Summer break is finally here, and I have never been more excited for it than I am this year. I’m fresh off the heels of my hardest, busiest, and most demanding semester yet. The funny thing is that I didn’t have to do any of those things, but I’m grateful that I did. I’ve made so many great memories and had a lot of great experiences in the last four months, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
First and foremost, my course load was the lightest it’s been so far—just four classes—but I took two of the hardest classes within my chemistry major at the same time, analytical chemistry and inorganic chemistry. Both of those classes involved a lot of physics, which I thought I had seen the last of! But with the help and encouragement of my amazing professors, I survived them and ended up doing very well. This semester was also my first attempt at being a resident assistant, or RA. Being responsible for all of the students in my section of campus housing was a huge undertaking, but I had a pretty great residence life crew to show me the ropes. The toughest part of this job was the end-of-the-semester checkouts, where I spent nearly four days in a row walking to and from students’ rooms to inspect for damage and retrieve their keys. Being an RA kept me on my toes, for sure, but it was definitely worth it. I’m excited to be an RA for the incoming freshmen at Grant-Lee Hall this fall!
As if I wasn’t already busy enough, I decided that I had room in my schedule for one more project: being in a musical! I’ve always been a huge fan of musical theatre and movies, and it always looked like so much fun. But I’ve never lived anywhere where I had access to acting lessons or community theatre productions. So when the LMU PLAYers announced that they were holding auditions for their spring production of Godspell, I knew that this was my chance!
All I knew about it was that it was a pretty popular show written by Stephen Schwartz, one of the most famous Broadway composers, but that was enough to convince me to go and audition for the show. The audition process for Godspell was very different from other plays I have auditioned for. I was an understudy in LMU’s production of The Curious Savage and a waitress in Love Hurtz, and both of those required me to read a few lines from the script. For the 2011 Broadway revival of Godspell, none of the actors had a script. They were given the general background of the parables and the songs from the 1970s production, and the rest was made up on the spot as the show progressed in development. So, in keeping with that tradition, the auditions for LMU’s production involved strictly improvisation. We split up into groups and were given a short description of the scene, then, after taking a few minutes to prepare our act, we just went out and performed it cold turkey! This turned out to be great preparation for the real thing because, even though we all did have a script once we were actually cast, there were still some hiccups and missed lines, so we needed to be prepared to improvise to keep things going.
After the acting audition came the music audition. I’ve been singing my entire life, but I was still so nervous about singing in front of the directors because I wanted to be in this show so badly. I had listened to the songs over and over again to prepare for my audition, but I still imagined myself missing a note or a word and ruining my chances of getting a part. Fortunately, I didn’t miss a beat, and I was eventually given three solos in the show! I got the soulful “Bless the Lord”, the funky and upbeat “We Beseech Thee”, and the intermission reprise of “Learn Your Lessons Well.” I also sang harmony on nearly every other song in the show. All this singing meant that I needed to keep my voice in perfect shape for the show. I drank lots of water and got plenty of rest after each rehearsal, and I tried to stay bundled up during the winter weather as I went to my classes during the day.
The hardest part about doing the show turned out to be juggling my classes and my campus jobs with the demanding 12-hour weeks of rehearsal. All of my classes were during the day, and rehearsal wasn’t until after dinner, so I had to use my afternoons and late nights carefully to keep up with all of my homework. This wasn’t that difficult, except that I also had a part time job with RAILS in the afternoon and I was on RA duty a lot, which ate up a lot of my prime study time. I ended up taking my books home on the weekends and trying to always stay caught up enough that I could enjoy what little free time I did have with my friends and my roommate. And I also made sure I had the songs from the show loaded onto my phone, so that I could sing along to them and rehearse on my own whenever I was doing my homework, driving around town, or even walking to class.
Yes, spring 2014 was by far my busiest semester, and there were some days I wasn’t sure if or how I was going to be able to do it all. But getting the chance to be in a musical, especially one as exciting and meaningful as Godspell, was definitely worth it. I made so many great friends and memories through this experience and I would not trade any of it for the world. I’m looking forward to next spring’s production of Hairspray, another one of my favorite musicals. I’ll definitely go and audition and hope for the best, but before that happens, I have to start preparing for my next big adventure: applying to pharmacy school! I’ll keep you all updated in the coming months on my admissions process and ultimately which school I choose, so stay tuned!
If you’d like to read more about theatre at LMU, go check out LMU Ashley P.’s post here about her time as an actress. If you’ve ever been in a theatre production yourself, leave a comment below or email me and I’d love to hear your story. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates on my latest posts!