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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Casting for Passion

When I was in college we had auditions for Pippin. I knew a freshman Music Theatre student who was hungry, mad hungry, to play Pippin, and I could see him in the role. He was trim, cute, and enthused.

I saw his audition. I don't remember which song he sang, but he was flat. Way flat. Throughout the song. He burned with passion and enthusiasm; you could feel the passion billowing out of him, throughout the room, but he was FLAT. Mrs. Miller flat.

And you know what? The director cast him as Pippin.

I didn't work on the show, but I kept hearing from insiders that our hero was having terrible trouble hitting the right notes.

One day I mentioned to him that I wasn't really a fan of Pippin. "Neither am I anymore," he replied.

Then the show opened, and he was perfect. On pitch, still burning with passion. He won deserved praise and adulation, and I witnessed young women shamelessly throwing themselves at our still-closeted hero. "You were so sexy," they'd moan. "Sexy sexy SEXY!" And he'd wince.

So while I am coming to appreciate how much technical precision and reliable consistency a professional performer must have, I learned an important lesson from our hero's casting. Casting for passion and working on technique will yield more invigorating results than casting for technique and trying to engender passion.

Why do I bring this up? Could it be that Your Humble Narrator recently gave an almost-stupendous-but-for-one-visibly-flubbed-line audition? Could it be that the director averted his eyes from Your Narrator after the flub, and missed a fine performance?


P.S. Nowadays I think Pippin is a delight... guess I had to outgrow my own Pippinish, puppyish qualities before I could swallow its gentle ribbing of young-boy enthusiasm.

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