Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Adding Machine: A Musical closed this past Sunday night at The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. This show was such a labor of love for all involved, and I am so proud to have been a part of it.
The entire experience has been such a creative playground, and such a classroom for me. Seldom does an actor, especially in musical theatre, get to delve into such a deep, rich and twisted character. And to be directed by one of the creators of the piece was also very rewarding and insightful. Jason Loewith( our director, and co-author of the piece) was so fantastic to work with in this process, and knew exactly how to create these monstrous characters while keeping them human and real.
This being the first time that I have worked at Studio Theatre, I was a bit nervous and feeling like a kid transferring to a new school mid-semester. These fears were quickly put to bed when upon the first rehearsal, Joy Zinoman hugged me fiercely and whispered into my ear that she was so happy to finally have me in her theatre. Little gestures like this go such a long way to make a newcomer feel at ease in a new environment. The staff and creative team did their best to make us feel welcomed and supported. I had such a fantastic time working there, and hope that this was only the first of many adventures there to come.
Whatever cast that you belong to in any given show becomes your extended family for whatever period that you spend with them. This family was a hilarious bunch of kooks, just like me, so I felt right at home. Along with spending time with some wonderful actors that I have worked with in the past, I met several new faces that will remain in my life from now on. (To name the names, Katie Nigsch-Fairfax and David Benoit, our Mr. Zero.)
What to say about David? He is a force of nature. I watched his "Zero's Confession" every single night, and I never once failed to be in utter awe of the entire performance/song/total package. This song truly is the male "Rose's Turn". Such a bombshell of a song. And the performance that he gave was nothing short of remarkable. Watching him self destruct and explode and then be reduced to a sobbing pathetic mess was breath taking. Adding Machine was, of course, not your typical musical. Both David and I had songs in which we both basically had total mental breakdowns set to music.
Also, in saying this, I would be remiss if I did not mention how in awe of the actors that made up the Quartet I was. Katie Nigsch-Fairfax, Channez McQuay, Joe Peck, and Thomas Adrian Simpson were a four person machine. They functioned as one, and were impeccable. I would never want to be in the position that they were with all of their difficult harmonies and all of those numbers...imagine - try memorizing all of the random numbers that they sing throughout the show. It is damn near impossible. They had a very taxing rehearsal process that was very hard on them, but the results were more than worth the toil. Not many of the reviews spent much time (as per usual)talking about the ensemble of the show in depth. Our quartet were damn near the best thing in the show, and gave a foundation to the whole shebang. Without them, there was no show. My love and respect go to every one of them. I had it much easier than any of them.
This show is also the last full staged show that I will be doing in the foreseeable future, so as the lights dimmed on Sunday night, my heart felt a sad pang. I know I will miss it so much. But till I get hired again for a show, I will not be on a stage for quite awhile (at least the rest of this theatrical season). This closing was very bitter/sweet. But, time off will only make me love and appreciate my craft more. I know this.
In the final analysis, Adding Machine was one of the highlights of my career so far, and I am so blessed to have been a part of it. I thank everyone who came to support it, and Studio Theatre for the wonderful experience that it was. I thank the cast and crew for their amazing work. I thank Jason Loewith and Josh Schmidt for creating such a fun house for an actor to run through and play.
Here is a video that features our music director, Christopher Youstra discussing his excitement about starting the rehearsal process.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Last night I went to see my friends, Bligh Voth and Weslie Woodley in their cabaret debut, "Blonde Ambish" at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage.
The show was fantastic, as I knew it would be, and the chemistry that the girls have is fantastic! Their blend in such songs as "Casting Call" or "I Will Never Leave You" was so good that it sounded like one voice having a duet with itself. Their tonality and phrasing is so similar, that whenever the girls sang together, it was truly wonderful. And their solo numbers were a treat as well. Bligh gets quite a bit of respect from me for singing "Making Love Alone" at the Kennedy Center. lol.
Weslie's "Girl in 14G" is quite a tour de force as well, ranging in many different musical styles.
The show was packed, and the girls really were amazing. I think that this is the beginning of a cabaret duo that we will see much more of in the future. I mean; you do the math - two gorgeous blonde gfirls who are amazingly talented and sing their faces off...book them now!
After the show was done, we dropped by what was to be a surprise birthday party for Erin Driscoll. And when I walked up the stairs, I saw this cake and did a double take...
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Erin Driscoll and James Gardiner are engaged!!!
