Monday, July 07, 2008

40 Somethings About Me, # 7

When I was about ten years old, I did something that I still think of as super amazing. I don't recall thinking so highly of my efforts then, but in retrospect, I gotta give myself some props for this one.

I heard an advertisement on the radio that the producers for Annie were coming to Toronto looking for the next Annie. They were touring all over trying to find their next big star. This girl would not just perform in Toronto, oh no ... this girl was going to Broadway.

Oh, how I wanted to be that girl!

But, Mom said no. I begged and pleaded but still, she said no. I don't remember if I got upset or angry (probably.)

What I do remember is scouring the newspaper for details and finding them. There would be a cattle call where any girl was welcome to come and be heard. However, it was in downtown Toronto and I lived in a suburb called Bramalea at the time. Not sure how far, maybe 45 minutes away?

My sister also did something amazing: She said YES when I asked her if she would take me.

I think she was probably somewhat disapproving, but she always admired my spunk, I think, so she agreed. It was amazing for her because she hadn't been driving long and had never driven into Toronto - particularly by herself. She was maybe sixteen or seventeen.

I don't remember what I wore, how I dressed myself, or anything of myself from that day. But I do remember Heather getting me there, and dropping me off at the nondescript old brick building tucked in between many that looked just the same.

"Just go on in," she instructed me. "I'll come in and meet you as soon as I park the car." Gosh I loved her. Still, I didn't hesitate - I walked in and added my name to the list of hopefuls.

It was a long wait. Heather came and sat with me. We mostly sat in stunned silence, watching all the little girls and their mothers around us. Most were dressed as Annie, in little blue or white dresses with their hair in curls. They practiced their songs with their moms the whole time they waited. I didn't practice anything.

When it was finally my turn, I went into the room by myself. It was a dance hall type of room--long and narrow with wooden floors and mirrors on one wall. In front of me was a long table behind which three people sat, a woman and two men. They had papers in front of them.

The woman asked me if I had brought my portfolio with me. Or a resume. Or at least a headshot.

No. What were those things? The woman kindly told me that normally you come prepared with that sort of thing.

They asked me what I had prepared to read. Well, I hadn't prepared to read anything, I only came prepared to sing something. Again, they told me I should have prepared to read, but they would be happy to read with me.

One of the men handed me a copy with words on it. He told me to read Annie's part and he would read Uncle Ben's. And so I did my first "scene."

And then I sang "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow."

When I was finished, all three of them clapped for me. They told me I had done a wonderful job. However, I wasn't quite professional enough for what they needed. But they told me I had real talent and that if I could get an agent or my mother to help me, I could have a real chance. I thanked them. I didn't cry.

Heather hugged me when I joined her in the other room.

She was my hero that day--as she has remained.