Posts Tagged ‘Lee Ann Payne’

 

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This month has felt a bit like a dream.

 

I got to work on a great show with a wonderful group of bipeds.  We had some crazy hot weather in California and I hate the sun, so we all know how I feel about that. I actually was able to begin building my savings account again, even with extra bills to pay!  That’s a big one.      

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 I had so much fun working on Assassins for Los Altos Stage Company!  The show got such great reviews.  I had no idea what the show was about and I wasn’t planning on auditioning.  Then I got a call from Lee Ann Payne saying, “hey I am directing a show. You should come and audition.” Of course, that wasn’t how she said it, but it was very casual. Then, a coworker explained the whole show to me. It was at that point that I thought “hell yeah! I have to do that show.” So I do owe them both credit for prompting me to audition.  As often as I could, I watched all the scenes when I was off stage during the rehearsal process, seeing how the director and actors built up their characters and told their stories.  I loved hearing the crazy things that are only said in theatre like “you’re giving the ‘fuck’ too much.” Once the show opened, I loved to listen to the scenes (especially the Fromme and Moore scenes) and chuckled at every joke that was found throughout the show.  For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of Sondheim’s Assassins you can do a Youtube search, but here’s a description from MTI:

A multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force, Assassinscombines Sondheim’s signature blend of intelligently stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a panoramic story of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it, embodied by America’s four successful and five would-be presidential assassins. Bold, original, disturbing and alarmingly funny, Assassins is perhaps the most controversial musical ever written.

Assassins lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, in a one-act historical “revusical” that explores the dark side of the American experience. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, taking us on a nightmarish roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American Dream.

Assassins requires skilled singers who are also versatile actors. This is an ideal choice for mature audiences and will challenge your designers as they try to recreate famous moments and people in America’s history.

So you see, it is something that many people don’t want to be “entertained” with, especially in light of Donald Trump’s statements about 2nd Amendment-ers “taking care” of Hillary Clinton. So some people didn’t really like the material of the show, but they did appreciate the performances though it seems like the audience is  “rooting” 👏 for Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, and the others during show, particularly at the end of each either completing their jobs or being executed themselves. The all performances were so good, from the top down the entire cast was so solid!  Some were mesmerizing like Ken Boswell as Charles Guiteau, Philomena Block as Sarah Jane Moore, Alea Selburn as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, and Todd Wright as Sam Byke.  It was a great show to be a part of and I am grateful for the chance to play with this group of actors, even if the unexpected heat did put a damper on the run.  But this is one to remember, thanks to the timeliness of it as well as its own greatness

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MY STARS!!!  It is September! Why are we having this 90+ degree weather when global warming isn’t real!? (I totally believe in global warming. That was just a joke.) Yes, yes, I know that summer ended on the 21st, and can potentially stay warm through October.  I know this academically, but I don’t wanna!  LOL. I want it to stay like it was when I was a kid. Summer was only June thru August! I have made mention many times that I don’t enjoy being in the heat, so this felt like a slow painful Wicked Witch of the West type murder. 💀 What a world! What a world. Mercifully, the costumes weren’t too heavy, and considering one of my castmates had a suit that was made out of material that felt like the heaviest grade of wool cloth a person can find, I shouldn’t really complain. The important thing is we survived! And my beard and moustache stayed on when I needed it to!  That is the real miracle here. Even if I did look a little like Mario.  Special thanks to the Assassins cast for always singing the Super Mario music when I passed by… 😜😉

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You know, here in the Bay Area, it takes a lot of solid, steady, well paying work in order to pay the rent/mortgage if you are an actor.  Out of all the actors I know (and that is a TON of them) I believe all of us have survival jobs.  Some of us like those jobs.  Some of us don’t. Personally, I tend to vacillate between the two.  Currently, I am grateful to have them as I know some people aren’t so fortunate.  Now this month has been rife with extra bills to pay.  Some expected, some not so much. For example, I decided I wanted to work out my brain with an anthropology class. Since I love to people watch, I figured this would be a good fit. I wasn’t expecting to cough up almost $400 bucks for it and that’s without the books. But it worked out.  Then, stupid me got a parking ticket.  $50. 💩! Then a smog and my car registration, which I was planning for.  But then, to have to fix the exhaust pipe on the car on top of all that?  Oh, I thought I was doomed. 😱 DOOMED, I tell you.  Somehow, looking at my statements, everything did work out really well, and for the first time in a long time my savings account has funds flowing back into it.  👀  I never thought I would see that day again.

