Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Enjoy the posts below.
Stay tuned tomorrow for coverage of the Pumpkin Carving contest and the Halloween Party!


We went to see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D last night, and it was gorgeous! I loved every second of it.
I even cried a little bit at the end, as it was SO beautiful. If you have no other plans tonight, it is totally worth a trip to go and see it!

Other Arlington Yards seem to be haunted, too...

I call this, "The Headless Hillside"...many different creations...no heads!

A very creepy and effective scarecrow. Nice.

Final product...My backyard, 2006

I put up my last ghoul yesterday, a ghostly spirit in the tree, that has a spooky strobe light on it.
I also put a black light under Pete the Zombie. Here are some pictures.

BREAKING NEWS: I'm NOT my mother.

So, I really wanted to be little Suzy Homemaker this year and make 2 pumpkin pies for our theatre's Halloween Party. I set out for the ingredients at the Safeway, got it all, ooh-even a graham cracker crust! Who knew! It all seemed so simple. I thought to myself, I'll just whip these up Monday afternoon.
I mixed it all up as directed, even added a pinch of Paprika ( a tip from Martha ). As I was mixing the pumpkin ingredients, I was simultaneously cooking my dinner, steaks with marinade and spices. I felt like a domestic god. Not only that, but I had done several loads of laundry, straightened up the trailer a bit, AND managed to add my last Halloween ghoul of the year to my yard. (More on that later.)
I was on top of it all. I felt amazing.
Then came the smoke.
Slowly, at first, then in torrents. I didn't understand...it had only been 20 minutes? The crust was blacker than pitch. I quickly realized that the crust was not mean to be cooked longer than 5 minutes. Ugh. I emptied out the perfectly good pumpkin, which I rationalized would still be fine...Matt advised me against it.
Back to Safeway. More pumpkin, ect. Crusts that were meant to be cooked. Mixed it up, but waited to pour and cook...(we went to the movies tonight...more an that later as well). Got back from the movies, poured and stuck in the oven.
35 minutes later, the smoke came again.
I don't know what happened.

Mom never seemed to have these problems..Dad either... Now, it is after midnight on All Hallows Eve, and 4 burnt pies later, I am 2 pies short of the 2 pies I promised. I suppose that I will venture back to Safeway again tomorrow, but not for ingredients...for the pumpkin pies sold in their bakery.
While I aspire to be the domestic wonder that my mother is, I sometimes have to try to remember that she had a bit more time to practice than I have.
I only wish that I could get rid of the burnt pumpkin smell that is pervading the premises...
Mom and Dad, you made it look so easy...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Haunting!

This is Post 500! Happy Haunting everyone!

MFL...Pumpkin Carving Night!

Tonight, Harry Winter and I organized a pumpkin carving extravaganza! All were invited, yet not all turned out...the turn out was still impressive, though.

These pumpkins will be on display Tuesday night in the lobby for the Halloween audience to vote on their favorite pumpkins. (Listed by title and number, not cast member's name).
There are still plenty of available tickets for Halloween night's performance of MFL, so if you haven't seen it yet, come and buy a ticket, and vote on America's Next Top Pumpkin!
Two teasers...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Current Haloween Joys...

Other ghastly creations this year...


Start out with these items:
A mask
A plastic skull
Duct Tape
An Old Shirt
A clothes hanger (wire)
A small and level piece of 2x4
arm length tree branches
a straight saw
an electric or battery powered screw-driver
grey spray paint
a small fake hand...
Use the 2x4 to be the base. Use the tree limbs sparingly...one as the outstretched arm, one as the neck bone to go through the skull to give anchoring. Screw both to the 2x4. Use a wire hanger as the bending arm.
Adorn each arm with padding using newspaper and sculpting its shape with duct tape.

Pick an old shirt, and preferably one that is pale and without much pattern. Put it on your corpse, and here is a tip...straight arm should go on first. Wire arm last.

Take your small fake arm, and put the hook of the wire hanger through the palm...duct tape the small fake hand to the newspaper arm of wire.

Spray paint the flesh colored thing grey.

Spray paint distress marks on the white shirt with the same can...

