Well another show, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has been put on the shelf. Due to my ridiculously busy schedule at work (the spring months are when all of our biggest deadlines are, and adding a show to that damn near killed me this time around), I didn't blog NEARLY as much as I wanted to about the rehearsal and production process of this amazing show.
I enjoy every show that I do and I always bond with cast members and find a way to love the role I'm playing...but only once in a blue moon do I get truly sad to close one. The last one was Crazy for You, which just happens to have been exactly one year ago. For that one and for DRS, the Monday after closing was just a dreadfully depressing day. I hated knowing I wouldn't do it all over again in a few days, and even listening to the cast recording when it happens upon my iPod shuffle makes me a little blue. It always passes, and I always keep in touch with the people from the cast, but the first few days are a little rough.
This show was particularly special to me for a couple of reasons. The first is indicated in the pictures heading up this blog post (all above). Kenny Fudge, who was the Andre to my Muriel, made this show so special for me. He has been on my theatre "wish list" ever since I saw him act when I worked backstage last summer for Don't Dress for Dinner, and I am so fortunate to have been cast opposite him.
The roles of Andre and Muriel in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are an absolute trip. They may be secondary plot characters, but they have the ability to steal the show with their fabulous, cheesy (and sometimes dirty!) one-liners, the adorable song and dance number "Like Zis, Like Zat," and possibly the only real moments in an otherwise cartoony show. Muriel is also a very isolated character...all of her stuff is with Andre after a certain point, so I got to spend lots of stage time with this brilliant actor. And I think I fell a little bit in love with both Kenny and his Andre! I am so honored to have been cast opposite him. Kenny is absolutely no-drama, which I love, and his work ethic is incredible. Any time we had down time, we were running lines or talking about why scenes still felt a little off and figuring out how to fix it.
ON the stage, I have never worked with a more giving actor than Kenny. As someone who fancies herself more of a singer than an actress, I can't even say how much I appreciated working with such an amazing actor. His dedication onstage and the way HIS actions brought Muriel out of ME was amazing. I'm so grateful for it, and I think I'll ONLY do shows with Kenny from now on. :)
The SECOND reason this show was so special to me is why I can also post this on my weight loss blog. This show very much felt like a coming out party for me. I haven't been onstage in a lead or supporting role ever since The Reckoning. The last show I did was Chicago, which is when I was at my heaviest. So, some of the audiences have not seen me since I lost the 30lbs (!!!) I've lost since December.
I have to tell you....as much as I love and appreciate every compliment I got on my acting and singing in this show -- probably the most I've gotten yet on my actual performance of a show to date -- I NEVER once got tired of hearing, "Oh my GOD you look AMAZING!" when I'd greet friends, family and strangers after each performance. And honestly? I felt amazing. I felt lighter, my breath support during dancing and singing was better and easier to handle, and I loved all my costumes. I loved how they looked and I loved how I felt in them.
Below is a couple of pictures just to illustrate some of the awesomeness of weight loss. The first one is a picture of my friend Olivia, who was in the show with me (and was also in Crazy For You). Olivia has been on a very similar weight loss journey with me over the past 6 months or more. She has, to date, lost over 55lbs. Since I have lost 30, I felt it necessary to document in a photograph the AWESOME-ness that is 85lbs lost combined:This picture is just one I threw together when I was scrolling through old Facebook photos last week. The picture on the left is a picture of me after a performance of Chicago, and the picture on the right was taken during the rehearsal process for DRS. I feel like I look SO different (besides the lighter hair color, obviously) in the two pictures. I look YOUNGER in the picture on the right, so I guess it's true what they say, that losing weight can make you look (and feel) younger!
So, speaking of weight loss...I feel like it's time to make the announcement of the next project I'll be working on. I'll just go ahead and come right out and say it and THEN tell the story of how this came to be:
I will be playing Ulla in Denton Community Theatre's production of The Producers this August.
I know, this is VERY unlikely. For several reasons. One, I'm 5'3. Two, I'm not tall and thin with legs that go for days. Three...I'm not a skinny girl.
But, it happened. I'll never play the role again, so I'm going to take my chance since I have it. I need you to know, blog readers, how much I AGONIZED over auditioning for this.
I talked to two very honest, to-the-point friends of mine, who are also directors. I asked them, "If you were directing this show and I auditioned for this role, would you smile politely and then write "fat chance, sister!" on my audition form?" Both of them were honest and direct in their responses and both said something similar to "No, but we'd put you in the maybe file and hope and pray that a tall, leggy Amazon showed up to rehearsals." Okay, so at least I knew I wasn't being completely delusional with the audition. So I went, and I did my best.
Then came the agony of "What happens if I DO get cast? Are people going to see the cast list and scoff? Laugh at the fact that a 5'3", size 10-12 girl is playing Ulla? What are people goign to say to me? How am I going to prove myself? Can I lose another 20 lbs by August if I'm cast?"
Then I got offered the role. And I almost puked. People keep asking me, "Are you so excited?!" The answer deep down is yes...but I have found myself TERRIFIED of what people are going to say/think about this.
I was vague-tweeting about this on Twitter before I was offered the role, and another local actor who is also a fitness coach, Jimmy Hays Nelson, tweeted back to me, "Don't let someone else's opinion of you become YOUR reality." Boom, reality check. Why am I SO concerned about what other people are thinking?
Honestly I could go on and on about this...but I'll save that for another blog. Right now I'm just going to re-focus on making HEALTHY changes in my life, start religiously counting calories again (had a leeeeeeetle too much indulgence over the holiday weekend), and up the ante on my workouts. Not so that I can prove to anyone else that I deserve to play this role, but so that, just like I did in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, I can walk off that stage every night feeling amazing and confident because I know I have worked hard.
As Ulla says, "If you got it -- FLAUNT it." Bring it on.