Noah had to write a “memoir” essay for school back in September 2012. He chose to write about his audition for “Billy Elliot the Musical.” As we are heading into our final week with the Billy Elliot tour, I felt it was appropriate to publish this essay now. I will still be blogging, in fact maybe more frequently when we are off this tour. Yet, the future is unknown, vast and exciting for both of us. Looking back over this past 14 months (we joined the tour for in Los Angeles for training back in mid April 2012!) so much has happened that has changed both of our perspectives on the world and humanity. We are both blessed to have had this experience and I am so proud that Noah has remained the same sweet, kind and humble boy that he was when this whole journey began.
As I write this today, I am home and just returned from a college campus visit with my older son, who performed last night with his Improv Comedy troupe, ImprovSoup. As a mother, I couldn’t be more proud of my boys: Ethan, Noah and Jacob. They are growing up to be caring, considerate human beings. And no amount of talent can hold a candle to that! Until I write again, here’s Noah in his own words……..feel free to share this post. It’s a good one!
MY FIRST AUDITION
There we were, dad and I, on a rainy Friday morning in mid-September trucking along into the Big Apple for my audition for “Billy Elliot the Musical”. This also happened to be my ﬁrst audition ever. I was a dancer, and I had never sung or acted in front of anyone. Scared and nervous were both words that I could say were understatements. I had non-stop butterﬂies in my stomach.
Walking into the street, an umbrella overhead, we search for the correct towering skyscraper, the one at 500 8th Avenue. However, I’m not really a veteran of ﬁnding my way around this city, so I was panicking, thinking we would never find it.
“What number is it again?” I said in a rushed tone.
“It’s 500. It’s just up ahead on the right”, Dad said, making sure I’m calm.
Then, there it was — seeming to stand taller than any other building in New York City as I looked up at it, 500 8th Avenue. We walked through the big glass doors that were almost too heavy for me to open and the receptionist asked who we were and where we were headed in the building. Then, slowly but surely, the elevator went up too many ﬂoors for me to count. We stepped out of the elevator and I turned to my dad and said “Wow, well this is it”. That’s all that I could get out of my mouth. I marveled at the great big dance rooms and knew that all the huge auditions happened in this building. I thought that a Broadway star would walk out of any of these rooms any second.
Dad and I walked up to the receptionist and asked where we should go for the Billy Elliot audition and it turned out we were super early. They hadn’t even set up the holding room yet. It was only 12 o’clock and the audition didn’t start until 2. The waiting began…
So, the staff of the studios gave us two chairs to sit in and wait. I stretched, sat, talked a bit, stretched more, and saw George Hamilton.
“That’s George Hamilton!” my dad said.
“Who’s that?” I said, as I had never heard of him before.
Soon after that, the holding room was prepared for us. There were chairs and mirrors lining the walls, a registration table at the front of the room, and a piano in the corner. Then, I slipped my ballet shoes on and started jumping and turning to get warmed up. My dad also gave the woman behind the registration table my photo, information, and resumé (which my mom just wrote). Soon, each of the other boys trickled into the holding room one by one. Each boy had a different background, look, and came from somewhere different.
Then a lady came into the room. Her presence was almost daunting as she was much taller than I. I was nervous. She had all of the boys follow her into a separate room, leaving all of our parents behind. She also took our resumés and headshots with her.
We ended up in a room identical to the one we left behind. We started with hip-hop and we learned a short combination in that style. We did it over and over again until we felt comfortable with the steps, but hip-hop has never been something I’m completely conﬁdent about.
Two at a time we performed this combination for the panel of three “judges”.Although they never introduced themselves as judges, we knew that was what they were. They were three intimidating people that I hoped liked my dancing. We did it over and over again for what seemed like an hour or two.
Next, we did ballet. I put on my ballet shoes and immediately I was slipping and sliding all over the place and then they told us that we could wear jazz shoes for a bit more traction. I was surprised by the small amount of ballet we did. At the most we did twenty minutes of ballet. We did a few basic exercises, including turning and jumping. We went across the ﬂoor one at a time doing jumps and turns, but out of the corner of my eye all I saw were the “judges” observing me super closely, never taking their eyes off of me.
After that, it was time for tap. We did very simple tap exercises like shufﬂes and ﬂaps and not much else because of the slippery ﬂoor. I was caught off guard that many of the boys in the audition had never tapped before.
Before we ﬁnished up the dancing, they told us we could improvise a dance. We did just that two at a time. I did some turns and jumps that I thought I had remembered from seeing the show. Also, I tried to throw in the limited acrobatics I knew because I knew Billy had to do that in the show as well.
We also did one acting exercise. The casting woman brought us over to the window in the room and said, while pointing to the ﬂoor below, “Imagine there was a ﬁre on the ﬂoor below us. I want you to warn the three of us (judges) that there is a ﬁre in the building only using the words ‘There’s a ﬁre in the building’”. That is exactly what we did: we would run one at a time from the window up to the judges table and warn them that there is a ﬁre in the building, but only using that one sentence. They explained that we could only use that one sentence because, like in a play, we can only use the lines that were given. Therefore we couldn’t stray from those few words.
Lastly, we sang for the casting people. The pianist in the room quickly taught us the ﬁrst verse of the big dance/song in act two of the show which is called “Electricity”. It’s also the climax of the musical. We had maybe two or three minutes to practice and then they went around having us sing the song, two lines each. For this section of the audition however, there was somebody recording our singing, which made it more nerve-wracking for me.
After that, the “judges” said thank you for coming and that was it. The boys and I walked back to the waiting room where our parents were waiting and packed up and left.
“How’d it go?”my dad asked.
“Good, I think.” I said, although I wasn’t really sure how it went or if I did a good job.
Overall, I believe my ﬁrst ever audition was a success and deﬁnitely a huge learning experience as it was my ﬁrst one ever. And here I am with Billy Elliot — all because of that one, ﬁrst audition.