Thursday, May 6, 2010

Awash in May

Today is Thursday, May 6. 2010. I have a show tonight. Right? Doesn’t really feel like this is happening again, but it is. I think it’s because May has hit, and I have Spring Fever. First of all, as a teacher, the end of the school year is so close and I am just panting, prying for it to get here. Second, as all lovers of the stage tend to do, I am now in show overlap mode. This is when I’m rehearsing one show while performing another. In fact, if you look at my calendar, I have 17 days in a row where I am either have a rehearsal or a performance every day! (FYI, I will be performing in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with KTK Productions the first two weekends in June). And, I think it’s worth throwing in there that the weather is gorgeous! It makes me just want to sit outside and forget about everything :)

So, how does this affect my role in The Wild Party?? It means I need to work a little harder at retaining the songs, the dances, and the track of the character. I usually pride myself for having a keen memory. But it would be foolish for me to hop onstage tonight and expect my muscle memory to relive every moment of this intricate show. So over the past few days, even when I haven’t been excited to do so, I’ve had to sit down at the piano to plunk out a few of the more difficult vocal lines, or walked through some of the dance numbers in my living room. Tonight, I’m going to get to the theatre early to run some things for myself (particularly Jackie’s Last Dance). I like doing this any given show day because I can usually have about 10 minutes alone on the stage, and I find it is a very meditative and calming way to connect to the space and get mentally prepared while I stretch and practice.

I am excited though that I have more and more people planning to come see the show. I may not feel it now, but once I hit the stage door I know that all of the energy will start building up while I prepare to share this experience with others. I am truly looking forward to another fantastic weekend with a fabulous and talented cast, crew, and band!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Amazing Opening Weekend

The opening weekend of The Wild Party was fantastic! I was thrilled with the whole experience. Every audience seemed to like it more, and we really started solidifying a truly unique and great product. It’s interesting that I didn’t feel a truly significant change transitioning from dress rehearsals in front of empty seat to performing for a crowd. The only thing that threw me was the parts of the show when we literally look at the audience. There is a piece of me that always is aware that I’m being watched, and I have to kick my acting chops into gear and push that feeling away.

I’m really glad that Thursday was technically a preview. Nothing went significantly wrong with the particular performance, and it was great to ease our ways in. Besides some extremely rude audience members who talked and texted the entire show from the front row, everything felt great. It’s always so thrilling to put all the final pieces together and see what happens, and it’s even greater to have the final product be something to be proud of.

Friday’s show was really interesting. The major event for me was a slight miscalculation in a piece of choreography that resulted in an injury. In a particular scene Emily and I share an… intimate… moment where I am on top of her with her legs in the air. However, in one thrust towards her I did not move her leg far enough and I ended up ramming my head into her stiletto heel. It hurt like hell!! But, as a professional, I just continued the dance number as choreographed. Towards the end of the number when the cast moves right near the audience, I then saw some very odd looks from audience members staring directly at me. All I could think was “great, they all saw me bash my head and think I’m an idiot…” I tried to feel after the number if I was bleeding, but couldn’t feel anything.

Well, turns out after the act that I have a pretty significant amount of blood that has pooled on my forehead for the last 20 minutes or so! It was a small cut, but it sure did bleed. At first I was freaked because I thought it was worse than it was. But after washing it I felt better. Then I realized… No one in the cast even tried to tell me onstage that I was bleeding! Really, guys? No “hey, by the way, FYI?” I could have left the stage early to take care of it, but I had no idea. But, in hindsight, it’s actually kinda funny. I thought back through those minutes and remembered a point when Margeau held my hand through Eddie and Mae’s number. At the time I was thinking “How sweet! Maybe our characters are that close, what a nice choice Margeau.” Turns out the Margeau had seen the blood and didn’t know what to do… so instead her motherly instincts kicked in and she just held my hand! :) How sweet is that?!?

Anyways, the show overall was really great, Cheesecake Factory with the cast afterwards was a ball, no complaints there.

Saturday I was excited to have my first friend come see the show. At the last minute though, I asked him who his guest was going to be. He then told me he was bringing his younger brother who has Down Syndrome. His reasoning: He may not understand the adult content, but he will just enjoy being able to see a musical. I realized this was probably a bad misconception… yeah, if you envision a musical having pretty music and costumes with colorful dance numbers and happy faces. But I also have a sister with Down Syndrome, and I knew that the level of violence, yelling, and profanity that litters the show (not to mention the sexual content!) had a very good chance of upsetting him. My friend is still going to come see the show this coming weekend, but I’m glad he chose not to bring his brother.

