For those readers outside central Illinois, you’ll have to forgive me for this provincial entry. While the first Monday following the second weekend in March may sound like a Nicean formula, it is actually the night on which the Springfield Muni Opera makes its casting calls for the coming season. This year, 315 auditionees (yours truly and Mrs. Z among them) will await news of their fate into the wee hours. This is a nightlong ordeal, as the first calls generally don’t go out until after 9 p.m. And when you consider that the staffs for four shows must make between 30 and 50 calls each, the most steadfast can hold out hope until two or three in the morning.
Of course, merely sitting and waiting by the phone for five hours can be a little nerve-racking. With that in mind, I’ve brainstormed a list of alternate activities auditionees can pursue to make the longest night more bearable.
Drink. Lots. This isn’t a terribly innovative idea; in fact, it’s somewhat of a tradition for certain veteran auditionees. This tip comes with a caveat, however: it’s important not to drink SO much that you can’t carry on a lucid conversation when the call comes (if it does). Take, for example, this hypothetical call Joe Thespian receives from an equally hypothetical director (let’s call her Laurie Ann O’Hootsmithen) of a similarly hypothetical show (say, Annie, Get Your Ragtime Music Beast).
LAO’H: Hello, this is the director of …
JOE: So’s yer old man!
LAO’H: I’m sorry, but the Muni isn’t doing The Music Man this year. Actually, I’m calling to offer you the role of …
JOE: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …
Watch a musical. Now this is sneaky. What better way to take your mind off getting cast in one of four musicals than to watch an entirely different musical? Mrs. Z and I have Brigadoon cued up and ready to go. I’m just waiting for the phone to ring at the very instant Harry utters the line, “The miracle is over!”
Take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. Forget your troubles. Play games. Laugh at life. And if you’re childless, canned vegetables are a great substitute.
Watch 24. Then, imagine an episode in which Jack Bauer has to go undercover as a Muni auditionee as a matter of national security.
JACK: Dammit, Tony, I need you to upload the grapevine-hitch kick combo to my palm pilot NOW!
Think how free your summer will be if you don’t get cast. There will ever be a better time to jump on the Frisbee golf bandwagon. Sorry, I meant disc golf.
Did I mention drinking?