All the World's a Stage

The Rite of Spring: Christmas Auditions 2013 (Part 1)

Well, it’s springtime again. The weather has gotten a little warmer, once barren trees have sprouted new signs of life, and I returned to New York for my annual audition for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. One of my friends, a resident New Yorker, went so far as to dub me a New York icon. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ve outlived my usefulness in the City That Never Sleeps.

Fresh from planning and successfully executing my mom’s 80th birthday dinner (more about the  Disney cruise that never was in a later post), I caught a 6:00 a.m. flight to Gotham—something I’ll never do again, no matter how good the airfare.

So as not to wear out welcome with last season’s roommate, I hit up Cheryl, an old friend of mine from my Disney, for a place to stay while in town. Within minutes of landing at LaGuardia, Cabs (a transplanted Irish lass) and I swapped text messages almost simultaneously. My text announced my arrival in town and her text assured me that Jason Collins had nothing on me. Yes, Cabs and I are that close. Needless to say, we set up plans to meet later that day.

Cafe du Soleil

Given my affinity for all things French, Cheryl suggested a neighborhood bistro a few blocks from her place. I took her recommendation and went to Cafe du Soleil and had their eggs Benedict. As you can see from the picture above, the owners carried the sunny theming from their name throughout the restaurant. And what would a French bistro be without a snooty waiter? I can’t tell you because I have yet to dine in one with a server who didn’t have seem to have a baguette up his bum. My server managed to keep his snootiness at a tolerable level. If you get the chance, give the place a try. Cafe du Soleil is one more reason to love the Upper West Side.

And so began my gastronomical tour of Manhattan.

Later that afternoon, I met Cheryl for a bite at McHale’s. There I introduced her to one of my favorite bartender-esses, the fair and aforementioned Cabs. From the looks of things, McHale’s management replaced its chef de cuisine and overhauled its menu. My new favorite item on their menu is their Brussels sprouts. I know, I know. Pipe down. I can hear your groans and suppressed regurgitation already. Trust me, I would be choking back barf at the mention of the little cabbages to this day, had I not given them a try. I was ten years old the last time I had Brussels sprouts and to memory they tasted nass-tee. I used to hate broccoli, so why not? Turned out, McHale’s Brussels sprouts, served with generous amounts of crumbled bacon rocked my world. While the combination of nachos, pizza margherita, and Brussel sprouts weren’t complementary flavor profiles; the brussel sprouts will be a part of my post-show pre-subway ritual, if I’m rehired.

Somewhere in between the eggs Benedict and Brussels sprouts, Wes (one of the stagehands from the Music Hall and huge fan of the celebrated Scones Thursday) called and invited me to lunch for Wednesday.

We met around 12:30 the next day and caught up on this and that. Near the end of our lunch, we had the following exchange—

” . . . and your audition at 3:00 o’clock today,” Wes said.

“No, my audition’s at 5:00 o’clock,” I said.

“I was looking at the website and it said auditions were at 3:00.”

“Hold on. Let me check the email.”

Thank God for Wes, and email, and iPhones that make it possible to check email because lo and behold, my audition was at 3:00 o’clock. At that point, it was already 1:30 p.m., so I hightailed it back to Cheryl’s place, picked up my things, and headed off to the Music Hall.

Can you imagine me showing up late for that audition? The shame. The humiliation.

Well, needless to say, I made it to the audition with time to spare.

The audition itself was the typical drill. About 35 of use vying for roughly sixteen positions learned the verse, then some choreography, and put it on its feet (sang the song while performing the dance routine) in groups of three. I never have been able to pick up choreography quickly, but thanks to Linda (the show’s director/choreographer) placing in one of the last three trios to audition, I had a little more time to rehearse on the sidelines. We said a few lines, performed the choreography once more time, got measured, turned in updated info, and that was it.All in all, the actual audition went well and lasted all of maybe 30 minutes—tops. I didn’t perform the routine flawlessly, but I did a pretty good job. Now the waiting begins. We won’t hear anything until August.

My elfmates and I have our own rite of spring: the post-audition pow-wow. Brad, Josh, and I headed to The Capital Grille for a quick bite, and the staff’s greeting consisted of an impassioned chorus of “what are you doing here? It’s that time of year already?”

To be continued.