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I fixate for about 30 minutes to an hour and then it goes away. Like, I don’t lose sleep over it, but I definitely—I’ll sit in the car, like, I had an audition yesterday, and I sat in the car and I like looked at the script after I finished. And I was like reading through the script and I was like doing it, and I was like, God, I did that, and I think I did that, and I totally missed that, and I did this, and, like, God, I don’t know. And I threw the sides to the other seat, and I was, like, WHY am I looking at this right now? I’m not going back in today! Get rid of it!
You feel crazy, and you put yourself out there, so it’s understandable I guess. But only you—only other actors will understand how crazy you feel afterwards.
- Jenna Ushkowitz, talking about her reactions after auditioning, especially when she feels like an audition hasn’t gone particularly well.
Jim Carnahan was the casting director for Spring Awakening. Basically every kid—our entire cast—went in for Glee.
So, luckily we went into the auditions—we went in in New York, put it on tape, sent it out to LA We didn’t have to sing because, you know, we were just given that we were actually on Broadway at the time, we could sing; they were like “We know you can sing, you know, it’s fine.”
They wanted [all of those cast] to at least be musical, so, clearly, we were musical.
I got a call—I actually, like, fucked up the audition really bad. There was only two lines ‘cause Tina had a stutter in the beginning. And it was just, I think she said, “Wha-wha-wha-what?” and “We’re d-d-d-d-doomed.” So, I only read the “wha-wha-wha-what” and I didn’t read the second page ‘cause I thought there weren’t lines on it, so I didn’t even know that there was a second stutter. And I was like, “wha-wha-wha-what?” and he was like, “Can we do the other one?” and we were still rolling and I was like, “Uh, what was it again?” It’s like “We’re doomed.” I just did it. She actually had Tourette’s at the time, like, in the audition as well, and so it was like really crazy. The stutter came from the Tourette’s.
So, like, I had a stomp, because I remembered a kid who I knew who had Tourette’s and had a stomp, so I had a stomp. And so I did the whole thing. And at least they thought—I mean, I committed, so at least Ryan saw something in that, and not that I didn’t not know my two lines.
Got a call a month later that Ryan, Dante DiLoreto, and I think Brad were coming to New York to meet us for the callbacks. Went in; I sang; I messed up, again. [Aisha: Messed up the song?] Yeah, so I did have to sing in front of them. I made a cut and I sang Once on this Island, Waiting for Life to Begin. I made a cut that was just not right—I just did it myself, I cut the music, I taped it together, I did the whole thing. It wasn’t right.
[We were told to do] 32 bars or something quick, or just take your best chops or whatever, so I did that. I went in; the piano player was like—I looked at him and I sort of made it look like it was his fault….Well Ryan, they didn’t notice, so—but the accompanist was like, “You might want to find another cut of that song.”
- Jenna Ushkowitz, talking about the process of being cast in Glee.
Cory was such an amazing guy and everyone who knew him didn’t look at him as a star or this leading man. He was just a real guy. Everyone who met him got that sense from him that he really cared about you. And he cared what you were talking about. And he was selfless. And I’m sorry, but you don’t find that a lot in this town. He was so unique.
- Kristin dos Santos (via fighterswarekmonteithgirlscout22)
It was really grueling at times, because, as in—okay, it can go either way, whether you’re on stage every night or you’re off stage every night. I was off stage a lot; because I was swinging, I wasn’t a constant performer. It was very fulfilling, because I got to do five different roles and tell five different stories at any given time. And it was always fresh because I wasn’t doing it every single night.
[I was in the theater] every night, and that’s sort of what I’m talking about when I go, after a while—I was super grateful I got the job, of course, and the entire time I knew that I could still be bar-tending, but sitting back stage when these kids are like sometimes extremely tired, phoning it in, you could hear it in their voices, you know they’ve been doing this show for two years, it’s like, I want—I would kill for that, and then they’re like, God, I would just kill for a new show, you know?
There were times where I thought about leaving, only because I was bored. My brain when it’s not challenged completely shuts off. So I’d have to sit back stage, and you know, I’d work out a little bit, or I’d watch a full TV series or read a book….I’d was like, oh, bring your laptop and bring the full set of Six Feet Under to the theater, and, like, lug that in your bag. So there were times when I was just completely dead inside. And it was really frustrating.
- Jenna Ushkowitz on wanting to be challenged and engaged in acting
You’re not even sure the way the arc of a story is going to go, because the way they edit it is completely out of your control.
- Jenna Ushkowitz, commenting on television acting.
I got a job at Equinox—the gym—while I was at college, doing the front desk. Then I graduated college, got a job hostessing in a restaurant, went from that to bar-tending, and then six months in I got Spring Awakening on Broadway.
I had auditioned for the tour about four weeks before that, maybe a little longer, and I didn’t get it. I got down to the final call-backs and I thought for sure I had it; they loved me, it was great, all the feedback was wonderful, and then I heard, “No, we want to hold her for a future Broadway replacement.” ‘Cause that happens a lot. If you don’t know, when you go to auditions at all they go, like, “Well, we’ll definitely keep you in mind for the future, but somebody else fits better at this point in time with somebody else.”…And Spring Awakening had won the Tony at that point; they knew they were going to run for at least 3 to 4 years….
[So] I got a phone call. It was a Friday afternoon. They were like, “We need to you come in right now. We would like you to read for Martha. We’re not sure that you have—‘cause you’re such a sunny, you have such a sunny disposition”—that was what they said to my agent, that they weren’t sure that I had the stuff to do the dramatic role of Marta who was the one who got beat.
So, prepared stuff, went in, like, literally I think it was, like, that morning. Went in, read….they called me on Friday; okay, they called me on Friday, I went in on Saturday. It was between shows that they were seeing me, ‘cause they had two shows that day. I read with Remy Zaken, who was one of the original characters; she originated Thea. And I was on my way to bar-tending on Sunday, got a phone call from my agent saying they would like you to start on Tuesday. It was amazing.
And the funny thing was, though, they were like—it’s Lilli Cooper who was Martha, who was still in high school at the time at LaGuardia, had to do a musical for her, in order to graduate. Like, I guess it’s one of the requirements. And it was only like three weeks to four weeks, so they were doing me as like a four week replacement. So I didn’t really get the job; I like sort of got the job. I was super-stoked anyway. It’s like, you get the credit, you get to go perform, you get to, you know—it’s like Spring Awakening!
What ended up happening was I went in, I swung for Lilli—a swing is, obviously, if you don’t know, you cover numerous roles. So I was going in to swing for Lilli, and Remy’s role, and Phoebe’s role. And then, I don’t know why I learned all of them…but just in case, and then they extended my contract for I think it was a year. They were like, we love having you, and we can totally use an extra swing. And that was it.
I was so thrilled. You know, when you think like, okay, I’m gonna get a show and it’s gonna be like, 42 Street, which is like super fun, but it’s the ones like Spring Awakening that are, like, this is really special, and really different, and you’re like, if I—you don’t even imagine it. Like, I went and saw the show and I was like, I’m not—I never even thought “Oh my God, I want to do that.” It was way above my dream level at that point. So to get that show was really, really cool.
- Jenna Ushkowitz, talking about landing her first acting job as an adult in Spring Awakening on Broadway.