Posts Tagged ‘rehearsal’

17353099_10155178316507577_3053752464596427323_n

This is, perhaps, my most favorite picture taken of me. This is wholly and fully everything about me in one shot. Thank you to the amazing Rhona McFayden!

Dear Gentle Reader,

Hello! ¬†How have you spent the last few weeks? I have been working through the closing of one show ūüėě, starting a new job ūüíĶ, and beginning rehearsals for a new showūüėĄ, so life has been a hurricane of madness! ¬†But it is all working out in the right direction, so I shan’t complain about it. How can I, when there are worse things in the world?

ūüé≠A Chorus Line ended three weeks ago, and still this week, I am reminded of the show by people who happened to have seen it. I am grateful for the many very kind words of the show and my portrayal of Paul. ¬†It means the world to me. ¬†The thing is that they don’t mean so much because it¬†may be¬†validation of whether or not I am good at acting, but that the approach that I took with the big monologue to make¬†it¬†my very own while keeping true to the show’s legacy, and as powerful as it should be, worked. I am a very physical actor. ¬†I gesture. ¬†I use all of my body for everything and not just my face to tell a story. ¬†This means that to do the monologue the same way it is traditionally done would totally ring false in me, which could show in the performance. ¬†It was a chance I really didn’t want to take, especially since this was such a personal role to play. So, I set it up the way that felt good to me and when I rehearsed it for the first time the director, Bill Starr, loved it. There were, of course, tweaks made and suggestions, but what we were able to wring out of each sentence¬†felt like truth. And it felt right. For me. The hope was that the audience wouldn’t be pushed away in this version.

Then, something remarkable happened. People began telling me that as the monologue went on (the first few times I rehearsed it, it felt like it went on and on and on…) people said they began to lean in; they wanted to know more about Paul’s story! ‚̧ԳŹ I am certain that there were people that wanted it to be traditional, and I get it, but they didn’t dislike what they saw. What at first seems like a wonderful dauntingly incredible challenge became a piece that I am extremely proud of. ¬†I have loved ALL¬†of the amazing opportunities that I have had but to say I am proud (which I almost never do) of a piece of work is rare. There are literally a handful of pieces that would qualify.

And that being said wraps up my second run of A Chorus Line. I loved the show the first time I was in it and I loved it this time around too. So many wonderful new people that I can now cheer on and be a fan of. ‚̧ԳŹ That’s one of my favorite things about theatre.

Dear Reader, last month, I made mention of job interviews and the need for adjusting my financial course ūüíĶ. ¬†As I hinted at in the beginning of this post, I got the job! I am excited for all of the new challenges and security this will bring, but first I have to play catch up with the two and a half months of work that has been left behind while this position was vacant. ūüėúBUT this is not a blog about working stiffs, so let us carry on!ūüĎć

Two weeks ago, we began the process for Catch Me If You Can. Kind Reader, if you have seen this show, please tell me, did you find it strange that nearly every song has to have a scene in the middle of it?  While going through the script, I found myself wondering what Terrance McNally, Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman were thinking. There is incredible music throughout this show and it feels like it abruptly stops the number to add the scene.  Maybe that was just because I was reading through and making notes and whatnot.  I shall keep you posted on the findings of this query. The other thing that struck me was that even though the script is only 120 pages, if FEELS longer. I am curious if that is because of the song scenes. Only time shall tell.

Good Reader, if you have input on the Catch Me question, I beg you, let me know in the comments below! ¬†Am I the only one in thinking this script setup is awkward? Does the show feel like it has a Lord of the Rings-esque ending? Do you get what I mean by that reference? GAH!! The questions seem to never end…

Until I find my sanity, Dear Reader… ūüíĖ

Well, this afternoon’s matinee audience for Santa Clara Players’ “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” was awesome. ¬†People were quite lively which is new to me for a Sunday crowd. ¬†Well except for when I was in White Christmas two years ago. ¬†SO let me reword that. ¬†A lively Sunday crowd was…unexpected!! But definitely appreciated!!

Their laughter made the show move to a whole new level of energy and fun! ¬†So hat’s off to them for bringing the party!

But now I have to focus on another task:

Tonight starts the rehearsal process for SBMT’s Promises, Promises!!! I like the movie a lot and the music is good, but the real reason I want to do this show is to work with the director and choreographer…FINALLY!!!! ¬†I’ve been trying for years, and things just never seemed to line up properly.

I am so excited!!!

The novel is coming along. ¬†It’s moving at a snails pace, but it’s moving. ¬†I shall keep you posted!

It’s that time again…Yup, you guessed it, 110 shopping days til Christmas! ¬†KIDDING! Kidding! ¬†It’s time to start rehearsing for a new show!

