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February 5, 2012

So that happened

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Theatre Rollercoaster

April 13, 2010

A year ago we were just about to open The Sound of Music, and Quincy Music Theatre was just announcing their new season.  And my friend Nick got selected to direct a show, the one that’s opening in two weeks, Meet Me in St.Louis. So when I got a voice mail from Karla asking me to call her back to “discuss a matter” it really got my wheels turning.  You see Karla is a QMT board member.  Now when theatre people call me like that it’s usually to get me to stage manage something.  I hadn’t been asked that in a while because I’d had to give six months of “no”s due to my crazy work schedule.  It was also not the right time… one show imminently opening, the next already cast and in rehearsal.  But who knows maybe they needed a house manager or an ASM.  All these possibilities ran though my head, but I had this glimmer of hope that maybe they needed a director.  I was thinking big.

Well she called me back Saturday afternoon, and she asked me “well tell me what you have been in? what shows have you been involved in.”  I told her that Parade, the show we had been in together was the only thing that I had acted in recently, that I’d mainly focused on back stage work.

Then she said, “Well I have this part I need to fill in the show I’m directing and I think you’d be great for it.”  The show is an extended run of a QMT show that played earlier this season and I guess they had someone drop out.  It’s in four weeks… and she offered me the third lead.

Yeah… the third most important person in the show.

I was jumping on that, when would I get that chance again.  Not soon I can guarantee.  So I made plans to meet her in an hour to sing though some stuff, sure up plans, etc.  I hung up the phone, got up to go get changed, when I grabbed my calender.  Four weeks from now, as in May 7-9 Mothers Day weekend.  My hundred dollars worth of tickets for May 7 Showtime in Pensacola just arrived that day too.

I called Karla back to tell her I couldn’t do it.  “Well, next time,” she says.  Right.

What I like about Ryan

January 17, 2010

  • First, you know… what’s not to like.  I remember when I was watching the exhibition after the 2007 Nationals when he got silver.  I happened to be at home in Gulf Breeze when my sister and her friend came in.  I was gushing about how he had come from behind.  There he was and they were as won over as me.

    The incomparable Ryan Bradley

  • He skated to Baroque chamber music and wore a period costume complete with puffy shirt… and it was funny.
  • He’s the king of the quad, landing two to beat both Lysacek and Weir in the Free Skate.
  • His crazy hair.
  • He is such a performer.  It’s always a piece of theater… no one can win a crowd like Ryan… except maybe Philippe Candeloro.
  • He’s 3 time collegiate champion.  The rest of them don’t bother with the school thing.
  • He’s dangerous… only needed a few more points that he lost in the short program to get on the Olympic team.  After the excellent Free… I was so torn about cheering for Johnny Weir.  Can’t we have four spots?
  • All that’s next… alternate on the Olympic team, exhibitions, pro shows, tours.  Can’t wait.

In five notes

August 12, 2009

I’m watching Top Chef Masters live because there is nothing on TV tonight.  That means commercials, a rarity for me.  The commercial for BandSlam came on.  All of the sudden I thought “I know that song”… from the lyrics “I’ll be your prince, I’ll be your saint…”  I think I could win a name that tune contest, as long as there were only Jason Robert Brown songs. The song is from his solo CD, not a musical so that takes an extra geek-hood. It reminds me of the “Food Network Throws Your Wedding” episode that was won by sublime Broadway star Aaron Lazar and his fashion model fiance. At the rehearsal dinner he sang “Shiksa Godess” from The Last Five Years to her.  And I think that I was in my dorm room saying,”I know that, I know that!”  But nobody was there.  And few people would care.  Except my Tallahassee theatre friends, who have been known to pull out JRB songbooks and have impromptu karaoke around the piano during rehearsal downtime.  Oh I found my people.

I don’t like ‘night Mother because it’s long and capital D depressing. And for me it put the proof to that fact that I was never going to be a genuine good actress, performer sure, but not an actress.  So besides the ideal circumstances of the venue, the scale, and my job, I got over my dislike for the show because unless you are a high school teacher, directors don’t get to pick their shows.  So that’s that.  You have to take the opportunities that come. If you wait around for the board to pick just the right thing you may be waiting forever.

Another proposal

June 19, 2009

I think that I’m a glutton for punishment, because I put in an application to direct at TLT again this year. I really didn’t do much on the getting experience front because, you know I was feeling that generous to them, and they never followed through on, well, anything. And I’m here to report that that trend has not come to an end. I requested access to the scripts for the season and somehow they were all gone, so then I was going to have them emailed to me. Well today, one month after proposals were due, I still haven’t any scripts besides the one that I decided to go and get from the library myself.

Enough whining.

So I decided to do a proposal for (shhhh don’t tell the committee) one of my least favorite shows, ‘night Mother. But the confluence of circumstances made this show one that I was actually likely to get a shot at. First it’s being produced in the “Coffee House” i.e. lobby. That means smaller scale and smaller budget. The show itself has very few technical elements, a unit set, a semi-modern setting and a cast of two. I think that means that they will be less nervous to have a novice at the helm. And besides that I have performed in a scene from the show, and I work in mental health. So that seemed to work because I had an interview on Wednesday, one step further than last year when I just got a no thank you call. The interview went well, I felt very prepared. And it was pretty fun to just talk about my plans, my understanding of the show, the challenges that I saw. I was little surprised that they didn’t ask me more esoteric questions, like “how do you view your role as a director”, or my favorite from district talk backs for student directed scenes, when two years in a row I got asked “what were you going for in this scene?” Instead they talked specifics of my draft scenic design and what I would look for in auditions, and how I would get a stage manager, mainly very practical things. At the end they asked if there was anything else that I’d like to share. I’m still a bit conflicted about if this was the right thing to say, and I felt nervous and looked at the ground a bit too much I think. But I told them that I hoped that my lack of experience would not be the final deciding factor, I of course elaborated a bit about how I was prepared and I think that this was the right next step. I just hope I didn’t come off desperate. I took up my whole 30 minutes allotted, and hey I would pick me. We’ll see, I’m supposed to be getting an email any day now.

