🎧🎶”I Get So Emotional…🎶

… Every time I think of you!!”
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Hello Gentle Reader!

Do you ever find yourself excited to work on a project but when the time comes to begin you find that you can’t bring yourself to start? 😱 That is the headspace I am in as the middle of the first month of the new year passes by. 📆

This particular project was one that seems pretty ambitious to me and I have only the slightest idea on where to begin this new challenge.😜 (I am keeping this vague because I have plans to post about the actual project next time.)

In truth Dear Reader, I got lost in the vastness of the extra time that I now have since I am currently not working on any projects. ⏰ My intention was to enroll into classes at the beginning of the year and then toward summer start working on ideas that I have in some notebooks of mine. I figured getting into a learning mindset first would bring some new creative ideas. 👍 I am so angry with myself because I spaced out on the enrollment deadline and sadly am in NO class. 👎Well, no acting class anyway.

I did begin lessons with a new vocal coach, 🎤 so all is not completely lost! I like this guy.  He is totally honest and keeps me working hard.  He doesn’t let mistakes slide and I really appreciate that. I have had coaches who just focus on praising, which is nice, but I find that I am not learning in that type of environment.  I know I can improve on something, but I was never told that I was doing anything wrong.  I had a hard time believing that and comprehending how that could be possible when I knew that I needed help with breath control, not sliding into notes and a slew of other things. It seemed that the only thing we were going to work on was how to sing the next song. That was cool and everything, but I needed my money to give me a bigger return than that. Now, it has been a number of years since then and the time has come to upgrade those skills and since I can articulate myself better I know what to ask for in a teacher.  At least this is one part of the plan that is working out.😄

Since I have so much free time, I figured that I would work on one of the projects that I wanted to take the year to get done. To keep me focused, I have currently told myself that  by the end of February, I will have a version of it complete.

So today, I sat down and got everything ready, but decided I needed to get my laundry done instead.  I guess the project just seems too daunting.  This task isn’t in my wheel house. There is so much to tackle  that I have no idea where I want to begin! So while the excitement is there, so too is the apprehension and fear that it won’t be what I thought I wanted as the outcome. And the curiosity that is everywhere because this will touch on so many topics.

I know in my gut that I need to begin but all of these feelings just give me pause and I know that I will sort through them but will I do it in enough time to complete this part of the project by the end of February? Cue the anxiety! Now time is a factor and it brings a whole new layer to put on top of this emotional cake.

But do you know what, Kind Reader? 💡Because of all these uncomfortable emotions, I know this is the right next step for me. In the end, that gives me enough calmness to take a deep breath and step up to the material I have set up already.  Oh, and coincidentally the laundry is almost done too. 😃

Do you panic when you step out of your comfort zone? How do you know the thing that takes you out of your zone is the right thing for you to do? Let me know in the comments below. Now, Gentle Reader, if you will excuse me, I am gonna have a slice of that cake!🍰

Until next time…

 

New Year, New Me… Wait! NO!!

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🎉 Happy New Year, Gentle Reader!

Every new year finds articles and lists of the same old cliché of “new year, new me.” Ugh!😞😴 I get it. All the resolutions and fresh starts and what not. It makes sense. It really does.  Do I really need a “new” me?

I used to fall into that same sort of pit of quicksand every year.  

2017 was different though.  

Yes, I know last year was a political poop show for America for we are now “‘Merica; Inc.🇺🇸” No longer the land of the free and home of the brave that we used to be since we are losing freedoms quicker than a tapper can shuffle off to Buffalo. But that is not what I want to talk about.😶

2017 allowed me the opportunity to check off a bucket list role that I didn’t ever think I would get to play AND one that was a little lower on my list than the top 10 but still just as incredible.  In addition to Paul (A Chorus Line)✨ and Hysterium (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)🃏, I got to add Carl Hanratty (Catch Me if You Can) and Cheech (Bullets Over Broadway)✍ to my resume. All of which I am incredibly grateful for and proud of and it just happened that I had received pretty good reviews for.😄😄😄

Now to the point, Dear Reader, because that last paragraph sounded super braggadocios. In all four shows, I followed my tried and true methods of preparation and instinct to build my roles. That process has gotten me into some wonderful patterns and discoveries of myself and my character choices. I also was lucky enough to work two of those shows with another actor that is on her own journey of discovery. 👍

