Success Formula…

H [I(O + C) (F + P)] + T + K= S

Opportunities and Chances are only part of how one creates Success.

One may argue that Opportunity and Chances are one and the same.  I think they are slightly different.  The best way I can explain why I think they are different is like this: A Chance is like an audition.  You are going into this with the same likelihood of success as the next person.  So, let’s say  you now have the part.  You have to take advantage of this Opportunity to grow it into another either Chance or Opportunity.

This must be coupled by Fearlessness and Passion so strong that they complement each other rather than get in each other’s way.

The ability to be vulnerable is where Fearlessness comes into play.  In theatre, being able to be completely open and  honest requires that one must shed all their “normal” defense behaviors and habits that one has acquired in order to develop the thick skin they need for this business.  When you combine Passion to Fearlessness, it definitely makes becoming vulnerable so much easier.  When you are so Passionate about what you do, you are willing to do anything you need to do in order to increase your Success rate.  But note, there is a fine line with Passion and the chance of overstepping is high.  Take care that you treat everyone with integrity and respect.

Now, once you multiply those factors together you have to take Inspiration and magnify those figures which then creates Confidence.  

I can’t stress how important it is that when the feeling of Inspiration strikes, you should honor it and create something.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  I created this post after watching the video above.  Something about Lady Gaga just makes me want to either write or sew.  Or sing.  Since writing requires less set up and material, I chose it over sewing and I sing along with whatever is playing.  But like I said it doesn’t really matter. It could be a quick sketch on a napkin.  I have a beautiful inked one that I bought for a dollar while at a karaoke bar.  See? 

If you do something like this, have the Artist sign it!

Once you have your confidence number, multiply that with Heart.  

No is a word that artistic people hear all the time.  It’s incredibly hard to constantly be judged in order to make your dreams come true.  Heart is the thing that is going to keep you driven.  Just like your heart is the organ that is vital in sustaining life in your body,  your Heart is going to keep you fighting to obtain your dreams. So when your tired of being shot down for not being/believing/looking/loving like the mainstream thinks you should, let your Heart help you to keep going and reaching down even when you think you have scraped the bottom of your resources.  This will also be the way to judge what is wrong and right for you.

Next, you take your answer and add Talent to the mix.  Now Talent comes in varying degrees as does all things, but if you are lacking in one area, you can make up for it in O, C, F, or P.  Clearly, not everyone out there is that successful is Talented.  For good measure, make sure you do your homework, Knowledge,  and learn as much about your vocation of choice as you can since it will only help you.  All of this equals Success.

And I wish you much Success!!

Revenge of the 5th…Goodbye to a legend

It’s a sad, sad day on Broadway and the in the theatre community.

The Tony Award winning director and writer, the legend Arthur Laurents has passed away at 93 years young at heart.  He died while sleeping.

He is the author of such great works as Gypsy and West Side Story.  In light of his revival of WSS still selling great houses, he is featured in  a magazine interview.  Just over a year ago, Out Magazine had an interview with this amazing man and you can read it HERE.  He is brutally honest, and actually quite funny in that honesty.

I was so happy when his latest production of “Gypsy” took home so many Tony’s especially when it came to the actors.

I was stunned to know that he was as old as he was.  He was incredibly active and was still producing some fantastic work.

Dear Mr. Laurents,

In a world that is plagued by hatred and greed and corporations and bad politics, you were able to be yourself for nearly the 100 years you’ve walked the Earth.  You were incredibly blessed that you found love, true love in a time when it was forbidden.  I only hope that I will be able to stay in love for 52 years like you and Mr. Hatcher.  I am so relieved that somewhere in the world two men were able to hold their home together for so long while the world went on.

Forever your fan,


Courtesy of via A. Laurents

May the 4th be with you…

Thanks to

An actor and a Jedi Knight are more similar that I thought.  Here’s how Obi-Wan explains what The Force is to a young Luke Skywalker

As an actor, we have to use every emotional receptor in our bodies to bring to life characters that have been created on the page.  Not only do we have to be aware of our emotional state, but also that of the other people that we share the stage with and using that energy to tell us what’s next.  Not only that, but a really well performed play has the power of opening the minds and hearts of people. Almost like this:

I said almost!  Here’s the best merged into one like peanut butter and chocolate!!! Enjoy.

I SO WANT TO DO THIS SHOW!!!         May the 4th be with you!!!

Stage 2 does it again…

I took a drive on Saturday evening up to Pacifica to watch my friend Sam V. perform in a play that I had never hear of before meeting him.  He was a cast member of “Bless Me, Ultima” and was nice enough to do a brief interview for my podcast.  You can hear him on Episode 17.  He said the story was an incredibly moving one and boy was it ever.

Silvia Gonazales S. has written a script that is based on actual events and I was astonished at how absolutely relevant it is in today’s political climate.  With immigration reform being such a hot button issue, the timing of producing this play couldn’t have been better.  When I read the synopsis of the play on her website, I thought “My, my, my, this is gonna be one heavy play.”  But as I watched, I don’t feel like what her site described was the same play.  The core of the story was the same, but in a more scaled back and intimate way.

