My first call backs finally came through, and brought about a bundle of experiences.
My first callback was for “A Chorus Line”. It would be the the second production of that show I’d be auditioning for in only four weeks. This time it was the original tour, lead by the legendary Baayork Lee, who’s been active in different roles on stage or behind it for more than 35 different productions of the show, including the Broadway revival of 2009 and the 1985 movie.
As I was warming up for the first audition I felt like I could use a little extra attention, so just before I was called in I asked to be bumped to the next group, borrowing myself time to go and buy a sweat band. I had remembered that one of the characters in the show wore one, and it would make me stand out, to say the least. The audition was run like a scene from the show; the choreographer was actually using text from the opening number of the show, which portrays an audition. My first success was having been called to stay and sing, but the news about the callback arrived via Email, that same afternoon. I was at Bryant Park chilling with friends when I got the message inviting me in for a callback the next morning. I excitedly rushed home and spent the evening studying the text and music for the role of “Al Deluca” – a macho Italian American.
I spent a good six hours preparing, leaving me seven hours of good sleep, and set out to the city. As I walk in before my appointment, the audition monitor came up to me and said that the crew also wanted to see me audition for Greg – the Jewish gay guy. Either that was extremely flattering of them to see me capable of portraying such a wide range of characters, or this was a set-up to see how well I audition off the bat. Nevertheless, there was nothing else to do but say ‘yes’. If I had known the show a little more, I might have managed to pull it off, but I didn’t.
So finally, I gave them Al and after that I stayed on to show them Greg. I was given five minutes with the pianist, who demonstrated Greg’s bit, which was a challenging mix of text and song woven together. I didn’t stand much of a chance, but to my solace, the production crew got to see what I look like when I AM prepared.
As I was digesting this experience in a nearby cafe – my second callback came through, for the tour of “A Christmas Story”. This time I had a good week to learn the different parts I was offered, and as a lesson from the previous callback, to go over all the possible roles that I could possibly be offered.
Unfortunately, just two days before this callback I started developing an infection under my left armpit, which made it very painful to use my left arm. Nevertheless, this callback was a dance callback and I wasn’t going to miss out on it. As I waited for my appointment I did my best to get my body moving and warmed up, leaving my upper-left body as motionless as possible. I told the audition monitor about the problem, and she wrote it down by my name so that the production crew would notified.
As the callback started, I learned the choreography using one hand only, and when the time came to dance solo in front of the crew, I just let go of everything and focused on “The show must go on”. My loyal body took it like a beast and helped me give a brilliant performance, after which I was asked to stay and sing and read the text I’d prepared.
I haven’t heard back from either of the callbacks so far, but have learned a great deal from each and every one of them. Like many other things in life – it is such a privilege to have a positive and empowering first experience, so there is much to be thankful about.