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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here we go...

So tonight is preview night for our production of 42nd Street.  What that means is that technically it's our final dress rehearsal, but with an invited audience.  The director has the right to stop the show in case of any onstage or backstage mishaps, such was the case of Broadway's Spider-Man.  I am, however, extremely confident that this will not happen tonight.  Although I must say, how cool would it be if I was able to fly in for my entrance into "Dames?" Yea, not likely. 

And although last night everything FIANLLY came together for me as far as my acting, singing, and dancing is concerned-  I am still super nervous, and I still know I have a long way to go.  Our audience tonight will mostly be made up of theatre folk.  This is good and bad.  Although they may be forgiving (we technically aren't open), they also know exactly what we are aiming for.  This will be it before our official opening tomorrow night.

Okay, once again I'm pressed for time, so here's a quick run down of yesterdays happenings: 

When I arrived at the theatre I went to the green room as usual to place my belongings and make a cup of tea.  When I sat down at the table with Craig (our amazing sound designer) there was a magazine opened up with me in it.  Well not just me- but I was in every photo.  I think "Holy S**t" was the first thing that came out of my mouth- for a few reasons.  First, the pictures were beautiful, big, and glossy.  And secondly, I've never been more proud of anything in my life than being a part of this production, and to have that printed out in such vivid color is a feeling I never knew even existed.  Dallas, our artistic director, was responsible for the photos, and I must say, they look pretty damn good.  Aside from myself, the photo spread included my Peggy Sawyer and my four beautiful show girls who perform "I Only Have Eyes For You."  Everyone looks fantastic.  And yes, I already snagged a few copies to send home for Mom and family ;-)

After lunch we rehearsed "The Ever After"  with the KidzAct kids.  Once again, most of them pick of choreo and blocking much quicker than I ever could.  They are a great group, and Jessica is putting together a top notch production for any audience lucky enough to get a ticket.  Speaking of Jessica- this girl has her s**t together.  Not only is she a lead with me in 42nd Street, she spends all day at the theatre with the kids and is truly one of the best teachers/directors that I've ever worked with.  She's the real deal, and I'm so lucky to have crossed paths with her at this time in my life.  She's water, and I'm the sponge...or something like that ;-)

At 3:30 I went up to the 3rd floor rehearsal studio to drill the opening number with the kids doing the Teen production of 42nd Street later this summer.  OMG, I haven't had that much fun in ages.  I kind of love being in charge...who knew?  LOL.  Anyway, the kids, once again, are pretty damn amazing.  And though they have a long way to go (some more than others) they aren't afraid of criticism and they all give 100%.  I'm afraid there a few people in my cast who could take a cue from these youngsters.  Some of them have never tapped in their life, but they're selling it.  I've got to thank Dawn, our director of 42nd Street for trusting me with the teens yesterday afternoon.  I hope I can continue to help her through the summer.  I know I'm becoming a better performer by helping others- something I never thought I had in me- but there it is, and I'm LOVING it completely.

Damn, I really need to hop in the shower, but here's a little bit about last nights dress rehearsal.  First of all my biggest mistake was eating Panda Express between KidzAct and rehearsal.  By the time it was time for the famous "money kicks" I was about to throw up.  gross, I know, but true.  Lesson learned.

I think I finally got my body mich situation worked out.  Craig designed a little metal thing for me to wear around my ear that is hardly visible but wont come off when I sweat, etc.  Unfortunately, regular mich tape doesn't cut it for me.  I'm a sweater through and through anyway- add to it the fact that I almost never leave the stage and when I do it's for a quick change, a sip of water, or to pee.  I know, I know, too much info, right?  We also figured out that I needed to rig the elastic belt that holds the mich pack to my body a little tighter due to the fact that it was being knocked out of place during many of our dance numbers.

Okay, so the show (rehearsal) started at 8.  Once again I got goosebumps when the orchestra began the overture.  Have I told you how lucky I feel lately?  Anyway, I decided before rehearsal (while chowing down on the aforementioned Panda Express)  that I was just going to have fun.  I've done all the hard work and preparation, now it's a matter of sharing that with the audience and just letting go.  Consequently, it was my best run/rehearsal so far.  According to Dawn, "Young And Healthy" was "Broadway!"  You have no idea how much that meant to me.  For some reason "young and Healthy" has been one of the hardest numbers for me to tackle.  Although a relatively easy song to sing, the dynamics and acting are very intricate, and I have to sing it immediately following the opening tap sequence.   I have to credit my Peggy (Rachel) for giving me the confidence that i was lacking, and ff course Dawn's stellar direction and choreo that really make that number pop.

