Friday, July 30, 2010

I Wanna Be a Producer

The marquee at the Campus Theatre

It's almost that time again! One week from today, I'll open the next show...the hilarious Mel Brooks musical The Producers.

Tyler Lohr as Leo Bloom, Mandy Rausch as Ulla

This show will go down in my own personal history as a really big step in my progress towards becoming a healthier, more fit ME and as a result, a more confident person as a whole.

6 months and 30 pounds ago, I never would've gotten this role. I'm still battling the "old Mandy" inside my head as I go to costume fittings and step onto the stage and put on the persona of a character who causes every (straight) male character's jaws to drop to the floor.

I'm not gonna lie...this process has been one mental struggle after another. My biggest enemy has been myself, and I can be a stubborn pain in the ass. ;) The thing that's really interesting about this whole process has been that I've noticed myself NOT promoting the show as much as I normally would to my friends and family. When friends asked me what I'm rehearsing for, I would quickly answer "Producers" and then change the subject because I genuinely feared the reaction I would get when I answered the inevitable next question of "Which role are you?" If I wasn't able to avoid the question, I'd mumble "....Ulla" rather than stepping up and OWNING that shit.

Then came the inevitable meltdown when "old Mandy" took over in the poorly lit dressing room of a dance store where I went to buy my tights and leotard and VERY SHORT black shorts for the show. I felt sick to my stomach and embarrassed at myself for even auditioning. It was not a good night.

The next day, I emailed one of my best friends and just spilled my guts out to her and said everything you're not supposed to say because it's obnoxious and sounds like you're fishing for compliments. But that's what friends are for, right? She pointed out some things to me that I knew, but needed to be reminded of:

* I have come a LONG way. No matter what, I need to remember that and be proud of the body I have now. It's not perfect, and who the hell knows what a "perfect" body is anyway?

* NOWHERE in the script does it say that Ulla needs to be "tall" or "thin." The only thing it says in the script description of her is that she is "Swedish" and "very beautiful." Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think I can pull off "Swedish and beautiful" with the right wig and makeup. ;)

* I am working with an incredible cast, and as long as I sell it and Max and Leo sell it (and Sean and Tyler are just making me feel like a million bucks every night), the audience will buy it.

So I got over myself (mostly) and started thinking, "You know what? I will own this. I'll probably never play this role again in my life, but that's what's so great about doing community theatre sometimes. Because of the limitations and the crappy pay (haha), we get LOTS of opportunities to play roles we may never get in the 'real theatre world.'"

Ulla's song is called "When You've Got it, Flaunt it." I may not have what everyone else thinks, but does that really matter?? No. It's my job to take what I do have, and flaunt the HELL out of it. And I damn sure will do that.