Judyisms: ‘The Audition’ by Judy Stadt

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I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work in a small theatre outside of the big apple and I performed in many different roles in a repertory environment in many different genres but, at the same time, because this theatre was outside of NYC the casting people today don’t know that I ever existed. So, I thought, I’ll have to work on meeting some casting people … somehow. I went into the S.A.G. website and saw that there was an open audition for a new musical and they were looking for a character actress who sings, and is approximately my age and I need to bring in a funny, up tune but the audition was in only a week and a half. So I chose the tune “They Don’t Know” from the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. I got a CD of the original cast because it has always been much easier for me to learn a tune from listening to the tune over and over… after all, I am an audio girl.

Judy Stadt

So audition day came and after finally selecting “what to wear” which has ALWAYS been an ordeal for me (my clothes represent MY moods, you see), I drove into NYC to the rather large casting office and as far as my eyes could see were gorgeous, young, talented women … and they were so slim and, did I say young? And then there’s me. No matter where I sat I could not help hearing those fabulous, well trained voices coming out of those beautiful, young actors. No problem for me of course, as I was not going for the same parts as the young ones.

BTW, I have finally come to accept the fact that I have a paralyzing fear of rejection. Now “how” you may ask “can you Judy Stadt be in a profession like acting for sooooo many years and have that degree of fear?” Well, the answer is that I had an even more intense need to perform.

The Audition. Illustration by Judy Stadt.
After a time they called my name and I walked in with confidence (I was acting confident), shook the hands of the young casting people for whom I’m to audition. They don’t smile … at all. That shouldn’t make a difference, but it does to me, and the negative chatter in my brain starts to get louder and louder. BTW also, this happens to all of us humans, not just me or you and that fear shuts down the brain too.

OK, so the first thing that I realize is that the piano player is playing the tune in a different key. It seems that the original actress had the music transformed to her key and that was a key I was comfortable in … Oh My God it’s too high for me. BUT I just kept going (instead of telling the piano player to try another key that would be good for me). So I’m singing to blank faces and then BANG, I’m out of the character and back into Judy and I go up on the lyrics and stop. I apologize and ask to start again. “Sure, go for it.” I gather whatever control I have, take a deep breath and start over and, of course, I go up again. Now I’m dying folks OK? Repeated the same apology and started yet again and then just stopped and said to them “I’m so very sorry, but this is not working for me today … thank you for your time.” And I left.

That sounds really awful but I learned something very, very valuable … I DIDN’T DIE – I just didn’t have a successful audition experience and that is all. So, I’m thrilled to say that by recognizing this I am able to figure out exactly what happened … I WAS NOT PREPARED … and will work towards not doing the same thing again, and THAT is the most important thing.

If you should have a bad experience, just keep going … throw yourself right back into the water and continue swimming, because as long as you have the desire there will be a way to satisfy that desire. Because remember: You have to be in it to win it.

Judy Stadt
HOST, THE LUNCH & JUDY SHOW
www.thelunchandjudyshow.com
lunchandjudyshow@aol.com