Monday, October 31, 2005
this just in from the folks over at Signature...
Signature Offers Seminar on Making a Musical
October 31, 2005 - As preparation gets more intense for the opening of the musical based on the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, Nevermore, which gets its world premiere at Signature Theatre in January, the theater is offering a five-session seminar for $175 per person. The seminar begins on December 13 with the first rehearsal of the new musical which will include a presentation by the design team and director Eric Schaeffer and a conversation with composer Matt Conner. Two evenings later, the participants will meet with members of the cast who will discuss "Acting & Singing Poe." On December 20, librettist Grace Barnes will discuss her collaboration on the project. Then, in January, the participants will attend both the technical rehearsal and the final dress rehearsal.
Ahh....look at my friend Sean, the tool.
Happy Halloween, all....hectic day here for me...thousands of dogs to walk, office work to do, plus cabaret errands to run, and our final rehearsal is tonight!!!!
What am I doin writing this? I should be out getting something done!
Truth be told, I want nothing more than to go home and roll around in Horror DVDs....*sigh* no Halloween for me!
I hope you all fare better!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
As related to an earlier post...
Well...This Friday and Saturday at 7PM and 9PM each evening is Eleasha Gamble and my Cabaret at Signature Theatre.
I can promise you, if you are in attendance, an evening of laughs, retrospective on some strange theatrical events of the past year, power-belting, props-galore, tear-jerking ballads, and searing toe-tappers.
I thought that we were pretty much sold out, but it seems that we do have available tickets...(how depressing). So, show us the love...jump on over to the Signature website and buy up a few tickets! We would love to see you there.
Tomorrow night is our final dress rehearsal...(how scary is that?) since Eleasha will be busy every other night rehearsing for Oliver at Olney. So...just like last cabaret, much of the evening will be off the cuff, improv-orientated, and ...well...like last time, unpredictable. She made me crack up about 4 times last year during the actual performances...sometimes flying by the seat of your pants is much better than being set in stone.
The show this year is much inspired by 2 of our favorite movies, The Color Purple, and The Wizard of Oz. The show deals mostly with Eleasha and I spending most of the year apart, due to her appearing in Under the Bridge off-Broadway. We track our own individual experiences apart, and then reuniting again.
Touching at times, hysterical and sick at others, I promise you that this one has something for EVERYONE in it. It also features the vocal/musical talents of Steve McWilliams and Jenny Cartney. Please come on out and represent...We all look forward to seeing you there!
Well...the Helen Hayes Auction went fine. I sat between my hubby and Brad Oscar, so I had plenty of laughs all evening long between the 2. The crowd was warm...well...as warm as it could be, considering they were drunk, and it was 10PM by the time we sang.
Tonight me and the hubster went to Eric Schaeffer's Halloween Party. You had to go dressed as a musical's title...I went as Zombie Prom...My hub went as Lucky Stiff....
Donna went as several different shows, all relating to a derivative of penis...i.e: Shockheaded Peter, Moby Dick, and Peter Pan...So damn funny.
Here are some photos from the frivolity.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
wow. Jet lag plus lack of sleep plus exhaustion equals me right now.
It started out with me sleeping MAYBE 2 hours the night before we left...then our first day was a blur of gambling, cocktails, and shows...then we didn't sleep much that night...then the second day was more cocktails, more gambling, and MORE shows...then a red-eye home...and I didn't sleep at all on that, either.I came got home at 8AM this morning, and fell asleep*thank god* till 1ish, went to work for a few hours, and here I sit. My time system is all messed up.
OK...the flight...I was doped up on Zanex (sp?) so I neither felt, nor cared about much...I was still a little terrified, but was really fine. I popped in The Light in the Piazza and enjoyed the motion of the plane, combined with the soaring music. I particularly listened to Aiutami and Il Mondo Era Vuoto several times. A gorgeous distraction.
We got to Vegas and checked into The Venetian. Jesus. What an amazing hotel! I was enchanted by the extreme decadence of the whole place...We dropped our stuff in the hotel and went straight down to the casino.I ended up winning about $500 playing Double Diamond, so I was very proud of myself...although, after all the dinners, show tickets, cocktails, I basically spent it all...but still-where else cab you go on vacation and potentially MAKE money to spend on your vacation?As I said, I was extremely lucky in this.
