Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lost AND Found

Last week, I got the opportunity to work as a "Screener"; screening talent here in Nashville at an open call for the reality t.v. show, "The Glee Project."  I was hired by my long-time friend, and one-time boyfriend (from 35 years ago), Robert Ulrich, who is a very successful casting director in Los Angeles, as well as one of the judges on "The Glee Project."  Robert recently won his first emmy for outstanding casting director of the hit show, "Glee!"

When Robert called me about the gig, he also asked me to recommend some other candidates in Nashville who might be experienced enough to be a "Screener" or "Camera Operator", so I made some calls, and rounded up several of my talented friends who also got to be involved.  So, in effect, I was a location Casting Director!

The Nashville Casting Crew, with Robert

Robert Ulrich and I both grew up in the Central Valley, California--He in Modesto, me in Ceres.  I was 17 years old when I got involved with the Modesto Youth Theatre after seeing Robert, my sister Beverly, and my friend Brian in an amazing production of the musical, "On The Town."  The Modesto Youth Theatre was an excellent training ground for many talented kids, and for so many of us, it was a huge life-shaping experience.  It was the Modesto Youth Theatre that solidified my desire to become a professional dancer and actress.

So, it was Old Home Week in Nashville.  Brian, (who came out to Nashville to help me with my broken femur in April and is still here) and Margaret Rose, (also from Youth Theatre days) who drove up from Orlando, and I, all met with Robert over dinner last Tuesday night and spent hours talking shop about "The Glee Project."

On Wednesday, November 9th, we gathered bright and early at the convention center, where young people were lined up around the block, ready to try out for their big break in show business.  It was such a thrill to be auditioning talented, up- and-coming singer/dancer/actors and to be surrounded by video cameras, because they were shooting a documentary of the entire process.   I felt right at home in the environment.  I was invigorated and joyous.  The gig only lasted two days, for 12 hours each day.  Long hours that flew by.  We closed out our reunion with Robert at a final dinner where we again talked for hours about the auditions.

The day after the job was over, I noticed I waffled between elation and depression.  I was elated to be a part of the entertainment world again, and depressed that I was no longer living that life.  Watching those young singers pour their hearts out made me realize how much I loved performing, and how I'd lost sight of that fact.  Somehow 13 years have gone by since I moved to Nashville, and 5 years have passed since I last performed here in local theatre.  I've been buried in my "real job."  I realize this was a choice.  I had given L.A. 17 years of my soul, and  left there with the decision that if I couldn't be a "player" then I didn't want to be there anymore.  As far as the last five years, I don't know where they went!  Now, I long to be back in the limelight.  I'm sure I  could play a parent on "Glee," or a teacher, or a janitor?!  Or perhaps a cameo as one of the former stars of the 20-Minute Work-Out, complete with my post-broken-femur limp.   "Hey, Mr. Ulrich, Here I Am!  I'm the Greatest Star, I am by Far, But No One Knows It!"