Saturday, June 30, 2012

Catfish Row Pulling Me Through Friday

Porgy and Bess was quite wonderful. I cried and laughed through almost the entire two and a half hours. The cast is stellar. The voices just soar over what is some of my favorite music of all time. The energy and passion on the stage are worth seeing even without the excellent material. Plus, they are some really hot men with nice deep voices running around in overalls with no shirts. Even with Audra on vocal rest, there is still plenty to see and love in the show. Money better spent than most of what is running on Broadway. (Plus for me it was a little southern time. Hurricanes, drawls, picnics. Made me miss my family!) The music is obviously amazing. The choreo was really well done. I enjoyed their dance breaks more than the Newsies. There was a definite vocabulary and the dancing really came from within. There was a reason to it textually. Instead of doing switch leaps and flips to impress the tourists. And I wanted to join them during the picnic! Critics and artsy snobs alike have condemned the production for shortening and "dumbing down the opera. It was well done, plus you got an audience that you would never get into an opera house. You could never fully put all of Porgy and Bess onstage on todays Broadway. The rigours of a four hour opera are not possible to do 8 times a week (even with the mikes that no one in the cast needed). Plus, you couldn't manage two show days. By presenting Porgy and Bess this way, there were tourists from Wyoming who never set foot in an opera house getting to experience one of the greatest American works of art ever(I love Gershwin. Can you tell?). It was the theatrical equivalent of reading the abridged Les Miserable in high school. That inspired my roomie to read the full version. If I had been old enough, it would have inspired me to drink. Yuck. Porgy and Bess is much better!
The entire cast was phenomenal, but I ended up with a bit of a crush on Joshua Henry who plays Jake. He is amazing and gorgeous. Who wouldn't want to head down to Catfish row and see him? ;) The kids were difficult on Friday, which didn't help after my bus had been really late getting me home. The joys of construction. Traffic at weird times! After two hours, we had a verse and refrain set of Magic To Do (and you bet we will repeat that refrain) and all of Seize the Day. And we had exhausted all of our productivity. I went easy on the afternoon classes. They earned some game time!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newsies with My Newsies

We took the kids to see Newsies yesterday. They had a master class first with one of the Newsies. The kids are sweet, smart, and fairly left footed, so they did the choreo with enthusiasm. We're still working on accuracy and picking things up faster. Especially with my itties! Overall, I was underwhelmed by Newsies. It will run for a long while. It's family and tourist friendly. You always loose cinematic qualities from screen to stage, and it was a valiant but not entirely successful attempt to keep that sweeping feel. The three story high fire escapes that moved freely were a little wobbly and reminded me of West side Story. The love story they added wasn't quite necessary or as well written as the rest of the show (though the cast did give it their all). The cast made some great and very solid choices that helped to make up for the problems with the book. The choreo was so You Think You Can Dancey- which the kids loved- but it didn't quite do it for me. There was a very limited vocabulary of movement when there could have been so much more! The spoons tap break in King Of New York was by far my favorite bit of choreo. Plus it cleverly helped set up the deli beyond the few tables and chairs they threw onto the stage. All in all it wasn't my favorite show, but it was miles above Spiderman!plus, the kids are super excited to work on Seize the Day for their showcase. Which makes my job much easier! I've got my Porgy and Bess comp in my hands, and I'm off to the theatre. Even promo work has it's perks if work for the right company. :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Can Can Can!

Hurrah! I booked Can Can! So excited!!!!!! I left my phone at home, so I came home after camp and went to check my emails. Then I danced about the room excitedly. My first year out in the real world, and I'm finding my way. I booked four shows this year, did lots of event and extra work, got a sweet teaching job, and only went marginally crazy. I can get through my twenties and pay my bills. I just can't buy lots of shoes. Here's to jobs that don't feel like work! May they always find may and may they pay my bills! Totally funny. If I don't book a show between Can Can and Showboat, I will just have done three shows in a row with granny boots and petticoats. Maybe I should change my blog name. Have granny boots will travel?

