♫ Opportunity Is NOT A Lengthy Visitor ♬♩

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For anyone that loves fairy tales, Disney-esque stories, or just Sondheim’s music, this is a MUST SEE!!!!

Theatre In The Mountains presents INTO THE WOODS

“Into the Woods,”  for those not familiar, is a brilliant weaving of several fairy tales into one complex narrative about what it takes to get what you want and the consequences that follow.  Act 1 is a light, positive and funny chapter, for lack of a better word, that shows the main characters struggling to make their dreams a reality.  From the childless Baker to the poverty stricken Jack, each character wishes that their situations could be fixed.  Then, thanks to some magic beans from the Witch’s garden, opportunity strikes.  Act 2 is the chapter when the lessons are learned.  The songs are a little less jovial, but much more touching and still just as clever.

In this production, director Ian Leonard, has created not just another show, but an experience that is brilliant.

The use of this space and the space around this space and the atmosphere lend themselves fully to the characters who traverse the woods in search of their wishes.  The actors stayed in character as they walked from behind the set and into the actual woods around the audience.  To watch them as they explored the woods just added that extra layer of complexity.  Not only do you get the main focal point of the story which is happening on stage, but you get some of the side story as you watch the actors that are off stage.

The usual way that the show begins is with an older gentleman, known as The Narrator.  As I said, that is the usual way. Mr. Leonard changed the dynamic of the story by placing the Narrator position in the hands of a child.  The show now becomes a product of imagination rather than a series of events, which I feel draws the audience in even more.  It also makes songs like “Witch’s Lament” and “Children Will Listen” that much more moving.  Let me tell you, there were several tears to be shed by the end.

But the good things about this show aren’t only the direction and the set, no.  They are also the actors themselves.  This is one of the strongest casts I’ve seen recently.  And that’s including the Faustus cast at the SJRep.  But “that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,”   yes, the cast was great!  The Princes in their smug yet charming demeanor.  The feisty little granny who can skin a wolf.

But let’s break this down a little further.  Jeremy Goel, as the Narrator made it so believable that this was just him playing with his toys.  At first he was wide eyed and excited as he unpacked his backpack with the toy representation of the characters, but later realizing that even in make believe there are consequences.

Alison Koch, as Cinderella, was wonderful!  Her voice just soars in that open space and our hearts break with hers as she realizes that her Prince isn’t as charming as she had hoped.

The naive lad, Jack, played by Stefan Montana had line delivery that was perfection.  So hopeful, yet so clueless.

Shawn Bender makes you laugh, hope, cry, then hope again in his turn as the Baker.  Fantastic role for him!

Cindy Powell, as the Baker’s Wife, has one of my favorite songs in the show “Moments In The Woods.”  She added little subtleties in the delivery and facial expressions that I LOVE to see actors do especially if it hasn’t been done by other people.

Speaking of… That leads me to The Witch.  She was amazing! Kristen Hermosillo delivers in this role!  As I was saying with Ms. Powell, Ms. Hermosillo interpreted her role uniquely as well.  My favorite moment of the play, and there were a lot of them, but absolute fave is when she sings “And then bang! Crash! And the lightning flash! And – Well, that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,” most people I’ve seen sing this song with fear about the flashes and the noise, but it looked like Ms. Hermosillo, was reveling  in it.  And then she laughed off the never mind,  get back to business – anyway.  Sheer magic!

Samantha Stidham and Elizabeth McClelland as Florinda and Lucinda were hilarious!!  They combine sass, conceit, haughty into a single diva-licious element and work that stage!

Not to be outdone, as the Stepmother, Kimberly Kay is just as haughty and sassy, but add a gallon of conniving and you have the Mutha of all divas!  Just watching her get the shoe onto her daughters’ feet is worth the price of the ticket!  Just saying!

Then, there is Brett Carlson that pulls double duty as the Wolf and the Steward. I cannot describe this in a way that doesn’t sound weird.  But here goes.  Ya know how people get sympathy pains or feel empathy for others? Well, his wolf is SO focused on the deliciousness that will be Little Red Riding Hood that my mouth started to water.  Think of it was a mind meld.  I know I am weird.  Then to see him take the Steward into what I think of as an over-exaggeration of an over-exaggeration of himself.   It was brilliant!  I hope he doesn’t get mad that I say that.

The plucky sarcasm and attitude that is Little Red Riding Hood was not lost by Lisa Meehan.  She had the audience laughing throughout the show and cheering for her after “I Know Things Now.”