One day during rehearsals for Bullets, she told me that she was inspired by me because I live honestly and fully in my passions. 🙀I was floored.  What can you say to something like that? It is one of those moments that made me look at the way I live. I love who I am.  💖Some people may not, but I do.  So why in the world would I need a “new” me?  What I would like, however, is a better me.  One may ask, well isn’t that the same thing? No. It isn’t. A new me would imply that I don’t like enough of myself and that I want to overhaul most of what makes me me. I just want upgrades to certain things.  There are times I get too comfortable in my methods and routines that when things get a little shaken up, it turns my world wackadoo. I don’t know about you, Kind Reader, but when that happens, I stress out and worry that my whole way of prepping is going to fail. That is SO not a good mindset to be in.  It just so happened that I had that experience twice last year.  In the end, it was a wonderful learning tool for myself, but if I can get out of my “usual” I think I would be more effective and efficient for projects that have a different pattern than what I am used to. I am planning to head back into study mode for 2018. Because I want to be sure that I am learning and growing, I decided that it would be beneficial to stay off of the boards while getting my system upgrades. I want to be as open to this new information as possible.  I feel that jumping from show to show like I have done the past 6 years would divide my attention too much to accomplish my task as fully as I would like. So not new, just better. 

So forget all that new year, new me, Gentle Reader.  I am sure You are a pretty amazing person already.  👏👏 So what do you think about the “New Me” madness that media tries to shove on us? If you would like to, which one of your “files” would you like to upgrade? 

Until next time, Dear Reader…

“… A Celebration of Humanity.”

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Vanity Fair September issue

‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

 

HELLO Gentle Reader!!!

Christmas time always brings around one of two things.. 1. A Star Wars movie or 2. a feel-good movie. I skipped 1 and went directly to 2. And I don’t regret it.

To say The Greatest Showman is a fantastic movie is barely doing the film justice in my opinion.

The idea of bringing yourself and others up from being held under by circumstances like class or appearance or race weaves a moving story of the start P.T. Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) career, a dreamer with the belief that he can create a life for his family that is the complete opposite of his childhood. However, focusing on trying to fight your past can create other issues with your present.
Jackman’s performance is spectacular in all facets; the acting was clear and strong, the dancing was amazing (his clarity of movement and lines were mesmerizing), but for me, his singing was the clincher. If you were to listen to his performances in Oklahoma or Les Miserables or Boy From Oz, you know his “sound.” He’s a belter.  Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I want to hear a little variety in a voice. The Showman music has allowed him to show more of his voice in a way that I feel hasn’t been featured much, if at all. I was expecting it for Bring Him Home in Les Mis but never got it. Hearing him use this lower register more was like being given the most wonderfully unexpected surprise. This role could not have been played by anyone else that I can think of with the same power.
The major theme of acceptance runs throughout the film. From Barnum wanting to  elevate his status in society, to the performers in his circus wanting to just be a part of society not just its freak show as well as self acceptance, to Barnum’s wife, Charity (wonderfully played by Michelle Williams) who just wants a simple life with her family, to Zac Efron’s socialite producer, Phillip Carlyle, who is too afraid to lose status in society to find something that makes him happy.  The entire ensemble was fantastic. I was so happy to hear how talented all the actors were.
The script was written by Jenny Bicks (Emmy winner for Sex and the City)  and Bill Condon (Oscar winner for Chicago and Dreamgirls). It is no wonder why this movie feels so polished in its storytelling.
The beautiful and uplifting songs were written by the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story and the incredible Dear Evan Hansen) and are easily something that can be recorded into a pop song and played on the radio.  I am a wee bit surprised that “This Is Me” “Never Enough” or “Rewrite the Stars” haven’t had that treatment yet. LOL. I found the music energetic and catchy and haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since.
Visually, it was a crazy spectacle of color and flash during the circus scenes interspersed with stunningly clear regular life. Some of the shots were just gorgeous. Two that pop in mind right away is during the number “Rewrite the Stars” there is a shot of Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) on the trapeze singing beautifully clear while the rest of the shot spins around her.  Then, in “This is Me” there is a moment where Lettie (Keala Settle) turns around and then everything else around slows down. There are so many great shots but there is also one really bad one. LOL. It happens toward the end of the movie during “From Now On.” With so much great imagery, there is one that is just so jarringly out of place I wanted to flip a table. GRRRRR!!! When you see the movie, I am sure you will see it. Still, director Michael Gracey has made a very well done film.
I was really excited to see this movie and am so glad that I enjoyed it so much. This is like a little love letter to the dreamers.  The people that want to be something more.
Like us.
Gentle reader, I’ve missed you.
I’ll talk to you this weekend.
j.

Catch Me Success Rate = 100%, So Far…

Don't Break the Rules
Photo Credit: Edmond Kwong of ImageWurx

Hello Gentle Reader!

