She gave the best audition of the day, and didn't get the part

And in this story, an amazing actor, young, fresh out of college, from the EPA, completely nails her audition such that we are laughing and applauding at the end... and she does not get the part.

Such is the heartbreaking life of an Actor on 42nd Street.

In the second day of our private auditions, we get to hear people sing my music - which is fantastic.

But it doesn't start out as fantastic. It starts out freaky. Scary. As in:  What the hell am I doing here and will my music measure up and what will they think?

I get an encouraging "love your music!" from our rehearsal pianist with a thumbs-up, which helps a lot.

"I bet you say that to all the composers," I respond. He shakes his head, looking flustered.

And so we hear actors sing my music, and because they've only had a day or so to learn it, we mostly only hear a page or two. And mostly it's good. As in, quite good. And I start to relax and enjoy the experience without worrying, endlessly, about whether my music is good enough or not. At least for now, at least for today, in this room with these actors, it's good enough.

And then this tall young actor enters the room. She came from the EPAs and was not at the top of our list but made the EPA cut (with about 12 other people), and she absolutely NAILS her song. She puts so much into it, not just singing the notes (after all, the purpose of them singing the song is to see how quickly they can pick up and adapt to new music - we are not really looking for a performance as such, just quality singing), but she really *sells* it. And she's so funny that we're laughing out loud by the end.

And what's amazing is that, somehow, she has done all of this in, basically a day. She received the music around 11am to noon the day before, and then had to perform it about 26 hours later, and somehow she was able to do all that and sell it so well.

I will remember that performance for the rest of my life. And we all grin at each other and we're like: That's it! She's got the part!

But then...

A few singers later, someone else comes in for the same role, also from the EPAs, and we're like: Oh! She's good! She's really good! She's funny and sexy and really, just perfect.

And she sings the song, and it's not as great as the first one, but it's pretty damn good.

So what do we do now?

Unfortunately, the show is not just one song. The character has several songs to do, and they have different purposes. And also the age of the character comes into play, and which actress is right for the maturity level / jadedness of the character. And finally, we're trying to create an ensemble. And so having too many actors of the same type doesn't work on stage. We want and need variety.

And so, we end up going with the second performer.

I just wish there were some way to reach out to that first singer and say:  "You nailed it. You were amazing. That was the best audition of anyone we saw (the best audition out of 230 auditions we saw during this entire two week process), and it wasn't even that close. And it put you at the top of the list, but it just didn't work out through no fault of your own, but just keep doing what you're doing and keep up that energy and it won't be long! You got what it takes!"

But then, I realize that she did, in fact, get something. She's now on our casting director's list, and she's now more likely to get called in than before. Also the director and the music director know of her and they will definitely have a lot of opportunities and so hopefully they'll remember her and suggest her for future roles.

So it's not all bad. 

But, oh man I wish we had a role for her in our cast. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe we’ll reconnect at some point. I hope she comes to the show and stops by. I would love the opportunity to tell her how well she did and how close she came and just give her a word of encouragement.


We had someone drop out, and we all looked at each other and said: Yes, let’s get Mimi! Because it was Mimi Robinson, who is now playing Summer for Black Hole Wedding, that this blog was all about. AND SHE’S IN THE SHOW!! (Happy, happy dance!)

So, happy ending all around!

Paul NelsonComment