Archive for July, 2010

Two Week Break

BOOOOO!  No break, please.  But I suppose my vocal coach and her family is entitled to some fun over the summer.  I can take this time to scour my books and find more and More and MORE! music to work on… no worries, I won’t kill myself just get some more songs that appeal to me.  Kathrine has offered to make some copies of Conductor pieces, but I still cannot find a copy of “Thuy’s Death/You Will Not Touch Him” a powerful, dramatic duet from Miss Saigon.

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I have already copied some music from a few Lloyd Webber shows, some of my favorite Alan Menken/Howard Ashman Disney character pieces, and a few more duets.  I have had a few people state an interest in singing a duet with me so I’m doing my best to find some.  I have a serious one to work on with another tangenteer… wherever she is.  YOOHOO!  Plus, I am still continuing my preparation for Hound of the Baskervilles.  Why does it seem to me that most guys grow a beard in the winter?  I’m one of the few who grow one in the summer in the 90+ degree, humid weather… ah, well such is the life of a performer.  You would have thought my time Fiddling on that Roof 8 years ago would have made me leary of growing another beard, but Oh, No… not me… whatever the role calls for, I will do!  Even before the audition 😉

Ooook… so two weeks off. 🙁 Still thinking a weekend gig would be fun with some friends joining me.  Come on tangenteers!

You Cain’t Say No to OKLAHOMA! by Jamiahsh

Yes, my first byline appeared in today’s local newspaper.  VERY exciting and fun how it came about.  Last Thursday, I received an email asking if I would like to go an review the local production of OKLAHOMA!.  The extremely talented regular reviewer of theatrical productions was unavailable for press night.  The fact that he is also the president of the board for the non-profit theatre group also might have played a role.  So, I quickly replied and was really excited about the opportunity.

Just prior to the beginning of my voice lesson, I hear my cell phone ring (and no it is no longer what I was informed was the theme to “Sex and the City…”  never seen either the tv show… or the movie).  I quickly got the details… time was the most important thing, the rest I pretty much figured out on my own.

A small town community theatre needs positive feedback from the media.  These are not paid professionals performing here.  As I have said before, the show is not one of my favorites for many reasons… chief among them is the length.  However, I am pleased to say that Fountain City Festival’s performance was top notch.  It was very easy to mention all of the principal actors and a few of the veterans who have been involved in the eleven shows the group has produced (two of which I have been in).

The production team decided to remain totally faithful to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s original.  So faithful that only 8 measures of the score were dropped.  Everything gelled nicely; the acting, singing, orchestra, set, costuming, and choreography were all superb.  Where most groups may drop such moments as the Dream Ballet for the benefit of time or the lack of decent dancers, the sequence was included and it was extraordinary.  In fact, all of the big dance numbers were high energy and very engaging.  All of the performers on stage (from Curly all the way to the cameo performers)  remarkably brought their roles to life.  The director also was involved on stage… very fun.  He surely had a lot of help from his production team.  I have also worked with the vocal director and pit conductor in the past.

While there was a lot of good to put in the review, it was hard to put into a coherent article.  Who wants to read a review containing the same adjectives over and over.  I had to put in a bit of the history… which was easy for the show which kicked off the modern musical… as well as enough of the plot to engage anyone who might not know the show.  Plus be kind to everyone involved.  Finally… shortly after 1AM Friday morning (about the same amount of time it took for the entire show), I forwarded a copy.  It only took a three editions of the paper to see the light of day.  It could have stood a bit of editing to reflect the show dates.  I just hope no one tries to attend a performance tonight.

So…. anyone in the area who wants to see a great performance of the most classic of modern musicals… check out the remaining shows this weekend.  Just forget how dated the material is.  I do think there is an audience for these light-hearted shows.  And as the banner on the website says: Professional Quality Theatre in Northwest Ohio.  And another piece to add to my resume!  Right up there with a little television performance.

Hanging With A Buckeye

Most people who know me well are well aware of my punctuality (sometimes my EXTREME punctuality).  Thursday afternoons, I generally arrive at my voice lesson about 10 minutes early while my coach is finishing up with a student.  I usually am greeted by a five year old Ohio State fan.  Yesterday, he was engaged in a game of chess on a computer and he actually knew what he was doing!  He might not be a whiz but he knew how to move the pieces around the board.  When the computer came within moves of victory, the little guy would restart and choose an new board color scheme… pretty cool dude!