Boxcar (El Vagon) is the story of 4 Mexican men and 1 El Salvadorian student that are trying to make it to the U.S.  The men are locked in an airtight boxcar at the beginning of the show and slowly we watch as their time inevitably runs out.  For the Mexicans, their journey is to find work.  For the El Salvadorian, his journey is for asylum.  But in truth all 5  people are on this path for hope. As the story unfolds, the Mexican men are really only trying to provide a better life for their families back home.  Finding a job in the States in order to send money to their families back home is such a high priority for these people, and I found that admirable.  Thinking back on the show, though, I cannot recall what the student is hoping to achieve.  He is forced to leave home by his mother after the murder of his father.  Is he going to be seeking justice for his father? Is his goal simply to hide? I am still unsure.  Did I miss something?  (That’s totally possible.)  Four of the men don’t survive the trip, and the one that lives is questioned by the authorities.

The play opens with a brutal but brief assault on Noel (Sam Valenzuela), a young El Salvadorian anthropology student.  After the blackout that follows, we meet Manuel (Ramon Bustos), a Mexican man trying to make it into the U.S.  He has been stopped 9 times by border policeman Roberto (Steve Ortiz), but swears it’s been “much less than that.”  Roberto’s partner, Bill (Gary Pugh-Newman) is not one to allow “these kind of people” into the country and takes his job with the utmost seriousness.  As the conversation in the scene builds, Manuel essentially says to Roberto, “why are you giving me such a hard time when I just want to be able to make a living just like you.  You, who are the same origin as me, a fellow Latino.”  This gets Roberto thinking.  In the blackout that followed, the stage curtains part and reveal a boxcar interior.  On the far side of stage left, a single wooden chair is slightly downstage of a multi drawer white filing cabinet.  When the lights focus on stage left, the border police enter with Noel and begin to ask him what happened in the boxcar to lead to the death of the others.  While Noel refuses to talk to the authorities, he remembers and the lights switch focus to the boxcar.  The rest of the play is told in this way through Noel’s memories as he sits terrified, waiting to be deported.

While this play has a serious message, it’s expertly written with several comedic moments in the first half as we get to know and like the characters.  Then, in what is the second half of the play, your heart races as these characters slowly and intensely suffocate.  During the last fifteen minutes of the show, nearly every nose in the audience was experiencing the sniffles.  I stole a few glances at my fellow audience members and saw many tear filled eyes and hands clutching tissues, ready to dab at that unruly nose or leaky eye.

Silvia Gonzalez S. doesn’t shy away from the issue of immigrant exploitation and the shameless way America disregards the working class folk who have made this country what it is.  During one of my favorite moments of the show, Roberto and Bill are arguing about the exploitation of immigrant people and he tells the story of the Chinese Americans that worked on the railroad from one coast while some of the laborers worked on it from the other and met up in the middle.  When you look for any pictures of that glorious moment when all that hard work reaches its achievement, who do you see? Not the people who put blood and sweat into it.

courtesy of

 Nope, you see a bunch of well to do men in suits setting a sledge-hammer on the final spike, The Golden Spike.  I have to admit that I felt ashamed.  Then Roberto goes on to say that we take advantage of them because we can pay them less knowing that they can’t complain about it to the authorities. So they get advised to go to get government aid because they are making such little money.  Yet we complain that they use it.  They live in cramped apartments because that’s the only way to keep a roof over their head.  (That one made me feel guilty for laughing at jokes about those situations.)  During a monologue, he says “When I see those callused hands, I know that they are only coming here to work.” I just loved that line.

In the end, Roberto and Noel leave the boxcar.  Did they leave together in solidarity?  Did Roberto just give up this kind of life?  Did Noel actually make it?  It’s a typical open-ended finale for this type show, so that people can talk about it and make their own choices on what they hope came to pass.

 The only things that I would hope to be adjusted by this weekend’s performances would be the transitions from scene to scene when there’s a  blackout with music, and the character of Bill crying in a scene toward the end of the show.  There are I believe 4 blackouts that happen and they have a music cue added to them. I don’t know why, but it felt like there is a long time that I was sitting there waiting for the next scene to begin.  It could have just been me, I will totally admit that.  So for the character of Bill to cry…hmm…When his partner Roberto is giving this great argument about America being the land of hope and the model country of the world, Bill is crying in the background.  I don’t mean like he’s sobbing like a kid who’s doggie just got run over.  It’s a silent cry, but for this hard ass, by the book, I-ain’t-losing-my-job-cuz-I-need-it S.O.B., I found it took me out of the play and made him seem inauthentic. I can understand that the actor may want to show that the character isn’t such a bad guy. This isn’t the way to do that.  I would rather have preferred a gentle hand on the shoulder, or a some other small motion of friendship.  The crying was just too much.

All that aside, the cast is very good with some outstanding performances by Sam Valenzuela and also Glen Caspillo as Pepe, who was an artist on that stage, and Jason Bustos as Huero.  Sam’s dual performance as the frightened young student at the deportation office and the friendly, nervous traveling guy was well thought out and believable.  If I had to give a suggestion for him, I’d say don’t shake so much when you meet Manuel in the boxcar. ;-).  Mr. Caspillo is a wonder to watch.  The moment that he entered, he drew you in.  Even when he was dead, I found myself looking over at him.  Mr. Bustos had a big brash character that demanded a big personality to truly bring Huero to life which he accomplished easily.  There were a few moments where he would turn in a way that I thought would be counter intuitive, but it must not have been that big of a deal, since I don’t remember the details.

It’s hard to describe the emotional ride I went on as I witnessed this smart and inspiring play.  Should you see it?  HELL YEAH!

But you have to see it this weekend as Sunday, May 8 is their final show! Remember, since this is a Stage 2 Production, the show is free, but give yourself some karma points by dropping a few bucks in their donation bucket.

Check here for the details of the show!