By Kelly Bosch, Program Manager
New York City. This had always been Karen’s dream, always. And, Karen’s plans for this dream were not small. They included all the fun touristy things do to, but at the top of the list was auditioning for the historic Apollo Theater. For ten years, Karen has been singing/dancing/acting for a decade now at Interact for the Visual and Performing Arts. She is a self-proclaimed “diva,” performing 2-3 plays a year for large audiences in grand theaters. So, when Karen found out they were holding open auditions at the Apollo the week we were going to be there, all the stars aligned!
The early departure day started off flawlessly. We breezed through airport security and even had time for a quick breakfast before boarding the plane. Once the wheels hit the tarmac in New York, Karen flashed me the biggest smile and quietly said: “We are in New York City!” Then, the adventures began.
Once we got settled at our hotel, we hit the streets of the Big Apple. There was so much shopping, walking and stuffing our faces with endless amounts of good food on every block. We even squeezed in Karen’s very first massage – much needed relaxation in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city streets. Thursday, audition day, was fast approaching.
That day started with breakfast and meeting up with an old friend from Interact who had moved to New York. She was so excited to hear that Karen was auditioning for the Apollo that morning. The studio where the audition was being held was only five blocks from our hotel. Was this fate or what? We arrived 10 minutes before the doors opened for sign up with just enough time to thaw out a little. Karen was 38th in line so she continued her warm-ups. Those two hours were slightly nerve racking, hearing what seemed like every click of the second hand of the clock on the bare, white wall.
Finally, it was time. Karen stood in front of three judges and belted out the classic tune “On Broadway.” The judges sang along and really enjoyed her performance. Karen ROCKED it! One of the judges told Karen to “keep doing what you’re doing.” She could not have been happier after hearing that.
Her day had already been made after the audition, but it was about to get even better. Our next stop was actually on Broadway to see “Mama Mia” – Karen’s favorite musical! We were one row away from the stage. SO close! The show wrapped up with Karen showing off some sweet moves to “Dancing Queen” in the aisle. As it was the last night of the trip, we ended it with a fancy dinner of filet mignon!
I have worked with Karen for nine years, and I have heard about this dream for nearly as long. It was such an amazing experience to see all of this through Karen’s eyes and enthusiasm. She crossed off a lot of things on her dream list, and it was beyond rewarding to be there with her. This was truly a vacation to remember and we want to extend a huge thank you to Joe and Kathy Reis for the incredible support in making this dream a reality!