I thought that for a little change of pace I would talk about my 3 most unique, awkward and hilarious circumstances that I have ever encountered, while auditioning for various roles here in NYC. You see, my buddy Doc P has just begun his journey and initial foray into the publishing world and in many ways the experiences are simpatico.
My very first audition was an open call for some background roles in a major motion picture. Yes, they even audition for non-speaking parts where you’re barely, if at all visible. Basically, even if you were to book the part, it would be virtually impossible for family and friends to verify you were in fact, part of the picture. It’s often referred to as a ‘cattle call’ and everyone and their brother from all walks of life, show up for a chance at the big break.
On this particular afternoon, the line was wrapped the entire length of 26th street and back around 7th avenue, almost to MSG. That’s almost 6 avenue blocks… It was late January and it was fucking cold. Meanwhile, I’m dressed to impress, not combat sub freezing temps. No matter, I thought, this is my chance and I’m going to stick this out.
It was one long day, but it was buoyed by two girls I befriended on the line and a few strategically placed Dunkin Donuts that served as our oasis on the frozen concrete. The hot coffee and the open bathrooms were a godsend. The banter with the girls and the delicious coffee helped me to forget the cold and the interminable wait and finally, after 5 long hours we reached the building where the auditions were taking place. Almost inside we were rejuvenated and anxious to strut our stuff. The door pushed open and out walked one of the audition coordinators. “Sorry folks that’s all we can see today, thank you for your patience.” With that the door was pulled close and we were left wanting.
I have only gone on one musical theater audition since I’ve lived in NYC and this experience may be partially responsible. It may also be because of my lack of interest…
I answered an ad in Backstage Magazine for an Irish looking male, between 25-35 years of age and a tenor vocal range. At the time I was qualified right across the board, so I eagerly sent my headshot and resume and shortly after received a phone call to come audition. It was a period musical set in the 60’s about growing up in New York’s Hells Kitchen neighborhood. The audition was at the writer/director’s apt (I know what you might be thinking, but not that unusual here, as many people have studios in their apartments) and was to be the next day.
I arrived the next day and the concierge rang the apartment and I took the elevator up to the 7th floor. I proceeded to the appropriate number and was greeted at the door by a woman who cheerfully informed me, that her husband had just got out of the shower. He emerged from the bedroom, still wet and hastily dressed and it was readily apparent that he had forgotten about the audition. It was also apparent that this was a one bedroom apartment with no studio and I was wondering where the hell I was going to sing.
The man’s wife politely excused herself and left the two of us to the audition. As I was surveying the room, it was becoming even less clear as to how this was going to go down. The mystery was solved when he asked me to help move the coffee table that was resting on a rug in front of his couch, rearrange a chair or two and slide over his rug. Once this was accomplished, he plopped down on the couch and the audition began. I was literally 5 feet in front of him, belting out Maria(from West Side Story), which I thought appropriate given the circumstances and decidedly uncomfortable. Sixteen bars later, I awaited his reaction.
Normally, you’re given 16 bars of a song to sing and after you’ve finished they say thanks(maybe) and you leave the room. No feedback whatsoever. You either get called back or you don’t. This situation was slightly more complicated and bizarre. I was sort of trapped and he felt compelled to review my performance, American Idol style. He went over several aspects of my voice, what he liked, what he really liked and a few things he thought I could work on. Also, he explained the part had been filled, but that I would make a good understudy. He then went on to say that he would work with me privately on the songs from the show…for a coaching fee. Well, I politely said I was short on funds, but I would think about it. We shook hands and I never saw him again.
Recently, I was at an audition for a deodorant spot that was to run on the internet. The premise was a guy and a girl on their first date talking about how their day was blah blah blah. The girl had already been cast and I was one of three callbacks waiting to read with the female lead.
Well, she never showed, so we had to improvise…we took turns playing the girl while the other would be Romeo, played the male’s part. Needless to say, I was a wee bit out of my comfort zone, but we each took the situation in stride and had as much fun with it as we could. The director and producer really appreciated our efforts and it led to a separate audition for me later on.
Unfortunately I didn’t end up getting the part, but these experiences have led to some funny stories and perhaps brought me one step closer to realizing my dream: acting opposite Jennifer Lawrence on day. Morning Jay part 2 perhaps…
I look forward to hearing Doc P’s stories and experiences, as he moves towards becoming a published author and garnering the representation he deserves.
And for all: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
May the Th3rdforce be with you.