After years of rejection, one last shot.

I was rejected 3 years in a row. I auditioned for a handful of student productions every year, but each time I auditioned for the Yale Dramat’s fall mainstage musical, I never got the hoped-for phone call.

But I decided that my senior year would be different. By this time, I had performed in over a dozen musicals and operas at Yale (one even got a really cool NYTimes review). I took extra acting and dance classes. I was ready.

So, I auditioned…and waited. Weeks passed. No phone call, but no official cast list—it was usually released by now. I held out hope, but it was fading fast. One night, as my friends and I sat down to watch a movie, my phone rang. It was the Stage Manager for Parade, this year’s Dramat Fall Mainstage. I was in.

A rehearsal for "Parade".

Even though I was cast in the show, I had a lot to learn. The rehearsal process called for anywhere from 3-12 hours of rehearsal a day. Many of my cast mates had been in multiple Dramat shows before, but I had never done anything quite like this. Choreographed scenes with newspapers and pickaxes took all my concentration to get right, since all I knew was ballroom. I felt out of place as I struggled to make the intensely choreographed pieces come together. But by show time, whether it was by some miracle or maybe just the pressure, everything finally clicked.

  A scene from "Parade".

Of all the shows I’ve been in at Yale, none were quite so massive as Parade. I was part of a cast of 19, and the production team, designers, crew, musicians, and stagehands numbered nearly 100. It took every single person to prepare and run the 700+ lighting and fly cues. I had 9 quick-changes in the show, and every costume piece had to come off and go on in just the right order or I wouldn’t even make it on stage.

  The cast of 'Parade" during a musical number.
                         Photo by Ken Yanagisawa, YDN. (That’s me on the far right!)

After 4 years of theater at Yale, it’s been amazing to see a production of this scale go up and to get to play a small part in it. I learned just how talented my peers are, and finally had a chance to learn from them on the job. But more than the skills, I learned that everything seems to come at the right time–people were saying this was the best show they’d ever seen at Yale. I may have been rejected over and over again, but this time, everything went right, and it felt good to help make that happen before I graduate.