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,    


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,

The Sitzprobe…


Oh, gentle reader…

Last night, the cast of Jewel Theatre’s Guys and Dolls had our sitzprobe!!  Can I just say… don’t forget to buy your tickets!

For those who have never heard the term, it is a German word used in Opera and Musical Theatre which literally translates to “seated rehearsal.” When I first began to perform in musicals I could never remember this word so I called it by its less elegant street name, “Sit and sing” or “Sit/Sing.”

The sitzprobe is often the first time the cast gets the chance to hear the orchestra and vice versa.  Apparently, there used to be a beautiful tradition that went along with this wonderful night of the rehearsal process, which you can read about here. The way Opera singer, David Cangelosi, describes it makes me want to be in that community in those days because it just sounds so amazing.

This has always been my favorite moment of putting together a show.  Yes, even more than having an audience.  Even more than choreography rehearsals. Sorry to all my choreographer friends that I just got the side eye from.  Definitely more than auditions. Tee hee.

The orchestra brings so much fun and energy to a show, which is why I adore all those wonderful musicians that I have met while performing.  Not to mention, outside of the show, every one that I am lucky enough to call friend are kind and incredible folks.

Of course, the actors work hard at creating a world for the audience to lose themselves in. When you add that live music, though, it makes the dancers leap a little higher and the singers emote a little deeper.

That mighty little band of musicians really blew our socks off last night.

This show keeps getting closer and closer to opening and already I am feeling a bit of the sads knowing that in just a few short weeks we will all move on to the next project.

But for now, I am gonna love every minute of this process!


9 Days until Opening Night!!

Come and help us celebrate the opening of the Colligan Theater in the Tannery Arts Center, buy your tickets now!!!

Just Announced…The 2011 Tony Award Nominations!!

Book of Mormon leads the nominations with 14!!

Okay everyone, this is one of the events that I wait for every year!  Here is the full list of the nominees.  If you just want a breakdown of how many each show got, just scroll to the end of the post.

The Tony Awards will be aired on June 12 @ 8:00 PM from their new home in the Beacon Theatre. Drumroll please….

Best Play

Good People
Author: David Lindsay-Abaire

Author: Jez Butterworth

The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis

War Horse
Author: Nick Stafford

Best Musical

The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act

Best Book of a Musical

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Alex Timbers

The Book of Mormon
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone

The Scottsboro Boys
David Thompson

Sister Act
Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

The Book of Mormon
Music & Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone

The Scottsboro Boys
Music & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb

Sister Act
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Best Revival of a Play

The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart

Best Revival of a Musical

Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand, Good People
Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave, Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland, Brief Encounter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry, The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Beth Leavel, Baby It’s You!
Patina Miller, Sister Act
Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mackenzie Crook, Jerusalem
Billy Crudup, Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vázquez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light, Lombardi
Joanna Lumley, La Bête
Elizabeth Rodriguez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Colman Domingo, The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley, Anything Goes
John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon, The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark, Sister Act
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Rae Smith, War Horse
Ultz, Jerusalem
Mark Wendland, The Merchant of Venice

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt, The Scottsboro Boys
Derek McLane, Anything Goes
Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon
Donyale Werle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jess Goldstein, The Merchant of Venice
Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest
Mark Thompson, La Bête
Catherine Zuber, Born Yesterday

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Martin Pakledinaz, Anything Goes
Ann Roth, The Book of Mormon
Catherine Zuber, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, War Horse
David Lander, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Kenneth Posner, The Merchant of Venice
Mimi Jordan Sherin, Jerusalem

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington, The Scottsboro Boys
Howell Binkley, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Peter Kaczorowski, Anything Goes
Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon

Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners & Cricket S. Myers, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Simon Baker, Brief Encounter
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Jerusalem
Christopher Shutt, War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, The Scottsboro Boys
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Catch Me If You Can
Brian Ronan, Anything Goes
Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice

Best Direction of a Musical
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Larry Hochman, The Scottsboro Boys
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank, Catch Me If You Can
Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Athol Fugard
Philip J. Smith

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.)