At this point I panicked… someone had to see this show! I had to hear from a friend what they thought! I started texting lots of people to see who could come at the last minute, and finally another good friend agreed to come. I bought him a ticket, he really enjoyed the show, and we were able to catch up afterwards. Phew, I was glad to get that out of the way.

Now I haven’t been to the theatre in three days. Not gonna lie, I’m really enjoying the time off to catch up on important things like my TV shows and web surfing ;). But I really love doing this show, and cant’ wait to do it again tomorrow. I have a lot of friends coming this week, and I am looking forward to sharing my love of musical theatre with them through this vehicle. It looks to be another exciting weekend.

I will be sure to report on this coming weekend soon. Come out to see The Wild Party!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A-Game: Bringin' It Tonight!

The show opens tonight and I am PUMPED! The energy through this week has been phenomenal. For a lot of shows I’ve done, hell week can be just that… Hell. I end up feeling like things are boring, or that we are just working hard for the sake of working. But every night this week things have grown for us. Literally, pieces of the set and lighting have been added. But more exciting has been the unmistakable energy of the cast as we keep adding and forming this story and this group of characters. It might sound odd, but each night this week I felt like this show was closing in around me. The mood kept getting darker, the story thicker, and the lighting more emotional. And what’s fantastic about this show is that even though there are four main characters, it doesn’t work without the entire ensemble. The cast is very talented though, we are all blending together really well, so when all of this commitment melds together there are some really exciting moments onstage. Of course, there have been the few off moments, when we are off the beat musically or someone yells a line ridiculously too early :)

Tonight is certainly going to be exciting. It will be really interesting to incorporate an audience into our story and into this world. Not literally, but there is going to be a whole new element to this intimate theatre. I am curious to hear and feel the reactions as we share this wonderful piece of theatre.

See you there!!


Monday, April 19, 2010

All Coming Together


Ah, I haven’t been keeping up well with this, but I am excited that we are in the FINAL WEEK! I am just going to summarize some of the recent highlights in recent Wild Party-ing :)

-The band sounds great! We had sitzprobe yesterday, and it’s going to be an exciting musical experience for sure!

-Our cue-to-cue was LONG… I mean, that’s normal to take a long time to set the lights, but it led to some interesting cast bonding, including read-alouds of sex tips from a former porn star, and games of Scrabble on various cell phones.

-Cast Bonding! We had a benefit party last weekend, and it led to some really great time to hang out with the cast outside of the rehearsal process. Three cheers for a lovely host!

-I had to get a haircut… after months of growing out a shaggy head of hair, I shortened it up in order to achieve the slicked-back gentlemen’s style of the 1920’s. It was a little sad that day, but the new look is growing on me ;)

-I lit my hair on fire. I won’t go into details about how that happened, but bottom line, long hair in your face is more likely to catch a flame. Good thing I was getting it cut the next day!

-The set is coming along slowly… There are some really angular windows and furniture pieces that I know will give a really cool look to the stage. Just one of the many things that I am looking forward to this week! (that is, seeing it all come together)

-I am TIRED! I of course have other obligations beyond this show, and let me say that there are many days I am finding it difficult to have a lot of energy to teach my students. This doesn’t mean I’m going to just watch movies in class! (I am NOT that kind of teacher). But I may be taking a day off this week. Looking forward to it!

-Overall, the show is in such good shape. We are all having fun with the material, every time we run through it there is a new energy and new discoveries that are made. As I’ve said before, this is just such a fun musical, I am really excited for the people coming to see it!

Now for the fun part… dress rehearsals!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

AC Woes

We moved into the theatre now… This experience has just stepped up a big notch! My only woe is the heat: the AC in the theatre is being fixed right now, so rehearsals have been HOT! I leave so sweaty… but I guess that means we’re all working hard.

Rehearsals have also been hot in another way ;) It is so nice to be in the actual space, because the intimacy of the theatre I feel has really brought the show together. I mean, it is a party, so it’s nice to be in a darker, messier area that feels more like a place I would actually be doing all these crazy things (not the St. Mark’s Fellowship Hall feel). And now that we are doing runs of the show, my favorite thing is playing with my personal arc in the show. [Maybe in need to do some more research?? Who’s having a party!?]