The rest of the run unfolded pretty damn smoothly.  Money is my favorite number, and I think it shows.  There's something about jumping of that big a** dime while the scrim in going up that is just magic to me.

Okay, time to rush to the theatre.  This whole blog thing is quite addicting.

See ya on the other side...of Preview, that is ;-)

Let's make tonight and every night "BROADWAY!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Music Is Magic

So yesterday was all about music.  Not just for 42nd Street, but a running theme for the whole day. 

It was the first time the kids in our KidzAct program sang with musical tracks for "The Ever After" without the lead/background vocals.  If you don't know what I mean, it's kind of like fancy karaoke, and many productions  and theatre companies use these tracks when a full orchestra or band can't be implemented.  This may sound a little cheezy, but in this case it works almost perfectly.  Most of the kids were spot on, while others had trouble finding their notes and harmonies.  What I love most is even if they were not always on pitch, they didn't let it interfere with their acting or choreography.  Ahhhh, what a concept!  Why can't I do that?  These kids make it so easy and they really don't give a rats a** what anyone thinks.  Again, what a concept!!!  Needless to say, "The Ever After" is going to rock.  Sometimes I think I learn more from these kids than they could ever learn from me.  And although "The Ever After" is billed as a children's show, the music rivals that of any Broadway musical, and these kids really sell it.  I can't wait to see the final outcome. Unfortunately with our 42nd street performance schedule, I'll only get to see their last performance, but I'm sure it will be their best.

Continuing my musical theme for the day...Byron surprised me between KidzAct  rehearsal and 42nd Street rehearsal with the latest Dolly Parton album.  It was just released yesterday.  Is he on top of it or what?  He knows me too well.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a die hard Dolly fan.  She's been a part of my life since I was in my mothers womb.  My mom would listen to "Here You Come Again" during her pregnancy with me as it was the number one song at that time.  Consequently, "Islands In The Stream" was my first record- I think i was four or five.  I was obsessed.  She also starred in one of my favorite movies, "9 to 5" and later adapted it into what has become one of my favorite Broadway musicals.  Dolly's voice has always given me comfort and the lyrics to her songs, especially those in her last couple albums have actually really inspired me.  Her latest album is entitled "Better Day."  Anyway, with all the stress and anxiety I am feeling this week surrounding the opening of 42nd Street, Dolly is once again there to calm my nerves and give me the daily affirmation, through music, that tomorrow really is a "better day."  Cheezy I know, but sooooo true.  One last thing about this album:  She covers quite a few songs from the Broadway version of  "9 to 5"- my favorites being "I Just Might" and "Shine Like The Sun."  The lyrics in these songs are quickly becoming my mantra as I anxiously await opening night.  If you are familiar with these songs from the musical, you know why.  Okay enough about Dolly.  However I warned you:  I'm truly obsessed ;-)

Finally, last night was our 3rd dress rehearsal for 42nd Street.  We had the orchestra back!  I can't tell you how amazing these people are.  Charlie (our musical director) has put together the best of the best, with musicians coming from all over the region.  Singing and dancing with these talented musicians is a dream come true.  It's the frosting on the cake- the one element that truly brings 42nd Street to life.  I get chills every time I hear the overture.  The same feeling I had when I saw it on Broadway in 2002.  I'll never forget that magical feeling and affirmation when the curtain rose revealing those tapping feet that musical theatre is where my heart truly is.  the music tells me what to do when I'm dancing.  There's still a couple of spots in the ballet that closes the show, but I find that the music is really helping me find my way through the challenging number.  And although I'm still learning how to follow/keep up with the orchestra vocally, I glance down to the pit and Charlie is there to lead and guide me through what I never thought I'd have the chance to do.  Am I lucky or what?

Okay, I really wish I had more time to write about our kick a** orchestra, it's time for me to head to the theatre.  There will be many more blog entries regarding the music in 42nd Street- I am sure.  Thanks for reading.  Tonight is our final dress rehearsal before our preview tomorrow night.  So exciting and so nerve racking all at the same time, but loving every moment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yikes!