As far as the lessons are going, they continue to be very challenging, fun, and rewarding.  Kathrine promised that she would search out a recorded accompaniment for the duet we have been working on even if she had to hire someone to record it.  I now have three pieces that are coming along.  One ballad is audition/performance ready.  The one character piece/duet I have been working on is going much better than last week after I listened to a recording and figured out the path the music was taking.  Will be a fun piece to perfect and perform.  Developing an accent for the piece is fun!

I would now like to find some more character solo pieces.  I have a ballad, a character ensemble piece, and a duet.  I know my myriad of books will have scads of selections I am looking for.  I have a few weeks to find one or two.

Just before my lesson began, I received an expected phone call informing me of my very exciting job for the evening.  I will elaborate further in my next post when the fruits of my labor are revealed.  But I was told that it was very good… except for one major detail that needed to be corrected.

Superman Where Are You Now

It has been years since I have been to Kings Island (I was in junior high the last time I went).  It has changed so much in the many seasons that I remembered only a handful of the attractions and the overall feel has changed A LOT which is a GREAT THING!  I loved every minute of it!  Maybe because the four of us were V.I.P.s for the day which allowed us to not wait in lines, unlimited drinks throughout the park, a lunch buffet, a photo taken while on a coaster, and $25 in Beagle Bucks.

I’m not certain that a large number of people know about the V.I.P tour because it seems as if most of the employees were even stymied.  Thank goodness for Chase, our 9 hour tour guide who was a blast to have lead us around.  One of our group soon became ill and had to sit out a bit from the big thrill rides so Chase so kindly stepped in and rode with me for a while.  Who says work can’t be fun?

With the exception of one, all of the rides were amazing!  So amazing that it was a toss up between the 31 year old wooden BEAST (which we rode at least 4 times IN THE FRONT and once in the middle… YUCK!) and the newer metal, smooth flying Diamondback that were my favorites.  Also high up there were the Firehawk and Invertigo.  I must say that I was pleased that I only caused one ride to stop.  Unfortunately, it was Firehawk and C, L, Chase, and I were in our car, flat on our backs, staring up at the sky, inches from the station at the end of the ride.  The Drop Tower, while confining and almost caused C and I to feel the need to bail out, was great, too.

The last time I was at the park, the Kiddie Land was devoted to the characters of Hanna-Barbera:  The Smurfs, the Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, and the like.  Scoobs is still there in the form of an interactive 3D ride in which you shoot monsters and compete with your ride partner.  Justj beat  me by 30 points.  Most of the fun for the little ones (like its sister park, Cedar Point) is now devoted to Peanuts characters.

What’s a good amusement park on a hot, humid day without a good, soaking water ride?  Hand down the best one Kings Island has to offer is White Water Canyon.  Funny, but I do not remember the cannons that onlookers can fire at the rafts along the way.  One of the female operators along the way got me on purpose and yelled that she liked my Superman tshirt.  THANKS!  Another curious thing…. Chase informed us that we were one of the few V.I.P. groups to even want to ride water attractions.  We rode White Water Canyon 4 times.  Two times in a row each time.

Another old favorite was the Racer.  It used to have one blue train and one red train that raced each other along the track.  One train used to go backward but eventually went forward.  Must not be as popular as it once was because only one train was running.  While on the Racer, I forgot to take my Superman hat off my head… Bye, Bye Man of Steel.

Another highlight was the behind the scenes tour of the Beast given by Don… who holds the record for most rides on the Racer and also named the Diamondback coaster.

After releasing our exCELLENT guide… THANK YOU CHASE! we wanted to stay until the park closed to ride the Beast at dark but Mother Nature had other ideas.  Shortly after Chase left us at 7, it began to rain so it was off to use our Snoopy Bucks.  I replaced my Superman cap with a Kings Island one and bought a Snoopy tshirt “I Can Do That.”

We also took in a great show “Way Too Much TV” which showcased the themes from favorite tv shows of the 50s-90s.  Even the lyrics to the themes of Bewitched and I Love Lucy were sung.  I got to play theme song trivia before the show began and got a Way Too Much TV button as a prize!

On the way home, I was given the opportunity to eat at a White Castle for the first time ever.  It was really not as bad as I have heard some people say (I don’t know where those family members would know from because there are none in our immediate area).  And I didn’t notice any of the lingering effects of the Sliders as I made my way home at 12.30AM.

Thank you Chase!  Had A GREAT DAY!  And thanks to C & L for another great time!  I am way too spoiled with all this no line theme park fun!

Don’t Eat The Grapes On The Ground

Monday morning, three of my fellow tangenteers and I piled into my Sunfire and headed South for two days of fun!  Nice to be driven in my own car for a change.  I didn’t even mind sitting in the back, strangely enough. Plus, it saved C&L from driving their gas munching min van.  We were all set, car packed, ready to pull out, when suddenly and without warning someone shouted out “WHERE’S the KEYS!”  I had given them to C who soon realized that he had locked them in the trunk.  Not to worry, I crawled in the back, pulled the cord that released the back rest and found the keys.

