Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oliver Auditions

The auditions for Oliver were last night and our kids did well! Bantam9 and Blondechick15 couldn't have done any better. Bantam12 had trouble hearing his accompaniment and got a little off from his music at one point, but he regrouped nicely and did an outstanding job overall.

So we were quite disappointed this morning to find that none of them had been called back. Not unexpected for Bantam12, who's at that awkward age where he's too tall and deep-voiced for the little boy parts and too young to play men. But we had thought that surely they'd want another look at Bantam9 for the title role. But perhaps they want an older Oliver--not many 9-year-olds can carry such a big part. There was only one lead that Blondechick15 could be considered for, and she was one of a dozen girls who, based on their auditions, could have been Nancy. But if they're going with an older Oliver, she's too short for Nancy, a grown woman who's a maternal figure to Oliver.

...Or so we tell ourselves. One never knows, really, what directors see. And of course we have stars in our eyes when it comes to our own kids!

For the family album and for those who like the details:

Blondechick15 went first, singing "Thank You Very Much" from Scrooge, the Musical. It's a good Cockney accent song, sung by a man in the movie, but she wore a full skirt with a petticoat and white blouse and the song adapted nicely for a female. It starts out with a half verse in spoken Cockney, which she does well, and then she broke into dancing, swishing her skirts and using the stage for the rest of the number. Her voice sounded great and her facial expression and acting were the strongest she's ever been in an audition, I think. We were proud!

Bantam9 came next, performing "King of New York" from Newsies. (This is such a fun Disney musical about the NYC paperboys' strike of 1899; get it from your library immediately if you've never seen it.) Every note was right on, every motion was exactly as practiced, and he strutted his stuff with energy and a big smile! He couldn't have done it any better. That's a comfort.

Bantam12's number was the biggest crowd-pleaser, as we suspected it would be. It's always refreshing to hear a song that's not usually done, and we had never heard of this one when his voice teacher called us and suggested it. She learned it when she was in a cabaret show of all Rogers and Hammerstein songs; it's from one of their lesser-known musicals, Flower Drum Song. It's called "Don't Marry Me:"

You are young and beautiful
Sweet as the breath of May
Earnestly I speak to you
Weigh every word I say.

If you want to have a rosy future
And be happy as a honeybee,
With a husband who will always love you, baby--
DON'T marry me.

If you want a man you can depend on
I can absolutely guarantee,
I will never fail to disappoint you, baby--
Don't marry me.

He started out very seriously--really letting his voice shine (I was so proud of him for that)--but he got an unexpected laugh when he went down on one knee, gesturing earnestly to the female director while singing the first line, "You are young and beautiful...." The song picks up in tempo and humor at "If you want to have a rosy future..."--and you should have seen him imitating a honeybee's wings, waggling his finger on the line "I can absolutely guarantee," and gesturing emphatically on the "Don't's," with a wide-eyed expression of alarm. It was great. He looked the most comfortable onstage than he's ever been at an audition, and he said that's how he felt.

As an aside: I mentioned that he has a voice teacher. She's Blondechick15's teacher, but we love her so much, we wanted the boys to have some lessons too, before we move away from her. They weren't so eager, but we had them go on alternating weeks instead of weekly, and that wasn't too bad, they thought.

And both of them were surprised by how much they learned in just a few lessons--breaking bad habits, getting some helpful concepts in mind and receiving encouragement on what sounds good! As Bantam12 said, "I never want to go, but when I do, it's always sooooo helpful, I'm really glad I did." Which makes us really glad too.

So. Now we wait for the cast list to be posted tomorrow. It's weird not having any kids up for leads--I just realized that for the last 7 shows, we've had a hopeful every time! Maybe I'll sleep better tonight than I usually do the night before. Maybe not: it's still suspenseful waiting to see what parts they get, or even IF they get in--about 30 kids will be cut.

And you just never know with directors!


Erin said...

I hope they all get in!!

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Maybe they were such shoe-ins that the director didn't need to call 'em back? :)