Ashley reactivates her Theatre Bay Area account and shares her experience the only way she knows how: through the brilliance of Full House.
Growing up I knew three things: 1.) I wanted to be an actor. 2.) I wanted to live in California because that’s where the cast of Full House lived. 3.) I had a pretty scary dessert obsession, especially those of the chocolate variety.
As an adult, I’ve managed to stay pretty true to those guiding forces. I mean, here I am, living in the Tanner’s backyard trying to balance my love of acting and all things sweet. Though, it’s not exactly like I had pictured and my adventures don’t always fit neatly into 22 minute episodes appropriate for families of all ages. But, again, here I am!
When I first moved here in my early twenties, looking to break into the theater scene, I immediately joined Theatre Bay Area. I combed the gigs section of Craigslist looking for auditions. And honestly, it was great. Within one day of living in San Francisco, I managed to book an audition and get the part. Which resulted in A LOT of solo bedroom performances of “I Think I’m Going to Like It Here” from Annie. I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d find myself auditioning for the San Francisco revival of Rent starring Taye Diggs.
But then I got a little lazy. I stopped actively looking for new opportunities and chose to do whatever projects my friends (or friends of my friends) offered me. Which, honestly, was also great. I’m not always the best auditioner anyway and I got to perform a lot of fun roles thanks to being seen in earlier fun roles. And so my one woman Annie tribute band continued!
Eventually, I let my TBA membership lapse. Which, after a little while, caused the inner child in me to point out, “how are you going to be a real actor if you’re not even trying? The Tanners would be so disappointed in you.” Ouch, inner child, OUCH. But that little creep was right. So a few days ago (and after reading Claire’s article) I resigned up for Theatre Bay Area. And to chronicle my experience back, I thought I’d use the help of some of the token Full House catch phrases. Because, well, duh.
“You got it, dude!”
Yes, Michelle and/or Mary-Kate and Ashley, I do got it. I signed back up for TBA! And I got a personalized welcome response from James Nelson, which made my day. This is what I love about being an actor in San Francisco. The sense of community that I couldn’t find while living in New York. I felt optimistic that perhaps my reentry into the theater scene would be as well received.
Interesting exclamation, DJ, eldest and perhaps wisest Tanner sister. But similar sentiment (I mean, I think? I’m not even totally sure why this one became a catchphrase). When I logged on with eager eyes to view the myriad of auditions I assumed I was missing out on, I instead saw a rather short list. Maybe it’s the time of year? Did I just miss the audition season? Or is there just less theater being done than when I joined the site years ago?
“Cut it out!”
Good point, Joey. No need to immediately panic and assume my acting days are numbered so I might as well drive your car into the kitchen! Why not read through these listings first! So I opted to do a search for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.
Tell me about it, Jesse. And I don’t even have your hair to help my cause. Okay, the first audition on the list is for Shotgun Players. Awesome! I’ve heard great things about working with them. Now, looking through their post I read, “Prep 2 contrasting pieces (musical/movement abilities may be incorporated)”. Yikes bikes. Well, I have been taking a YMCA Zumba class where I always seem to stand next to someone who smells like sweat mixed with orange juice. Should I attempt some Zumba moves with my dramatic Shakespearean monologue?
No! Stephanie, I wasn’t trying to be rude. I was seriously asking. I could use some assistance getting back into the audition routine… Next, I come across Grey Gardens at Custom Made Theatre. I know before I open it that my current age isn’t really ideal for this one. Which sucks because that show is going to be something special.(Side note: amusingly enough, the last time I auditioned for one of Stuart’s shows, I had my sister cut me some bangs so that I could look younger and more like child Ashley. It shockingly did not work.)
This has been a harder reality to face these days. I’ve seemed to age out of the roles I moved here for, ones for young gals in their early twenties and yet I’m not quite ready for some of those juicy roles meant for women in their forties and fifties. Or, as I like to call that age range, the parts I played in high school and college because I was taller than everyone else.
As I continue perusing through the listings, I notice a few more musicals and many shows that are happening outside of San Francisco. Unfortunately, for the car- less /Treasure Island dwelling wonder that is me, commuting to these stages isn’t the easiest quest. I also couldn’t help but notice that if you’re a fella willing to travel and/or sing, you could probably do quite well for yourself in the Bay Area! Ah, now I am sounding rude. Sorry. I don’t mean it. I selfishly hoped that my enthusiasm to return to the theater world would be matched with abounding opportunity to bring it to life.
And I’m left with the same questions I had before. Where did the auditions go? I hear about friends going to them; are these theater companies just not posting on Theatre Bay Area? Because that feels like a shame! A missed opportunity to be a part of a proud, established community. And where are they posting instead? What will I tell Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan when they seek my career counsel for breaking into the SF biz? Help!
I’ll await your feedback! And in the meantime, I’ll keep one eye on these audition listings, one on a Full House rerun, and my mouth will undoubtedly be full of chocolate.
I immediately went to their audition page and decided to submit for some of the same auditions.
Maybe I’ll see you at the Shotgun or other ones?
Charles! I hope so. It’s always nice to see a friendly face before auditioning. Is TBA your main source for auditions? Where can I find more listings? 🙂
I usually hear about it from friends or on the official websites of my favourite theatres (they’ll usually have a special page on the website under “jobs”, “auditions”, or “work with us”). Plus a couple of FB groups are pretty good.
I just started my TBA membership too! Not sure if other playwrights have found it useful?
Good question! You’ll have to let us know! 🙂
Hey Ashley – Theatre Bay Area listings editor here. First of all, that’s awesome that you’re thinking of taking your career in a different direction, and thanks for giving us another shot to help you out with it! You ask a good question. My sense is that this is definitely a slower time for auditions – but August 1 is a big deadline for folks to submit listings, so checking back with us slightly after then should definitely give you more results. Also, folks either have to be company members or pay $10-$20 to submit listings with us (it’s one of the perks we offer our company members), so we definitely don’t post every audition that’s out there. But what do we offer, if we can’t be comprehensive, is a centralized, searchable database. I tell would-be listings posters the kind of info actors want to know about auditions and follow up with them when they don’t supply it. I don’t post sketchy listings. (At first I just wrote “sketch” to try to sound like I know my slang, but then I realized that could sound like “sketch comedy” as in “THEATRE BAY AREA DOES NOT DO SKETCH COMEDY…” Der.) I edit people’s whacko jacko spelling and grammar and keep listings in a consistent style and voice. I link to companies’ websites when they have them.
I know our listings aren’t perfect, and it’s probably impossible to satisfy eeeeeverybody’s needs, but I like to think I still provide a valuable service.
If you want to chat more, I’m at lily at theatrebayarea dot org
Hi Lily! Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I absolutely think TBA is a valuable service and I’m happy to be back on the “team”. Getting back into the scene, I’m curious about “audition trends” and how I can be better aware of them so I appreciate your insight. It’s my hope that more theater makers will put their listings on TBA so we can all stay better informed. I feel like that would be a win win. In any case (whether I audition or not), I always enjoy having a sense of the theater happening currently in the city and learning more about productions that are coming up so I can do my best to support it. So again, thank you to TBA for leading that effort. I look forward to checking back in! 😉
Leave it to Lily to have the answers we need.
I really like TBA, but I find that the audition groups put together on Facebook/Twitter/Linkdin get the same, if not better, results.
Hey Annabelle! Do you have any audition groups you’d suggest checking out? 😉
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