Free drinks ensued while at the slots...and God-almighty, you could smoke EVERYWHERE! I was in absolute HEAVEN!! I have never felt so free to light up...no smoke nazi's anywhere coughing and fanning and acting disgruntled.
By the time we were done with the slots, it was pool time...a heavenly pool and hot tub...so relaxing...We soon after left to go to the Wynn to see Le Reve.
It was utterly fantastic. I would cheapen it by trying to wrap words around as a description. It will be coming out on DVD soon, I hear, so when it does, race for it...
Then we raced over to Bally's to see Jubilee.
The absolute gayest chorus boys in sequins dancing around girls with feathers and their tits out, singing showtunes. I was in hysterics. The lights were fantastic....but what was under them was questionable. These chorus boys shouldn't have been in thongs. They did NOT have thong bodies at all. There was one chorus boy, who must have been the oldest chorus boy ever, who looked a mess, and looked either A) drunk, or B) didn't give one shit about what he was doing.
The girls...kind of looked like strange insects...multi-colored feathers, tits out, and 3 inch eyelashes...they actually looked like drag queens. I cannot fathom who could get off looking at that.
Then...well...more cocktails and gambling.
The next day we went to Breakfast, which was fabulous...(a fantastic omlette(sp?) chef), and then went walking around Las Vegas Boulevard. We walked through Caesar's and Hurrah's, and many others that I can't recall...after awhile, they all seem the same...Shops, bars, casinos, over and over...all with old women with bouffant hairdos and fanny packs, and cigarette's hanging from their mouths.
After our walk we recharged by the pool...some napped...I could not.
Soon after, we split our group up, and Matty and I went to see Avenue Q.
This was such an amazing evening of theatre. Not only is John Tartaglia, who originated the roles of Princeton/Rod in the show, but so is Rick Lyon, who originated the roles of Nicky/Trekkie Monster! They were brilliant, of course, but the rest of the cast was just as strong...Tonya Dixon, particularly, who played Gary Coleman!
We were in the front row, and were "played with" a lot by the cast...it was my favorite thing on the whole vacation!
Then, we got our things and went to the airport for the red-eye back.
I am SO psyched that I got to see Las Vegas...it was a blast...truly a Sin City...but I'm...well..so glad to be home. This whirlwind couple of weeks continues tomorrow night, when I sing at the Helen Hayes Auction at the Four Seasons....more details to follow.
Pictures from Vegas to follow, but not as soon as I'd like, since they are on a disposable camera...
So glad to be back with pug and laptop. Till tomorrow...
Monday, October 24, 2005
Ok...here it is...leaving on flight 7 in the morning. Anxious? Yes....
I will report more to y'all on Thursday.
I love you all, and my parents and family...and my pug, Buddha.
This is where we are staying...I could do worse.
Love and peace...talk soon.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Well...I am about to drive to Pittsburgh to see the folks for one night, then back to DC for 2 nights, then to Vegas for 2 nights...AAHHH!
Cabaret is going good. Have rehearsal Monday night, the night before I go to Vegas...Things are coming together well, and I think it will be hysterical.
Had a diva-licious night, between watching the Kylie Minogue concert on LOGO, then watching the new Madonna documentary on MTV...both were incredible.
Just trying to ready myself for all the upcoming travel...still just a hair nervous about flying, but...oh well...I haven't flown since 9/11...so...you know. I'll have a few G/T's and be fine, I'm sure.
I'll check in with you guys on Sunday night...maybe...the book writer of Nevermore, Grace Barnes, is coming in to town on Sunday afternoon from Scotland, and let me tell you...we are like sisters lost at birth, so I might not get the chance to blog on Sunday night...maybe a drunken blog entry??
Well...signing out for tonight...the next few weeks will prove to be quite involved, what with the Vegas trip, singing at the 4 Seasons on the 28th, My Cabaret on November 4th and 5th, then starting Damn Yankees rehearsal on the 8th...stay tuned for all the details on those subjects and more...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Sexy Time Explosion. Here are the details...
