"I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing"

Season 2, Episode 2 of “How to Look Good Naked” on the Lifetime Channel is special – it’s not any woman, but my friend Grae who gets surprised by Carson and asked to do a Tango. Now, everyone who knows Grae was puzzled by the fact that she wanted to be on this show, seeing as how she’s such a positive, supportive and creatively awesome woman. I mean, she ran the Los Angeles Marathon and took on the name Hellcat for it. But, we women have doubts and fears and issues with our body, so woman-to-woman I can see where she might want to get past some body-image problems.

So, if you have the time to see my woman Grae make her outside as gorgeous as her inside (with the help of a gay man to help her shop for clothes and someone to do her celebrity hair & makeup – wouldn’t we all want those at our side?), go to mylifetime.com and watch all the segments online, or find her episode on iTunes.

And in the meantime, check out her movie-obsessed podcast called Popcorn Mafia, which she does with her good friend Gariana. And they have an awesomely designed website, too. Huh, funny that! Oh, and just found them on twitter.com/popcornmafia. Their running commentary on last week’s ComiCon is priceless.

Way to go, Grae & Gariana!

Thursday, I went in for an audition for a North Carolinian production of “Phantom.” That’s “Phantom,” the other version of “The Phantom of the Opera” not written by Lloyd Webber. Had the morning to get ready, nice and easy, got there 1/2 hour before the official sign up time started, and there was already a decent line. But got a 3:10 appointment. Hung out, utilized the women’s green room (had never seen that in an audition room before…love it!), read a bit, listened to podcastmafia.com podcast. Finally went in and sang “This Place is Mine” and felt good about it. Probably a bit too young to play Carlotta, but what the heck. I’m her type, at least.

On my way out, I dropped off a HS/resume to another audition which was just closing up (and all the audition slots were taken up). It was for a New York Musical Theater Festival show based on the lives of Mary Shelley, Percey Shelley, and all those within that writing salon. Sounded cool. By Equity law, if an actor is not seen at an audition due to time restraints, the monitor is to collect all headshots from actors still interested in the production and turn them into the casting staff. So I figured, why not?

When I got home, Pete & I went for a walk in the forested hills surrounding this Fort Tryon area. Up with the Cloisters and all. It was gorgeous. Full tree-lined paths criss-cross this modest rocky hill. We could hear cicaedas chirping in the trees and when we got towards the top, a great view of the Hudson River. Families and boys on bikes, walking couples like us passed us as we traveled up the hill, and an actress(?) dressed in a wedding gown searched with her photographer for a certain spot down by the riverbank. We walked up to the top, passed the cafe (they got wifi!) and the cloister museum itself, then went back home via the 190th street A station’s elevator.

That night, got a call to come in and sing for the NYMF show at 12:10pm. Come in with classical/legit-leaning song and a classical (Shakespearean or otherwise) monologue. Cheeeerist, I haven’t had to come in to an audition with a monologue in aaaaaages. Ugh. I had temp work during the day, but luckily the audition place was only 20 blocks away and during my lunch hour.

So, packed up and dressed under for work. Managed to get there with 10 mins to spare, but as usual the audition schedule was slow. Met Jackson, a tenor from Texas who had me beat as a “newbie” in New York by a month and a half – he’d been here only 3 weeks! I went in and sang “The Finer Things,” a song I’ve known for many a year, but lost a lyric and had to find it again in a split second, causing the pianist to lose his place. So I sang a cappella for a little bit and waited for him to find me again. At least we finished on time. Then, at the director’s behest, I sang a bit of my Verdi aria “Vienni t’affretta” which I know very very very well. Whew, got through that one.

Thennnnn the monologue. I had pulled Hermione’s “Sir, Spare your threats” monologue from “The Winter’s Tale” out from it’s dusty place in my mind. I had used that monologue to get through the UCLA Theater auditions, and I don’t think I’ve really worked on it since! I had it printed out as a cheat sheet, just in case. I did about 3/4 of it and then the director asked me to start over and do it again, only this time pleading with my husband rather than so angry. Ha. I usually go to the firey part of a character before anything else. It’s my “go to” when I feel unprepared with something. But I know that I take direction well, so I made the switch and re-did the first 1/4 of the monologue with his adjustment. Not great, but not bad either. Made mental note to take an afternoon and get some monologues together, or take a class in the matter to get me up to speed!

The director then turned to the pianist, who happened to be the music director, and asked “well, which is she better suited for vocally?” meaning, which character am I more suited for. Since I had shown off my high trilly voice in “The Finer Things,” and my warm dramatic voice in “Vienni t’affretta” the music director hemmed and hawed and said “both really.” They gave me a side for Mary Shelley – oh shit I’m going to be late getting back to work – and let me sit outside to go through the material. Went back in, did the scene once sitting, then did it again with an adjustment from the director. Then left. Luckily, no one cared that I was 20 minutes late back to work and didn’t even adjust my timesheet to reflect it.

Finished up work, then Pete & I went to the opening night of “Stealing America: Vote by Vote,” a documentary on the past and future dangers threatening our voting system, which Pete and my sister actually helped out on. They provided footage and have their own credit at the end (one right after the other!). The director, Dorothy, and Greg Palast were there, as well as a few people interviewed in the movie itself. It was enjoyable, although it’s so annoying to get re-angered by what’s going on with our government system.

Next week, 2 auditions and some re-examining of goals. Cheers.