NYC: I give you fair warning –
Up there in lights I’ll be!
So we’re in the week following Superstorm Sandy, and there’s a presidential election, a Nor’easter, and opening night of Annie on Broadway. Yes, I’m bringin’ it back to Broadway now. I am so grateful for this show filled with hope. The infamous song “Tomorrow” sung in the show by President Roosevelt and his cabinet had a special poignancy at this particular moment in time, with “Hope” and “Change” and “Forward” seeming like plausible though lesser-syllabic musical song titles.
I was at the Palace Theatre for opening night and will always remember it because of the exciting people at arms reach… Amy Irving, Jennifer Westfeldt, Steve Guttenberg, Bobby Moynihan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Caroline Rhea, Jim Gaffigan, Shelly Burch, James Lapine… oh and I made eye contact with Bernadette Peters. UN-believable. I just soaked up the energy from these people! And told some of them to remove their beverages from my electrical equipment. Nicely.
After opening night and my recent dreams about my future first big break, I woke this morning with a song from Annie in my head that’s only in the musical, not the film. “N.Y.C.” Actually, it had been on a loop in my brain for days. I couldn’t shake it as I put on my makeup; this optimistic mantra embracing the chaos, pleasure, and pain of the universal love-hate relationship with the Big Apple that keeps us coming back for more! And here I was heading out for a Saturday morning audition for the Abingdon Theatre Company, dedicated to developing and producing new plays by American playwrights – a pretty great place to work in NYC. I wasn’t sure of how close I was to the character descriptions for Elisabeth Karlin‘s piece, but I was close enough to confidently walk in the room, and perform an appropriate contemporary American monologue. Ready to wrestle with and conquer nervous tension on my self-imposed audition bootcamp. So. Today was the day. Not “Tomorrow.” (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.) And while the NYC around me is still reeling from the storms, once I made my way out of the subway I was completely psyched to be heading into this audition. Which is not my usual demeanor in these circumstances.
Have you ever been preparing for an audition, interview, or even a date, or important meeting with someone new, and talked to yourself in the mirror… asking yourself questions about everything under the sun and replying with feigned surprise, humility and wit? Well that used to be the freakshow that was me before auditions. Imagining every single sort of question they may ask you. And while in an audition you have to be prepared with information, alternatives, and a point of view, they never ask you those questions. Um… except for when you finally give a strong audition and they want to talk to you. And then they ask you to sing even though you’re not auditioning for a musical and there’s no accompanist! So… under the circumstances what came out?
And all the joy, inspiration, hope, change and optimism that has been welling up inside of me got a chance to come pouring out in a few lines of the song. I think I may have made up some new lyrics being on the spot, but at least they rhymed. So now I have a go-to song when that happens. And I have a really good feeling about what’s next. For me… and N.Y.C.