Archive for May, 2010

Wrong Place At ALMOST The Wrong Time

Yesterday, a bunch of game nighters and other friends gathered to celebrate Megan’s college graduation.  We previously had a gathering of her family and selected friends.  But Carol and I thought that a less formal day of pure fun was in order so about a month ago we began to plan.  I sent out messages to the game nighters and a few of the other friends via facebook and had Carol contact the rest.  A fb fiend ALMOST blew the entire thing when she posted on Megan’s “wall” that “she was sorry that she could not attend the party.”  So, Carol had to cover and I fiendishly came up with a cover story.    I sent out at least 3 different messages informing those I sent the message to that the party was a SURPRISE and to not give the guest of honor any tips.  When I found out about the criminal deed, I acted surprised and said that I knew nothing about a party on May 3oth at 2PM.

About a week ago, I came up with my story.  Our fellow tangenteer, Derek (hope he doesn’t mind being an inadvertent pawn in a devilish plot 😈 ), was coming to visit for the weekend.  A game night was planned for Saturday which SOME of us could not attend.  I told Megan that we were planning a fun day at the park so the rest of us could visit our friend.

Yesterday at 10AM, I went to what I THOUGHT was the correct location.  I waited until about 10.30 and decided to wander the park grounds to see if I had mistaken the location.  After seeing no sign of Carol, I decided to go to mass at 11 and come back at noon.  When I got back to the pavilion, still no sign of Carol.  Around 12.30, I decided to call another of the invited guests to tell him of the “dilemma.”  However, his phone was out of service.  So, I took another walk.

Across the park is a shelter house.  As I made my way to the building, I heard a little voice yell… “May ME!”  BEEBER!  The surprise seemed to be on on or, more likely, someone’s signals got crossed.  At least, I was close.  In my defense, the annual WCCT fun day usually takes place at the pavilion.

Finally, around 2 o’clock, I venture over to Megan’s house to escort her to the fun day.  Her mother warned me that she might be sleeping.  So as I approached the house, I phoned her and left a mile long voice mail.  Kept talking until I got to the door.  Telling her to “WAKe UP!”  I finally beat down the door until she appears looking as if she had just been woken.  But… what are ya going to do!  She was worried that she did not have any food to bring but I had plenty for both of us!  So a half hour after the festivities were to begin, we pull up in my car to a sea of faces staring at us until everyone burst into a roar of “SURPRISE!”  And I am happy to report that the scheme worked perfectly!

After all the merriment concluded (some late comers one of whom also overslept 😉 ), Megan and I decided to catch a movie.  We got to the multiplex but the next round of movies did not start for an hour.  We finally decided to sneak in late to The Back-Up Plan which had only begun 15 minutes earlier.  Not my usual choice of movie fare but for a chick flick it wasn’t horrible.  There were even some laughs and Megan enjoyed it and it was HER day, after all.

Magic Moments At The Huber

When someone makes it not only into our weekly hometown scandal sheet but also in the column of the papers longest, active writer, the whole town knows it.  For the Sunday matinee of Miracles, I was surprised by a group of 2 “minor senior citizens” and a few others “who are really working at being seniors.”  Max’s column, “Magic Moments” is similar to a weekly blog in which she chronicles her day-to-day life as well as publishes a few recipes culled from her stack gathered over her eventful life.  Full of insight and humor the post is always worth a glance.

Along with Maxine and the 2 minor senior citizens (who I had been told may be coming) was “Grandma” Margaret.  Ever since my maternal grandmother passed when I was 8, she and the late “Grandpa” Roy filled the void.  Three of my favorite memories:

  • The summer following my 4th grade year my poodle, Buffy was put to rest.  The following Christmas, we received a parakeet which we named Corky, after Margaret.
  • Following a Thursday night college band rehearsal,  Roy and Margaret came up to take me home for the weekend.  I would also receive periodic care packages and notes of encouragement.
  • After the passing of my two day old nephew, Zachary, (by this time) Deacon Roy and Margaret traveled to Indianapolis to bring the baby to E-town.

Just a few of the magic moments my family has shared with two of our village’s finest.  Thank you Ruthie and Steve for bringing her.  One of the cast had to “pay special attention” to the group after the performance.

Something Was Missing

Adaptations from original sources always leave things on the “cutting room floor.”  I just read a very fascinating article about the transformation of South Pacific (click the link to the article) from a James Michener novel to the original Broadway production to the classic movie to the current revival on the Great White Way and touring around the country.  More historical background from the first performances of the ground-breaking, Pulitzer prize winning classic came to light.

  • On April 17, 1949,  ten days after the show’s opening, a boat carrying 120 American casualties of war arrived in Honolulu.  Casualties of the Theatre in the Pacific.
  • There was a lot more that Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted in the show dealing with race relations.  “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” was just the tip of the iceberg.  The central story of Emille de Becque somehow made it into the show.  But there was a lot more.
  • Like many musicals turned movies, many things were dramatically altered from the original.  The director of the 7 Tony Award winning revival, Bartlett Sher, called the 1958 cinematic effort “no use” when developing the return to the stage. Which just adds to my belief that most of the time, somethings are better left ON stage.  Beautiful to look at, perhaps, but with a loss to its central meaning.

