Tuesday, November 28, 2006

extra, extra, read all about it!

The San Jose Mercury News released an article about Google Checkout - and this little 'ol blog is featured. (need to login - user: 1reader@hotmail.com and password: reader)

Elise Ackerman called me yesterday to talk to me about my recent bad experience with Google Checkout and eCost (just a note that I LOVE eCost, and I don't hold them accountable for what happened, at all).

My only beef, my last name was spelled wrong. But hey, my blog was still promoted. Maybe I should start writing here more often? Oh, and independant confirmation I'm a comedian! WOOT!
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

welcome to Springfield! well, that is, unless you want to do community theatre...

I can't say enough about how much I love the city of Springfield, Illinois. I love downtown, love the people, love the friends I've made – I even, dare I say it, LOVE MY JOB! Springfield has been very good to me.

Ok, most of Springfield has been very good to me.

You know that saying – "One bad apple can spoil the entire bunch"? Oh, come on - it's not so bad that I'm angry at all of Springfield (I'd still totally get jiggy with most of Springfield, if it were an attractive human type) – no, no, not that bad (and yes, I'm a drama queen)… but bad enough.

Today, I learned about a "bad apple" that has spoiled community theatre in Springfield for me.

In my previous blog entry, I talked about my recent audition for the Springfield Theatre Centre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – and how I was frustrated with how things went… well, now, 4 days after auditions – the cast information is becoming public (and the official cast list has not been released as of yet).

And, of course, it wouldn't be community theatre if it weren't for rumors and gossip. Everything from the only female lead (the Narrator) going to a guy – to private invitations to audition (which really isn't a bad practice, if the playing field after the invite is level). But as much as I am a glutton for dirt, muck and all things related to the whys and hows of people getting cast (or not cast) – I wanted to try to keep my head level – after all, this was my first audition in Springfield, Illinois, and my first audition for the Springfield Theatre Centre.

So, let's cut to the chase, here - I didn't get a call - nothing. Neither did 2 of my dear friends. Two very talented friends, at that. I didn't get cast after giving up 5 hours of my Sunday. I didn't get cast after a great audition, and a good callback. Not even chorus – a chorus of 20 women – not even chorus.

Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Finding out today that calls were made last night – I immediately felt hurt. Disappointed in myself that I got my hopes up for ANYTHING. Believing that I'd ever be anything than the fat girl who can sing… but that disappointment in myself soon became utter and total disgust for Springfield Theatre Centre and director Bill Bauser.

Of course, I will caveat this with all of what I'm about to say being based on what I've "heard" – I don't know firsthand – and, honestly, I don't know anything about Mr. Bauser, personally – having only met him twice, and briefly both times. But I know me – I know my potential…

I know what I saw – 50 or so adults try out – 15+ females called back, and not one of them being given the one role they all hoped for – The Narrator.

I know that some of you will say that it's the director's decision who to cast – and by any means the director sees fit – but – I watched each and every one of those ladies take the stage, giving up their Sunday – and singing their hearts out for that one part. As someone who has musical directed before, there were at least 5 women at auditions on Sunday who could have done very well with the role. Not only well, but great. I'm not even counting myself as part of that group.

But were any of the women who diligently prepared, showed up (some of them on Saturday, only to find that the auditions were moved to Sunday), waited, performed, and got their hopes up cast as the lead?

No. Not one.

What transpired since Sunday's "official" auditions has only been relayed to me through the grapevine of local Springfield thespians - and that from Bill Bauser, himself – that Mr. Bauser allowed a number of people to audition for him after the official auditions and callbacks were completed.

The most shocking part of the story seems to be that Mr. Bauser not only called someone outside of Springfield proper to audition for the show and the female lead, but gave this young woman a private audition after all the other auditions were complete.

Maybe this woman was the best for the role – that's not what I'm arguing here. What I am arguing is that there were completely capable women who showed up at the auditions and did a great job – only to be snubbed for someone Mr. Bauser hand-picked.

Its fine you didn't pick me – I'll deal with that myself – but to so underhandedly cast the show? That's just not right. The issue here, really, isn't whether or not I got cast – but whether or not the playing field was level up front. It wasn't – plain and simple.

I'd not be upset, at all, if Mr. Bauser had said, from the get go, that he had the lead already cast. Tell that to everyone, up front - let them know that the part is not available. I've auditioned for shows like that before, knowing full well a lead, or many leads, were not available. And just like in this case, I was fine with not getting the lead - I am completely not fine with not casting people who ACTUALLY SHOWED UP!

Why, Mr. Bauser, would you not respect the time and talents of those who actually showed up at auditions – even after you cancelled the initial date, last minute, causing them to rearrange their schedules? They had enough respect for you and your time to show up on Sunday – in force, and yet you have completely, well, given the finger to them for doing so.

Why, Mr. Bauser, would you not cast one of the 15+ women you called back from a pool of 30+ women? Maybe your concept of "callbacks" is different from every other theatre I've ever worked with – but usually it's to narrow down the field or to check chemistry. What was a well-organized audition process quickly became nothing but a charade before you privately cast the lead.

Why, Mr. Bauser, would you tarnish not only your own reputation but that of Springfield Theatre Centre and that of Springfield community theatre in general, by doing something so completely lacking in integrity? It would have shown a heck of a lot more integrity to have moved the auditions to ALL be on Tuesday if that was the only day that you thought the girl you cast was available. Put everyone on a fair playing field – all on stage at the same time – and have a bit of accountability while you're at it. Maybe it's your own insecurity in your decision that led you to do something so completely unprofessional. Community theatre or not, you're a leader, people tend to expect more from leaders.

And where was Springfield Theatre Centre's leadership in all this? That's an even bigger question, to me.

Is this the impression that STC wants to make on new people to not only Springfield, but also to community theatre?

Is this how STC treats their volunteers? Because, like it or not, giving up 6 hours of a Sunday is volunteering to be a part of STC.

Is this the way that STC lets their "staff" work? Where are the checks and balances? Every community theatre group I've been a part of in the past has had rules and standards of what is and is not acceptible. This hardly seems acceptible in light of the fact that there was more than one woman at the auditions who could have done the part, and well.

I guess I've rambled on and on to say this – I enjoyed meeting so many great people at the auditions – and many talented, wonderful women – strong women who could have easily stood on that stage, being completely deserving of the applause that comes from that opening night… Instead, the person who was cast was done so in a manner that may be hurtful to her own reputation, not to mention that of the show, in general.

Maybe what you did, Mr. Bauser, wasn't wrong - but how you did it WAS. It was completely unfair, disrespectful and lacking in integrity - and, sadly, has completely soured my thoughts on Springfield community theatre.

And while life's not fair – much like John Lennon – "I expect more!"

I guess, Mr. Bauser, I expected too much from you.

P.S. I am fully aware that this blog entry may result in never doing theatre in Springfield, ever - and, while that'd be sad, because I feel I have a lot to offer - if that's the decision made by directors or staff, I'd respect that decision. If I have to make enemies -I'd rather have that come from being honest and up front about my feelings and thoughts. This way, at least people know EXACTLY what I think and what I said - it's out here, in black and white, for anyone to see - on a level playing field.
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Monday, November 06, 2006

i hate the world today

Ugh! Have you ever woken up and just had this feeling that your day was going to suck? Yeah, that is me, today.

Maybe it’s because it’s overcast and chilly… maybe it’s because I am disappointed about getting my hopes up yesterday... maybe it’s because I’m tired… maybe it’s because I’m realizing that I’m, well, nothing. Though, it could be a completely different reason.

I miss Texas today. I miss my friends there. I miss the familiarity. I miss my dog, my house, my stuff, my husband. I miss the opportunities a BIG city can give.

Yesterday I decided, against my own best judgment, to audition for Joseph…Dreamcoat here in Springfield. I don’t want to go into tons of details – but for about 6 years of my life (about 10 years ago, now), musical theatre was my life. I was good at it – even being paid. After I got married/moved to Texas, I kind of stopped doing shows. Hubby and I tried out for a few things – and in my 8 years in Texas, I did 2 shows – in both I was a chorus member. My last audition in Texas, for Seussical with a theatre group in Denton, and had a traumatic experience (short version: I got a callback and then completely forgotten about at callbacks).

I decided to audition to get to spend more time with my friends, to meet new people, and to possibly rekindle the passion I once had for theatre. I was totally ok with being in the chorus – after all Joseph doesn’t have many women roles (1 lead, many chorus)… and I wasn’t, at that point, being unrealistic in thinking I had a good shot at getting in.

First off, I have to say that the auditions were very organized. From registering to how they handled the dance/voice auditions – I was impressed. Things went fairly quickly. Simple enough: if your number was on the callback list, you needed to be back at 4p. I got a callback!

For those of you who know me outside of this blog, you know that I have some pretty serious self-esteem issues – but I have to say – that I totally held my own in the vocal auditions. I would even venture to say that I was tied with the girl I’d say was first – if you were to score it that way.

I got tons of compliments – and I started to think – “WOW! I really could get the lead!” So, callbacks – 4pm. We sat through all 25 kids who danced in groups of 5 and then sang, individually. Then the 15 called back ladies were asked to sing the first verse of “Jacob and Sons”. The guys were to sing the first part of “Close Every Door”. So the ladies lined up, and one by one, we all took center stage and sang the same 14 measures… some of them belting that “E” as if it were the only note that has ever mattered in their lives, some barely hitting it, and some of us doing well.

Out of the 15 or so called back women, about 6 of us did well. Again, my ego steps in to say that I think, vocally, I was the best.

Then they kept 5 ladies – a varied group - from a young girl (who had an amazing voice), to one of the local stars-in-residence. They looked at those 5, and then had them stay for another dance audition.

I suck at dancing, so if that was the deciding factor *sigh* no wonder I wasn’t good enough. I’m never good enough.

And comedy – don’t get me started. Another open mic this week – which will probably be the only show I have for a while.

It just sucks that I’ll never be anything other than the fat girl who can sing well. Or the wannabe comic who is only seen as marginally good because she’s a girl.

I just want to be really good at something. And I want people to see it – to notice it. I am tired of being unnoticed. I’m tired of being seen only for my size.

I should just give up. Realize that the stage isn’t for me – I’m destined to warm a chair behind my desk – doing things behind-the-scenes for stars and bands and big deals – all the while being sad because I’ll never amount to anything of any type of measure.

So, I’m sitting here, at my desk – drinking my venti double-pump white chocolate mocha with one pump of peppermint and daydreaming out my window – wondering if I’ll ever be someone or something.
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