Late Bloomer

At 27 years old I called my parents with news.

"Guess what. I'm in a play."

"You act?"

"And it's a musical."

"You sing?!" My folks, perplexed, double checked I was their son.


A few hours earlier I drove across Summit County, Colorado from Breckenridge to Dillon to audition for a play.

"How can you not be nervous?"

"I'm not the idiot who cast me," I said.

Zero interest in acting, I read somewhere act so you know how to write for actors which sounded reasonable so when an open audition at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company popped up in the paper, I thought what the hell and rehearsed a monologue by running through a single page Mark Twain piece three times.

Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Ignorant and shameless—a delicious combination for odd life experiences—I sang with a CD driving around Lake Dillon, a working soundtrack for the current screenplay I was writing. In the story a tech billionaire built a casino complex in a retro, Rat Pack fashion. Sinatra led me through "All of Me", "Witchcraft" and other standards, keeping nerves hibernating.

My first audition, I knew none of the standard operating procedures which means I did nothing right reflected beautifully in my neophyte answers:

  • "Correct. Zero times on stage."
  • "No, I don't have it memorized."
  • "God no! That'll screw me up."

I read the Twain piece to the back of the theatre.

In the theatre's dim light the director said, "Thank you."

Done! What a brave thing I just did. I'm so proud of me for not turning around.

The soft, internal praise from my ego got interrupted with, "What are you going to sing?"

"Sing? What am I going to sing?"

"Yes."


Once.

I sang in public once before, 5 or 6 years earlier fueled by 32oz cheap beer from Potter's on Pearl street. I performed Prince at karaoke.

Here I was stone sober, unprepared, and this may be a key point: I did not sing.


"...well I was listening to something on the way over..."

"You want accompaniment?"

"God no! That'll screw me up!"

On stage in front of strangers, experts in their craft of theatre and musicals and music I sang "Under My Skin" acapella, too unprepared for nerves to attack.


I walking into my home, the landline ringing. Did I want to be in a musical? I would have 5 songs.

"You know this is Geoffrey, right?"


Opening night, huddled together with the talent, a cast member asked if I was nervous 30 minutes before the curtain rose on my world debut.

The six other folks in the play had hundreds of professional performances between them. One woman—my character's love interest—was in the major London production of "Annie".

She played Annie.

The others, paid actors, singers, a drama teacher of 40 years, and another, this was his 98th show, all buzzed, ready for the start of the run.

Another Play [A different play, the only other one.]

"Oh my god! I'm so excited!" Annie turned to me. "Are you nervous?"

I told the truth. "No."

Everyone turned to me. First play. First public performance. First—

"How can you not be nervous?"

"I'm not the idiot who cast me," I said.

The director, backstage with us, howled.


We performed an extra week of shows by popular demand.

At 27 I learned I sing well.


I perform every now and then these days.

The last gigs were back to back 2 hour sets singing and playing guitar with Three Out Rally, my band born of softball.

Three Out Rally 2014

I'm not compelled to perform. I'm compelled to play. If there's a sport around I would infinitely rather be on the field than in the stands.

It so happens people want to watch other people play which means someone needs to perform and most folks don't want to.


[Another day I'll share the story of how a 15 minute gig for 8 bands expanded into 4 hours of performing by Three Out Rally as the other 7 dropped out over 10 days.]


The past year was one of the most informative in my life as I, the late bloomer, co-founded (and recently closed) a company which I think was two decisions away from becoming huge.

One issue: we needed a better engineer.

Over the next 1286 days I intend to 100x my engineering abilities.

It ain't never too late.