How fitting that I came across the article as we stop to reflect on the millions who have made the ultimate sacrifice in preserving the freedoms we all sometimes take for granted.  Hopefully, one day, the revival of this musical masterpiece makes it way to our neck of the woods.  Or… better yet… just another great show with a scene-stealing character role or a central male lead I wouldn’t mind tackling.

Goodbye To Simon’s Pants On The Ground

And congratulations to Lee DeWyze from Mt. Prospect, Illinois.  Even if Crystal had not been from our neck of the woods, being talked about continuously on the 4 local stations, I would definitely think that she was the clear front-runner.  From what I have seen of American Idol this year, the paint salesman has grown by leaps and bounds and deserves to be crowned.  But why, oh why do we need two hours of it.  We had the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Some of the performances by the top 12 were good… others not so good (Siobhan), and others were downright UUUUUGLY!  (I was almost afraid that one of the myriad of guest performers was going to have another wardrobe malfunction).

Taking second place to the anticipation of the announcement was the farewell to Simon Cowell.  I’m not totally convinced that the show will be the juggernaut it is without him.  I don’t think it is now after nine years.  Video tributes, a hilarious segment by Ricky Gervais, and the inevitable return of Paula Abdul all ate time up.  I think it will all come down to who the new person at the table will be as to how it will fare.

My favorite part of the evening:  THE YANKEES WIN!  About time.  The win TWICE.  The suspended game from yesterday and today’s scheduled game at Target Field against the Twins.  Plus (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) but kudos to the Red Sox for sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays which inches the Bombers closer to that first place AL East lead.

Plus, the Pants on the Ground rendition featuring Season 3 standout William Hung was priceless.  Congrats, Lee!  And THAHHHHHHH YANKEES WIN!

Think Big… Be Bigger!

Another aspect of the first dramatic lead role kinda snuck up on me in the days leading up to the opening.  It just seems that whenever I set out to do something new theatrically or musically I can feel the hand of my guardian angel on my shoulder.  I even make a point to visit Emily’s graveside at these times.  And I have come to the realization that I KNOW she would be really proud of my accomplishments as I am, she would also be advising me to more.  I still think that her voice was coming through as I told Beth that I “need to be BIGGER” although I know that the director was primarily addressing my fellow female actors.  I was not joking.  But all three kept insisting that I did not need to be bigger than I already was.

To that end, I am  beginning a search for a vocal coach in this area.  Not just ANY vocal coach.  They need to be willing to PUSH me, be as demanding as I am on myself.  I have to be able to trust that they will do that!  Any ideas?  I have been without a vocal coach for almost 3 years.  A mentor I have and I am forever grateful for that.  I just need someone to help develop my theatricality even more.  Who knows to where it will end?  Perhaps to get that first big musical lead in community theatre (my next goal) … maybe even BIGGER… AND THEN… BIGGER THAN THAT! And not because someone told me I should or should not but because I told me.  Sounds  like a challenge issued to myself.  However far it takes me is my decision and as a sage once told me… “The Sky’s the Limit!”  Not that I would hesitate to ask for any help would be great.

I DID IT!

I set out to do something different and challenging.  Judging from many of the surprising comments I received after each performance and how I felt about myself after each performance was exhilarating!  Exhausting, yet exhilarating.  Miracles is such a departure from the scene-stealing, character roles audiences have come to admire(?) about me.  I could have done OKLAHOMA!.  Seussical would have been pure fun.  But nothing could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster of my first three-person cast, lead actor role.  It was so worth it in every way imaginable.  I really think that the greatest part about it was the shock I gave so many audience members.

The synopsis of the story focuses on the teenage, institutionalized, autistic girl named Eve.  Her teacher, Kate, wants to believe that Eve is a savant and “uses” the technique of facilitated communication in order to “convince” Tom that his daughter is in fact writing a book of poetry, is going to be on national TV, and will be an inspiration to millions.  However, is there more to this than meets the eye?

Of course I’m biased, but I thought Tom was the most demanding character of the three.  A middle aged hippie lawyer who lost his wife to cancer while attempting to raise his autistic daughter… in and out of a thousand specialists who questioned his ability to love and care for his daughter even feeling that he is being blamed personally for her condition. He turns his back on God and does not visit his daughter for two years until he receives a call from the school telling him that there had in fact been a “Miracle.”  A really lost soul….a shell of a man… an emotional wreck.

Gone was the buzz that accompanies the comedic scene-stealing character roles.  But there were bits of humor sprinkled here and there.  (“As the hair on your head recedes, the hairs in your nose start growing faster”).  Battles with the teacher.  Destruction of school equipment… boy did THAT feel good every night… thank goodness for Duct tape 😉  I did take a bit of artistic license by introducing a favorite bit of my childhood into the play.

Once again, I have NO IDEA who said that comedy was hard!  One day, I would like to be cast in another BIG dramatic role.  But for now… I need a good, light, fluffy musical or just a fun comedy full of character roles.

