My near-death Broadway experience

My near-death Broadway experience

It was a few months after my old band Mythica and I had opened for Spin Doctors and Sister Hazel. We were still riding high off of our recent success, and I was looking forward to going back into the studio to cut my new album. I was headed to band practice when I got a call on my cell phone…

“Hello, this is Melissa.”

“Hi,” said a woman on the other end. “My name is Jen and I am with a talent recruiter in New York. We’re casting for a new musical on Broadway based on Spider-Man. Bono and The Edge are writing the music for it. Have you heard of them?”

My heart skipped a beat. Bono and The Edge? Are you freakin’ kidding me, lady?!

Composing myself, I asked Jen for more details: they were casting for the part of the villain spider goddess Arachne. Bono specifically wanted a singer who sounded similar to Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane or Elizabeth Fraser (of This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and Massive Attack fame, who I absolutely adore)—which led to Jen finding me through a Google search.

Despite my heart pounding a million beats a minute, I answered Jen’s questions – yes, I could come up to New York for an audition. Yes, I can be there next Wednesday. Thank you. Click.

Commence with VERY loud, excited screaming!!!

Melissa Cox Crimson Daughter Album />

The next week, I was hurtling towards my very first (and only) Broadway audition in a terrifyingly fast New York taxi. I tried to contain my excitement, but I couldn’t help thinking that this could be it!

But walking through the front doors of the agency and gazing around the lobby, my heart quickly sank as I came to several sobering realizations: I was, at best, a seven in a room full of tens. I was the only blonde, blue-eyed girl in the room auditioning for the role of a black widow spider, so I wasn’t exactly going to be type-cast. And, the girl auditioning in the next room was a far better singer than me.

So, needless to say, I didn’t get the part. I’ll spare you the gory details of my audition…like how my uncontrollable nerves caused me to crack my voice twice, and how I bombed my line-reading (hey, I’m a musician, not an actor!) I was pretty bummed about not landing it. After all, how often do you get called to audition for a musical by Bono?

A few years later, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark started to hit the media, and it wasn’t good: many stuntmen had been injured, some seriously, due to apparent malfunctioning of safety nets and set rigs. And then Natalie Mendoza, the actress playing Arachne—the part I had auditioned for—left the show after sustaining a concussion during a preview show. Years later, citing financial distress and special effects challenges, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark actually went dark when the show permanently closed.

I was grateful for the incredible experience of auditioning for a real Broadway production, and humbled that a talent scout thought I was good enough of a singer to warrant a phone call. But I was most grateful for the fact that I wasn’t chosen at all and therefore avoided injury! (Thankfully, all of the injured actors and stuntmen made full recoveries.)

It reminds me that we all have a path in life, and sometimes that path is hard to find. My path was not becoming a Broadway actress. Instead, it was continuing my own independent music career, releasing more albums with my band Mythica, and later more solo albums, including my favorite album Crimson Daughter, which I am extremely proud of and I think you will enjoy.

Here’s to finding our own paths, and dodging some close calls along the way!

Much love,
xoxo Melissa

www.melcoxmusic.com

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.