Okay, so I realize it's been nearly three weeks since my last blog entry. Yes, I'm a little disappointed in myself for not reporting back on here as often as I wanted to during this run of "42nd Street," but I also need to cut myself a bit of slack in knowing that I just really have had no time outside of the theatre on most days. Anyway, as the title of this post states: I have been extremely busy. Monday thru Fridays I am at the theatre usually by 11:30 am (this may not seem early to most, but remember I'm doing a show 'till 11pm most nights) to work with the children's summer theatre program, KidzAct. If you've been following my blog you probably know what I'm talking about. This usually goes until 6:30 pm when it is then time for me to shave (I certainly can't be "one of Broadway's scruffiest juveniles" while singing "Young And Healthy," can I?) get into my body mic, scarf some food down, and be ready for mic check/vocal warm ups onstage by 7:15. This is not to say I have not tried to blog, in fact here's the beginning of an entry I began last week but did not find the time to finish:
"So it's been almost two weeks since I've posted here. Sad , I know. I was really getting into it on opening week. There's just been so much going on. Nothing too exciting- just a lot of little things; add to the fact that I'm never home except to sleep and even than I'm usually guilty of spending some of that time on facebook rather than this blog. But here I go, as quick and as concise as I can since I have to be at the theatre in just about an hour to fulfill my duties as a KidzAct rehearsal assistant.
I guess I left off around the 4th of July. Our stalled car sat in the parking garage next to the theatre for the holiday. Tuesday we had it towed and it was repaired (at an unexpectedly low cost) by Wednesday. Thanks to our friends, the Federico's and the amazing Debi Guthery, we are able to conduct our regular routines while the car was being repaired. I'm very lucky to have some very generous show people in my life who I can call on when I am in need.
Wednesday I arrived at the theater extra early to go over my "track" onstage before I began my day with the kids. I did this more a couple reasons. One: It was our first night back after not doing the show for eight days straight and I know that my brain/body requires a review and a lot of focus if I'm going to give the audience the performance they paid to see. And two: as a warm up for the day and night ahead. In a nutshell, playing "Billy" requires more brain power and more physical stamina than any other role I have played. In reality, most of us are onstage the majority of the show and when we are not we are most likely offstage changing costumes or reviewing choreography or lines in the wings. It's a show that moves very fast and requires a demanding amount of focus.
Aside from our regular performances at night, it was also tech week for the children's show I've been working on during the day in our black box theater, "The Ever After." The kids were amazing and everything went off without a hitch as far as I knew. I got to see the daytime preview (their final dress rehearsal) and the last performance immediately following our matinee of 42nd Street. Needless to say there was a lot going on under one roof that I was dually involved with.
Following the Sunday evening performance of "Ever After" I was able to meet parents and exchange hugs with many of the kids. It was very touching- I even received a couple small gifts from students and their families. I had know idea that by helping out with the kids that I would learn so much and that I would really become quite attached to many of them. Consequently, I've been getting quite a few friend requests from parents on my facebook. Just one more reason I feel even more proud to be a part of the KidzAct program. Oh, and the kids turned it out. The show turned out to be a great success, all four performances SOLD OUT! A special congrats to our Anytime Annie (Jessica) who directed this special show and who made me feel so welcome while I helped out with the whole process."
Byron's view from the spot operator booth up in the catwalk.
So here I am a week later. So much has happened, but I'm gonna keep it short since my family is waiting in their hotel room for our arrival in just a bit.
The show has been going so well. I'm STILL having the time of my life. I love the theatre, the orchestra, the cast and crew, and our creative directors, Dawn and Charlie. I'm continuing to find new moments and acting beats every night. So far I haven't really blanked on any lines or lyrics that I can recall. Most everyone who is working is this show gives a very consistent performance. Not even any major costume or scenery malfunctions. I did go on for the second act one night with one tap show and one character shoe on, but not a huge deal since I just stand on a ladder and sing "Sunnyside." One night during the ballet near rthe end of the show when my character gets shot, I went down weird and busted my knee open and although it didn't really hurt at the time I walked off stage and the blood was having a good time spreading through the leg of my wool soldier pants. Not to worry, Marc stripped them off of me and got them soaking in some cold water to prevent any permanent staining. It was funny though because it looked like I really did get shot in the knee. Speaking of the ballet- I actually really hurt myself last week. My inner right thigh or groin muscle is not doing well. here's hoping the icing will help. So far, it's still pretty bad. I know I've been dancing harder and harder but it's beginning to take its toll. 'Tis a dancers life. I've actually been extremely lucky over my career with minimal injuries during performance. I just need to be careful for the rest of the run with this one I think.
Over the past couple weeks of shows I've had students from the KidzAct program in the audience, a few friends come down to see the show, and this weekend my family is even here from California. A separate blog will have to describe what this experience is like. All good I assure you- but stressful and they had the worst travel day getting here, no thanks to American Airlines. Also we've had a great mid-run cast party and regular gatherings at TGI Friday's- usually on Friday nights actually. And our facebook fan event was quite a success. There was a small reception in the studio theatre followed by photos onstage with patrons who were there specifically for the event. There was food and wine, and many sweaty dancers. The following Sunday immediately following the matinee we had a shorter version of "photo call.' We posed in our "Dames" garb and also got a photo with the complete cast and crew- even Byron, our #1 spot op! And journalist Chris Silk continues his articles following our journey via the Naples Daily News. Find his articles here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/topic/42nd-street/
"Billy gets Galinda-fied "
Posing with one of the best props from the show, one of the girls' wand from "Dames." It's absolutely gorgeous- and handmade, especially for this production.
Aside from the show, I'm still having a great time helping with KidzAct during the day. We are currently working on "Wonderland" with the younger kids, and the teen version of "42nd Street" is pretty much on it's feet- pun intended. I've also been asked to take on teaching a two week teen acting workshop beginning this Monday, so... expect a special blog post just about that. I'm thinking the title might be "Billy Lawlor Goes To Acting Class." Or something ;-)
I hope everyone is having a great as summer as I am having, and I look forward to posting on here more regularly before our show closes on July 30th. So sad that it is so soon. What will Billy do next? Actually, more like what will Jake and Byron be doing next? We really would like to stay in the Naples area at least through the end of the year. I'd love to help out with the KidzAct Christmas production (Nutcracker Goes Pop) and there appears to be a lot more professional theatre in this part of Florida than one might realize. We certainly have a few pizzas in the oven, or whatever the phrase is. Oh yes, "irons in the fire"- whoops. So basically we're looking for an apartment of our own, and maybe even a part time day job just for good measure. We'll see. Here's hoping the stars align for us for all of this. What we do know is that we are done with both NYC and Cali- not for good, just for the time being. Plus, we really do love it here. It's so clean, and I'm loving the tropical weather. The beach is like right here, and it's pretty damn affordable in the eyes of this theatre gypsy. Oh and did I mention we're in the same state as Disney World!? For those who don't know, Disney ranks up there as much as my life long love for theatre.
Here we are, just one week left 'till Closing Night. So much to do before then...
Me and Debi Guthery (Dorothy Brock) performing "You're Getting To Be a Habbit With Me."