As the 2 or 3 of you who read this know, I recently hit the half-century mark. (Sounds more impressive that way, don't you agree?) Not something I'm ashamed of or try to hide, but I don't exactly advertise it when I go to auditions.
After years of performing in G&S choruses, in which the women's chorus are nearly always girls (The Mikado's chorus singing "schoolgirls we, 18 and under" is only the most flagrant example), I think I've developed a rather distorted view of how old I "read" on stage. This despite all the gray in my hair. Among other things that says about me, it should tell you I don't spend a lot of time gazing, enraptured, upon my reflection. ;) There's also the fact that, being fair-skinned and freckled, I've long since grown accustomed to people underestimating my age. Hence, I'm still adjusting to the fact that apparently I no longer read in my 30s.
I think the wake-up call was when I auditioned for Bye Bye Birdie. I asked to be considered for Rosie (realizing that was a long shot), Mrs. Macafee or Mae Peterson. The only role the director had me read for was Mae, easily the oldest of the three. The demographics of the audition pool (only 2 or 3 women who looked older than their 30s) probably figured into his decision, but I guess auditioning with my hair down doesn't outweigh the gray and the crow's feet. :D
Sure, I could cover the gray; I've done it before. However, it's messy and a pain in the rear to do it myself, expensive if I go to a salon (can easily run $100; more if I want a trim as well), and has to be touched up every month or so. I'm cheap, I'm lazy, and I'm rather proud of the gray - kinda like hashmarks.
So I'm trying to resign myself to playing moms and grandes dames - I fully accept there are no more sweet young things in my future, but had hoped for the occasional sadder but wiser girl. Ah well, a Lady Bracknell (Importance of Being Earnest) or Desiree (A Little Night Music) would be fun to sink my teeth into, or Dolly in The Matchmaker. Now if I could only get cast....