Next Saturday, I have an audition.
For the first time in 28 years, I will be auditioning for a role in a local theatre company’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’m not looking for a big part–not looking to jump in and be the star, just to get one of the four smaller “adult” male roles in the show (Jacob, Potiphar, the Butler, the Baker). I’ve probably seen productions of Joseph more than a dozen times, not including the countless times I’ve watched the DVD made from one of the major productions starring Donny Osmond as Joseph. It’s fair to say I’m pretty familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber production.
Do I expect to show up for my brief audition and walk away with the role? Not really. It would be nice if I got a callback. It would be fantastic if I got serious consideration. But I understand that it’s been nearly three decades since I performed in a musical on stage. I understand that this theatre undoubtedly has it’s corps of actors that it routinely draws on to stage its shows. And I also know how I feel right now…
See, as good or mediocre or whatever as I might have been as a high school actor/singer/performer, and as much fun as I had being a part of those shows, I was never truly musically trained. Not just not “classically” trained, but not really trained at all. I cannot sight-read music in any meaningful way. I cannot play a single musical instrument. I can carry a tune, and if I practice enough, I can learn the music underlying the song I’m performing.
And therein lies the problem. I’m walking into a world of people that have theatre resumes (that don’t feature 28-year gaps), professional headshots, a catalog of well-rehearsed audition songs to draw from (heck–sheet music to work from)… I have, well, my desire to jump back into the theatre world. I have a small handful of songs that I more-or-less know, but whose rehearsal time has consisted of singing in the shower–God knows whether or not in key. I feel ill-prepared.
See, one problem of having a 28-year absence from performing (yeah, I know–I’ve been doing public address announcing and general making-a-fool-of-myself work for the past ten years, but that’s really not the same thing) is that I don’t have much of a circle of local theatre friends to draw on. I foolishly posted something on Facebook, asking if someone would like to help me prepare. My answer: crickets (and a couple well-intentioned references to Statler and Waldorf).
The audition is five and a half days away. It will be carried off, as the lyrics to theme song for the old 80s superhero show, “The Greatest American Hero,” described: “flying away on a wing and prayer.”
Sometimes the first steps are the most treacherous. They would appear to be markedly more so when you take them without proper shoes on your feet. Maybe this time next week, I will realize that this dream was just folly, and I’ll move on with–whatever else is in front of me. Perhaps I should just focus on writing something for the stage instead of trying to act and sing on it. (I did have one suggestion that my book should actually be a fiction novel–or a stage or screenplay.) Or maybe something clicks, and I get to walk through those doors and onto the proscenium stage again, at least one more time.
I keep thinking–there’s that old adage about creative people doing their best work when they’re suffering, when they’re in pain… Maybe this is the ideal time to be auditioning for my first musical in 28 years. I guess I’ll know soon enough.