It also will feature Donna Migliaccio, and Mattthew J. Conner (my hubster), whose names should be familiar to readers of this blog!
Monday, October 17, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
On this, the closing day of Urinetown at Signature, I thought that we would have a conversation with the show's young starlett, Erin Driscoll.
Unlike the other ladies that I have had the honor to interview, (Lynn Filusch, Donna Migliaccio, Sherri Edelen, Karma Camp, Amy McWilliams), Erin is a relative new comer to DC audiences, sparking publications from Culpepper to Damascus asking the question..."Where did they find her?"
Erin and I met during Regina at the Kennedy Center, and became fast friends shortly there after. I caught up with her on the eve of closing night...
SGS- Erin! Glad you could untie yourself long enough to answer a few questions...first of all...the question that everyone seems to be asking about you...Where did you come from???
ED- From right here in DC! I grew up in the area and then went away to school (James Madison). I did some theatre in Cincinnati OH, then Dollywood, TN and then I moved home and got some gigs.
SGS-The second...are you Kristen Chenoweth's long lost sister??
ED- Ha ha! No, but is an honor being compared. I love her and really admire her talent! She has paved the way for the short, female comediennes in musical theater! Love her!
SGS-Tell me a little bit about Hope...how did you develop her character, voice, ect...
ED- Well, she wasn't easy. In fact, during the rehearsal process my director gave me the note ... (and I quote) " I don't want Hope to be crazy but I want the actress playing her to be crazy." What??? Hope, in Urinetown, is the icon of an ingenue. She does the stupid blonde thing because she is that type but you can tell that underneath she has something a little more brewing. Will and I knew that our characters had to be played as real people and not jokes, therefore, the stakes had to be so high to create the comedy of the situation. That is what I was going for anyway. :) I have no clue where the voice came from. I just was reading the script and that is how she sounded when I heard her say the lines.
SGS- Any films/actresses inspire her character?
ED- I mean I would be lying if I didn't say that I am influenced by Kristen's unique style of comedy. But, mostly her character was created out of the Joe's style of the show and the experimentation of rehearsals. You just try stuff and see if it fits what you think "Hope" would do. Joe and I agreed about a lot of her mannerisms... like the posing and head tilts.
SGS-You are going to be appearing in several upcoming shows at our regional houses in the Metro area...what are they?
ED- I am going immediately to "A Year with Frog and Toad" at Round House Theatre. Will and Sherri are also in that show! Then, in March, I am going to Olney Theatre to be Bonnie in "Anything Goes." I will be in "Into the Woods" as Rapunzel with the ever talented Stephen G. Smith! :)
SGS- *Aww shucks* How did you come from The Spirit of Washington to your current position, hot new "It" girl ingenue/charactress?
ED- Who told you I came from the boat!?
ED-AHHH! Well, I am not sure about the "hot new it girl" thing, but I can tell you how I got the part. CONNECTIONS! I am a firm believer. Follow this, if you can, I did Regina with this guy at the Kennedy Center. His boyfriend was writing a show and asked me to do a staged reading at the Signature. At the rehearsals for the reading, the Signature casting director asked me to come to the Urinetown auditions. Then, I auditioned.
SGS-Wasn't Patti LuPone a treat? Or should I say, "Pat-whah"...
ED- oh my! Patti was ... well... Patti. She was fascinating to watch in rehearsals. She definitely got into the role. She is a character on stage and off. :)
SGS- We ate way too much pizza together during that show...where are your favorite places to eat in the ol' Shirlington strip?
ED- Gotta love the Happy Hour at Capital City Brewery! But, if I could, I would eat at that Thai place every night!
SGS- What's in your CD player right now?
ED- Sara Evans' new cd. I love county music females! They can wail!
SGS- Last movie you saw?
ED- Proof... it was good! I loved the play. Can I write that off for tax purposes?
SGS-Totally! And the Sara Evans CD, too! Favorite 5 films?
