To Dream The Impossible Dream (or Keep That Strange Country Music Playin’ Accompanist AWAY FROM ME!)

I read my voice teacher/vocal coach’s blog this morning. “What Defines Success?”  As usual her observations are insightful and useful and motivational.
She lists some points and here’s one of them:

2.  Successful people do not let fear of ANY kind inhibit their efforts or their desires.

This is the most difficult aspect of the business for me.

I used to be fearless. More even, FEAR FREE! My attitude was that I was the one on stage so I had ALL THE CONTROL. If I was in a scene and something happened to threaten my control then I improvised until I got that damned control BACK! I was in high school, I was 16 or 17 then.
While I don’t want to go improv crazy during performances, I DO need to get that feeling of CONTROL back. It’s the only way for me to conquer my fear.

Now, when I admit to fear… I’m still a little bulldog when it comes to my performances. Having been cast and rehearsed I do quite well!
But I do have one borderline phobia. I am terrified of *DUHM DUHM DUHUHUHUHMMMMMM* audition accompanists!!!

Let me back up a bit to tell the tale of an audition gone awry.
I was working as box office manager at York Theatre Company in NYC. They do original small musicals and concert versions of old gems they call “Musicals in Mufti”.
The artistic director Jim Morgan and the casting director Norman Meranus knew me. They knew I was Equity. They knew I sang. They held an audition. I decided to step outside the box office for a minute and go sing for them.
I had no repertoire to speak of but I did have two songs I could do. Pretty Women from Sweeney Todd and Newt from Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly.
I started with Pretty Women and was so nervous that the high notes were B.A.D. though
I’ve sung that song a million times. The smiles they had for me when I walked into the room had faded.
They asked if I had anything else and I DID! I had Newt. But that song is VERY FREE FORM. It’s basically a comic monologue set to music and rhyme.
The pianist they had was good that day but NO ONE is gonna play that song right the first time!
Now, because Jim and I were friends he worked with me on Newt for a minute and when I did it again I was awesome. But by then the casting director had walked out disgusted, as well he should have, and Jim asked me why I couldn’t’ve done it that well the first time.
Here’s my problem:
I’m in a room with unfamiliar acoustics and with a piano behind me being played by a total stranger who may never have seen my music before in life.  Also, I’m funny. I should sing something funny. But I have 16 bars…enough for HALF of a joke. So I choose something I think I can FIT into that space and always come up with Pretty Women. And that song doesn’t sell my quirkiness…though it does sell my VOICE really well….too bad the voice is a mismatch for my body….
…and all this surges through me at the same time. So nervous am I, even my individual hairs are shaking independent of one another.

To recap:
I am afraid that an unknown accompanist will destroy my audition…so I destroy it for both of us and end up wasting everyone’s time.
I am frozen with dread that I won’t pick a good audition song…so I equivocate. Thus my book has one feasible song in it: Pretty Women.

And joy of joys, I have chosen about TEN possible audition songs to take to my voice session in two days…and I am mortified that I have chosen total shit, completely inappropriate for auditioning when cut to 16 bars.

I should look on the BRIGHT SIDE though. All upcoming auditions will likely require 12 and a half bars of a song from one out of print Judas Priest album sung while submerged in a vat of warm bacon grease while wearing snorkeling apparatus. At least, that would be identical to my perceived audition hurdles so far…

I am disgusted with myself. But I MUST move on. I have to! And so WHAT if I choose 37 shades of shit to try and make into audition songs. Susan Eichhorn-Young is going to be my angel and help me pick and choose the best of the best.

NEXT OBSTACLE: Audition Monologues and how all women loathe my hysterical piece from Steambath. It contains the word “pussy” and the phrase “ wife’s box…” which turned my last audition into a game of IS THAT HIPPIE LADY STILL BREATHING?!?!


About keithpatrickdunn

Keith grew-up in a one parent home as an only child. Funny thing is he has two brothers and three step-brothers. View all posts by keithpatrickdunn

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