Wednesday, March 04, 2009

another day, another audition: spiderman, the musical

everybody knows that they're making popular movies into broadway musicals these days. when the star-studded movie version of the musical chicago happened, everyone in hollywood saw gold in them thar hills and opened divisions in movie studios to develop projects. the disneyfication of times square began some time ago, but this latest streak of blatant commercialism would definitely seal the coffin lid shut on all things creative and new and original on broadway. it's not that such productions would never see the light of day or the great white way. but when it takes 7 to 9 years on the average to write and develop a musical, when it costs just as much to produce a musical off or on broadway, and when film actors and hip-hop impresarios and pop tarts are starring in broadway shows to guarantee a profit, and revivals abound, it makes it seem as though the original stuff fell through the cracks, somehow. i know that they're not going to put me in brigadoon. or the sound of music. or the music man. or any of these other lily-white revivals. so that's that.

sometime ago, someone told me that they were going to make a musical out of the movie spiderman, with julie taymor directing and bono writing all the music. it sounded like something that someone who sits at a desk all day would make up. and then i read it in a trade magazine and i thought, uh-oh. and then i read all about the (wide) open (cattle) call they had at the knitting factory some time ago and i thought, ew. and then i read about an audition they had at equity earlier this year and i thought, whoa. it's getting closer. i read about the spiderman: the musical audition in backstage and i thought, okay, i'm going in. when i read the notice out loud to my friend (who also happens to be a massive comic book geek), he couldn't stop laughing. he thinks it's going to be a massive flop.

that didn't stop me from throwing on a wrap dress under my snow pants and throwing my pumps in my purse and going in, somewhere in mid-afternoon or thereabouts, straight to telsey in midtown. i would have been there sooner, but i had to wash my hair -- and every sister that's natural that reads this knows that a big afro may look cute, but it ain't nothing but some hard work. i'm determined to grow it out and so far, it's working. yay, me. but i digress.

when i got there, i was the only negress as far as the eye could see. when i got situated, i saw another negro -- and yes, we totally knew each other. as a matter of fact, chris lives two blocks away from me. as luck would have it, he went in right before i did. the words all ethnicities are encouraged to audition jumped out at me from the notice. so where were we?

everything was fairly straightforward. they wanted something like 32 bars of a rock song -- no show tunes. that was just enough to let them hear whether you could sing or not, so they could separate the wheat from the chaff. i was going to sing that del shannon song runaway -- way slower and darker than anything they were expecting. i was number 70-something on the alternative list, but i knew that i'd get in because they were seeing people until 6:30pm. the monitor was straight out of central casting: really peppy, really jaded, really chubby, really cute, kind of midwestern looking and well, really gay. (...not that there's anything wrong with that...)

as i looked around the room, all i could think was, who are these children? every one of them looked like they belonged on a playground, somewhere. it's kind of like being in college and looking at high schoolers and balking at how everyone is so wet behind the ears, but they think they're so grown and all this stuff. i don't know if it was their clothes. their hair. the way they sat in clumps and couldn't stop giggling and sifting nervously through their sheet music. i don't know. i thought they looked like a bunch of puppies.

i wish i could have given them some advice. something like, stop sweating -- it's not that deep. or how about, your clothes are way too tight. stop letting pop stars/video vixens dress you. or maybe even, go home. whatever. the bottom line is that all too often, talent doesn't matter as much as it should in these instances. a great audition won't necessarily get you the job, for a myriad of reasons. it shouldn't work that way, but it does.

i wish someone had explained that to me when i was a puppy.

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