Stepping Into The Limelight…

This is Leo.
This is Leo.

Hello gentle reader,

My first time walking into Limelight Actors’ Theater was filled with so much anxiety.  By now, you probably are thinking “Jeez, what doesn’t make you anxious?”

Touche’ hahahahaha

I was brought into this project by some fabulous friends, so I felt it super important to make a good impression on the director-fella, Kevin Heath, who is also happens to be the co-owner of the company, along with Alan Obata.

Weeeeelllll, walking into rehearsal 15 minutes late was NOT the way that I wanted to start off our first encounter.

Now, lemme ‘splain.

I had my GPS set for the Limelight address… but for one that was from a while ago. LOL! And what, bummed me out is that I circled the block twice with 10 minutes to spare trying to see if I was in the right spot because the only place that looked open was a car repair shop.  Then somehow, I managed to recall that our fearless leader had sent an email about the location for our read through.

One minute after the scheduled meeting time, I sent him a message letting him know of my goof and he was kind and understanding.  So I drove down the street and made it to the proper spot and shamefully walked into the venue.

Right away, Kevin popped up out of his chair with a big smile and a ready handshake.   Easily one of the kindest people, I have had the pleasure of meeting.  We traded pleasantries around the table as we took seats to begin the reading.  Like the first read through of “Super Villain” at the Pear Theater, I giggled the whole way through, and in the process stumbled on some of the words.

When we reconvened, after a month and a half away, we got to work putting this show on its feet.  I felt a little like I was bumbling along through the blocking, because I needed to get my awkwardness into gear.  I hoped that it didn’t look too spastic when I panicked. Then when we were told that a piece of the furniture was going to be a bean bag that I jumped on, I felt my stomach flip flop.  A big guy like me?  Jumping on a bean bag?  C’mon!!!!!  Talk about panic.

We rehearsed and rehearsed with no problems.  Things were piecing together.  The motions a bit more natural even though they sometimes were opposite of what I would normally want to do, thanks to my want of being a dancer.  Graceful wasn’t what Robert was about.

Preview snuck up so fast! The people that were there got to bear witness to my fear ever since the announcement of the bean bag.

The Bean Bag Incident…

Yes, dear reader. You can probably guessed what is to come.

All I remember is putting the handbag I was suppose to hide in its place then rushing over to get the bean bag.  I recall getting my hands on the white, smooth, faux leather and jumping in the air and suddenly hearing “pfwhoosh!!” Then an eruption of laughter.

I flailed around on this ever shrinking bag of beans and the laughter escalates in the midst of my flailing! I finally feel the giggles dying down and calm my motions as well for the scene to continue.  Oh boy! When I stand up, there is a mess of little white puff balls littering the stage and I worry that someone is going to fall.  GAH!!  Why a bean bag?  LOL!

Take that bean bag!!! Me :1 Bean bag: 0

It wasn’t until after the performance that I was told that every flail resulted in those little beans flying out of the hole in the bag which happened to be near my crotch, thus making me look like a seahorse on dry land birthing my offspring. Can’t visualize it? Check out the bottom of this post.

After that first audience, I always had to mentally prep myself for the possibility that it could happen again.  That’s when I found Leo (image at top).  He was just a pattern on the back of the set.  The natural lines in a wood pattern that my brain decided looked like a lion.  Every night there after though, I would take a moment and run down that particular sequence of events so that everything would be fine.  He was like my little mascot for the show.

I really don’t want to gush about how fabulous it was to work for the Limelight Actors Theater Company. Not because it isn’t true. Absolutely not. I had a marvelous time!  I don’t want to gush because then everyone is going to want to work there and they should, but I don’t want to have so much competition for roles.  Selfish?  Totally.  I wholeheartedly admit it.

That being said, I think people should experience what it is like to work for someone who cares so much that the actors are able to focus on their roles and fosters an environment that truly feels like we are creating something in tandem.  We were welcome to try out as much as we wanted, and believe you me, I took full advantage of that.  I don’t think I did anything the same more than twice while we were rehearsing because I kept having different feelings appear in my noggin so I would run with it.  Sometimes it worked out better than the last thing I thought of, and sometimes it didn’t.  I appreciated that whenever I would say “it feels weird to do…”  this motion or that one, I knew that I was heard and got to talk about it.

