"Oh. My. God." Taylor gasped. "You're Annie?! I can't believe it!" Taylor picked her up and swung her around. "What did the director say?" "He said he's never heard a voice as sweet and childish and pure as mine. Is that good?" She asked.
"Oh, Alana, that's GREAT!" Taylor danced around the room again. "What are you going to do with a wig and everything?"
"Oh, I will wear a wig for the part with the red hair, and my own hair every other time. My hair, he said, was exactly the color and style Annie's hair is supposed to be" Alana explained.
Taylor nodded excitedly. "Oh, Alana, I love you!"
Two days later, Taylor was putting her flower-colored suitcase in the car. Jacob was going to take her, and her parents were going to meet her on Opening Night in 3 months.
"Jacob, I am nervous again!" Taylor expressed. "Last time I was nervous, we were going to the auditions!"
Jacob glanced at her lovingly. "Well, don't be. I love you, and they will love you!" He took his strong, tan hand, and lay it on hers. "Don't worry."
"But I won't get to talk to you or my family for a million years!" She flew her arms out. "I'll miss you forever!"
Jacob laughed. "Sweetie, you'll be so busy impressing all those 'Jellicles', and you won't have time to miss us!"
He glanced at her again. "Okay."Jacob looked at her with his moist brown eyes.
"I'll tell you what. I will write you four times a week, and call you almost every day."
The limo stopped at a large apartment building with green siding and a large parking lot. They needed one for the LONG limo. She was to be sharing an apartment with 3 other girls in CATS.
The bellboy took her bags, and motioned for her to follow him. The old elevator stopped just barely at the 6th floor, and Taylor almost began to feel sick. This may not be so great after all, she thought.
She stepped out into the light blue hall. "It's so nice!" She commented, touching the wall as she passed. Taylor, Jacob, and the bellboy crept into a large apartment with three rooms, a living area, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. The walls were light blue, and the furniture was a cherry wood color. "There is a dance studio downstairs with all the equipment." The bellboy added in.
Taylor curled her long brown hair with her finger, and looked around, her light violet eyes darting and looking everything.
A girl with long, blonde, curly hair, and big green eyes gracefully stepped into the center of the room. "You must be Taylor. Nice to meet you. I am Maggie." She said, her dimples showing. She shook Taylor's hand.
"Hi," Taylor managed to say.
"And I am Angie." A girl with red hair called out. "Nice you meet you also." She smacked her gum.
"Allyson is out with her boyfriend right now, but you will meet her later." Maggie whispered. "Not that you want to."
Taylor looked around wildly.
"Is that your boyfriend?" Maggie asked, feeling how frightened she was.
"Yes." She could tell she was really going to like Maggie.
"You might want to start unpacking." Jacob suggested.
"Yeah, good idea." Taylor said, and she walked into her room. She stared at the wall a little bit then decided. It wasn't too bad. It needed a couple of posters and things, but it will do.
"I'm sharing a room with you." Maggie said quietly, from behind her. "Do you mind?"
"No! Of course not!" Taylor answered, thanking the good Lord that she didn't get stuck with the dreaded Allyson.
After all the unpacking was finished, Jacob put his hands around Taylor's thin waist. "Let's go get some coffee or something."
Taylor nodded, then they walked out of the apartment, hand in hand.
"So, Angie. Do you like her?" Maggie asked. They both moved in yesterday, along with Allyson.
"She's okay. I can tell you like her." Angie answered, putting her hair in a bun.
"I do! Want to warm up?" They were both in their leg warmers and leotards, and began practicing their steps.
"Hi, everybody!" Taylor called out. Jacob went home five minutes before.
"Hi!" Maggie yelled, walking into the room. "Allyson is here now." She leaned in closer. "And DON"T make her mad. She is anal about everything!"
Taylor coughed back a giggle, and walked into the blonde girl's room. "Hi, umm... Allyson? I'm Taylor."