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Eve Ensler

Special Tony Award
Handspring Puppet Company

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
William Berloni
The Drama Book Shop
Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts

Tony Nominations by Production
The Book of Mormon – 14
The Scottsboro Boys – 12
Anything Goes – 9
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – 8
The Merchant of Venice – 7
Jerusalem – 6
The Motherf**ker with the Hat – 6
The Normal Heart – 5
Sister Act – 5
War Horse – 5
Catch Me If You Can – 4
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – 3
The Importance of Being Earnest – 3
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 3
Arcadia – 2
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – 2
Born Yesterday – 2
Brief Encounter – 2
Good People – 2
La Bête – 2
Priscilla Queen of the Desert – 2
Baby It’s You! – 1
Driving Miss Daisy – 1
The House of Blue Leaves – 1
Lombardi – 1
The People in the Picture – 1

 Did any of these shock you?  Were you surprised that anyone wasn’t on this list?  Were you surprised they were?  Let me hear ya!

Step Up 3, no D

I was crazy excited for this movie to finally make it to the big screen, especially since I had mentioned that the Europeans had already had theirs out for months.  Well, that and the fact that Adam Shankman was hyping it up on So You Think You Can Dance.  So I went to the AMC Mercado and had two minutes to spare before previews began.

Here’s the plot: Dance crew (House of Pirates)  needs money to save their home, and the only way to do it is to win a battle where the prize money is 100 grand.  That’s all.  There’s a few minor things that happen throughout but really the whole story is bleh.

The movie opens documentary style with dancers being asked why they dance.  This opening sequence was fantastic and featured some SYTYCD greats, like Twitch and Legacy. I found those first four minutes of the film to be the most satisfying “acting” bits in the entire movie.  But then again, when I think of the past ones, of course the acting isn’t great in those either, so at least you won’t be disappointed there.  The emotional arc is less of a hill but more like a speed bump that no one would really slow down for.  The acting throughout, while decent (use the term loosely)  put a complete halt on the energy of the movie.   So let’s get down to the dancing.  I don’t want to give you all the details because I hate it when people do that to me for a movie that I want to see.

What I was hoping for was brief dialogue in between these epic dance numbers.  What I got was a lot of typical story with a few dances thrown in to break up the acting.  The first dance segment, which takes place on the NYU campus, is between one dancer (Kid Darkness played by Daniel ‘Cloud’ Campos) who represents the “House of Samurai” and the other is a freshman at the college.   The Samurai dancer was actually one of Madonna’s tour dancers and the co-star in one of Shakira’s videos where she’s flipping and dancing around on a bed. But back to the movie. The student (Adam G. Sevani), nicknamed Moose, tries to follow a pair of rare Nike high tops (yeah, that’s exactly what happened.  Lame.) when he gets caught up in the middle of this battle.  I was put off right away, because the cameras were trying to get so close to the action that they cut the “picture” of the dancer.  What I mean by this is that instead of seeing the entire body of the dancer, you see the torso and head.  I want to know what he was doing with his feet, too, to get the whole picture.  This happens only when it’s one dancer being focused on and it really bothered me.  This particular scene was most bothersome because the “Samurai” was literally twisting 3 or 4 times in the air, but you only saw mostly torso, so the full effect wasn’t as incredible as it could have been.  There were one or two tricks done that I’d never seen before, but in that whole 3 minute sequence I wanted to be blown away.  I appreciate the effort to try and get the viewer as close as possible, but I wanted to see everything so it just frustrated me.

There’s a club scene that had so much potential.  The leader of the Pirates, Luke (Rick Malambri) has a crush on this mystery girl, Natalie, (Sharni Vinson) who shows up at his club, but always runs away after a minute or two of playing cat and mouse.  Luke also wants to be a filmmaker and tries to film her dancing which is only the same body rolling and hair flicking that you get from the Brittany wannabe dancers.  Unimpressive.  Meanwhile, because Moose defeated the “Samurai” dancer at the school, some of the Samurai crew lead by Joshua from SYTYCD tried to battle him in the bathroom at the club.  This last for 30 seconds before the “House of Pirates” come to Moose’s aid and a brawl erupts.

This competition (World Jam) that the Pirates enter into requires them to get past 2 rounds of other crews to make it to the finals.  Isn’t that the same as You Got Served?  Maybe it’s just my bad memory.  I’ll have to watch that again. Anyway…where was I?  Oh, yes…So with only three major battles implied, I felt let down.  Although just before the last battle, after some drama, Moose and his BFF, Camile (played very, very well by Alyson Stoner) have this little number that travels down the block to a fun little jazzy tune that is very Musical Theatre in style and is a lot of fun to watch.  I was actually smiling at this number for being adorable and not overly cheesy.

As far as the battles themselves go, the dancing is great!  My gripe is that if you are part of a crew dancing together to present an image and an impact, for crying out loud, you have to be in sync.  I know there’s the whole idea of dancer individuality which is cool and wonderful when you are dancing as such, but when you are choreographed in unison…  Just sayin’.  I think there were only two times that I said “Cool” or was impressed by the execution of movement, and only once when I saw a brand new trick.  There wasn’t really anything new being brought to the table by way of choreography.  I was really hoping for something that I could flip my lid over, but the movie never truly seems to go for it.  Almost as if they had to hold back because of the fact that this was being filmed in 3D.

Oh, I just remembered something else that struck me as weird with regard to the filming.  Whenever they show the main members of the Pirate crew, they never show Legacy.  Yet, in the battles you see him all the time.  He is even in the documentary film that Luke was working on.

Speaking of the 3D: I don’t think this movie warrants moviegoers to have to spend the additional 8 bucks to enjoy this flick.  There was only really one scene that the 3D was well executed with.  At the midway point of the movie, Luke and Natalie have a type of Marilyn Monroe moment on top of a very large fan/vent and play with their ICEEs/Slurpies.  With this massive fan blowing everything up in the air, they drip strawfuls of the flavored ice into the air and the overhead camera is in the direct path of that slushy goodness.  That was the only thing in the movie that made me feel like there was possibly something that was heading toward my face.  Skip the 3D.  You’re welcome.

So there you have it folks, a decent dance film that isn’t really breaking new ground for the world of dance but capitalizing on technology to try and bring you something different.  The music is fantastic and during the dances it fits every step and movement.  So for you dance lovers, see the movie, but spend that 8 bucks on the snacks.

Watch out now!

Hey kids!  Here’s Episode 3!

The show notes are available on the Podcast page.

This one is short and bittersweet.

Thanks for taking a listen!

What do I do now?

Opening night of Sweet Charity had it’s share of hiccups, like both acts beginning late, and a few missed cues. However, for the most part it was a good performance.  The basic comment that I got about the dancing, which I was expecting, was that the dances need tightening.  I spent so much time in rehearsals going over every single step in detail (sometimes multiple times) that there wasn’t much time to actually run the dances.  So that comment was something that I was expecting.  One of the things that surprised me the most was that even with the problems that we had, most everyone said that the choreography was good. And, a director friend said that she will keep me in mind the next time she has a chance to direct.  So while I am happy about that, I feel bad that I couldn’t give the cast more opportunities to run the dances.

On Sunday, I volunteered to usher.  As I was waiting, I poked inside the audience and watched the warm ups.  The cast was doing the vocal warm ups which was followed by a running of Brass Band.  I watched this very closely, and what I saw was strange.  I turned to my partner, who was also ushering, and asked, “Are they performing this better than they did last night?”  To which, his response was “I was just thinking that!”  I hate to assume, but I am venturing to guess that nerves were playing a part in the show on Saturday night.

Regardless, I wouldn’t mind giving them the chance to run the numbers a few more times to boost their confidence in the steps, and to tighten up the performances.  There hasn’t been a mention of a brush up rehearsal on Thursday night, but I will be happy to be there.

Now that Sweet Charity is officially opened, I don’t know what I am going to do with all my time!

Of course I am kidding.  I will be trying to set up meetings with other companies, requesting interviews with more people, and researching more stuff that inspires.

Hey, maybe I’ll dust off the instruments.  Don’t get the reference? Take a listen to the podcast.

Until next time,

Break a leg!