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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Match Game

I'm spending an evening at home with my family. Right now Charlotte is practicing the piano, Rob is doing the dishes, a cool breeze is blowing in and I am writing. Today I wrote over 2000 words of my new book, so I'm a bit tired. This will be short.

Since I left you hanging, I thought I'd report in that my Monday audition went well, and I'm waiting to hear something. As an actor you wait a lot. You put it out there, do the best you can, and see if you are a match. It's a match game.

Thank goodness I already have some really good matches in my life who keep me sane in this business. It makes me think of a somewhat obscure Sondheim song called "What More Do I Need" all about living in New York and keeping things in perspective. With your love what more do I need?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Flood and the Drought

In the past two weeks there has been a flood and a draught.

In one day, New York City received its fourth largest amount of rain ever recorded. Our ceilings leaked, our mood was grey, we prayed for spring.

Two weeks ago I prayed for no auditions--nothing to interrupt my trip. The universe listened to me. I have had a drought. 2 weeks without an audition, maybe longer, I've lost track.

Today the floods and winter come to an end. There is sun and an expected high of 77.

And on Monday, the draught ends. I have an audition for Les Miserables. It will be the third time I have auditioned for Les Miz in my life, and twice I got the job. This time I have to be funny, which is (for me in Les Miz land) a first.

And the sun shines.

Catch ya later!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seeing Les Miserables

Today (rainy, rainy Sunday) Charlotte and I went to see Les Miserables on Broadway. We happened upon Adam Jacobs, the actor who plays Marius, as we walked by the stage door, and Charlotte took a picture with him.

I have to say, seeing Les Miz was fun and emotional on many levels. First of all, I love this show so much. If I could play any male role in the entire world, it would be Jean Valjean, but I'm equally happy that I played Eponine, Cosette and every female ensemble role. I was in Les Miserables from 1992-1996 (both on Broadway and on tour) and it was my first "big show". By big show I mean big paycheck, but it was much more than that...getting cast in Les Miserables at such a young age and so soon after moving to New York meant that I was not a fraud. I was not a fluke. I was valid, and talented, and not too fat to be onstage. It was everything I'd ever wanted.

For four years, I had the great fortune of having the music of Les Miserables as the sound track of my life. Seeing the show today--after such a long time--seeing the set I'd climbed on, the costumes I'd worn, and hearing the songs I'd sung, and watching the beautiful themes of Les Miz brought back a flood of memories. Memories of the show, yes, but more than that. Memories of what was happening in my life while I told this story 8 shows a week.

During the four years that I did Les Miserables on tour and on Broadway, I....
1) Got my Actor's Equity Card.
2) Lived in Los Angeles right after the riots.
3) Had ALL of my luggage and traveling worldly possessions stolen from the trunk of a rental car.
4) Traveled to almost every state in the country.
5) Got engaged.
6) Had my wisdom teeth out.
7) Got married.
8) Made my Broadway debut.
9) Lost 50 pounds and hit my all time lowest (adult) weight and was a size four.
10) Traveled to Europe on my honeymoon.
11) Lost my amazing grandmother, Meema.
12) Lived for three months in Singapore and performed the show there.
13) Endured the Northridge earthquake while playing Los Angeles.
14) Traveled to Hawaii and did the show there for three weeks.
15) Got pregnant.
16) Had a miscarriage.
17) Made five of my life long best friends.

As I sat in the dark watching the wonderful singing actors in Les Miserables, I saw it through new eyes; the eyes of my newly nine-year-old girl sitting transfixed beside me. This girl, my baby, who was amazingly now old enough to play Young Cosette.

As long as it’s been since I did Les Miz (11 years!), I was astounded to discover how vivid and immediate my memories are.

I remember every word of the show. Seriously, every word. And much more, every vocal part…every prop that gets handed off..how tight the corsets are...how funny the kids are off stage...the dumb lyrics we made up to the orchestrations as we changed clothes...even how I could fall asleep during the three minutes of Bring Him Home. I watched the women run off stage and I could picture their costume and make up change. The entrances and exits. The smell of the gun powder, the sound of the cannons. The exhaustion of a two show day when those two shows are three hours each (well, when I did it they were 3 hours and 20 minutes…but…it's still long).

By the end of the second act, as I watched the audience jump to their feet with applause in the black out—before the curtain call even started--I stood and cheered with them, and held my clapping, teary daughter up with pride.

Yes, Charlotte, I did that show. And I’m proud. So proud.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And the award goes to....


I haven't blogged in a while. I've spent the past 6 days driving (or so it seems. New York/Cincinnati is a loooong trip!) Fortunately I had my very best travel buddy, Charlotte S. Meffe, who never once asked "Are we there yet?" She's kind of amazing, that kid of mine.

I’m pleased to say, I received my alum award. (See the blurry, terrible picture above). It was very nice to see my school (University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music) which has undergone a complete renovation since I attended. I was lost about 65% of the time, and kept asking really annoying things like "So was this our lounge? Was this the scene shop? Where did the vending machines go?"

All in all, I had a great time, I’m very flattered, and I’m proud to be a CCM grad!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

2007 Young Alum

I am proud to say that I am in Cincinnati receiving the 2007 Young Alumnae award from The University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music tonight. (Me? They like me! They really like me!)

Please note that "young" is part of the title (Yay!). Seriously, I am so flattered, but I don't have time to blog right now! The ceremony is in 8 hours and I have to look FABULOUS. I need to spend the next few hours finding the perfect something to accentuate my (fill in body part/facial feature here) and play down my (fill in body part here).

Ideally, this outfit will then morph into a perfect, much needed audition outfit. I need one, I have been known to wear overalls to auditions. Not good.

You see? All things come down to auditions. I even gave a masterclass at CCM yesterday--what did I spend my time doing? Telling audition stories. Typical! I'm obsessed!

I will take pictures, post them, and fill you all in later.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On the road again

Charlotte and I struck out on our Spring Break journey (and so far, no auditions). Yay! I'll write more later tonight.

Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

To leave, or not to leave. Every actor's nightmare.

Unbelievable. I wrote an entry earlier today and as I was just finishing it—really liking it—excited to post it—my computer crashed. And yep, I lost the entire thing. Two hours of writing down the cyber drain. Oh wait, hold on, I have to save this (now I’m writing in my word program instead of my blog window so I can save as I go). Hold on…ah yes. Saved. Remind me to do that every once in a while, would you?

Can you believe that I actually wrote my entire book on this very computer that crashes? I’m not only going to continually save this document (save) but I am also going to save up my pennies for a new computer. The trouble is, as far as needing a new computer goes,I have to wait in line. Rob is keeping his computer together with strapping tape (true story).

Now I am going to try to recapture the magic. I specialize in recreating the same material 8 shows a week on stage, so I should be able to do a decent job in the rehash of my story for today. It went something like this. (Save).

Spring break.

It’s spring break and I am not in Jamaica. Or Florida. Or anywhere but here, on my couch, watching the clock, and agonizing over whether or not I can take my deserving school girl on a car trip to see my in-laws in Pennsylvania and then on to Cincinnati to visit my parents. (Save).

I am involved in every actor’s nightmare. To leave, or not to leave, that is the question.

Why? What’s the big deal about leaving Manhattan if I don’t have a job tying me down?
I’ll tell you in one word.

Auditions. And they come when you least expect it.

There seems to be some kind of tracking device on my car that tells casting directors when my car is outside of a 250 mile radius of Manhattan. It’s always the same. My tires hit the Ohio line, Charlotte and I are singing at the top of our lungs to Jesus Christ Superstar (it’s Easter week, after all. ((Save.)), and somewhere under the bag of baked Cheetos we got at the rest stop in Washington, PA, comes a sound that I know oh-so-well.


