Saturday, January 5, 2008

Kate Fisher was right

Way way back in 2005, I went and saw the touring cast of "Little Women" at the Capitol Theatre. The cast included Maureen McGovern as Marmee, Renee Brna as Meg, Gwen Hollander as Amy, Autumn Hulbert as Beth, and Kate Fisher as Jo. Needless to say, it was flipping amazing, and, as is my joy after seeing awesome shows, I went to the stage door to collect autographs. I met everyone in the cast, their understudies, Meg McGinnis (who was the original Beth on Broadway), and the orchestra. It was pretty cool.

When Kate Fisher came out, she was holding this huge-ola box and a dress bag and was looking pretty tired, but she stopped and gave me her autograph anyway. I then ventured to ask tentatively, "Hey, Kate? How many rejections have you had?"

She got this look on her face that only a seasoned actor/actress can comprehend.

"Honestly, loads. Way too many to count. Are you thinking of going into musical theatre?"

I said yes, and she proceeded to give me some very very useful advice.

"It's probably the most rewarding thing you can do, but it's also the most demanding. If you have a strong voice and an iron backbone, you'll make it. It's rough, though, because sometimes you won't get a role because you don't fit it physically, and then it has nothing to do with you and you can't fix it, so it's hard. But you just gotta keep going and some day you'll get it. And when you do, it'll be worth all the rejections."

This was back in 2005. Flash forward to 2008 and my call backs. Wow. I worked with some seriously talented people today. There were about 20 of us, fifteen girls and about five boys. The director kept us there for an hour and a half, having us singing "Five Forever" and learning the parts. He paced among us as we sang, lined us up to see how we fit physically with the others, separated us out into Beth/Meg/Amy/Jo/Laurie groups with people who looked like they could be siblings, and had us sing in those.

The director rearranged the groups more and almost tore his hair out. He kept saying, "You guys are making my life hell right now!"

Finally, after much hemming and hawing, he said, "This has been the hardest casting decision I've ever made. It's been a privilege to work with all of you, and just because I didn't cast you doesn't mean that I don't think you're all incredibly talented. I would love to see you all back at more auditions. Those whose names I call, please stay. Those who don't, I'm so sorry."

My name didn't get called, but the name of the cute college guy sitting next to me did, so I shook his hand and wished him luck and he said it was nice talking to me. I stuck the libretto on the piano and went home.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mad or upset or hurt at first. What had I done wrong? I'd messed up! Just because the other people were older...! I AM Jo March! Couldn't they see that?! I told my parents and they tried to console me, but I parried it with, "Well, it's not my first rejection. And at least I got callbacks." But I didn't really feel it.

So I stormed down to my room to sulk and ended up taking a nap. Well. That helped tremendously. Whenever you're mad, just take a nap and your logic clears up. I thought about the whole experience and came away with some positive points about it.

1. First of all, the fact that I even got callbacks is impressive. I was one of the youngest people there, and I did well.
2. I can't do anything about not looking similar to anyone else there. That's just a rum toss of the dice.
3. I'm not entirely ready for that role vocally. I have a good voice, yes, but I still need some work so that I can do the music justice.
4. They were probably worried about my schedule, too, because I wrote that I work until 7, so they probably didn't think that I could handle a seven hour school day, four hours working after that, and three more hours after that rehearsing.

When it all comes down to it, I'm only 16. Each and every audition brings me closer to landing a role. I've got my whole life ahead of me!

There's a life that I am meant to lead....

*walks off singing "Astonishing"*


Brandon said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't get the role, missy. But I'm impressed with your attitude in the face of such disappointment.

You'll get it one day.

Mandi said...

I love you and think you're great. And I've been there, especially when I was your age :)
And I'm so proud to see your progression through all of this...Amen to everything you said about showbiz.