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Jobs And Busy Days

Two first days in a row. Got a text last minute saying there was a sicky on the Chicago promo team. I took her shift. I now have my own pair of super sexy red tights (note sarcasm). It wasn't the most awful thing I've done. I took lots of pictures with tourists, first name out of my mouth when someone asked my name was "Venezuala" (which isn't a even a name). I got complimented on rocking my ivory white skin. (Like that is a decision I get to make. I thought I was born with it!) Plus I heard some really bad pick up lines. All in all, it was much better than being a strolling human table (why rich people want a girl in the middle of their desert table, I do not know.) and it paid better. If I keep to shorter shifts (some of the girls will work 9 hour shifts. 7 hours was on the too much side) and avoid dehydration, I can stomach it enough to make my income much more comfortable. Reality of this photo: I'm bored and entertaining myself. On the other page, had my first day of camp today (much easier). It was surreal how small my classes were. I had to scale down my little combo (Life's A Happy Song). We got through the half tempo grapevine and trucked it a little. Didn't make it through to three step turns. I will save those for after their audition. It's amazing how difficult they are at first. But they'll pick it up and get super excited. Freeze dance is still popular up North. I don't mind. It makes my life easier. I just have to give them a way to dance and pause and play the CD player. They're happy. I'm happy. Stretching is not at that point yet, but we will get there. Time heals everything. April August. (Mack And Mabel. Check the show out if you don't know it. It rocks!) I had dinner with my dad tonight. He had a Newark overnight. He always buys me a good meal and a beer (and quite often a bottle of Scotch) and brings me coffee beans and chocolate. True love! (If you add shoes) Busy chica needs to head bed to start all over again tom. Ciao!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Turning Down A Show :(

I got an offer yesterday for Guys and Dolls. It's with a choreographer I want to work with and a theatre I would love to work for, but now isn't the time. The pay is not great, it's last minute notice as far as finding a subletter goes, and I just signed a contract somewhere else. I'm sure the JCC would make it work, if I chose to run off, but I would have a problem with my own conscience. Good old Catholic guilt! Right now I'm finally at a place where I have the jobs to stay afloat in the city, but I'm fresh hire at all of them. And I let my bank account get way too low. I want to get some work under my belt and money back in my account before I take another low paying gig. It sucks and it felt really weird. I turned down the contract. After I sent out my no thanks email, I was totally down. I know it's not my last chance. I have another contract in Dec that's amazing. There is still this fear of not having another show. I've been getting great feedback post My Fair Lady. Lots of callbacks. I should have been able to sleep last night! With Monday and the start of lots of work, I should be less neurotic. Hopefully Can Can will offer me a contract. Even if they don't I know that I booked three shows and quite a few gigs in my first year in New York. Not too shabby! I can do this and I can survive in between contracts.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Irving Berlin, 93 Degrees Is Not A Tropical Heat Wave

We are currently having one hell of heat wave. Hell is not firey, it is instead New York City when it's one hundred degrees outside. Hot and nastey! The stink and the dirt seems to magnify and the subway is beyond unpleasant. Which makes me glad I live out in the burbs. And work somewhere with air conditioning. I've been in and out of planning meetings and juggling my jobs. Which is great fun. At least they feed me at work ll the time. In summers past, I have lived off tuna fish and apples when I taught at camps. Now it will be whatever they supply, or I can just bring in tuna fish and apples. I got a beautiful big bag of apples at the farer's market in Union Square the other day. Nothing says New York like carrying cheap and taste fruit in a canvas bag. Especialy if it is a Book of Mormon bag. :-) Jack Cole, Irving Berlin, and Miss Monroe's wonderfully silly idea of a heat wave. She almost plus the hat off. If it will drop the temp to 93, I will gladly put this in my book! Auditions have been super sparse, whih helps me cover any qualms bout taking the gig camp. And noe one has heard anything about Guys and Dolls out at Cohoes. Methinks I made the right decision! Chilling out with Popsicles and South Pacific on the old tube. Debating the Laduca once a year sale on Sat. Will it be worth it? Dunno. We shall see!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Flurry Of Activity!

I'm quite sure I've written it five million times (which is of course a fabulous exageration), when it rains, it pours, hails, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. Which is oh so lovely! Interviews have been all over my schedule. Successful interviews with a temp agency,a summer camp,and a theatrical promotion company now mean I have an insane amount of jobs for a while. The summer camp is super close to my apartment. Just a short jaunt through the nearby nature reserve (my best drive to work ever!) at a nearby JCC. The staff is fabulous, the program great and small, right up my progressive alley, and we take the kids into NYC for a master class and Broadway show every Wed. I get to see theatre and get paid for it! Thirty kids who like theatre should make my job easy and wonderful. Maybe I can even sneak in some Scottish Highland dance via Brigadoon. Get out my kilts! Hahahahaha. I'm still in shock that they wanted me! Their last dance teacher had Broadway credits. Now they have me. Hurrah! I also have the temp agency and the promo crew. I am beyond employed. Which is amazing! Hopefully, Can Can will work out too. I'm on a winning streak. Why not? It's a show I would love to do and a director I have a super secret (no longer since I posted it on the web) adoration for. Such sweetness is absolutely amazing in the crazy world of theatre. It should be treasured. As should his V-necks. My celebratory bottle of wine is uncorked. My mom is coming for a visit soon. And I am a super happy and busy beaver. Figuring the world out one adventure at a time. One's twenties should be an adventure, and mine are proving to be so on a regular basis! Students of mine from Houston camps past. A dance fit for the divas they were. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Puss In Boots: Or How I Learned To Cat Can

