Been Having Some Dreams…

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Hello Gentle Reader!!

I have been having some dreams this week that have been lingering.  They aren’t bad, just creepy. One was very much like the Tremors movies. For those of you that have never seen them, they are these monsters that look like giant mutated Beetlejuice-esque sand worms. They are summoned by the vibrations that one’s movements make. The whole dream is just about me trying to stay ahead of them. The second dream had me staying at this cute TINY house that was at the bottom of some large hills (i can’t say mountains, but they were very large but not craggy, so…) and there was this crazy dark fog that descends from the hills.  I felt like something bad was coming, so I hop in my car and drive away but no matter how fast I drive, those clouds are rushing toward me like a sandstorm in movies. And I know, I KNOW something bad is in there. 

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My Gentle Reader, the paragraph above was the start of something that was supposed to be a post for February 8. I don’t know for what exactly, which is why I didn’t finish the post but going back and seeing this on today of all days makes me think that the Universe was trying to tell me something.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Social Distancing Land!!

The ol’ survival job shut down operations on last Monday, but I was able to find about 3 extra days of work for my team so we wouldn’t be financially orphaned for what I thought was only going to be about 2 weeks initially.  Here we are six days later and the Bay Area is just NOW starting their “soft” lockdown of staying home for 3 more weeks. I understand the idea behind this call.  I don’t like it, but I understand it.

My heart breaks for all the performances that were cancelled.  All those parts that actors no longer get to play.  All the storytelling the audiences don’t get to enjoy. All the work that went into productions and no one to appreciate them…

Then I began to wonder how long this could go on. Seeing how China was experiencing this since December, will it take 3 months for this whole thing to finally blow over? Thankfully, China hasn’t seen any major upticks in new cases being reported since the month began, but it isn’t over yet.

While the social distancing thing is happening, I am trying to remain collected and calm, but I keep wanting to go and do the things I would normally do when I am bored at home, like go to the gym. But those are closed. LOL!

With theatre companies canceling/postponing stuff, I don’t have any projects to prepare for yet, so I can’t find anything to make me feel like I am being productive. Yes, the knitting and crocheting help, but only for so long. Since my apartment is mostly carpeted and kinda crowded with stuff, it isn’t as fun to do Broadway routines here. But I try.

Oh Dear Reader, I hope that I will find the ideas I need to create something that will truly keep me busy without anxiety through the quarantine. In the meantime, let me know what you are doing to get through this crazy time in the comments section.

Take care of yourselves, Gentle Reader.  Be alert but not anxious.  Most importantly, be kind and thank those people that are still in the world offering services and goods to help us get through this.

Until next time…

Relax! Don’t Do It…

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Hello Gentle Reader!

Once upon a time, I used to stress out about not having a production to work on right after my current project would end. With Little Shop of Horrors ending on Saturday, I am  getting a little antsy about that very thing.

My logical brain knows that there will be a project for me somewhere at some point, but as I have pointed out time and again, logic is NOT my default setting. 😄

Having taken 2018 off (and most of 2019 too), I know that Theatre Arts will be around when I am ready for a project.

I used to be grateful that I had an answer for people when they asked, “what are you working on next?” Recently, one of my Lil Shop castmates asked and I said, “I don’t have anything coming up and I don’t mind.” I never expected the calm that I felt when I said that.

My Dear Reader, I know when the right project comes along it will call to me. I just hope that I can audition well enough to become part of the cast. Fingers crossed.  Toes too! LOL 😂

I do have to say that I am so grateful at being a part of the thriving theatre community that we have in the Bay Area. From the actors, to the producers and staff, to the incredible artists that work on design elements, there are so many insanely wonderful people that are part of it.

So there shall be no freaking out! I hope. LOL! No, no.  It’ll be fine.  I think.

Yeah… just gonna wait for that project to call…

*sits and waits…*

*and waits…*

Altos!! I feel you!! Whew, child…

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Hellllloooooo, Dear Reader!!!

What a weekend it has been! Our little production has been a MASSIVE hit and the audiences have been NUTS this weekend. LOL!