It’s my cell phone, and it’s set on the loudest, most alarming, could hear even in the middle of a herd of stampeding elephants ring. The ring I have caller ID’ed to only one number. My agent.

Shit. (Save).

I race to turn down the radio, find the phone under the seat, not wreck, plug in my headset and answer before it goes to voice mail.


“Sharon, it’s Craig. I have an audition for you for (fill in name of Broadway Show I’ve been dying to do) for the role of (fill in name of perfect dream role. The one I’ve been dying to be seen for, but could not get an audition. The role that everyone asks me if I’ve been seen for. But I haven’t. Until now. And I’m in Ohio)” Craig continues, “This is an emergency replacement, they are only seeing a few people, they called especially for you, and the audition is tomorrow.” (Save)

Cut to me saying “I’ll call you back” and then calling Rob who is, as always, completely helpful and accommodating, giving me advice (which is usually, do what you want but you should go. Advice I’d give me, too.) saying that he'll start checking flights and he'll call me back.

I look in the back seat and there are tears in Charlotte’s eyes. She’s been through this before. The vacation cut short or cancelled because I get an audition or last minute job that I have to do to cover the rent. My poor daughter who just wants to play with her cousins. “Don’t worry!!!” I tell those sad eyes in the rear view mirror. “I’ll figure it out!”

I’ll figure it out is my catch phrase. I should have it tattooed on my forehead. (Save).

I always do figure it out. It always means a last minute plane ticket, usually purchased on one day’s notice, so you can imagine the amazingly bad price we get. Delta LOVES it when we call, the last minute traveling suckers who will pay the jacked up fare. Most of the time, I travel to and from New York on the same day because Charlotte absolutely hates to spend the night anywhere with out me, and I’m not a Mom who will force her.

So, I get to my parent's house, kiss them hello, try to shove whatever song and scene I’m supposed to learn into my head all night, and then get up before dawn. I leave at the earliest crack of dawn, return on the latest flight that same night, and in this (save) exhausted, frazzled state that includes planes, cabs, warming up in the shower at 6 am and putting on make up in the cab from LaGuardia to Ripley Greer Studios, I show up for the audition.

And amazingly, sometimes I get the job. Which is, if you are wondering why, I (and most professional actors) would ever go through this in the first place. I booked AVENUE Q Las Vegas on a whirlwind trip back from New Hampshire, and (save) The Phantom of the Opera on a trip back from Toronto. Us actors, we’re good on the fly. It’s part of our genetic make up, part of the show-business-is-in-the-blood makeup. The show must go on.

It doesn’t always work out, though. Sometimes Mother Nature becomes a player and casts her vote. In February of this year I was in Cincinnati and I got a call to come in for two Broadway shows on back to back days. I cancelled all my engagements (I was teaching classes at my high school. (( Save)), bought a ticket, and then got completely fogged in. Pea soup. Couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Cancelled flights, and me, sitting in the Cincinnati airport in my audition clothes calling my agent to say I can’t make it. “Can I come any other day? Can I come later today? The fog will eventually lift!” The answer? No. And to be honest, I never got another shot at it. Casting done. Young Frankenstein the musical--Mel Brooks--Susan Stroman. Mary Poppins with the entire creative team. Not for me. Not this time.


So you see, this is why I sit on my couch and ask the fateful unemployed actor’s question. To leave? Or not to leave?

Catch ya tomorrow.


Sunday, April 01, 2007


Okay, okay. I've only written one audition post so far, and already I'm swirling in controversy.

But, before I dive into this controversy head first, please allow me to point out that the comment on yesterdays blog from "anonymous" is from my mother. I don't have confirmation on that, but if you read it, you'll see what I mean. So, if you've read my book and wondered what my relationship is like with my Mom, read her comment. I'd also like to publicly congratulate "anonymous" on her recent graduation from college. Okay, it was a couple of years ago, but I didn't have a blog then, so WAY TO GO!! Hopefully "anonymous" with her new bachelor's degree will become a regular commenter.

