Saturday, December 08, 2007

Godspell Auditions

I am at Panera, where they have great coffee, my favorite bagels and free wireless. I'm supposed to work on the family Christmas letter, but all I can do, it seems, is pray for Blondechick15 and Bantam8, who were both called back for speaking parts in Godspell!

Auditions were last night. There were a record number of kids auditioning--147--for 90 parts, which meant 57 kids--over 1/3 of those auditioning--would have to be cut. That fact REALLY put the pressure on, let me tell you!

Our kids were numbers 109, 110, and 111. They like to go one after the other, like they've practiced, for moral support--and also, I think, because when one does well, it reflects well on the other two when it's obvious that they're all from the same family.

(In fact, a poignant moment of the night for me was when one talented 17-year-old boy, the oldest of five, explained, as he introduced himself, that his brother and sister would be auditioning later; it was obvious that he wished they had been able to sign up together. I've noticed that kids from larger families like to be identified with their siblings--there's a strong family identity there that is important to them--and of course that warms my heart!)

Anyway, it was a good thing that our kids were together last night. Bantam8 started out, the first performer after a little break. He sang "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast, imitating Lumiere's goofy French accent. Every note was true, his timing--a little tricky as he begins speaking and then bursts into song at just the right moment--was perfect, and he performed with great energy, using the whole stage. But we, his family, were all so ticked that he forgot the one thing we had coached and coached and coached on--he barely smiled! (Even when it was the last thing both his sister and brother whispered to him!) Fortunately he just looked very, very earnest as he sang and gestured expressively during lines like, "Try the gray stuff--it's delicious! Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!"

After his crowd-pleasing performance, Bantam12 got up to do "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by the Beatles. He had a nice lighthearted routine planned, with a few little kicks and slides on the chorus to show he could move well, but when he got to the second verse, he suddenly forgot his words! It had never happened before at that point--though he had been having trouble saying "Desmond" when he meant "Molly" and vice versa. But "Happy ever after in the marketplace" was the line he missed, and if it hadn't been for his sister feeding him the next line, he might not have recovered. But he picked up on the line after that, and finished the verse and the next chorus with a smile and without missing another beat in his well-rehearsed routine, and came off looking quite professional and unflustered, I think. (I hope!) He looked good and sounded great overall.

Then it was Blondechick15's turn. She had prepared Eva Cassidy's rendition of the spiritual "Wade in the Water." It was a different type of audition for her, because it was less dance choreography and more vocal stylization, and she pulled it off masterfully, crooning and gesturing expressively like a black gospel singer. Though her high notes weren't the best she'd ever done--not as full and strong as she is capable of--her voice throughout most of the song sounded smooth and rich as butter, and she seemed so natural, confident and expressive. She just sounded great, and we were so proud of her.

We were so proud of them all! As I whispered to another mom last night, "I'm so glad it's my kids and not me that have to do this." I was speaking specifically of the dance audition, then--to me, the scariest part because they can't prepare for it. After they performed their prepared auditions, they went off to another room to be taught a dance from the show; then they came back in to perform it. It was only about 30 seconds long, but it was intense!--full of contemporary, modern dance moves to Switchfoot's heavy-rockin' intro to "Meant to Live." I worried for my two boys, especially, but they did fine. Whew!!

Now, the hardest part of all--waiting. Callbacks are closed to parents, so all I can do is pray for Bantam8 and Blondechick15, and wait for the cast list to go up on the website tomorrow. I slept terribly last night and probably will tonight as well. It's not so much that I'll be upset if they don't get good parts, but that I don't know what emotions we'll be dealing with. Last night I dreamed about three different dreams, each with a different scenario: One was called back, and the others weren't. They were called back for dancing but not a main part. None of them were called back. And in each dream, I consoled someone.... In reality, only Blondechick15 really has a chance at a significant part, and the boys will be perfectly happy just to get in!

Just the fact that we're still here--not moved yet--and planning on doing this show is like a dream come true for our kids. We saw another chapter of our children's theater group do Godspell, and we saw why so many kids love this musical. There are so many high-energy, whole-company dance numbers, and it's not cheesy musical theater choreography, but intense, athletic modern dance moves. The costumes are all contemporary; the kids wear their own, costumer-approved outfits. The setting replicates the sidewalk in front of the Art Institute in downtown Chicago. It's the Gospel of Matthew as if Jesus were here today, walking the streets of the city, with his disciples, male and female (one of the parts Blondechick was called back for).

Of all the musicals our Christian group performs regularly, this is the most evangelistic one they do, and the kids love it for that too. Their friends and neighbors come and see it, and it's all out there, the whole Christian message in an engaging, "hip" package. And-- they love the '70's overtones. (All the boys have been growing out their hair.)

Performances are the first two weekends in February, so mark your calendars, local friends and family!

And stay tuned...the cast list goes up tomorrow afternoon!


Catherine said...

That sounds so fun...I've always wished I did drama when I was a kid ( catherine

Summer in FL said...

I can't wait to hear how it turns out. Good luck to all -- we're thinking of you!

At A Hen's Pace said...


It's never too late! Just this summer our whole family auditioned for a community theater production where they take everybody, and my husband and I had a blast. He's experienced and I'm not, but I learned a lot and really enjoyed it!!!