I currently have a pile of vocal books sitting next to me on the couch. We all know what this means…I have caved and pretty much decided to try out for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” In two weeks.
When I was a kid, I really loved being on the stage. When I was performing, I could forget absolutely everything in my life and just focus on the there and now. My shows performed in resume is huge, and I still remember most of the words to most of those shows. I met a LOT of people performing; most of the (admittedly few) friends I had in middle/high school came from the drama program. I wanted to be onstage. I wanted to have solos. I wanted more and bigger parts.
I have videos from several of the productions I was in. No lie, I still watch them upon occasion. My first ever vocal solo was in the play “Broadway to Burlington,” which was written by our middle school drama teacher. The solo was “Stay With Me” from Into the Woods. I remember getting a perm for that part so that my hair would be JUST right…I was SO excited. I think I was twelve. Watching my face on the television now as I sing, I remember how terrified I was, and then I remember the success I felt when my solo ended during the first show. (You can LITERALLY see it on my face–biggest smile EVER as the spotlight on me goes out.) I loved that feeling of succeeding, of being great at something. People saw me, REALLY saw me. They applauded; they liked me; I was doing SOMETHING right. I took years of voice lessons. I had loads of solos. I didn’t care what anybody thought of me, and it made my performances GREAT. I was great.
I always thought that I stopped getting picked for leads because I wasn’t pretty enough. The other girls were SO much prettier. They wore makeup. They wore the “right clothes.” They said the “right things.” I didn’t do any of that. In all reality, it wasn’t that at all. It was that I thought those things about MYSELF, and they showed through. I knew that I was not the best dancer. I’m STILL not the best dancer. And I let that take something that I loved away from me.
Deciding whether or not to take this audition, as dorky as it sounds, is pretty important to me. I teach theatre now. I prep dozens of students for their own auditions. I’ve been on a directing team. But I haven’t been on a stage myself in over ten years. I DESPISE the phrase “Those who can’t do teach” because I CAN do it. I AM good at it. Hell, I have an AWESOME voice. Maybe I still can’t dance, sure. But I CAN sing, and I can act. And I can dance a LITTLE, if someone teaches me.
Trying to do this is important to me for a wide myriad of reasons, but most of all, I think I need to meet that girl again. The one who loved to sing and did it without caring what anyone thought of her. I want to learn that again; I want to learn to not care what anyone thinks.