Like millions of others, Mauri Gustafson is a fan of the television phenomenon Glee. The show’s official Facebook page boasts 2,224,480 fans. Their MySpace page, which includes a section for auditions, garnered 1,309,530 fans. When the chance to appear on the show was announced, it was a no-brainer for Gustafson to immediately audition.
“I love Glee because I love watching TV programs and movies where people break out into song and synchronized dancing without any apparent rehearsal time,” Gustafson said. “I love the characters on the show. Everyone has their unique story, and yet they all unite under a common love for singing. It is really inspiring for me.”
Inspiring because singing was something Gustafson loved but gave up to follow her ice dancing dream.
“When I was in high school, in addition to skating, I took vocal lessons, choreographed for school dance shows, and performed in school musicals. After I found a partner and decided to compete (in ice dance), I essentially gave up on that dream.”
Gustafson competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the junior level twice, finishing 10th in 2006 and 2007 with former partner Logan Giulietti-Schmitt. The team also competed internationally on the Junior Grand Prix circuit for one season. After the couple split, Gustafson returned to Nationals in 2008 at the senior level with Joel Dear; they finished 10th. She has since retired from competitive skating and is finishing up her senior year at Southern Methodist University.
When she learned of the video auditions, Gustafson knew it was an opportunity to follow her old dream. Those who were interested could submit two videos: 1) a minute-long personal statement on how long they’ve been singing and why they want to be part of Glee and 2) a vocal audition. The song performance video could only last for as long as the song did, and the “Gleeks” could only choose from a list of songs available on the website. The videos were posted on the Glee Audition Myspace page and visitors were able to submit votes for their favorites.
“The reason I decided to try out for Glee — beyond the fact that I love the show — was to explore a side of myself that I thought I had given up long ago. Now that I have stopped competing (in skating), I find myself yearning for another performance outlet outside of academia and work.
“I actually surprised myself with my level of enthusiasm for the Glee audition, and that is what convinced me that this is the New Direction that I want my life to take.”
A huge part of Glee’s attraction is the diverse cast that gives viewers characters who are relatable.
“The character that I most relate to is, of course, Rachel Berry. Not only is she Jewish and an over-the-top type-A personality, but she is also truly talented and just wants to be liked for who she is.”
Next fall, Gustafson will move to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California for their Masters in Business Taxation program — and to try and further her singing career. For now, though, she’s at that nerve-wracking “don’t call us; we’ll call you” stage, since the voting has just closed and the producers are determining who gets a callback.
Gustafson’s audition page is still on MySpace, so although you can’t vote, you can still enjoy her song: http://www.myspace.com/gleeauditions?link=50803367.