I've always considered myself a bass player who plays guitar; or a guitar player who sings; or a singer who acts...you know how it goes.
If I'm feeling pretty good about one thing, like singing, then I'm a singer. If I'm not, well, I'm an actor who sings. And vice a versa. So yesterday, when I auditioned for "Mamma Mia," I was thrilled they were looking for "actors who also sing."
When I found out about it I set to work learning one of those famous songs that always seems to be playing somewhere. Because I'm an actor who plays guitar, or is it a singer who plays accordion? I never can keep that straight. At any rate, because I'm a hodgepodge of stuff that might fit the bill I decided to play guitar at my own audition.
For two weeks I worked and practiced my 32 bars (which, incidentally, takes about thirty seconds in performance) over and over until I knew it cold. I mean, really, who can't learn 32 bars in two weeks?
Keep in mind that, in the room, an accompanist is ready and waiting. These players (in this case a very nice woman) are really something. You put the pages in front of them and they play it like a pro. Because they are pro's. I admire them for their sight reading.
Here I am toting my trusty six string over my shoulder, completely bypassing the congenial professional to my left. I might add that, much to my surprise, nobody else carried an instrument anywhere on their body.
You may be thinking I was pretty presumptuous bringing my axe, but I really had no choice. I changed the key so dramatically the piano just wouldn't do. I kept telling myself if they don't like it, I'll go home. No harm, no foul. But, of course they allowed it. They don't care how I audition, they just want to know if I can sing. Or act. Or, act like I sing.
When I walked in and said good morning, "I brought my own accompaniment. I hope you don't mind." The casting director said, "No, as long as you know how to play it." Which was wonderful, because it made me laugh, relaxed the room and gave me a more than even shot at a good audition. Well done, you!
I put my hat on the piano, my soft shell case on the ground, unzipped the zipper and pulled out the instrument. My capo was in a small pocket on the front of the bag and when reached for it, it got stuck in a crease. Here I was trying like mad to appear calm, but honestly wondering if the capo was ever coming out. A deep breath and a little common sense later, I put that baby on the neck of my guitar and I was ready to go. It felt like an eternity, but was probably thirty seconds.
Just like the next thirty seconds it took me to finish. God bless the casting director who was tapping her foot, swaying her shoulders and seemed to really enjoy it. "Thank you for that," she said. Which, I think, is pretty good feedback.
Two weeks to thirty seconds. And, boy, was it fun. All in all, I think it went pretty well. It's in God's hands now and if He thinks it's a good idea, I'll let you know.
Blessings one and all.