with Lynne and Leslie

That Time I Auditioned For Carnival Cruise Lines

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here. I just felt like telling this story. No reason really. No wait, it may be because I am starting a business, and I was thinking about my life, and how now in times of feeling like I can’t do this, that I remember that I have always had the desire to step out and do things, even if they didn’t always turn out like I wanted.

So, in 1995, I was living in Miami with my parents. I was 24, and Leslie had already moved to York, PA, to write for a newspaper. I previously thought that I would be in grad school getting my Masters in Social Work, but started acting in the meantime, and realized that theater was where I wanted to be. It was a big realization, and at that particular moment, I think I had one more show lined up, but didn’t know what would happen beyond that, and my parents were moving to Arkansas, and I decided that it was time for me to stop following them, although following them to Miami turned out to be an amazing thing which led to my life’s calling in the arts, so that part was good. Anyhoo, I had been looking for jobs to keep me in FL, and nothing was turning up. And that’s when I saw an ad in the paper for Carnival Cruise Lines and their entertainment division.

I can't find a headshot from 1995, but this is one from 2001. Close enough. Cute.

I can’t find a headshot from 1995, but this is one from 2001. Close enough. Cute. Photo taken by Rissa Miller of Balance Photography.

I remember being really excited about the idea, because 1), I would be performing full time, 2) I would have somewhere to live for free because I would be on the boat. I also remember feeling a little scared because 1)That’s a big deal 2) Was I good enough to do this? There is a large entertainment community in Miami, and I knew that I would be up against a bunch of really good people. 3) I worried that I wasn’t skinny enough. If I was that size now, I would think I was skinny, because I was probably a size 10 but I worried that this would be an issue. But in the end, I was like “I’m doing this!”

So there were a few songs that they requested that we prepare. I can’t remember if there were more, but I know that we had to do “Get On Your Feet” by Gloria Estefan, and “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Barbra Streisand, from the musical “Funny Girl”. I knew the Gloria song well, because it was everywhere on the radio, and also because she was Queen of Miami, and they would make you move if you didn’t bow down. But I didn’t know the Barbra song well, so I found a copy and I learned it. And I rented the movie. And I sang it. A LOT. Ask my poor mom. And I made the people at the theater I was working part-time at listen to me do it over an over. I mean, I knew that song now, y’all. It’s the perfect showstopper, but was also good motivation for me because I wasn’t letting anyone, including me, rain on this chance. I was marching my band out! I was beating my drum! Those are lines from the song. Look it up. Or checkout the video at the end of this post.

So, the day of the audition rolled around, and my mom drove me down to the Port of Miami, where the ship I was auditioning on was docked. I had my resume and picture in hand, and I walked into the theater where the judges were waiting. I don’t remember all of it, but I know that I went pretty easy through “Get On Your Feet”, with all of the 90’s gusto I had. The judges smiled. So far, so good. All that was left now was for me to get through “Don’t Rain Om My Parade”.  The backing track started, and there I went. And it was going really well. I felt good about it, and I could tell that the judges were feeling it, too. I saw them smile, and nod. Then 2 guys who already worked on the ship in shows walked by, and they stopped to watch and listen. And they were grooving, too. And I. Felt. Great. And I was almost to the end of the song, the very last like 4 measures of the whole thing, when I realized that the version that I had been listening to, the one I learned, changed keys at the end. How the heck ever, this version right here that I was singing to, did not. And I was so in the moment, so grooving like I had it, and I did NOT have it, because I missed the non-key change, and I soared…. to the wrong note. And I wasn’t present enough to change it, so I belted that wrong note with everything I had. I saw eyebrows raise, because they saw what happened. And they heard what happened. And they smiled, and thanked me for coming. And I didn’t get that particular job. But I got many more as the months and years went by. So that was okay.

If there is any lesson in this, besides it just being a good story, I guess that it’s being fearless, even if you mess up. And being present in what you are doing so that you can switch lanes, or notes. And it’s also knowing, and this I am sure of, that there is always another audition, another gig, another chance to get it right. Keep going.

And here is some inspiration from Barbra.


11 Responses to “That Time I Auditioned For Carnival Cruise Lines”

  1. angiehaube@gmail.com' Angie says:

    YES!!! Yes to ALL of this goodness! I’m so glad there is a YOU!

  2. Awesome story Lynne! Love it…And though I live in Maryland now, I am from York, PA…
    Renee Stambaugh recently posted…Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of BloggingMy Profile

  3. Great story! I hate that that happened in the middle of your audition, but love that you were so “into it”. That is a great performer!
    Cathy Lawdanski, recently posted…Life Change Via Facebook?My Profile

  4. pamjackson78@yahoo.com' Pam says:

    I used this song as my senior quote!

  5. darashultz@gmail.com' Dara says:

    I LOVED this because I’ve battled performance anxiety for as long as I can remember, but I know it’s important to simply keep going. Your story was so powerful because, while you didn’t get that particular job, you didn’t let that experience keep you from learning & growing. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • SweetMidlife says:

      Dara!! Thank you! It can be frustrating when you nail things at home, then get in front of people, and you are like “Umm, what’s that line?” We all have to keep going! Thanks for writing.

  6. Awesome story of being fearless and keeping going regardless of any mistakes. I have gotten better at that because I used to suffer from debilitating performance anxiety. Thank you for remind us to stay present.
    Raisefrequency recently posted…Get Rid of Performance Anxiety and Become Fearless – Enjoy your Life   My Profile

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