Unexpected Opportunities

PalJoey

It’s been a bit of a dry spell lately, hacking away at my money job for several months without a whole lot of auditions, let alone bookings. It’s actually been okay since my amazing wife has been juggling FOUR directing gigs this fall, and I’m NOT looking to leave town again any time soon. So having a steady paycheck while being home as a parent and husband has been quite satisfying. Still, my inner actor was getting a little antsy. So it was great to get a call from my agent out of the blue checking my availability for a couple gigs I was being offered just on the basis of my reel, NO AUDITION.

The second was a couple days of principle work on a major motion picture (such a cliché’d phrase) which I’ll write about in a separate post. The first was a lab production of a new reworking of Rogers and Hart’s PAL JOEY.

Screenwriter/director Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, Behind the Candelabra, Unbroken, etc etc etc etc…) obtained the rights to the piece, and got permission to swap out some of the original songs and replace them with songs that were previously unpublished. The result, IMHO, was amazing, and that was even BEFORE he brought in the heavy hitters to bring it to life.

They had already been in rehearsals for a couple weeks when I got the offer, and I didn’t know much about the project. So I was shocked and a little humbled when I walked into the studio and saw Marin Mazzie, Patina Miller, Tonya Pinkins, and Chaz Lamar Shepherd being directed by Tony Goldwyn. And I was going to be doing SCENES with these people! (The program credit says Ensemble, but I was a non-singing utility character man.) A little daunting, but I took a deep breath and plunged in and it went great. 

After spending so many years singing and dancing in the chorus (and loving it!) it’s been thrilling these last few years to have the opportunity to be playing some real roles doing some real scene work. And after holding my own in the company of such well-known and talented performers, I joked with my agent that I was finally “sitting at the grown-ups table.” 

Here’s to many more meals at that table!

© Craig Waletzko 2016