It happened again. You went to the audition. You learned your music. You memorized your monologue. You stood up in front of the director and performed with your entire being, just as you always do.
But you didn't get the part. Again.
And guess what? That's okay.
It's okay because the cast list is not a reflection of your talent, dedication, or potential as a performer.
Yes, you read that correctly. The cast list is not a reflection of your abilities.
In high school, I was the girl that didn't get the part. Every single time. I loved theater more than anything, but every time the cast list went up, it was somebody else's name in that coveted top spot, and every time, I was equally as crushed. I let it drive me deep into a dark, twisty, anxious hole of self-doubt and hatred. After all, I thought, if I wasn't even good enough for the lead in a stupid high school production, or for a solo in show choir, how was I ever going to get anywhere in real life?
As I started to look at colleges, I pushed music and theater out of my mind. That wasn't practical. I clearly wasn't good enough for that. I explored "real" career options--early childhood education, history, or pre-med--which are all great careers, but everything brought me back to music. That's what I really wanted to spend my life on. I'll never forget the day I was discussing it with my mom, and she said, "Why don't you go into music? That seems to be what you're really interested in."
"Because I'm not good enough for that." I quickly replied.
Says the cast list. Says the ensemble role. Says the non-singing, one-scene character I was playing.
But, after a lot of relentless persuasion, I scheduled an audition for a college music education program. I rationalized it as an experiment. If I didn't get in, which seemed inevitable based on my long history of near-misses, I would just fall back on a "real" major.
And then I got in.
Someone saw potential in me. Maybe it was talent, maybe it was my sheer desire to do well, maybe it was the need for another body in the shrinking music education program. Whatever it was, I'll never know. But I got in, and since then I've done nothing but show after show. I've played lead, supporting, and ensemble roles, sang arias in Opera Scenes and Bach Cantatas, and performed with my choirs in Madrigal Feastes and concerts all across the country. I've been incredibly lucky to have so many great opportunities not only within the music department, but also within the theater department, even though I am not a theater major or minor. I've fallen deeply in love with singing, acting, and performing.
I'm not writing this as a "look what I've done." I'm not trying to shove my accomplishments at anyone. I'm simply proving that talent is not measured by a role in a show or a solo in a choir concert, especially at the high school level. I can't even begin to imagine what my life would look like had I given up on music entirely after I wasn't the shining star of my high school. I can't imagine anything but the crazy, wonderful life I'm living now. Don't give up what you love because it's not going your way right now.
If music and/or theater is what you are passionate about, there is an opportunity out there for you.
Read that again: if music/theater is your passion, there is an opportunity out there for you.
Maybe it's just your college stage with six other girls in a production of Quilters (which is exactly what it sounds like--a musical about quilts.) Maybe it's singing the "Welcome to Music" song with your class of first graders as you walk in the door and they swarm you with hugs. Maybe it's hanging lights or designing costumes or stage managing. Maybe it's just standing on the second row of risers in the soprano section and singing Handel's "Messiah" with your choir.
You might never make it big. There is a huge chance you'll never be on Broadway, or in the next hit television series, or the Metropolitan Opera--that's just a fact.
But if that's what you want, make it happen. There is absolutely nothing stopping you.
So, to the girl who didn't get the role, you are talented. You are good enough. You do have potential. I know you feel like a talent-less sad sack right now, but I assure you that is not the case.
Do not let one cast list get in the way of your entire life. Find what you love and do that forever; don't settle for anything less.
Oh, and one more thing--Music is a real major. Don't let anyone try to tell you it's not. Explore your options!