Happy Broadway Day!!

Hello Gentle Reader!

I am a Broadway baby at heart. ❤️♥️ 

There is a national day for EVERYTHING!  I never thought Broadway would have a day other than Tony Award Night but September 29th seems to be the day. So this leads me to the a question that I would like to ask you, my Dear Reader. That question is… what is your favorite Broadway musical?   C’MON!!!  What did you think I was gonna ask? 

If that question was posed to me, I would have a hard time answering. I would have to make a list of my top 5 or so. 🤔 I don’t think I could possibly narrow it down to a true number one. That being said, Imma try to at least give you a list!😂😂

ONCE ON THIS ISLAND 
(Ahrens and Flaherty)

The beauty of this story is what made me fall madly in love with this musical. The idea that love can conquer death is intriguing. As the line in the show says, “you can stop her heart from beating, yes. But not from loving. Not if love is what she chooses.” For a someone who love romance, I think that line is powerful. As an optimist, that line is hopeful. The songs are wonderful and completely singalongable.  That’s a word now, y’all.  There are, 4 what I think are musical masterpieces: Waiting For Life, Forever Yours, Mama Will Provide, and one of my top 2 ultimate Broadway songs,The Human Heart. It is not just a beautiful song in the context of the show, but on its own it is still gorgeous.  Most recently, there was a wonderful rendition of it done by Leslie Odom Jr. in this year’s Miscast concert.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S95UIeKovM

THE WILD PARTY
(Lippa)

This is a fabulous for the belter in all of us. So many gems in this show that you can just let loose and sing your face off. Did you hear me? SING YO FACE OFF! The characters are deliciously just over the top enough to want to play ANY of them in a production. Along with those singalongable numbers, TWP has what could be one hell of a dance number in all of musical theater: The Juggernaut. 

EVITA
(Webber/Rice)

Not only was this my first show seeing the true lead was a woman. The version of the show that I fell head over heels over was the studio concept album with Julie Covington in the title role.  Not only did it have the rock music, strong vocals,  and excellent songs for going for it, but a young actor listed as C. T. Wilkinson happened to be playing opposite Ms. Covington, who has become one of my favorite male actors.  His vocals are like buttuh!  Also, Che is just an amazing role to play.  I am sure Evita is too, but I don’t think I will get THAT chance.  😂😂

PIPPIN
(Schwartz)

The Music? The Sexy Dancing? The Characters?  These are all small parts of what makes me love the show. My biggest reason is the relatability of main character who wants there to be more to life than just life.  That there has to be something fantastical out there. Something more than ordinary.  That’s what drew me to the show initially and everything else is what keeps the show on my top list. I also love the Leading Player role as well. What a dream come true to step into those shoes.  Whenever I feel a little blue or lazy or just unmotivated, I always think of one song: No Time At All. 

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
(Webber/Rice)

This was the first musical that my best friend introduced to me.  She knew every word every and a ton of harmonies to every song. We were in middle school. She has an unbelievable ear and would sing along with her mom when we were in the car and probably when they were home too. LOL! As a self professed heathen, I don’t really believe in organized religion but found this story beautiful as a love story. The music was highly energetic and there are some serious belter songs in a guys vocal range! YAY! LOL!. The two main men, have some fabulous character arcs to go along with their songs. I love singing those songs!

I love all kinds of shows, but some I don’t connect with. That’s ok. The beauty about musicals is that even though I might not like a show, there is almost always a few songs that I really appreciate.  My love affair with musicals is strong and though we may have “rough patches” i.e. shows that aren’t my faves, but we work through it and come out stronger on the other side. LOL!  Again, this is just my list of top faves that I can’t put any order as to which is truly my ultimate top show. 

So Kind Reader, I ask you once again, what’s your favorite musical? 

Let me know what you love and why you love it. It is fine if you don’t like musicals.  Let me know why.  I am always truly curious.  Oh, and if you don’t like musicals, do you like plays? 

Until next time, Gentle Reader, stay safe and alert.  Also, make sure you watch for your ballot in the mail if you vote by mail like I do. 

All the best to you, my lovelies!

Can’t wait, but…

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Hello Gentle Reader!

As you know, I am stepping into a director role once again for 🎷 Smokey Joe’s Cafe (which I lovingly call SmoJo’s). I didn’t think that I would direct again after Jesus Christ Superstar. 😔 It wasn’t the complete vision that I had and made way too many compromises for it to end up the way that I wanted. It wasn’t my vision, but I loved every person that worked so hard on it.  My only wish is that I didn’t compromise what I wanted. 😉

I had mentioned that I was hesitant to direct to a good friend the other day (even though I have already accepted the position, yes, I know how it sounds) and she had some great advice and said “Don’t be! You learn from every situation, so whatever happened last time, learn from it and don’t let it happen again! You will make mistakes with every show…”

As I sat listening to the talented people 🎤 belt out tunes during the initial auditons, the voice of self doubt kept popping up and asking “are you sure you want to call XYZ back for XYZ role?” or “are you sure you can bring the best out of these people?” 👿 It was hard to shut it down. I am so glad that I have the team that I have. We laughed so much with each other and were all excited by all the people we had come out and sing us a song. The laughter does SO much to help squelch that voice. Something about sharing laughs with people helps me bond and connect them. Do you ever notice how laughing settles nerves and most uncomfortableness? It helps me so much. 👍

My Dear Reader, I was initially worried that we didn’t have people banging down the doors to audition but the number of people that did, had brought a lot of great stuff to the table. When I got home, after the second day of auditions, I KNEW I had a cast in there.