Put the body where you want it...
And add fake blood to make it more believable and disgusting.

His name is Pete. He is now my favorite.
Luv, SGS


Here's a "how-to" for a fall-orific window display.
Go around your neighborhood and snip off several contrasting color and shape twigs with different color and shape turning leaves.
Then, use floral wire to bind them together. Submerge the stems in a mason jar of water, the put that mason jar of water in a plastic jack-o-lantern (if you choose).
Next, take a "leaf walk" around your neighborhood and collect the most gorgeous leaves that you can find. Suspend them in different lengths with string and tape in the window top. Tie a string around their stem, and tape the other end to the top of the window.
This arrangement will last about one week.
Plan accordingly.
Luv, SGS

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


These were taken at what we refer to as the "Fire House"..the house we lived in that burned down in December of 2003. Several weeks from the date these pictures were taken, we were homeless. That was sarier than any scenario that I cold have decorated. Below are pictures from what I called my "Chopshop" garage, with bloody sheets and loose body parts strung up.
Then there is my Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas. I made him out of a sphere of styrofoam and someone's discarded curtain rods, wrapped in a $1.99 black plastic table cloth from the Rite Aid. Oh, and pipe cleaners.
Happy Halloween!


I am a REALLY bad friend! Happy belated birthday to Fred Schiffamn, whose birthday passed me like water this past Saturday.
Sorry, Freddy!
Happy B-day!

Louder Than Words

I had the privilege and wonderful opportunity to attend a Concert at the Library of Congress this evening. It was a tribute to Jonathan Larson. Sally Murphy, who is playing Eliza in our My Fair Lady, is very good friends with Randy Graff, who was in the concert, hence our ability to see the concert.
Matt, Jenny Cartney, Sally, and I all packed into Jenny's car to head for the concert.
What a perfect night. The air was cool and crisp, actually cold at times that the wind got up it's gusto. But how comforting, in a way to know that Fall is truly upon us now. I even wore my mittens.
The lobby outside the concert hall had display cases containing Jonathan's scribblings and photographs. It was so sad to see all of this. Such a bright and vibrant creative flame snuffed out to soon.
The concert featured the talents of:
Natascia Diaz
Randy Graff
Jeremy Kushnier
Michael McElroy
Anthony Rapp
Gwen Stewart
They were all fantastic. Highlights of the night included Natascia's rendition of "Come to Your Senses" from tick,tick...BOOM! "Pura Vida", a pop song written for no specific show, performed by Randy, Natascia, and Gwen. "Break Out the Booze", a song that was so appropriate and hysterical that I laughed outloud...Randy Graff sang that one. The song's basic premise was that our nation is going to hell, everything in the country was slipping down the drain, so somebody break out the booze. It was a show stopper. SO funny. Randy Graff, who appeared in DC's Sondheim Celebration as Charlotte in A Little Night Music, and who was also the first Fantine in Les Miserables, garnering a Helen Hayes Nomination for Les Miz's US premiere in DC, is a gem. Such an amazing talent. The closer to Act One was led by Michael McElroy, who starred in Big River on Broadway and got a Tony Nomination, and also played the same role at Ford's and garnered a Helen Hayes Award for it. The song was "Louder Than Words" from tick, tick...BOOM! It was a perfect and beautiful closer to the act. The first act concentrated on his lesser known or less complete works, including Superbia ( a futuristic romantic comedy musical), Angel Sent Me, Sitting on the Edge of the Future, and Boho Days.
Act Two concerned Rent. The second act featured songs that were cut, or original versions of songs that got changed drastically in the final product...for example- "Right Brain", which ended up being "One Song Glory". Same tune, different lyrics. Also a cut song called "Real Estate" about the character of Mark considering another career. Funny. Several cut "Voice Mail" selections. The Second act ended with the only two real versions from the show, "What You Own", performed flawlessly by Jeremy Kushnier and Anthony Rapp, and the "Finale B", featuring the entire cast.
Act 3, (yes, act 3) featured one song each from the three Jonathan Larson Scholarship Award Winners, Joe Iconis, Cynthia Hopkins, and Steven Lutvak. The most notable of the three was Cynthia Hopkins, who not only sang at a microphone and played the tambourine, but also played the kazoo and did a modern interpretive dance. It sounds crazy, and it was, but it was also brilliant. Her music had the most passion and was the most innovative, in my opinion. The other two wrote lovely music, no denial, but hers excited me. She has a website, through her band, Gloria Deluxe. Check it out HERE. Looks off the wall to me. Fantastic music, though.
Then, there was Act 4. (Yes, ACT 4) Which contained 2 songs..."Seasons of Love" and "Love Heals", featuring the company and Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music ( a gospel group). I think that this was the only real weird thing about the night...instead of ending with "Seasons of Love", the song that he is the most famous for, they ended with a song that he wrote not for a show, but just a pop song, that was great, but in no way compared to Seasons. Seasons sums up so much of his life, story, and legacy. I think that was a strange choice.
Act two was a little weird, too. We all know that he wrote Rent. It was fascinating to hear his early compositions before Rent. We have all heard Rent a million times...but we were waiting for it...and then we were presented with rough drafts of the songs that ended up being the songs that they are today. While fascinating, there was not much payoff in this. You wanted to be left with the brilliance that it ended up being, not version 2.5 in workshop 4. I wondered if he was looking down from composer heaven and saying, "OH GOD! NO, don't sing that version, I HATE that version, that's why I changed it!". Maybe it would be fascinating fodder for an album, but for this, his induction to the Library of Congress...dunno.
The after party was loverly. It was held in the "Members Room", where from the late 1800's until 1980, Congress members lounged about with brandy snifters and pipes, discussing the fate of the nation. Imagining this room after Kennedy was shot, or during World War 2 was kind of fascinating. All of the history that the room has seen.
As we left, Sally, Matt, Jenny and I met Jonathan Larson's parents. We thanked them for a beautiful evening. They were kind and quiet. What a bittersweet night it must have been for them. My heart sunk a little. Life is so fragile and precious, and, as in Jonathan's case, who died from a freak aortic aneurysm. It reminded me of one of Jonathan's lyrics says, and how we should all live and experience our own lives..."No Day But Today".
G'night, Shirlington.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sticks and Stones

