What: Paramount’s Auditions for Beauty and the Beast
When: Today at 10 a.m.
Where: Actors’ Equity Office, Chicago
Who: Director Amber Mak, Choreographer Megan Farley, Music Director Kory Danielson, Casting Director Trent Stork, Interim Company Manager Jennette Nohl and “moi.”

On the job blogging, making notes to you during lunch. There’s a din coming from the jam-packed waiting room. All morning the singing actors have us attending them, appreciating the privilege we have sitting here. “We’ve got the best job in the world!” Amber quips 90 minutes in. It fascinates as we observe how, as each actor enters, the room transforms; the shifting energy as the door opens and closes behind them. We belong to them. The room becomes theirs, their confidence and their insecurities. The nerves, “Shake them off!” Voices release into the space, into the air, changing it and I swear even the light in the room.

Whether one overplays or underplays, mugs or “deadpans,” no matter. Each casts a spell, holds us, whatever their choices or skills, we see them as they are in a moment. The lighthearted and upbeat to the deeply felt and carefully measured. They stand there as honest as they can be. Auditioning is an act of giving. Our privilege is to receive. On acting, one of my idols, the great James Cagney, is quoted as saying, “Plant your feet, look the other guy in the eye, and tell the truth.” For me, a gift doesn’t get much better than that!

Auditioning is an act of giving. Our privilege is to receive.

The cast of The Producers has audiences on their feet eight shows a week. I keep returning with friends to see the show every week. Yeah, I’m a show-off! Seriously, forget your troubles and come see our stars Blake Hammond and Jake Morrissy leading their company of musical comedy geniuses before they close March 17. You will laugh til you cry! A privilege in itself.