AUDITION UPDATE!!!

It’s been a wild two weeks. With fall coming around and a handful of auditions piling up, an actress can take her pick. I had been planning on auditioning for the musical Annie at Cabrillo Music Theatre for the part of Lily, Rooster’s girlfriend. A fun part, silly and slutty. And then I got sick. The coughing-up-a-lung type of sick.

Screw it, I said. A cold isn’t gonna stop me! So I went in full of cough drops and drowning in bottles of water. I also had decided to sing a new song, which meant I had just learned it in two days. Not the smartest of things to do, but that’s my style.

So I sang, remembered my words, and managed to keep the cough down. Left the room with positive feedback, and let loose a hacking cough down the hallway.

Got called back for Lily and a Boylan sister a few days later.

AND a few days later, still sick and feeling like my lungs were crushing themselves, I decided to throw in another audition: Stephen Sondheim’s Company at CLO of South Bay. I had nothing else to do that day, so I said, why not!

Walked in, sang a song I hadn’t done in a long time. They asked me to sing another piece, which is always a good sign. I frantically flipped through pages in my music folder and found a more upbeat song. After I finished, they asked me to come in the next day for callbacks. That was the quickest callback I had ever gotten in my life. Kinda threw me off for a second.

And left the room again hacking.

The callback for Company went really well and so did the Annie callback. Although, the Annie callback was much more interesting. I ended up singing, reading, and dancing for Lily, THEN stayed to sing for one of the Boylan sisters and dance again, THEN ended up staying till the end with one other girl to sing a random song we didn’t even know. We learned it quickly, sang it, and then I got asked to come back the next day to read for Grace Farrell, a character I thought I had no chance at. Grace, if you remember the 1980s film version of Annie, is the secretary of Warbucks who takes Annie from the orphanage. A large role and one they were looking to cast an Equity actress in. And I’m just a lowly non-union-er.

So, needless to say, I was shocked. Just the fact they had me read for her is surprising.

And that’s where I’m at. Three callbacks in and I’m now in waiting for both of these amazing shows. I’ll know by Friday what decisions have been made.

And *cough*

And so the sun rises…

 

It was my last night at work and I didn’t get home until 6 a.m. For the first time in years, I saw the sun rise. As I drove up the curving mountainous highway, only a few of us other late nighters keeping company on the long road home, I watched the star-studded sky fade into a pale blue. And then, from the east, the pale blue blushed orange and red, the distant mountains hiding the awakening sun.

My eyes ached for sleep, my legs throbbed to rest, and I smelled of milk…or rather dried whipped cream. Indeed, it was a long night. And as I spend my last few days living in Arizona, I wonder vaguely who I will become, what will alter me, who will I meet, who will I befriend? And, though the mere thought of existing in a place where life starts all over again is thrilling, I can’t help but feel panicked. Because the people I know today cannot be replaced. And they are amazing human beings.

It’s not every day you look forward to going to work, but when your work includes a ton of fantastic people, it changes your perspective. That is, if you allow yourself to SEE the people and who they are.

Like I said, it was my last day and I ended up closing, which was great cause I needed it! I had a group of friends from work waiting for me at a bar. They came back to see how close I was to being done, and graciously surprised me with whipped cream to the face, which I shared by smearing back on their faces—though some escaped before I could get to them. We met up with some other buddies from work, some of which had already started drinking. Knowing I had a two hour drive to get back up to my parents’ place, I had to make sure I didn’t drink too much.

The boys bought us rounds and we laughed the night away, all work relations faded, all differences gone, acting like we’d known each other all our lives when we‘d only known each other for a short time. Being an observer type, I marveled at how distinctive we were and, yet, very much the same. All searching, all learning, needing, wanting, regretting, forgetting, beginning. Wanting different, but feeling the same.

We watched a friend serenade to us—and the bar—which then inspired them to provoke me into singing as well. I complained about not knowing anything with meaningful lyrics, whereas Hakim had been singing some seriously deep stuff. But, later, as I drove up I-17, watching the sunrise, a song I hadn’t thought about in years popped into my head and I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of it before. The first time I sang this song, I was in 6th grade and didn’t fully understand the meaning of what it was I was singing, though I thought maybe someday I would. I do now. So here it is:

A new life.

What I wouldn’t give to have a new life.

One thing I have learned as I go through life,

Nothing is for free along the way…

A new start.

That’s the thing I need to give me new heart.

Half a chance in life to find a new part,

Just a simple role that I can play…

A new hope.

Something to convince me to renew hope.

A new day.

Bright enough to help me find my way.

A new chance.

One that maybe has a touch…of romance.

Where can it be? The chance for me?

A new dream.

I have one I know that very few dream.

I would like to see that overdue dream,

Even though it never may come true.

A new love.

Though I know there’s no such thing as true love.

Even so, although I never knew love,

Still I feel this one dream is my due.

A new world.

This one thing I want to ask of you, World.

Once before it’s time to say adieu, World,

One sweet chance to prove the cynics wrong.

A new life.

More and more as sure as I go through life,

Just to play the game and to pursue life,

Just to share its pleasures and belong.

That’s what I’ve been here for all along.

Each days a brand…new….life.

-Frank Wildhorn

I believe this song relates to all of us trying to find our little niches in this world. No matter how old or young you are, some of us never stop looking for that special…something.

This is what I see in the people I work with. This is what I see in the strangers that pass by me. This is what I see every day. The search for a new life.

That night, we finished by taking home a troubled friend who had had a little too much to drink. Then Erica and I walked nearly two miles back to our cars. Thank goodness it was cool out.

I know that I’ll never forget the people I’ve worked with. It’s not every day your work buddies become an important part of your life. I’ll remember the days we got along and the days we didn’t. But in the end, we all came together…with a little drink or two. 🙂

And as I drove the long two hour stretch back home, I passed Sunset Point and laughed. The sun was rising.

Got nothing? Whim and be a singer!

I had finished a concert up in the Prescott area, my daddy conducting the way, and the concert consisted of Lerner & Lowe collections. I sang Gigi’s “Say A Prayer,” and My Fair Lady’s “Show Me,” “The Rain In Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” These songs are very easy for my voice type; I could roll out of bed and sing them.

Singing has been a huge part of my family’s lifestyle. I was born a singer, my genes a combination of my mother’s coluratura and my father’s powerful tenor (very much like Pavarotti’s). I already knew being a performer was something I couldn’t really avoid. I sing for my father every summer and, once in a while, do community musicals. Singing will always be apart of my life in some way or form.

With that said, this particular summer, I had come to an interesting revelation. More like I was lectured by another fellow opera singer named Isola Jones.

“What are you going to do in California?” she asked me.

“To start my career,” I responded. “Be an actor and also try to get an internship with IGN as a writer.”

Isola stared up at me with a dark look, then finally said, “You need to be singing.” The tone of her voice was not humorous.

Later that evening, after the concert was over and done with, and all of us performers sat around a table, drinking wine and beer, eating prime rib and filet mignon, singing songs like O Danny Boy and laughing the minutes away, Isola took me aside. I was, at the time, distracted by some cute boy who kept looking in my direction. He wasn’t a part of our group, rather he sat at a different table with his small group of friends. All four of them kept glancing at our table—a table full of performers who don’t mind causing a lot of attention.

As I was about to approach the table with the cute boy, Isola took my arm and pulled me away. I remember feeling a flash of disappointment as I knew I would miss my chance exchanging flirtatious conversation—a conversation I knew would really lead me absolutely nowhere, but I was addicted to the feeling it gave my stomach, a sort of excited, butterfly effect.

Then Isola, red wine in hand, looked me straight in the eye, her exotic appearance always striking and, if I didn’t know her any better, very intimidating. She said, “Darling, you’re a fabulous singer. You need to be singing.”

“I know,” I said. “I wasn’t planning on stopping—” She cut me off with a wave of her elegant finger.

“No, no,” she said, her voice smooth and luxurious. “You are at that perfect age where this can work for you. You’re young, you’re fabulous, you have the drive that most people struggle with. You have no ties, no relationships, no children, nothing—this is the time for you!”

“She’s right!” Michael Tully chimed in. Apparently, more people were listening in on this topic of choice. Michael was a friend of the family and a baritone. He originally wanted to be a performer, make it his career, but he chose a different path. Michael fell in love, got married, and realized that in order to have a healthy marriage, he needed to focus on his family rather than his career.

Isola offered to teach me coloratura repertoire until I ship off to California. She said it would at least give me another choice to choose from, another path to add to my many different paths. It dawned on me that Isola Jones, famous Metropolitan opera singer, who had sung all over the world, had so much faith in my ability to sing that kind of music, I decided to take her up on the offer. Call it a whim.

Opera was definitely a field I never thought myself capable of. It was also a field I didn’t want to even try to venture into, considering my dad had already been there and done that. I wanted to conquer a different area of performance.

But now, as I sit at my desk, scribbling my thoughts onto this virtual paper, and after practicing a few good hours of The Doll Aria, I’ve come to realize, ONE, I do have a coluratura voice, TWO, I can beat the shit out of this aria, and THREE, I have nothing to hold me back, to tie me down, to stress me out, to worry about, to compromise, to give up, let go, miss out. The world is my playground and I have nothing to lose. I can choose everything and nothing. Nothing can stop me because nothing is exactly what I own.

If you are an actor, singer, dancer, musician, composer, artist, this is the life we choose; that is, if we plan on being successful. And by successful, I simply mean the ability to pay your bills without needing a second job.

Juggling a family and a performance life is one of the most difficult things to do. When the singer is off in some other country, city, or state for months on end, it is very hard on the other. This lifestyle, if continues the same way, has a high risk of divorce. My father was married for ten years to another singer, but he was the one getting hired. He was the one gone all the time, making a success out of the stage. By the tenth year and after three kids, they divorced. She couldn’t take it. Her jealousy and loneliness got the best of her, made her miserable.

But I’m not stupid enough to think that there aren’t some marriages and relationships that do survive. I know they’re there. I haven’t met one yet, but when I do, I’d really like to interview them and see how they make it work.

So this is the path I’ve chosen. The mostly lonely but hella exciting way! Look out, World, there’s nothing holding me back!