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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2231298-The-Show-Must-Go-On
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Arts · #2231298
2 actresses compete for a role. Inspired by a line in "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
         Early one morning, at 4:30 am, Bella arrived at Lindberg Field International Airport in San Diego, California. Her mother had driven her for her flight to New York. After one final hug, and a few tears, the mother watched as her daughter left to spread her wings for the first time.

         After takeoff, Bella pulled out her journal and wrote:

         I have just graduated from UCSD with a BA in Theater Arts and am headed to New York for my first audition on Broadway! It will be my first time living on my own. I can't wait to get my first professional acting credit. I also can't wait to start my career as an actress and my adult life!

         A few hours later, the plane touched down in New York. Bella stepped off the plane and into her new life. She picked up her baggage from the carousel and boarded an Uber to her new apartment. She arrived at her new digs, pulled the key out of her purse, and opened the door.

         Immediately to the right she saw a small, yet cozy living room with a kitchen next to it. The living room had a cathedral ceiling. Straight ahead was a staircase leading up to the loft bedroom. I think I'm going to like living here, she thought to herself. Once I get work I can buy some nice furniture.

         She unpacked her songbook with her audition song in it and rehearsed for awhile. She had a couple of days to prepare for her first professional audition. On the morning of the big day, she selected a cute, sapphire blue dress and took the bus down to the audition location. There were hundreds of performers ahead of her. How am I going to compete with all these people? she wondered, doubting herself for the first time. I don't know how I'm going to do this...

         A couple hours later, she wasn't looking where she was going and accidentally bumped into the girl ahead of her. "Sorry, excuse me," said Bella.

         The girl turned to face her. Bella saw a perfectly made-up face, with flawless cat-eye eyeliner and lip gloss with razor-sharp edges. The girl's long, red tresses had salon worthy curls. "You need to watch where you're going," she said with her arms crossed.

         "Sorry, I just arrived here. This is my first audition..." began Bella.

         "I have been auditioning for years," said the girl.

         "You must be very experienced, then," said Bella.

         "Actually, I have yet to get cast. We actresses have to pay our dues for awhile. The odds of you getting in are pretty small, especially on your first try." She flipped her flaming hair.

         "Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better," said Bella sarcastically.

         "Which role are you attempting?" asked the fire-haired girl.

         "I am trying for Princess Annabelle," answered Bella.

         "So am I," said the girl. "Don't count on getting it. It's mine."

         "We will see about that," said Bella. By this time they were almost at the door to the theater. The stage manager opened the door and called out the next name. "Ashley Murphy?"

         "That's me," said the girl. "Bye." She picked up her purse and strutted into the theater.

         A few minutes later, they called Bella in. On her way to the stage, she passed Ashley. "How did it go?" asked Bella.

         "I nailed it," said Ashley. "You shouldn't even bother."

         Bella's eyes narrowed as she looked at Ashley. Bella stepped out onto the stage, remembering to walk from her hips as it gives the appearance of confidence. She saw a small X on the stage and stood on it, smiling at the casting directors. "What is your name?" they asked.

         "Bella Wolf," she answered.

         "What will you be singing for us today, Ms. Wolf?"

         " 'Think of Me' from Phantom of the Opera." She walked over to the pianist and handed her the sheet music. After a few notes, she began to sing. She tried to remember to be as big and dynamic as possible. After her song, the directors smiled at her with the words, "Thank you. We will be posting the callback list later this evening."

         "Thank you," said Bella as she waved goodbye and left the stage.

         Bella stopped by the theater the next morning and read the callback list. Both hers and Ashley's names were on it. Later that evening, they bumped into each other at the callbacks.

         "I am surprised that you made it here," said Ashley.

         "I was thinking the same thing," said Bella.

         The choreographer came onstage and taught everyone a dance. Ashley and Bella ended up side by side when it came time to perform the dance. They eyed each other, trying to outdo one another. Afterwards, they cold read from a script. A couple of days later, Bella anxiously looked at the cast list, which read, "Princess: Bella Wolf. Princess Understudy: Ashley Murphy."

         "I can't believe I did it! On my first try!" she jumped up and down as she called her mother with the great news.

         "Congrats, honey! We're so proud of you!" said her mom back in California.

         A week later, the new cast assembled to do the first read-through of the script. Ashley and Bella glared at each other from across the room. I have been auditioning for years and never got cast until now, and she gets it on her first try. So unfair, thought Ashley.

         Bella found herself seated next to an attractive young man. He had short, auburn hair and green eyes, with a clean-shaven face. "Hi, I'm Alex," he said.

