When I was 15, I was very much a musical theater creep. You might imagine, then, my excitement at finding out that, when I worked at a summer camp, one of my campers was the son of the casting director for Rent (which was, at the time, at its apex of critical praise and not yet gobbled up by hefty midwestern teenagers desperate to learn that "urban grit" equated exclusively to cursing while singing and having AIDS). Being a musical theater creep consequently allowed me to pertain a natural propensity for getting my way, and it wasn't long before I booked an audition for the show.
Dressed in my finest cargo pants and a tee shirt that read "Mind The Gap" (Anybody else been to the UK recently? Didn't think so!), I scurried off to a small rehearsal space in midtown Manhattan with my dad, where we sat surrounded by professional actors in the waiting room, headshots in hand, hoping to finally make it! Rent hadn't yet entered its age of featuring American Idol rejects or boy band members who, once they adopted horn-rimmed glasses and an arbitrary scarf, were totally and unrecognizably "Bohemian," so I figured I'd had a chance. I was even told by many that I was a gifted singer - especially at my young age - which resulted in my harboring a delicately bloated hubris. I still remember fantasizing about being THE YOUNGEST RENT CAST MEMBER EVER (or, at least, maybe getting to complete high school with a tutor and, consequently, no phys. ed. requirements).
My dreams, however, were shattered when, standing about twenty feet away from a fold-out table occupied by two casting assistants, I realized that I was a gawky, Jewwy adolescent auditioning for a "rock opera" with k.d. lang's "Constant Craving." I learned the hard way that, no matter how talented a vocalist I may have been, two young professionals were witnessing a young man begging to be the victim of a hate crime as he sang a ballad whose ambiguous theme might have been about cigarette addiction or sapphic longing.
Needless to say, I was not called back.
However, I like to think that, had I been auditioning for my own small-tent venue at Lilith Fair, I might just have won a little piece of every lesbian troubadour's heart.
[Footnote: I firmly believe k.d. is one of our generation's finest singers and actresses, so eat it.]