Jubilee! Principal Auditions

Hey Member!

I know I promised this to you months ago, but I wanted to save these videos for the right time of year. January was always the hardest time in the show. It was full of stress and anxiety just after the holidays. We usually had auditions the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of the month. So it was a lot of pressure on some of us. The contract ended mid-March, so the auditions needed to be 6 weeks before the end of contract to make time for the changeover.

For the chorus, the only thing we had to worry about was what we were wearing and being there on time. If you were under a weight notice, it was more stressful. Then you had to really think if you wanted to have a slice of pie over the holidays.

For aspiring principals, you were required to create a routine that showed off your dancing skills and ability to command a stage. I learned of this expectation shortly before the holidays. And I had three willing men that wanted to help me let the managers know I was interested in being a Principal.

January 2001

Nine months into my first contract, (they did a year contract this time around which made the cast and crew nervous thinking the show would close at the end of it…) I began getting this piece ready for the January audition. This was co-choreographed by all three men, and I choreographed my solo with the guidance that they “love ballerinas, show them you can dance.”

Performed with Anthony Brown (starting on left, later promoted to principal and the first Black Samson,) Jeff (center, can’t remember his last name, chorus boy that came into the show with me,) and Eric Flemming (right, Principal and Samson at the time).

I made my dress and g, and was advised to wear heels. Enjoy!

April 2001

Shortly after my first principal audition, having not been promoted yet, I was approached by a tall nude whose husband was looking to audition for the Folies Bergere as an adagio male, but he needed a partner. She asked if I was interested in learning adagio from him as he had been a star at the Lido in Paris and trained all his previous partners. I knew it would help me get into the spotlight, whether it was at the Trop or Bally’s so I went ahead and went into training. How could I say no to $1500 a week vs. the $715 I was making as a short nude?

It was the hardest training I had ever done in my life. We worked for 6 weeks, going to the gym, working out, stretching (as if I wasn’t already flexible enough…) and learning the tricks. It was brutal. I’ll make a video about the specifics someday. This man, Pal Mayer, was trained by Sean Cronin, as I found out this summer while meeting him on my Showgirls Road trip with Sheri Lewis.

My husband at the time was an acro in the show and was supportive of me going for it, even though it may have been a contract breech with my standing at Jubilee! And my knee was fine…it just rattled me. Enjoy! (Costume was Pal’s, made for his previous partner.)

July 2001

I didn’t get the job at the Trop, though he did. No animosity, but I am willing to bet that there was a phone call between Ginny Murphy/Jerry Jackson and Fluff LeCoque/Diane Palm that day.

I needed a routine for the summer audition and asked him if he would be willing to help me out as I had helped him get that job. This next audition was a favor to me, and it was made clear that he was not really auditioning, just helping me out. (Though in hindsight, he was reminding them that he was in town…)

We hadn’t worked together since the beginning of April, and spent 2 hours in the gym rehearsing a couple days prior, then did this version of the routine. The E! TV crew was in audience for the Nearly Famous reality show, which is why there is a massive mic in the shot at times. Enjoy!

January 2002 Audition

This was a strange time in the show. Competition for the female Principal understudies spots seemed to be heating up and there were multiple contenders. Me, Sue White (previously a demi principal in the early days of the show,) Anna Cooke (wife and partner to Brett Heine who was later promoted to Principal to take the spot that was left by Eric Flemming,) Paula Allen, A woman named Roberta, whose husband was being eyed for Samson as well, and probably a few more that I can’t remember.

After this audition, they began doling out understudy spots to us. I was awarded Dollies with Anna Cooke, plus promoted to demi-principal with Anna and Sue. This was the contract that they added the pier scene back into the show the first time. Three girls and three guys came out and did a little cutesy number. I am told these were Principal spots back in the day.

This time, I didn’t have a partner to audition with. I can’t remember whom Pal auditioned with, but he got the job. I think it may have been Sue White. And Anthony was determined to make it this time. So he wrangled all the principal understudies he could to do a number with him. But I did this number to remind them I could dance, yet again.