Tonight is our first rehearsal.  I finally get to meet everyone.  There are some people in particular that I am SO excited to see in their roles.  For example, mistress to the big wig, Hedy Le Rue will be played by the adorable Amanda Garley.  She is a faboo performer and I think it was an awesome choice by the staff.

If you haven’t seen the show, a quick summary is an eager young man manipulates his way to the top of a large corporation in various ways. On that path, he must overcome a jealous rival, to be played by Brett Carlson (Yay!), deal with a love sick secretary, and best the other managers of the company. ¬†Will he do it? ¬†Can he do it? ¬†Come and see the show to find out! ¬†However, I don’t recommend the movie. ¬†There’s a lot left out, BUT you should take a peek at the Bob Fosse (my hero) choreographed “Coffee Break”. ¬†I tried to find it on Youtube really quickly, but I have to get to work.

Until next time…

Wow, we are beginning our third week into rehearsals for the show, but so much has happened so fast that I couldn’t keep up with the rehearsing and taking notes and pictures for these updates. ¬†So, I will have to try my best and do it all from memory. ¬†Bear with me!

Orientation night for the show always carries with it a unique kind of tension. ¬†It’s not defensive or uneasy, it’s just kind of there. ¬†We are all there for the same reason to put on a great show and to have fun while doing it, so there isn’t a need for ego or drama. ¬†It’s not like going to a party where you have the cliques of people who exhibit that kind of behavior. ¬†While there are people who do hang out more often together than with others, they are still approachable and welcome the interaction. ¬†But back to the show…

Everyone was very nice and kinda chatty. ¬†We watched the presentations from the designers and other staff members as they explained the vision and look of the show. ¬†One thing that made me nervous was the Set Design presentation by Stephen Wathen. ¬†In all honesty, I have no idea where they are going to put this massive set and still have room for the orchestra and the cast to move on and off stage. ¬†That will be one feat of theatre magic that I am anxiously waiting to see performed. ¬†If anyone can do it, then I know that he can. The Saratoga Civic Theatre has maybe about 50 x 65 feet of wing space on either side of the stage, and I may be exaggerating that measurement a bit on the high side. ¬†From my understanding, and here comes a huge sigh of relief from the audience, the orchestra will be set up in the wings and not across the front of the stage as the often times are. ¬†There are 15-20 people in the orchestra, so that nearly takes up half of the space on one side of the stage. ¬†I can’t remember exactly how many people Rachel Michelberg, our Music/Vocal Director, ¬†said she will need, and at the time she needed a few trombonists. ¬†You should’ve seen how quickly some people, myself included, whipped out or phones and sent out the call on Facebook and/or Twitter. ¬†Luckily, that’s all taken care of now. ¬†The rest of the orientation was introductions of the cast to one another, and with that we were excused for the rest of the ¬†night, but warned to be ready to work on Monday night.

The first night of rehearsal was the usual figure out which vocal part everyone will be singing, and skipping around the score to familiarize us with the sections of music that we will be singing. ¬†I did arrive to rehearsal nearly 6 minutes late that first night and was given grief, in a lighthearted and non-accusatory way, right as I walked in the door. ¬†I slinked to my chair, and people laughed. ¬†I don’t know if it’s because I got in “trouble” or if I played up the pity tail between the tail puppy dog eyes. ¬†We carried on with the rehearsal, but nearly 5 minutes later, my buddy Brett Carlson saunters in like he’s right on time and quickly grabs a seat as he puts his feet up on the empty chair in front of him. ¬†Throughout the night, he was the target of friendly jabs from Rachel and some of the other cast. ¬†I know it doesn’t seem like it reading this, but as a group we were really beginning to bond already. ¬†Most of the time Rachel would have us sight read the section just to see what we can do. ¬†With me not being able to do that, I would focus my ear to hear what Brett was singing, because luckily he knows how to read music. ¬†So, thanks Brett for the help! ¬†‘Preciate it.

During most of the rest of the week, our vocal focus was on the number “Snow.” ¬†I personally, am not a fan of the number. ¬†It’s not that it’s a bad song, or anything like that. ¬†I think I just may be over-Snowed or something. ¬†Nothing too interesting happening during this time except when Rachel would stop us because we were creating a few brown notes during the process. ¬†Um, you don’t know what a “brown note” is? ¬†I don’t know if it’s something that my friends had created during one night of our many “rousing” game nights or what have you. ¬†Without being too vulgar, I’ll just say that a brown note is a note that makes your stomach cramp in that bad seafood kinda way. ¬†Nuff said.

