Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Most Memorable Christmas

It was the day before Christmas, 1964. I had been auditioning for a new Broadway musical, “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd”. It was written by and starring Anthony Newly. His co –star was Cyril Richard, who was one of the first famous actors that I remember meeting, when he played Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”. He was a friend of my mother’s.
I had been called back to audition again and again for the part of an Urchin and understudy to the Kid. My audition song was, “I’ve Gotta Crow” from “Peter Pan”. That day I had decided to go to my acting class with Lee Strasberg. Those were the days when there were no answering machines or cell phones. I had been waiting by the phone for news of the producers decision for days, and I was sick of it. Off I went to class with a certain amount of trepidation and , at that point, surrender that I had not gotten the part. After the class, I called David Merrick’s office.
“Where have you been? We’ve been trying to track you down all morning!”, said the voice on the other end of the line.”Get in here immediately.”
I raced over to the rehearsal studio where they had begun rehearsals that day. Still, they took me to another room and had me sing again. Then, I was sent down to the studio with the musical director and he stopped the rehearsal to have me go through my scales. (I had a three- octave range). This was interminable. Then I sat and waited….
Finally, the musical director said, “Well, you’d better start learning the songs.”
I was in! I was ecstatic! They brought me the contracts and the rehearsal schedule.
That night, my mother was having a Christmas Eve party and did I ever celebrate! This was the most wonderful Christmas ever.

Prema Rose

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