February 23, 2009

Opening Weekend

Well, we did it!

This past weekend we finally opened the show, and I have to say it was a rousing success. Even with (what I felt was) little advertising, word-of-mouth must have gotten around, because we had fairly full houses on both Friday (opening) and Saturday nights. Sunday's matinee was very sparse, but they were still a supportive and energetic crowd.

Two of my fellow bloggers showed up as well, so thank you to Carie and Smash for showing up and being so supportive and fun! Carie blogged about her thoughts here, and even included a few GREAT pictures! I LOVE the one of the marquee outside the theatre and of course the one of Carie and me together after the show. Please excuse the excess of makeup...I hadn't gotten out of costume and make up yet. :)

I'm already a little sad knowing that this weekend is our last, and I can't believe there are only 3 performances left. I love this show, and I could play this role forever and never get tired of it.

This cast and crew has been so great, and I love everyone of them for so many reasons.

Next on the docket: auditions for Crazy For You tomorrow night! No rest for the weary!

February 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - 2/10

Teaser Tuesdays: Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser sentences:

Bobby: I rushed out of there and I drove around until I could find a liquor store and a drugstore open and I got all this champagne and the oil and finally I started back to the motel and -- I --could not -- find -- it. I looked for over three hours.

From the libretto of "Company," the musical I'm currently working on. Book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

You guys? I don't have time to read. I PROMISE that as of March 1st I'll be done with this show and will actually start reading and posting real "Teaser Tuesdays" posts again. Sorry. :)

February 9, 2009

The Last Concert

I VERY rarely check MySpace anymore. (Haven't you heard? Facebook is the only way to go!) This morning, I felt like I may have been neglecting poor MySpace, so I logged in. Much to my surprise, others are still using it, including an artist and friend over at the UNT College of Music. He had written a new blog entry, and it really spoke to me. I felt the need to share it with you, my loyal readers (all dozen or so of you). Read, and enjoy:

The last concert....

Friday night I did something I have done many times- I sang a concert. I greeted members of the audience,congratulated my colleagues, and drove home. I took off my tux, put my studs and cuff links in the jewelry box, and dressed for bed.

Some years ago as I did that, I began to muse on how often most men wear a tuxedo. Maybe two or three times-the senior prom, their wedding, weddings of friends and family. But it is something I do several times a year. I actually have something of a
ritual. I take the tux to the cleaners, so I won't have to think about it next time. I put the score back on the shelf. I make a folder for the program, reviews, etc. and put it in the "Performances" file cabinet drawer.

As I thought about singing concerts, though, it occurred to me that one day I will do
it for the last time. One last time I will greet the audience, congratulate my
colleagues, drive home, and take off my tux. Will I know it's the last time? If I do, will it make a difference in how I sing? Will I be a weepy mess, or will I give the performance of a lifetime?

At that moment I softly voiced a prayer that I would not live to see the day when I wasn't singing. Of course,that would mean that I will die with SOMETHING left unsung. But perhaps that is for the best. I have known singers who stopped singing with many years left in their lives. True, they found satisfaction in other things. They taught,traveled, spent time with hobbies they had neglected during their singing
careers. They enjoyed time with their children and grandchildren, making up for
lost time.

But I want to sing. I want to sing until the end. Let me die onstage just like Leonard Warren, and I will die happy. I would die doing what I love to do.

If I do get to choose the time and place of my "last concert", I imagine it will be at my church. I will close with "Give me Jesus"...

"Oh when I come to die, Give me Jesus..."

But God only knows...

I know how he feels.

February 8, 2009

A Feminine Ending

Photo: Chad Halbrook and Jessica Wiggers in A Feminine Ending by Sarah Treem (photo by Mike Wang)

Disclaimer: this review is unsolicited. I just really wanted to offer up my own succinct and, hopefully grammatically correct, thoughts on what I think is an incredible piece of theatre not to be missed if you're in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.)

Amanda Blue (played by Jessica Wiggers) tells us in the opening lines of A Feminine Ending that, "For anyone who cares to know or knows enough to care," there are gender roles in music - masculine and feminine. A feminine ending is characterized by a musical phrase or movement ending on an "unstressed, or weak cadence." She goes on to muse about how clearly gender roles are asserted not only in music or in language, but also in life and in the choices one makes or the expectations he or she is supposed to meet.