I Tivoed the Tonys and watched them live at a house party with a bunch of my community theatre friends.  This was definitely the right thing to do, I laughed so much.  And I got to completely geek out on my useless theatre trivia. Who else would appreciate it? 

Highlights:

  1. Is that Bret Micheals on the Tony Awards? Then him getting taken out by the flys.
  2. The best supporting actor in a play bringing his wife on stage with him and her almost  falling out of her dress.
  3. Frank Langella is seriously bitter.
  4. Alice Ripley’s dramatic reading of the Kennedy Center sign.
  5. The Billy Elliot performance that was about the only time when the room got quiet.
  6. Counting the number of crew that got caught in a shot, and the number of people who will be loosing there jobs due to the horrendous sound issues.
  7. Picking your favorite Frankie Vallie.
  8. The three Billy’s acceptance speech. So cute.
  9. The guy standing behind the producer accepting for Hair, who’s every thought came flying across his face.
  10. And finally… best moment of the show had to be Neil’s 11:03 number. Brilliant.

April 24- May 3 Sound of Music

The rest of the run of the show went off with relatively little incident. Thankfully. Things got in a grove and were able to anticipate the problems that would come up. One of our Gretls had the urge to wave at her friends in the crowd, one Kurt decided he needed to ham it up and would add different line readings, longer exasperated sighs, and bigger facial expressions every time he was on stage, and the other Kurt would get a wild hair and do things like kicking the Nazis and grabbing people’s hats. Oh, kids.

The only other thing of note was the night when the computer running the light board froze. That cause the lighting for one scene to stay up through the scene change that was supposed to be in black out, and caused a black out in the middle of another scene. Our Marta was already doing a potty dance, so when that happened I told her she could go to take care of it, and she almost missed her entrance when the lights came up again, three minutes later. And for our last weekend I had to donate my black socks to the cause, when “wild hair” Kurt lost his. He offered to give them back to me, but I said no thanks.

Nights, we’d go out with the grownups, and talk about the kid’s antics and the crushes our middle school nuns had on the college boys. I love theatre because it takes all kinds.

The day we closed was strike, of course. I think that I had the most fun tearing down the mountains, and the least fun making the sixth and final pass through the boy’s dressing room. I think 15 people took a pass at it and it was still a wreck when we were closing up to go to the cast party.

Our stage manager (loosely termed…nice guy, little short on the organization and leadership skills) hosted the cast party, which was a stand up thing to do, but made him miss strike, a primary stage manager duty. I gave all my kids a few others “cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels, door bells and sleigh bells” for a little present (a paintable plaster pony, an apple with a strudel recipe and a jingle bell.) We took advantage of our double casting and had a red verses blue field day. I abstained (how could I choose?) and instead got to hold Jessica’s (our Maria) baby during the events. Tommy was 10 weeks old at auditions… that is one brave woman. He’s such a button and only wanted to be held against your shoulder for maximum shirt drooling and earring pulling.

BabyTommy

Read Part 2: Confirmation Sunday

Smelly

May 1, 2009

wisteriaI spend a good amount of time on red cast days in the boys dressing room helping one of our Kurts with his costume changes.  Boy stink, ew.  But my street smells like wisteria tonight so that kind of makes up for it.

So I am going back to Quincy tonight for the last weekend of “The Sound of Music.” And all I have to say is that I hope that this weekend goes better than last weekend. Last Friday night was horrific enough for an entire run, thank you very much. Let me just share. There is a stair unit and a balcony unit that we use in the living room scenes. They were ready to go pretty soon in the process so that we could use them for rehearsal. The escape stairs to get down the other side was not added until a few weeks before the run. The issue is that the theater has very little wing space, so the escape stairs have to have a couple steps down then a landing and then a 90 degree turn. So when you are coming off that 10 foot unit you have two steps down and then a seven foot drop off. I did not let the kids use the escape steps until a rail was put up there. The other issue is that those first steps are not as wide as the unit so there are gaps were you can step off and not hit steps but go all the way down to the landing.

So on the first dress rehearsal and the first night we did not use work lights (meaning it was dark back stage) we finally got the rail up so that the kids could use the escape steps like they had to. And I made it a point to be over there to supervise the stairs whenever the kids needed to be using them.

But last Friday was when it happened, during the last time the escape stairs were used all the kids come down in a line carrying boxes and we have the whole crew over there to collect boxes and hold hands. That night there was a little too much pushing and shoving and Tiffany, one of our seven year olds stepped off into the space with no steps on the down stage side of the unit. She fell into the curtain and the down to the stage, that whole seven feet.

Jessie the assistant director (haha, what does that mean?) was a step or two closer to her when we watched it happen. She tumbled down the curtain and landed on her bottom on the cardboard box that she was holding. Jessie stepped right in swung open the curtain and scooped her up. She teared up right away but didn’t cry out in pain. We were met in the dressing room by the director and her husband who had saw (and heard the whole thing from where they were watching in the house, and then Tiffany’s mom (she is playing Frau Schrader) who got run down by the director and her husband as she was removing her mic pack in the work room.

By some miracle Tiffany was fine besides being a little sore and bruised from the corner of the cardboard box. She even made it back for her next scene. And we got rails around all sides of the escape steps the next day.