This Actor's Soapbox: Luck of the Auditioning Irish

This Actor's Soapbox: Luck of the Auditioning Irish

Katie Harden

Today is a Saturday. My mother is currently in Ireland while I stay home with my father and my four cats. It was something she always dreamed of as a kid. Though I'm saddened that I couldn't go (not only is it expensive but also her and her sister had wanted to go all their lives) I still have to plan out some new auditions.

A few months ago I finally broke down and got a subscription to Backstage. So far nothing amazing yet in the audition lists but I'm hoping someday there will be that special gig that will just be perfect for me . 

I don't really like to talk about my auditions much unless it's with close friends. My mom always said if it's meant to be then it's meant to be. I found the more I talked about my goals and dreams as a child, the more they didn't come true. Perhaps it's my Irish luck?

And let me tell you, Irish luck is crappy. 

When you talk about the luck of the Irish it means that we have none. When I stay silent then things start to happen. Anyway, I submitted recently to something and received a call about it. Cross your fingers as I have wanted this since I was seven years old. 

Recently I ventured out with my friend (the lucky duck is a SAG member!) to go to a musical theater audition for Wicked. This was my first time auditioning for Broadway believe it or not. I auditioned for a tour a few years back and bombed. Learned my lesson though, didn't I? I've gone to auditions for Les Miserables and Wicked but was never seen. Finally I landed a good one and nailed it. 

They rush you with the 32 bars if you're non-equity. I was just happy enough that I was seen, they turned people away afterwards. Thank God my best friend signed us in "wicked" early (there go my New England roots!) so we were high up on the list. We met wonderful people in the audition process, two men who were extremely down-to-earth and a lot of the women there trying for the quirky blonde role were as sweet as could be. 

It's rare, it's really, really freaking rare that you meet nice people in auditions. Luckily I've had some decent luck with meeting a bunch of friends from said auditions or at least people I actually like. Every once in a while you'll run in crazies. I was at a Les Miserables audition once, me and another girl were sitting next to each other while this woman started going on and on to some of the fellow actors about how some girl was here that she hated. 

The other girl and myself looked at each other like 'oh, boy.' 

Except you know, listening to that at 9 AM wasn't exactly something I wanted to do. My butt got up at 5 AM at my friend's apartment and took the subway to Manhattan for said audition. This particular place wouldn't let you sit on their floor in their lobby. I waited in Starbucks drinking a drink I really couldn't afford and was pretty glad I brought one of my old Christmas gift cards with me. 

And then to sit in a hot audition studio with rude people and some not-so rude people just made my morning suck. To top it off at 10 AM all of the equity kids just strolled right in. And I literally mean stroll. With their rolling suitcases and what have you. We weren't seen. I was number 35 on this God given day of Les Miz auditions and they turned us away. 

I don't do those that often unless I'm a hundred percent sure that they will see non-equity. I always ask ahead of time. My emotional stability nor my patience cannot sit for six hours and listen to people gossip or practice in the bathroom only to be turned away. 

Afterwards you're so poor that you can't afford taxis and have to walk all of the way to Grand Central. I've done it before, I have the worst feet too. About a year ago I got a job as a full fledged acting teacher at a wonderful company and can finally afford way more. I try to avoid taxis unless it's really far and let's face it, my feet covered in band aids all day is pretty gross. 

Speaking of taxis, I tried this new taxi app. None of the people speak English (which is fine as long as they don't yell at you in their language) and half of them want you to meet them on some corner three blocks from where you are in order to catch a ride. I had some dude steal my ride actually before. I waited and waited for the right number and out of the blue some tourist hops in my taxi and leaves on the other side of the street. 

I was exhausted, cranky and just overall not having a good day. 

I was on vacation with my girlfriend and her friend a few months ago and accidentally bumped into this lady in the middle of the sidewalk. She told me to promptly 'F off!'. I replied with 'Sorry B word!' I'm not exactly an aggressive person but holy crap lady, I just lightly bumped your shoulder and even said 'excuse me' with an apologetic look. No need to yell at me! 

And I want to move to New York in a couple years? Dear Lord. 

The best auditions are the ones when right before the producers and directors take their lunch they have to see you. They're starving and cranky and you just feel like you wasted your time as soon as you get into the room. 

I'm not selfish but I'm also not going to waste my time and your time by auditioning for you when a; you don't give a crap and b; I know I won't get the part. I took a two and a half hour train ride from CT to see grumpy people. No, thanks. 

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Always find auditions that say non-equity as well and always get there super early. And if you're already in the union? Well you're a damn lucky person. I find even that union people don't always get things either. The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. 

I have a new friend at a local piano bar, she sings amazingly. I was there singing until 3 AM and she bar tended. Slender, short girl with wild brown curls. She was our waitress, bartender and entertainment. I wanted to work there so bad but realized I had zilch of bar-tending experience. She's union, in a new show and I still can't believe she's not on Broadway. Her voice was so unique and so strong, I had the opportunity to sing "In His Eyes" from Jekyll & Hyde with her one night at 2 AM. 

Everyone from the staff to the amazing piano players were so freaking sweet. That's what makes me appreciate show business and that's when I know that there are people like me and the average Joe out there trying to make a living. 

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