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    A Career in Auditioning

    I’ve recently been reading Simon Cowell’s book “I Don’t Mean to be Rude, But….”

    I’ve found it immensely enjoyable hearing his opinions about the talent of the various singers who have appeared before him trying to get on “American Idol.”

    If you don’t know who Cowell is, then you must be one of the rare people who don’t tune into “American Idol” which generally starts in February.

    According to Wikipedia, “American Idol (titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in the first season) is a reality competition to find new solo musical talent, created by Simon Fuller. It debuted on June 11, 2002, and has since become one of the most popular shows on American television. It's currently the #1 TV show and is one of only three that have been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for five consecutive seasons, along with All in the Family and The Cosby Show. Part of the Idol franchise, it is a spinoff from the reality program Pop Idol, which first aired in 2001 in the United Kingdom.

    The program seeks to discover the best singer in the country through a series of nation-wide auditions. Through phone voting America has chosen past winners Kelly Clarkson (Season One), Ruben Studdard (Season Two), Fantasia Barrino (Season Three), Carrie Underwood (Season Four), Taylor Hicks (Season Five), Jordin Sparks (Season Six), David Cook (Season Seven), and Kris Allen (Season Eight).”

    As the title of his book implies, Cowell tends to be the most blunt and to the point judge on the show.

    I remember my very first audition when I was in high school auditioning for “The Music Man.” I was auditioning for the lead female role as Marion the Librarian. I got the part and as I recall the director, Bill Thomas pretty much had me in mind since he knew me from Girl’s Glee Club. I think there were five of us who auditoned for the part.

    As Simon Cowell writes in his book, “In Los Angeles, remember, almost everyone is in the entertainment business in one way or another, and as a result, almost everyone is a professional auditoner.”

    I have to agree that most of my time in Los Angeles and New York was spent auditioning rather than getting and playing parts.  I went on hundreds of auditions, all the way from cattle calls to an audition for the part of Ellie May for the feature film, “Return to Green Acres” which I don’t believe ever went into production. The casting director for that film was Linda Plano who took a great interest in me, something hard to come by with all the competition.

    I also remember auditioning for the role of Elaine in the “Seinfeld” series. The competition was fierce for the part. It was actually a feather in my agent’s cap for getting me an audition for the part.

    I’m not going to get into detail on all my near misses in auditions. Suffice it to say Cowell is right. If you pursue acting long enough you become a professional auditioner unless you win the brass ring and start gettting good parts.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com