Traveling down I75, we stopped at a McDonalds which had what was called their “Fun Place”  (zone, or whatever).  It had an assortment of interactive, touch screen games all but one of which seemed to be working.

We arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo, which is larger than her sister zoo in Toledo and it really showed.  Even I was worn out after our tour led by taylhis.  I love going to zoos especially with someone who appreciates every type of animal imaginable and researches them giving us insight into them.  I have to say that my favorite animal were the manatees CC Baby and Turner, they were fascinating to watch.

To beat the heat, we went to a 4D theatre experience through the Dark Continent.  Not only 3D but with the added thrill of sensory stimulation.  Seats moving, animals “breathing” down your neck, being “sprayed” and being poked by a rhino’s horn.  Now, I ask you, who would not have wanted to got to the Dora and Diego movie, instead?

Also part of the experience was the petting zoo.  Upon entering one of the pens, the attendant warned each of us not to pick up the “grapes” left by the animals.  Not part of the actual petting zoo was the lorikeet exhibit.  One of us decided to get close enough to pick one of the colorful birds up and was given a surprise.

After the exhausting, yet very fun tour, we found our accommodations for the evening.  Wouldn’t ya know, it was right next to an establishment called Rhino’s that I would not have minded checking out (JUST KIDDING!)  It’s a good thing that justj and I were not in the building closest to the club with the thumping music emanating from it.  We had our own noises to contend with.

After getting some sleep, we needed to be at our day two point of excitement fairly early the next morning.  But we were treated like Kings and a Queen.

Many Mumbling Mice Were Making Midnight Music In The Moonlight Mighty Nice.

Today was my third voice lesson (last week’s session was cancelled).  I can see that these weekly meetings are going to be very fun and extremely rewarding.  The first few moments are devoted to warming up the instrument.  Quite similar to an athlete stretching his muscles in order to prevent injury.  Went through two exercises which I am very accustomed to but the third was nothing short of a tongue-twister.  I asked my coach to write that one down.

I did a bit of sight-singing to begin.  I believe that I have mentioned my desire to one day have the chance to play M. Thenardier the sleazy innkeeper of Les Miserables.  I can see why I have not until today taken a look at “Master of the House.”  The music is quite the road map.  I will have to listen to the recording and figure out where it leads, but it will be quite fun when it is figured out.  Anyone who would like to take on the role of the equally sleazy Madame Thenardier… the song is a two person study in character hilarity.  Could even stand a small chorus of inn lodgers.

I then returned to “If I Can’t Love Her” from Beauty and the Beast.  I looked through the Miss Saigon selections for “Thuy’s Death” piece but it must not be included in the book.  I will have to continue listening to some of the Conductor’s pieces.  And go through my other books for some good character work.

All too quickly, the half-hour came to an end.  However, before leaving I learned that a five-year-old lad is a Buckeye fan much to the “delight” of his mother.  He is going to go to OSU when he gets bigger.  This delighted the fan of the Place Up North since she would have to pay out of state tuition.

Farewell to the Boss

Praise him or curse him, George Steinbrenner accomplished what he set out to do when he purchased the New York Yankees the year I was born.  His fiery, hands on approach helped lead the Bombers to 11 pennants and 7 World Championships during his tenure.  He holds the record for the most years as owner of a franchise.  Early this morning, The Boss succumbed to a massive heart attack.

Mr. Steinbrenner was, for better or worse, responsible for turning the team around after it was struggling under the ownership of CBS.  During his 37 year ownership, it has been well publicized about the revolving door of managers.  He changed 20 times in his first 23 years including the five time dismissings of Billy Martin.

Also memorable is the grooming policy for the team.  Hair length and facial hair were closely monitored.  Goose Gossage’s beard which turned into his trademark thick moustache; Don Mattingly’s mullet (which was lampooned on the classic Simpsons’ episode, “Homer at the Bat”).  When Johnny Damon was acquired from the Red Sox, I often wondered the price the outfielder was payed to clean up.

In 2006, George turned the day to day operations over to his son who seems to have inherited the same fire and approach.  So, it would appear that the Steinbrenner Empire will continue.

