Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Show Biz Life

Hello, my name is Peter. I am 44-years-old, and I still want to sing and dance.

I am attending a performance/audition workshop this fall, at the ANMT, the Academy for New Musical Theater in North Hollywood. Last night was our first meeting.

It was pretty humbling. The other people in our small group of eight are talented singers and seasoned performers. I felt like such a nobody among them, such a poser, as we used to say in high school.

The bulk of my performing background has involved a lot of very cheesy work in theme parks and on cruise ships. And I wouldn't trade the part of my life for anything. But the list of actual theater credits on my resume is minimal. Who the hell am I to think that I could fit in with authentic thespian types?

I had to make some effort to remind myself that feeling this way is the exact reason for taking a workshop like this in the first place. We had to audition to get into the workshop, so I am also focusing on how fortunate I am to be part of this group.

We took turns singing on stage. Part of the exercise was to brainstorm and suggest other songs and specific roles that would be appropriate for each performer. After I had finished singing Sondheim's "What Can You Lose" (from Madonna's Dick Tracy album, "I'm Breathless"), one of the first roles suggested for me was the Engineer from "Miss Saigon."

I was pleased and flattered. I may never have the chance to even audition for that specific dream role but it felt good to have it suggested and confirmed. I am at an "awkward age" in that I need to work on more age-appropriate songs to audition with, and pinpoint more age-appropriate roles to audition for.

I was also advised to research B.D. Wong's career, and look to musical stage roles he had performed. I never mind playing the Asian card if it will get me a show or a gig. And yay, Linus from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!"

Years ago, as I reached my 30's, I started worrying that each show I was in was going to be my last. Maybe it was just paranoia, at first, but the feeling became so frequent that I stopped noticing it, eventually.

Nowadays, I have faith that I will get to perform again, someday, when the right opportunity presents itself. I just have to be patient.

Stay tuned!


KK said...

Yay, this is exciting to hear that you're in good company. You have so much talent, Peter, you always have. Now you're among some great people so absorb from them and your best talents will come out too.


P.S. Secretly in about 10 years I hope I can land the role of Yenta the Matchmaker. I've always wanted to do that character!

thelastnoel said...

You are not a poser! You're the real thing.

Cheryl said...

This sounds like so much fun (love that Sondheim song--just make sure *not* to take the "With so much to win, there's too much to lose" advice).

It sounds like maybe your fellow workshoppers need to think outside the race box a little. I'm sure it would be fun to star in Miss Saigon, but one of the things I love about musical theater is how it provides an opportunity to suspend disbelief about race and even gender. I mean, if we can believe that people randomly burst into song, why can't we believe that, say, George in Sunday in the Park is Japanese?