I’m pretty open about the fact that I love musicals. I’m so lucky that I have a group of friends who love them too and they have become a regular part of my life. Musicals just make me so happy so I always love when I can have a night out enjoying a musical or seeing an incredible Broadway performer live!
And last week, I had the opportunity to see Lena Hall! I’ve actually seen Lena Hall perform live twice. She played both main roles in Hedwig during the run in LA and my friend Michelle and I went to see her play both (one way was in our season tickets and the other was something we bought on our own). So when I saw that Lena Hall was performing in LA, I immediately texted Michelle and we rushed to get tickets! Because we were purchasing them so early, we were able to do the cheap seats plus there was a discount code. So it ended up being a pretty affordable show for being such an amazing thing!
We knew going into the show that we were required to get at least dinner at the venue. I appreciated that they had the option to order dinner instead of having a drink minimum since I don’t really drink. Michelle and I got there early so we could eat and get our seats. We were seated at a high top table that was off to the side, but we were still pretty close to the stage. But we did realize that we were sitting right next to the dressing room so we knew Lena Hall would at least briefly be near us. We tried to order quickly so we wouldn’t be eating during the show and we both got their goat cheese pesto burger.
Michelle had read some not-so-good reviews about the food, but this burger was awesome! There was so much flavor and it was perfect! The fries weren’t as good (they were supposed to be garlic parmesan fries but neither of us tasted any garlic or parmesan), but it was still a pretty good meal. And we decided to splurge and got some dessert too. We couldn’t decide between the apple tart and the cheesecake, so we got both and we each took half.
After that, we were both so full but ready for the show to start! There was an opening act that played a couple of songs before Lena Hall came out. This was kind of like a one-woman show and it was called “Art of the Audition: From Falling Apart to Nailing the Part”. She told stories about various times that she auditioned starting when she was a child and sang the songs that she sang at those auditions. For example, when she was a teen and auditioned for Cats she sang “Dance 10, Looks 3” from A Chorus Line (which is a pretty hilarious choice).
Most of the songs that she sang as examples of what she auditioned with were songs that I was familiar with. And the stories she had were really funny. Many of them were similar to things I’ve experienced at auditions and were really relatable. She never tried to put on an act that she knew what she was doing or was better than others. She was just honest about how terrifying it can be to audition, especially when the part is one you really want.
She also discussed about how she struggled with trying to figure out what stereotype she could fit into since that is something that can be important to understand as an actor. She tried to fit different things and they never were right for her (which I totally get). But once she just was herself, she found the parts that were right for her or fit her type even if it didn’t seem that way on the page.
My favorite story of hers was when she discussed her audition for the Broadway company of Hedwig. She was at the final audition and was told to prepare a joke or a story in character. And she decided to create an entire backstory to her character to explain why she was at the audition and created a world where the character was there to get funding for a crowdfunding campaign. It was such a great story and a really good example of how you sometimes just have to go for it in the audition room. She had no idea if she made the right choice or not, but she made a choice and was memorable. And fortunately she booked the job too!
The show covered stories from when she was a child until recently and it was a pretty varied collection of stories (and the songs that went with the stories were pretty varied too). All of the stories were so funny and if there was no singing I would have still enjoyed the show.
But getting to hear Lena Hall sing was just wonderful. She is such a talented performer and I feel so lucky that I got to see this show since it only was happening for 1 night in LA. I would have loved to see it again but I guess I’ll just have to be on the lookout to see if she returns to LA again.