My Life in (Melo)Drama

It is that happy time of year again! Our production of Fiddler on the Roof was so successful last year that they (the Opera House and the Arts Council) have decided to make Spring Musicals and annual tradition.

Up next on the program: The Music Man!

Do you SEE? I even have the right hair!
Do you SEE? I even have the right hair!

This is one of the very rare shows that I know almost nothing about. I can hum “76 Trombones,” of course, but my father and even my sister have managed to sing bits of songs to me that I didn’t know before I got a copy of the CD the other day.

So here’s my problem. Last year, I was totally stoked about the idea of just getting to be IN a musical. Then they gave me a real part, and I had an absolute blast, and now I’ve gotten greedy. You see, there is a part in this show that is quite suitable for a young woman of my age and stature. (Yes yes, Marian the Librarian, I’m sure you can sing it for me too.) And upon reflection, I decided I was the only person who would qualify to play her. No, I’m not the most talented singer and my acting is decidedly overdone, but of all the people I could imagine trying out (based on last year’s show), I was it.

I started strutting around, acting like I already had the part. My friend Anne and I spent some time trying to decide who should get the part of the Music Man, based on who we thought it would be least repulsive for me to kiss. The top two options seemed to be one of Anne’s gay friends and an Episcopalian priest. Talented and safe!

Then I couldn’t show up for the first night of auditions, so I had to get the skinny afterward from Sarah, my coworker who is also co-directing the show. I tried to be nosy without making it too obvious that I was trying to fleece her for information about my competition. As you’ll see, I wasn’t very convincing.

Apparently, a whole slew of unexpected and unexpectedly talented people showed up, mostly from out of town. A few of them even brought resumes, and one brought head shots!

What are these big fish doing in my little pond??

So I started getting paranoid. I even had to go ask Sarah if head-shot-girl’s name happened to be Penelope* – my old nemesis. (Though to be fair, you can only have a nemesis if you have roughly equal levels of talent. Penelope is so much more talented than me that calling her my nemesis is just my ego talking. Again.)

No, said Sarah with a great big grin. Her name wasn’t Penelope.

She’d found me out. Asking that question had been too much – my obsessiveness had given itself away. Fortunately, she thought it was funny. Whew.

So then it was my turn. Second round auditions were this afternoon, so I toodled myself up to Deadwood. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been trying to pick out an audition song since I got the announcement a month ago. I’ve cycled through several choices, and finally settled on “Every Story is a Love Story” from Aida. It’s one of my favorites, I can sing it in my sleep, I can sing it well, and it shows off my range nicely.

What I always forget (selective amnesia?) is that audition nerves KILL me. Cripple me. Turn me into goo. It’s terrible. I nearly threw up after trying to audition for Pippin my freshman year of high school. I forgot all the words to my song. Senior year, I didn’t think I sucked too bad, but apparently I was too short to get cast anyway. In college, I squeaked through my Into the Woods audition, and LAST year I got away scott free for Fiddler because no one really even asked me to sing.

But this year, the room was full of perky, Marian-aged faces and I could just tell they all had resumes and headshots, and once again, I squeaked my way through my song. I totally missed a not-so-high note, and decided I’d never make it through the end of the song where there is a really beautiful high G that I can totally nail when I’m not busy freaking out. So I just quit halfway through.

Le sigh.

I read some lines then, and that went just fine, but there were other young women there who are clearly more talented than I am. My only hope now is that they’re too busy to really want a lead role.

Later that night, I got on the phone with Anne and we spent an hour gossiping about other try-out-ees, and why – despite my sucky audition and mediocre talent – I am still obviously best for the part. I love Anne. She’s so supportive.

And I am being so ridiculous! My whole day has turned into this giant melodrama. They’re not posting a cast list until Thursday. What am I going to do until then? If I have to talk to Sarah at the office, I can’t think of any way to prevent myself from begging her for information. My only other alternative is to turn around and run every time I see her, which could be somewhat damaging to her perception of me as a not-crazy person.

So I’ll just have to pretend I am not, in fact, crazy and maybe maybe maybe she’ll volunteer some information.

And that’s my story. Okay, not too brilliant, but I guess I’ll link Anne to this, and at least she’ll appreciate it. 😉

(Incidentally, as a footnote – Dustin is currently searching for some new ring-tones on his crackberry, and he’s flipped through a couple of Abba songs. This gives me totally the most brilliant idea in the universe. Today I sang my audition song a capella. Next year, I’ll have a ring-tone as backup music. Wouldn’t that be a perfect small-town theater thing to do? What a great story. “You’ll never guess what this whacko girl did at auditions today…”)

*Names have been changed to prevent me from looking any more idiotic than I already do.


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