Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Miscast"... Now What?

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at a small theater in St. Paul watching a cabaret-style show called "Miscast 2: Once more, with feeling." This is the second local iteration of this show ("Miscast" apparently played last fall), and it's a great little idea: performers singing numbers they would never be cast to do in their original shows. (In other words, you get a guy doing a female lead's song; or a substantially-built woman doing the petite Evita's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina.") 

I have to say that I laughed a lot during the show. Some of the twists were really well done. I actually started laughing before many of the songs started. I'd hear the opening notes, see the costume coming onstage, and laugh. When the woman came out with a floodlight attached to her baseball cap, and a flashlight in each hand, I recognized it as the "candelabra" from "Be Our Guest" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast and laughed so hard that she looked my direction during her patter and said "Yep. You know what's coming, don't you?"

**sidenote** I should mention that we were a small audience, so it was easy to figure out who was laughing. With 10 people in the cast, the audience only out-numbered them by 4 people. **end sidenote**

With a cast of 10, you know there were some great things and some clunkers. A soprano who could nail any notes, a dancer who leapt circles around the cast (literally), and the various costumes in the "Be Our Guest" number (including a microwave oven, a fridge, and a George Foreman grill) were great. And seeing 4 guys do "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" from Sound of Music was a trip! The barnyard version of "Circle of Life" from The Lion King - priceless!

Unfortunately, the fact that only one of the serious numbers ("Send in the Clowns") was taken seriously, although there were some beautiful voices which didn't need gimmicks, was a bummer for me. And although the original incarnation of the show was pre-Election, a couple of political jabs were really past their shelf-lives at this point. 

So... If I'm pointing out the clunkers from the show, why did I leave it with such a good feeling?

I loved it for it's heart.

I love the idea of being able to re-take control of your world. To say to the casting directors (or HR people, or whoever) that you're going to sing a song, even if they say you're not right for it. Okay, yes, sometimes the people who say they know better really did know better, but how do they know without giving you a shot? Wouldn't it be great if we all had the opportunity to take the chance and find out? To take to the stage (metaphorical, or otherwise) and try on another role? Wouldn't that be amazing?

Or maybe that's just me, hoping for a hiring manager to take a shot on my resume and me. 

Until then, I guess I'll just keep singing in my car.

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