I did it! I had one of my favorite audition experiences since college. It was fun, exciting, and experimental. Of course it was simple cold-reading audition (literally and figuratively) for several one-acts, but the plays chosen are absurd. There was quite a selection from Durang and Ives. Unlike my last Madison audition, there were plenty of auditioners that gave a wide variety of choices and the directors were great in shuffling different people in and out, trying this combo and that.
I might not get cast, but it was nice to make an acquaintance with theatre once again.
Theatre, for me, has to start with elementary school, where I was a member of the children’s chorus in the North Crawford Playhouse’s production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Even as a kid, we were fully embraced by the entire high school cast. It was fun to say the least. Shortly after that NC Playhouse did Oliver! which provided me with an opportunity for a solo! (“Piled peaches and cream about six feet high!”) From then on, I was hooked.
NC Playhouse has a schedule (that they still keep) with a musical in the fall and play in the spring, so it was in the first few months of my Freshman year that I got my first real role as Grantaire in Les Miserables. The upperclassmen has some real studs for the leads that allowed up to be one of the first high school’s in the nation to put on this production. There was not a weak link. To be able to perform with them was an honor. I was fortunate to later share the stage at UW-Platteville with the Jean Valjean from that production…
The other NC Playhouse productions I was in included Taming of the Shrew (Pedent), Twelth Night (Duke Orsino), Music Man (Tommy Djilas), Pirates of Penzance (Sergeant) and Beauty and the Beast (Gaston). People still come up to me saying how great my Gaston was…
I remember the speed tournaments we played backstage, the pranks, the snacks (oh goodness, the snacks…), the applause-o-grams, the animated Ghormley trying to inspire some lively scenes, the big ol’ black lighting booth, the strikes, the ENERGY warmups in the choir room, the cast parties,… everything. God help me from being too sentimental J
Ultimately, Director Robert L. Ghormley, Music Director Paul Cota, art goddess Joni Peterson, Pat Gilbert, Deb Conlin, and Camille Smith allowed for some amazingly great theatre to be performed.
In between my sophomore and junior year, I attended a fortunate summer band camp at UW-Platteville. I had been going for a few years playing Tuba, but they had a choir as well that I had eventually switched to. Of course I could go on about band camp and the un-talented talent show that Sarah Ellis and I were going to sing Grease in or learning some cool guitar chords from Joan LaRosa, and what not, but this is a theatre post!
So, after joining the choir and having a fantastic time with Mr. Murphy, I decided to also sign up for the solo/small group performance night that the band camp puts on towards the end of the week. I had just finished State Solo & Ensemble singing Ol’ Man River and that seemed a perfect opportunity to again perform a solid piece. Dr. K was on staff at UW-Platteville as a vocal instructor with a musical theatre background, and over the course of the week I had prepared with her to perform Ol’ Man River.
Sure enough, thanks to that performance, I won the “Star Camper Award” (yes, very cheesily named…) and helped build a reputation with Dr. K that would benefit me for the rest of my college career.