It has been such a treat to work on this production. When I was asked to join the cast, I was thinking it would be for Mushnik or ensemble. Secretly, I was hoping it would be the dentist and the 3 people that offer Seymour contracts in “Meek Shall Inherit.”

And then, Gentle Reader, THEN director, Whitney, says “we are thinking you will be a great Ronnette.” SAY WHAT!!?? Of course, immediately I said “I’m in!!”

I didn’t realize the implication of what this role would take. I LOVED IT!!!

It has been one of the most challenging roles to date. As a tenor, I automatically go for the higher notes in harmonies and the melody lines in songs. I know there is a tenor joke in there somewhere. (How many tenors does it take…)

Singing the alto line was SO much harder than I expected. It wasn’t the fact that it was higher than I usually sing, it was the fact that I kept trying to jump up to the soprano’s notes.  It was so hard for me to maintain my vocal line. I know, I KNOW, singing isn’t my strong suit and this is my first major vocal role in almost 2 years. So I tried not to get too upset when I couldn’t get things right immediately.

To say that I leveled up my patience is an understatement. I know I had a crap ton of work to do.  It wasn’t just because I was missing nearly half of the rehearsal time, but because the revival music is so much more complicated than the original.

My Dear Reader, let me tell you that the stress levels were high. Not only were the songs something to focus on, but I had to find my way through playing one of these roles in a gender bent versus a drag performance. I am so glad that the director wanted to try the gender bend because it gave me more of a chance to find ways to bring something a little bit different than what is already in the bones of the show.  I kept thinking how can I, as a male counterpart to the two other ladies in the the trio, react to things in the script. For example, in Act 2, the Shoppettes, fawn over Seymour in Scene 3, which is right after Mushnik’s last scene (just to keep the details vague in case of spoilers, LOL) and I felt like that it wasn’t the right move for me to also make. Instead, I used the line that one of the other Shoppettes says “You’re going to be so rich,” into the start of my character arc building. I then went back through the script and used “Somewhere That’s Green” (we are on stage at this point) as my motivation to get out of Skid Row. Everything from that point on, all my choices are driven to be sure that #RonnettemakesitoutofSkidRow.

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Oh, Kind Reader, with only 2 more performances to go, it feels like we are still finding more and more joy each time we step on those boards at Pintello Comedy Theater and I am going to be so sad to see this production end.

Be sure you catch this show while you can! What’s your favorite song from this show? Mine has to be the title track. I am bummed that I only get to slip on my mermaid sequin green/black jacket two more times. That’s right.  You’ll have to see it. Is there a moment in the show that you love? That would be mine. LOL! Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Until next time, Gentle Reader!

A New Post? Yup!…

time-to-come-back-coverHELLO Gentle Reader!!!

How have you been? What have you been up to? Chasing those dreams? I hope you had an amazing 2019! I really do. I also hope your holiday celebrations were amazing and filled with love and laughter with those you care for the most. 

Can you believe it has almost been a full year since I last posted? 📆 I had to take some time away because I was having some personal issues with the old survival job that just made me feel like I was suffocating and regardless of what I tried I couldn’t seem to shake it. 😔  I didn’t want to inadvertently put any of it on you. What brought me to this decision was the number of times that I had noticed that I spoke before self-editing and realizing later that there was venom in my words. This, of course, compounded the feelings I was already dealing with so the easiest solution was to take a step back. That being said, I did miss you all.

I even did the same thing with theatre. I saw a few shows but didn’t participate in anything until October/November when I had been about 2 months into feeling more like myself. 

My initial plan for this post was to go back to something that I used to do WAAAYY back when… try and decipher my Chinese zodiac horoscope.  BUT I realized that a year away is a very long time in the blogging world so I should probably update you, Dear Reader, on what I did work on as far as theatre goes. 

I was lucky enough to be cast in productions of…

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AND

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The toughest part about these projects was that they started rehearsals at the EXACT. Same. Time!😱

Star Wars had a shorter more intense schedule while Little Shop had 3 weeks more of rehearsal time. I am one lucky ducky. I had 2 great directors that were willing to allow me the chance to tackle this task.  I know that they were nervous about letting me do this, and I hope it was the knowledge that I would work hard to bring my best to each show. I mean, not that I don’t work hard when I am in a single show. LOL!

Let’s first tackle “One Hour Star Wars Trilogy: Live!” A little side note: I LOVE THIS TRILOGY!!! ❤️❤️ Give me this before offering LOTR or Indiana Jones. I don’t care how much people like to talk smack about them. I know they are a little silly and not the best acted. I LOVE THEM ANYWAY.

This was a project of love, no doubt. I enjoyed every single moment of work on this show because it’s freakin Star Wars.  Not only that, but I got reunited with a few people that worked on last year’s “Making of the Star Wars Holiday Special: Live!” I laughed so much during the process that it didn’t feel like work at all. There was joy in every moment we built and the process of collaboration was fast and furious. There were some ideas that worked and some that didn’t. I also got to work with a bunch of new friends that had the BEST quickly improvised ideas. The best thing about the production run was all the running around backstage to get to the different entrances in the theater. So much swearing! LOL!  I think we said “shit!💩” at least 20 times a show. And the show is only an HOUR!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA😂

Ahhhh, Gentle Reader, I am gonna miss that show. LOL!

Next up, let’s have a chat about 🎶Little Shop, Little Shoppa Horrors🎵.

But we’ll do that in another post.

Thanks for reading, Dear Reader!  I have performances Friday and Saturday, so I am aiming to have the Lil Shop post up by Sunday night.

Until then…

Let me know how you are and what your are up to!

 

No One Is An Island…

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Hello Gentle Reader!

I have two very strong beliefs that I like to live by.  The first is that I believe that the most important thing worth fighting for is love. I don’t mean physical love exclusively.  I mean, anything that you love with your entire being. ANYTHING.

The second is a more recent belief that hit me about five or six years ago. I believe that a life worth living is made up of the connections you create.

Something happened last week that reaffirmed that belief. I was working the #survivaljob when I happened to greet a very kind older Middle Eastern Indian woman. She was absolutely lovely and she spoke of India as though she were homesick. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes as she told me how she missed the custom of welcoming all visitors into the home to talk as that doesn’t happen here in America. We chatted for about 20 minutes and I could tell she was needing to talk to someone other than her family. That conversation affected me the whole day and I couldn’t get that image of her eyes out of my head. I felt like I needed that interaction to happen too, as a reminder that I needed to put the work into strengthening my connections and bonds to something more than just passing hellos or sporadic meet ups.

Then, on Sunday, a friend of mine lost her year long fight with cancer. She wasn’t a very touchy feely person, but we spoke about how she felt about it. The last time we spoke she said that the latest round of treatment was tough but she was tougher and she wasn’t ready to stop fighting. I wouldn’t expect anything else from her. She didn’t suffer fools and put up with no nonsense, and even as this was in her personality, we had some amazing and wonderful bouts of laughter.  The kinds that make you feel like you spent 4 hours in the gym working on your abs. People would walk into the museum and we would just wave them in because we didn’t have the breath to say hi.

My Dear Reader, these connections are important, I think, because they build a person into someone sympathetic and empathetic and more humane to others. The impact you leave on this world can be bigger than you know.

The thing about those connections, though, is that they don’t just move forward.  They move in all directions.  Music that you listen to can connect you backward through memories. Sharing a group experience (maybe like good theatre or concert or movie) can create a connection that spiderwebs out like a crack on a mirror.

No one is an island.  Even a deserted island is altered by the sea and wind and sun. I really hope Smokey Joe’s Cafe has an effect on the viewer to help them recall things that happened in their lives and I hope with all my heart that they are all good things.

Monday night, the full cast was together again and I got to hear “Stand By Me” and I almost broke down.  I did keep it together but I really just wanted to go home and knit (which is something my friend and I would talk about.)

Anyway, I am SO happy to report that #smojos is going REALLY well. I have 3 numbers to stage which are just ballads, but other than that, we are cleaning up numbers for the next two weeks.  After that, it is all run thru for nearly 4 weeks before we open.  We will be ready.

