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The middle of November is an exciting and nerve-racking time for those involved with the school musical. Mid-November means auditions (EEEKKK!!). This is the day when you stand in front of a panel of ten judges and try not to cry as they analyze every move you make, every note you sing, every face you make, you name it. These ten people ultimately take a few short minutes of your time and decide your fate for the next four months of your life. Can you say ‘stressful’?
To top it all off, this year will be the 30th anniversary of musicals performed at Highlands. Director Mr. Michael Zeiler wanted a show that would be over the top, one that would leave everyone talking for months. What better musical than the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid? The choir room and hallway have been decorated with an Under the Sea theme since the beginning of the year and finally, the time has come for all of us to dive into the musical magic!
Thursday, November 10, 2016. Sixty-seven students braved the choir room with hopes high. Performers started arriving around 4:30 to prepare for their auditions. Many of those trying out for a lead character dressed up. There were Ariels, Erics, Sebastians, Tritons, and Ursulas everywhere! Those wishing to audition for a featured dancer role performed their vocal audition before the rest of the cast. Afterwards, they were rounded onto the stage to learn a dance audition to the song “Under the Sea”! For those with tap experience, another dance as taught for an even more elite group of dancers. These tappers learned a routine to “Positoovity.” Featured Dance auditions concluded the long process of auditions Thursday night. By 9:30 all the hopeful dancers were ready to show the judges what they could do.
After a long day of waiting, the Callback list was posted Friday night. Auditions were only beginning for a lucky thirty-five students. These students proved they have what it takes vocally to be a lead, but do they really fit the part? That’s what callbacks are all about. The day was split into three parts.
First, the Animation Audition. In this part, all of the students were put on stage to act out three separate scenarios to three different song selections. The goal here is to be the most animated and creative you can be and to try to capture the attention of the judges. They were looking to see if students could be a villain, a sea creature, or any Disney character through the years.
Part two was dry read throughs. Selections of certain scenes were printed out and laid on the stage. The cast had ten minutes to find a few scenes they like with the character they wanted to audition for and to start practicing how to act it. Then we all came back together and went on stage to read for the scenes. After a few hours of acting the judges took twenty minutes to talk about what they saw.
After read throughs came the cuts. The judges picked nine males and eight females out of the thirty-five students and asked them to stay for part three: re-singing. The seventeen kids chosen to stay were asked by the judges to either re-sing their audition song, or to learn the song of a different character and perform that for the judges. After everyone sang again they were sent home, and the judges stayed for the next few hours fighting over how to cast the show. And so begins the longest week of every musical kid’s life. Waiting a week and a half for the cast list to be posted is definitely a cruel and unusual punishment for a bunch of poor, unfortunate teenagers.
Best of luck to all who auditioned for the 2017 production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid! May Wednesday, November 23 at 4:00pm bring you all joy and excitement. I know that I can’t wait!