In the Making

A Weekend with Lyric

Posted by cjaxon on March 13, 2011

“And if I get this show… I’ll work REAL hard.”

Last weekend were the auditions for Lyric Theatre’s summer season. Lyric is a great company here in Oklahoma, and in the summer they put on four or five high quality shows back to back. This summer they’re doing Oliver, Hairspray, Ragtime, and A Chorus Line. Here’s how it went:

Thursday

I went to the open Dancer call, because all their singer appointments were full. I expected there to be a really difficult combo or two, and to get cut from the beginning. We started with a loooong hip hop combo for their fall production of Altar Boyz, completely unrelated to the summer stuff. Then we learned the ballet/Hairspray combo, and then they made the first cut.

And I got through.

So next up was the really difficult part, the opening combo from A Chorus Line. It’s legit, and pretty tough. But I made it through, and then they asked me to stay and sing! And then they gave me a callback for Sunday!! I was surprised and excited.

Friday

was basically a day off, but in the afternoon I got a call from them. “Could you do us a favor, and just come in tomorrow and dance again?” “Um, YES! Absolutely!” I also got tipped off earlier that the director liked me for the part, but was curious about my dancing. So I was incredibly grateful for this second chance. How often does that happen??

So, obviously, I spent a good hour that night reviewing the combo. And I looked at the song and side for the callback. I was called back for Mark. We had to read the lines where the characters introduce themselves. After Mark introduces himself as the youngest person there, he adds “And if I get this show, I’ll work real hard.” He’s the one, when they’re talking about growing up, who explains that after his first wet dream, he looked up the symptoms and thought he had gonorrhea.

Saturday afternoon

I headed back over there, and “learned” all the combos again: hip-hop, ballet/Hairspray, and then Chorus Line. All I could think was, “And if I get this show, I’ll work real hard.” This time the whole process seemed to go faster, but it was still a two-and-a-half hour ordeal. When we finished, I ended up with another callback, for the Artful Dodger in Oliver. (Yeah, I could do it, and it’d be good, but I still think that’s kind of funny.)

Sunday morning

at the Chorus Line callback I knew we were supposed to dance again, but I didn’t realize that’s what we’d do first. We did the opening number yet again (my third time that weekend), and then learned a new ballet combo. At this point they had us dancing in groups based on the characters we were called back for, and for my part it was just me and another guy. No pressure, right? As it turns out, the other guy could out-dance me. He just had better technique and was more familiar with the ballet moves than I was. Still, all I could think was “And if I get this show, I’ll work real hard!”

So as we were reviewing the old combo and learning the new one, I made sure to show I was good to work with, that I take corrections quickly, and that I’m generally a good person. Just recognizing that the other guy was a better dancer actually took some of the pressure off: instead of trying to beat him at his own game, I decided to maximize showing myself as a person the best I could, at whatever level I may be at. When it came time for our song/monologue, I tried to show more personality than the other guy. Obviously I’m biased, but I think I was funnier.

And then we were done.

I came back that afternoon for the Dodger callback, and when I walked in the room the accompanist said “It’s traditionally sung up the octave…” i.e., in a boy’s range whose voice hasn’t changed yet. There was me, a 16 year old, and several 8-10 year olds. Well, I did what I could higher, but after they heard about four of the younger boys, they told me I could go. “It doesn’t mean anything about the rest of the summer,” they said, almost apologetically, “but you don’t need to read for the Dodger.”

So now we play the Waiting Game. They said they could start calling on Tuesday, but they were also going to New York this weekend to finish auditioning. So it was possible I’d have to wait a week or so before hearing anything.

Tuesday.

One of my dance teachers at school is helping stage Chorus Line this summer. He found me before class and asked casually, “Have you gotten your call from Lyric yet?” And I said “No… am I supposed to??” And his face lit up and he said “Yeah, you should… congratulations.” (I think at that point I actually exploded… or maybe I just hugged him by accident.) I tried to play it cool, to wait until I officially got the call.

It came in the middle of that class, and they left a voicemail. Turns out, they were offering me three of their four shows that season!! Ensemble for Oliver and Hairspray, and I got the part for Mark in A Chorus Line. I called them back, got the rehearsal schedule details, and said “YES, absolutely.” After which I ran in circles in my living room, hooping and hollering.

So the plan for the summer, as of now:

Graduate

Showcase

Sit on my butt and chill during May. And by chill, I mean, learn all the music for these shows and go to dance classes as much as possible. And finish getting ready to move.

Rehearsals start June 6. Oliver performs June 21-25. Hairpsray overlaps rehearsals and performs July 5-9. Then I get a about a week and a half break during Ratime – a chance to breathe a little, sleep alot, and gear up for Chorus Line. Rehearsals start around July 20th, and the performances are August 2-6.

And then I move to NYC by the end of the next week. Saturday, August 13th, and I’ll be there.

So this is real life. My first legit, professional job. It pays well, I’ll be here in OKC, and although it will be the hardest thing I’ve done so far, I couldn’t be more excited and ready. Especially for Chorus Line. The first time I listened to that show I thought to myself “Man, this would be awesome to be in, if I was ever a good enough dancer.” I recognize I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s thrilling to get this chance now.

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3 Responses to “A Weekend with Lyric”

  1. NaNa said

    Congratulations, Chas! Pap and I are so proud of you. These are wonderful shows and fantastic adds to your resume. WOW! You will be totally awesome “if you work real hard!!!!!” (’cause you got THAT show!)

  2. sejackson1 said

    You know what I think is awesome? On August 13th last fall we were moving me to Alabama, to start my new life. I think it’s beautifully poetic that you’ll be doing the same a year later to the day this fall.

    But leave it to your amazing sister to turn your information into something about her, right? 🙂

  3. Jerri White said

    Congratulations Chas! We are definitely going to try to see at least Chorus Line!! Fantastic!!

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