The Age of Sagittarius

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In my early, un-jaded days in New York City, the first musical I auditioned for was Hair.  It was my favorite show, and I was fresh out of a liberal arts college in upstate NY, so I was at the peak of my hippie days. My jeans were flared, my sage was burning, my boyfriend lived in the woods, and I always had a copy of the Dhammapada in my purse. Actually, not much has changed since then, except for the feral boyfriend.

In this heady mindset, I thought auditioning for Hair would be like a group of friends welcoming me into their tribe to hear me sing. Rules, regulations and technicalities would never apply to such a liberated show.  All I needed was a headshot and a song to sing. I decided to save money and have my roommate take my headshots. A show like Hair wouldn’t care if they were done by a professional, and you can be sure the original cast didn’t spend 700+ dollars to have their photos taken. So my roommate and I set up the photo shoot in the basement of our budget duplex apartment in Brooklyn. We used desk lamps for lighting and had  a bedspread tacked on the wall for background ambiance. A few shots turned out well, so I had them blown up to headshot size at the Kodak store. They couldn’t do a border for my name, so I decided to staple the photo to a larger piece of paper and write my name on it. With my home made headshots ready,  I just had to choose a song in a hurry and then I’d be set.

Two days later, I was ready for my first musical audition. I chose to sing “Dream a little dream of me,” because surely the director would be a fan of Mama Cass. I didn’t have time to get sheet music, so I figured I’d sing it a cappella. My voice would still be heard. I was also wearing the cutest hippie dress, in a bright, noticeable red.

When I arrived, there was a line of people pouring out of the building. Apparently, you have to arrive at an audition at least three hours before call time.  I squeezed through hordes of girls from New Jersey, all caked in makeup, wearing peace symbols around their necks. Surely the director would be able to spot the authentic hippies from the fake. After hours of nervously waiting in the hallway, watching theater nerds do their diction exercises, it was finally my turn to audition. I walked into the room and filled the space with confidence and poise.  I handed them my headshot and immediately broke into a powerful version of my song. I nailed it. Or so I thought. When I finished, the director held up my headshot and said “What is this?” I told him it was my headshot. He then held up the photo over a nearby trashcan and proceeded to drop it in the bin. I froze and turned beet red, not thinking this could get any worse, when he added, “And don’t sing a cappella! Thank you. Next!”

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4 responses »

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