Posts Tagged ‘Bill Starr’

Image from SunSigns.com

Image from SunSigns.com

So far everything that I have read for the Chinese Zodiac Dragon and for the astrological sign of Cancer have been about 85% positive! There are some things to heed during the later part of the year, but isn’t that always the case?

I am truly looking forward to the upcoming year, but you can’t look forward without looking back.

Thank you to the many, many people that helped to make 2014 so incredible.

First, thank you to the amazing cast and fellow staff for Jesus Christ Superstar!!  You were so wonderful to work for.  You thought me so much about myself and what I still need to learn.  You were fun and I loved watching you shine on stage.

Thank you to my WVLOMT family that always makes me feel welcome whether it is as a staff or cast member.

Thank you to Bill Starr.  You are such a great person to work with.  I adore you and thank you for all of your encouragement, advice, and friendship.  Thank you for the opportunity to bring your vision of Bobby Child to life.

Thank you to the cast and staff of Crazy for You! When I felt like it was too much for me, watching you all work so hard made me dig deeper because I didn’t want to let you down.  I hope to work with all of you again and again and again.

Thank you to Jen Maggio and Myra Diamond for allowing me to be a part of A Chorus Line even though I missed auditions. It was another fantastic experience working for both of you.

Thank you to the cast of A Chorus Line! You are such beautiful wonderful souls and I was very lucky to share the stage with you.  I am so glad no one actually got a case of the sexy ebola.

Thank you to James Kopp and the cast of Super Villain! I have never laughed so hard during the process of putting a show on its feet.  It was a joy to get to do another play.  I hope I get to do more.  Like James is always saying, “I ain’t in my 20’s anymore.”  To you young’uns like, Haley and Gaby, thank you for always pretending I am! hahahahahaha!!

Special Thank You’s to Aaron Weisberg, Kevin Brownstein, Valerie Valenzuela-Misra, Ronnie Misra, Judy Steinle, Mike Brothers, Andrea Furtado, Michelle Elrick, Ms. Rhona McFayden, David Lamcke, Amanda Vogel, Emily Goes, Gabby Au, Susanna Wagner, Elizabeth Lawrence, Nancy Kwong, Cameron Kwong, Riley Kwong, Emily Pye  Christine Ormseth, Amy Root, Samantha Carson, and Tammy Mackenzie.  You have all offered help and support throughout the year and it meant the world to me.  There’s no particular order, so don’t read into it. LOL!

Most importantly, Thank you to my munster and my BFF’s (the T.P.B. and J.S.)  for never making me feel worse that I never had time to hang out.  You are the other half of my life that keeps me going.  So much of my heart belongs to you all for keeping me sane and grounded and well rounded. Without you fabulous people, I would be lost. I love you.

So 2015, bring on Life! I have my arms open ready to hug the hell out of you.  I am excited for what’s to come.  I don’t make resolutions.  I feel like when I need to change something about myself, I don’t need to wait til the beginning of a new year.  I just want to continue carrying on like I have the past three years.  Theatre and friends! That is all I need.

May you all have SAFE and fun and wonderful New Year celebrations.

For the world, I shall still wish for peace and coexistence. It is the same wish every year. I will still hope that mankind will finally open its eyes and hearts to one another.

I wish you everything you want in 2015.

Now let’s go get it!

Image courtesy of Sunsigns.com

Image courtesy of Sunsigns.com

keep-calm-because-everything-is-awesome-8

So this afternoon is the closing performance of my first show at the Pear Avenue Theatre Company, Super Villain.  It has been a blast for sure.  It was incredible to work on something that was totally nerdy and way edgier that anything that I have ever worked on in the past.  Also, to do it with a company that I never had worked with before makes it that much more memorable. We had some audiences that were just average but we had two nights where the viewers were just catching every reference that was being thrown out there and in turn, we the cast, had a blast.  We did have a night where the laughs were few and far between, but most were appreciative of the show.  I am apprehensive/anxious about how the show will go over on today’s audience.  I know, I know!  I can’t control that issue, but I really want this show to close on a high note.  So I have my fingers crossed that the average age of the viewer is closer to me than to my grandmother.

After my realization/breakdown with A Chorus Line, I, in earnest, began to seek out different theatre companies and opportunities to work with.  I sought advice from my dear friend, Bill Starr, and ran with it. While it scares the ever-loving bejeezus out of me, I forced myself to try those places.  I am really glad I did.

While I have had only a handful of auditions at other places (okay, okay! It was only three auditions in total) one of them has extended it’s hand out to me and offered me a role that I have had on the ol’ bucket list.

I don’t know if I am at liberty to tell, but after waiting a week and getting no response if I can or cannot, I am just gonna spill the proverbial beans…

I get to sing this!!

I get to sing this!!