An aspiring composer, Amanda must put her dreams on hold as she works a less than fulfilling day job to support her "almost famous" fiancé, Jack Handel (Chad Halbrook) as a means to reach the extraordinary life he has promised they will have some day. As Jack rises in his quest for fame, Amanda becomes increasingly discontent with her life, a problem that is exacerbated by a frantic phone call from her mother Kim (Cindy Beall), imploring Amanda to come home to New Hampshire for the weekend. It turns out that Kim has, once again, decided to assert herself and leave her husband David (Jerry Crow). As Amanda's frustration level rises and she decides to go back to New York, she runs into The One That Got Away, her high school boyfriend Billy (Dan Forsythe).

Throughout the course of Sarah Treem's beautifully written script, Amanda finds herself in a position in which she must evaluate her career, her impending marriage, her role as a daughter, and finally make a decision as to whether or not she wants to continue putting the needs of others before her own dreams and aspirations.

As the costume designer as well as in her directorial debut, Emily Scott Banks shines. The actors clearly understand the relationships between their characters, and they move and interact with a purpose and an ease and comfort that makes them heartbreakingly realistic. Her costume design is simple, but wonderfully symbolic. Amanda's scarves in the first act, while stylish and attractive, seem to represent the choke-hold that is placed upon her by her fear of going out on a limb and rejecting conventions. Jack's outfits change by scene, and are almost comically trendy: an intentionally weathered pair of jeans, a retro-western shirt with pearl snaps, and a foam-front cap placed on top of sexy, tousled hair.

The technical aspects of this production are flawless. Leann Ellis's lighting design coupled with sound designer Emily Young's choices of songs and musical interludes brought goosebumps to my arms at times. There are beautiful and intricate gobos used to indicate falling snow, a blooming tree, an apple orchard, all of which subtly enhance what might otherwise be long and tedious monologues within the script. Set designer Clare Floyd-DeVries creates a beautiful, simplistic set that is functional as well as eye-catching. What appears at first to be a simple wooden set later showcases a hidden bed (which doubles as a couch in the scenes taking place in Amanda's New Hampshire home) or an end table. The walls of the studio theatre are draped with flowing curtains of chiffon, giving a soft and feminine feeling that is not lost in its symbolism.

The major kudos of this production, however, must go to the actors. There is not a weak moment in this production. Chad Halbrook, a gorgeous man who is not shy about showing off his body, plays Jack flawlessly. The character of Jack lends itself to being easily played as a shallow, wannabe rock star, but Halbrook gives Jack more depth than that, and creates some tender moments with Amanda as easily as he makes the audience laugh. Cindy Beall and Jerry Crow are equal parts funny and poignant as Amanda's estranged parents. Beall gives a powerful performance as a housewife who, after 30 years of burying her passions in order to be a dutiful wife and mother, finally decides to follow her own dreams. Crow makes a grand impression in his little stage time as Amanda's father, a man who has likely had the same routine for 30 years, and is truly stunned that his wife would leave him, after what we are led to believe have been several threats over the course of their marriage.

As Amanda's high school boyfriend Billy, Dan Forsythe brings an entirely different dynamic to the cast. He is simple, kind, and lacks pretention. While at first he appears to be a bit of a goofball, we discover with Amanda that he is intelligent and well-spoken, and Amanda's rekindled attraction to him in the apple orchard is understandable and believable. My only issue with Forsythe's performance is his choice of dialect, which unfortunately emphasizes the "goofball" aspect a bit too much at times. I was unsure if this was a character choice or an attempt at a New England accent. Nevertheless, his portrayal of Billy is endearing and lovely.

The standout performer in this cast is Jessica Wiggers as Amanda. She rarely leaves the stage, and she stays connected to the character at all times. When she breaks the proverbial "fourth wall" and addresses the audience directly, it is natural and conversational, and she moves back into her interactions with other characters seamlessly and effortlessly. She even deadpans some of her pantomimed actions to the audience ("I'm back in New York now...and this is the door to my apartment") humorously, but without taking them out of the moment or distracting from the emotional environment she's created in a previous scene. She's wonderfully real, and any person in the audience should be able to empathize with at least one, if not several, of the stops along Amanda's journey to find and "trust a woman's voice in a man's world."

The play runs through February 13, 2009 at the WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Texas. The studio theatre is small and tickets will likely sell out quickly, so run - don't walk - to the website or to the nearest phone, and buy your tickets now for this beautiful and thought-provoking piece of theatre. You will be glad you did.