"Yeah, yeah. Leave me alone, I leave you alone. Let me dance, and let me practice without being bothered." Allyson said with a sneer.
Taylor ran out of the room. "Well, that was pleasant!" Maggie laughed.
"I told you!" Maggie was already in her nightclothes, so Taylor decided to put hers on too.
As they lay in their separate twin beds, they talked about things. "I play Jemima. Who do you play?" Taylor asked.
"I play Etcetera! Guess who Angie plays?" Maggie smiled, her big dimples proudly showing.
"WRONG! Rumpleteazer! Now, who does Allyson play?" Maggie almost fell off the bed, she was laughing so hard.
"I'm not sure. Macavity?" She almost died laughing. "Right attitude!"
"Nope, wrong again! She plays Bombalurina." Maggie said. "My sister plays Demeter, and Boyfriend Patrick plays Munkustrap."
They talked for hours and hours, like they were old friends, then went to bed.
"BUZZZZ!!!!" The alarm screamed 5:30 AM. "Oh man! I have to get out of bed and warm up!" She sat down at the edge of the bed and pulled out her leg warmers, and leotard, and put them on. Slipping on her legs warmers, Taylor looked over at Maggie. She was drooling every where. Taylor tried hard not to laugh, but she did not succeed.
"Taylor!" Maggie jokingly whined. Then she noticed that she was in a pool of drool. "Oh well, I have to get up and practice anyway."
When they wer all ready, the two crept downstairs where there a studio with a barre', and a dance floor.
"I can't wait until rehearsals tomorrow!" Maggie said.
"I know!" Taylor answered. "Ahem, some one is here!"
They both grew quiet as a very muscular man walked in. He took off his shirt to show his huge biceps. Taylor shivered when he started to do steps on the dance floor.
Maggie smiled as she mouthed. "Hot babe", and Taylor knew she shouldn't like him. She had a boyfriend!
"Bye, Mag! I have to go to voice lessons. " Taylor called out, just a little bit too loud.
"Bye." Maggie was in a deep trance.
Taylor blushed as she walked across the street to her voice instructor, Mr. Miller. He had been her voice teacher for a long time, and now, he was helping her with her dream.
"Do, Re, Me, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do!" Taylor belted out. "Wonderful! That was great, Taylor!" Mr. Miller complimented her. He then looked at his watch. "I'll see you tomorrow, after your FIRST rehearsal!"
It was about 11:45 AM when she got back, and everyone was still asleep exept for her and Maggie. She was downstairs talking to the "Muscle man". Taylor watched television for a while, and then Maggie came in. "He is SO hot!" Maggie commented. Taylor smiled. Maggie can be such a Goober!
After watching the eighth rerun on the television, Taylor got on top of the couch, struck a cat-like pose, and sang at the top of her lungs:
"Daylight, see the dew on a sunflower, and a rose that is fading, roses wither away. Like the sunflower, I yearn to turn my face to the dawn, I am waiting for the day..."
Angie stumbled out, "What a beautiful way to wake up in the morning!" She said. "Thank you, Thank you!" Taylor bowed and jumped off of the couch. "I am glad to know I am appreciated." She said, smiling.
"Oh no! I slept in!" Taylor screamed. The clock read 9:30 AM, and rehearsals started at 11:30! "I need to warm up fast!" Rehearsals, fortunately, ended at 3:00 PM.
Taylor quickly ate her breakfast, a bagel with strawberry cream cheese on it, then ran to the first floor of the apartment building to warm up.
When she finally finished, the clock on the wood wall of the studio read 11:00 AM. Since she had to walk to rehearsals, Taylor decided to go early. She rounded up all the girls, and they all walked to the dance studio.
Fifteen minutes later, they reached the white doors of the CATS dance studio, where they would spend the next year or so practicing. Maggie opened up the doors, and the group walked in.
"Wow..." Taylor said. "It's so... ummm.."
