Wow, I am not a morning person. As I write this it is 8:01am on a Sunday and I am waiting to start an 11 hour day of adjudicating callback auditions for eighth graders who want to attend a performing arts high school in Manhattan. Since I have such a long day, I am going to try to blog throughout the day so I am not doing this at 10pm after hearing “Do, Re, Mi” 52,000 times. And I can’t start this without fully fessing up that I am a crab in the morning.
And I always have been.
My mother is one of those uber chipper morning people, which felt like a personal attack when she would spring it on me in the morning as I was getting ready for school. I was particularly awful to her when I was 13, 14 and 15 and she was driving me 25 minutes to high school (I had a huge commute and there wasn’t bus service. Okay, well there was, but the bus service was awful and took 90 minutes.) What you may have (correctly) gleaned from this story is that my mother did me a gigantic favor by driving me 25 minutes in hideous traffic to school every morning–and in return for her cheerfully prying me out of my bed, making my lunch, making me a healthy breakfast which I rejected in lieu of a Diet Coke, she got a surly, unresponsive teenager. I can not believed I lived to see the age of 16.
The truth is I am slightly better in the morning, but not much. As Rob could tell you, I start every day with a curse word. I don’t even realize I do it, but I absolutely drop some giant profanity as I am wrenched from my delicious bed. Why am I such a morning hater? Probably because I am a tried and true night owl, which has been exploited by my theater ways. Evening shows gives a person a great excuse to stay up late and sleep in, which is a pattern I continue despite lengthy breaks between acting jobs, and despite having children who have to get to school at the crack of dawn. If Charlotte and Rob are reading this, they are saying to themselves, “But you don’t get up at 7:00am to get Charlotte to school, you are on Beatrix duty”. True. I sleep until Beaz wakes up, and then I am in charge of getting her to school. I have had that kid sleeping until 9am since birth, and her school doesn’t start until noon, so I have a pretty sweet deal going for myself.
Until a morning like this happens and I have to set my alarm for 6 am. It was pitch black outside. PITCH. BLACK. There is not enough coffee in the world….
Uh oh, the students are here and I will try to blog throughout the day. Let’s see how this works.
It totally didn’t work, as I am finally getting back to this at 9:52 pm, almost 14 hours after I started it. If you are keeping score at home, the song I heard 52,000 times today was “Aquarius” and not “Do-Re-Mi.”
Currently, I am blogging in Beatrix’s bed and she is sound asleep, but I will hang here for a bit. I am too tired to get up. The auditions went from 7:45-? I don’t even know what time we left. maybe 6:15pm? Something like that. It was long, but great. I called Charlotte and said, “I just spent 10+ hours with eighth graders.”
and she fired right back, “Oh. I’m sorry about that.”
Being an eighth grader herself, she knows just what that means, although I really loved it.
Okay, I have about five good minutes of blogging in me before I pass out, so let’s get right back to it. I left you with that awful cliffhanger on Friday, remember? I was in New Hampshire in a slightly run down (but cheap!) bed and breakfast in North Conway, NH trying to finish my book with a looming deadline. You know, in movies and stuff they like to talk about pushing deadlines back and that sort of thing, but I am here to tell you that as a first time author they don’t really want you to push back anything. You just get it done.
So, you can imagine the conflict I had when I heard that someone had backed out and there was suddenly a role available in the brand-spanking new production of AVENUE Q slated to open at the newly built Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. NEVER MIND that they hadn’t called me in for ANY of the previous auditions. This was a sign from God. Should I contact my friend Evan the stage manager? Did I dare take a risk that I might get an audition in New York, for a show that was opening in Las Vegas, while I was under book contract with a looming deadline and I was 6 hours away in New Hampshire? Could I POSSIBLY JUSTIFY the loss of work time, not to mention the expense of traveling back to New York just to TRY to get in a show that didn’t seem interested?
Remember when I said being an actor is like having an incureable disease? Right. I had to go for it. ***I knew I had a great chance at getting this job, I just had to get in the door. (****This is the kind of cock-a-maimee thing actors say to themselves all the time to justify anything from an extra expense– “If I buy this perfect-perfect dress I will get the job for sure!!!” to traveling in from out of town with a herculean effort on a one in a thousand chance–“Well I will never get the job if I don’t even show up, and let’s face it! I am perfect for it!” This is a part of the incurable disease, called false confidence that leads to severe debt and depression and a life alone in the Actors’ Home. Or, if you want to look at it nicely, you are known as an eternal optimist. Okay? The glass is half full! There is a job right around the corner! My life could change with one phone call! That is the actor reality.
Naturally, I made the call.
And by made the call, I mean, I called Rob. I called from the parking lot of the Conway Library, my home away from home away from home. “Honey, they are looking for someone for the Las Vegas cast of AVENUE Q. Tell me I am nuts. Tell me not to call Evan to ask to be seen.” Before he could a word in edgewise, I kept going. “I mean, right? We can’t move to Las Vegas, Right? That’s just nuts. Maybe if it was for the Broadway Company….I mean Charlotte is going to be in 2nd grade. We can’t just uproot her. That is totally irresponsible. And I have this book to finish. I can’t do it. I would have to get in the car and drive down there ASAP. That’s nuts. I can’t do it.”
Silence. Then. He speaks. “You should totally do it.”
Me. “I’m totally going to do it.”
I hung up and instantly called Evan, who then called Cindy Tolan casting, and within a few hours I had an appointment time and songs to learn and the book deadline was somewhere in the back of my mind…..I’d get it done….I just had to go get this puppet thing out of the way. My official audition was for the role of Mrs. T. and Yellow Bear, and a Kate Monster understudy. In AVENUE Q lingo, this role is known as “The second hander” or in even more specific lingo, “Jen’s track.” I had 22 pages of material to learn, and 2 songs. I was in New Hampshire. My audition was in 48 hours. I was behind on my deadline. I was deliriously happy. I packed the car and headed home.
Tomorrow I will talk you through exactly what the role of the second hander is in great detail, what it involves and what this crazy puppet show requires of the actors. I might even post some youtube footage if I can find something that won’t get me arrested by the actors’ union.
(An Avenue Q Daily Dose appears tomorrow. Same time, same place.)