So far, I’ve “caught” him every show! LOL!

Let’s talk about CMIYC. 🎭

This has been a great experience overall.  I know that wasn’t what you were expecting me to say.  Yes, it did have its struggles like all rehearsals do and I will get into that in just a sec.

This has been so much fun to play Carl Hanratty. 😜 I have begun to love the end of this show so much.  “Goodbye” is such a great song to tie the two men’s lives together.  This begins with Agents Cod and Branton mocking the hotel room mess left by Frank Jr. as Hanratty’s. Then, the realization that it could be true is in “Man Inside the Clues.” 😱

The great thing about Carl, though, is that he has this arc in the show where he goes from  strictly seeing right or wrong to having some doubts about whether things are as simple as that.

Dear Reader, do you recall last year when I spoke of having a hard time with the rehearsal process of Lend Me A Tenor because I wasn’t understanding what was being asked of me. 💀 I wasn’t asking the right questions to get what I needed so in the end, I just had to let it all go and focus on the mechanics.  And that helped.  But I learned that I needed to work on MY communication.  In this process, I would hit points where I wasn’t understanding how A and B connected, but knowing what I knew now, I was able get what I needed to give the director what she was asking for.  That experience itself ended up not only being super fun but it was one of the greatest lessons I learned.💖 I will be forever grateful that I was a part of it.

The one area that freaked me out the most was that they respected our time a little too much, I felt. 😳LOL!  😂I had almost two weeks off in the middle while they worked on other scenes I wasn’t needed for. It was cool and all, but when it came to putting all together, I was in panic mode trying to make sure that I was synced up with everyone in the scenes we had together.  However, in the end, through all the stress and panic, the show quickly smoothed itself out and the nitpicking got to happen almost right away when it came to full run-throughs.

The time moved so fast that our first time on the set through to Opening Night felt like a blur. It is incredible to think that this show is already nearing the end of its run. It also makes me a little sad to think about. I have had such a great time working with these folks that I know I will be bawling in my dressing room while Rachelle Abbey sings the hell out of “Fly, Fly Away” on closing night. 🎶

Gentle Reader, this has unexpectedly become a favorite role in my list of credits for sure. Have you ever had an activity or event that you weren’t certain about that ended up being one of the best things you’ve ever done?  What made you nervous about it? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, Dear Reader, have a wonderful day!

 

🎼I Don’t Ever Wanna, I Don’t Ever Wanna Be You… 🎶

Keep calm & wait
Just hear me out…

Dear Gentle Reader,HOW ARE YOU??

I cannot believe how long it has been since my last post.  It didn’t seem like that long ago. My apologies!😳

I guess I was stressing myself out over Catch Me If You Can more than I thought! Even Opening Night was unnerving.😱 I think I added to my collection of gray hairs over the last three weeks. But that isn’t what I wanted to muse about today.  I will certainly be talking about CMIYC soon.  Let me add it to my bullet journal…  for tomorrow.  DONE!✔️

On my drive to rehearsal for Funny Thing… Forum, I heard a song that recalled a conversation that I had with a former coworker which inevitably wormed its way through all the different posts/articles/reviews/conversations that I have read/heard/had with others.

The theme of those interactions basically boiled down to a kind of “I can do it better” mentality. 😮 I recall that one of my friends kind of gave me a smirk of “oh sure” or “yeah, right” when I told them in all honesty that I don’t understand that line of thinking.  Yes, I do say things about an actors’/directors’ choices but NEVER with the thought that I would have done the project better.  First, it is hard enough to do either of those jobs. I find encouraging is a much more enjoyable feeling. Second, if I auditioned and didn’t get the part, the director had something in mind that I didn’t fit. Secondly, if I didn’t audition, I would think it is kind of egotistical to assume that I would have done better.  Maybe I wouldn’t’ve even been offered the role – which takes us back to the second reason.

I, in all sincerity, make critiques with curiosity. I want to know why a certain choice was made.  I try and play out all the different versions in my head but maybe there was something I didn’t know that created the choice in question.

I welcome criticism and critiques because I want to always improve, but I don’t feel that tearing someone down is beneficial.  I’ve experienced it school and hated that, so I would never want to make someone feel that way. The funny thing about school was that they thought the tearing down would solve the issue that I was quick to finish my work and help out my classmates.  LOL  Ah, good times, good times!