Week number two vocally continued with the intricately harmonized “Snow.” ¬†Although, I do have a question, what the hell is “shussing?” I am assuming that it is the sound the skis make during the activity, but I’ve never been skiing, so I can’t say for sure. ¬†It’s just a really weird word to hear and say. ¬†Ms. Director/Choreographer lady, Katie O’Bryon got us moving for the number “Let Yourself Go” and I freaking LOVE it! ¬†The movement is so Gene Kelly/Jack Cole in style that it is a pure joy to dance. ¬†It’s kinda hard to get pictures of it when I’m dancing, but I will try and have some for the next post. ¬†I got partnered with the AMAZING Valerie Valenzuela. ¬†She’s a ball of incredibly supportive positive energy who is always ready to work and laugh. ¬†I am so jazzed that I get to work with her on yet another show. ¬†Speaking of which, I am also delighted to be working with Ben Perez, Stephen Evans, Sven Schultz, Sean Carson-Hull, Frank Sherlock, Heather Schweitzer, Paul Hale, Andrea Stanley and of course Katie who were all in Sweet Charity earlier this year.

Then somewhere between week one and week two, one of our cast members Michael Carey who was supposed to play Sheldrake was nowhere to be found. ¬† The role of Sheldrake has now been picked up by Sean Bender. ¬†I didn’t get to see any of the rehearsals with Michael, so I can’t tell you the differences between the two, but Sean is making the most of Sheldrake and I am enjoying watching him play with this character. ¬†With crisis averted, the show plugged onward. ¬†Then some time over this past weekend, the wonderful Peter Schuurmans, bowed out of the show due to familial issues, and the cast has, in my eyes, lost a great performer. ¬†I hope that everything works out and that he is back on stage as soon as possible. ¬†Meanwhile, this departure has left the role of Private Phil Davis available. ¬†For those of you only familiar with the movie version, it would be the Danny Kaye role. ¬†Then I got a phone call Monday morning from Ms. O’Bryon, asking me if I would be interested in assuming the role. ¬†Well, yeah, I would, but the acceptance was a little bittersweet. ¬†There were many reasons why this isn’t a straight up joyous arrangement. ¬†First, I was truly looking forward to the camaraderie that seems to build throughout the run of the show by being in the ensemble dressing rooms. ¬†Second, I don’t get to dance with Val anymore. ¬†Third, I have to learn two weeks worth of work in four days to keep the show from falling behind schedule. Fourth, because it was under this particular situation. ¬†If it came to this because of ¬†an injury, then maybe I would be a little more happy about it. ¬†And NO, I am NOT wishing him any harm. ¬†He’s a great guy and performer, so don’t you try and twist my words around. ¬†Katie’s called ended with, “so…now this means you have rehearsal tonight.” ¬†Not that I mind, but I was all set to have the night off like the rest of the ensemble.

My first night in the new role was a bit stressful. ¬†I made sure to study the script and music for most of the day, but the music was still a train wreck when I got there Monday night. ¬†In my head, those little voices that said, “Why on earth did they choose you from such a strong cast,” began to play with my head making focus a little more difficult than usual. ¬†Luckily I was recording every note of that night, so I have something else to practice with. ¬†Also, the publishing company has this software called “Accompanease” which is what will be saving my hide during this transition. ¬†I have managed to create a playlist with most of the orchestrations and only the parts that I need to sing. ¬†Lucky for me that little bit of help is available.

Last night, I had to learn the dance break for “The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing.” ¬†A lot of fun, but I was expecting that. ¬†What I wasn’t expecting was how long the song was! The best way that I can equate it is, it feels like I have done so much cardio and I am getting to the point of where I have to stop, but then I push a little further past that. ¬†I don’t know how much I retained, but I know we will revisit that number again, so I am grateful for that.

So my friends, that’s how White Christmas is shaping up thus far. ¬†It’s going to be AMAZING! ¬†Katie’s staging/choreography is spot on and brilliant, the entire cast is strong and great to work with, and Rachel is drilling these numbers into our heads so well that we should know this music for YEARS. ¬†Even me, the guy with the awful memory!

I don’t have a lot of pictures right now, but you will be able to find them by clicking HERE.

I am super stoked for rehearsals to begin for White Christmas. Only ¬†8 more days. ¬†In order to get inspired and to ready myself for all the hard work that goes into a show, especially one as big as this, I wanted to see some dancing. ¬†Of course I have to start with something Bob Fosse from My Sister Eileen…

And then play you something from what would be a dream role for me! ¬†Enjoy…”Glory” from Pippin starring Ben Vereen

This next one is just plain fun!!! “With You” by William Katt (Or as I like to call it, The Garden Dance) also from Pippin.

If you really want to get inspired, check out a few of the clips I added to the Dance page!!! “Hand to Hand” will melt you!!