That has been my September in a oven roasted nut shell.  Did you have a good month?  Or was it like Green Day’s September, where you just want to hide out until it is over? Just like with the survival job, I went back and forth on this, too.  I hated the weather. Loved the show. Hated the extra bills. Loved that I have done a bit of growing up.  Hate that I just said that.  Love that I am learning new things.  Hate that I don’t write as much. BUT Love that you, dear reader, take the time to give this the once over.  Thank you!

Tell me about your month! Did you learn something new about yourself?  Did you do anything fun relating to theatre?  I am all ears… er… eyes, I guess it would be.

Until next time!

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Clutch the pearls!

I probably would have a lot of people complain about this, and I think there may be some hurt feelings…

BUT

I do not like the musicals of yore.

Music Man, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Kiss Me Kate, Showboat, Camelot and Finian’s Rainbow are just some of the musicals that I don’t need to ever hear again. I understand the importance that some had on society and on the Art Form itself. I am not sure what it is about them, but I just don’t connect with those shows.  I tried, TRUST, I tried.   I have even performed in some of those show and STILL those songs and stories just bore me to death.

Once upon a time, Guys and Dolls was on that list.

However, I am actually working on this show for the second time.  The first time was as a production assistant. I really enjoyed working on that show because the cast was so fun.  Now, it didn’t mean that I wanted to hear those tunes on my free time, but I had a good experience.

This time around is a bit different.  This time around, I actually CANNOT wait for people to come and check out this show!  I had a brief conversation with our amazing choreographer, Lee Ann Payne, in which I pretty much gushed about how much fun I am having.  I adore the numbers in this show.  Our vocal director, Diana Torres Koss, has been brilliant in breaking down the songs.  I feel a sense of joy while I am doing these dances and I love the challenge of these harmonies.  I like building a character that has a vice, gambling, and a story of his own that the audience knows nothing about.  That is what makes it so much more fulfilling. I have a brilliant partner to dance with and great people to share the stage with, thanks to the vision of our fearless leader, Linda Piccone.

Yes, these rehearsals have kicked. my. ass!

Yes, I love every single minute of it.

And even more yes, this is an old show that I would probably do again BUT it would have a lot to live up to.

Come and see Jewel Theater’s Guys And Dolls opening on November 13!!!!

Get your tickets here!!!  Or use this shortcut

Word of advice, Jewel Theater has a history of selling out their shows, so…   

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I didn’t quite know what to expect or how to prepare for doing back to back shows, but let me tell ya…I am having a blast.  I am tired in a way that I have never experienced but I am exhilarated just the same. 

Our current production “Promises, Promises” is only available to witness for two more weekends.  See the flyer above and get your tickets NOW!!!!

Our leading man, Michael Rhone is the most perfect Chuck. He brings such a heart and charm to his character that he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand shortly after the show opens.  Walter Mayes is a directing genius. The cast dances their hearts out to Lee Ann Payne’s brilliant choreography all in time to Dan Singletary’s freaking amazing orchestra.  

Catch this rarely done show and have a good time!

On the flip side of the coin, rehearsals for “Sugar” are chugging right along and we have ten more days before that show moves into the theatre!!  My feet are killing me, but it is easy to see why the movie “Some Like It Hot” is the American Film Institute’s number one comedy of all time.  As we tweak more and more of the show and get it closer and closer to perfection, we keep finding new funny things all the time.   

I still don’t know what my costumes are exactly, but the contest is still open from THIS POST.  I have two free tickets for the show, if you can guess the proper style that I will be wearing in “Sugar.”  Leave a guess on that link in the comments and correct guess will be randomly drawn.  Big thanks to WVLO and the producer for the tickets!

You can also get tickets for “Sugar” by calling the number on the flyer below.  But try and win some tickets for free!

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 Until next time my friends!