When I was just a little pup, I would frequently spend the time right after the school bus dropped me off at my Nana's house, which was two houses down the road, about a 5 minute walk, if even. (Lots of properties are bigger in Pennsylvania, and sometimes include areas of forest).

I loved the time that I spent there, as my Nana was truly a magical creature. A blend of Mary Poppins and Auntie Mame, she lived alone, except for her dynamic counterpart- a Lhasa Apso named Nutmeg, that I swear was a million years old.
To get to Nana's house, you walked through a path that was in the woods on our neighbor's property. Thank goodness they never seemed to mind that I was always walking through their yard to get to my Nana's house...you see, you could walk on the road, but that isn't fun, is it?
I would pick up a big stick on my walk and use it for protection against any zombies, werewolves, or other ghouls that might be lurking on the path. Though my imagination could swear it saw beasties everywhere, these journeys were always safe and exhilarating.
I would get to my Nana's place, which was basically a modular home (read: trailer) on a lot of land that was pretty sizable, and that included a nice little forest pass through. I played there frequently.
I would ring the doorbell (that would invariably play Scotland the Brave most likely, or whatever seasonal tune the little doorbell thingamajigger had been set on that week by my Nana. She would answer and Nutmeg would bark in torrents for a moment before ignoring you again.
Her house smelled different than ours. Was it her perfumes? Her dog? ( Growing up, we only had outdoor dogs, so the fact that Nana had a dog, let alone a fancy one that slept in a special indoor bed made of wicker and cushions floored me...I had no idea that years later there would be a small asian dog with a smouched in face lounging on my own sofa) And the smell was NOT bad, that isn't what I am trying to say...I liked it, whatever it was...maybe it was all of her antiques. Sometimes when I am in antique shops, I think I can smell the same smell as at my Nana's, but then memory leaves me, and I am not sure anymore.
Nana would frequently play her records, especially on the weekends while cleaning. I listened to a majority of the classic musicals in that home. We listened to Orson Well's infamous broadcast of "War of the Worlds" there. I remember how much it terrified me. I became obsessed with it, wanting to have even every piece of music played during the fake radio show. I even bought the sheet music to Hoagy Carmichel's "Stardust", and learned to play it because of this tape.
I was not the most beautiful duckling. I had red hair and glasses. I even went through a short period where I was redheaded, with glasses, and missing my two front teeth. Hot. I was sometimes..ok, many times I was made fun of in school. All of that negative energy and name calling was lost at my Nana's, though. As my Nana would tell me, "Names will never hurt me."
Maybe it was the antiques, the musicals and Opera playing on the scratchy record player, the fancy pure bred dog in it's bed, my Nana herself, ALL of these things- but whatever it was, I couldn't be touched by any problems while I was at her house.
Much of my affinity for Halloween comes from her as well. She would decorate her own house, sometimes even putting on scary music and dressing up as a witch to scare trick or treaters.
Which brings me to the stuffed dummies.
Where did I get the idea first? I got the idea from a trick that some kids in our "patch" as we called it (read: small neighborhood) would play. What you did was completely stuff a whole outfit, complete with jeans, boots, long sleeved shirt, and a head, and then put it on the road, half on the road, half off; so that it looked like a body that someone had hit with a car. Especially at night, it was convincing. You would stop the car and get out to see if the person was alive or not, and then see that it was a prank. Ha.
I saw one of these one year out front by our house. Then I started to get the idea that I could do the same thing, but with a twist; My creatures would stand in our front yard in a ghoulish display.