ED- Usual Suspects, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, West Side Story, American Beauty. any Reese Witherspoon movie (love her as well) at the moment... Sweet Home Alabama
SGS- Last time you were left speechless?
ED- Tonight, when Sherri Edelen said that I was going to be impregnated by Hot Blades Harry! (ONSTAGE!)
SGS- In this series, I have talked to established DC actresses about how hard it is to rise up in the ranks and get your shot in the theatre scene...you are a young actress, and seem to be well on your way to doing just that....any advice to your peers?
ED-I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. If you didn't get a show, something better was probably meant to come along. Stick with it! You will have ups and downs in this career and all you will have at the end of the day is your own belief in your talent. So, believe in yourself and when a door closes .... look for the opened window.
SGS- Will you be sorry when Urinetown is over?
ED- Yes! I have loved doing this show! I never have been cast as the girl who gets her boobs and butt checked out before! Very cool! This show has been exhausting though, so I change of pace will be nice. However, I will miss this show tremendously.
SGS- Did you ever think that Urinetown would be the hit that it is?
ED- Hmmm... well I thought it would do well because Joe did such a great job with it and the material is so wonderful! But, I never thought would sell out as fast as we did and that they would add more shows and stuff. I am so happy that it has done so well!
SGS- Sum up your experience with Urinetown...favorite memories?
ED- The are so many memories, but a few favorites come to mind. The night the trap door almost didn't open was fun! When Will couldn't get his shirt to rip! When Sherri had to cover for peoples lines and she just made stuff up! :) This show has been hard work but so rewarding. I love the cast! Every night someone does something clever and funny! I love that everyone can keep it so fresh! It has been an awesome experience.
SGS- What is the secret to being a happy actress?
ED- That is a tough question and probably different for every actress. For me, it is having a job, having a nice apartment, and most of all having friends and family whom I love and who support me. All I need now is a pet! :)
SGS-Thanks so much, Erin...I will be catching up with you soon, I promise! ED- Thanks Stephen! Hope to see you soon.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
God, I love Halloween...any other ghost/mutant sheep men stories anyone would care to share with the rest of the class??
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Singing at the Four Seasons on October 28th for the Helen Hayes Auction...
3 songs....what are they?
Good question. I'm toying around with a few choices..
1)Israfel (From Nevermore)..uptempo...kind of crazy middle-eastern sounding dramatic song...those who checked out the Nevermore web cast at the Kennedy Center heard it...
2) Cry (from Forever Plaid)..I never get tired of singing this old ditty...
3) She Cries (from Songs for a New World)...over done, maybe..but a good showcase for my shiznit.
Any other suggestions?
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Well...I had a cabaret rehearsal tonight with Eleasha and Steve McWilliams ...went good. I think that there are like 5 tickets left to our cabaret, so check it out!
I read through "Lucky Spinster"'s new play with her, and it is amazing, even though she is not recognizing it yet...to quote The Highest Yellow by Michael John LaChuisa, "Such sad lost souls, these artistic types...such unfulfilled desires..." It is amazing, and watch for it at DC fringe, peeps.
Although, my precious baby-boy, Buddha, had his own ideas about her play...after we read it, we went to the store for some things I needed, and when we got back, he had eaten the last 2 pages of her play...I think he wanted a different ending...everyone's a critic.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
On The Heels Of...tracks down Amy McWilliams this rainy weekend...
Amy has appeared in MANY a show across the region, From Signature (Zander's Boat, The Fix, In the Garden, Working) , Keegan Theatre (Sideman), Wooly Mammoth/Theatre J (Rocket to the Moon) to name a few.
She performed in both the Sondheim Celebration (Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George) and the Tennessee Williams Celebration (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie).
She is also married to Steve McWilliams, who will be appearing in my cabaret!
Amy is currently finishing out the last days of the ol' Urinetown... (in which she has one of my favorite lines...when Bobby wants the people to revolt, she exclaims, "But there are two of them....and we're all so poor!" ...you just have to take my word for it, it is a real stitch..I digress...so here goes...
SGS: What's new, hot stuff? How are the final days of Urinetown playing out? Are you guys exhausted or what?
