1988 began in Champaign, Illinois, still playing Japheth in Two By Two. I think I immediately followed this up with a stint at the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. In They're Playing Our Song, I was one of the Voices of Vernon, plus I also understudied Vernon.
And then, guess what I did in the summer? Yep, back to Galveston. More Equity candidacy points. But at least we did a new show: Oklahoma! (Well okay, not exactly new to me.) So it was that, and The Lone Star. I believe our pre-show quartet was "Vasmin Fottberger and the E-Z Fold Trio".
Our fantastic musical director/genius, Mark Janas, got a job assistant conducting the bus and truck tour of Les Misérables, and arranged for a few of us to audition for it in New York. I was one of the lucky ones to get to audition. I somehow remember this entailed missing some performances in Galveston. Was it the final performances of the season? Because, I think I spent about a week up in New York, all together, so I'm guessing the season must have been pretty much over. I worked and worked on preparing "Alas For You" from Godspell, since they were looking for Broadway and/or rock-pop songs. It is a tricky song, with multiple meter changes. But I was assured that the accompanist "could play anything". Those were someone's exact words, I remember.
The big moment came. Out I stepped onto the stage of the Golden Theatre. (Bert Lahr did Waiting for Godot on this stage!) John Caird was leading the audition. (He co-directed Nicholas Nickleby!) Schonberg and Boublil were out there too. I give my music to the accompanist, who immediately says "Oh, I can't play this." This, shall we say, threw me for a loop. Of course, I now know I should have had five other, equally perfect songs ready. But this was my first big audition, and I didn't. The accompanist finally agreed to try to stumble through it, which is exactly what happened. John Caird worked with me a little bit on "Do You Hear the People Sing", everyone was very nice, but I didn't get in.
But with the encouragement and support of my parents, I did stay in New York for about another week. I saw a huge number of shows...I can count 8: Into the Woods, Romance/Romance, Speed-the-Plow, Anything Goes, Ain't Misbehavin', Me and My Girl, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera...so many shows. New York. I needed to be here.
I turned 25. It's worth noting that, as I write, 1988 was the halfway point in my life. The best stuff hadn't happened yet!
I'm trying to remember if I went to some sort of regional audition...I think I did. And maybe the best offer I had was to stay really close to my home base in Clarksville, and do a show in Nashville? Let's run with that premise. I was cast in The 1940's Radio Hour at Chaffin's Barn, playing Sinatra-wannabe Johnny Cantone.
At some point this year, my maternal grandmother, my last surviving grandparent, died.
So, 25. Staying with my parents, but...still a working actor.