Everything seems to come in spurts. My life was not spurting, and now it is exploding. I had an interview with a temping agency. It went will and they are willing to use me. Still talking with telemarketers. Interview with a day camp tom. And I had more callback fun today. I went in for Can Can today. Or as I like to think of Cat Can. (I was Puss in Boots. Hahahaha.) One of the most entertaining director/choreographers is working on it. He is the world's foremost expert on Cats (or so I like to think). He always sets the tour. He is the only reason I show up to the tour call. Cause I don't fit Cats. And don't really want to do Cats for that long (biggest reason for this: the unitards. Unitards are twiggy people's revenge.) I'm not a Jellicle and I won't. But he cracks me up an he's ridiculously nice, so I go. Today with Cat Can, there were several cattish moments in the choreo. He kept me to sing after we danced. Score. 8 bars went well. Then he had me do fouette turns and turns in second. Holy hell! Thank God for one of my favorite accompanists playing impromptu music to help make it less awkward (and for those times when Amy did Houston Ballet torture fouette training with us.) Muscles that were definitely out of practice. Fouettes from a pro! Mine don't look like that. At all. And granny boots are much more comfortable. Heels over pointe shoes any day! Somehow mine were good enough to keep me to read. Or a sang well enough to make up for it. Without a reader, they used the world's most awesome and entertaining accompanist in the flirty French scene. He was game! Got a "nice job today" and we were all done. Hopefully it can mean a job. That would be amazing. If it doesn't something will come. I've had too many callbacks of late. In honor of my friends on the West Side Tour "Who knows. Could be...." Fingers crossed and onward ho! Boots and butt ruffles! These are a few of my favorite things!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Visit, Callbacks, and Food: Apparently I Love Food. Which Is Probably Why I'm Not In Ballet.

My dad had a Newark overnight last night. So I picked him up, showed him my digs (which I had cleaned within an inch of their life that morning), and then we went out for dinner. I have not eaten so well in a long time. And he replenished my Scotch! My nice bottle of birthday Scotch is almost gone and I am feeling poor, so it was very appreciated. And I like to see my dad. I like my parents. They're fun. :) (And he reads this) He suggested that I start a second "fantasy" blog that would become more of a book. Take the audition nonsense and spin. He even said the words "romance novel." Smash the blog? Except for I would be funny on purpose (hopefully) and my fantasy casting skills would be way better. Kat Macphee or Uma Thurman as Marilyn? Really? But now the bee is in my bonnet. Do I stick with what I know? Do I make this shit absolutely outrageous? Would anyone actually read it? (I said that about this. I started this to avoid recapping nothing but auditions to my family. But since there is very little in life besides auditions, it is still inevitable! I went to a call today for a theatre that likes to hop in and out of the city. It was their third time here for Guys And Dolls and second time for Hello Dolly (I will do it somewhere!). I missed the first call cause I was in Florida. At the second, the choreographer was in Florida. He had been in the show in the smaller house at the Stage Door (He did some fierce tap dancing!). I went to the dance call and didn't get kept. Today, it was just a singer's call and then callbacks from their last trip in town. They had me come back and dance. Lo and behold, he was back. Smile, wave, recognition, and I got kept to the end. For once in my life, I was that girl who knew someone. Which is tacky. But boy it felt good. Plus, I killed the choreo with a big smile and one helluva shimmy! It was a great day with a big Panera break with a friend during lunch. I found some Ghiradelli coffee in my cabinet this morning. It is much better than crack. Domingo Ghiradelli is my favorite Italian man ever. Thank you for coming to America, and making my life beautiful with chocolate and coffee. "These are a few of my favorite things." Then, some tastey leftover snapper for dinner. (I like to put an e tastey instead tasty. It seems yummier to me, but spellcheck hates is. I am taking the liberty to spell tastey the way I want to. Just know that it means so much more than if you leave that e out. It means I savored. Over an e.) So even though it rained, and I didn't have an umbrella, today was a great today. And so was yesterday. Plus being rain soaked on the train home covered my usual sweat look. Though the sweat look was still there if you looked hard enough... :) The key to my heart. Chocolate and coffee.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Early Morning Nunsense