         "Bella. Nice to meet you." They shook hands.

         "I'm Prince Alan," said Alex. "Which role are you?"

         "Princess Annabelle," replied Bella. She fluffed her blonde pixie cut hair.

         "Sweet!" Alex smiled at Bella before the director began the read-through.

         Ashley did not feel amused. She gets the part and the guy? I don't like this. That should be me!

         Over the course of the next six weeks, the cast rehearsed the show, including a scene between the prince and the princess where they kissed. Ashley sat in the audience while Alex and Bella rehearsed the scene. If I can just get rid of her, the part and the guy will be mine, thought Ashley.

         Before they knew it, it was time for Hell Week, which is the final week of rehearsals before Opening Night.

         "Now remember, cast," said the director, "You must be at all rehearsals in Hell Week or your role will be recast."

         All I have to do is keep her from one rehearsal and the part will be mine! thought Ashley. The next evening she took a water bottle filled with bleach and offered it to Bella. "You must be thirsty after your dance. Have some water," said Ashley.

         Why is she being nice to me all of a sudden? I've got a bad feeling about this, thought Bella. Besides, that smells like bleach. "No thanks."

         Damn it, thought Ashley. I will have to find another way to get rid of her.

         The next morning, Ashley was in her car when she saw Bella riding her bike across the street. Now's my chance! thought Ashley. She put her foot on the gas pedal and ran the red light, knocking Bella off of her bike. Just before being hit, Bella looked at the driver and recognized her before she sped away. Some bystanders called an ambulance to check on Bella. They took her to the hospital, but aside from a few bruises she was okay.

         "You got pretty lucky," said the doctor to Bella. "Most people who get hit are much worse off than you are. You probably want to stay off your right leg as it got bruised pretty bad."

         "My show opens tomorrow night. I can't back out on it," said Bella. "I have to dance my part, even if it hurts. I know the woman who did this. She's trying to get rid of me so she can have my part."

         "I would consider pressing charges," said the doctor.

         That evening, Ashley arrived at rehearsal with a bounce in her step . With Bella out of the picture, I will be the princess, she thought to herself. Her jaw dropped as she saw Bella sitting on the stage. A pair of cops stood beside Bella. "That's the person who hit me," she said to the cops. They approached Ashley and handcuffed her before taking her away.

         Although her leg hurt, Bella got through the final rehearsal. The next night, she arrived at call time and got into costume and makeup. Tonight's going to be a great night, she thought to herself. She went backstage and peeked through a hole in the set at the audience. Even though curtain time was still a half hour away, the house was nearly full. Before she knew it, it was time. She sat backstage, waiting for her cue to go on.

         She heard her cue and stepped out onto the stage. She could not see the audience because of the stage lights, but she could hear them laugh at her funny lines. She reveled in the euphoria that comes from getting a laugh when one is intended. Bella and Alex did their kissing scene, then their dance numbers. Soon it was time for the curtain call. The chorus went onstage and bowed, then the minor roles, then the principals, and finally Alex went on and bowed. He gestured offstage to Bella, and as she came on, the audience stood. Bella could just barely make out that the audience was giving her a standing ovation. A crew member came onstage and handed Bella a bouquet of flowers. As she bowed, the rest of the cast bowed with her and the curtains came down.

         The director came backstage with the words, "Congratulations on an excellent show, everyone! We are having a party at The Tavern on Fifth. You are all invited."

         Bella changed out of her costume before meeting Alex backstage. "I can give you a ride to the party if you like," he said.

         "Yes please," said Bella. As they drove to the tavern, she told him, "You know, I was feeling it during our kissing scene."

         "So was I. Let's do it again." They leaned close together and shared a kiss.

         They arrived at the tavern. "What happened to that Ashley girl?" asked one of the chorus members.

         "She's in jail for trying to run me over so she could have my role," said Bella.

         "Not cool. She seemed like a dick," said another chorus member.

         The cast enjoyed a successful run. They did a special performance for school groups, and afterwards the students wrote thank you letters to the cast. Bella read a note reading,

         "I loved the show. It was funny and the dances were cool. Ms. Wolf is the best princess ever."

         Another read,

         "You are my favorite princess, Ms. Wolf. Next time we see a princess story I hope it's about you."

         I get such a kick out of reading these, thought Bella. She kept the notes in a special place and read them whenever she needed a self-esteem boost. They helped her deal with the inevitable rejections that come with being an actor. She and Alex dated, eventually married, and had babies. Bella enjoyed her career and being a mother. While juggling the two was precarious at times, she thanked Heaven for her happy life.



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