The callback is a second audition. The first audition is used to weed out the people who can be of no use in the show and the callback is used to fit those left standing into the roles of the show. The callback is possibly worse than the audition...
The fact that you have made it past the first stage gives you hope that you can live through the second. You carefully plan your outfit (keeping in mind the "light movement" in which you will have to participate) and try to ready yourself mentally. Unlike the audition, there is really no way to prepare for the callback. The callback consists of three seperate stages: cold reading, learning a dance, and learning music from the show. The music is not handed out prior so, unless you memorize the entire score, it is pretty much a guessing game.
As you approach the gymnasium used to handle such an event, you see your competition for the first time. You immediately realize that you should have worn the other outfit you were considering and you definately should have put on more makeup. You keep breathing and wait for the shindig to start.
Before you know it, music is thrust before you and you have about two or three minutes to learn it before you have to perform it in front of the 30+ people at the callback. You go slowly, one note at a time and everyone seems to be learning it at some super-human rate. After a few minutes, you are directed to sing it one at a time. As others go before you, your eyes remain glued to the foreign music in front of you and hope that you will have a random spark of brilliance. Your turn: you do your best, sing through your croaks, and realize that you don't sound half as good as the people who have gone before you. But it is over. End of phase one.
Phase two consists of some "light movement." And by "light movement" I mean a dance audition. Some of the girls had to remove their various heels (smartie me...I wore t-straps!). You learn the clumsy steps and perform them in groups of three. This was by far the easiest of the three phases. No problem (although, I am a little ashamed to say that I was quite winded by the dance routine. More gym for me!).
Phase three was a struggle: cold reading. Cold reading is the devil. You are handed a scene, given no direction, and expected to read it with some accuracy. Funny. When you walk up to read for the director (bear in mind you are always performing for the 30+ people there) your feet feel large and clumsy, your hands just can't seem to hold the script straight, and everything you say seems overdone and melodramatic. Nerts. However, the cold reading is short lived and soon you are free. Until the director decides to go for a bonus round...
An unexpected round four has reared it's ugly head. Another piece of music finds its way into your sweaty hands...but this is different. You know this song. You have heard it. All of the sudden, your confidence is restored and you praise Jesus that you have one more chance to prove that you aren't a spaz. You take a few minutes to look over the song, you decide the style in which you want to sing it, and you patiently listen to those who go before you. You step out and use your final moment of the callback. You do your best and your try your hardest.
The director thanks everyone, and you leave.