I recently saw a show on PBS that drew me in for multiple episodes called “Broadway or Bust”.  (I couldn’t resist.  Once upon a time I fancied myself an actress and I have a degree in theatre from Barnard.  “What does one do with a degree in theatre?” you ask.  Well… That individual becomes a professional triathlete, of course.) Back to the show…  “Broadway or Bust” follows sixty teenagers who have all won their respective regional musical theater competitions and consequently have received an invite to New York City for a week of dorm-style living and musical theatre boot camp.  During this grueling week the kids practice their solos, learn group numbers, get critiqued by producers and directors, and are coached by actors and choreographers all in service to one huge show on the last day of “camp”.  On that final day, the teens take over the Minskoff Theater (usually home to the “Lion King”), put on their production, and effectively audition one last time to win the Jimmy Award for best actor or actress.

What’s great about “Broadway or Bust” is that you get to go behind the scenes.  Not only do you see what life is like backstage, you get to see the most confident kids struggle with their nerves and even more intriguingly, you get a rare glimpse into the audition process.  The show lets you in on the closed door sessions where theatre bigwigs come together to whittle down this enormous pool of talent to a very few and then again to just two.  Your heart almost breaks when you see the director of the program cavalierly remove headshot after headshot from the row of kids still in the running to win the big prize.  Not so much because you liked this kid or that kid, but because you know that these teens will see this episode and will relive that terrible moment when they got cast aside.  It was at this point in the show that a professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, who was on the judging panel, spoke to the TV audience about rejection.  In summary he said rejection is a way of life for people in this industry.  It happens every day to thousands of wonderful, very talented people.  Not getting selected just means you weren’t the most perfect fit for that role on that day.  Should you stop auditioning?  No way.  Should you give up acting?  Hell no.  You go out tomorrow and you try again.  For if you dwell on the rejection, he contends, you will never succeed.

After hearing some harrowing stories from St. Croix 70.3 and Ironman Texas, I could not help but draw a parallel between racing and theatre.  Race day is like one big audition.  You rehearse and practice and rehearse and practice (and rehearse and practice some more).  Then you and a hundred of your closest friends all vie for the same spot and only one of you will get it. Only one of you will have everything come together just right, on that day, on that course.  And what if you don’t get the part?  Will you hang your head and retire your running shoes?  Avoid certain races?  Avoid certain distances?  I don’t think so.  The best athletes will learn from the experience and use what they now know to become better athletes.  There is no use dwelling on the negative for that is only a reflection of one teeny tiny day.  Keep fighting.

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1 thought on “Auditions

  1. Thank you Molly, very timely… After last years IMLP crushing blow to 8 months of working and training, my attitude was one of self pity and doubt. Debi knows the full story if you’re interested. I read that quote from Michael Jordan last year about a week after the race and got a spot in this years race via the MMRF was fulfills my yearly fund raising requirement. I use my racing to do at least one like project per year. This year is for my wife of 28 years who has had cancer several times.

    In any case keep posting up when you’re able. A relevant and read from John Bythway entitled “How To Be Completely Miserable” a really good book too… Thanks Molly, enjoy….

    *How To Be Completely Miserable:*

    It has been said that, in this life, suffering is mandatory, but misery is
    optional. We all have problems, but we also have a choice!
    We can choose to be happy or we can choose to be miserable.
    If you want to be completely* miserable *then PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING:

    1. Believe that things will NEVER change (and then do everything you can do
    prove your point!)
    2. Don’t do anything! Miserable people wallow. Happy people know that
    activity and misery/depression are opposites.
    3. Worry about things you CAN’T control.
    4. Complain about your BLESSINGS. Be sure to be unhappy and ungrateful for
    your body that does SO much for you. And then follow through by treating it
    like crap!
    5. Think only about yourself. Miserable people think about others only
    when comparing themselves to others!
    6. Relive your bad memories. Be sure to be truly miserable by reliving and
    replaying all the BAD memories and experiences in your life (cause we ALL
    have ‘em!) Whatever you do, DON’T focus on any of your successes or any
    other happy moment in your life!
    7. Blame everyone and everything! Be sure to NEVER take responsibility for
    your own actions and blame your situation on anything and/or anyone else!
    To be truly miserable, you need to be the VICTIM and MARTYR at all times.
    8. Put yourself down. Be sure to focus on every weakness you have and
    NEVER take a compliment or give yourself a pat on the back for anything you
    do well!
    9. Whatever you do….DON’T set goals. If you don’t set goals then you
    don’t have to be excited or motivated to accomplish ANYTHING.
    10. Wait for life to happen. Happy people know that the responsibility for
    being happy is on their own shoulders. They take CHARGE of their life and
    MAKE things happen in their lives! SO…be sure to stay miserable by
    waiting for some event to make you happy, thin, healthy….Just DON’T take
    charge and make your life the way you want it. Wallow, baby….Wallow!

    CONGRATULATIONS! You now know EXACTLY how to be completely miserable!
    If you think that perhaps, you would rather be HAPPY, then feel free to just
    do the exact OPPOSITE of these wonderful tips….
    Hmmmm….both ways seem to take effort. Both ways seem to be effective.
    So….Happy Choosing and ENJOY!

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