My first principal audition was for Richard Rodgers’ Lincoln Center Revival of OKLAHOMA!. It was for the role of Will Parker and would be at the New York State Theatre. I was informed that Mr. Rodgers would be there and I should not sing one of his songs because he would get upset if you didn’t sing it correctly
I thought my chances would be better if I sang a ballad to demonstrate that I was a trained singer as well as being a dancer. I chose Leonard Bernstein’s Lonely Town from ON THE TOWN.
I just sang the first line when he shouted from the back of the rehearsal room, “Stop! I don’t want to hear you sing that song. You’re auditioning for a comic character. Don’t you have a comedy song?” In shock, I managed to mutter, “No, Sir, I don’t. But I can sing Kansas City.” He shouted louder, “Then sing it! You have to sing it in the show!” I responded, “Yes, Sir! I love the song.” I sang the verse & first chorus.
When I finished, he again shouted, “Young man, can you dance?” “Yes, Sir, I can!”, I replied. “Then, show me!” Thank God, I had prepared a routine!”
When I finished, once more he shouted, “Young man, is there anything you can’t do?” I shouted back, “No, Sir, there isn’t!” I got the job and I didn’t even have to read the part!!