Tara Britt knows the feeling of standing up on stage for an audition, vying for a role in theatre.
Growing up in Victoria as a trained dancer, actor and singer, Britt spent her teenage years through to her 30s, auditioning for various roles around town, fighting against others in the industry for a position in musical theatre performances.
She would go to five or six auditions a week, including some larger ones with hundreds of people, and get up on stage to try out for a role.
“Dancers in particular, they train their entire lives. You’ve spent your entire childhood and adolescence training for this job and there are very few jobs out there, so the pressure is huge to try and get one of those spots in any particular show,” said Britt, adding performers must also be able to sing, dance, stay on their mark and breathe.
“Every performer goes through ‘Am I good enough? Am I doing what (the director) wants?’ It’s a huge guessing game. Some times it comes down to a look, a vocal ability, or a dance ability and you just never know.”
It’s an experience many people, not just dancers can relate to, according to Britt, and is at the centre of a new musical at the McPherson Playhouse.
A Chorus Line is a celebration of those unsung heroes of musical theatre. Originally written in the 1970s, the musical focuses on 17 Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line set on a bare stage of a Broadway theatre, and provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decision to become dancers.
“Often when people come to a performance, they see the end result. They don’t see the practice, rehearsal, audition process and what performers go through when they actually have to audition for a show,” Britt said.
Victoria actor Katelyn MacKellen plays the character Kristine, whom she describes as a sweet, warm-hearted person, who can’t sing well.
“In Broadway shows, dancers support the show with ample use of jazz hands and high kicks and no one really thinks about who those dancers are, what are their backgrounds, why are they even doing the shows,” said MacKellen. “It (the musical) let’s people think about who these dancers actually are.”
A Chorus Line, produced by the Victoria Operatic Society, runs Nov. 25 and 26, and Dec. 2 and 3, beginning at 8 p.m. at the McPherson Playhouse (3 Centennial Sq.) There are also shows on Nov. 27 and Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $21.75. For more information contact the box office at 250-386-6121 or online at rmts.bc.ca.