Dropped in NYC

Countrywo/men!

I am freshly returned from Sarasota, Florida where I played Pauline in FST’s One Man Two Guvnors. It was a wonderful, fulfilling experience (more on that later, plus… Harry Potter World pilgrimage! ah!), but my head is so full right now with settling back into the city and back to getting after some auditions, picking up shifts at CAP21, and gazing lovingly on all those beautiful faces I haven’t seen in 2 and a halfish months.

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Actor’s Equity Building

Right when I got back to the city, I was given a big project for my first week: my first real deal agent appt for a Broadway show. Getting these types of appts was a specific goal of mine for the new year, so getting it was very fangirl-squeal inducing. This audish was what is called a “pre-screen” for future replacements for a pop/rock show currently running, and I was only asked to prep a song and a scene from the show. The week leading up to it involved me working and memorizing the sides, a session with my acting coach, and some late night youtube research. I went in the most prepared I could be and the audish went well! The best thing you can say is that you went into the room and did exactly what you wanted to do. The only thing you can control in this business is how prepared you are (wise words from my mentor, Mana Allen), so knowing and doing THAT makes auditions so much less about “not being good enough” and infinitely more a matter of “here I am, this is what I love, nice to meet you/see you again. See you soon”.

Something to also keep in mind with auditions is that you may hear the next day if you got a call back, and you may hear next YEAR. It’s important to remember that an audition is not a “no.” It’s a “not now.” What is important is being “seen” by the person behind the table, because you never know what they may be writing on your resume for later, the other things they are currently casting/working on, or the things that will come up from that audition in a few months’ time. The important thing is just to always be ready for the opportunity. To be consistent and professional, and to take every opportunity you can to express your talent in the room (read: go to all the auditions you can and practice all you can and take class all you can). One my vocal coaches, when asked about success in this industry, said, “You just have to be ready for when the opportunity comes.”

Here in New York, we are currently in what we call “Audition Season,” meaning that a bunch of regional theatres from all over the country are coming to NYC over the next few weeks and casting for their 2016-2017 seasons. So I am filling my mornings, pretty much Monday-Friday, now through March, traipsing in EPA/ECC land. Just so this doesn’t get all “inside baseball-y,” here’s what that means:

EPA (Equity Principle Audition)

Equity regional theatres and Broadway shows are required by Equity rules to have these open calls for Equity actors, so even if the show is already cast, they are still required to hold these auditions. These are where you go in the morning an hour before the call starts (earlier if you want to be towards the front of the line) and sign up for an appt time that day. It is really nice to have a guarenteed slot that you can plan your day around. You never really know who will be in the room and whether or not they are looking, but if you are right for the show, it’s always good to go. You just never know. Some people think if you have an agent who is submitting you for things, don’t waste your time going to these. But, people do get call backs and appts from these. AND, agent appts don’t go out until after the required EPA, so if casting sees you at the EPA, they may decide to give you the agent appt.

 

ECC (Equity Chorus Call)

This is specifically for the ensemble parts in musicals. The list starts a week before the call. Broken up into female singers, male singers, female dancers, male dancers. I always go to the singer call, and to the dance call if they invite me after singing. For this one, you sign up a week before. The list is called a half hour before the start time. If you are not there when they call your name, you are at the end of the line. Depending on who shows up, your number may change from 200 to 30. At these, everyone who has a number before they close the call will get seen. If it is crazy busy and they are forced to “type” (that is, decide who gets to audition based on your look/type), you at least get to walk into the room and be seen. You stay until your number, so it is more like an open call situation. What is beneficial with an ECC is someone from the music team is required to be behind the table, so no matter what, you are seen by a member of the creative team. (With an EPA, only someone from casting has to be there.

 

Appointments

These. are. the BEST. This is where casting calls you in from an agent submission or self-submission (or EPA/ECC). They give you sides (songs and scenes from the show) to audition with (EPAs and ECCs, you sing from your book-as in, your personal repertoire of songs). Appointments are great because they are so much more chill, you don’t have to get up crazy early in the morning, you have something specific to prepare, you know they are definitely looking and think you are already right for the part cause you were called in from a submission. I personally love preparing sides much more than singing from my book  because it’s fun to be working on new material and to have that mini-chance of actually performing the role you are in for.

