HI Gentle Reader!
Can you believe this is the first post of 2016? Would you believe it if I told you I am working on completing 4 different shows in the next 5 months? It’s true. I will get to some of that in a second.
Going back to the question at hand… are they paying you?
I have had a number of people ask me this question in regards to my next project. My current project is just a little dance number in “She Loves Me” at Foothill Musical Theatre, which is playing its last weekend beginning Thursday. The next project in the works requires that I commute to Hollister which is about an hour outside of the San Jose area, if the traffic is not too bad. I don’t mind the drive at all. I enjoy any car ride as long as I have something to shamelessly sing to/with. Currently, it is a toss up between Hamilton and Something Rotten.
While I do need to take some time away from the survival jobs to make it to rehearsals on time and pay for plenty of fuel, it isn’t an unreasonable question to ask. When I tell them the answer is no, I am given the “oh damn!” look. You know the one. It looks kind of like a combination of smelling something bad and sucking on a lemon.
I am glad my friends are looking out for me, but I do have my reasons on this project.
I call this a “gotta do it” project. Think of it like facing your fear. My next project is with the San Benito Stage Company’s Sidecar production. It is a cabaret style show in a quaint little bar in a building called The Vault. The show itself is called “The Subject is Love.”
I have always loved to sing, dance, and act. My preferences of the three disciplines are in the exact opposite order than what I just listed them. For some reason that I didn’t understand, I would always get in the most trouble for singing.
Both my parents were big popular music lovers. So of course, I grew up listening and loving the radio’s top 40. Once I was introduced to musicals (Thanks, Tawni!), my interest in the regular music that the rest of the people around me listened to waned. I began to collect as many cast recordings as I could get my hands on via the local libraries. I loved to sing along with these magnificent songs that held so much story and emotion. I didn’t just sing though, I belted out these songs. I was constantly told by my family to shut up. I was a terrible singer. I could never do something like that (be in a musical).
This negativity was around me every day for years, because I couldn’t help it that I loved these songs so much. Subconsciously, it made me believe that I couldn’t sing and that I would never get to be a part of something so incredible. Now I could be bitter at this mental block I have been given by my family, but I realized, oddly from watching America’s Funniest Videos*, that it wasn’t because I was bad at it. It was because I was maybe a tad loud, but mostly because it wasn’t the style of music that my family was used to. Since they weren’t, they believed it was terrible music and wouldn’t stop to really listen to it.
To this day, I have this anxiety of singing in front of others, especially at auditions. It is one thing to be in a role and embodying a character as one sings, but it is a whole different show when it is just you as yourself singing a song for a group of strangers. ‘But there’s the whole karaoke thing, you can’t forget that!’ one dear reader exclaims. I reply, “Yes, but there’s the whole alcohol thing , you can’t forget about that.” I think somewhere in the back of my mind there is that cluster of voices from long ago echoing those negative phrases still. For those that have known me a long time, they could mention Smokey Joe’s Cafe, but even then our director created a story arc for the show which gave way to creating characters.
Yet, I have this crazy idea that I would love to perform a solo cabaret show sprinkled with a couple of friends and with this mental block I don’t see how I can make that a reality. I have had the opening number all staged for the last 5 years. Maybe it is 6. By facing down this insecurity of mine, maybe I will finally scale this seemingly insurmountable wall that I put up when it comes to singing and get my ass in gear to complete this goal. And who knows, maybe my other auditions will level up! Let’s keep our collective fingers crossed. Until then, I shall continue to sing with whichever great cast recordings I have on the road with me.
Do you have any favorite songs that you like to sing along to when you are driving down the road? If you were only allowed to belt out one really good number, what would you choose? Let me know! Maybe we can post videos of us doing just that.
Take care, Gentle Reader.
*I tried to find the video but finally gave up. In it, there is a young boy singing a show tune. I can’t remember if it is from Cats or Annie but his older sister is screaming for him to be quiet. The boy was actually on pitch and singing pretty well. So the video brought back a lot of memories.