We are all just supposed to be having fun at a party for most of the show. I would not call myself a method actor (because I do NOT like labeling people) but it is pretty fun to play with some different levels of drunk/high that I may (or may not :/) have experienced… my current arc starts with low-key first buzz phase, then I move into smoking and enter a more chill/relaxed high phase, pick up the drinking and enter a more excited/electrified phase, then into a needy/center-of-attention phase. The 2nd act I start my hornier drunk phase, where I really start wanting to touch and kiss people… but as the drinking continues I go through a tired/trying-to-stay-awake phase and finally end up really sloppy/gross/clearly-no-one-wants-to-deal-with-me-so-keep-drinking-more phase. Of course, then I have a huge hangover to deal with at the end of the show… and at that point all I can do is BALLET!! haha So yeah, fun things to play with, and who knows how this might change as we continue rehearsing.

One other fun point of rehearsing the last few nights has been our discussion of a particular scene near the end of the show… we lovingly call the orgy scene. This has been a difficult scene for the ensemble as we are supposed to provide a background and atmosphere for another intimate scene, but have had trouble coming up with a group idea of what this should look like and feel like. It’s kinda hilarious the descriptive words that come across as we explore our thoughts: “make it more demonic” “imagine you’re in a Fosse number” “Can we touch each other?” “Am I supposed to enjoy this?” “Make a clump of people. More long than round” “The hands are good, but they need to be touching breasts and crotches more” … and so on and so forth. It’s getting much better (at least it feels better  ) but I know we will continue to explore.

I can certainly say that I am really looking forward to playing with the show in the next weeks. There is so much room for creativity and character development, and it’s just a real joy to have a cast that’s willing to play with me every night. This is the kind of show that I know I’d enjoy watching multiple times, because everything going on is going to have so much depth, you’ll want to watch it all!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost there...

It’s surprising that we are so close to being finished blocking this show. We breezed so quickly through the two acts that it almost doesn’t seem like it happened at all. But, on the brighter side, that means that we have a lot of time to play around with the show. I mean, the title is The Wild Party. And most of the show is just that, a party! Parties are spontaneous, unexpected, and mysterious at times. It’s going to be hard to solidify into one definative track what is going to happen at this particular ‘wild party.’ As we start running the show for these next few weeks, I’m really looking forward to the chance to just have fun with everyone else in the cast, see what works, and generally be creative. What a great vehicle!

Not gonna lie, I don’t exactly feel comfortable with where things are with the show. I feel like I don’t really know what’s going on, and a lot of it is still really unsure to me. I’m trying to stay positive knowing that this is the time in the rehearsal process where that is what everyone is kinda thinking, and I just need to have faith in the cast and crew that all will come together. I will just make sure that I rock at what I do know, and depend on everyone else to do the same.

I’m also pleased to be a little bit healthier this week, and so it makes it much easier to focus on what I need to. Pesky vacation cold wouldn’t shake, but I’ll kick to the curb soon.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Artificiality is Not Recommended

Phew, it’s been a while since an update. This past week has been whirlwind for me. After three nights of rehearsal in a row, I was whisked off to New York City for a short vacation. I had an amazing time! I was particularly inspired by the shows that I was able to see. Next to Normal was my favorite by far. I hope to use this inspiration in my preparation for The Wild Party. I was particularly enthralled by the fact that the actors in the show were such amazing characters, both individually and in relation to each other. Nothing seemed artificial in the world that was created by the abstract set, and this is what kept me glued to the edge of my seat while watching.

With this inspiration, I am now going to have to work extra hard to keep up with rehearsals. I missed one rehearsal, and due to scheduling the cast isn’t really getting to rehearse again for a number of days. This means that I find myself humming the tunes in the car, doing a few of the dance steps as I wait in line at the grocery, and find myself anxiously reviewing my script to see what I do while other scenes are taking place. I mean, this is typical rehearsal life; I’m just in the thick of it.

I’ve found myself making up funny little rhymes and image sequences to remember phrases and steps. I imagine a fox, an anchovy, a glued-on bikini top, and a full stomach as I remember the lyrics “lightly, quickly, slightly sickly, pasty, tasty…” I think it’s funny sometimes, and it keeps things interesting among the long lines of text in the lyrics.

I’m really excited for tonight’s rehearsal, when I will be learning Jackie’s Last Dance, which will be my few minutes in the spotlight for this show. I am curious to see how Robin choreographs it, and hope that it will really culminate some of my thoughts about my character.

P.S. We open a month from tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Archive: Main Points for Today

Music rehearsals: Complete.

Music learned: Prefer not to comment.

Blocking rehearsals: Starting this week.

Dance rehearsals: *whimper*

Choreographer: Awesome.

Her choreography: Demanding and fun.

My body: Screaming at me, even two days later.

Tonight: Read through of the show.

Currently: Pretty impressed.

