In The Pursuit of Happiness…

Memorial-Day-Flag-Website-Banner_edited-1Hello Dear Reader,

Every year at this time, I think of a fellow I did a show with many years ago. I think I may have mentioned Cesar Flores before. His Vietnam stories always made me so sad because I could see the hurt in his face and hear it in his voice. He spoke with such passion about everything.  I really loved that about him. I know he is somewhere in California, but I don’t know where anymore.

I thank him and all the soldiers this Memorial Day for all the sacrifice that they have made so that America can have the freedoms that have become a way of life. Freedoms that seem to be used to protest for justice and tear us apart for elitism and racism. Just because I don’t agree with some of the propaganda that is going around doesn’t mean it is isn’t an expression, as much as I am loathe to point out.

According to our Declaration of Independence, we all have the right to pursue happiness.  What happens when that happiness is in jeopardy? I have been paying much more attention to the empty seats, content, quality and types of advertising in the theaters I have been attending as of late. The worry of being a company owner is making sure that you can sustain great shows that bring in a full audience to keep on putting up more great shows and round and round the circle goes.

Can I just say, I don’t understand that when money gets tight the first thing that seems to be cut is live theater. I mean, I sort of get it.  Tickets are expensive and if you know a lot of people in different shows it can get REALLY pricey. Yet, there is so much intrinsic value in it for a well rounded life. These creative expressions offer us a chance as a society to step back and look at ourselves. Sometimes theatre points the finger and sometimes it doesn’t. Since I want to open my own company in the future, this has really made me shift my thoughts on what the state of theatre in this area will be like in a few months.

My Gentle Reader, I don’t have any worries of the the talent on either side of the table. And when I say “either side of the table,” for those that don’t know, I am referring to the cast/talent and staff/production. We have some great people that are on both sides.  I worry about the people that we do this for. While it may be fun and a necessity (sometimes) for us, theatre is a mirror of sorts to life. Even if the attendees aren’t going through the particular situation that is on stage, we can still relate to it on an emotional level. You may not agree with some of the things that the play is about, but the hope is that it makes you willing to think about the subject and maybe it will change your heart or strengthen your resolve but hopefully it will make you feel and/or think.

I’ve looked into strategies (and that ain’t even my strong suit! Ask anyone who has played board games with me) in marketing and awareness and community involvement. I see opportunities there, but getting those seats sold is where I feel a bit lost. What if those strategies are great but the seats don’t sell?

Do any of you amazing friends have any thoughts on the state of theatre in the future? What have you seen in regards to attendance? Do you see any way to shrink the number of empty seats?

Dear Reader, I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and that you took a moment to reflect on the things that allow us to try to attain the American Dream that our grandparents had before things got so crazy expensive.

And Cesar, where ever you are and whatever show you are working on now, my friend, I salute you and say “Welcome Home!”

Until next time, Gentle Reader…

 

 

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Monroe Middle School presents Seussical Jr…

The only photo I was allowed to take.

“Oh, the thinks you can think…”

What I thought I was going to see when I walked into the theatre at Monroe Middle School was a fun show with kids who were just having fun.  They would be hams on stage, but not honestly playing the part.

“When you think about Seuss..”

What I got was a treat.  I was a little apprehensive as I waited for the show to start because the tech desk was in the middle of the auditorium.  There were so many people walking by that I worried about the wires since I knew that everything from sound to lights to music were all sitting on top of that table.  So when the lights when down, I drew a deep breath and hoped for the best.

After the required “No photography” and “Turn off your phones” speeches by Director Paul Sawyer, the focus shifted to the trademark red and white striped hat that was downstage center.  From there, the show took off with Jojo and The Cat who lead into the story of “Horton Hears A Who.”  Ryan Mohs as Horton may not have been the size of an elephant, but he truly had the heart of that lovable character.  I loved that the ears he wore were wickedly floppy, but I don’t think they were big enough.

Gertrude McFuzz the bird that had the sad single feather tail was played by Gwyneth Forrester.  Just so y’all knows, this girl is FIERCE!!!  I love that she delved into her role and was in character every single moment she was on stage.  Not only was her character well done, she could sing.  She projected well and the mic issues that affected some of the other people were no problem for her.  She’s gonna go far if she pursues a career in The Arts.

Not to be outdone by her sister, Audrey Forrester who played little Jojo, likewise added depth of character, vocal ability, and stage presence to the show.  She was adorably vulnerable yet hopeful that they would be saved by Horton.

The Wickershams (Chris Clausen, Austin Nedved, Bailey Nedved, Siena Trent, Skylin Wellbrock, and Wilson Skjerven) had some great choreography with TONS of personality.

Other notable mentions: Katie Bieber as Yertle The Turtle had some pipes! Sadly, part of her scene had some mic problems. Mayzie LaBird, once her mic was fixed, was able to be the diva that she is!  The 3 bird girls were so sassy!!!  As was the Sour Kangaroo, Elise Bankosh.

