I’ve never been judged on my looks, at least not so blatently. Surely, someone has taken a look at me and said to themselves, “Um, no.” But I didn’t know about it. No harm, no foul.
For the last few days, I have been auditioning for the lead role of Albert in Bye, Bye Birdie. There are two other persons I’m competing against. All three of us are good to great performers and could work in the role. One of the gents would also be wonderful as Mr. Macafee, while me and the other guy would settle nicely into the chorus if we didn’t get the lead. In other words, the director and her casting crew don’t quite know what to do with us. In all honestly, who plays what will come down to our looks. More specifically, who looks better paired with other parts. So, it’s all about our looks (and I’m not particularly confident that my look is so winning).
Being the tallest, I thought that I might have an inside track. But then, I realized what if the person they cast opposite of Albert was really short. Then, I definitely wouldn’t work. That makes me wonder how tall is too tall. I’m 6’0” (ok, 5’11 ¾” but who is counting?) and I don’t think that’s too tall. Considering the person I’m paired with in marriage is 5’6” or 5’7,”and the ladies auditioning for Rosie, Albert’s girlfriend, are between 5’6” and 5’9,” then why not? Hey, if it works in real life, then it should work on the stage, no? Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Albert is kind of a meek guy. Short works quite well for him, too. I don’t envy the folks that are casting the show.
Why do I want this part? Well, with this body and with this face, there are not many leading type roles out there for me. And, I’m ok with that. Just once though, I’d like to be the leading man, as opposed to the character actor stuff I have done. And why do I want to be the lead once? Quite simply, for the challenge. It’s a goal of mind to be the singing and dancing romantic lead just once.
Believe it or not, I have a great fondness for dancing. How I long have the graceful poise of Gene Kelly. I’m a little too old to start now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try. If I could land the role, dance it half as well, and make my movements seem effortless… well, that’s a challenge I am dying to take on. I have not had any formal dancing training, but I have the dedication it takes to learn any choreography thrown my way (flips with this body, however, ain’t gonna happen). I truly enjoy learning the dance steps to a number. Though all the early frustration, the exhaustion of running it over and over, muscles aching and soaked in sweat, I love it all because the final result is worth it.
That’s why I want this part. Albert has a fun dance number (Put On A Happy Face) and I am dying for the chance to prove to myself that I can do it. I am anxious for the challenge. Honestly, I don’t know if I can do it. But, that’s what it’s about – taking that risk. Yeah, I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get the role, but only because I won’t have the chance (in this show) to attempt the challenge.
Maybe I should sleep with the director? No, I do that already. In the interest of full disclosure, the director is my wife and we’re both taking great pains to ensure that it doesn’t look like I’m being cast because of that relationship. And, in fact, if you know my wife, you know that she doesn’t play games like that. We’re both entirely too professional and all we both want is the best cast for the show.