Well, Dear Reader, I must away to the theater for another performance of CMIYC.🎭What do you think of the whole “I can do it better” line of thinking?  Have you caught yourself in that mode? Leave me a comment and lemme know.  Don’t be shy.  We’re all friends here. 👍

As always, Gentle Reader, thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Some people have asked if this was in regards to something someone said about me. Nope.  I can’t help how people feel about what I do, but I hope I do it well enough so they understand what I did. It just bums me out that the most common way of thinking is that the performer didn’t do what was asked of them and that somehow the “critic” could step in and do it better.
I just want to be inspired by my fellow performers.  If something is odd, I want to know why that choice was made because maybe I missed something (which is HIGHLY likely.) I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who believes I am better then anyone else because we all bring something different to the table.
*end of rant* 😏

1 Thing, 2 Thing, She Sing and She Sing…

 

thetunnelDear Gentle Reader,

Last night, towards the end of rehearsal, I finally had the opportunity to listen to Rachelle Abbey sing “Fly, Fly Away” from Catch Me If You Can. Now, look, I think Kerry Butler is great, but I what I heard last night blew the cast recording out of the water. I can’t stop thinking about it to this very minute. I am so excited to hear this at every show.  I got chills and everything. This is one thing. The other thing, not so good.

But then, Dear Reader, I got home and I heard about the terrible news from Manchester. It is just so utterly heart-wrenching. Of course, to feel bad for the victims is natural, but I also feel terribly for the artists that were performing.  What a weight that must be! I know it isn’t the artists’ fault in the least, but if it were me in that situation, I would be devastated. Such a cruel act and for what purpose? The average age of Ariana Grande’s fanbase is estimated at 18-23.  What is the purpose of targeting young innocent people? A group has taken credit for the attack, of course. If it is them, ( like King Cheetoh, I refuse to say the name as I do not want to contribute to their self glorifying ways) I suppose the idea of a strong self assured woman really terrifies them. And for that same woman to be a beacon for younger people must really shake their manliness to nothing.

All I can think about today is the loss of life, the unrealized potential of the victims.  It truly is a sad situation to realize that the possible ideas and lives of the victims could have advanced our world to peace, or not (I mean, I have to be realistic. However, I am ALWAYS hopeful of the positive.) The other think I am also dreading is how politicians will use this.  It is a terrible thought, I know, but again with the realism here. Why is it that those few awful people can bring millions and millions of good people to their knees in sorrow.  Why don’t the acts of kindness change the world in the same fashion?

In this situation, Kind Reader, these two things just seem to hold hands in my mind now.  Most notably for lyrics like this:

We didn’t get to say goodbye,    

Goodbye  

No need to tell me why, my baby

Maybe it’s because you’ll fly back home to me one day

Baby when you’re in the clouds

Please keep a lookout

Maybe, darling, find a hideaway

For you and I          

I know that this song is sung by a someone in love to her fiancé, but when I think about the kids at that show, I also think about the pain of the parents.  It is such a heavy, heavy situation but I can’t stop thinking about it.

Dear Reader, I hope you are safe where you are.  I hope you follow what makes you happy. I hope you remain strong in spirit and hope.

Until next time,

I Wish I Could Say It Was Intentional 😅…

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Oh Gentle Reader,

Last night we had dance rehearsal for my big dance number “Don’t Break The Rules.” OH. MY. STARS!

Since A Chorus Line ended, I have been really lax on getting some cardio done. I love to run, like I LOOOOOOOOVE to run.  On an elliptical.  I should specify.  With all the crazy things I have done over the years in these shows, my knees don’t like the impact that jogging or using a treadmill cause. Any way, I love to spend at least an hour running when I stop at the gym and for the last three and a half weeks, I haven’t stepped on one.

One of the things that we are playing with for Hanratty is that he is not particularly fit. Having just come off a dance heavy show, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to get down with the boogie.  That’s what the kids say, right?

Well, Dear Reader, I found out last night what it could be like.  Oh! Boy, did my gym vacation come back and bite me.  Bit me gooooood!! We made it through all 20 pages of the song and not only did I stumble on some sections of the dance, but I couldn’t spit out the words fast enough! Oh man, it was kind of a mess, I am ashamed to admit. LOL! But it was fun and I think we all had a good time.

All in all, it is gonna be a friggin’ great number.  I can’t wait for the Charleston at the end! I was given the chance to just park and bark (that’s the “official” term when one stands and sings) but HELL to the NAH! I am going full out dance and vocals on this number cuz that’s what it calls for!

So, Kind Reader, y’all know what this calls for right? I’ll get back to ya, I gotta go for a run… 😀 But first, have YOU ever accomplished something purely on accident?  Has laziness ever given you an opportunity to see something that you wouldn’t have done otherwise? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, Gentle Reader! Gotta go catch my breath. Hahahahahahahaha…