Highs: Getting to know the cast.

Lows: Overwhelming amount to learn and remember.

Recommendation: Come see this show! (and don’t stay out too late on Saturday night when you have rehearsal Sunday)

From: Aaron

A.K.A.: Jackie

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Andrew? Really?

Alright, so up to this point I have raved about how fun the music in this show is. I have to be honest now though, it’s still fun but it’s getting to be overwhelming. I've reached a threshold where the craziness is starting to get to me. No, it’s not impossible, but really Andrew Lippa? Really? Is that triplet necessary? Do we have to jump an octave and a half? Why does this eighth note have to have a seven part harmony when the rest of the line is in unison?

I think Emily summed it up for me when she made the comment Tuesday night: “Sometimes I just want to punch him in his Lippa.” :)

The good news is that tonight is our last music rehearsal, and then we start blocking. So I know all this work will be worth it once we get into the meat of putting together the production.

“a-rib-rab on the flim-flam”


Monday, March 1, 2010


Sunday was our first choreography / pseudo-blocking of the show. First number, and we’re already getting involved in some… suggestively interpretive activity… to put it lightly ;)

Word of advice (more for myself than for you, but in case you need it)…

Even sarcastically over-animated sex acts should always utilize good posture.

(Such wisdom, eh? You should go print yourself a plaque to hang in your kitchen along with the “Home is Where the Heart is” needlepoint your great-grandma made you)

If I had followed this shrewd suggestion, my back might not be KILLING me today! I know it was the repeated thrusting and grinding and other shenanigans that I took part in yesterday. (Not including the rehearsal… haha JK!!) But at least I was able to get a good night sleep; that helped a little with the stiffness this morning.

At any rate, the number from yesterday is going to be a lot of fun to perform. Once I get down the steps, it will be a lot of fun to layer in some character to the steps. I know the audience will love watching, because the cast is full of great characters (both from the script and in real life )

Music rehearsals continue this week… looking forward to it…


Friday, February 26, 2010


Anyone ever find it awkward when you can't get a line from a show out of your head? Particularly when it's not the most appropriate thing to be singing out loud?

Case in point: "Murder, Rape, and Suicide, Su-i-cide..." "She liked her lovers violent, she liked her lovers vicious...."


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A New Routine???

Every time I start working on a new show, my schedule changes. I’m a creature of habit, it sometimes takes me a bit to adjust to a new pattern of behaviors. So far though, I am seeing that this show is going to fit almost perfectly into my routine. First of all, rehearsals are 5-10 minutes away… a huge relief after my last show when I would drive nearly an hour to rehearsal and an hour back.

The music of this show is extremely catchy. I find myself humming the melodies constantly these days, even little background riffs that we have learned in rehearsals. I can’t imagine someone seeing this show for the first time and realizing just how densely beautiful the score is. I feel privileged to get an inside peek into what makes this music so great.

Oh, and P.S. the first dance rehearsal was great, I can’t wait to get some choreography together. With such fun music, the choreography is definitely doing to be awesome 


Friday, February 19, 2010


A drafty fellowship hall at St. Mark’s. 16 actors, various crew coming and going. The first rehearsal is underway. I’m one of the new people to New Line. I am scanning the room learning about this group of people who I will be working with in the next few months. Some are outgoing, some are seriously perusing the scripts. Others seem to be analyzing the room as I am. My first impressions are strong. An air of excitement, anticipation, perhaps a tinge of uncertainty. I begin to quickly feel comfortable. We move to the piano. OMG, this score is so much fun! I am enthralled by the jazzy chords, syncopation, absurd intervals, tight harmonies. I am likewise impressed with the cast, relieved by their talents as we begin to unravel this challenging music. The creative side of my brain is sweating (in a good way). It’s only begun, I predict much more challenge and enjoyment as we continue to tear up this score.

Currently: full of anticipation


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And the experience begins...

I was ecstatic when I heard that New Line Theatre was looking for an actor to fill the role of Jackie in The Wild Party. Teaching in an inner-city high school is so rewarding, but the ups and downs of daily work can be tough on the spirit. I find the best therapy is a little musical theatre! After spending my first semester of the school year directing a production of Godspell Jr. at my school, I was looking for my performing fix for this current semester. And I don’t think I could ask for a better production to work on!

I expect The Wild Party to be a fantastic challenge to work on over the next few months. I’m excited to explore the music, the dance, and the story. And I am of course dying to meet the ensemble that is going to be experiencing this all with me... Thursday is the day! I look forward to sharing the joys, the struggles, and the experience!