Posts Tagged ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

A Birdie In The Clinic In The Moonlight

Today, I took a huge step (IMHO) in my quest for professional theatrical experience.  I had my first full-fledged, prepare a monologue audition for a paying gig.  Moonlight Productions is a production company in my neck of the woods owned and operated by a friend of mine whom I met a few years ago through the WCCT.  The film he is casting for is a cinematic version of a one act play that was written by a remarkably talented pal of mine in which yours truly had a rather significant part.  This fact in no way guarantees me a role in the movie as I have no idea the experience and calibre of the other auditioners.  BUT I AM REALLLLY EXCITED!

Quite a process.  This is the first time in 8 years that I have needed to prepare a monologue.  In my years in community theatre, most of the auditions have been cold readings from the script or singing a song from the musical (if that is the case).  I chose to perform a monologue given by Mr. Harry Macafee from Bye Bye Birdie.  Hey, it worked 8 years ago when I was cast as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof!  Note to self:  time to search out monologue books!

Over the last few weeks while memorizing lines for the staged production of The Hound of the Baskervilles in which I am playing Barrymore, I have been polishing the dust off the old monologue I first encountered while assisting the director of a high school production of Birdie.  Happily enough, it came back rather smoothly.

The last few days, I have been trying to figure out what to wear.  I could have gone with the costume I wore in the stage version of The Clinic.  It might have worked since the monologue takes place at the breakfast table after Harry has had a rather sleepless night after (among other things) outside his window three harpies shrieked “We Love You Conrad” 4,732 times.  However, I decided on a nice dress shirt, slacks, and my Looney Tunes necktie.

I arrived at the audition site my normal 15-20 minutes early and signed in at 9:11 AM.  At about 9:25, the producer came into the lounge and told me (I was the first to arrive) that they would soon be ready.  The space was really small.  After having my mug shot taken, I announced to the video camera my name and monologue I had chosen.  For my first time auditioning for a camera, I thought it went exceptionally well.  I did notice one teeny-weeney mistake but I plowed right along as if nothing had gone amiss.

When I got home before I had to report to my day job, I had a message on my Facebook page:

First audition was very good, waiting on other actors to arrive! Good luck today everyone!

Thanks Jay!  I hope this film makes your company grow and move forward!

And not to worry, Mare… my involvement (when it is made known) will in no way impede upon my performance in October 😉

Morning Guilty Pleasure

This morning, I was able to catch most of Regis and Kelly (the ONLY celebrity focused morning show I enjoy watching).  As I made mention of earlier, John Stamos is now in previews for Bye, Bye Birdie for its return to the Broadway stage since the debut 50 years ago (WOW!).  Mr. Stamos will be playing the lead part of Albert Peterson.  Dick Van Dyke originated the role of Conrad Birdie’s manager in the original production as well as the original movie.  The cinematic experience does not do the stage version justice at all.  Not sure why but like many musicals it is much better to have that live, theatrical experience.  I honestly cannot think of many musicals that have translated better or at least as enjoyably on the screen.  I guess I would say The Sound of Music only because it has been so ingrained into pop culture as a movie that many forget or don’t realize that is was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s theatrical swan song.  That reason and the puppet show version of “The Lonely Goatherd” is my favorite part of the movie and IS NOT in the stage version.

Ok… back to my original topic.  During the interview, Reege made mention of the fact that Ann-Margrock (err.. Margret) played the young girl, Kim MacAfee in the movie.  Shortly after the movie was filmed, Ms. Margret would be Presley’s leading lady in my mother’s favorite Elvis movie, Viva Las Vegas.  However, Mom was not aware that she was in the cast of Birdie.

Here’s a few more tidbits: one of our fellow tangenteers has played the role of pop singing idol/draftee Conrad Birdie. I assisted in the directing of my high school alma mater’s production a few years ago.  AND there was a veery short lived sequel (4 performances) entitled Bring Back Birdie which was set twenty years following the events of the original.  Twenty years is quite a LONG time to wait to attempt a comeback.

You’ll Look So Good That You’ll Be Glad That You Decided To…

“Smile Darn Ya, Smile.” Ok… combining two song lyrics from two different musicals:

  • “Put on a Happy Face” from the just revived for the very first time on Broadway…Bye, Bye Birdie starring John Stamos.. not as the title character which 20 years ago, I could have envisioned given his character Uncle Jesse from Full House and his status as a drummer in the Beach Boys
  • The second is from some other show I must have forgotten somewhere along the line… if it comes to me, I’ll list it in the tags.

Ok, a few weeks ago we had Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Today, just happens to be World Smile Day.  What is it that makes me smile?  Just a few things, really.

  • I love to be with my friends and family no matter what the occasion: game nights are always fun and road trips are a blast, watching crazy fans enjoy watching their favorite teams play (I thought my mom got wild when she watches Yankees baseball but seeing Chris watch a Bears game… now THAT is a sight that could bring a smile to anyone).  However, just being with them to lend a hand, ear, shoulder, foot, eye, back, or finger really is great, too.  Sometimes, even more rewarding than the frivolous.  On occasion, I have also used them for guidance and support, as well.
  • Coming in very close to number one is… well, most people who regularly subscribe to my rantings and ravings know this.  Even when I am being constructively (of course) criticized, I can always find something to smile about on stage.  Except of course, when the moment does not call for it.. that’s when acting (for me) is difficult.  I guess in the moment when the unforseen happens and (perish the thought!) I donut get a part, I do tend to be optimistic and try to learn and try to move on.
  • In a big way, music can be an extension of my love of the stage.  Musicals are of course my favorite genre of theatre.  I do enjoy most types of music but there ARE exceptions (c)rap being chief among them.
  • A great, big scare.  Ok.. maybe the adrenaline getting the heart racing, the blood rushing creates a nervous smile and chuckle but I love to be scared.

