"You oughta get a gig." That's what he told me nearly two years ago, and I was skeptical. In the fall of 2009, I'd been dancing again for about a year. I had performed in two community workshop productions at Ballet Austin's Butler Community School, but the thought of auditioning for a "gig" sounded a little silly at the time.
I processed the idea slowly. I performed in a few more workshops. I co-produced a cabaret act for my birthday in 2010. But I didn't actually entertain the idea of an audition until last May, when I learned that a community theatre in San Antonio was producing the musical "Chicago" -- a great opportunity for a dancer like me who has been learning a wide range of Fosse choreography for the last three years.
So I went. I prepared a song -- "Bye Bye Blackbird" -- it has about five notes in it, perfect for my less than confident mezzo-soprano-ish voice. And a group of us traveled to San Antonio to get some audition experience under our belts.
That went pretty well. Although my song was a little too fast, I learned the dance quickly and nailed that part of the audition. At the end of the night, the director walked up to me and said "I want to use you, but don't you live in Austin?"
"Yes, Austin," I said. "I have a family and a business. I can't do five nights a week in San Antonio."
And that was that. It would have been exciting to be cast in "Chicago" but completely unrealistic to rehearse a show for two months, five nights a week, 80 miles from home. It was a bittersweet experience to hear a yes and return it with a no.
Then summer comes, and another audition opportunity. They want ensemble dancers and singers -- especially showgirl style, feminine sass. The audition includes a group (not individual) vocals. So I went to the audition.
And, the short story is: I got a gig.
That's about all I can say right now, because I'm in the thick of it. Nightly rehearsals for three weeks. Ten scenes, four dance numbers, eight costume changes, and a lotta notes, a lotta steps. Our cast will preview the musical comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" on Wed. night, August 17, at the Stateside at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. We open on Thur., August 18 for 10 shows through August 28.
What I can say is that for the last few nights I've gotten home around midnight. Though I am exhausted, I sit down and empty my brain, writing pages of notes and reminders, fixes and improvements -- dance, blocking, singing, costumes. (There are some creative and personal "stretches" for me in this show - a pair of bunny ears being one.) Only after making notes can I sleep. Then I'm up for the "day job" before heading to rehearsal at the end of the day.
(Photo: Show notes, show poster, show music...lots of dirty rotten details in my head this week.)
It's a Great Big Show, and I'm grateful. The talent, effort and abilities of the leads, ensemble, crew, director and choreographers inspire me ever night.
Some nights during rehearsals I breathe in a view of the empty theatre and cast a glance at the cast and crew and think, "Hey, we ALL got a gig!" So let us entertain you -- all of these dirty, rotten, theatre-lovin' scoundrels.