But, as I said this afternoon as I called the real star of the show to the stage at curtain call, Beth found this treasure and put it together.  In January at the annual banquet for the Village Players, I knew I wanted to at least audition for the role.  Hopefully, her passion for the piece showed through our performances which were not exactly sell-outs, but for a show like this… the message and the audience reaction to the message needs to come first.  Another rewarding aspect… each audience had at least one person who had been touched by autism.

If You Say It Loud Enough, You’ll Always Sound Precocious

Yesterday, we had a double show with a party thrown in between the two.  At the matinee, my mentor who just happens to be one of my two best friends was in the audience.  While most of the people in attendance who know me are rather surprised by what I do on stage in Miracles, Chris had no doubt at all.  He and Lisa are BEYOND what I call the best!  Words cannot describe how much they mean to me.  After the afternoon show, Mary was throwing a cast party.  I had to ask if I could bring my ardent supporters along.  I was really happy when they told me that there had been some cancellations to justj and company’s “sold out” dinner theatre.

While at Mary’s, we all got to meet Beth’s seven year old daughter… and believe me, Jordan let us know how old she is!  She is so full of life, precious, and precocious.  I, along with C & L, marveled at how much alike she and a certain newly turned six year old are!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAMMIE!  LOVE YA, KIDDO!

Last night’s performance had a really appreciative audience as well.  I think it is awesome how many people this show has touched and taught.  All theatre cannot be light and fluff.  But, I think it is time for the return of a fun, fluffy musical.  If not light and fluffy, then a serio-musical.  There ARE a few of those floating around, aren’t there?!

Is He My WHAT?!

Opening night was GREAT!  The audience was both receptive and appreciative of the drama.  I think the storm only added to the mystique.  We were warned in our pre-show pep talk to project more even with our microphones just in case we could not be heard over the elements.  OH, BOY!  I DO GET TO BE BIGGGER AFTER ALL!  I have to say we have improved 1000% since Monday night.  My family, very dear friends, and past co-stars were in the audience.  “Clarence” was especially enthusiastic in his praise.  So many audience members were really surprised by my very dramatic turn.

Speaking of family members… my brother (who is 4 years older than I) was asked if I was his father.  Knowing the culprit, I was only mildly surprised by the tale.  “Uncle Billy” is just a bit on the eccentric side.  I’ve only been acquainted with him since being in It’s a Wonderful Life way back in December.  Of course, he was a “plant” for You Have the Right to Remain Dead. But, we had a good laugh.

After the show, we had a small after party with lots of good, fattening food.  I did, however bring a fruit bowl.  But man am I BEAT! I’m usually up for a late night cast party but this show… while Miraculous… is draining.

You still have three more chances to catch the Miracles.  Tomorrow (2.30 and 7.30) and Sunday (2.30)  at the Huber in Hicksville, Ohio.

Tonight… Tonight

And to think just earlier this week I was kicking and screaming.  No longer.  I am soooo excited about this show!  And I know it is going to come across the stage over four performances!  Why would I ever think that the stage would let me down?  It hasn’t yet.  Have I ever let it down? I know we are going to do it justice for Beth who had been pushing to get this profound work on the stage ever since she read it.  It is especially meaningful to her.  If you want to know why Beth is so passionate about it, you will have to come and see Miracles for yourself this weekend at the Huber Opera House in Hicksville (that’s OHIO, not NY).

Following last night’s final dress rehearsal, our director commented that we all need to be bigger… more dramatic.  WHAT?! I NEED TO BE BIGGER? (Never before have I been told that).  No, no, not you.  I was referring more to the ladies.  As we were hanging around the parking lot, I kept reminding Beth of her  statement.  I WILL BE EVEN BIGGER! My two co-stars, director, and producer all laughed and said… Please, don’t!  (Oh… come on.)

Curtain up! Light the lights!
You got nothing to hit but the heights!
We’ll be swell. We’ll be great.
I can tell. Just you wait.
That lucky star I talk about is due!
Honey, everything’s coming up roses for me and for you!

Miracles Are All Around

Sorry for the gaps between posts but really hard to find time between working at 6AM Monday morning.  Getting to bed at 3AM Tuesday morning.   Reading, rereading, typing, retyping, running lines with my sister, rehearsal and everything else.  After Monday night’s practice I was not sure what I had gotten myself into.  But after some kicking and screaming (mentally)  I think we are ready.  Monday night was just a BAD practice as the few people who were there in the audience to take pictures, etc could tell you.  I have NEVER been in a show that was in such a bad way that soon to performance.  So… I was up until 3 o’ clock going over my lines until I was ready to explode.  Then, I got up Tuesday morning and had my sister run them with me.

Last night’s rehearsal was a noticeable difference.  Not without the occasional missed line but no one shouted “LINE!” and we made it to the end.  After rehearsal,  Beth and I went to Mary’s, hung out, ate, and ran lines again.  This morning, I ran lines again.  Do you think I may be overdoing?  Maybe it is just the new experience and I’m trying tooooo hard because I KNOW the lines.  I just need to RELAX!!  Remember why I am up on that stage  and it is not because of one line (although…HAHA, Beth!)

So after getting off work at 5, I will head over.  Look over the script again and be miraculous!

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