A theatre about half an hour away from is doing Nunsense. Pay is low, but there, and the EPA was at the theatre out in Jersey. So I figured why not. "There'll be early morning Nunsense" makes an ok theme song. Plus, my mother would love to see play a nun and not a floozey. My dad just likes hokey things. So it would be a score for both! I was in an out y, in under two hours being non eq. If the pianist had been there earlier, I would have been out super fast. He was nice. And attractive. He seemed straight to me. But he couldn't play my song. I just went balls to the wall and kept going. I'm not sure what that was. Thee most bizarre rendition of "I Wanna Be A Rockette" I have ever performed! I then attempted to make my Diablo Cody monologue about why I chose to strip be more funny and quirky, rather than angry and edgy. He laughed and asked me if I tapped. Not the most awful audition of my existence. I got in my car, laughed hysterically, and went to Target for cheap groceries. Home before noon with errands run. Not entirely a loss. I did feel good that I just went. 8 months ago, I would have been having a super panic attack. Finding my stride as I go. As long as I learn, I'm still doing good. Happy weekend to one and all!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

River Deep, Mountain High

My life continues on in a hilly sort of way. Like the song says "River deep, Mountain High." (with the Tina Turner shakes!) Yesterday I got to giggle through (only a few snorts) The Book Of Mormon for free. It was Josh Gad's last show, and he lost it in the last number in the best way possible. Helluva of way to go out (plus he got a big bouquet!)The show is great, and I recommend it to anyone with the money or luck to get tickets. Funny and heartwarming. Plus I have been singing "ORLANDOOOOOOO! I love you!" all day. Hahahahahha. Everybody in the cast worked it, but the dorkey Mormon missionaries (each and every one them a great big queen) won my heart in pink sparkley vests and tap shoes. I would join a religion that involved those things. Plus any show that also has hobbits, Darth Vader, and Yoda just wins! I entered my mother into a contest to win an early release copy of a book I wanted (Elizabeth Hoyt's latest. Guilty pleasure!) and a crystal duck (Lucky duck club. Quack! Quack!). I also entered my father. And myself of course. But my mother won. Hahahaha. She was pretty tickled. So I do still have some luck. Did some background today. It was an audience spiel. Nonunion for good money and done in 4 to 5 hours. It sounded too good to be true. And it was. They kept us sitting outside for almost five hours. With not enough shade. So I have a lovely v neck sunburn. If I ever have skin cancer, it will correlate with my love of v necks! We were out in a little over 8 without being fed at all. At that point, we could get food beyond chips and tiny water bottles on set, but I just wanted to go home. I miracle caught the 8:02 literally stepping on at 8:01, and then grabbed some tastey pizza from the place across the street from my apartment. It's super good and cheap, but I always feel like the big Italian family that owns it gives off mob vibes. Maybe I need to stop watching Boardwalk Empire...At least I was paid well to be the fire hydrant today! Just stop and sing mt kid style whenever I feel down. If ancient Jews can sail to America, I can make it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hipster Pippin