Oh, Kindest Reader, I look forward to connecting with you. What do you believe about connecting with others?

Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time!

🎼 And I Believe I Got It Made…🎶

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Dear Gentle Reader,

Last night was the first night of #Smojos rehearsals that we worked on staging and I have to tell you, I was crazy nervous. My words were falling out of my head and leaving my mouth struggling to explain what I wanted. THEN, I would try and say a number and my hands show the wrong number.  For example, I was saying that I wanted 4 steps but was holding up 3 fingers. LOL.

I know I am putting way more pressure on myself than anything I have ever worked on before. I just want so badly for this production to read the way I see it in my head. I feel that if I can pull it off, people of all ages will connect with this amazing musical revue on an emotional level. The younger audience goers will find the messages in the music as relatable and the older audience members will revisit these songs and all the memories that come with it.

My Dear Reader, this hope I hold on to has been keeping me up at night but not in the way that makes me anxious.

😯Shocker, right?!

I am excited about the ideas and the transitions that are popping up in my dreams or as I begin to fall asleep. So much so that I make notes of them so that I can focus on sleeping, but the idea just continues to blossom and my excitement grows with it.

I mentioned it before, but I will say it again, I am very humbled to have this opportunity with this team with this cast. I may not be D.W. Washburn, but like him, “I believe I got it made.”

I don’t know how familiar you are with the song D.W. Washburn. The song is about a down on his luck man that a few well intentioned people try to help. He, however, doesn’t want any help because he finds comfort with alcohol and he is okay with that.

Here’s a fun fact, Kind Reader.

The first version of the song was actually released by The Monkees! The Monkees! The television comedy group released the song one month before it was released by The Coasters, who were regular singers of Leiber and Stoller songs.  The Coasters recorded the song nearly a year earlier but The Monkees put their version out first

Wanna hear?  The Monkees                 The Coasters

I do think that the best version is the one that is in the Smokey Joe’s Cafe show.  The orchestrations seem to be fuller and the addition of more voice ranges give it a richer sound, which makes it my favorite.

If you want to hear how good our version is, you’ll have to get tickets! 😜 Seriously, get those tickets!

 

 

 

 

Haven’t Done This In Five Years…

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Dear Gentle Reader,

I never thought I would want to have a seat in this position again. The amount of detailed organization that was needed for a large cast show was sheer madness. 😜 For me. I am a non linear thinker as I have mentioned a few times here. I bounce back and forth on things in my head, on paper, in projects, when I speak, pretty much in every way. It took a lot out of me.  I loved that show so much as it is one of my favorites of all times, which is why I wanted to try my hand at the director gig.

✂️Cut to today…

🎼We had orientation for Smokey Joe’s Cafe and we laughed a lot! Always a good sign. This is one of my top three favorite shows of all time. I had to do this.  HAD TO!

I am ecstatic with the cast that we have.  They are all such fun personalities and strong vocalists. My gut tells me there is something so special about this cast and I am sure that every director thinks that about their own cast. Having been in LOTS of casts and many of them were GREAT but, I have only ever felt something like this one other time. That show was Pippin from a couple of years ago.

So, after all the introductions and a rendition of Happy Birthday to one of our Music Directors, Sarah, we took a short break for costume measurements then the cast and our Vocal Director, Jonathan, began working on the opening number “Neighborhood.” 🎶

When the 4 guys in the quartet started singing the opening notes in harmony, I got chills. CHILLS, I tells ya!! As we move further into the song and the ladies come in and we get the group harmonies… I was getting teary eyed and almost cried. There is something magical in this group, and I am looking forward to the rest of the rehearsals!

Oh Dear Reader, I fail to have the words to explain how lucky I feel at this moment and the joy that I had on the drive home.

Have you ever had a moment where you just couldn’t fully explain your emotions? How did you “vent?” Celebratory dance party? Scream of triumph? Quietly sit and enjoy tears of joy? Let me know, so I have a way to get this joy out!

Until next time, Kind Reader. 🎶