Pet Peeve when it comes to staging…

I have this pet peeve when it comes to certain parts of staging. It’s called a cross. A cross is when an actor or dancer is told to move from one point of the stage to another.  I didn’t want to say crosses in the title of the post out of fear of having the religious people freaking out. Well, that and it’s about more than just crosses.  Anyway, I hope this helps all of the actors that this applies to.


When an actor is told by the director or choreographer to cross the stage, I can’t tell you how many times it looks like they are just  moving because of that exact reason. They were told to.  When asking the actors what they are doing during the cross, they say, “I don’t know. You didn’t tell me what to do.”   I want to pull my hair out!  I want to grab it by the fistful.

The director or choreographer is only there to give you just what the title implies, direction.  It’s up to the actor to create the reason why s/he moves. Putting intent behind movement creates interest and energy which adds to the show.  If it looks weird, or out of place, then the actor will be told ways to adjust the cross.  That first step has to come from the actor, I feel.  Otherwise, it would take 4 months of rehearsal to get the show up and running, and even then it would look bad.  It would look bad because it would be over worked and lose that spontaneous feeling that reality has.  No one plans out every single movement that they will do, do they?

Eye contact

I find that I am thrown, yes thrown, as in flung from the momentum of the show when I see this happen.

When an actor is speaking to another, it’s incredibly important that you maintain eye contact during those intense or intimate moments.  The difference between an actor that maintains the connection and one that doesn’t is HUGE! When the connection is lost, it shows that the actor is uncertain or unfocused which to the audience translates as unprepared or not as talented as the actor truly is.  When an actor can keep that connection, the moment gets taken to another level because the audience is engaged in the tension that is being built up between the characters.

Staying in the moment

Along the same lines of eye contact, if a movement is not something that the character would do, don’t do it.  I know, that’s easier said than done.  Here’s what I mean:  Just for an example, if an actor was playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, there is no appropriate time for him to adjust his dance belt.  Or if an actor is playing a corpse and adjusts their shirt because they are self conscious about their stomach.  It’s not character appropriate, and again takes the audience out of the  moment as well as the actor.  When an actor is fully immersed in the character, they will forget their personal issues.

Yikes, I feel like I am being super negative about these things.  I don’t mean for it to sound that way.  These are easy basics that will help an actor.  And I truly do want to help  and sometimes speaking truthfully is difficult to hear.

Now, go get’em!!!


Well, the costume fittings were MADNESS!  Madness, I say.  On Wednesday, the cast tried on the costumes for the show.  Huge thanks to Carol Clever.  She took what is thought to be a deceptively minimal look show, and gave it a realistic type of look. What’s difficult is that most productions  just want the sparkle  because it looks great.  My thoughts are that we would have a better connection with the audience and the text if we go for a more realistic look.  It will have a bigger emotional impact in the second act as well if you are truly listening to what is being said.  It was such a challenge to imagine what these things would look like on stage with colored lights and the stage set and dressing, I’ll have to admit.   What I found the most amazing was how much input that I, little ol’ me, had in this whole process.  Incredibly, the director, Bill Starr, and I have the same vision for the show.  Yay!!  I am excited that my thought process, even in spite of my limited training, runs along the same track as this intense man that I have learned several things from.  Now just to let you know, that when I say limited training, I mean actual school training, I am always reading books and learning the theatre craft. Back to the outfits.

Some of the looks needed to be tweaked.  All of the looks need alterations though.  I feel horrible because it’s a lot of work for our costume designer, and so I and several other cast members like Victoria and Beth Ann (by way of Brett) have offered our help to make the show look as good as it can.

My fav is the Frug outfits.  Still working on the hair.  The wigs were fresh out of the box and just plopped on the ladies heads.

Melinda puts 'tude in her go-go boots!

Patty Reinhart is dangerous in her go-go outfit!
Patty Reinhart is dangerous in Frug outfit

These are going to be made shorter to give you more leg.  Hot. HOT! I tell ya.  For the men, there are some things being fixed.  They will be wearing a tux shirt and pants with a bow tie and  flounce accents on their sleeves.  Here’s what my trio is wearing.  I think that the vinyl vest for the men is so sleek.

Valerie is rocking the Union Jack!!
Valerie is aloof and rocking the Union Jack!!!

Act 1 opens in the park with varying degrees of 60’s looks.  Here are just a couple

Heather Schweitzer vogues in her 60’s look
Andrea looks like she’s ready for school.
Ben makes a tiny tribute to another Bob Fosse show.  Can you name it?

For Rhythm of Life, there wasn’t a lot to look at on Wednesday.  We had several tops, but not completed outfits.  So I can’t quite bring you a true look for that number but it should be colorful.  But I’m A Brass Band will be faboo!

Always immersed in the role, Ian Teter models the Brass Band outfit

I am leaving the Big Spender costumes out because there’s gotta be something to surprise you when you see the show.  I just wanted to give you a little sneak peak before the show.  You may think that these looks are plain, but keep in mind the lights, and all the stuff that’s going to be on stage to add colors.  I can’t wait for the day we set foot on that stage with the sets in the theatre.  I think that’s when everything is going to click, and I can have a refreshed perspective of the show.