I have written here and here about how I blame my siblings for me not meeting my full potential of being a huge sports star or an Academy Award winning actor.
After the Headless Horseman debacle it took me a few years to recover before I decided that theater was the avenue for me to take in an effort to be noticed. My freshman year in high school I decided to audition (not “try-out” see the whole play practice/rehearsal post here) for the fall play “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller. I remember during the audition sitting with my friend CharLynn and asking her for pointers. She had performed in various shows in middle school and was the only person I actually knew at the audition. The director called my name, I went up and read the lines and he immediately cast me in the show. I nailed the audition. The director could clearly see the talent in front of him. Actually, there were six male roles to fill and only five males auditioned, but that did not make any difference, I was very excited to be doing something no one else in my family had done. I was going to be in a play. I was cast in the small role of Frank, who was played by Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter from MASH) in the original broadway production. A small role, but still a role.
I remember my mom and dad being very happy for me. I did not realize at the time that the fact that I was going to be a thespian would hurt my street-cred in school as well with my brothers. Being in plays was not really considered the cool thing to do. I was mocked. I was teased. But I was having a good time. I met my friend’s Susan and Caren during this show and we are still friends 20 plus years later.
When it came time for opening night I remember I had a difficult time convincing my siblings to come to the show. The show nights conflicted with Basketball games and part time jobs and making-out with Nancy W. Arthur Miller was not known for his slapstick comedies so I could understand the hesitation. I am sure my mom forced some of them to come see me perform but for the most part it was a light turn out. But I had fun. I was a star. I was the favorite son for a weekend.
The springtime show in my freshman year was “Grease”. It was going to have the same director as “All My Sons” and he asked me to audition. The director asked me to audition and with the male turn out of the last audition I was guaranteed a good role. Little did I realize that “Grease” was (and is) a very popular show. Almost every male and their brother auditioned for the musical.
Including my brother Kevin.
Guess who got cast as Danny Zuko the lead role in the musical? Danny Zuko who was played by John Travolta in the movie. That’s right, my brother Kevin. I was cast as part of the chorus AKA the wallflower. Granted Kevin was a senior and I was a freshman. It was a musical and Kevin could sing really well. I on the other hand sounded like Peter Brady hitting puberty (hell I was just about hitting puberty at that time). Kevin could dance. He knew the "Hand Jive". I moved like I was having a Grand Mal Seizure. Kevin deserved the part. He was good. Damn good.
Here, I thought theater was going to bring me recognition. But, no. Kevin literally, stole my spotlight. I was crushed. I was Harry Morgan and he was John Travolta.
But did Kevin lose street-cred? Was he mocked or teased? No. Did anyone make up an excuse not to go see him in the show? No.
At first I was bitter, but as the show progressed a couple of good things came out of it.
I got to hang out with my brother Kevin and a bunch of seniors.
Kevin made being involved in theater a cool thing to do.
And during the song Beauty School Dropout, a few nights a week, to a packed auditorium of parents and students, I got to yell "Hooker".