Sunday, March 17, 2013


I've been putting this post off for a long time. So long, in fact, that I promised myself I wouldn't post anything else until wrapping up these stories. So, here goes.

Jordan and I were in a musical last November. Our church stake put on the production. It consumed 5 months of our family's life. You'd think that this would be easy to write about, but...there were a lot of negative aspects. Overall I think the experience was a net gain, but theater is inherently full of various emotions and ups & downs.

I had not been in a play for 17 years. Theater was something I really enjoyed and excelled in back in high school but I quickly gave it up when I realized that I couldn't make a living out of it. Jordan had done a few short musicals in school and had been bitten by the acting bug. So we decided that as long as I passed my final actuarial exam (which I did) we would both tryout for the play. Carter also wanted to participate, but I didn't think the long, late hours would be appropriate at his age.

We started with weekly music rehearsals in June, a full 3 months before the auditions. The idea was to get acquainted with the vast span of music in the production. We attended most of these sessions and I don't think I ever saw more than 7 people there. That's probably for the best because these early rehearsals were mostly wasted time. Reason: It's hard to teach music without sheet music.

Auditions were held in September. I actually wondered if the production would have to be cancelled because I didn't see any other men at the early rehearsals. Luckily, they came out of the woodwork (all 9 guys) for the auditions. I personally had the worst audition of my life. Every single element went horribly wrong. Worse yet, I've always excelled at callbacks where there's actual material to read/sing through, but there were no callbacks for adults. Definitely one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.

Jordan was cast as Thing 1, I was cast as the Mayor of Whoville. We were both very disappointed with the roles, but c'est la vie. I was actually quite glad that Jordan was cast in a role that didn't require memorization of lines and songs (in particular harmonies). I think he was just a bit shy of the maturity level required.

A week after auditions we started the 5 hours of rehearsals per week with the 50 cast members. For a production of this size there are usually 50 rehearsals. We had to do the show in 25 rehearsals. Yikes.

I tried to use the experience as a way of meeting as many people as possible throughout my stake. Unfortunately, Seussical is split into two distinct casts (The Whos / Jungle Animals) and I was in the wrong group from a social perspective. I was mostly seen as an outsider despite my best efforts. I still made a few good friends, it's just that the crowd wasn't quite as friendly as I'd hoped.

The long hours of rehearsals started taking a toll on Jordan. His teacher noticed a change in his school efforts, he became moody at rehearsals and moodier at home, etc. At that point, we were just praying for the end of the show.

With two weeks left before opening night in November, the show seemed destined for disaster. I purposely did not tell my coworkers that I was in a show because of how awful I thought it would be. However, everything came together perfectly. It really was quite a good show in the end. I did end up telling a few coworkers about it. One came and several of our neighbors also came to see the show.

I'm really glad I got to have this experience. I really have missed theater and with my exams finished, I wanted to get back into all the good things in life that I missed out on. I thought at one point that this would be a stepping stone into doing many shows (there are TONS of production companies in Portland), I think my time would be best spent in other areas.

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