Janet Dacal walked into The Drama Book Shop on West 39th Street for her very first audition in New York City. Pacing nervously outside the shop’s basement theater, she heard the distinct sound of a piano. When her turn came, she entered the tiny theater and sang the song she’d prepared.
The guy at the piano must have liked what he heard, because he invited Janet to stay. Then he played an unfamiliar song, pounding out the chords and singing the vocals.
Could Janet sing that?
Of course she could! It had a Latin rhythm—perfect for a Cuban American singer like her.
The pianist played another tune. Again Janet sang.
Back and forth they went.
By the end of the session, Janet had the job.
It was 2002. The piano player was Lin‐Manuel Miranda.
And the audition was for a very early table read of his musical In the Heights—a show that would change both their lives.
How did a first‐generation Latina from L.A. find her way to the New York stage? It started with the word “yes.”
In the above book excerpt, Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway musical actress Janet Dacal goes on her first New York theatre audition. Little did she know where it would lead.
(For the whole story, read MUSIC MAVENS.)