AMY:Urinetown is going great guns, although it hasn't quite sunk in yet that it'll be over soon - it just requires too much energy to think much beyond the next performance. Exhaustion usually sinks in at the end of the week - I find I'm not much use for anything on Mondays. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself "I've only got to get thru Act II, then I can go home...". Madness!
SGS: I love your two characters in the show, especially Josephine Strong... How was she developed?
AMY:Oh God, I had no idea for the longest time who the hell Ma Strong was - the perennial problem with thinly written musical theatre characters. I finally latched onto one line - "He's a good boy, my Bobby Strong" - and that led me to believe she's one of those women to whom life hasn't been very good or fair, but she loves her kid unconditionally. She's really just a gentle soul - I like her very much.
SGS: I particularly like her...gymnastics. Do you have a bruised scalp yet?
AMY:Well, I have to admit I had to modify the fall and roll somewhat after my hip started giving me problems - I found I couldn't repeatedly fall straight back into the flip, what with the rake and uneven stage floor, so I changed it so its more of a backward roll at the start and then I push my legs skyward and flop over. Now I just have a bruised shoulder, but it will heal! The lesson here is be careful what craziness you try in rehearsals, cause the director may want to keep it.
SGS: How did you get your start in theatre?
AMY:Years and years and yonks ago. I believe my first appearance was as a rock and my younger sister was a frog. My older sister, the bossy one, was writer, director and of course, the Princess. I've been working for better roles since then. True story. I've actually always done theatre, thanks to a Mom who took us to see lots of stuff. I spent many years doing community theatre, which gave me the chance to do some really great roles while doing the day job at a law firm, and eventually moved into professional work.
SGS: You are married to Steve McWilliams, local Guitar virtuoso, Rock God, and a hell of an actor/singer...how did you two meet?
AMY:OK, he's going to kill me for telling this story, because it is corny as all get-out. It was a community theatre production of Grease, and yes, he was Danny and I was Sandy - actually Donna Mig was Rizzo - and the rest, as they say is history. And yes, I robbed the cradle - Stevie was a senior in high school at the time. My mama always told me, get 'em young and raise 'em right. Hell, ya can't argue with 22 years!
SGS: Be honest...he talks about me all the time, doesn't he..:) *sigh*
AMY:Of course he does, pumpkin - we all do!
SGS: Speaking of music, what have you been "in" to lately?
AMY:Not really anything new - I have to admit I don't listen to music stations on my radio much - I'm an NPR girl for the most part. The few CDs I have in the car are Mary Chapin Carpenter, cause she sings low like me, the Dixie Chicks, Kim Richey, and Ella Fitzgerald.
SGS: 5 favorite films, any order?
AMY:Oh bother, not much of a movie junkie. Let's see. Princess Bride, Waiting for Guffman, Frances...I'm sure there's more I just can't think of at the moment.
SGS: Any dream roles yet to be played?
AMY:Ok, there's a difference between what I could potentially play and ones I'd love to play but never will, such as Anita in West Side Story. But in Amy's Dreamworld, I'd say Phyllis in Follies, Fosca in Passion, just about any Tennessee Williams or Shepherd - love their women! Never done Mamet, would love to try him. It would be great to do Chekhov, Ibsen. Oh, and I'd LOVE to do On The Verge - are you listening, Eli? I directed it a while ago and had a blast with a capital B, and it's a brilliant script. As much as it is about roles, there are many actors in DC I've never worked with who I admire and would love to work with - like you, my dear...
SGS: What kinds of roles do you find yourself playing a lot, and why do you think that is?
AMY:Lots of moms as of late - 5 in the last year, and some meatier than others. You can't get more different than Mrs. Cratchit in Christmas Carol versus Terry in Sideman, but both mothers none the less. I'm sure it has lots to do with my age range, and perhaps also with conveying some level of maternal feeling on stage.
SGS: What's down the road for you this season?
AMY:Well, I'm back to Fords for the holiday season in Christmas Carol, then on to Signature for Nevermore (perhaps you've heard about it) - finally a non-mom role!!! There's also a possible project with my hubby this summer, if all plans pan out. I'm looking to fill the slot between March and June - anyone?
SGS: What's the key to being a happy actress?
AMY:I could say working, but that's a lie, because doesn't matter if you're doing crap. Finding the balance between making a living and being challenged - not easy! Knowing that sometimes you need to challenge yourself, because hard things won't always be asked of you. Not being afraid when hard things are asked of you. Have faith in yourself, and let go of all the myriad things that are out of your control. Don't be an asshole, but stick up for yourself. Don't be jealous of the success of others. Talk about things OTHER than theatre, for God's sake!
SGS: What is the last thing that stopped you in your tracks?
AMY:Our new dog, Sunny. We just got him from a rescue, and he had to go to the vet and get a tooth pulled that had broken. Because they put him ucouldn'the couldn't eat before or after the surgery (a 24 hour period). The night we brought him home from the vet's, I discovered that he had gotten into the trash and had tried to find something to eat. I started to pick up the mess, in the meantime admonishing him that he had been a "bad dog", not yelling, just using the stern voice. I turned and looked at him - he was sitting there, looking at me and shaking like a leaf, and really and truly looked like he was going to cry. Broke my heart - what the hell had someone done to this poor sweet animal? I just held him.
SGS: Now to the pressing issues...Do you think my hubby is cute? :)
Oh please, your hubby is fucking ADORABLE!
SGS:*Sigh* (I know)What are you wearing right now?
AMY:Jeans, t-shirt, and some psuedo-sneaker things - comfort!
SGS: (HOT!) When I went to college, all the women were told that they are a dime a dozen, and that if they really wanted to make it, they would have to be extremely driven, since there are twice as many women in theatre than men...What would be your advice to any women trying to cut their teeth in this business we call show?
AMY:For young actors, I'd say don't be in a rush to get your Equity card, unless you've got an agent in NYC and will be moving there in the next few weeks. You will potentially miss out on some great roles in non-Equity theatres, a chance to build your resume and reputation. If you want to work in DC, there are a lot of great opportunities with the smaller companies who are doing great stuff, but don't hire Equity. There are not-so-small companies that can fill a role with non-Equity just as well as with Equity, so don't be in too much of a rush till you have some experience.
Don't limit yourself - if you have the acting chops and you can sing, don't get pigeon-holed as "just musical theatre" - it's a hard hole to get out of, and lets face it, there is a tendency among those who cast to consider someone with lots of musicals on their resume as not-quite-the actor compared to those who have no musicals on their resume. You limit what you'll be considered for.
Don't be stupid once you are in the work environment - do your homework, show up on time and prepared, do your best to get along with folks. The best actor can be out of work by getting a reputation for being a pain in the ass.
If you truly have a passion for this, stick with it. Having been a part of the casting process a number of times, trust me when I tell you that I've seen a lot of great auditions from wonderful actors who ended up not getting cast - there are so many variables that go into that decision, all you can do is your best, and then let it go.
SGS: Thanks, Amy...I'm sure I'll be talking with you soon, and will want to chat with you again here during Nevermore. Kisses to the hubby! :)
AMY:My pleasure - kisses to yours as well!
I don't advise it.
OK...I have not been up to my usual par as far as Blog entries...I think I have sustained a Brown Recluse bite...either that or I have an infected cut or mosquito bite.
Trying to fix it outside of a hospital visit...my ankle is potato-sized...yeesh!
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Ok...I am hesitant to say this...
I think we pretty much know what we are doing now...
Had a meeting last night...Some songs that were before listed as cut are back in. Some new songs added, old ones ditched.
Songs canned last night:
Time After Time, You are the Sunshine of my Life, Home Again, Flowers on the wall...
Added a Sondheim, some cool Harold Arlen arrangements, A children's song, and a pop song...
Prey that the center holds this time...:)
PS...I love that when yo do spell check, Sondheim is listed as not a word, and Condom is suggested in its place!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
My first Halloween horror found her nest in the former water garden...(I drained it when the plants died, and now it bears a resemblance to a well...sooo...this former "Reagan" of The Exorcist, now has become Samarra from The Ring. Lighting is everything...
What shall I create tomorrow?