I would make them with anything I could find: tree branches, sticks, scrap wood from my father's woodpiles, rocks....literally anything. I could use all of this and create a passable body, but that body lacked one important thing...a scary face. This is where the parents came in. :) I would beg them to buy me the cheapest plastic Halloween masks from the drugstore. My mother would agree to buy me whatever hideous thing that I found for a dollar. I would go home and create another one.
One time I wanted to make a witch on a broomstick, up in one of our trees...I had the face, hat, and broomstick, but what about her clothes? I used Dad's old clothes for everything else, but a witch couldn't be in overalls! Well...she could, but not the kind of witch I was trying to make.
My Nana donated an old black evening gown from her closet. It was gorgeous, even adorned with a few purple and green sequins in certain places. Nana told me that she used to wear this dress when she went out ballroom dancing. I told her that she should keep it then, and not ruin it by hanging it in a tree for a month. She laughed and said, "I think that my ballroom dancing days are over.." I don't know why, but that always has stuck with me. That phrase...right there. The thought of the possibility that a person can reach a point in life where they are certain that they will not be doing something ever again in their lifetime. A wistful sadness.
She and I fashioned some black panty hose into legs, and put the rest of the "witchy-poo" as Nana would call it together.
We got it up in the tree with my Daddy's assistance, and there it was....the most ambitious ghoul I had ever created, and all because of my Nana collaborating with me on it. I was overjoyed.
When the bus came to pick me up for school, I earned some points as they all ran over to the windows and told me how cool my yard looked. I was popular for a day. :)
The other inspiration for the decorating came from watching a film at my Nana's house. It was on a weekend, so she was in her bedroom cleaning. Since she wasn't in the living room, I was scanning the channels for Saturday afternoon horror films. I found a film that was nearing it's ending. The film, as I understood it, pitted 3 or 4 people who had stumbled upon this ancient ship that was floating in the sea, they become trapped on it, and one by one they are killed off by these zombie type things that look like skeletons in hoods and robes. I remember there being a lot of monk chanting in the soundtrack. I remember how these things did not moan, nor move fast, but there was a relentless horror to the film as they slowly stalked their next victim. It was a metaphor. Death comes for us all, slowly but surely. The only two survivors end up jumping off the boat as the boat is in flames. They swim to the shore, and pass out on the beach, exhausted by their swim.
As they sleep, these skeletons in hoods and robes start emerging from the sea, soon all 10 of them are there, slowly walking toward the sleeping couple. The couple stir, wake up, and look up to see these things are all around them, bending down now to reach for them. That is the end.
I got the heebie-jeebies big time.

