Sunday, August 29, 2010


so there i was on saturday morning, flying through the underbelly of the city on the 1 train with my gigantic vintage purse next to me, listening to public enemy, looking for all the world like it was 1922 - bob wig, lashes, heels, the works. i am surrounded by what can only be described as the unwashed masses. why shouldn't they gawk at me, i remember thinking. i would. i looked like i lived in a time warp. or a time machine.

here's a colorful tidbit: the navy blue dress i wore was a special number that i fought for on ebay like a frackin' tigress. it had this bizarrely conservative off-white/ecru doily of a lace collar that was so starchy and conservative, it seemed anything but tame to my way of thinking. i looked for all the world like a sexy librarian -- my favorite way to dress up.

to be completely honest with you, my dress is technically straight out of the 1930s. when it comes to dressing in 1920s attire, i'm a little insecure about my overall look because i'm not flat-chested and i don't have an androgynous boy body that the clothes seem to require. my decade is the 1940s or the 1950s because my hips and my chest are the same inchwise, i've got a total hat head and -- as many a construction worker in this town tells me constantly -- i've got good legs.

the kicker is that i had carefully wrapped, straight-out-of-the-oven hot property perched in my lap. i entered the roaring 20s jazz age lawn party's pie contest with not just any pie, mind you. i made a sweet apple wood smoked bacon apple pie. and i was really excited about it. so excited, in fact, that i wasn't really wound up at all about the audition i was heading towards at telsey casting in midtown -- the lead role in the broadway musical sister act.

yeah, you heard me the first time -- but i don't mind repeating this one. they turned the movie sister act into a musical, developed it in san diego (i think), ran it for awhile in london's west end with whoopi goldberg in the starring role, briefly. and now, it's time for the broadway run. they had auditions for most of the cast two weeks ago. rehearsals start in january of 2011. interesingly enough, whoopi goldberg produced this. i met her when she was one of several producers for george c. wolfe's harlem song.

renee emailed me about this open call on a saturday -- a blue sky, sun drenched, picture-perfect saturday, by the way -- which also happened to be the first day of the lawn party and the only day for the pie contest. everything happened all at once. i should have been crawling the walls about the audition but instead, i was obsessing over pie. pie! would the crust be flaky enough? did i put in too much sugar? what about the bacon and the tartness of the granny smith apples -- would that combination work?

i didn't even bring my book to the audition. i brought one song -- unthinkable! because if they didn't like what i was singing, they could ask me to sing something else and (heh!) i had nothing else, so that would be that. but for some reason, i wasn't sweating it. pie!

this character is an aspiring disco diva, so i picked my favorite abba song, updated my resume and sailed in as close to the noon start time as i could. not that it mattered. the room was packed. everyone was well dressed and well-heeled and chatty, with just enough makeup on to look fresh in the blazing heat. when i saw someone holding a card that said 205 in big type, i thought, 205 people? i almost left. but for some reason, they started with 200, like a weird checkbook. so i stayed. i sat there, panic-stricken, as #239. that pie had to be on the judge's table on governor's island by 3pm. would i make that deadline?

fortunately, God always sends help when i really need it. even if what i'm agonizing over is something that's as insignificant and meaningless as a pie contest. for lo and behold, my friend mindy sailed into the audition room like a superhero, changed into her vintage attire in the bathroom and took the pie to governor's island. before i got seen, she texted me that the pie hit the table as #9. i was free to panic something else but there was no time. all of a sudden, i was next and then all of a sudden, i was in the room and then all of a sudden, i was done.

i must say, it was a good feeling, stepping into a room full of beautiful talented black women in that 25 - 45 year old age range, all of us our own individual lovely selves. we aren't an anomaly. we aren't anyone's stereotype. and we are legion. i met quite a few who were from the south. two from atlanta, in fact. and one of them had only been here for a few weeks.

who knows if i got the part. who knows if i'm what they want. who knows. it's such a massive crap shoot. and ironically enough, as i've said time and time again on this blog and as is often the case with acting and "getting the part", talent has absolutely nothing to do with it. what's important is that i threw my hat in the ring. i didn't leave that stone unturned. i got seen for it and i did a solid audition. who doesn't love the song dancing queen, anyway? who's that idiot? in a way, the pie contest probably allowed me to relax and not take any of it too seriously, and that usually means a better performance.

oh, and about that pie contest? i won!

1 comment:

Gina Hyams said...

What a wonderful post. Pie is magic. I hope you get the part!