Andrew Sparks knew dancing was his weakest skill in the audition. He fumbled through the steps, craning his neck to try and see the dance instructor. His eyes rapidly flicked up and down from his feet to the instructor, clumsily imitating her steps.

But this was his chance. His chance to become a professional actor. Sparks relaxed his tensed eyebrows and focused on his feet.

He made it through the dance audition. He delivered his monologue. He performed his song.

Sparks got a callback. Out of the 200 teenage boys who auditioned, he got a callback.

Andrew Sparks in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Spring 2023. Photo courtesy of Andrew Sparks.

Andrew Sparks in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Spring 2023. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Andrew Sparks.

Forty of them came to the second round of auditions.

The other young men auditioning had an edge on Sparks; he was seventeen and most of them were in college.

But this was his chance.

He prepared for countless hours; practicing the audition dialogue, getting the character’s accent just right and giving personality to every line.

This wasn’t just his chance – it was his time. And he was ready.

He handed the pianist his sheet music and turned towards the three directors seated at a table.

They shuffled papers and looked up at him expectantly.

He took a deep breath.

Andrew Sparks in Robin Hood, Spring 2022.

Andrew Sparks in Robin Hood, Spring 2022. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Andrew Sparks.

Only a couple of days later he got the email:

“Mr. Sparks,

We appreciate your audition, but have chosen to go forward with another actor…”

But, the email said, it was neck-in-neck. The directors ultimately chose to go with the other actor because he was more of a tenor and Sparks was more of a baritone.

“Even though that was a huge blow… It also helps me because I realized that I got so close,” Sparks said. “Even though I didn’t get it, I was still able to get within such a close distance to my dream.”

It’s been six years since that close-call audition. Sparks has had many auditions – and many roles and rejections – since then.

Andrew Sparks as Benedick in Shakespeare's Much To Do About Nothing, Fall 2022.

Andrew Sparks as Benedick in Shakespeare's Much To Do About Nothing, Fall 2022. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Andrew Sparks.

Remembering how close he was helps him not give up hope. Even though he didn’t make it, he knows that one day, he will.

Sparks is a Theatre major with an emphasis on performance, studying at BYU-Idaho. He starred in multiple on-campus productions at BYU-I, including Robin Hood in “Robin Hood,” Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” and Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet.”

Sparks is currently rehearsing for his role as Macbeth in Macbeth with the Rexburg Community Theatre, opening July 5. Sparks also enjoys writing, directing and acting in his own short films and is currently working on a feature-length film.

A short film written, directed by and featuring Andrew Sparks can be viewed below.