Ok… that’s three things. that can usually make most of my nothing days all seem worthwhile.  So remember…. Light up your face with gladness and hide every trace of sadness because I feel sad when you’re sad I feel glad when you’re glad.

I Enjoyed His Second Childhood Immensely

They say a hat makes the man.  Grandpa probably would say that a hat (as well as a suit) is like a man and likes to step out once in a while (pretty girl or no pretty girl).  One of my favorite parts of Meet Me in St. Louis was the enormous array of wonderful hats I got to wear as Grandpa Prophater.  I pick out most of them from the costume room at the Huber and one was brought by the producer.  Grandpa went from a genuine Shriner’s fez with tassel and all kings of bells and whistles to a Holmesian deerstalker cap on Halloween to a huge Admiral’s hat and one more that I will expound upon in a moment.  There were a few plain, ordinary hats that were just not wild enough.  There were only two scenes in which Grandpa was not seen wearing one: a dinner scene with the family and the Christmas Ball (although I thought the old Civil War vet would have looked smashing in a top hat with his old tuxedo he had gotten out of mothballs).

The Admiral’s hat presented a few problems as I began to learn how to wear it.  I thought it should be worn “sideways” with the ends at the sides.  Then, I had it on backwards with the tailfeather hanging over my face.  Finally, I got it right amidst thunderous applause.  The first time I rehearsed with it, the entire cast had to stop the scene from laughing.  I was told that I looked like Cap’n Crunch which was where I got the inspiration to wear the cap sideways.  I also had to be careful entering during the very serious scene as the audience roared as I snuck in through the kitchen door after performing Grandpa’s favorite pastime: eavesdropping.

The deerstalker was my idea.  It added a nice touch to the Halloween excitement of egging on “Agnes” and “Tootie” in their quest to throw flour into the faces of evil cat poisoners and other monsters.  It also helped in discovering the truth behind the mysterious injury to Tootie’s lip.

I had discovered a fez in my combing of the costume department.  However, a much better one was found complete with medallion to wear around my neck and handy pouch to store them in.  I felt like I should be in the Shriner’s Convention scene in Bye, Bye Birdie or the Grand Poobah of the Loyal Order of Waterbuffalo.

My next to final costume was by far the most challenging, but one of the most entertaining.  The family is awakened EARLY by Mr. Smith on Christmas morning.  I KNEW Grandpa had to have a memorable outfit for sleeping.  I knew exactly what I wanted.  The turquoise robe was already there.  The costume mistress took my measurements for a long nightshirt and the piece de resistance: a wonderful multi-colored, tassled nightcap.  I loved it.  After the scene, not so much.  I had to make the fastest change I have ever made into my summer outfit for the World’s Fair.  The hardest part of the role.  At one of the dress rehearsals, I came out clutching the night shirt and made everyone think I was Linus from the Peanuts comic strip.  Thankfully, I was able to devise a scheme to change quicker.

I think this will be my final post for Meet Me in St. Louis.  Each production I have ever been in has been different than the last.  Each performance of every production I have been in has been different than the last (for better or worse) but that is the beauty of live theatre.  Everyone involved has to be on their toes and at their best.  That is one of the many things I will always cherish about it.

To those who made a trip to St. Louis,  I hope you had a great ride.  To those who could not, my apologies.  I hope that one was surely watching from above saw me continue to grow.  There are better shows out there but I think big, happy, family-friendly shows need to be done if not only as an escape from today’s troubling reality.

Christmas Wishes

Over the past few weeks, I have been blessed to become re-acquainted with someone who used to teach at the local elementary school.  She has since moved to North Carolina.  She started commenting on my blog during the worst couple of weeks I have had in my 35 years when Emily became seriously ill and lost her battle with leukemia.  I helped Terri and Emily direct the high school’s production of Bye, Bye Birdie a few years ago.  I am extremely sad to say that the theatrical tradition that was once so strong at my alma mater has disappeared.  Growing up I remember watching great musicals performed on the gymnasium stage.  The first being The Wizard of Oz in 1977.  I was introduced to my favorite musical, Carousel, in the early 80s, as well as Finian’s Rainbow, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (which justj‘s daughter will be part of in her high school’s production next Spring).  I also watched both of my brothers on stage.  THEN, I guess I made my mark in Fiddler on the Roof, I Remember Mama, and (finally) as Rooster in Annie.  I also helped stage The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and the aforementioned Birdie.  Do any of my faithful readers have any memories of school musical productions they would like to share?

Terri recently sent this holiday greeting which features my favorite version of my favorite carol set to a beautiful scene which signifies the true meaning of the season.

This will be our final song to you before Christmas, which truly symbolizes our belief of the true meaning of Christmas.

The miracle of that evening will always be depicted during the Christmas season…I particularly enjoyed this movie clip because it shows two parents

who were experiencing pain and fear…yet were in awe of what followed……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_ypUnnqr8Y

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!