My First Hollywood Audition

Today, I went to my first audition in Hollywood.

I suppose you could call it my first “Hollywood audition,” but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. That implies something fancy with recognizable names, or at the very least a paycheck. That’s not the kind of audition I’m talking about. But it was in Hollywood.

I’ve been in the Greater LA area for a little over one month now, but I think today was the first time I’ve seen the Hollywood sign since being here.

“Well hello there, beautiful,” I said.

“Welcome home,” she said. Or something like it.

Today, I was turned down for yet another apartment/room for rent/roommate/whatever.

I got the message right before going in to do a final read at this audition. Okay, I didn’t actually know that’s what the message said. I saw “Hi Sarah, I wanted to let you know that we decided…” pop up in the little Facebook Messenger bubble. But tone is everything.

For the past month, I’ve lived 60 miles away from LA and tucked up in the mountains. It’s beautiful. There are lakes, hummingbirds, turtles, coyotes, baby birds, and stars. If I have to go into the city, I drive hairpin turns down the mountain through hills that sing. I am grateful. Yet I want desperately to be in the city.

Today, I felt alone.

Gone for now are the days I show up for an audition and know half of the people there, the days I walk down the city streets and recognize a friend or two. I drove at least 120 miles today, just me and my thoughts, my prayers, my podcasts. I got an unexpected text from a friend: “Wish you were here” with a picture of one of my favorite coffee shops. I broke down in tears, in traffic, going East on the 210. Crying in traffic is like an LA rite of passage, so I guess I’m officially here now.

People tell me that it will all come together. They’re not wrong. But if I don’t immediately take to your encouragement, I apologize. I know it will be okay. I’ve waited so long to be here, and with the satisfaction of being here, my patience has taken a vacay, leaving me all “so it’s just gonna come together NOW, right?!”

I’ve been in the Greater LA area for a little over one month. I know that it doesn’t all happen with a snap of the fingers. And if I’ve waited over 15 years for this, then what’s a little more time?

It’s not much.

Today, I went to my first Hollywood audition. I parked in a garage and paid $10 because I don’t know the secret parking spots yet. That’s what I used to do in Seattle, too. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation garage was my safe spot. But with time, I learned. The audition was at the LA Film School, across the street from the LA Cinerama/Hollywood Arclight. I forgot to take a picture. Little piles of young film students came and went. I sat in a hallway, availability form in hand, and waited like I’ve done ever-so-many times: in hallways, on stages, backstage, in prop rooms, with wardrobe, on sets. Waiting.

Every time I’m on set, an actor makes the “hurry up and wait” joke. I give a polite chuckle and usually say something like “that’s the game.”

Patience: that’s the real game. There’s no time limit on patience. There’s no time limit on how and when and where and with whom things will come together. I have to wait, contentedly on the edge of my seat, ready.

But I am not powerless in the waiting.

Today, I got cast in the little thing I auditioned for at my first Hollywood audition. I checked my email after my lengthy drive home and found a few messages asking for my availability, interest, a self-tape, a callback. It’s not traction, yet, believe me. It’s an illustration of the up and the down and the ever increasing unknown. It’s a pain in my butt. It’s a joy in my heart. It’s tears in my eyes. It’s loneliness. It’s anxiety. It’s the smile I wear in the audition room. It’s the secret I keep. It’s “what’s next?” It’s change. It’s what I love.


Still Time to Catch My Man Godfrey @ Theater Schmeater

Pictured: Eric Smiley, Teri Lazzara, Sarah Karnes
Pictured: Eric Smiley, Teri Lazzara, Sarah Karnes

Audiences are laughing their way through My Man Godfrey, and you should join them! There are only two more weekends left to catch this rare classic screwball comedy.

Here are a few of the reviews so far:

“Directed by Doug Staley, this show was beautifully set and costumed, and the theater was full of eager patrons. This madcap rom-com whipped the audience up into fits of laughter throughout the play. The performances of Alysha Curry as Molly the maid, Sarah Karnes as Irene Bullock, and Teri Lazzara as Angelica Bullock all displayed quick comedic timing and attention to detail that kept the audience laughing all night. Between the costumes and the drinks, the jokes and the jewelry, this production was certainly a party.” – Drama in the Hood

“Sarah Karnes’ portrayal of the bratty, diluted Irene is a delight. Teri Lazzara brings sauciness to the flighty Angelica Bullock. As her piggish “protégé” Carlo, Lantz Wagner is so dramatic in a really entertaining way. Terrence Boyd’s Alexander Bullock was an enjoyable victim of circumstance.” – BroadwayWorldSeattle


Up Next: My Man Godfrey @ The Schmee

Turns out one of my favorite movies of all time, My Man Godfrey (starring William Powell and Carole Lombard) is also a play, and I am beyond excited to share with you that I will be playing Irene Bullock in Theater Schmeater’s upcoming production of My Man Godfrey (directed by Doug Staley).

