When I was about…oh, 6 or 7, my mom saw an ad in the paper for Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. And guess what…they were holding AUDITIONS!
She asked me if I was interested in trying out for the part of Chip. Remember him? He was the tiny teacup with the shitty little triangular piece knocked out of his syrupy sweet face?
OMG I LOOK JUST LIKE HIM, MOM.
Well, as luck would have it, I didn’t have anything better to do (being 7 and all…), so I agreed to audition.
And suddenly, something strange happened: I started to get really excited at the possibility of actually getting the role.
I began thinking about all the possibilities. Me, a Broadway star at the age of 7. A bonafide millionaire by 11 (please tell me you remember this movie) — and maybe enough cache to bag Tia and/or Tamara by 14.5.
Don’t you dare laugh at me and my adolescent fantasies. I too used to think the probability of these crazy ideas actually coming true was a snowball’s-chance-in-hell — until recently.
May I present you with Exhibit A:
So many unwitting pubescent boys had a shot. And we didn’t even know it.
Anyway — all these things whipped through my head at the thought of winning this audition, and overnight, I became as dedicated as a 7 year-old with 3-day’s notice can be about anything.
I didn’t really know what to practice or work on for the audition, so first, I tried doing some pushups and running around the basement at my friend’s house. That got me tired — but somehow, I didn’t feel more prepared for the play.
Then, I got a pretty brilliant idea: Why not memorize every Disney tune ever created? I mean, it made pretty good sense, right? It was a Disney play, they’d likely value someone that knew all the words to everything. I mean, if I knew every word to every single song…particularly the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, I’d basically be guaranteed a spot, right?
So I started cramming, upping my learning speed with even more intensity than it took me to solve this Rubik’s cube in a depressingly slow 4 minutes.
Long story short, I DID memorize every word to every Disney tune ever created. And embarrassingly, I’ve still retained that with about 88% accuracy — although things get a little hazy after the original Toy Story.
My mom and I show up to this audition, and lines are wrapped around the block thrice. This is what we in the industry refer to as a cattle call, daahhling (<< imagine me saying that in a very upper crust, feminine accent).
Basically, you’re f*cked.
So we freaking wait all day, and I’m practicing my songs — keeping my vocal chords warm. My grandma told me that’s what Pavarotti did. My mom is a freaking trooper because she knows I can’t sing for a damn, I’m definitely not going to get this role and she’s just being super supportive.
I get in there — and dear God, I totally understand what the contestants feel like on American Idol. So nerve wracking, especially for a little kid.
I step up to this bright green “X” and a panel of 3 casting directors ask me my name. I kinda wish we had the audition on tape — but it’s literally this short, so go ahead and read it:
Casting Director #1: Hi, what’s your name?
Me: Daniel, DiPiazza. D-i-P-i-a-zz-a
Casting Director #2: Great, Daniel. We want you to sing….”Happy Birthday”
Me (to myself): WHAT THE FUCK…I’VE BEEN PREPARING ALL WEEK SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PLAY AND YOU PULL THIS STUNT ON ME?
I wasn’t happy with their song selection, to say the least. But I figured I’d roll with it. And I thought I knew just how to spice it up.
I’d been watching a lot of Whitney Houston lately, because…you know, it was like 1994. So I decided to throw that good ol’ vibrato on the song.
This is actually an exact replica of my performance:
So at this point I was about 14 seconds in and Casting Director #3 starts blurting, Oh my god, no. Oh my god, no. — uncontrollably. As if she couldn’t stop if her life depended on it.
These remarks, obviously, made me stop singing — and I quietly exited — never to act again.
Ok, well that’s a lie. I actually went on to do a lot more acting later (buy the best movie ever). But I actually did get my wittle feewings hurt — and I was doubly surprised because I really felt PREPARED. I went into that audition thinking I had an edge, and found out I didn’t even have a clue.
My takeaway: These days, I look at that experience and realize that sometimes, even though we think we’re preparing for one thing (in my case…the Broadway role of a lifetime)…we’re really preparing for something completely different.
That first bad audition indoctrinated me to the idea of failure, getting over rejection and learning to try again. And when I say again, I mean againagainagainagainagain…..until something just works.
Share your horror story — and I’ll give you a $25 amazon gift card
So guys, I’m curious — do you have a childhood horror story that seemed really brutal at the time (a rejection, an embarrassment, something scary, etc) — but actually ended up teaching you a HUGE counterintutive lesson that you still use today?
I really want to hear it — this stuff is interesting to me!
Annnd, to the person who shares the coolest horror story/lesson, I’ll send you a $25 Amazon giftcard. Just because I love you.
Rules are simple:
1.) Share this post on Facebook and say “Wow. Can you beat this childhood horror story?” (click below)
2.) Leave a detailed horror story from your childhood, along with what you learned in the comments
I’ll pick the best story-turned-lesson later today and send the winner a $25 Amazon gift card 🙂
Cool. Can’t wait to hear these.
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