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Amanda Gorman hilariously recounts ill-fated Broadway audition in resurfaced clip

Clémence Michallon
·2-min read
Poet Amanda Gorman reads at Joe Biden’s inauguration on 20 January 2021 in Washington, DC (PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Poet Amanda Gorman reads at Joe Biden’s inauguration on 20 January 2021 in Washington, DC (PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Amanda Gorman, the celebrated poet who read at Joe Biden’s inauguration, once auditioned to be on Broadway – and recounted the moment in a brilliant stage performance.

The video resurfaced after Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb” on 20 January at the US Capitol, as Mr Biden became the 46th president of the United States.

Gorman’s reading has been met with great acclaim. It prompted The Moth, the New York City-based non-profit storytelling organisation, to re-share a video from 2017, in which Gorman can be seen sharing a personal narrative at the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston, Massachusetts.

That same year, Gorman became the first National Youth Poet Laureate.

During her stage appearance with The Moth, Gorman told the audience about a time when, as a child, she auditioned to play Nala in the Broadway version of The Lion King. The theme of the evening was “big breaks”.

“The air smelled of Hollywood and desperation,” she recounts in the clip. “It was crammed with these monster mothers and their savage children. You have no idea. These kids are like little demons. They’ll step the foot out to trip you. They’ll be doing pirouettes around just to show off. Randomly just do a back flip because they can.”

In the seven-minute video, Gorman offers a self-deprecating, touching account of the ill-fated audition. While she did not get the part of Nala, she remembers the experience as a moment that was instrumental in enabling her to find her path and her voice.

“Part of me was so glad to know that I would never be like one of those girls who made it to Broadway, because I would still make it here,” she adds in the clip. “I’d still make it to now, being loud and proud in front of a crowd.”

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