I slept so good that night! LOL. 💤

Oh, Gentle Reader!  Knowing that I have 9 roles that can be filled 3 or 4 times over by these auditionees puts my nerves and heart at ease, but that stupid worry voice, while muffled, is still there. Am I the right person to lead these 9 people to a packed house of spectators that will be blown away?

Yes.

I am. Thank you ❤︎, Jillian, for giving me a different way to look at this! So once the decisions are hashed out, I will happily pour as much of my heart and soul into this show that I am asking the performers to give to the audience.

And I can’t wait for you to see what’s in store!

So my Kind Reader, what do you do to get over that little voice that makes you doubt yourself? Or maybe you don’t have that issue… if you don’t, damn! I would love to be you.  Well, like you. 😉

Until next time, Dear Reader.  I look forward to talking about the callbacks… but that’s another post. Muahahahaha!!!💖💖

 

Walking Into 2015 With Nothing But Optimism…

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

It Is Finished…

Cast and Crew of SUPERSTAR being goofy!  Photo by Edmond Kwong
Cast and Crew of SUPERSTAR being goofy! Photo by Edmond Kwong

I have been pussyfooting around the acknowledgement that this show that I have lived with for the last 13.5 months has finally come to an end.  On my last two days off of work I was expecting to get hit with a blast of depression that comes with ending a show.  One of this magnitude, I was sure would take me out of the game for a while. But it never came.

When we started this show, I said I see this show as a fight for love.  Instead of the show being a simple Judas wronged Jesus, it was accidental.  There was no one to “blame.”  Everything was supposed to happen.  Like Jesus sings, “You’re far too keen on where and how but not so hot on why.”   I wanted a positive spin on the show.  I also wanted Jesus to be as human as everyone else.  My hope was that people would be moved to see a fellow human being treated so horribly during act 2.  To see that he was afraid and sad but still willing to go through this for his love of the people.  I had the white out at the end to ask the audience to look inside and find your love for your fellow man and for hope that this world can be a better place in doing so.

Then I was lucky enough to get this amazing, supportive cast! But my luck didn’t run out there.  One of the very first things I fought for was an amazing sound department which was an incredible 3 man team.  So John, Dan, and Brett: Thank you for an outstanding job with this difficult show!  The crew was small but mighty and headed by an amazing Stage Manager, Ms. Pye! I am grateful to the amazing producers Nancy and Liz, who worked so tirelessly to ensure that the vocal director, Judy, and music director, Jean, and I had everything we needed.

I have realized that there is a reason for the non-depression.  As I disassemble the Blooming Wall, I have the chance to read all the beautiful paper “flowers” with things that people love.  Simple things.  And I understand that we did exactly what we set out to do.  We did share the love.

And so did they.  With that in mind, what is there to be depressed about?

To ALL of you, I cannot say thank you enough.

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When You Get To Hear It For The First Time…

As I spent the last few days worrying over JCS, that little voice in the back of my head began to whisper to me. Just ever so slightly.  Kind of like seeing something out of the corner of your eye.

After a week of rehearsals, the cast got to sing through all ov Act 1 witb minimal stopping.  To get them into the spirit of the night, we kicked off rehearsal with some vocal warm ups.  After a couple of standards, we threw in something goofy just for kicks. Once they fully comitted to the exercise, I threw emotions at them as they sang “do you want fries with that?” I wanted them to build from a “it’s a great day” to “if you don’t get out of my face i will kill you!” It was fun to see them take this group exercise and make it into mini scenes.  Some were more believable than others and when I came across those, I would say that I don’t believe it and I could see the shift in their intensity.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope they enjoyed the experience.

From there, the cast did a mini sit and sing of Act 1. It went really well and totally made my night to see the cast react to hearing the leads for the first time.  It was great to see them really get into it with everyone being in the same room and enjoying the music.

After a small break, we cleared the chairs and told the cast the move around the room in the spirit of a character.  It was like watching a show in itself.

To watch the characters begin to take shape,  to see the reactions of the rest of the cast, and to know that we are on the up slopes of this process made for an incredible night!
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Cut to 3 weeks later…

We’ve managed to get all but 6 or 7 numbers staged and begin stumbling thru acts this week. Every day I am excited to see what is in store and what is inside these actors.  Every day I am grateful that they work so hard.  I feel so unbelievably lucky that this particular group of people accepted parts in this show.

I hope that they are still enjoying themselves, even inspite of my frantically worded explanations.  As I watch them laugh and chat, I know they are enjoying each others’ friendships.  That gives me hope. Hahahaha!!

In all honesty, this incredible group of actors and I cannot wait to share this show with y’all!!!