In addition to movies, another one of my passions happens to be the theatre. I have acted in and directed numerous local productions, but am not involved in any shows at the moment, nor was I intending to be for a while. So, you can imagine my surprise when my friend Mary Jeanne Reynales (the woman who directed me in Fiddler on the Roof a few years ago) showed up at my doorstep this morning asking me if I'd be willing to play Henry Ford. She is currently Ragtime. It closes this weekend (I had already purchased my tickets for Saturday night), but it turns out the actor portraying the part of Henry Ford had a conflict for Friday night. Despite the notoriety of the character, it's apparently a pretty small part (he only has one solo song which lasts about 96 seconds and is otherwise just a member of the chorus in the opening number). She told me that she thought of me because I can carry a tune, am a quick study when it comes to lines/blocking and, not least of all, I can fit into the costume.
Naturally I was flattered, but I had never seen Ragtime nor, quite frankly, know anything about it (aside from the fact that one of my friends loves it... primarily I think because Brian Stokes Micthell was in it). So, I borrowed her CD and listened to the two songs that I'd presumably be singing in. I thought they were both quite good. Thus, because the commitment was minimal (one night's performance only) and this was a something that I had never attempted before (stepping into a ready-made role almost practically at the "last minute"), I told her I'd do it.
Some actors simply dream the actor's nightmare, but I get to actually live it. If I can accomplish this task at a reasonably competent level, I'll feel pretty good about myself. It'll mean that I've conquered an acting challenge that I've never had to confront in my theatrical "career." Granted, it'll be a little weird to appear in a show before I've even had a chance to see it, but in all honesty I'm actually looking forward to this. I think it'll be fun. Oddly enough, I don't feel any stress or pressure about it. If I'd had more time to think about it-if I had been approached a week ago for example-I'd probably be nervous, but since I go on in three days, the truth is I don't really have any time to develop any worry.
Anyway, this should be interesting and I'll be sure to tell you all how it goes. In the meantime, I need to go listen to the CD about eighty-six more times between now and Friday... just to be safe.