Next May, down in Gilroy, I will be performing the role of Che in Evita!

Evita is the Cinderella story of Eva Peron, who tragically died of cancer at the age of 33.  She went from rags to riches, using not just her sexuality, but also her brains.  She knew that being smart wouldn’t be enough to get her what she wanted so she used her body as a short cut. I know there is more to it, but that is the Evita for Dummies version. I know there are some Andrew Lloyd Webber haters out there, but what care I?  I have loved this show for decades and now I get to be a part of it.  I thought that I would never get to do this show because it is so rarely performed and most recently it was done in the Northern Bay Area, but I already had commitments to another show.  I thought my chance was long gone.

I am so friggin’ happy that I was wrong! I am past excited to start rehearsals in February that I wanna skip over Christmas and New Year’s and just get to work.  He may not know it yet, but my good friend Kevin, offered to help me with music stuffs, so he’s going to be a busy guy! That’s what I love about him, the blind offers.  Of course, I have to make it through the opera first.

Oh!

Yes, dear reader, you have read that correctly. I am going to be in an opera.  Not singing, no.  Are you kidding?  I can’t do that.  No, my dance teacher is going to be choreographing an opera called Carlotta that takes place in the 1800’s in Spain, I believe.  I will be strictly dancing.  What I am really looking forward to is that her pieces are always great, but they differ than what she teaches in classes, so it will be fabulous to really dance the heck out of her work.  I mean, it’s kind of hard to do it in a class that is full of people.  Here there will only be 6.

I am really excited that the first part of the year is shaping up so well.  I really look forward to what the second half will bring.  Especially after the SF TBA General Auditions!

But THAT is a story for another day.

🎶 I’m gonna be a part of B.A, Buenos Aries – Big Apple! 🎶

 

 

Crazy-for-You-logo1-300x469 When I was asked to come in and read for the part of Bobby Child, I never thought I would actually get it.  I know that I shouldn’t think that way. When you are in contact with someone who teaches you something negative like this when you first start out, it is a hard thing to stop hearing in your head.  Over the past few years, I have been trying to keep my distance from such people so I can retrain those bad thoughts.

This show has been a challenge and a chance for growth.  It has had some great highs and personal breakthroughs as well as tons of self doubt and bouts of panic.  What makes the whole thing incredible is the rest of this cast and staff.  I am surrounded by unbelievably supportive, upbeat, and talented people that helped me through all of it.  I adore them for this. When I speak of personal breakthroughs, I gotta say, I don’t feel like I have ever connected to a character as much as I have to Mr. Child.  It has been said that this show was simply a fluff piece.  I think of it differently.  Like I thought of JC Superstar, it is a show about Love. Love is the greatest thing to fight for. Bobby has this tremendous love for theatre and an unquenchable need to be part of it.  The first time I said the lines “Because this is my life.  It’s all I care about.” aloud, I got that choking feel that one gets when you want to cry.  Throughout this two and a half hour show, everything that he does to help just falls apart. So by the time he makes his way back to New York, he is not in the best state of mind.  The producer that he auditioned for doesn’t want him.  The show that he tries to put on doesn’t sell any tickets.  The theatre that he was trying to save is getting sold to a forward thinking business man.  The girl he falls in love with “sticks the knife in” when she says that there isn’t any reason for him to stay.  After all of these failures, this guy still has a tiny bit of hope. And where there is hope, there is the will to fight.

The song “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is such a fantastic song and it’s so upbeat.  It’s about remembering every detail of this girl and their time together and knowing that there is never going to be a relationship.  Whenever I hear it in the context of this show though, I feel like it is missing something.  I know it’s probably just me being the weirdo that I am, but the song comes after all of the stuff in the paragraph above has happened. The first time we worked this scene, I couldn’t get through it because it made me so sad.  Even just talking through the song had me weeping.  It’s tragically romantic in a way  and I began to think about my life and connections with this song grew into something heavier.  As we worked through it, I began to dig deeper into what multiple disappointments feel like.  What does the ultimate disappointment feel like? This man shouldn’t be so upbeat.  He’s come to the realization that Mother has “won” and he must stop dreaming of a life in theatre and work in a bank.  I believe there needs to be some weight to this song.  I am so lucky that our Music Director, the AMAZING Joe Kelly, lets me slow the song down.  The challenge there is if you sing it fast, you get it over with like “I don’t care, but deep inside I really do.”  If you slow it down, you get to sink into the sadness a little more which could get you caught in that space where you full of emotion, but not holding out the notes.  What I love about that is it makes you fight to get the train back on the track which, I hope, translates to Bobby Child accepting the cards dealt and heading home.