Back to the regularly scheduled programming. We were talking controversy. Since it's a Sunday and I just watched all the Sunday morning political shows, I'm knee deep in controversy and ready for a fight. Of course, this has nothing to do with politics, but you understand what I'm going for here.

Yesterday, I had my husband Rob read my first official audition post. I was excited to see his reaction. I thought it was pretty fun, kind of a cute idea, you know, to blog about my auditions. God knows I go on enough of them, why not write about it? They are, generally speaking, hilarious to people who are sitting at a desk and do not regularly have to parade themselves in front of people sitting in folding chairs who make comments about your performance on a notepad. This was my set up to Rob before he read my blog. Let's have a few laughs at my expense and come away with a better understanding of how a Broadway show really gets cast (it does not happen like on "Grease, You're the One That I Want." Although, truth be told, I'd love to have America vote at my auditions. Fantastic.)

But Rob read it and he didn't think it was cute. He didn't think it was clever. And then, his friend Chris agreed. They asked me, in concerned tones,"Are you going to link it to your website? Will the readers of your book see it?"

"Of course," I replied, non plussed. Why shouldn't I? My readers have seen every other skeleton in my closet, why start holding back now? I did not understand their concern. Their furrowed brows. "Why?" I asked them.

"Well..." Chris went first, gently trying to explain. "It seems to me that it kind of flies in the face of what your book says. Your book is about your, you know, success. Your climb to the top. You overcame obstacles. Now you are going to write a blog that admits that you are currently unemployed. Don't you think that might send out a confusing message?"

I must have looked baffled so Rob took over. "They want to hear about your success, not your search for work. You have to create the illusion of success, even if you don't have a job. Nobody wants to hear about the reality of unemployment."


I felt like they were speaking in a foreign language. I tried to wrap my brain around this concept. This idea of not telling the entire truth. The idea that people might think less of me because I am currently auditioning for work. Even worse, the idea that they worried my blog might just continue on for endless days, months or years...me continually blogging, unable to get a job. I tackled this first. "You know, I will eventually get a job. Look how close I get. Why just this week..."

They cut me off, "No, that's not what we are saying, OF COURSE you'll get a job! But, success breeds success. Focus on that, instead. That's all we are saying."


I've thought about this for a solid 24 hours now. I thought about it all through the concert I sang in Bedford, NY (I'm resisting the urge to write "SEE, I CAN GET A JOB"). I thought about it before I went to sleep, and all through the Sunday news shows. Hmmm. Politics. Sunday news shows. Reality. Fiction. Which path to follow?

I think we have enough fiction in the world right now. We could use a dose of reality, and I, for one, am all about telling the truth about what is really going on.

I choose reality. BUT, part of my reality, is that I have worked (very hard!) all year, so to proclaim myself unemployed is false. My days are filled with book promotions, concerts, meetings, benefits and teaching. In many, many ways, my life is glamorous, and to portray it as empty or unfulfilled would be, itself, a big work of fiction.

So, in a nod to Rob and Chris, I will compromise. I will write all the good things that are going on in my life as well as the audition stories. Fair?

And, just to set the record straight, my state of unemployment is really my own fault. I was offered the National touring company of AVENUE Q, and I turned it down. It was a generous offer extended to both Rob and myself, but we didn't feel we could accept it at this time and take Charlotte out of school for the 4th grade. (Again it rears it's ugly head...SEE, I CAN GET A JOB!)

Maybe that's why I can talk about auditions with out a lot of resentment. I love to audition, and in reality, I get a lot of work. After all, reality or fiction, it's still always a great story.

Catch ya tomorrow.

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year
My weight was going up and up...

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine
I guess I'm about 3 or so? Nice tan!