Opens in January!!! Get your Tix NOW!!

Congrats to my NEW fellow cast mates!!  Check it!

Chuck Baxter – Michael Rhone
J. D. Sheldrake – Damian Marhefka
Fran Kubelik – Cindy Powell
Dr. Dreyfuss – Bob Visini
Mr. Kirkeby – Jery   <—————————That one’s ME!!!!
Mr. Eichelberger – Todd Wright
Mr. Dobitch – Dave Leon
Mr. Vanderhoff – Gregg Zigler
Miss Olson – Kimberly Kay
Marge MacDougall – Breigh Finnerty
Miss Della Hoya – Cierra Cass
Miss Polansky – Esther Selk
Miss Wong – Jennifer Young
Karl Kubelik – Howard L. Miller
Mrs. Sheldrake/Nurse – Elizabeth Strycker
The Greek Chorus – Jennifer Medeiros, Lea Simon, Jennifer Smith, Maggie Velasquez
Men’s Ensemble – Karl Schweitzer, Braden Taylor, TBA

Our fearless leaders are Director: Walter Mayes, Musical Director Dan Singletary, and Choreographer: Lee Ann Payne.   I’ve heard great things about all of them and I am looking forward to finally getting the chance to play with them.

On top of that, there are a number of people that I love working with also in the cast like Jennifer Young, Karl Schweitzer, Lea Simon, and Cindy Powell.

I think tickets are on sale for the show already.  It opens mid-January 2013!  Getchyo’ tixs now!!  This show is gonna blow it out!  Join the party.

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In addition, I have been asked to create two dance pieces for a dear dear friend of mine and I am so excited for it.  I can’t wait until we have a chance to sit down so I can talk about ideas!

Also, I have been asked to re-up my role as Master of Ceremonies for an event which I am more than happy to do because it was SOOOOO much fun!

Can’t wait!!  Gonna be all theatre-y and stuff!!

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?  I know it’s a bit early to ask, but it’s coming up!

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Do you hear that music?

With the latest season of So You Think You Can Dance underway, I find that sensation and urge of wanting to get back into a dance class.  I miss the structure of working on a step with someone with experience to tell you “Dude, you are totally screwing that up.”  Of course, the teacher doesn’t say that, but I happily accept their help as a response to that message, whether verbally communicated or not.

On the way to the kitchen one day, as I was listening to music, I got the bright idea to bust out a double pirouette.  It was on my good side, so I landed it, yeah, it was a wee bit wobbly, but I got a little jazzed and tried to do the other side just to even things out.  HA!!

I got one rotation and soon I was hugging my coat rack and trying to keep from smacking my face against the wall.

Have you ever watched America’s Funniest Videos and seen a clip where someone for no reason whatsoever falls?  Like they have NO sense of balance.  I have that as a…hmmm, not really a fear….and it’s not a pet peeve, so I don’t know what to call it.  I just know that I don’t want to be that sad sack that loses their balance just because I get looked at the wrong way.

Dancing has been a love of mine that I sadly admit that I don’t do nearly enough.  There’s something about the beat of music that makes my soul jump and groove and glow with a happiness that I can’t get anywhere else.  Some say that Latin people have a rhythm in their souls.  In 2005, Tina Ramirez, founder of Ballet Hispanico, was quoted in the Washington Post saying that “In Hispanic culture, you are born dancing.”

One of the many books that I am currently juggling is about the women of New Mexico which features stories that were written during the Roosevelt Era.  Many of the stories talk about all the celebrations and dancing from the time the sun goes down and carries on throughout the night.

With that in mind, I am researching which school would be best for me.  I know Lee Ann Payne’s Musical Theatre Class at Zohar is a ton of fun, but I didn’t see it on the summer session schedule. I really want to take a hip hop class.  I love the style of the dance, but I am the least likely candidate for the culture.  I’ve also always wanted to try my hand at contemporary.  I just don’t knowwwwww!!  So many choices!  I wish someone just had a flat rate for unlimited classes so I could give them all a test drive and see which one fit me the best.  We’ll just have to wait and see exactly how that plays out.  I’ll keep ya posted.

Do you take dance classes somewhere?  What school are you attending?  What’s your focus?