Well, it’s been approximately a month since my journey to the Great White Way, and though I wanted to tell the interwebs all about it from day one, my life got in the way. And then the Oscars. And then more life. Ugh, life is such a pain in the ass! Anyhow, no more distractions: I’m here, and I’m ready to unload all my ramblings on you.
I was heading up to NYC with my mom for The Voice auditions, and it was also coincidentally my first time in the Big Apple. Insert proud comment about how my first trip was for an audition. Actor-nerd alert. But enough about that; we took a long train ride on a Friday night from home to Penn Station—Amtrak knows how to take you through all the ghettos—and from there we took a taxi to the Marriott that would be home-base for the weekend.
The hotel was nice enough, but it made me realize that I’ve never really stayed in one luxury-style. Seriously—I don’t think I’ve ever had a bed to myself on all the trips I’ve taken with my parents, and that’s a lot of trips: Austria, Singapore, et cetera. So I added a new bullet on my bucket list to stay in the highroller suite just once in my lifetime. Or maybe twice, if one of these audition things ever works out.
So there we were, sitting in our king-size bed with about four hours left in the night. We didn’t have a lot of time in the city, so we decided to head out and get me Broadway-ified with my first ever show!
Here’e me outside the Richard Rogers Theatre:
It was a big stroke of luck that Scarlett Johansson was currently starring as Maggie the Cat in Tennessee William’s play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and I wasn’t gonna let that one pass me by. You see, Scarlett is one of my favorite actresses, even if it’s mostly because every 22nd person I meet tells me I look like her. Easily my favorite complement to get. Anyhow, I was determined to get as close to her as possible and maybe even meet her. The scene in my mind:
Me: I like you. And like, a million people have told me that I look like you from your Horse Whisperer days so if you ever need someone to play you as a teenager or something here’s my email, number, address, and here’s a GPS to a chip in my head so if you need to find me just press this little button and my head’ll ping and you could come visit me or something and we’d talk and stuff.
Scarlett: (long pause) Great! Let’s go out to dinner sometime!
Okay, I have an active imagination. And that obviously didn’t happen. Mom and I got rush tickets to the show and enjoyed it immensely; Scarlett was really well-cast and the set was gorgeous, and Ciaran Hinds stole the show as Big Daddy. Even the annoying Italian guys behind me couldn’t spoil my delight; I’d seen my first Broadway show, and it starred my celebrity twin!
We ran outside to the stage door as soon as the curtain fell and muscled into position to greet the stars as they came out. People are vicious, and I learned that you have to leave before the show ends to get a good spot; nonetheless, I was able to see the actors as they stepped out and started to sign programs. Neither Scarlett nor her leading man Benjamin Walker graced the masses with their presence, which was a disappointment.
I didn’t go home empty-handed, though. My inner nerd flared to life when Ciaran Hinds stepped out and started to sign all the things people threw at him. Not only was he a highlight of the show, he was also going to be a major character in season three of my nerd-obsession, Game of Thrones. Mance Rayder was practically three feet away from me, and my little dweeb heart just about exploded. I stuck my program out to him and shouted “I’m excited to see you in Game of Thrones!”
He took my program, signed it, and smiled at me. “You won’t be when you see me,” he said. “I’m a bad guy.” I couldn’t stop myself. “Oh, it’s okay. I’ve read all the books and know what happens to you.”
My common sense facepalmed, but my nerd sense had just hit a home-run. He laughed and looked at me. “Well, I guess I’ve got to read a little faster, then,” he said, and I got my program back. Here it is:
So I’m a nerd-ninja. No big deal. So we went home around midnight and collapsed into bed, ready for the big tomorrow: The Voice Auditions.
The morning was all about prepping. Our time slot was 2:30 pm, so we had a couple of hours to sleep in and then put on my face, and let me tell you, it needed putting on. I slathered on the products, washed the hair, freaked out when the dryer didn’t work, and calmed down when I realized it just came unplugged. It was time.
Now let me be clear, this ain’t my first rodeo. I did the Idol circuit back in 2011, and it was actually relatively successful. I didn’t make it all the way, but hey—if I didn’t make it there, I probably wouldn’t have tried The Voice at all. Still, the excitement does get to you, and as we walked over to the Javits Center that same squishy hopefulness sloshed around in my tummy. Wow, that was a gross sentence.
So we got there, thinking that we were just a tad early and wouldn’t have too much trouble with the line. Wrong. Whenever you do these kind of cattle-call reality shindigs, always get there early. We went to the back of the line—a six-block line that circled the building almost twice. Lesson learned. It was even bigger than Idol, which was around 12,000; this was closer to 20,000.