I love this well intentioned guy who doesn’t always think through every scenario.  He dives right into half baked ideas.  He believes in the theatre wholeheartedly.  But most important is that he never gives up the fight.  It was a part that was never on my radar of bucket list shows, but I cannot say how grateful I am that Bill Starr asked me to come in for this role.  I have never worked so hard to try and get something right than I have on this show.  It’s like playing yourself, but you can’t BE yourself and that makes it so much harder than being a whole new character.

Then came Opening Night and suddenly all of the weight of the work seemed to just disappear and while there were flashes of panic (mostly during some insane costume changes that only worked once Saturday night showed up), we put on a helluva show!

The show runs weekends through July.  Click for ticket info!

I have been out of commission for a while as I have been moving but also, I got the worst cold that I have ever had in about 3 or 4 years.

First bit of news I have is that the company orientation for “Breaking Up is Hard To Do” is on Sunday!  It’ll be great to get to know the cast a little before I start hounding them.

Second bit of news, is a total YAY moment.  You know how when you move, you end up finding little treasures that you had believed long since lost? Well, I had that moment happen! And as it turns out, what I found was the very thing that I needed to reconstruct the interview with Bill Starr.  So, I will begin (again for the umpteenth time) to re-edit it so that the voice levels are even and as clear as I can make them.

Third bit of news, I know there are certain things in my life that I must change.  One of them is that I would LOVE to jog more. I find that when I run I have better stamina when it comes to dancing and singing on stage.  You don’t sound or feel like you can’t breathe.  That was just a side note, an awkward segue if you will.  The real story is the video that follows.  Hugh Hysell is trying to nab a spot on The Biggest Loser.   He has submitted the BEST audition video.  I hope you cheer him on like I did!

Good Luck, Hugh!!!

On Friday, I got an email from Bill asking that I come to the paper tech rehearsal that night.  A paper tech rehearsal is a meeting between the director, the lighting designer, the stage manager, the producer (sometimes) and from what I learned that night, the choreographer, too. During this meeting, lighting cues are discussed while combing through the script, and sometimes other issues like set change problems.  Well, as I said before, I had no idea that I was supposed to be part of that, and I sent him a reply email that I  had made plans for Friday night.  Those ended in disaster, thanks to parking issues.  I did go to the meeting beforehand, but only could stay for an hour.  I felt like a jerk for leaving, even though they said that it was fine that I leave.

Today, Bill sat with me for a few minutes before (he’s an intense fella; see the video at the end of the post), we began our cue-to-cue session (it’s basically, setting the lights for the actors through out the show, and a lot of time is just the actor standing) and told me that next time I work on a show,  (The fact that he thinks I will do another show in this capacity is encouraging, I think)  I should think about what I wanted the “look” of the number to be.

I never really thought about that aspect of the numbers.  Because of this, I spent the rest of the day analyzing the dances of the show.  I know that I made some choices that a lot of people will stand on their soapboxes and decree as blasphemous, because I didn’t copy the original show.  Here’s a couple of examples:

Big Spender:  Bob Fosse kept the hostesses behind the bar and singing in their poses until they got to the chorus in which they would then explode with energy.  For 95% of the number, the ladies have blank expressions on their face showing their jaded disposition regarding this life.  It’s genius.  However, I wanted a more visceral and predatory in your face type of number. Watch closely, and you will see some of the things that the ladies refer throughout the show.

Something Better Than This:  When I see this number, it’s always a huge dance number, but it hardly ever has any meaning behind the steps. In the original production and the movie, the dance builds as each of the characters begins to believe their dreams and dance with glee.  To me,  the hostesses are in their situation because they either don’t have a choice or like Rosie, they go into the business just to earn some quick money, and then get comfortable with that life.  Because of this, they find it hard to leave.

Rhythm of Life: Bob Fosse almost always pokes a fun finger at religion.  In the movie, when the assistants roll up the doors to allow the congregation in, there are a few people walking and sounding like zombies.  When other people have done this number, it’s usually just about the hippie-ness of it all.  For me, I find that religion is a little crazy with a pops of logic sprinkled in for fun.  I’ve tried to show this, I hope you can see it.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I just figured that this wouldn’t be something the public would get to know.  Since that’s what this site is all about, why not give you some of my thought process.

But back to my thoughts about my vision…while the numbers are sort of what I want, but I had to simplify a lot of what I really wanted.  The changes were made for varying reasons.  So, while I am pretty satisfied with the project so far, I think once the show opens I will be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy.  The cast has been wonderful to work with and I would love to do so again.

Speaking of people that I would love to work with again, Bill Starr is a great guy to work with.  I’ve learned quite a few things from him this go round. I worked with him back in 1995 when I played Tulsa for his version of Gypsy.  It was so much fun, but so much work.  Late nights during hell week, and would find me sleeping in the wings or the isles.  Pretty much anywhere that was flat.  Even though, it was 15 years ago, Bill is still intimidating.  And active!