People will futz with scripts. Try and update them. Point out what is more relevant in their day and age. But there will always be someone who does it heedlessly at the expense of the script. Today, that was Hipster Pippin. My day began with train delays where the hipster next to me entertained me. Beard, flannel, khaki pants, khaki merse, and Cormac Mcarthy novel. Funny. Helped me get through the train delay with a smile. Disney was closed by the time I got there, so I met Elizabeth for lunch and then headed over to Pippin. I love Pippin. Yes, it's "dated," but it's dated in the same way that Oklahoma is dated. The style doesn't belong to today's world. Musically, script wise, or dance wise, but it thematically is always relevant. It hits the heart of so many things. You can find so much in the script to bring to the forefront thematically that it can be fresh without comprising the original package. There is a reason every tenor wants to sing Corner of the Sky. A lot of times Shakespeare is done with a concept. But only the concepts that come from the script of the play work well. Even if you don't know exactly what the concept was, if it adheres to your key themes it should accomplish what you want. It should help invoke reactions. (Operas are normally really successful in this. Which is bizarre but awesome. If you can bring yourself to sit through the opera.) I want some of those outfits. Hahahaha. Love this song! This production, instead of bringing to light the themes that are relevant, was trying to update the material with a concept that was completely unsupported and not coming from the script. The script of the musical isn't just the book. It's also the music and the dance. It's a whole package. They were trying to make this rock and roll. Which is a very loose term. And odd thing to put on some soulful 70s tunes. What they meant, was Green Day-esque punk. It has it's place. It's been a guilty pleasure of mine before. It's place is not in Pippin. That doesn't go at all with the score. The dance combo was pedestrian (which is true of the original choreo and I like), overwrought, and just overall trying too hard. At one point, we went from shooting a gun with glee, then with apprehension, and finally horror. Put the gun in your for suicide and then be suddenly and slowly aroused by yourself and touch yourself for 32 counts. That many extremes that quickly is trying way too hard. Plus, there was no reason for it other than to shock. The music we used sounded nothing like Pippin. They wanted their chorus to also be the band. They are going to completely rewrite the score. Why not just do a different show then? American Idiot if you like Green Day. Spring Awakening has the angsty teenage sex themes and does it so well. If you don't want to do those, why not write a new show? You can play with that story line. It's older than a lot of dirt. No script is every truly original. From Shakespeare and beyond, writers write the stories that interested them. There are how many different versions of Taming of the Shrew. West Side is a departure from Romeo and Juliet, but it is so different and wonderful. Even the Scarlet Letter was recently played with to create a chick flick. It could actually a really cool, new, rock musical. There are so many other directions that you can take it when you don't already have a full realized show. There are other medieval monarchs and wars that would make a cool rock musicals as well. There's so many possibilities of something sweet and new in that line instead of just hashing and slashing at something old and well established. Chet Walker once told a crew of us in college that we shouldn't aspire to be the next Chita Rivera or the next Ben Vereen. We needed to aspire to be the best and next version of ourselves. Hokey but so true. And the hipster Pippin crew needed to hear that. They could be so much more! Off my soap box I come. This song is totally how I felt today. I need the Davies brothers and company to come give me a hand. Save me from bleeding artists!

Monday, June 4, 2012

To Coney and Beyond!

Chezzamed it up Saturday. Alter egos this weekend included Snow White, Ariel, the Genie, and Supergirl. Lots of sequins, safety pins, and wig fix ups later, I was back home and exhausted. But it is nice to be making money! Sunday I went to Coney Island with Elizabeth, which was a blast. Best moment: spontaneous rainstorm and we're way out far away from the shelter. Too windy for umbrellas, so were wet and laughing. All in all, our first trip to Coney was a success. Even if we refrained from eating hot dogs at Nathans. (The Cyclone is much smaller than the old Texas Cyclone at Astroworld. Everything is bigger in Texas!) Hair tour auditions today. I could tell the moment I stepped in the room, they were not interested. Sixteen bars of "Paint It Black" later, and I was out the door without callbacks. I was happy with how I did. I would make a decent Jeannie, but they are some straight out peace children out there. And I exist in dead white people land. No granny boots no go! Out the door and uptown to an interview for a dance teaching postition with a day camp at St John the Divine. Super gorgeous church facilities and they were really nice. It went well. It makes me laugh when I get comments on my skimpy resume. I am 23 years old. I stayed at the same job for four years. What else is my resume supposed to look like? I wish it was about your work not about your resume. It's silly! Guilty admission: I watched Breaking Pointe. It made me want to watch Turning Pointe and flounce around in pointe shoes. I had hoped I had outgrown this need for but ruffles. Put on my granny boots! Make tutu envy go away. I have petticoats, and bustles, and jaunty hats!!!!! I'm just as glamorous as a ballerina! Or not. Fuzzy, artsy photos do not make glamour out of jaunty cockney smudges. Nor does wiping your nose on your sleeve and loudly snorting. I miss cockneyland! Hitting up a Pippin call tom. It's a regional production. I love Pippin. It had some hit parade hits which is pretty crazy being after 1960, but it feels so 1970 something. Which means a lot of people try and reinvent. Chet Walker is working on the production in MA that is supposed move to Broadway. Their update involves not just being chorus kids. Now they are fire breathing, contortionist chorus kids. Pippin was the first show with a triple threat chorus. Before then it was two separate choruses. Is it going somewhere else inventive? We shall see. Not a production I will never be in, but still could be really cool. The production looking tom has an idea about a more rockish show? We shall see what they mean. I will still show up in my jazz cut black leo, fishnets, and granny boots. Because I can. Mr. Vereen back in his glory days. He no longer moves this quickly, but he sounds and gestures about the same. He just anoints you with sacred oils before the show now. Skip to about 3:45. Because all anyone ever wants to see is the Manson trio. Because everything is better with Charles Manson! Enough back bumps for you? I hope I get to do some tom!