Broadway West (Blogisode Eight)

Hello Wednesday!

Minnie Mouse is under the weather today.

Minnie Mouse is under the weather today.

My goal is to do a much shorter daily wrap up today and get right to the story.  Here’s the wrap up.  Beaz is asleep and running a 102 fever with a headache and sore throat.  I had a little Mommy instinct that something was up because yesterday she took “crabby” to an all time high.  The fever and sickness wasn’t a big surprise.  Here’s hoping she sleeps it off.  Poor kid.  Charlotte has decided to wait to watch all of Season two of DA in one shot, because she needs a break.  Good call, I think.  I, on the other hand, will watch it as it happens because I do not have that kind of will power.  Rob is good, and as he said, “I’m just this side of overwhelmed.”  I’m not sure which side he’s on.  I didn’t ask.  I figure if he’s still walking and talking in coherent sentences he’s probably on the good side of overwhelmed despite doing three shows at once.  I am–fine.  Weight Watchers update for anyone who cares, I’m still plugging along.  I had a bit of a stall at 12 pounds down over the holidays (which I keep telling myself is better than gaining weight), so I am ready to make a dent ye olde fat cells in the upcoming weeks.  As soon as the sitter gets here, I am off to the gym, and then back to resume nurse duties over the sick Beaz.

The cat is fine.

There are no mice since they installed a new sink cabinet.  They said they found “numerous” holes in the wall and they were “loaded with mouse droppings.”  Gag.  They shoved poison and steel wool in the holes, re-drywalled, installed a new sink cabinet, and voila.  I think we are good to go, although I am planning to move out of this apartment as soon as possible.

Update complete!

Let’s get back to auditions.  It’s time to get this story moving.

I think the callbacks were the day after puppet camp.  I am drawing a big blank here, because I know at some point I

Bed and Breakfast.  Piano and Puppet.

Bed and Breakfast. Piano and Puppet.

went back to New Hampshire with a puppet and Rob and Charlotte and we practiced in the living room of the Bed and Breakfast I was staying in, which must have been quite a sight.  They’d cut a deal with a writer, not a woman with a raunchy puppet and a family.  They were very understanding about me singing my guts out with a seven-year-old puppet coach screaming over top of me,  “MOM!  I’M OVER HERE!  MAKE THE PUPPET LOOK AT ME.  ALMOST, ALMOST, Okay.  That’s better”, but I can only guess what the talk was over their dinner table.  The place was deserted and they lived in a different building, but still.  Eventually we all headed back to New York and the day had arrived.

THE FINAL CALLBACK

Of course, I was running late.  I think I’d spent too much time changing clothes, which is ridiculous when you consider that the puppeteers wear all grey in the show, but I still wanted to look “fresh” and “attractive” and if you want to substitute in the words “young” and “young”, you’d be on the money.  I was in my mid (to late) 30’s and I knew time was not on my side because they actually sing the lyrics “you are 22, and you live on Avenue Q” in the show.  Whoops.  The good news?  I have pretty big eyes and I know they help me look young on stage.  So I made my eyeballs look as big as possible, threw on my normal audition outfit (overalls) and headed down to my audition.  I was late, so naturally, I took a cab, which took me straight through Times Square in mid-day traffic.  Not the greatest plan.

The Madonna in a potato chip.

The Madonna in a potato chip.

Okay.  Now you know how people have those signs from God, like Mary in the shape of a potato chip?  I had one of those in the middle of Times Square.  I was sweating in the back seat, freakishly nervous (historically I don’t get very nervous for auditions, but this one felt like I was being sent to the firing squad) and trying to calm myself down.  I closed my eyes–because the most bizarre thing happens to me when I am really nervous–I get sleepy.  Like, I could go to sleep on this cold cement floor, kind of sleepy.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been backstage, waiting for my cue, and thought, there is no way I am going to be able to perform, I am just EXHAUSTED.  I am the Sleeping Beauty of actresses.  So, deciding that a quick 40 winks in the back of a cab on a hot day in the middle of traffic on the way to a terrifying callback that might move my entire family to the other side of the country, seemed like a great idea, I shut my eyes.  I started to talk to God, saying things like, “Please save me from making a puppeting ass out of myself in front of a room full of really important people.  Please send some kind of sign that everything is going to be okay,”

And I opened my eyes.

And all I saw in front of me was a giant billboard of inspiration featuring:

Kermit the frog.

Eats flies.  Dates a pig.  Hollywood star.  Live your dreams.

Eats flies. Dates a pig. Hollywood star. Live your dreams.

 

Kermit?  In Times Square?  My Madonna-in-a-chip.  A little magical thinking never hurt anyone.

I made it to my audition and signed in, trying to avoid looking at the names on the sign in list as best I could so I wouldn’t get intimidated, but there was no avoiding the actresses in the hall.  There were more than I’d seen at Puppet Camp, I think maybe they’d been to an earlier Puppet Camp, or had already had several auditions, but I can tell you one thing for sure.  They all looked petrified.

And I breathed easy because I remembered the most important thing about any audition, which I’d learned years before at my CATS dance call.  SOMEONE was going to get the job that day, and my guess?  It was going to be the person who looked the least afraid.

Right before my name was called, I turned around and ran squarely into Kevin McCollum, one of the lead producers

Kevin.

Kevin. He knows my age and my kid.

on the show.  I knew Kevin from a few places, and most recently, because both of our kids attended the same preschool and we’d been seated together at a benefit table.  I thought he was funny, and I was glad he was there, although there was no hiding:

1) My age

2) That I had a kid.

The cat was out of the bag for sure.

I had no idea if he cared about either, so I just said hi, and he and his Starbucks coffee cup snuck into the room in the middle of someone else’s audition.

It was my turn.

I walked into a huge crowd of people and puppets. In the room were:

The 3 producers

The 2 composers

The book writer

The director

The casting director

The associate director

A casting associate who was helping with puppets and reading the scenes with us.

50 bazillion puppets lying on a table.  Mouths and eyes open, waiting.

It was an intimidating crowd.

The casting associate helped me set up my scenes and music on music stands and got the first puppet ready while I chitty chatted with the crowd.  The director, Jason Moore, was a long time acquaintance of mine, and we caught up a bit before I launched in.

I did every scene.  I sang every song.  I don’t think I vomited or showed any outward signs of being overly nervous.

I forget everything that happened except that at one point I saw Jason Moore nodding his head yes.

Potato chip Madonna and Kermit, I thought I’d been okay. I went home, told my puppet drill sergeant I thought I’d

Don't pack that bathing suit yet, kid.

Don't pack that bathing suit yet, kid.

done well, but there were a lot of people there and she shouldn’t pack up her bathing suit and towel just yet, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

And we waited.  It got to be 8:30pm, and I tossed in the towel.  “It’s not me, they would have called today, I didn’t get it.  It’s fine, it was a dumb idea, we can’t pull Charlotte out of school, it’s irresponsible, my book needs to be finished and edited….”

And with that, the phone rang.  Caller ID on my cell phone said, “Avalon Artists Group”.

It was my agent.

(To read the next post in this series, go here)


 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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