We are halfway through the second weekend of “Guys and Dolls.” I am playing Adelaide in this particular production. Adelaide. Adelaide is one of those roles that little girls grow up wanting to play. She is at the top of a lot of actresses “bucket lists” and here I am sporting the platinum locks so often associated with this role.
I think the most surprising thing about this experience is how not-surprised my friends are in regards to me getting this role. I was floored by it but they all seemed to have more of a “well, of course you did” attitude about it.
What? Are you crazy? Don’t you guys know who I am? Musical theatre and I are not friends. Or are we?
I suspect that musical theatre has snuck itself into my circle of friends. This is the second “dream role” in musical theatre I have been fortunate enough to do (Robert Anne in “Nunsense” came earlier) this year. After years of vomit-inducing singing nerves, I have finally gotten to a point where I can hold my own in a musical theatre audition.
Last Friday, I stood backstage waiting for my first entrance, knees knocking, deep breathing, trying to keep the dinner The Bruce so lovingly made me from making a second appearance wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into and then I suddenly realized in that moment HOW I got there.
Ahhhhh “The Last 5 Years”
Two summers ago (as you may recall) I self-produced the musical with the help of some great friends SOLELY in an attempt to overcome my musical audition jitters. We jokingly referred to it as my “$3000 voice lesson” and it ended up being one of the best shows I have ever done AND it was a musical and people are STILL talking about it and recognizing me in coffee shops and theatre lobbies from it.
“The Last 5 Years” did exactly what it was supposed to do. It helped me overcome the disdain for my singing voice and taught me how to just “act the damn song” without worrying how pretty or proper the notes were or whatever it is I previously thought I was supposed to be doing.
But it also did something else that I did NOT expect. It opened up a world of opportunity in theatre and garnered me a level of respect from my fellow thespians that I did not see coming but for which am eternally grateful.
Today, I discovered that I didn’t get a role in a “straight” show for which I was told I had an outstanding audition. I didn’t fall apart and suddenly start blaming my lack of talent or whatnot for not getting cast as I would so often in the past have done with musical theatre auditions. I realized that just last week when I did not get a role in a musical theatre show, I had the same reaction. “Boy, that sucks. Oh well.” I have stopped self-blaming and have learned how to treat a musical audition as I would any other.
And so I now have the confidence to not only tackle the Adelaides and the Robert Annes because they are finally just fun roles in fun shows – musical or not. They rank up there with the Arties and the Ma Joads and the Aprils. Great roles in great theatre.
The two worlds have finally become one and what a beautiful world it is.