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From Canyon To Cove: Plunging into show business, Laguna style

June 24, 2010|Cindy Frazier

I've never considered myself a nervy person, but maybe I am. Nervy enough to show up for an open audition for the musical "Damn Yankees," being put on this summer by Gallimaufry Performing Arts.

It sounded like a lot of fun and a great musical to be part of: a Faustian bargain with a baseball theme.

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I had warned Steve Josephson, Gallimaufry's impressario, that I was interested in auditioning for a non-singing, non-dancing role, and he enthusiastically replied that there were parts for those ill-equipped for a musical number. There was even a small role for a reporter. Wow, type-casting!

I've been doing a little quasi-acting and cold reading with my playwrighting group, so I figured I could handle a line or two without rehearsing. I wasn't looking for a starring role, just a little something to get my feet wet in the Theatre (note the capital T).

Arriving at the city of Laguna Beach recreation department on a gloomy June morning, I filled out the required paperwork, and eyeballed the 20 or so other auditioners – mostly bright-eyed young women with dancer's builds and leotards, who were warming up with moves that would have put me in traction.

When I ran back to my car to put my purse in the trunk, Julie Josephson, Steve's wife and co-impressario, greeted me upon my return with, "So, you came back!" True, I had botched my escape, but I was determined to push on. The fact that my previous Theatre experience consisted of a star turn as Alice in the Mad Hatter's tea party scene from "Alice in Wonderland" in Girl Scouts probably didn't impress Steve or Julie. I had forgotten to note my featured role in an early Jan Oxenberg lesbian-feminist film called "A Comedy in Six Unnatural Acts." In the Oxenberg film, circa 1975, I had to fall off a chair for comic effect. (And people did laugh.) Like "Damn Yankees," the film was a musical: We even had a real choreographer attempting to teach us how to sexily undulate around the principals. In the final climactic scene, we all jumped (clothed) into a Jacuzzi. One take, no rehearsal.

My obvious lack of experience, however, didn't stop Steve and his stage manager from lining me up with the other dancers (and some kids and even a woman with a child on her hip) to show what we could do. I was lucky No. 13.

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