Most people have never heard of this gem of a film, which is unfortunate. I quote this movie on a regular basis and have since high school. If, as of yet, my recommendation to see this movie has gone unheeded, you now have an even better excuse to see it. There are literally eight full versions of the movie uploaded on YouTube. Go watch it, and then come see the show.

January 27-February 18th at 8pm
Theater Schmeater


See you at the Schmee!

Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets for Leavenworth Summer Theatre’s 2016 shows are on sale now! I’m performing in all three productions this summer: The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, and Beauty and the BeastSound of Music and Singin’ in the Rain are both outdoor productions.

Tickets do sell out, and there are no wait lists, so get your tickets while you can! It’s going to be a wonderful summer.

Click here to buy tickets.

Up Next: Another Summer in Leavenworth


I’m happy to announce that this summer I will return to Leavenworth, WA, where I will perform in all three musicals at Leavenworth Summer Theatre!

This season I will reprise my role as Baroness Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music as well as play the Wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast and Zelda (Lina Lamont understudy) in Singin’ in the Rain.

Come out and see the shows, if you can. It’s sure to be a wonderful summer.

Tickets go on sale June 3rd.
Show dates here.

See you there!

Up Next: Challenger

Come April, I will portray Teacher-in-Space Christa McAuliffe in the Seattle premier of Challenger. Originally devised by a student ensemble at Central Washington University, Challenger is a six-woman show that tells the story of the shuttle disaster and aftermath as a unique ensemble piece.

January 28th marked the 30th anniversary of the disaster, and this show in memoriam will be a moving tribute to the crew who lost their lives in 1986, while also serving as a poignant reminder that in the face of disaster, we must continue looking to the stars.
Click here for more information.

We are also in the middle of a GoFundMe campaign to take care of the rest of our expenses and help Rocket Theatre Lab continue its good work after the show closes. If you can give, even just a few dollars, we would greatly appreciate it. Your support makes shows like ours possible. Donate here.

Plays at The Pocket Theatre – TICKETS
Thursday, April 7, @ 7pm
Friday, April 8 @ 10pm
Friday April 15 @ 10pm
Saturday, April 16 @10pm

Here’s to You

We closed The Drowsy Chaperone last night. I am sad to see that show end, but I woke up this morning to find a heartfelt note from a couple that saw the show last night and The Sound of Music the night before. Here are their kind words:

“Hello Sarah….

Greatly enjoyed your Trix performance last night as well as Schraeder the night before. Great stage presence and a fun transformation between the two very different roles. What really blew us away was the unexpected the “bigness” of your voice, in particular after the sub-dued and classy role in “Sound..” Congrats and many thanks. You are a great talent.

We are visiting from NY which we do a couple of times. . . . Do keep us posted of you upcoming roles and we’ll be on the look-out. Next visit to Seattle will be Christmas later this year. And should you be in NY.,…

All the best, Karin & Al”

Thank you, Karin and Al. Your kind words have lifted my spirits, encouraged me during this week of endings, and reminded me that I have many people to thank.  Most of those people I can talk to, keep in touch with, hug. But there is one group that I cannot reach so personally: the audience.

I hope that some of you who came out to see our shows this summer will find this note and know that you were just as much a part of our summer as anyone in the cast and crew. Five nights out of the week for two months, you showed up, supported the arts, and shared this beautiful summer with us. I’m sorry that I only got to meet a few of you and thank you in person. I’ll never forget the small family that spent a weekend introducing their young children to live theatre or the people that took the time to remember my name and thank me personally. You have overwhelmed me in the best sense.

So, here’s to you. To your handshakes, your laughter, your warmth, your jokes, your reactions, your applause, your ovations, and your smiles. To each of you, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your memories. It means more than you can know. And as you exit the theatre these last few nights with “thank you” on your lips, I say from the deepness of my heart, it has been a pleasure.