"Professional?" Maggie finished for her. They all laughed. Maggie the loudest of them all. It really did look professional!
"What's so funny?" A tall skinny woman asked. She had short black hair, and a rather large nose. Taylor gasped.
"Ummm... Nothing! We're just happy to be here, that's all!" Maggie explained quickly. She cringed.
"Well that's good. I am happy to be here also. I am Lizzy Holcombe, the dance instructor." Taylor smiled. She seemed nice.
"Nice to meet you!" She said, shaking her hand. "When will rehearsals start?"
"In a couple of minutes. Go look around. Get a Coke. Excuse me, I have to talk to the other kids." She said, walking away.
Finally, practice started. "Hello, I am Lizzy Holcombe, the dance instructor. Hopefully, you already know you're steps, now we just have to put them all together. Remember, we have our first show in a month and a half, so we need to work hard." Lizzy started to speak again, but she stopped.
Taylor nodded her head. She had worked hard on her steps, now all she needed was to do them with somebody.
"Let's get going!" Lizzy said. "Now, everyone knows the steps to 'Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats', right?" They nodded. Taylor stared at Maggie, and smiled. She loved this dance.
Once they were positioned in the right spot, the music started. Taylor danced her heart out, this was her favorite song to dance to, and she felt giddy with excitement.
At the end of rehearsal, Taylor was trying hard to catch her breath, but this has been the best day of her life!
From 4:00 to 6:00 was voice rehearsal. She would show the voice instructor there how good she was!
When they began to play "Memory", the girl who played Grizabella wasn't much older than Taylor was. She was a very good singer.
Taylor couldn't wait until her solo. She would show off and sing with all her might. She looked around the room. The actors were all staring at her and Grizabella.
Grizabella began to sing Taylor's cue, and She belted out, "Sunlight through the trees in summer, endless masquerading. Like a flower, when the dawn is breaking..." She stopped. That was Grizabella, or Sarah's part.
When the song ended, Bill, the instructor, complimented Taylor on her voice. "What a sweet, strong voice! We can use you later on! "
"Thank you, sir." Taylor said shyly.
"Who is your voice teacher?" Bill inquired.
"Mr. Phil Miller. Have you heard of him?"
"Have I heard of him? We went to Julliard together!" He smiled. "Tell Mr. Miller I said hello." Taylor nodded "All right kids, it's time to go! See you tomorrow!"
All of the kids ran out of the doors, onto the street. Taylor ran to Maggie. "I love this!" She yelled, because the noise was so loud.
"Yup, you sang great!"Maggie answered. She gave Taylor a hug.
They got back to their apartment, and Taylor decided to write people. She wrote letters to Jacob, her mother, grandmother, and her little sister,
Alana. Alana was already in Community Theatre at home, and wants to become a Broadway Star like her bigger sister.
Later on, the Postman brought a couple of letters, and one big package, Three letters were for her, and the big package was hers too. As Taylor opened the little blue envelopes, tears came to her bright violet eyes. One was from Jacob, telling her how much he loved her, the second was from her Gammie, asking how her sweet granddaughter was doing, and the third was from Alana.
Taylor closed her eyes. She could not believe that she, Taylor Johanssen, was going to be on Broadway. Her one dream, coming true.
Taylor was disappointed when she saw that she had not gotten a letter from her mother. She started to cry. "She already forgot about me!" Maggie then reminded her of the package.
"Oh yeah!" She ran towards the package and opened it. Sure enough, it was from her mother. Inside were posters from all of her favorite musicals, some CDs, and a bunch of cookies shaped as ballet shoes. Taylor smiled through her tears.
A month passed, and the Autumn breezes flowed through the air in New York. Quiet chirps could be heard from the little birds whose feeble wings could not fly yet.