Shoutout to the James

No… not THAT James, I think he has been getting enough press of late.  My cousin, Dan, is on the campus of the Ohio State University at the James Center where is recovering from surgery which he underwent on Friday for an acoustic neuroma (a tumor on a nerve on the inner ear, which is usually benign, and was).  He had been having troubles  with dizziness, vertigo, and some of the other symptoms of the phenomenon.  Glad to relate that other than the recovery, all is well.  Just got done talking to him on the phone and he did sound like (as he described it) he was “run over by a Mack truck.”  I’m sure that Carla will be most appreciative when he can return to normal and help out with the little ones.

The fact that the James was where Emily spent most of her time battling leukemia nearly 2 years ago was not lost on us as Dan made mention of.  But now that he is recovering, hopefully resting, and getting well… he will be reading once again.  Commenting via email since he does not like to comment directly while at work but maybe, while recovering….

Get well soon, Dan Jo… Maxwell Smart.  Remember the days?

Another Year Older, A New Role, And More

Thank you everyone for the many birthday greetings: facebooked, emailed, phoned (from one of my best friends), or delivered in person.  They all were greatly appreciated and helped make my day.  I am happy to announce that I have been offered and accepted the role of Barrymore in The Hound of the Baskervilles.  A much more limited role than my last but important, nonetheless.

Following my audition, I returned to E-town for mass which was being given in memory of Aunt Carol.  Quite a memorable experience.  No one beyond the back 3-4 rows of the church could hear the opening hymn because something was afoul with the sound equipment.  The organist leaned over the loft railing and asked me to run upfront to see what I could do with it.  Being the technological genius I am, I went into the closet and flipped the switch and voila!  Father Steve wears a pack on his vestment and usually turns it off when he is not speaking.  However, he for some reason, kept forgetting to turn it off and lets just say that he does not possess the most glorious voice ever.  Just being honest.  To lie about a priest surely is not a good thing.

After mass, I traveled to H’ville for an impromptu birthday celebration.  I provided a bag of Sun Chips.  The reason for this… the bag they come in is made of some type of material that creates a very loud, obnoxious sound when the bag is rustled but the Harvest Cheddar variety is tasty.  Thank you Mare for the yummy, German Chocolate Brownie cake… a little too much water necessitated the need for an additional package of brownie mix and the result was delectable.

Travis brought an assortment of games.  I was really tempted to pick my obvious choice and was encouraged to do so since it was “my day.”  However, I picked Trivial Pursuit.  Started off well and went downhill.  Later, Amber brought Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and we divided into teams.  I tried to be intelligent and attempted to pick the person I thought would help me most, but that idea was nixed.  I did all right the first round until I received a question I had not excuse for missing.  “Who lives out beyond the Dune Sea?”  UGH!  I was victorious in round two.

After some stargazing and a return to Mare’s house, it was time to hit the road at 4.30AM!  Megan pooped out shortly before.

July 11, is always memorable as I have a liitle buddy who turned TWO!  After I got home @ 4.50Am, I sent a cool ecard as well as a response to my own birthday ecard.  Hope you had a super birthday, BEEBS!

Also yesterday, Yankees fans lost a great one.  Bob Sheppard was the voice of the Bombers from 1951-2007 when his health prompted him to retire.  The voice of the great ones… from Dimaggio, Mantle, and Berra, to Mr. October, and to Captain Jeter.  Ups and downs throughout but Mr. Sheppard had one of the distinct voices in the box.  So beloved that Derek has the voice resonate each time he steps up to the plate.  An honor which humbled the announcer.

And I still have today off until I go back to work!  A fact that stymied a co-worker of mine who thought I was going out of town.  How she came to that conclusion is beyond me.  Coming from one who likes to change schedules without informing the other person involved I didn’t really pay much attention to the comment.  I will be going out of town next Monday and Tuesday.

Ok… this post is quite long enough thanks again everyone!

7-10-2007

Another year and eleven minutes older…o maybe not exactly, I’ll have to find out what time I actually entered the world.  Well… yesterday, I had to run to the big city and get my picture snapped.  I abhor having my mug shot for my little piece of plastic for three years.  Look at the little smiley sticker, drop your jaw, now move slightly to the right.  UGH!  A fashioned model has it easier and they get paid for it!

Then, I endured a long nine hour work day.  Better yesterday than today especially when I get three days off in a row!  I don’t have to be back until TUESDAY!  Today, I have to go to an audition for Hound of the Baskervilles. I believe that I have stated that I will not be auditioning for either Holmes or Watson.  I think my talents are better served in a return to a more character driven role this time.  And I do not believe that the detective or the good doctor had facial hair… Watson, perhaps.

Tonight, mass at 6 is being given in memory of Aunt Carol.  After that, the sky’s the limit.  Spontaneity on your birthday is always fun!

Well… 22 minutes into another year. Tired, maybe I’ll get some sleep.

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