Okay my friends, hope you all are living happy and staying warm. Love.
Xtina

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Mondayzzz

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Well, Goodnight Moon has clooooosed this past Saturday……that is, we thought. Until we were told the day before that we will be reviving the show in April, because of all the of cancelled snow day performances. SO, we haven’t said Goodnight to the Moon yet. But, because it was suppoooosed to be the official closing, I received the most beautiful closing day gift from wardrobe (wardrobe, who handles all the quick changes and the laundry every day are the real heroes of the show). A TEACUP!!! To go with my Dish and my Spoon!

And of course, even though it wasn’t Official, official closing, we still had our fill of closing perf shenanigans backstage..

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Friday night was The Great Gatsby opening night. All the interns got gussied up to go for a night at the theatre….

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Needless to say, we had the BEST time. The show was great, the audience had a fantastic energy, and the after party was so fun. The theatre gave out free champagne and drink tickets to celebrate….yeah, we stayed until they kicked us out. Spent the After-after party with my ladies, Rivka and Lea, at home and let ourselves forget a bit about the looming understudy rehearsal, jumping back into R&J tour, and starting Taming of the Shrew all next week.

And now, today is Monday, which is our day off. Had a gym sesh in the morning with Brennan, went grocery shopping with Rivka and stocked up on tour snacks, and now it’s time for one final review before the u/s put in tomorrow. Godspeed!!

The real season has begun

Peter Callles mis call ladies

 

 

The above are two representations of what auditioning is like for the non-equity actress. Opencall holding rooms filled with masses of ladies with curling irons, hairspray, liquid eyeliner, vocal lip trills and humming. This period of Jan-March is when regional theatres are casting for their spring/summer season. DURING this time their are many things out of your control, which is why the things you CAN control, i.e. how prepared you are and what time you get there, you cherish. Your best strategy is to get there early enough that you’re seen in the first hour, or at least, before lunch, which often means getting there between 6a and 7a, and which, for ME and the others who live in the bowels of Brooklyn, means leaving at 5a. AND for those of us who are ladies, and need time for things like hair, and those of us who are humans who need time to make coffee and cereal, it means getting up at 4a.

There’s definitely this sense of non-eq actors needing to pay their dues: living in my very affordable apartment far away from everything in a not so great neighborhood, getting up at the crack of dawn, that’s just the way it’s gotta be for a little while and it’s okay. I just keep reminding myself: this is the job. This is the work. And you know, being in these holding rooms, I really don’t mind it. I always find someone who I know or who I haven’t seen in a while and get to catch up. AND, there’s the manic feeling of possibility. It’s hard not to be affected by everyone’s drive. AND I quite enjoy looking at everyone’s outfits and how ladies are doing their makeup. You look for little inspirations.

I like taking pictures of the holding rooms, because it is pretty crazy what we do. Who else goes on 100s of job interviews a year, but instead of a handful of people sitting on couches, hundreds sprawl around wherever you find space. But I also like putting a stamp on it. I was here, I got up early, put on eyeliner, and I found my space. There are many things you can’t control, but how prepared you are, how early you get there, and really, your outlook on the whole thing, are hopefully tools enough.

Back to the Boulevard

We have returned! Went on a beautiful drive today to Cohoes, with Josh, Joshua, and Melissa. And of course, after 20 min in, we needed a rest stop for food  and coffee. We’re actors and we need fuel, man.

Got into town around 3:30, and after a spot of yoga, walked down the hill with Catherine for our brush-up rehearsal, then a nice loooong break, so I could warm up, zone in, and make my potion:

Yes that’s pineapple juice in that blue water bottle. Plus honey, a fresh tea bag of pu’erh ginger tea, and my heavy duty thermos. Just add hot water, and magic happens.

Returning to the show tonight, everything seemed very fresh and new. I think this is the type of show that just grows with every performance. And especially after being away for a few days, I felt more of a playful atmosphere onstage. And this is a play, after all. Looking forward to our next show to see if any of our new choices stick or if anything else new finds itself!

Side note: every Wednesday, before midnight, we have to send in our availability to YttP to teach the following week, and yesterday was the first Wednesday in about a month that I was able to send mine in! Yay! Coming back to city Sunday night, so it shall be time to resume my yoga instructor mantle and mold some downward dogs again.