I went outside to where I usually played. I grabbed a few sticks and wondered what I would do if these creatures were coming for me? I pretended that a thicket of tangled ivy was one of them. I started throwing sticks at it. Then I thought to myself how much the stick looked like those horrible creature's fingers...then...WAIT A MINUTE! I could even use sticks to make these things in my yard! Thus, another source of inspiration for my extensive Halloween decorating tradition.
I have spent years looking for this film, not even knowing what it was called. A few weeks back, I was searching the Netflix Horror list, and about on the 20th page (one I never get to, because I lose my patience by then), I saw a movie listed called Tombs of the Blind Dead"...pictured on the cover were these skeleton things with hoods and robes...That was it! I rented it, and was so confused...same creepy skeleton things, not the same movie.

Last week, when I was investigating this further, I learn that there is a "Blind Dead" trilogy, and that the third movie in the trilogy is called "The Ghost Galleon"! A galleon? A SHIP! I've found it!
I got it in the mail the other day.
I cannot tell you how it felt to watch a film that I haven't seen in about twenty years, and to know that the last time I watched it, I was sitting in my Nana's living room. A place that now, does not exist. It has made me cry a little bit for the past two days. Nothing big, just a tear or two here and there when I think about it.
People laugh at me when I go SO overboard decorating for Halloween. My Nana is the reason that I do this. The passion that I have for this holiday stems from her. This is a holiday in which people dress up to be something other than themselves.
My Nana made this ugly duckling happy to be hisself. Not by hurling sticks and stones at people who picked on me on my schoolbus, but by scaring and wowing them with creatures created out of sticks and stones.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Stay tuned during this coming week for more Halloween haunts, and more fun!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


My Fair Lady at Signature Theatre will be extended till November 26th! Click HERE for your tickets.

Steve and Stephen

I have been friends with Steve McWilliams for about 3ish years.
I have heard TONS of his music, and seen his talent over the years.
Steve just had partial knee replacement surgery.
I visited him on Monday past. He is slowly recovering, and my heart goes out to him. I look at his surgery, and see the same thing that I will have to go through in 7-10 years.
Steve is one of the most chill and cool guys that I have ever met.
My heart and soul is there for him.
Check out his new MYSPACE site, plugged with many AMAZING new songs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I added a new link to my site....the link that provides info about doing Nevermore at your theatre! "Theatrical Rights Worldwide" is a new company that has welcomed Nevermore into it's fold. If you are a company in search of an amazing, small casted musical, then click on THIS LINK.
It is one of the most amazing shows that I have ever seen, and will do well wherever you do it, so it is worth a look.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Men's Potty at Signature...

Remind anyone of Urinetown?


Kurt is back in town now, starting rehearsal for She Loves Me at Arena tomorrow. I got to see him for a minute tonight.
The good news is that he will be about 7 minutes away from us for the next few months!
I caught up with him and Eric tonight.
Now I am safely home and about to go to bed.
G'night Arlington...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday the 13th

Happy Opening day of Camp Crystal Lake!

The Bad...

So,I have been watching MANY horror movies to get inspired by the season.
I frequently get recommendations like, "Oh, you'll LOVE this movie, I know you..." which is so embarrassing when you watch the film and think..."what do you think of me?"
I had 2 experiences like that today.
I had these recommendations..."Cemetery Man" and "Hellbent".
A big BOOO to both. Awful stinkers.

An awful plot about...well, what is it about? Hard to tell at times. A cemetery keeper who falls in love at a moment's notice, and who is re-killing the recently buried, who seem to rise after one week's burial.
Good things about this film:
Rupert Everett, half clothed, being a good sport in a bad script. The zombie boy scout troop. Funny.
Bad things:
Everything else.
Skip it. It is dreadful.


A gay slasher flick. Why should I not love this? Instead of seeing straight sex scenes, and lots of bare female breast, I get to see gay guys getting it on and plenty of...nothing.
The film offended me with it's stereotypes.
I felt like the gay people were getting killed because they were gay. I know this is an irrational thought, but with SO many hate crimes in our world, it offended me.
But then again, I don't like many gay films for this reason...what is portrayed as gay life is usually not how it is.
Skip these films.