The month of September was an exciting one. In two days, the first show would be put on, and Taylor's mother, Grandmother, little sister, and Jacob were coming to visit her! She couldn't wait. Jacob and Taylor were going to go see Les Misèrables the day after Opening Night. They were all coming to watch Taylor perform Opening Night!
Taylor was concentrating doubly hard to be a cat, so now she always moves gracefully and has a cat-like expression on her face. She sings her solos over and over again, just to get them right. The dancing and singing instructors liked her more and more every day.
Finally, it was the night everyone was waiting for, the chance to prove themselves to the world, OPENING NIGHT! Jacob and Taylor's family came the day before, and slept in a hotel. Taylor and Jacob got special box seat tickets to Les Misèrables, and they were all ready to watch her perform.
Everyone drove down to the Winter Garden Theatre, and dropped Taylor off. "Do you want to be backstage with me, or watch me perform?" She asked.
"I think I will just watch you, since you are on stage most of the time." He said. "I am so proud of you." He whispered, kissing the top of her head, then the car drove away, leaving Taylor, standing at the side of the road. She turned around and walked backstage.
Maggie ran up to Taylor, dimples proudly flashing. "I can't wait until it starts!" She said. Then the "muscle man" walked up. They found out that he playes Rum Tum Tugger, and now Maggie is in deep love.
"Hello, ladies." He said. "Good luck tonight." He put his arm around Maggie's waist and they walked off together. Maggie turned around and winked.
All of a sudden, the Overture struck up, and they ran out on stage, then crept into the little spots to wait for their solos.
"Are you blind when you're born?" Justin, also known as Munkustrap, sang. He started the musical off perfectly.
Taylor's stomach cringed. When was her solo going to start? Wait, here it is! "Can you find you're way blind, when you're lost in the street?" She did it perfectly! That was her only solo in the first act. Her other solos were in the second act.
The rest of the time, she forgot about being in front of an audience, it was just like being in the dance studio, dancing her heart out. The first act flew by, and it was intermission. For fifteen minutes, the actors signed playbills and t-shirts, and other memorabilia.
Taylor was so afraid that her voice might crack in her solos, so she barely talked the whole time. A new scale of music announced the 2nd, and last act.
"One and two, and three." Taylor counted to herself. Old Dueteronomy had finished his song, and it was time for hers.
She closed her eyes, became one with the tender notes that were playing, and belted out, sweet, strong, and clear:
"Moonlight, turn your face to the moonlight, let your memory lead you, open enter in. If you find there, the meaning of what happiness is, then a new life, will begin."
She heard someone whistle in the audience, and she knew right away that is was Jacob. She began to smile. "I did my solo so well!" She thought to herself.
Again, the songs went by fast, and then came "Mr. Mistoffolees.". That was the funnest song, except for "The Rum Tum Tugger". It was also right before her solos.
Mistoffolees saved Old Dueteronomy, like every time, and the somber music began to play. This was her solo! Taylor again closed her eyes, thought of the notes, and sang, her eyes wide open and warm. She sang, sweet and clear:
"Daylight, see the dew on a sunflower, and a rose that is fading, roses wither away. Like the sunflower, I yearn to turn my face to the dawn. I am waiting for the day."
Taylor slowly crept down behind the car, and swiftly moved backstage,only to come back on again for her last solo. The speakers backstage were belting out the beginnings of "Memory". She guzzled down water.
Finally, her cue was sung. She ran up to the car and sang, with all her might, thinking about Jacob, her mother, grandmother, and her favorite little sister, Alana.
"Sunlight through the trees in summer, endless masquerading. Like the flower, when the dawn is breaking..."
She smiled. She knew she had done it perfectly! The Audience clapped and clapped. She smiled. It was great to have people clap for you.
She could feel the warm tears of her mother, the smile of her baby sister, and the love felt in Jacob. It made her feel so good inside. This could be the start of a whole new Broadway Career!
