©Megan Elyse Fulmer 2014
Your 3:30am alarm goes off. Yesterday was a blur. The audition hangover is real. You can’t afford a rest day after missing a shift for the initial audition. Put a smile on, shove your headphones in, and hop on the train from Astoria to the Upper West Side. Someone has to get the fitness center open by 5:30am.
It’s 11:00am and your shift ends. Luckily, you’ve had work to distract you from the ongoing ‘what-ifs’ dancing through your mind. Now it’s prime time. Your phone could buzz at any moment saying you have a call back. In your daydreams, you are swiping right to answer the call saying you got the job. If you receive a call, you know where you stand.
At this point, you have grown accustom to never hearing anything from anyone. You have to forget about all the work you put into each audition. In three months Playbill will release an article announcing the full cast of the next big show. In reality, you have nothing to lose. Your agent just dropped you. They told you that “your dancing is a 7 and it needs to be a 10. You won’t be able to keep up with the LA dancers.” They said some big casting teams in NYC don’t want to bring you in for any new auditions. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, there is nowhere to go but up.
Your phone rings.
“Hi, Megan? Hi this is Paul calling on behalf of The Bodyguard. We’d like you to come back tomorrow at 11am for final callbacks. Are you available?”
“Absolutely! Thank you so much. I will see you tomorrow!”
You immediately start mentally reviewing all of the choreography you’ve learned while you race towards the N train. In the midst of the excitement you call your mom to tell her the good news. You are pretty intuitive when it comes to knowing where you stand during an audition process. You can’t ignore that feeling of having the job in the bag, but again, you never know what can happen. Sometimes you are just not what they want or need for reasons you cannot control.
Now time to race home, teach your evening Hip Hop Cardio Class, get someone to cover half of your morning shift, and rest up for tomorrow.
3:30am déjà vu. You still have to go in to work until 10am. Luckily, you are up early enough to get to the gym and use the studio mirrors to do your audition makeup before your shift. On a normal day, you would never wear so much make up so early in the morning. When you are rocking a full face at 5:30 am, most of the members at the fitness center know there is an audition you have prepped for. They know your dream, and they support it. They are your cheerleaders. It is the perfect boost before the big day.
10am you rush downtown. You are at Pearl Studios by 10:30. You are warm from the race to arrive on time, so you immediately start stretching. You are surrounded by the typical audition circles: You have the few that seem to be giving themselves a ballet class in the corner; the few ladies at the most convenient outlet to curl their hair; the few beside them doing their makeup; the clump of people happily stretching amongst friends; and the circle boasting their latest addition to their resume playing “who knows who” in the industry. Each group shares their moment of speculation of what’s to come in this audition process.
The monitor enters the holding room.
“Hey everyone! Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We will start with everyone coming in to dance ‘Queen of the Night’. Ladies in heels, Men in sneakers. I’ll be back in 5 to call everyone into the studio.”
The speculation sizzles, and everyone properly preps for round 4. Most groups start reviewing together one last time. The men begin to drill together since their choreography is slightly different from the women.
“Alright everybody, the team is ready for you to come into the studio.”
The clicking heels and squeaking sneakers enter the studio— a familiar sound. A brief review is followed by the grouping of names. This is everything you have already done with less bodies surrounding you. You know all too well that this day will be an exact replica of the first audition day. Same content with more focus on each individual.
You only have two chances to prove that you deserve to dance in the final round. As you dance to “Queen of the Night,” you embody the queen in you. You don’t look like anyone else around you. The choreographer said she didn’t want cookie cutter musical theater dancers. She wants strong individual dancers. Your luck is giving you a leg up. Although this feels incredible, you can’t help but think, “Am I what they want? Am I what they need?”
You push down those thoughts and finish with a bang in the last group of women.
“Thank you ladies. Men your turn— Shirts off.”
You’re glad you’re not them. The creative team is emphasizing the importance of a strong physique. Each man has to be more chiseled than the next. It’s obvious they expect the same from the women, but they are more sensitive to how that would impact them. It’s difficult to be gentle to those who don’t fit a mold specific to a show. Those who have been properly trained to handle such pressure do a better job of dealing with such matters, but actors are human. You have to learn to love yourself harder than anyone else can.
“Amazing work everyone. Unfortunately, we can not keep all of you. We will be making one last cut. Women, if we call your name you will need to sing once more. Men, if I call your name we will give you until the women are finished singing to rest. Get ready to do the salsa number you learned the other day. Naomi Walley, Gina Moore, Ashley Bell, Megan Elyse Fulmer…”
Your smile brightens. Your heart is full. You have officially made it to the end. Stay focused.
You finish singing the same two songs from the other day, and head back into the holding room. It dawns on you that your partner from the other day hasn’t been here all day. Luckily, you have all of your footwork under your belt. You are ready for anybody. As you scan the room you realize the women are out numbered. It’s the ladies’ turn to work overtime. 7 ladies, 14 men. Each lady gets two partners. More chances to prove yourself. Things just keep looking up.
“Ok everyone, we’re ready for you.”
One last strut into the studio of opportunity. A speedy review is followed by the final shot and ends with the applause for completing an exhausting process.
“Thank you for your time and hard work, everyone. We’ll be in touch if necessary.”
You can’t wait to call your parents to tell them how well the day went. Once that conversation is over just forget all about this show. It’s for your own good. You’ve been booked on a two and a half month summer tour. Be present. Focus on what you already have. What is for you, will not pass you.