The Steam Room at Equinox at 33rd and Park Avenue

While Hannah does hair and makeup and enjoys royalty club treatment (clean towels, complimentary Kiehls products, plenty of plugs to charge our phones), I fist-bump myself for coming up with the clever Equinox solution on a rainy cold day. I’m clearly the coolest undercover stage mother EVER.

Post-Equinox bliss, we head back into the rain to the audition. We crowd into an elevator with at least a dozen kids and their parents. I observe the frenzy from behind my purple spectacles. I have immediate renewed empathy for stage moms around the world.

We enter the waiting room. Hannah signs in. I quickly scan the area, searching for an empty bench and avoiding eye contact with any moms I may know.

Hannah and I find seats in the slightly chaotic waiting room and hang with the other teens auditioning for her commercial. The casting assistant (twenty-something, hipster spectacles, definite Brooklyn vibe) organizes groups of three teens at a time to go in to the audition room. I watch stage moms charge phones and push their younger kids around the corner to another casting session.

Hannah goes in to the audition room. I hug her, mouth “good luck” and try to mind my own business, practicing wisdom from Confessions of a Casting Director.

I immediately start to fantasize about her booking the commercial: she could use the money to pay for the college of her choice. Maybe the campaign would run for years! She’d be super lucky, like Paul Marcarelli, who I cast in the famous “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign for Verizon in 2001. She’d never have to work again! We’d celebrate by buying matching Stuart Weitzman boots…..

OMG. I’d just morphed into a helicopter stage mom. Hold please.

Two minutes later, Hannah emerges from the audition studio. I ask a million questions: did the casting director give any direction, did she slate her name and age with enthusiasm and personality (but not fake and phony), were the kids in her group good with improv?

Once we get downstairs and outside onto Madison Avenue, I decide to shut up about the audition. I land my mom-copter.

Our day concludes with Chinese food in Chelsea and we hug goodbye at Penn Station. Hannah’s train gate posts and I send her down the escalator following some final mom nagging: “Don’t forget to eat your leftover fried rice if you get hungry, text me to let me know you got a good seat in the quiet car…”. I take a deep breath. My undercover assignment is complete. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Parents schlep their kids to auditions. And it costs time and money. More details on this can be found in Confessions of a Casting Director
  2. Leave Early and Bring a Raincoat – This is a chapter title in my book
  3. I am one step away from being a helicopter stage mom

Post-audition Penn Station selfie with Hannah Mcceachern

That’s all for now. This undercover stage mother is back to casting.