The whole show moved at a quick clip and it only felt like the first act only seemed to last a half hour.  Aside from the few mic issues, the spot op needs to have a steadier grip on the light.

There are so many wonderful moments in this show that most people walked out with huge smiles on their faces, as did I.

These young performers are the future of the theatre scene and it’s pretty cool to see what the future holds.

Seussical Jr. plays for 3 more shows.  Friday and Saturday night 3/9-10/12 at 7PM and Saturday 3/10/12 at 1PM

You can find more info at the end of THIS blog post!  Go see this show. It’s a lot of fun, some great harmonies, and a ton of happy kids.

Success Formula…

H [I(O + C) (F + P)] + T + K= S

Opportunities and Chances are only part of how one creates Success.

One may argue that Opportunity and Chances are one and the same.  I think they are slightly different.  The best way I can explain why I think they are different is like this: A Chance is like an audition.  You are going into this with the same likelihood of success as the next person.  So, let’s say  you now have the part.  You have to take advantage of this Opportunity to grow it into another either Chance or Opportunity.

This must be coupled by Fearlessness and Passion so strong that they complement each other rather than get in each other’s way.

The ability to be vulnerable is where Fearlessness comes into play.  In theatre, being able to be completely open and  honest requires that one must shed all their “normal” defense behaviors and habits that one has acquired in order to develop the thick skin they need for this business.  When you combine Passion to Fearlessness, it definitely makes becoming vulnerable so much easier.  When you are so Passionate about what you do, you are willing to do anything you need to do in order to increase your Success rate.  But note, there is a fine line with Passion and the chance of overstepping is high.  Take care that you treat everyone with integrity and respect.

Now, once you multiply those factors together you have to take Inspiration and magnify those figures which then creates Confidence.  

I can’t stress how important it is that when the feeling of Inspiration strikes, you should honor it and create something.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  I created this post after watching the video above.  Something about Lady Gaga just makes me want to either write or sew.  Or sing.  Since writing requires less set up and material, I chose it over sewing and I sing along with whatever is playing.  But like I said it doesn’t really matter. It could be a quick sketch on a napkin.  I have a beautiful inked one that I bought for a dollar while at a karaoke bar.  See? 

If you do something like this, have the Artist sign it!

Once you have your confidence number, multiply that with Heart.  

No is a word that artistic people hear all the time.  It’s incredibly hard to constantly be judged in order to make your dreams come true.  Heart is the thing that is going to keep you driven.  Just like your heart is the organ that is vital in sustaining life in your body,  your Heart is going to keep you fighting to obtain your dreams. So when your tired of being shot down for not being/believing/looking/loving like the mainstream thinks you should, let your Heart help you to keep going and reaching down even when you think you have scraped the bottom of your resources.  This will also be the way to judge what is wrong and right for you.

Next, you take your answer and add Talent to the mix.  Now Talent comes in varying degrees as does all things, but if you are lacking in one area, you can make up for it in O, C, F, or P.  Clearly, not everyone out there is that successful is Talented.  For good measure, make sure you do your homework, Knowledge,  and learn as much about your vocation of choice as you can since it will only help you.  All of this equals Success.

And I wish you much Success!!

Days of Reflection: Day Eight

You know, sometimes when you get involved with a production, you never know where it’s gonna lead or even better all the amazing people you will meet.  I feel so blessed that I have gotten to know all of these amazing and talented folks who have enriched my life to the nth degree.  Honest!  For example, today I got a text from Stephen, a cast mate from Sweet Charity and White Christmas, and it made me smile like a clown.  Sometimes you unfortunately lose track of some, and other times, like with Stephen, you KNOW you’ll keep in touch.  I can’t wait until I get to work with him again.

Day Eight: Three turn ons.

Yay, FINALLY an easy one!!  I don’t like the use of “turn on” because that implies a sort of biblical intimacy that just isn’t always the case.

3. Talent – I love performers!  I appreciate the fact that they can share an openness about themselves that transcend mere conversation.

2. Intelligence – I love to learn stuff.  It doesn’t even really matter what it is!  Things that I never thought I would ever need to know, have popped into the most random conversations.

1. Kindness – There is nothing more amazing than a person that helps others and asks for nothing in return.  There aren’t enough people in the world who have this capacity.  Society has turned most of humanity into a self serving entity.  So much so that when someone actually does something randomly kind, people don’t know how to react and begin offering stuff in an effort to not feel like something will be asked for at a later date.    It’s a damn shame.

Me and the BFF are goin' dancing

Who goes out in an ascot?  *Thumbs pointing to self* This guy!  haha! I just wish that we were standing a little closer or that she was feigning the other way.  Then it would look like I was snickering at her.  Also a little bummed that my knickers weren’t captured in the shot.  I worked really hard on them.  I can’t wait for the next Club Satori.  Its fun when the music is good.  The fact that they offer pear cider doesn’t hurt!!!  Cheers!

So what “turns you on”?  Or better yet, what qualities do you appreciate in others?  Is it something that you possess? Lemme know!