*sigh* I already miss the place. Not to mention the amazing people that I had the chance to work with!  I always love getting to work with my buddy Aaron Weisberg and the superb Cindy Powell, but to play on a stage with the very funny trio; Christine McElroy, Rachel Perry and Heather Bass was sheer joy!  Everyone was genuinely interested in our castmates’ lives outside of Boeing Boeing and it was so fun getting to really know these outstanding beautiful people.

So… thank you to Kevin and Alan of LAT for letting me be a part this crazy and kooky show with a whole slew of great people.  Alas, now it comes time to depart for the next destination, but I can’t wait to be for a return visit!

As promised!!

SEAHORSE!!!

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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

🎼 I’m Gonna Be A Part Of B.A…

keep-calm-because-everything-is-awesome-8

So this afternoon is the closing performance of my first show at the Pear Avenue Theatre Company, Super Villain.  It has been a blast for sure.  It was incredible to work on something that was totally nerdy and way edgier that anything that I have ever worked on in the past.  Also, to do it with a company that I never had worked with before makes it that much more memorable. We had some audiences that were just average but we had two nights where the viewers were just catching every reference that was being thrown out there and in turn, we the cast, had a blast.  We did have a night where the laughs were few and far between, but most were appreciative of the show.  I am apprehensive/anxious about how the show will go over on today’s audience.  I know, I know!  I can’t control that issue, but I really want this show to close on a high note.  So I have my fingers crossed that the average age of the viewer is closer to me than to my grandmother.

After my realization/breakdown with A Chorus Line, I, in earnest, began to seek out different theatre companies and opportunities to work with.  I sought advice from my dear friend, Bill Starr, and ran with it. While it scares the ever-loving bejeezus out of me, I forced myself to try those places.  I am really glad I did.

While I have had only a handful of auditions at other places (okay, okay! It was only three auditions in total) one of them has extended it’s hand out to me and offered me a role that I have had on the ol’ bucket list.

I don’t know if I am at liberty to tell, but after waiting a week and getting no response if I can or cannot, I am just gonna spill the proverbial beans…

I get to sing this!!
I get to sing this!!

Next May, down in Gilroy, I will be performing the role of Che in Evita!

Evita is the Cinderella story of Eva Peron, who tragically died of cancer at the age of 33.  She went from rags to riches, using not just her sexuality, but also her brains.  She knew that being smart wouldn’t be enough to get her what she wanted so she used her body as a short cut. I know there is more to it, but that is the Evita for Dummies version. I know there are some Andrew Lloyd Webber haters out there, but what care I?  I have loved this show for decades and now I get to be a part of it.  I thought that I would never get to do this show because it is so rarely performed and most recently it was done in the Northern Bay Area, but I already had commitments to another show.  I thought my chance was long gone.

I am so friggin’ happy that I was wrong! I am past excited to start rehearsals in February that I wanna skip over Christmas and New Year’s and just get to work.  He may not know it yet, but my good friend Kevin, offered to help me with music stuffs, so he’s going to be a busy guy! That’s what I love about him, the blind offers.  Of course, I have to make it through the opera first.

Oh!

Yes, dear reader, you have read that correctly. I am going to be in an opera.  Not singing, no.  Are you kidding?  I can’t do that.  No, my dance teacher is going to be choreographing an opera called Carlotta that takes place in the 1800’s in Spain, I believe.  I will be strictly dancing.  What I am really looking forward to is that her pieces are always great, but they differ than what she teaches in classes, so it will be fabulous to really dance the heck out of her work.  I mean, it’s kind of hard to do it in a class that is full of people.  Here there will only be 6.

I am really excited that the first part of the year is shaping up so well.  I really look forward to what the second half will bring.  Especially after the SF TBA General Auditions!

But THAT is a story for another day.

🎶 I’m gonna be a part of B.A, Buenos Aries – Big Apple! 🎶