Branson, Cathy Rigby, Peter Pan, Smee and Me

I don't know if you kids keep track, but last Sunday my friends and I went over to Branson to audition for a new big-theatre version of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby.

Cathy Rigby was the Star of the most recent version of Peter Pan on Broadway and starred in the travelling show that came through Tulsa a few years ago. It was a brilliant show, so much that I saw it twice that year.

I wanted to be in this show, but what would it mean to be cast? It would run through the Summer and hopefully on through the next season, be a fairly well-paid gig and I would get to act with some very talented people in a venue I've never broken into; musical theatre! My work situation hasn't been very inspiring lately so I knew I should at least try for something new. Could I do it? It was worth a shot.

Sam, Jes and I all left around 4:30am last Sunday to get to the venue at 9am to Audition at 10am, which got pushed waaaay back to 4pm. We all waited for so long I ran out of emotional gas about three times and still had time for the audition.

The Casting process consisted of singing 16 bars, so Sam picked "Reviewing The Situation,' from Oliver. By the time my call came around my nerves were all torn up and I somehow got through the song, if not entirely in song :) It was more of a spoken wordmynervesarefrayedandIatleastonrythymn piece. The gallery involved with casting was a bit "poopoo" about the song, but I didn't have my contacts in that morning so I couldn't see the disdain I was imagining so at least I could get on with my strong suit...!

My reading was very strong. I wasn't worried about that, for I had a pretty good Smee I used two years ago in another production of Pan. The acting was the least of my worries. I hoped the singing was strong enough and I knew there were many others interested in the part so I was very nervous.


I got the callback in spite of my lack of fancy-pants musical theatre history.

They told me my song was too singsong and to come back with another piece, so I chose "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin" from Oklahoma and by then my nerves were a bit more calm.

So, yea, where was I.

I was past the first intense audition for a big Branson version of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby, and I came back home to Tulsa for a day.

The callback was at noon:15 a few days later and I had a new piece of music to prepare along the way back to "The Vegas of The Hills" in fabulous Branson, Missouri!

Sam and I drove from 6 that morning, which is much better than 4. By the time we got to Branson, I was feeling very good about the situation. I read from my callback sheet that Cathy Rigby (Peter Pan), the casting director, the choreographer and the play's director would be there this time. And for some reason the only thing I was nervous about was the song?!

When I came in to the audition space at the Branson Hilton everyone was much warmer than previously and we talked a little bit about characterization, followed by reading for Smee. I read four or five times before the director came in and I read another three times.

I also sang my new song pretty well, even as Smee! They laughed and I felt confident enough to plow through the rest of the audition.

Everyone was pretty happy with it and I was told to come back for another callback at two that day for some dance auditions.


Did I tell you that this was my first Musical Audition? I'm a bit clumsy on my feet, but I get by...alright if I need to. Fortunately Sam showed me some important basic concepts a few weeks ago and I somehow felt at ease about the situation. I mean, if I got this far, what's another thing to learn?

So we got back and my nerves came back into me just a bit, but I was very aware of the situation. This was rather unlike the first audition where nobody knew me and I felt like that goofy asian guy at the American Idol audition. My stomach felt like I had ten tons of old fish in there last time and now people were calling me by my first name, and Peter Pan was even smiling at me and whispering my name to other people! That felt pretty encouraging. No stomach pains this time.

I came back to the audition room and everyone had on their nice, fancy dance outfits. I had on my fuzzy black jacket, brown dress pants, sweater and black shoes that vaguely resembled Spongebob Squarepant's shoes.

We all got together in the center of the room and I saw that there were a few duplicate characters; several children, lots of pirates and another Smee. The choreographer popped up and showed us 9 steps to perform. She showed us very fast and it was a very complicated and funny set of moves. It was a blur of movement and I simply smiled. I smile when I'm nervous.

She slowed the dancing down for the kids. God bless you, kids! The movements were then slow and deliberate enough for me to understand and I matched a move to a number in my head, violently memorizing each step. I prayed and hope for the best! My feet started moving in front of the casting group and to my surprise I not only could dance, but I did dance with emotion! I couldn't believe it.

And the kicker: on the way out we were told that we would find if we were cast by....MAY. May! That's a long time! So I went home, telling myself to forget the whole thing unless I heard otherwise. I've learned to not count those eggs before they've hatched.

So...last night I was performing in an Ultimate Murder Mystery at Molly's Landing in Catoosa. I missed a phone call but I later checked the message....It was the casting director with good news...

I've been cast as Smee.


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