So auditions for Legally Blonde were a week ago, and the cast list isn’t out yet. The principals of our Smalltown High and neighboring Cunningham High did talk, and agreed that Cunningham kids could try out for the show to beef up our skeletal cast. Hopefully, they’re auditioning soon since they finished their performances of Anything Goes a week ago. But the director Mr. D. said he wasn’t going to wait for those auditions to announce parts for the Smalltown people who already tried out. What’s the hold up? Who knows. Clearly none of the adult directors remember the agony of being suspended in waiting-for-casting limbo.
Mr. D. said he’ll send the cast list around by email or post it on Facebook. That’s today’s way, but the old-fashioned way of posting a list in the school had its merits. The act of approaching the fluttering piece of paper, stomach twisting at the prospect of another bit part — or would it be a meaty role this time? — is pretty dramatic in itself. Then the torture of scanning the list for your name, which takes seconds but feels like hours. Finally, the walk of shame or the walk of fame as you leave the list. You don’t even need to hear what people are saying to know who got good parts — you can tell by their body language as they turn away from the list and walk down the hall to their lockers.
Then there are those directors who like to announce the casting in person. That can be dramatic, too. I know someone who auditioned for Mayzie in Seussical but the director forgot to announce who got that role so my friend was left hanging, wondering if she got no part at all while everyone stole awkward glances at each other. (I stole that story and used it in Bit Players, Bird Girls and Fake Break-Ups.)
But we don’t have a cast list for Legally Blonde yet, so let’s go back to auditions for a minute. Everyone has their own level of angst going into an audition. Here’s what Sadie in the Bit Players novels was thinking before her audition for Twilight: The Musical in Bit Players, Has Been Actors and Other Posers. (For those of you who don’t know Sadie yet, she is your average, sometimes awkward and usually self-conscious teenager, but she feels at home on the stage.)
I hated auditions because I wasn’t in charge. I was one of many, and I had nothing special to recommend me. But I wasn’t nervous. I’d auditioned enough times to have conquered the butterflies long ago. I was excited.
Walking onstage, the curtains swaying ever so slightly at the sides, various props from previous shows cluttering the wings, I was at home. Looking out at the judges, I buzzed with anticipation. And as I started to sing the first notes of my audition song, I tasted opportunity.