February 6, 2009

Alternate Endings

I know how excited you all get when I blog about "Company," but hey...it's consuming my life right now, so dem's da berries. :)

Last night a bunch of us went out after rehearsal for one of our Group Therapy (read: going out and complaining/worrying/stressing) sessions and we were talking about the different scenes and how the characters relate to one another. We were discussing how the two scenes that sort of bookend Act I are some of our favorites, and probably because they are so extreme in content. The Harry/Sarah scene is hilarious, while the Amy/Paul scene is much more serious and emotional.

Someone mentioned that at one point, Sondheim had written a song called "Multitudes of Amys" to end Act I while still fleshing out the show and how he wanted Bobby to develop. The current song, "Marry Me a Little," is BEAUTIFUL, and our Bobby sings it so freaking well, but of course my curiosity got the best of me this morning, so off to YouTube I went to see what I could find.

I found a clip of John Lloyd Young (of "Jersey Boys" fame) singing "Multitudes of Amys" in a cabaret-style setting.

It is absolutely beautiful, which isn't a big shocker. It's this blogger's opinion that anything Sondheim writes is pure genius.

I still prefer "Marry Me a Little" in context of the show, because I simply prefer the direction that it takes the characters of Paul and Amy. But, I like knowing what might have been. :)

See for yourself!

John Lloyd Young singing "Multitudes of Amys:"

Raúl Esparza singing "Marry Me a Little:"

February 5, 2009

Office Pet Peeve

Just a friendly note (which I am thisclose to actually writing and soldering to the coffee pot): If you happen to finish the coffee in the break room, DO NOT simply set the empty pot back on the warming tray and be on your merry way.

Also, do not leave only mere swill in the bottom of the pot. Does that look like enough for a cup to you? No. It does not.

Make a fresh pot, damn you!

This is a crime that, in my opinion, should be punishable by death.

By the way....the image above? I totally have it hanging in my office.

February 4, 2009


So, here it is. The obligatory "So, I know I haven't blogged in FOREVER, but..." post.


I know I haven't blogged in FOREVER, but honestly? Life has been more than a little busy/exhausting/crazy/pick an adjective here lately. Oh and I also finally caught the Annual Winter Plague, so that had me laid up most of the weekend in bed with a box of tissues.

Rehearsals for the show are going really well, I think. There's always that point about 3 weeks away from opening night when you honestly wonder "When/How the hell is this thing going to come together?" and I think we reached and passed that point very quickly. Our director and assistant director have been encouraging us to try to get off book a week ahead of schedule, and I'm happy to say that most, if not all, of the cast has taken that to heart and really tried to get the scripts out of our hands.

It's hard, and slightly terrifying. It's one of the ultimate "deer in the headlights" feelings, in my opinion, when there's a silence onstage, and you can read your own fear mirrored in your castmate's eyes as you wonder, "Okay is this my line? Or yours? What are we DOING NEXT??"

However, even as we stumble through, we've already made some tremendous progress in developing our characters and character relationships just by getting the script/crutch out of the picture. I'm proud of the cast and crew, and I can't believe we're already only two and a half weeks from opening night. :)

So another reason I haven't really been blogging...

I've actually started writing in a journal. No, really. Writing. Remember writing? That thing we did before keyboards were mainstream? Yeah! That!! My hand is killing me by about 7 sentences into each entry, but I'm building up stamina and writing a little more each day.

I've never been good at keeping a diary or a journal. Ever. Even as a little girl, I'd write fervently for a few days and then the thing would get discarded, thrown away, or just simply covered in dust and left between the mattresses and forgotten about. This time feels different, though.

I don't know if it's because I'm older and "wiser," or because I'm doing it as part of a routine (I get in bed each night and write for about 20 minutes or so), or maybe even because I'm using an actual, grown-up journal...like with a bookmark and one of those elastic thingies that holds the pages shut.

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying it. I like leaving my mark. I like thinking that, maybe some day, my child/grandchild/niece/nephew may find it in an attic or in an old box with my wedding album and high school yearbooks and find a really cool window into what life was like for me at a point in time. To actually see my handwriting and notice that we write our Ms the same way.

So, that's why I haven't been around much. I find it tiresome to try to come up with material for two journals (one tangible, one online), and sometimes the things I actually, physically write are not things that I want the entire blogosphere to see. There will probably be times when I'll write something that I think is pure gold, and I'll take the time to transcribe it on here, probably. But, for the most part it may just be a bit more YouTube clips I love, or articles I think are interesting, or book reviews (I'll try to get back into Teaser Tuesdays...I know, I've failed lately at them. But, to be fair, I'm not reading anything at the moment.), etc.

Thanks for sticking around. :)