A perfect Disney story?
In early September, Ashley Gaines of Beeville heard a commercial on a Corpus Christi radio station announcing a Disney open audition, ages 6 to 19.
She immediately thought of her daughter, 7-year-old Alexis Richmond, who Ashley describes as a “drama queen.”
“She’s always dancing in front of a mirror,” she says.
She also dances at The Dance Studio in Beeville.
Last Saturday, Ashley drove her daughter to the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, where 471 other contestants were waiting to audition.
Each youngster had a choice of six commercials from which to choose a couple of lines to memorize.
“They took us four rows at a time,” Ashley says. “Then, they told parents to wait outside. Each child was called behind a curtain for a one-on-one audition.
Then the waiting began.
“I was doing the laundry when the Disney people called,” she says. “I usually don’t answer my cell phone if I don’t recognize the number.”
This time, she did.
Out of 472 auditions, the company picked 50. Of the 50, Ashley was number eight.
As difficult as was that hurdle, the next one is worse.
The next step for Alexis to pursue her Hollywood career is to enroll in a 25-hour acting class conducted by Adrian R’Mante, one of the stars of the Disney Channel program “The Sweet Life of Zach and Cody.”
Trouble is, the tuition is $1,900; her mother is recovering from surgery.
Enter the brisket, stage left.
Ashley’s brother-in-law, Josh, is conducting a benefit barbecue this Saturday behind the Boys and Girls Club, starting at 5 p.m. Included will be a bake sale.
“The fare will include prize-winning beans cooked by my mother-in-law, Nancy. They won an award during Western Week,” Ashley says.
She hopes to raise enough to pay part of the tuition; the R’Mante workshop also offers some scholarships.
As is normally the case in show business, even if Alexis attends the acting workshop, there’s no guarantee.
After the course, she will be able to perform before more talent scouts in Austin.
Ashley says the best way to get tickets is to call her at 361-597-4304.
That call could lead to her daughter’s curtain call.