The First Baptist Church in Orlando holds a huge Christmas show called "The Singing Christmas Trees" each year. I have never been to the show before, but this year the director, Aradhana Tiwari, invited me in to witness how this huge production is put together. First Baptist is a large complex with many buildings and I got a bit lost trying to find the Harbor Room where the auditions were to be held.
When I entered she was explaining to everyone how the auditions were to run. In the hallway there were a series of rooms each assigned a specific task. One room was for measuring actors for costumes and others were for various paper work that needed to be filled out. A release had to be signed which would allow the church to broadcast the show on National Television. Everyone was issued a number, I was number 60, so I am assuming there are at least 60 actors in this cast. Aradhana's mom was put in charge of all the children. She had sock puppets made and the kids might stage a mini play satirizing their parents roll in the production.
When everyone got back from all the paperwork and measurements, Aradhana asked them to stand in a large circle and hold hands. She prayed on every one's behalf that any nervousness or actors jitters might be calmed. She asked that everyone in the room be able to serve with a glad and open heart.
There was a break before the dance auditions began and I had a chance to talk with a dancer named Rachael. She came to Orlando thinking it would be a good place to get her actors equity card but it has been years and she is still working as a temp for Disney. She came from a small town with a small Lutheran Church. She is a member of First Baptist now and finds it a contrast to the small church of her youth, but she loves the theatrical aspect of the place.
New #USkWorkshop in San Francisco, Oct. 10: