Stay tuned

April 27, 2009

Oh my poor neglected blog! I have so much to tell you. Two shows in a row is a bit much.

Hair pin on steriods

February 3, 2009

scunci3These are the coolest things ever. I ran to Walgreens yesterday to pick up some bandaids for my chronic blisters, which are only made worse by stupid character shoes. (Too much information?) I thought I’d pick up some more bobby pins while I was there. You can never have enough when you are in a show. And these were on the shelf right there too. It said they were for “excessive amounts of hair.” Well if there was ever anything to describe my hair that’d be it. So I picked up a pack, but I was still a little skeptical. Many clips have come against my hair and failed. But I was wrong. These things really are like magic. I got all of my hair up in a reasonably 1913 style, and secure at that, using only nine pins. Plus they are brown plastic so they will blend in nicely on stage. Score one for me in the battle of the hair.

Enjoy the Parade

January 23, 2009

This is the show that I’m in now, the original Broadway cast, that is.  We finally got to hear this song with our cast last night.  i personally think that this is one of the best musical theatre songs ever written. Beautiful.

I was telling AJ, our Leo, how I remember seeing this on the Rosie ODonnell Show and falling in love with it.  He said,  “Oh I go watch it on YouTube all the time. ” So I thought I’d spread the wealth. 

A little too eventful

January 22, 2009

I have to admit that I have just not been all that motivated to write lately… hum that sounds familiar. But I thought I put down a few things about my eventful weekend. I went down to visit my sister in Jupiter for a rare free weekend, and a long one at that. My car continues to act up, and finally the cooling system gave up the ghost about 20 miles outside of Tallahassee. I had to get a tow in to my mechanic, but luckily it was able to be fixed the next day while I was at work. I also had some lovely over draft charges thanks to not balancing my checking account before I left town. Duoh. And ouch…though they have only charged me 6 times even though it shows I had 8 charges. I won’t tell if you won’t.

What else… Tuesday was the first blocking rehearsal that I made it to (on Monday I was stranded on the interstate.) Eric , our director, is a little dictatorial for my taste, but I knew that going in. My favorite is the eye rolls when actors get some blocking that they don’t think makes sense. I guess that when you are doing a full length musical with ten ensemble songs in two months kind of eliminates all the time for creative freedom. Tuesday was also our dance rehearsal, which was an interesting beast because we don’t have a choreographer. We have 3 songs to dance to, the first is a turkey trot that involves walking and kicking like a turkey while in dance hold… nice. The second is a two step that we have been told to just dance to, in social dance fashion. We’ll see how that goes, the people dancing in the scene are not really the usual dance ensemble type (and I certainly include myself in saying that.)

The music in this show is also a killer and they have me singing first alto, because I choose quite a low song for my audition piece in hopes of getting the Mrs. Phagan role (even though I’m way too young with much too high a speaking voice.) I didn’t get that role just a spot in the alto section. But the crazy thing is that singing alto seems to bere little correlation to the range of notes I have to sing. I just get to sing super hard harmonies. Thanks Jason Robert Brown.

What else… I volunteered to right the first draft of a “Tenants’ Bill of Rights” for TEAM. Fun stuff, and I’m going to go to the Creative Worship Committee meeting so that I can better recruit members for it, and also work on some issues we are having with the contempary worship service. Shake things up.

So that’s what I’ve been up. Busy in a mostly good way.

Erin is a Broadway nerd

January 13, 2009

[clearspring_widget title=”Saturday Night Live – Save Broadway” wid=”4727a250e66f9723″ pid=”496d027bdf5d4128″ width=”384″ height=”283″ domain=””]

You get a golden star and certification as a fellow nerd if you get the joke about Jeremy Piven.  If you are not a Broadway nerd all will be revealed in the comments. NPH rocks my socks.

Last Night’s RENT

September 26, 2008

I was in middle school in 1996 when RENT opened on Broadway. I was singing with the children’s chorus at the time and the high school group did this whole Broadway medley that included “Seasons of Love.” Which I of course thought was awesome.  But by the time I was in drama in high school the craze and phenomenon was over.  It was just another show that was on and we were more excited about the new shows like Jekyll and Hyde and Ragtime and Titanic.  When I was in college the tour came by Tampa and a bunch of the theatre folks went in a group together, but I missed out on that.  So the first time I saw the songs in context was the 2005 movie.  Then the tour came to Tallahassee about a year and a half ago and my friend and I went see it.  It was in the civic center and we were defiantly in the cheap seats.  We were farrrrrrr from that stage.  I am such a Broadway fan when I heard about the showing of the final Broadway cast and performance was a opportunity I could not miss.  It’s such a rare thing to have access to a recording of a Broadway show.

So what did I think of “the Rent movie that doesn’t suck” as one blogger says.  First this is something that producers defiantly need to do again.  I hope they made enough money to justify it.  Tallahassee was a little sparsely attended.  The performances of course are sublime and sounding so much like the original cast by the way.  The crowd noise was fun too as they cheered all the actor’s entrances and most of the songs.  And getting to see the production at the Nerderlander, that’s priceless.  But I hope that they’ll learn from some of the mistakes.

Almost from the beginning it was clear that the camera was right there on the stage because of the extreme close-ups and I later found that this was actually a composite of footage from an earlier performance with the closing night footage.  Well I don’t feel so bad for the live audience, but I then felt a little duped.  I found the camera work frantic at times and the editing to be suspect.  Even in duets the camera would flip back and forth between the actors.  There were these odd close-ups of Rodger and Mimi’s backsides during “Light my Candle.”  I think the one song that I appreciated the in-your-face-ness was “One Song Glory,” a monologue song in spotlight.  But even that was unfortunate for Will Chase the actor playing Roger who is 38 years old.  Not that he’s bad looking he’s just obviously older than his cast mates and is playing a 23 year old(ish) character.  And “Contact” looks like a music video with all of the cuts.

At the end of the show many of the original cast members came on stage for an encore of “Seasons of Love” minus Adam Pascal, Idina Mendzel and Taye Diggs.  Too bad, but we can see Taye on Private Practice every week and Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp will be touring with the show in 2009.  Another thing that I appreciated was the great! sound quality.  It really showed me how much the civic center eats the mix.  You have to turn the sound so high that you miss the subtle things, especially in the songs with counterpoint.  I love actually being able to tell what everyone was saying all of the time.

Over all this reminded me why everyone loves RENT.  I think that lots of people can write a heart breaking song or two, but to have 10 couched in between recitative that actually sounds like words people might say, is emotionally deep, and has a lovely melody.  That takes a special author.  Jonathan Larson was a genius.  Granted there are moments that don’t feel period enough yet to not be a bit clique, but I think that will fade with time.  Man, I got out of the theatre thinking how much I’d like to direct it.  Now I’ll be able to.

It’s not too late to see it; the last showings are Saturday and Sunday at noon.

Here’s to RENT, we were the lucky ones!

I went to see Rent tonight.  How about a review tomorrow?  I was going to do on tonight but it’s a bit late. Stay tuned it’s going to be good.

Rent on Broadway closes today

September 7, 2008

And it’s being recorded to be shown in movie theaters nation wide. It been a good run… and if any show deserved it. Cheers.

Theatre Drama

September 4, 2008

Today was the opening night of The Fantasticks, the show that I applied to direct. I went see it last night at the free preview. Now what to say about that? If I hadn’t been involved with it I’d probably say it was a great production. The cast was excellent. The girl who played Louisa is a go to belter (with a lovely voice) who I found surprisingly good with the operatic notes that she was required to sing. She was also really charming in a role that can easily be annoyingly fake. So all star cast to her. The rest of the show was populated by talents as well.

My problem was that the show was largely a rip off of the original production. I sent so much time thinking about how to make it inovative (particuarly the production design) that I found the choices (or anti-choices) to be pretty lazy. I’m struggling to come up with anything that was not found in the stage directions that didn’t deal with addressing the larger space and taking out the need for a trap door. I guess the only thing was the actors came through the audience about 4 times (not bad because it was used to represent a journey …most of the time. Other wise pretty verbatim from the script and the costuming as well was a copy of the NY production. That’s just boring to me. If it was me I’d want more of my touch on the piece. I doesn’t matter really to the audience who likely is not familiar with the original production, so its a good production that likely will not be criticized. But the committee who selected the directors picked her over me. My proposal was like 12 pages long describing my plan… but hers could be summed up as “I’ll do just what it says in the script.” Whatever. I don’t have enough experience.

I sent another terse email last week asking about how they were going to be providing me with experience that was promised. I wasn’t answered (surprise, surprise.) The ED came up to me and said “we were so busy with Guys and Dolls” (the show that’s been over for about a month) “and we’re still looking for a director for Crimes of the Heart “… blah blah blah, “I promise I’m not ignoring you” (right!)

I don’t know what to think really. They are happy to take my help to stuff envelopes and build set and house manage and run crew but they stone wall me on the things that I really want to do. I guess that’s why some people start their own theater companies. Three more weeks and then I think I’ll go to the board and see what they have to say. It makes me want to hit someone.

A tough assignment

August 31, 2008

I worked in the scene shop of the theater department for a while in college. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I learned so much. We worked on everything. Whatever was next on the check list got to be your job. And if you didn’t know how to do it, you got a lesson. We cut wood with all sorts of saws, be did tons of fastening and we worked on scenic painting. But the thing was you really only got one lesson and there wasn’t much forgiveness if you messed things up. You had to do things right because of the limited time and resources. And working with power tools can be really dangerous. One of the other professors, who was not our supervisor would come down about once a month and show us how he had cut the tip of his finger off on the table saw. Scary.

I got assigned building a hand rail for the escape steps of the back of a 10 foot set. Our professor Jim told me to use 1 by 4s and cut them down the middle (making 1 by 2s.) For some reason (I can’t really remember why, I guess I thought he was just making a suggestion rather than giving me strict direction) I used 2 by 4s instead. Well I got through ripping down some 12 foot stock when the table saw quick working. I had burned out the motor or something. Boy did I hear about that. Luckily whatever was wrong with the saw was fixable. And after we finished the other side with the one by fours it was a little flimsy and our professor said I might have been right after all.

I also got in trouble once for painting the stair risers too meticulously. I was trying to do a really neat job but I was told the you couldn’t even see the small slip-ups and drips from the audience. I was helping someone who accidentally used the circular saw to cut its own cord. There were lots of sparks.

But I also got some complements. I still remember them. When I leaving one day Jim said, “Erin, you’re getting to be quite a good carpenter.” And I got to be the official jigsaw specialist because I had some sort of natural gift for doing the precise cutting. I got to do a whole car cut out once by projecting a picture on it to trace the edges and then cutting it out. Jim told me that I was better at it than he was.

Jim was a pretty stern guy. And he excepted a lot from all of us. That’s what made the compliments that he gave all the more meaningful because they were hard to earn. And when he said something to you, you knew he really meant it.