Audition Anecdote* #1: The Birds Are In A Food Coma

Once upon a time I played a seasonal EPA for a regional theatre that is well known and reputable. Within that season was a fan favorite Mary Poppins. The children love it, the parents love it, the gays love it, everyone loves it. It has tons of fan favorite songs and moments, it’s a win all around.

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So there I was playing this 8-hour day of auditions an in walks a 70+ year old woman, sweet as a cake, and painted in the most garish bright blue eyeshadow and bright pink lip, think Mimi from Drew Carey. She was all smiles and wearing what must have been the understudy coat for Joseph. Over she toddled to the piano and set down her music… a cut of “Feed The Birds” …obviously. And she said to me “Hello! I’m so excited to sing this, it’s one of my most favorite songs.” She really was the nicest and sweetest thing.

As she walked to the center of the room she looked back and said “I’ll let you know when I’m ready.” Always a skeptical sentence in the room.

I looked down at my phone one more quick time before playing to shoot a quick text and when I looked back up… she had disappeared… gypsy magic indeed.

I stood up slightly and looked over the piano to where she was sprawled on the floor, propped up by one hand and reaching out forward with the other. A quick nod at me and I realized she was NOW ready to go. So away I started playing, a little shocked, into the beautiful haunting waltz that is “Feed The Birds.”

Then she proceeded to sing the slowest version of any song I had ever heard in my entire life with the widest vibrato I’d ever heard. It was almost impressive.

I will say, as I stood up to witness the moment, she was completely connected to the material and acting FOR HER LIFE.  And scene. Complete shock. She got up and thanked us profusely and toddled away.

Moral of the story. Don’t lay on the ground. And always aim for show tempo when singing. BUT have fun and be the nicest, THAT was a win!



*This anecdote is in no way intended to offend or judge anyone mentioned in it. It is purely for the purpose of perspective and for the practicing performer to peruse and purvey.

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