It became quite the happy celebration with all of their family and friends gathered around them. I am ridiculously happy for both of them and wish them all of the happiness that they truly deserve.
So yesterday was QUITE the fantastic day. Even more fantastic if you were any of the three blonde girls mentioned in this post, though.
Congrats to all!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
James and Erin's new puppy, Tucker Bean came over to have a play date with the recently recovered Buddha Bear. I had my camera at the ready, anticipating a tidal wave of cute to hit the apartment. And it indeed did.
Tucker is a Shicon (sheesh-on) puppy (all you need to know about them can be found HERE). Here is a closer look at the little stinker.
They hit it off immediately, and Buddha (who plays with puppies better than adult dogs) had the best time. We all watched as the two of them tore around the apartment like crazy.
Here are all of the pictures from the evening:
Bay of Pugs Stand Off...
Concerned Uncle catches Nephew smoking a cigarette...
And finally, what I like to call, "They came from planet X..."
Monday, November 09, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I had a Scary Movie Dialogue quiz on Facebook on Halloween day/night. Here are all of the questions. Answers are below the questions. Try to answer them yourself!
#1:..."Only when I say so! Only when I say!"...
#2:..."We may not enjoy living together...but dying together isn't going to solve anything.."
#3:..."Come to Daddy..."
#4:..."This is no dream, this is really happening!"
#5:..."You're crazy to know who I am, and what I am..."
#6:..."...hope it doesn't rust the barrel..."
#7:..."Thank you... have a nice day."
#8:..."The only person who could miss with this gun is the sucker with the bread to buy it."
#9:..."I need the child...before the blood changes..."
#10:..."There's an old fella named Jack who lives downriver, but he woundn't treat any hospitality towards them. Oh, and there was some kind of Army test site way up on top of the mountain. But that closed down five, six years ago."
#11:..."I'm running this monkey farm now Frankenstein and I wanna know... what the fuck you’re doing with my time?"
#12:..."Call me. Dial your number. Go ahead. "
#13:..."Well, hi. What are you doing out in this mess? "
#14:..."The Han River is very broad, Mr. Kim. Let's try to be broad-minded about this. Anyway, that's an order. So, start pouring. "
#15:..."Well if he come near you again, I'm gonna bust his liver lose if he tries to touch you!"
#16:..."Madam, are you traveling alone?" "All alone." "Should I wake you for Pittsburgh?" "No, I'm going to New York." "The Big Apple?" "Right." ... "Thank you, and goodnight!"
#17:..."Is that you, little man?"
#18:..."Get out of the grave, Alan. Get out of the grave and let an artist show you how to call a curse down on Satan! "
#19:..."Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle."
#20:..."Do you know anything about aphids? "
#21:..." I don't mind telling you, this place is infested."
#22:..." Of all the places in all the world my dad could have picked to build his dealership, he picked the one right down the street from Walking Dead Central."
#23:..." Sorry, Dan. My idea of perfection is a voice on the phone."
#24:..."How can he go so fast? "
#25:..."You're gonna need me in the evening, you just don't know it yet. "
#26:..."There are many strange legends in the Amazon."
#27:..."That's so sweet it's painful. "
#28:..." OH! How lovely! Nobody knows it's my birthday! I've stopped counting..."
#29:..."I believe I will go back to the Double Bar B Ranch..."
#30: (SUDDEN DEATH) ..."Do not venture outside"
BONUS:..."Not true! My hair stinks! This dress stinks! Look, this whole thing is disgusting! These sleeves on this go back and forth! What am I gonna do? "
2. Night of the Living Dead
4. Rosemary's Baby
5. The Invisible Man
6. The Devil's Rejects
7. Chopping Mall
8. Dawn of the Dead
9. The Guardian
11.Day of the Dead
13.Friday the 13th
17.Trilogy of Terror
18.Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
19.The Company of Wolves
22.Children of the Living Dead
25.Carnival of Souls
26.Creature From The Black Lagoon
27.Day of the Woman AKA I Spit on Your Grave
29.Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula
30.Night of the Living Dead
On Halloween night, I was struck with the slightest bit of inspiration. I spotted my Michael Myers mask and thought of how perfect it would look with my first costume in Adding Machine - my prison garb. I grabbed the mask and stashed it in my bag.
When I was entirely ready for the show, I grabbed the mask, put it on and stalked about backstage in the dark.
Needless to say I scared several cast members and crew.
To quote the original movie, Halloween,
"It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare."