 pages of music and movement and one rough rehearsal. No problem, right? I’m a fast memorizer. And Newley & Bricusse songs, let me TELL you, are extremely wordy. I mean, lyrics that don’t repeat themselves…as in you can’t just fall back and relax into the “chorus” of the song…because there ISN’T one. Very Stephen Sondheim-esque. Not to mention one of the most stressful songs was “Typically English” where I had to switch from English to German to Russian to American and back to English again, fast and furious-like with words that a tongue could easily trip and fall on. The kind of song where IF you did mess up, there would be no time to stop and fix and cover or fake. You would just have to mumble your way until you grabbed back on. A very fun song. Two weeks of learning and one rough rehearsal made for a very nerve-wracking song.

But was I gonna let anyone know how nervous I was? HELL no. I said yes to this understudying experience and I wasn’t going to even blink a nervous glint!

But oh was I…oh man was I.

Ever since I had a nightmare audition come true, where I started singing a song I had had memorized since 4th grade, but somehow horribly forgot all the words to, I’ve been shakily uncertain of my brain memory capacity.

So, I guess you could say this show was my ticket to personal redemption. If I can remember ALL of this, I can fly again so to speak.

I had my rehearsal, the Tuesday before my Thursday opening performance. I had slip ups and mild mistakes, but that was okay. I wanted to go blank on this day. If there was ever a mess up, it needed to be during rehearsal.

I should also mention that I’m a really bad perfectionist. The kind that will rip myself apart before anyone has the blinking chance to. Like the it’s okay you don’t need to tell me that sucked…I already know it…trying to fix now… While the other person says I didn’t realize it did…oh wait, maybe that one part And I go YEAH I KNOW…I TOLD YOU!

Etc.

So Thursday comes around and I have a callback for The Music Man which I can’t get to because I have to be at the theater for Pure Imagination and I’m bummed because it was my FIRST callback for a production company that I’d been trying to get into for 4 years. How I finagled my callback situation is another bloggery to be told…

I’m at the theater quickly going through every song and movement in my head an hour before “curtain.” This was a make it or break situation. If you mess up you die moment. There’s no turning back. You can’t cry to mommy. Can’t run and hide behind the curtains. This is a true Understudy feeling and my first Understudy experience. I’ve had people understudy ME before, and now I get how they’ve felt.

Thank God everyone I was working with was super nice and supporting. Even the soprano I was covering for had left me an encouraging little note on the dressing table which made me feel a little better. Nobody knew, mind you, just HOW sick to my stomach I was. I was either going to throw up or shat my pants…either way, I was bad-gassy. Being that I’ve never been nervous before a performance, ‘twas a new feeling indeed.

Then it was time.

Stage Manager announces “places,” lights go out, we move to our positions on stage, lights go up and the singing begins.

My brain had never been more aware of every movement and key change and lyric and tempo and emotional expression I think ever in my life. There were times where it felt like my legs were as stiff as a robot. I really hoped that I was the only one that noticed that. I kept telling myself, remember or die, remember or die. I would look out into the audience, but I didn’t see anything except the script in my head. It was “Typically English” time, and I prayed to God that I could somehow remember everything, at the same time the memory of my nightmare audition pushing itself into my head trying to sabotage my courage. Amazingly I did remember, without one stumble or stutter. I swear that’s a miracle in of itself. And then the next song and the next came and went without a fumble. Before I knew it, the show was over, I was bowing, smiling, and thanking God that I lived through it all.

Number 1, my boyfriend, took me out for drinks that night. I felt so elated I could barely have one. I think I continued to shake all night…considering the amount of energy I just utilized to survive the show.

It was one of those experiences that was awesome…but you wouldn’t want to do again. Cuz I don’t know if I COULD do it again. I’m still amazed that I lived through it. I’m writing this shaking inside just thinking about it.

I think it’s a testament to the human brain. Man, the things it can do when you put your mind to it…

Anyhow, you actors who understudy all the time…my hat’s off to you!

To see what Bruce Kimmel thought of all this, follow this link here http://christannarowader.com/news/

Me singing Love Has the Longest Memory

Sami and I had an awesome duet in the show called "Where Would You Be Without Me"

Being an unknown actress…

 

When asked about how life as an actress in California was going so far, this is what I said:

“Perseverance is paying off, but I still remain the "starving actor" at the moment. I’ve been to many callbacks for commercials and theatrical shows, but no snags on the commercials as of yet. That’s okay though, I’m focusing on feature film. That’s where my heart lies, in the thick of storytelling where reality and adventure collide.

I have two agents, one for theater and one for film/commercial/print and such. Steven, my theater agent, is super cool and dry-humored. He thinks I’m a goof, I’m sure. Jan and Terry, my film/commercial agents, are pretty energetic enough for me.

But I do most of the work and find a lot of auditions on my own, which is how it is here. Except for the film industry. But I’ve been attending many casting director workshops as of late and that helps. Right now is hiatus time, so auditions are few and far between, but I’m hoping when August comes around, things will get slammed for me. My main goal is to get an audition for the new Star Wars film (which I’m sure you’re gonna laugh at me about—who doesn’t) so I’ve been focusing most of my efforts in searching out THAT particular casting director.

I don’t really like most musicals lately. I find them annoying and less realistic. My favorite one was 1776, but that was perhaps because it felt like I was doing a movie on stage with John Williams scoring. It felt so real and true. No breaking out into song and dance for no reason, which I can’t stand. But maybe it’s because I’m at a stage in my life where I’m sick of it and want more than anything to tell a story that can really impact people all over the world. I’m sure when I’m older, I’ll revert back to wanting to do stage or musicals. But for now, film is all I want.”

 

That pretty much sums it up. Only become an actor if that really IS all you can do. OR if you have super-duper tough skin and have an unrelenting “never give up” sense of attitude. OR if you were born into it and roles come easier to you. OR if you seem to be surrounded by luck ALL THE TIME. OR if you marry rich and you have a ton of free time and you’re bored and you can do as many auditions as you want without worrying about your “other job” getting in the way and needing the money to support your livelihood because you don’t have a “job” because you married rich and you’re bored. THEN you can be an actor any time you want.

…I would love to marry rich…

Lol, I crack myself.

All for one audition…

Those of you who know me know how obsessed I am with Star Wars and have been since I was 13. I can’t tell you what it felt like when news came out about George Lucas selling Lucasfilm to Disney and Disney upstarting Star Wars VII, VIII, and IX, how I received message upon message from people telling me this news while I was at work, and how my heart froze over when I read it for myself the moment I got home. I couldn’t believe it. For years, I would dream about those movies being made, but thought to myself it could Luke looking off at twin sunsonly happen if Lucas would let go of the series and allow other creative artists to take over. And like THAT would ever happen!

So when it actually did in 2012, I nearly choked. I REALLY couldn’t believe it. After I recovered from my own mental shock, I was giddy with excitement. I followed all the news about Disney searching for the right director, all the while I kept hoping it would be J.J. Abrams. He was my first choice; Joss Whedon was my second. When the new Star Trek film had been released in 2009, I said to my best friend Mat that if ever “in some alternate universe” Lucas would let go of the Star Wars series, J.J. should be the one to direct the last three films. So when I had heard that Abrams initially turned down directing J.J. AbramsEpisode VII, I cried out, “Why?!?!” Then, out of nowhere, I turned to God and prayed, “Please make him change his mind, PLEASE!” And so when Abrams actually DID change his decision, I thought wryly to myself, “I wonder if prayer works on my OWN career…”

But I didn’t pray for myself at the start. I’ve never been very good at prayer in general. Something about praying about one’s own career felt more like a waste of a prayer, as if God really did exist (which I believe he does), He would say to me, “So you wanna be one of the main characters in Star Wars, but you don’t wanna ask for world peace…typical human.” Instead, I began wishing upon matching numbers like 11:11 and random shooting stars, all of which when I think about it now feels like a waste of a wish. It’s not like 11:11 is gonna give a crap about whether or not I get into Star Wars. 11:11 cares more about getting to 11:12. And those shooting stars? Well, they burned off before they even got a chance to hear my wish.

As the months went by, my obsession grew stronger and it was all I could do to not lose hope. I know I’m a “no body” actress that came out to California late in her career, coming from a state I where used to say that “if there was a bright center in the world, Arizona would be the farthest from it.” But on the positive side, I grew up my whole life in theater and I am no stranger to the creative arts. When I moved out to California, I Episode "Buzz Kill" in Blood Relativeslanded two leading roles in musicals within two years and also landed my first leading role in a television show called Blood Relatives on Discovery ID within the third year.

And I’ve only been out here for three years! This is why I’m severely discouraged about having the chance to audition for Star Wars. I just landed my very first tv spot this year, there’s NO WAY I would even be considered for an audition for a major feature film. It’s not like I don’t have an agent; I have two. But they can only do so much. I, myself, have submitted as many headshots, resumes and cover letters to production companies, casting directors, and directors knowing very well that my mail will most likely be thrown out or disregarded. I’ve attended casting director workshops solely for the networking purposes of getting myself out there. And I’m quite sure I annoyed my agents enough by bugging them to keep a look out for Star Wars audition breakdowns.

Yes, I’ve gone INSANE. There’s never been anything I’ve ever wanted this badly in my entire life. Except for being an astronaut, but the reality of not being able to pass the eye exam was discouragement enough for me to not even try. This time, however, I’m trying harder than I thought myself capable, sans looking like a complete psycho. Because really, when you think about, I have nothing to lose. Truly nothing to lose by driving the casting directors and production companies crazy with all my mail…And it’s all for ONE audition. One chance to prove that I’m right for the character, right for the epic story of a universe far, far away. And then if I’m STILL not what they’re looking for, that’s life. But at least I can I say “I tried.” Or “did” because…really…there is no try.

Yes…I am a nerd. I can’t help it.

So I’ve gone back to praying to God about leading me in the right direction to have a chance to audition, hoping against all hope that it won’t be considered selfish or a waste of a prayer. Because at this point, I’ve done all I can. At this point, I need all the help I can get.

Binary suns...in a galaxy far far away

3 Year Anniversary with California

 

Exactly a year ago, I was in rehearsals for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Annie. I was playing Grace Farrell, my first lead in California. I got to work with Norman Large and Sally Struthers. It was one of the most memorable show experiences I had had at the time and felt so blessed to be apart of it! Sally Struthers playing Miss Hannigan and me

Playing Grace Farrell led me to my first agent, Steven Dry, with Connor Ankrum & Associates. He started me out on my first run of auditions. The first one sucked. I completely screwed it up. It was my first audition where I actually knew that when I turned and exited through the door, I wanted to shoot myself and bury myself in a hole. It was stupid-dumb-bad. And to make matters worse for myself, it was the first audition I had that my agent scheduled me for. I wanted to cry.

I redeemed myself, not right away, but eventually. As the months passed, the auditions were few and far between. It was a slow season for the theater world. Equity houses were closing down without hope of reopening. Union actors were leaving the union just so they could get more work. It wasn’t looking good for California theater. It still isn’t…

Nonetheless, the shows must go on…I don’t know how, but they will.

A few months more went by and I finally signed with my first commercial agency, Brady Brannon and Rich. So I experienced my first round of commercial auditions and callbacks. Let me tell you!!! They are SOOOOO easy. You don’t have to prepare ANYTHING. Just show up and look right. Such a change compared to all my theater auditions, where you have to prepare 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and ballad, bring dance clothes, dance shoes, and whatever else they may want you to do.

I didn’t land a commercial yet, but had mostly callbacks, so I thought that wasn’t too shabby.

Around winter time, I had finally made a good group of awesome friends. I hadn’t really made any since I had moved; I got close to some, but didn’t find anyone I could trust yet. So I finally found some people I could love AND trust. At the same time, I also lost contact with my friend and ex The Terminator. The confusing relationship finally reached its end since I had moved out to California.

During this time, I had met William Shatner. I actually got to hang out with him ON SET, Bill and mebeing apart of the crew. My life was complete at that point. If I had died the next day, I wouldn’t have cared. I also got asked out by four different crew guys that same day. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word for THAT.

For a while there, I wasn’t landing any shows. I was getting callbacks, but nothing after that. It was a serious dry spell. But a part of me was grateful for it. I had time for other things in my life that I normally wouldn’t have if I were in a show. The show-life takes up MOST of your time. Eventually, I was invited to audition for The Movie Guys, a comedy webisode about movies ‘n such. I got in and was able to become SAG-eligible, something I had been thinking pretty close to impossible considering I wasn’t really doing any union related stuff until then.the movie guys

I was ecstatic that I had the ability to call up SAG and say, “I wanna sign up and pay my dues!” I couldn’t believe that doing New Media was a way in.

And then, just to mess with me, my “dark side” decided to come out and be a pain, and I started cutting again. I hadn’t sliced up my leg since I was in college, so it was a serious wake-up call when it happened again at 26 years old. I finally accepted the fact that I was born with something I had no control of. I wasn’t allowed to take any more birth control, according to the nurses, because of the severe depression I was feeling again. They took me off it, and then put me on Prozac again. I hadn’t been on it for a while, but after my bad cutting experience (taking a butter knife at work and going at it on my right leg), I decided it was best to stay on the Prozac indefinitely.

Once I accepted my “craziness,” (as I like to call it), I felt a sense of equilibrium. And, funny enough, things started making sense and being good again. I got cast in The Music Man, playing Marian Paroo, which was one of my dream roles. A friend of mine told me to Lida Roseaudition, and I got it. It really is about WHO you know. I wouldn’t have known about the audition if my friend hadn’t told me about it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got the part.

From there, I got another lead in a show, Abigail Adams in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of 1776 the Musical. I COULDN’T believe it! I wanted to play her so badly, I was beyond shocked and thrilled that I actually got cast.1776

I began a working-out life style I thought I’d never have. I started Cardio Barre with my roommate. I started running, something I used to HATE all my life, and now love it! I FINALLY achieved my Victoria’s Secret stomach goal, which I had been wanting to reach since I was 14 years old. Took living with a stunt woman with rock-hard abs to actually push me.

And on top of all this, my romance life became interesting after nearly a year of zilch. Sure, I had been meeting people like The Bartender from Bogie’s, and the crew guys from Shatner’s shoot, but no one I actually felt like spending time with.

But then came Mr. Big (MY version, not Sex and the City’s version). And then Mr. Spock. And then Blue Shirt (aka, possibly Skywalker). All of which I have very unusual relationships with. Two of them are close friends, one of them closer in a more physical way, and the third is one I’m technically dating (as in a date once a week kinda thing). ALL wonderful!!!! I’ve become sort of a Queen Bee, giving my love to all my little worker bees…although I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all. In all honesty, at this time in my life, I admit I have a serious problem with monogamous relationships. But we all go through this at one point or another, right? I panic at the idea of being tied down to just one person right now. And not one guy in my life that I’ve been with seriously has deserved my loyalty, so why try to be loyal at all? I guess I’m answering myself with this one…the one who does deserve it will be the one to marry. WELL I’m not even CLOSE to that, so game on! Time to really live out my loving side. I might as well be a futuristic hippy.

Last night was a perfect ending to my 3 year anniversary with California: a whim on the beach that only happens in your dreams. I had a found a secret entrance to a private beach in Malibu, and a small group of friends and I ventured out into the dark of the night, stripped down to our skimpies and played in the ocean, all the while, of course, wondering if Jaws was laying in wait. It was the whim of the year!

And so the adventures continue! By the way, Cali, did I ever tell you that I love you? Well, I do. Happy 3 years and may the fourth one be ever in my favor!

Blue Shirt

 

So many things can happen in one summer. If we could all remember every little detail we experience, maybe we would finally realize how exciting and interesting our lives really are. We all are living an adventure deserved to be written about. This is why I write. This is why I nag my grandmother, whom I call Mana, to write her story. This is why it saddens me that my grandfather, Papa, never wrote his before he passed away. And this is why I write about the people in my life, because they have an adventure deserved to be documented too.

This summer, I made friends. Good friends. The closely-knit kind I’d been wanting badly. Samantha, Pablo, Katie, Helena, Monique, and many more. They will always be apart of my life story.A drawing of me as Marian by Joseph Lusker

This summer, I got to play Marian Paroo in the The Music Man. Of course, I got a horrendous chest cold during the callback. Somehow survived it, but was out from work the following days. Still got the part. Weird how that works. Anyhow, she was one of my dream roles. I grew up with The Music Man. My family grew up with it too. The musical felt more apart of me than usual. It felt like being home. During the run, I met some wonderful people that I’ll never forget. And, of course, I am madly in love with my opposite, Kristopher Kyer, who played Harold Hill. One of my favorite people ever, truly.

This summer, I got to be apart of The Movie Guys, a comedy group that previews and reviews movies every month. I specialize in the sci-fi stuff, of course. Winking smile I love working with Paul Preston, Karen Volpe, Lee Kias, Adam Witt, and many others. I’ve The Movie Guysmet some very wonderfully funny and interesting people throughout the months.

This summer, I got to sing with the Prescott Pops Symphony orchestra once again, conducted by my father. A year ago, he wanted to book me to sing as one of his soloist, and I kept telling him I couldn’t commit because I didn’t know if I’d have a better gig by then. As the months passed, things worsened for my father at the Prescott college. He was disrespectfully, and without warning, fired through an emailDad conducting by the newest head of the music department at the college, reason being simply a difficulty in communication. And then other soloists were dropping out at the last second for the concert my father was putting on in July. I decided to commit to the concert, not only because I couldn’t abandon my dad, but because I wanted him to know he still had the respect and the support of other singers.

This summer, I developed an unexpected but fully embraced sense of love and support from my aunt and uncle who live in California. There was always love within my family members, but now I feel a sudden closeness to them that I only rarely feel for a handful of people. This feeling is hard for Familyme to describe, but to put it simply, it is the feeling one might feel for their own child…they would kill for them, or die. I’ve felt this way about my parents and my Mana and Papa. There are just a few others I’ve had this feeling for, but now my aunt and uncle have joined this circle in my heart. Sometimes I laugh and brush this emotion off as a fault of my “artistic” side. But it’s there, nonetheless. Now my uncle is leaving for Afghanistan…I can only hope it’ll be boring.

This summer, I also met someone. The man with the blonde hair and the blue eyes. I caught a glimpse of him in the audience during my show. The blue shirt is what drew my attention. And I thought, “he’s cute.” Then I saw him again at dinner with a friend. Coincidence? I don’t know. But I thought it was cool. Because I remember details like that. Just like in a movie. And then he asked me out.

But that’s all I’m gonna say. This story deserves a separate blog.

There’s a little story in all of this, but I think the most important thing to understand is that this was a happy time. I want to remember it well. That’s why I’m writing it now. Because I know when there’s an up, there’s always another down. And the dark side of my brain likes to take over during those downs.

So I hope for the happy times like now to last a long time, and I write to keep it real.

There’s an adventure in all of us, so don’t take it for granted, and remember all the details down to the last blue shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep...

Whimming with Shatner

 

 

Ilia’s Theme by Jerry Goldsmith

Shatner: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship, Xanna D, her continuing mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no girl has gone before.

THAT’S RIGHT, KIDS! I FINALLY MET WILLIAM SHATNER!!!

First picture with Mr. ShatnerAnd I pretty much nearly died from euphoria.

You all know I am the biggest science-fiction female freak in the entire universe. And if you don’t, then what the heck are you doing reading this blog? I write Star Wars books (that someday I hope to make into a television series), I write sci-fi reviews for movies, I read sci-fi novels, I play sci-fi video games, I have Star Wars posters all over my room, my movie collection consists of 99% sci-fi. Even now I am currently watching ALL the Star Trek series—EPISODES IN ORDER.

Now, I don’t wanna start up a war on who’s more sci-fi-nerdy than the other, but I just wanna prove that I am, indeed, OBSESSED with all things to do with space, truly the final frontier.

To this day I still want to be buried on the moon when I die, or be put in a capsule and shot into space. That would make all my dreams come true.

But, first things first. I met the man himself, Mr. William T. Shatner…sorry, I just had to throw in the T. Forgive me, Bill. Winking smile

Let me just tell you, my life is officially complete. I can die tomorrow and by okay with it.

So let me tell you how it happened…

One day I posted my status on Facebook saying “I still can’t get over William Shatner…sexiest man ever!” Or something like that…

facebook quote

The next morning, I woke up to a Facebook message from a theater friend of mine saying, “You know Shatner’s going to be at my house filming in two weeks, right? Why don’t you come over and just hang out?”

I bolted out of bed and a slew of shocked profanity flew from my mouth. “Are you &*^@$#$&**&%*@ KIDDING ME?!?!”

Of course I said yes. But there was a little voice inside my head saying it’ll never happen, you want this too much. Anytime I really want something, it usually evades me. So I tried to forget about it. Then, a few days before the shoot, my friend contacted me again to remind me to come out. Yeah, sure, okay…

I wanted this so badly I could feel the bad karma finding me.

The day came for me to hang out during the shoot. Also, on that day, I had a scheduled audition later that night. I wondered ironically, How is it that everything happens on the same day?…

I went to my friend’s house around lunch break, ate delicious halibut, gourmet steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and pineapple slaw, finishing it with Perrier Lemonade. I met most of the crew members, all of them extremely friendly and welcoming. But William Shatner was nowhere to be seen. He was having lunch privately in his room.

A few hours went by and I anxiously kept checking my phone’s time. I was cutting close to when I needed to leave for my audition. The location was two and a half hours away.

I finally came to terms with myself: when will you get another chance to meet William Shatner??? Probably never again. So I decided to sacrifice my audition for Mr. Shatner.

Many hours passed. I got to see Shatner shoot his scenes. I even caught him glancing at me sideways, which thrilled me to the bone. I smiled at him and he smiled back. He seemed like such a nice person, pleasant and good humored. He laughed with the filming crew and his voice was a deep bass, husky and sweet.

Finally, they wrapped at 5pm. I knew I had missed my opportunity to audition at this point, considering my scheduled time was 6:30pm…again, two and a half hours away.

But then I finally got to meet Mr. Shatner. Handsome, charming, gentle and polite, he was. Smile

I got my first picture with him, in which I very much noticed how strong a grip he had around my waist. More thrills to my bone.

But when I checked my camera to see how it turned out, I noticed he blinked.

Oh no, I need another! I thought. I had to have a perfect picture. Who knew when I had another chance like this?

Finally I worked up the nerve to ask him again.

“Mr. Shatner?” I said meekly. “Is it okay if I have another picture of you?”

And he said, with his deep bassoon-like voice, “Well, it depends on with whom?”

And I said, “Well, with me.”

“Well then, get over here,” he said, smiling with arms wide open.

With that, I nearly died, falling into his arms and into the stars of the universe.

Mr. Shatner and me

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was. I was beaming the rest of the day and more. I have had so much admiration and respect for this man. I’d seen things he’d done even before the Star Trek series aired, aka Thriller’s Grim Reaper, which is one of the most frightening episodes I’ve ever seen. This was mostly due to William Shatner’s performance, selling the horrific image of the Reaper purely through facial expression (you never got to see the actual Reaper) as Shatner went to his death.

After the picture was taken, I said, “It was truly a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Shatner. Really a pleasure.”

He smiled and said, “No, no. It was a pleasure for me.” Which, of course, made me blush as red as my jacket and I had to escape. So I nodded, smiled and walked away.

I said goodbye to the film crew that I had mingled with for hours, thanked my friend for inviting me out to enjoy the day with them, and made my way to my car.

“We’ll see you next week, right?” Shatner’s assistant called out to me.

I turned, startled. “What do you mean?”

“You’re coming back next week?” she repeated.

I looked at my friend, confused and not sure what to say. My friend nodded and smiled encouragingly.

“Is that allowed?” I asked finally, turning to the assistant.

She said, “Of course!” Then she leaned in closer, saying, “Trust me, all the guys here want to see you again,” and winked.

I was tempted to say, Does that include Bill?, but I knew better. The man was spoken for, of course.

In any case, being invited to hang out with the crew is a big enough thrill for me to not turn down. How could I say no? And besides, I’m a whimmer. And that’s what whimmers do.

And so begins another whimming adventure. In a galaxy far, far away…oh wait.

 

P.S. I DID make my audition later that night, only I was an hour and a half late. I decided to go anyway for the hell of it. I ended up getting a callback for Sweeney Todd. Smile

Being sick never hurt…

Except when auditions are around the corner. Being an actress/singer, getting a cold is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Getting to auditions and booking a role is hard enough without coughing up pieces of your lungs or having your nose run like Niagara Falls.

I almost never went to my Annie audition because of my cold. But I decided testing out my ability to sing well while being under the weather would be a fun personal challenge. I love challenges. So I sang with a slightly melted Halls cough drop in my mouth, cherry flavored—yum, and thankfully got called back for the role of Lily St. Regis and one of the Boylan sisters. The role of Lily called for a nasally singer, and nasally was definitely working out for me that day.

The day of the callback, I managed to kill the sickness, but the cough, as coughs do, stuck around in my lungs like an insatiable itch. So, mouth full of cherry flavored cough drops, I sang for Lily, danced for Lily, and cold-read for Lily. Then I had to stay around to sing for one of the Boylan sisters and do another round of dancing for ensemble. I ended up staying at the callback for about five hours. Near the end of the night, the director sent everybody home but me and one other girl. We were both going for Lily. We knew each other from working in another show together, and I was well aware of how talented she was. Gorgeous and talented.

I have to interject a random thought here. In a tight battle of auditioning, my brain usually starts wandering off in other directions in order to keep my nerves down. So I’ll admit, while the girl and I were sitting anxiously in the hallway waiting to be called into the rehearsal room to learn a song we didn’t know, I was thinking about guys. That’s right. Guys I really like. And there’s not that many…so my brain really was tempted to distract me into daydream mode.

And then the director finally called us back in to sing again. This would be our third time singing. We both sang the best we could with how unfamiliar we were to the song. Later the director asked me to come back the next night to read for Grace Farrell.

Grace Farrell?! I thought. I didn’t even think I had even the slightest chance for that role. When viewing the audition breakdown, I knew they were looking to cast an Equity actress in the part, so I completely disregarded auditioning for Grace at all.

The next night, I showed up and sat with all the other Grace potentials. It was one of those moments where we were all sizing each other up. Each one looked very different, but very specific. Beautiful women and all apart of the union, and all of which have played many a leading role with major theater companies. Being new to California, I hadn’t had the chance to up my role credits as of yet. I have played leading roles in the past, just not in California. A couple of the actresses discovered my non-union status and eyed me curiously.

So I started thinking of guys again…all the while attempting to keep my itching cough at bay.

The director brought us in, we sang, we read and we waited. Then the director let everybody go, but asked me to stick around for a while longer. That’s when my gut flipped over. When the director asks you to stay, usually that’s a really good sign. But you can’t ever know in this business. Everything is so unpredictable, you can’t EVER assume anything.

The last few minutes of the night were spent with me reading with the only other man there reading for Oliver Warbucks. It was just the two of us. Then we were let go as well, with unanswered questions. We were told we’d hear by Friday, and I couldn’t wait!

Friday came and I got a voice mail from the director saying that he didn’t want me dangling, but that he just wanted me to know that they do want me in the show, just can’t figure out what role to offer me. That was tough to hear. Not a yes, not a no. An “I don’t know.” I can’t STAND “I don’t knows.” Those answers eat away at me until I start scratching my skin off. Every day after that, I waited by the phone like I was waiting to hear from a guy I really liked after a great first date and that he said he’d call me soon, BUT HE DIDN’T!!!!

Yes, that’s exactly how I felt. Auditioning is just like dating. Stressful.

I counted the days and started to think I didn’t make the cut. I was also seeing people on Facebook announcing their roles in Annie, one of them being the actress who was with me on the first night of callbacks. She landed Lily, which she would be amazing at! But it really started making me feel very discouraged. So I began planning for future auditions and a possible showcase that I had to register soon for. It wasn’t until the fourth day did I finally get the call.

“Hello, Christanna?” the director said.

“Hi, how are you?” I said.

“Good. Sorry this has taken so long. We had a lot of things to work with. But listen, we’d like you to play Grace.”

“Are you serious?” That was my first response. I couldn’t help it.

“Uh, yes. I am.”

Then an explosion of yeses and absolutelies tumbled from my mouth as I paced the living room in my underwear (because I was in the midst of changing clothes when I got the call and now didn’t have the mental ability to continue dressing…). I’m pretty sure I blasted the director’s ears off as well.

And there you go. It’s almost been two years since I moved to California, I’ve done four shows, and I’ve finally booked my first lead here.

I guess I should be sick more often…

Eh, maybe not.

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