Broadway or Bust



SUSAN a breast cancer survivor

JOHNNY, an alcoholic

Team3 CHORUS GIRLS, also survivors

INTERVIEWER, hardened to pain (in room but not onstage)

An empty stage, the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, New York.
At Rise: we hear something like, 'Remember The Time,'by Michael Jackson.

An actor in Civil War attire, JOHNNY walks over to SUSAN, an actress dressed like a cat in ballet attire. Both hold audition sides.

INTERVIEWER (Vicious): You have 15 minutes for this third call back. Couple no. 2 you're on deck.

(SUSAN continues ballet warm ups.)

JOHNNY (Panic): Wanna dance?

SUSAN (Terrified): First position. Second position. Third. My costume's too tight.

JOHNNY(Scatterbrained, blinded): What are you?

SUSAN (Paranoid) : I'm a cat.
(Fixes her bodice, annoyed)
I always wanted to be a cat. F.U. I'll do it in I feel like it.

JOHNNY: They said to dress like a bunny.

(JOHNNY fights to hold her.)

JOHNNY: It's a love scene. Must be a paranormal if the guys are in military duds.

SUSAN: Stop! I don't know what your issues are, but you're crazy.

JOHNNY: I've an ambitious, conceptual framework for this audition.

(His heart races. He grabs her with clammy hands.)

SUSAN: Don't; let me focus. (Chants) Ma, may, mee, mo, moo......This could be my last chance for Broadway.

(SUSAN grasps her bra strap, pushes up a pad.)

JOHNNY (Angry): We're scene partners.

SUSAN (Freaked): Don't stress me. (Chants)Ne, nee, no-oh, nuuuuuu

JOHNNY: Something speaks to you about the scene I got to know.
SUSAN: Ba, Bay, Be, Bo-oh, Bu,

(A song bursts on, something like 'La Mer,' by Chantal Chamberland.)

(JOHNNY scared, tense, his body movements sharp as he dances. SUSAN refuses, adjusts her cleavage, does ballet moves)

SUSAN: Who's sending out that music?

JOHNNY: There's this click of powerful technicians that have the door closed.

SUSAN: Ka Ka Ka, Fa, Fah-

JOHNNY: We're supposed to dance to whatever they play.

SUSAN (Blurts out): Music's the wrong period... for the sides.

JOHNNY: Anachronistic, but folks are watching.

(He pulls her abruptly on the floor)

SUSAN: Oh my god, out there in the theatre. I didn't see--
I go to an audition, I go from it's good to omygod what's happening here, to it's god awful.

(Tango music comes on, something like 'Caramel,' by Suzanne Vega.)

INTERVIEWER (Bitter): Couple no 2. You have 13 minutes.

SUSAN: Lets dance!

(They tango, and lose their terror in helping each other)

JOHNNY: Girl, you're working that outfit.

INTERVIEWER (Hostile on sound system): You're supposed to tango and sing.

(Nervous, JOHNNY picks up his guitar and plays)

JOHNNY: It won't do
To dream of caramel
To think of cinnamon
And long for you

SUSAN: Fark! You sing too.

JOHNNY: Sing along with me.

(She struggles to keep up.)

INTERVIEWER (Hateful) sets off a LOUD beap, then says: We'd like to see the girl in another costume. There's a chest backstage. Take a few minutes.

SUSAN: (To INTERVIEWER): So does that mean that we passed the music audition. We're in the show?


SUSAN: (To JOHNNY, exiting): GRRRR. Claw. Claw.

JOHNNY: (Whispers) Men don't like cats because they can't control them. They say you have to wear a Fishnet bra with a lot of Òsea food. I hope you don't have the breasts of a platypus. This is the town of I want your body.


SUSAN: Ah here's Pandora's treasures.

(Desperate, SUSAN searches through a chest. JOHNNY clears his throat, warms ups his guitar while SUSAN grabs different wigs, fixes the bandage over one breast, puts on a hat.)

SUSAN (laughing nervous) : I wish that fantastically fantastic hats were still in style. And pasties like these were banished. I'm not stripping. Last audition I had to change ten times and I'm not doing that unless I get a lot of money.

JOHNNY: You want a Valium?

SUSAN (Mad) : This is me on a Valium. Men shouldn't fall in love because of a gal's body or hair color. Cause it can change. I don't want to give an entire day to this. Be part of a 'keep it alive art.' I'm a dramatic actress.

JOHNNY: Don't go paranoid.

SUSAN: I'm a triple Aries, I got to get angry. I don't want to get into a frenzy of hope.

JOHNNY: But--This show guarantees Broadway--if you'll talk about your near death crisis. How many actors will do that?

It's not good to be old or ill in theatre. Much less blab about it. (Calming her) Wear the Snow White Cape and practice with me. We could be a double threat.

(JOHNNY tries to calm them both by singing something like 'The Nearness of You.' She puts on the cape, with trembling fingers, sings along.)

INTERVIEWER: Okay kids, we're ready on set. Ten minutes.

(The actors go onstage. Something like striptease music comes on).

SUSAN (Horrified): They want us to move to that?

INTERVIEWER: You don't have to take your clothes off, but do come out with your boobs blazing.

JOHNNY: (Scared sweating, uncertain) I suppose I'll have to take my jacket and shirt off.

SUSAN: I'm not removing the cape. I may go see the show to see how awful you are.

(Sound system repeats: 'How awful you are!')

JOHNNY: I think we're being micked.

(Sound system repeats: 'Being micked'.)

SUSAN: What the fud. Fark!

(Sound system repeats: Fud. Fark.)

INTERVIEW: Sorry kids, there's been a change. We're doing the interview audition first. Take a minute to prepare.

SUSAN: Hand me my bag.

(Sound system: Hand me my bag.)

JOHNNY: Baggage from the Latin impedimentia.

(Sound system: impedimentia.)

(The two go offstage.)

SUSAN (Furious): What's the point of a bunch of overripe FRUITS sitting in the audience judging us.

JOHNNY (Uneasy): It's raining outside. At least run the death scene with me.

SUSAN: You're such a predictable show off.

JOHNNY: I'll lie over there. You come in here.

SUSAN: (reads, panicked) Oh god you're bloody, you look like you're dying.

JOHNNY (delirious, reads): Have I fallen asleep while waiting. Have I moved through so many wars in time I've lost everybody. (Gasping, bleeding.) Who's out there? Will they beat me back 17 times?

SUSAN: What do you want, dear?

JOHNNY: I want a funeral at night in they rain. I want everyone to be miserable.

SUSAN: Are you in horrible pain?

(Static of sound system. Another Auditioner rushes through)

ACTOR: Hard thing is to try not to tell it all too fast. Go slow. Don't feel you need to tell it all in first sentence. Don't say anything more than you have to. It's a stew. You don't know what pot is going to boil first.

INTERVIEWER RESOUNDING: Couple no. 2. Eight minutes.

(Flustered, JOHNNY and SUSAN go back onstage.)

INTERVIEWER: Okay. We'll start with the girl.

(Spotlight on Susan)

INTERVIEWER: How old are you?

SUSAN (Anxious): What age is Broadway looking for.

JOHNNY (Whispers) Young, younger, youngest

SUSAN: Is there a certain age that's...(A beat, spooked) I'm old. I'm in the game of pretending not, but I am.