Thankfully, the line moved quickly, and in under an hour and a half we were in the heated building and sitting in the holding room, waiting for our groups of ten to be called in for Final Judgment. Hey, that’s what it felt like!
Around six at night we were finally the next group in with about fifteen other people, and in our nervousness we got to talking. I made friends with a lovely gal who worked as a magazine stylist for photo shoots—I should’ve gotten her name, she had fabulous fashion sense and a gorgeous lounge-singer voice.
As you can guess, I didn’t make it. If I did, I’d be under contract right now and couldn’t tell you anything. But I’m not, and so I can spill every ugly detail. Ha ha (evil sounding laugh)! Really, though, it wasn’t much. We were ushered into a small room with a girl who must’ve been a lower-tier producer, and one by one we were asked to get up and sing our piece. I did what worked for me back in 2011, a snippet from Queen’s (not Justin Bieber’s, thank you very much) “Somebody to Love,” and I’d say I was in the top three of the singers I heard.
But that’s not enough. Only one act from my group got passed on, and it was a duo of two pretty, tall, skinny sisters who did a cool take on Adele’s “Rumour Has It.” If they end up on the show, I’ll let you know—they certainly were pretty enough. I was a little disappointed, but I’m an enterprising little sneak, and I smelled blood in the water. And boy, whose blood it was!
A contestant from last season who I’d been a fan of had just stopped by to help judge, and we were the first group he’d sit in with. His name was Avery Wilson, and after I sang I could tell he liked me. When my name wasn’ t called to continue on, he gave a noticeable stink-face to the producer on his right. Go me!
So I pulled one last card, thinking maybe it might work. I told Avery how much I’d liked him last season, which was the truth—he’s got a fabulous voice and he got it just like I did, singing along to your iTunes library when no one else is home—but some little sneaky part of me thought he might lobby for me.
He didn’t, but I wasn’t expecting him to. However, he did let me get a picture with him, and before he left he told me to try again, because I had what it took. Sweetness!
Such a nice guy. Avery, if you’re reading this: you rock!
So we went back to the hotel. I wasn’t sure if I was actually alright with getting rejected or if I was gonna lose it and trash my hotel room like an angry pop star; I had taken the rejection from Idol pretty hard, but now that I look back I understand why. With Idol, I’d made the first cut, getting picked as one of the 250 out of 12,000 who got to go on to the next step; it was my first big audition thing, and I thought it was straight on to the judges after that. Hahaha—-no. There’s something like five more auditions, and I got cut on the third. I was young, didn’t expect it, and thought I’d been so close—so it took me about a year to get over it.
The Voice, though, was different. I didn’t even make the first cut, and I knew that even getting that far wasn’t much to holler about. So I guess the sayings are right; as you get older, you do get wiser. In some aspects.
What I still hadn’t got through my thick skull was that Scarlett was not coming out of that stage door, and I was still determined to try and meet her. I would stand on my head to get her attention; as well as looking like her, we both sing and have deep voices for girls. Seriously, readers: if you combined Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson with a dose of Sue Heck from The Middle, you’d have me.
So I dragged my poor mother back to the Richard Rogers Theatre in the hopes we’d see her come out this time. We were one theater away down the block, though, when my favorite part of the entire trip happened. These two women were walking in the opposite direction of us, talking and laughing, and I knew I’d seen them somewhere. Just as they passed us, it hit me, and my mouth did it’s thing before my brain caught up.
Yes, my friends, I had run into Lana Banana herself along with her friend Sister Mary Satan, aka Lily Rabe. And I’d said her name like I knew her, so she whipped around and said, “yes?” like she might have recognized me. My inner fangirl kicked in then and I started blabbering on about how awesome they both were, and my mom was smart enough to ask for a picture. Here’s the proof:
Lily, Sarah, me. All under a banner that says “Tony Award Winner.” Coincidence? I think not!
Anyhow, they were incredibly gracious even if I was a total creep. I shook their hands, told them I was excited for season three, and we went on our way; even though I didn’t make the cut for The Voice and Scarlett once again never came out, my entire trip was made. So if you’re reading this, ladies, thank you: most of all, you two helped me keep my spirits up after the rejection.
We went home and crashed. And I shall continue this story momentarily: my dad just got home and demands I go walk the dog. But never fear! There are two more days of New York madness, Mary-style, still in need of recapping!