Taylor calmed down for "The Addressing of CATS", and struck her pose. "Wow." She thought. "This really puts a strain on your legs!" She ignored the pain and kept on dancing.
"...And that's how you address, a CAT!" Old Dueteronomy and the cats sang. They did their little musical bow, and the audience cheered.
"How did you like CATS today?" The announcer asked the excited crowd. The cheering grew wilder and wilder. "Yeah!!!!!" The cast took their own little bows, and then the opening night show was over.
Taylor, Angie, and the rest ran outside into the lobby, and signed autographs. Julia (Jennyanydots), and Kenny (Old Dueteronomy) were putting makeup on the little children. "How cute!" Taylor exclaimed. She saw a little kid pointing at her.
"Look, Mommy! Look at the kitty!" He exclaimed. "Can I pull your tail?" He asked more quietly. Taylor laughed and motioned her light colored tail to him.
"Here you go!" He pulled it and giggled. Taylor laughed as she looked at his mother. "What a cutie!" She whispered to her. They took a picture together, then Taylor had to leave.
More pictures were taken, autographs given, and songs sung, and then the crowd thinned out completely. "Whew! That was great!" Maggie yelled, glad that the night was over. Taylor was so excited, her hands began to quiver.
Then, Allyson walked over to them. She can be the most ill-bred person in the entire world! Maggie grumbled. "Yay."
"What are you doing?" Allyson smirked. "I had a great time with my dance with Munk today." You could tell she was being the nicest she could possibly be.
"Yeah. You were good." Taylor tried hard not to smile. "Well, we need to go home, I guess. Time to go to bed. Another performance tomorrow!" She began to dance around the room. "Oh yeah! We need to get our costumes off!" They just realized that they were still dressed as perplexed cats!
The four (Angie just ran up) ran to the costume room to take off their things. "These are so hard to get off!" Taylor grunted, struggling with hers.
"I am right here, so if you need any help, here I am." That was Theresa, the makeup artist. She put on and took off the makeup on all of the cast members.
"Great! I don't know about any of you, but I need help with my makeup! When I am finished, I am going to go on home and ice up my body. It's aching!"
She smiled. Twenty minutes later, Taylor was walking home with Maggie, who took her makeup off by herself. "I can't believe we did so great tonight!" They hugged, then squealed.
That night, Taylor had a mysterious dream. She was on stage, singing her part, and all of a sudden, she fell off the car and died. The cast members were running about her, pretending nothing had happened. Nobody payed any attention to her!
Taylor woke up with a start. "Okay, why is this happening to me?" She hit her head. Her body was soaking with sweat. "All right, go back to sleep." She put the pink pillow around her head, and tried to sleep. Nothing happened until two hours later....
"Come on, Taylor, time to get up for practice!" Maggie playfully poked her. "Let's go, Sleepy!"
"Aww man! I wanted to sleep!" Taylor groaned, then she remembered her dream. "Want breakfast?"
"Sure!" The two ate breakfast, and went down to warm up.
The day went by just like that: boring. Everything was nothing... until practice.
"5-6-7-8, Jellicle cats as we said, are small!" They sang and danced. Taylor jumped up in the air and did a split. Her knee stretched like it never did before. It made this... sound! Like two boards, squeaking against each other. Taylor gasped and grabbed her leg. "Ohmygod" She whispered.
"Are you feeling all right?" Her dance instructor asked her. Taylor thought for a while about what would happen if she said yes or no. If no, she wouldn't be able to be in the musical any more, and she would have an understudy do it. And if yes, she would endure the pain and still dance and keep her part.
"Yup!" She yelped, a little too loudly. "I'm fine! Just fine and dandy!" She kept on dancing, feeling the stares of her dance instructor and her crew. She winced, from the pain, and from the embarrassment.
Rehearsal went on as usual, just that Taylor was more into her dancing than she ever was. Her instructors noticed she wasn't laughing or smiling anymore. She concentrated on her steps and turns.
...to be continued