Okay, so yesterday was definitely a Monday- thru and thru.  Although I pored my heart and soul emotionally into last nights 2nd dress rehearsal I still felt more than a little off my game, especially vocally.  That will teach me to take a day off again, LOL.  "Dames" and "Young and Healthy" were serviceable but "I Only Have Eyes For You" and my vocal entrance to "Lullaby of Broadway" were so off the mark- it seriously was not funny.  I blame my "Eyes" mistakes on the fact that I was late for my entrance due to a costume malfunction, add to that I decided to take the biggest breath ever behind the wall o' peacock feathers, thus inhaling at least parts of two feathers.  "Lullaby of Broadway" was hard for me to hear, period.  Thank goodness we've got the orchestra back tonight.  Charlie, our musical director, is an amazing player, but since we've been onstage it's hard to hear just the piano at times.  Add to that, most of us are coming from behind a wall way upstage- we couldnt be further from both the piano and the speakers, either that or I'm deaf..  At any rate, if errors like that occur during a real performance, I'll be a bit more prepared, and I'll try not to let the little things distract me from giving the most I possibly can. 

Unfortunately, that's all I have time to write about this morning.  It's now time to head to the theater for more KidzAct.  My conclusion for last nights rehearsal is that although there were mistakes here and there by myself and others in the cast, I know I'm finding out more about Billy and how he interacts with the rest of the characters.  In addition to my love interest shenanigans with one Peggy Sawyer (talented triple threat, Rachel Aryn), I think I'm having so much fun interacting with Anytime Annie, played by Jessica Walck.  She always gives me something to look forward to every night. I'm also actively finding moments with each member of the ensemble- something that hardly took place while were upstairs rehearsing in the studio, mostly because my focus was still on line/vocal/choreo memorization.

Alright everyone, have a terrific Tuesday!  3rd dress rehearsal with the orchestra tonight!

Three days 'till opening night ;-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Manic Monday

Well it's 8:30 A.M. and in about 12 hours we should be finishing up Act 1 of our 2nd dress rehearsal.  Dress rehearsals mean we will have paying audiences very soon.  Nerve racking, and exciting- all at the same time.  First dress rehearsal was Saturday night and as far as dress rehearsal go, it ran pretty damn smooth as a whole.  I had a few problems getting my tap shoes tied and my fly up before rushing to the stage a couple times.  Not to worry,  I've since been assigned a dresser for two of my quick changes: "Dames" and "Money."  Tonight should be a lot smoother, pending the other dressers/actors don't plop all of their quick change remains on my station in the dressing room.  Fortunately, and unfortunately, my station in the dressing room is right by the door that everyone enters and exits from.  That's great for quick changes, etc., but annoying 'cause it's also where everyone does their last minute mirror checks and where the dressers on Saturday night plopped all the clothes left behind backstage for all of the other boys in my dressing room, impeding several of my own quick changes/makeup/michrophone tape retouches, etc.   As stated before, I'm sure tonight's rehearsal will run a little smoother in the dressing rooms, wing, and backstage areas where all of our quick changes take place. 

Although looking forward to rehearsals this week, preview on Thursday, and opening night on Friday- I find myself incredibly stressed out and a little tired.  This show is kicking my ass!  Also, I've been spending at least 12 hours a day at the theatre most week days.  I'm very lucky to be assisting with the summer children's program at The Naples Players, KidzAct, for some extra money.  The kids are great and my co-workers are a dream, and the work is easy enough as far as day jobs go- acting, singing,  and dancing.  It sound perfect and it is, but it requires more energy than I'm used to putting out into the universe on a daily basis, but I'm learning so much and it's a great daily warm up for rehearsals at night.  I'm also not alone in this endeavor.  Both my director of "42nd Street" and the actress who plays Anytime Annie are also spending their days working KidzAct during the day and then doing the show at night.  I look up to these ladies.  Not only are they talented as hell, they are two of the nicest people I've ever worked with.  Yay for nice AND talented people!

As I publish this first blog, I find myself already pressed for time.  It's about time to hop in the shower and get out the door as I have to pick up laundry (dance belts don't wash themselves) and stop at the store before heading to the theatre.   I'm looking forward to the week ahead and hope to post on here again here again very soon.  Hopefully this blog will be one project that I start and actually finish.

Four days until opening night ;-)