My mother had choreographed a number for a student older than me back at her studio, and I always loved this song. So I did my own version of it. And I wanted to be creative and do something different, so I had a friend teach me a few hat tricks. Nerves got the best of me.

Later on, I was criticized by one of the Principals for this costume, which I assembled myself. I made the skirt and used a store bought top and hat. She told me that they need to see legs, that’s all they care about. I think it still went pretty well. Enjoy!

Just a bit of juicy gossip, Pal got the job over Anthony, but then injured himself in rehearsals at which point Anthony re-auditioned and became Principal.

So, as a short nude and demi-principal, I had been introduced to my partner Andrew with an in-between shows audition orchestrated by Fluff. I have no recollection of this “audition,” but Anthony and Andrew both said that it was a few of the understudy girls, and a few understudy boys, plus Principals that were called up to the stage between shows to try some lifts.

Brett, (the current Samson,) Stan, (the husband of Roberta,) Anthony, and Andrew were all instructed to dead press me and a few other girls. Andrew was the only one that could lift me. Not because the other guys were weak, but because the leverage was different. Andrew easily hoisted me in the air, no problem. Listen to his first episode and Anthony‘s for recounts of these stories. I have only a crappy photo of me being lifted by Stan as a physical memory of this experience.

July 2002 Audition

Andrew and I were paired to perform Love/S&M together as understudies. A match made in heaven, we immediately bonded and became dance partners. It was decided that we would audition together that summer. Andrew choreographed this piece and I borrowed a costume from Pal. Very close to Andrew’s roots as a modern dancer, this was a different and fun challenge to take on.

January 2003

Andrew and I didn’t audition together this time, I can’t recall why. I think he was auditioning with another hopeful, maybe Patrycja Rodriguez? I had hoped to audition with Anthony, as he had promised, but he flaked on me and I was forced to throw this piece together at the last minute. This costume was an old favorite from my competition days as a teen. It still fits. Thank goodness for stretch velvet. Enjoy!

In July of 2003, I auditioned with another Principal hopeful that didn’t go very well. I was dropped multiple times solidifying his inability to be a Principal. He continued to be an understudy, but only a few lesser roles. I am not showing his video out of respect for his privacy. I will share a Showgirl Story Time someday of the time when I was required to perform one of those understudy spots, even though I complained the whole time.

January 2004

This was the piece that got me the contract. At this point, they were short a Principal who was on maternity leave and she wasn’t coming back. I was performing as a Principal nearly every night, leading up to this audition. There were four of us in the running for the spot: Sue White, Paula Allen, Anna Cooke and me.

I decided to go big, create a solo and borrow a fan from Donna London. She was hesitant to lend it to me, but gave me careful instructions on how to care for it. It hung safely from my costume rack when it wasn’t being used to rehearse, and no damage was inflicted on it.

I solicited the help from my friend Sara, who was a tall nude, had been a principal understudy at the Lido in Paris and had been a Showgirl for longer than my dance career. She helped pull out of me this choreography and fan work. I had so much support for this audition from my closest friends. And I was resolved to get the spot. If I didn’t, I was going to leave. And I made sure to let the only one who would make sure Fluff and Diane would know that know. He has a big mouth. lol

I got the job, along with Sue White. We were both promoted to Principal with our understudy partners. I had not known at the time that it was possible to have 4 Principal couples. But the vacancy of one of the Principal female singers had made it possible for the two of us to advance.

This was also Linda Green’s last contract. I did not know it until much later. Hence the beautiful weekly celebrations we had every Thursday. Room 3 consisted of Linda Green, Marlena and myself. Sue White shared a dressing room under the stairs with another female singer. It was political. And my first foray into that realm of the job.

July 2004

At this point, I was already a Principal, but true to Donn Arden’s standards, every performer was required to re-audition for their job every contract change. I wasn’t too worried about my job at this point, so I did a playful silly routine this time around. Enjoy! (Unfortunately, you can’t see my facial expressions and lip syncing. Hopefully the audience reactions are indicative.)

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into this Showgirl’s path to the spotlight. I treasure these videos as they represent a journey of blood, sweat, tears and heartbreak. Thank you for taking the time to read and watch.

XOXO! Athena

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