I could go on with this for the entire cast, but alas the entry would be too long and I would rather you click the link below to get tickets and see for yourself this fantastic show.  It only has 3 more performances: Thursday 7/18, Friday 7/19 and Saturday 7/20 all shows begin at 7PM.  Get your tickets here: Theatre In The Mountains

Congrats to Jillian Cummings, the cast and staff of Into The Woods!! You have yourself a true gem!

As Stephen Sondheim says: “Opportunity is NOT a lengthy visitor”  Get your tickets now.  You only have 3 chances to see the show.

What Is THIS Feeling?…

With David Lampke, Amanda Vogel, Andrea Furtado, Samantha Stidham,  and Andi Kline
With David Lamcke, Amanda Vogel, Andrea Furtado, Samantha Stidham, and Andi Kline

With “Sugar” now officially open, I have this slight sense of sorrow.

For the last six months, I have been bouncing from one show to the next.  I’ve met so many amazing and fantastic people that have made me laugh, given me the creeps (they were supposed to), or terrified me, and I have enjoyed each moment.  There wasn’t a day were I thought “I don’t want to be here.”  Even on the really REALLY tough days.  I just thought “how can I make it better”

Last night, when I got home from the theatre, I kept walking to random parts of the apartment.  I had no idea what to do with myself.  For the rest of the night the only thing that ran through my head was: What do I do now?

My friends and I am sure my job would say take a break.  But my head and my heart are saying FIND SOMETHING!!  No, it’s more like they are screaming it! It’s been a blast just letting loose and throwing every idea I have in this last role.  It’s like I’ve been given free reign to do anything that I can think of (within character, of course) to bring life to my version of Daphne.  But now that the rehearsal period is over, I don’t have a new persona to “create” and I am feeling a little saddened by this.  Finding my good boy cop for “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” and my inner lecher for “Promises, Promises” and my cocky masculinity that turns to kind-hearted lady for “Sugar” let me explore my brain and feelings.  It was like exercise for those things.  The things that get missed because they aren’t used the same way our bodies are for dancing or brains for doing crossword puzzles.  I got to play pretend on my quiet by myself times and I saw such great things.

I think the best thing that someone said to me last night, even though I can’t say I agree, was “there were times that I forgot you were a guy!”

That is all thanks to the scenarios I got to play with in my head.  I had to think and feel things like what’s it like to be swept off your feet by someone you just met? Or how do you break the news you need to break without hurting anyone? Or how do you feel happy for your friend that’s happy but jealous and upset with your best friend for that same reason?  All of these from a female and a male perspective.  I hope that some of it comes through in this show and I don’t know for sure if it does because everything is so gosh darn funny.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that this show is FUNNY!!! So ya gotta keep on top of that too!

And I think that’s what made these last six months so incredible… it kept me on my toes emotionally and mentally.  Now I have this fear; what if it doesn’t happen again?

So we’ll see…

I hope you get the chance to see “Sugar” which is “Some Like It Hot” in musical form.  You can get tickets at WVLO.org or by calling 408-268-3777 and leaving a message on the voicemail.  It allows you to actually pic the best seats available this way.

In the meantime, since I have some to spare, I will be out and about looking for mischief and updating the blog a lot more.

Thanks for your patience during these busy but SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME few months.


Two more weekends to reach Awesomeness Maximus!!

Ms. Roberta Inscho-Cox and Ms. Samantha Stidham letting you have it!!

The show as it is, is a good fun show.  We’ve trimmed off some of the excessive time over the last weekend and now have a show that runs pretty smoothly.  The cast has been working hard and keeping it all together during this time of the year when crazy colds or flu viruses are making the rounds.  Some battles have been lost, but the rally that happens when one of our cast mates has been caught by the bug is pretty impressive.  Everyone that has throat drops, Advil, sinus medicines, Day-quil, Ny-quil, or any cough suppressant is offering it up in the hopes that it happens to be the magical thing that will cure the ailment.

But back to the awesome, I mentioned earlier…

I love the show, I truly do.  But I think, deep down, we can take the show further.

What we would need is for everyone to pitch in and give that  something a little extra.  I can’t say exactly what it is completely, but it’s what makes all the difference.  For example, let’s say you had to point at someone so you kind of just casually point.   There’s a little bit of a bend in the elbow as it sags from lack of tension.  The finger is just lazily extended enough so there’s an idea of the direction.  Now, point with a purpose.  Point as though everything depended on the person needing to know that direction.  How much stronger is that motion?  When I think of it this way, my hand and arm are level with my shoulder.  There is no bend in my elbow and I feel like energy is trying to lead the way for that person.

That’s the little something extra that needs to be in there.  People like Lea Simon, Karl Schweitzer, Andrea Brady, and Robert Summers amaze me because I can always see that focus in “the Moment” while they are on stage. There are others, but this is just a quick post so I can’t name them all right now.  It’s thrilling and I know the audience can see it in them too.  Oh, and the two ladies in the picture: Way, Way Awesome!

