Like any other working actor, I have a many audition stories. This one, which highlights my "shortcomings" is one of my favorites.
Jan, thanks. I know you must have worked long and hard to get me that audition. But Jan...I’m too short! The height requirement is 5’6. I’m barley 5’3 which means I’m really 5’2.
Jan Marie had represented me for several months. Apparently, she'd never considered my height. Many people are surprised to see how petite I really am. I have long legs and to this day live in heels. The fact that I was barely 5'3 was news to her.
I heard papers rustling on her desk.
Donna…okay I have the breakdown. Oh! You’re right. But I want you to go anyway. You know how it is. They never really know what they want anyway. You’ve got the voice. What’s the worst that can happen?
I couldn’t say no to Jan Marie. She wouldn’t let me. Jan believed in me like no other agent ever had.
Okay. What time?
Saturday at 12:50. And the callback follows immediately at 1PM. Bring dance clothes and be prepared to move.
She then told me that she'd snagged me the very last appointment of the preliminary call. She told me to "think tall" and wished me luck.
I chose 2 songs that I felt showed off my voice and got to work.
He commented that the dress was class not trash.
He showed me how to tease my hair to within an inch of it's life before pulling it into a French Twist. The poufy front helped to create the illusion of more height.
|I used this headshot for my Dreamgirls audition.|
My resume that day listed my height as 5'6.
The next day,Saturday, I arrived at the stage door of Chicago's Schubert Theater. My newly fudged resume listed my height as 5’6. Outside of the door I noticed a group of beautiful women dressed to the nines talking about their auditions. Some weren’t very happy. It seemed that none of them had sung their ballad, and some barely made it through 16 bars of their up-tempo selection. And I noticed they were all over 5’6. It looked like this was going to go really fast.
Miss Allen, just a moment please.
No! I’d come too far to leave now. I removed one shoe while remaining standing, perfectly poised on the opposite leg and my stiletto heeled foot. There was laughter from the dark.
Thank you, Miss Allen. Would you humor us, and stand on stand on your other leg.
All of a sudden, Sunny became tall, and my true size--short, was revealed.
I took my music, and exited through the Schubert’s stage door, still not quite believing what had just transpired. I hailed a cab, suddenly feeling severely overdressed and made-up in the harsh daylight.
|From a Dreamgirls production touring The Netherlands.|
The 1st National Tour of DREAMGIRLS opened at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 20, 1983. After three stops, the tour proved too expensive to run and closed early.