yesterday i got to be a reader at muni auditions.  there were four of us, and i sat next to pat foster and we spent a lot of time chatting, but not too loudly to interrupt the auditioning.

we got there at 12:30 and it was supposed to be over by 5:30 but it lasted till 7:15 but it really wasn’t so bad.

the auditioners, though, some of them were mighty tortured.

right at the beginning there were lots of high school kids auditioning and fear oozed out of so many pores.

muni auditions used to be open; some people came to watch because of the sheer entertainment value.  long ago, when my parents did shows, i loved going to auditions.  i LOVED it.  i also went to all their rehearsals.  i remember when the auditions were at the old holiday inn south.  i have a distinct memory of getting a cheeseburger while there.  not that EVERY memory is about food.  some involve shakes.

anyway, this is the first year that people aren’t allowed to just come in and watch.  they’re held in the basement of the hoogland center for the arts, which is a good place to be if there’s a tornado approaching, like yesterday.  i was about to leave for the hoogland at about 11:40, when the tornado siren went off.  i told kevin that maybe i should hurry up and get to the center, but he thought it would be better if i waited till it passed.

we didn’t see a tornado, but there were really high winds in other parts of town, and a couple of tornadoes were sighted and some things were destroyed out in the country.  also, a roof blew off an apartment building, a mobile home was destroyed, a car was lifted and smashed into another car.  it wasn’t anything like the two tornadoes that touched down EXACTLY THREE YEARS AGO.

anyway, i finally got to the auditions.  people had to sign up for a slot, which was good so they didn’t have to sit around all day and wait, like they had to before.  they allowed about 13 or so people in at a time, but some people didn’t show up, so there were between 10 and 14 people each hour.  mostly they were finished after a half hour, or maybe 40 minutes, so then we always had a break every hour.  i kept going outside to see if it was still beautiful and blue outside (but still very windy), but eventually it was dark and cold and i was ok with being down there in the basement.

i ran into gus gordon and he said that the last time he auditioned for muni, three years ago, when he went to callbacks, the very next day the tornadoes came through.  and this year he’d auditioned on saturday, and then the tornado and storm came through on sunday. i told him it must have been the power of his audition that caused the disturbance in the atmosphere.

so the first auditioning kids were kind of painful to watch, and immediately i thought WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE HOW WILL I KEEP FROM GOING CRAZY LISTENING TO THIS ALL DAY LONG.  but then it got better, and there were some good people, and there were some entertaining moments, and it was fun to be a reader.  although pat foster really got to do most of the reading; they’re doing “fiddler on the roof,” and he read the part of tevia over…and over…and over.  many many high school girls wanted to be the main daughter in that play.  i don’t know why they didn’t want to be in “high school musical,” which seemed like it would be a lot more fun.

i got to read the part of the bitchy high school girl in HSM a few times, which was kind of neat.  but the best was when i read for “oliver” – i got to be oliver himself!  i didn’t get to say “please sir, may i have some more?” but i did my best to be a whiny and pathetic little english boy anyway.  super fun.  they even let me read dodger one time, and that was fun, too.  maybe they’ll let me be oliver’s understudy.

the most agonizing girl to watch auditioning was this poor, kind of chunky big girl wearing really tight jeans and clunky little heeled sandals.  clearly, TIGHT NARROW JEANS ARE IN NOW, no more flares or bell bottoms at all.

anyway, this poor girl had her hands stuck in her back pockets so she wouldn’t shake, but she was shaking anyway.  she started to sing…i can’t remember what…and suddenly she stopped and STARTED TO CRY.  awful, it was just so torturous to watch, i so felt her pain.  she finally gulped “can i start again?” and of course they let her and she started in again, but she was still crying.  painful, so painful.  i wanted to run up to her and say DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!  IT DOESN’T MATTER AT ALL!

when she finished everybody applauded really loudly and the directors told her “nice job” and she managed to get through the reading part just fine.

but torture, man, torture.  not worth it.

the other torturous part is that they had most people read something from a script after they sang, but they didn’t let a few people do this.  so after one of these unfortunates sang, they’d just stand there for what seemed like an eternity, waiting to be asked to come up to the table to get a script…and they didn’t.  and they’d just stand there, and maybe take a step or two towards the table, but then they’d eventually slink away and that was painful, too.

the thing is, it seemed like even old pros were nervous.  the last time i auditioned, it was at least five years ago, i wasn’t nervous anymore, because i just didn’t care and knew i could do a good job and it didn’t seem like a life-changing event.  nobody is going to love my voice and cast me in a leading role, but i can sing really loud, REALLY loud, and usually in tune, and i can sell a slong like nobody’s business.  but my friend linda schneider, who is very very talented and HAS gotten leads and many many good parts and sings FOR MONEY at different places, and who i have known for a very very long time, started singing, and her voice was really really low, and suddenly she stopped and said “i’m singing this an octave too low, aren’t i?”  but then she laughed and everybody laughed.

she started singing again, higher, but that was too high so she dropped back down to that great low register and it was fine.  and then she read, also quite fine.  but later she said that she had screwed it up totally, that her reading was awful…but it wasn’t.

auditioning makes people crazy.

most of the people were auditioning for “fiddler,” i don’t know why.  they’re also doing “the producers,” which would be really fun, i’m sure.  even people who weren’t very good made me laugh when they read for the show because it’s just so damn funny.  i’d audition for it myself if i had fabulously long legs and was young and blonde and thin and gorgeous.  and a good dancer.

here’s another thing – some girl was auditioning for the part of the bitchy teen in “HSM,” except she sang this dreary ballad from “fiddler.”  i’m sure that if the character in HSM does sing, it’s never all this somber stuff.  i think many of these high school girls felt that they needed to sing something slow and dirge-like in order to showcase their lovely voices.  give us some pep, people.

the very last person to audition was a high school boy who sang what sounded like a german opera.  highly entertaining.  very full of feeling and emotion and all of that – but then he read for HSM.  why?  i don’t know.

the other good part about the audition was that they gave each production team a basket filled with little chocolates, and after a while i realized they were for ME, TOO, or at least nobody told me i couldn’t have them, so i ate them throughout.

chocolates, german arias, lots of drama, a good time was had by all.

someday maybe i’ll tell you about my genuinely, truly horrible audition experiences when i lived in new york and somehow thought i could be a professional actress.  talk about your sad tales of pathetic auditioning…

but only happy thoughts tonight.

ok then,

monday grace.