Maybe it’s just me, but when I leave after seeing a really, really good show, I feel like I’ve had an experience, and it’s that sort of feeling I look for in the audience at the end of the night.  There are a few people that have it as they leave, but I want everyone to have it.  Is that an unrealistic expectation to have and to try to live up to?

I don’t think it is and I feel like it’s also part of my duty as an entertainer to strive for it.  So for these next two weekends, I am aiming for the unachievable.  I am going all “Black Swan” and reaching for perfection.  If I happen to fall upon my own knife while in this pursuit, then it will have been for a worthy cause.  (Of course, I speak figuratively.  Just so’s ya know…)

Will I be successful?  Come and see!  There are a limited number of discounted tickets for the show but you have to call 408.268-3777 and mention the code word “Gold.”  These are for tickets on Saturday night 11/26 and Sunday afternoon 11/27.   Hopefully, I’ll see you there!!

Have you ever wanted to do something perfectly?  How did it go?  Do you think that striving for perfection is a lost cause?  Let’s chat about it.

It’s a hoot so far, AND I got a very iiinnteresting proposition…

So day 2 of rehearsals has come to a close.

Day 1 was orientation.  We got the welcome speeches from the designers and producer and director, then just jumped right in to vocal work on “Secretary Is Not A Toy.”  Our vocal director, Ms. Carolyn Lamcke, I think is a HOOT!! She is very straight forward but not in a mean way.  But like they say, the truth hurts.  Like, when she said she couldn’t understand what I was saying.  No big, I have been getting sloppy wif muh werds.  I think its from not being in a show in almost a year.  So, getting back to our music director, I love that when we get things right she claps her hands together and shrugs her shoulders and says “Hot Stuff!”  I can’t help but to giggle every time.

Today, when we were getting ready to move on to another song “Been A Long Day,” she called it “Dong Day.”  So then little innocent (at least I thought he was all innocent) Ronnie Misra began to describe a musical number, under his breath to the tenor section, featuring a certain “tool” if you will, and I thought I was going to stop the rehearsal because I almost couldn’t contain my quiet giggle.  I was terrified that I would burst into my witch’s cackle!  I was wiping my eyes by the time, we decided that we would have one of those inflatable wavy peopley thingys that are at car washes and stuff.  Of course, they would be a little different than the car wash ones.  I say we, because we began throwing in ideas while the bass section was going over their parts.

We worked through 2 new songs and reviewed “Secretary” just for kicks and still got to leave an hour early.   I tells ya, Carolyn is a card!  Oh and then she told us this story of her pet turtle.  Funny but sad.  It was so out of sync with the rehearsal, but I think she used it to trick us into forgetting about what we just worked on so when she brought us back into the music, we could concentrate and hit the accents and consonants the way she wanted us to.  I don’t know how to explain this technique any better.  When you learn something, it takes a few minutes for the brain to process and break it down and then you are good to go.  I think the story gave us time to break it down, because when we sang it again, I thought we sounded really good.  And I am super judgey.  My friend Tom likes to call me Judgey McJugderson.

Tomorrow is blocking with our fabulous director Meg Fisher, so I am excited to get the ball rolling on that.  Pictures are coming.

Now as for my interesting proposition:  Ms. Samantha Stidham, who you may remember from Episode 5 of the podcast said “You know, I want to interview you for TheActorvist Podcast.”  Say what?  I think it would be so cool to have a guest on the show every now and again that is doing something other than allowing me to pry into their lives and stuff.  So I am toying with the idea.  I love her to pieces so I think it’ll be fun.

For now, it’s dream time.

Have a wonderful day!

Let’s Celebrate!!!!

Episode 8

(Click to listen)

Click HERE for the show notes!

Thanks for listening.  I am gonna have my mic with me at Opening Night.  Tell me what you think about the show.

It’s time for Episode 5!!

Episode 5

(Click to listen)

Special thanks to Samantha Stidham, Lisa Milanes, Kyle Dunnigan, Podsafe Music Network, and Danny Ippolito for their contributions to Episode 5.  Check out the shownotes for this episode by clicking HERE.

Hope you enjoy it.


Here is the cast list for West Valley Light Opera’s production of Breaking Up is Hard To Do:

Marge: Samantha Stidham  (Woo Hoo!)
Lois: Breigh Zack
Esther: Charlotte Jacobs
Gabe: Ronnie Misra
Del: Nes Fregoso
Harvey: Mark Drumm

The quartet will be announced at a later date.

I’ll be very curious to see who the quartet will be.  It should be announced soon as they start rehearsals next week.