Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - My Ipod's top 10

Well, here is probably one of the most random and nerdy top ten songs possible. I got this list by going to my Itunes and clicking on the "most played" option....and here are my ten most listened to songs in 2012. The only place I really listen to my ipod is while I am showering, which makes this list even more embarrassing.  If you ever needed confirmation that I am gay, here it is...

10.) Night and Day - Fred Astaire - Yes, the Cole Porter classic that closed the Cole Porter review that I wrote this past fall. I have always been obsessed with Fred Astaire, and this orchestration of the song is one of the sexiest that I have heard. My favorite moment that I made sure we recreated in our version at Creative Cauldron is when Fred sings, "In the roaring traffic's boom - " - and then there is one bass drum hit and silence, until he comes back with the next lyric totally acapella.  That is what I call sexy.

9.) Rob Me Blind - Jay Brannan - Gay singer/songwriter, Jay Brannan released a new album this year, and this is the title track off of it. The orchestration of this song is haunting, and the video that Jay released is even more effective, concerning a fantasy in one's head constructed after a random glance in an elevator. We have seen Jay perform live twice now, and have fallen in love with his music and lyrics.

8.) Tear in Your Hand - Tori Amos - Yes, a 90's throwback, and not the last one on this top 10 list. One of my favorite songs off of Tori's classic debut album. It's all about the lyrics here. Tori paints some incredibly evocative pictures with her words.  This song features one of my favorite Tori lyrics - "I'm cutting my hands up every time I touch you.". I mean....come on...

7.) Blue Gardenia - Dinah Washington - My absolute favorite Dinah Washington song, and one of my favorite songs, period. Not only are Dinah's vocals as sterling as ever, but the analogy of this song's lyrics is haunting. This woman's narrative compares herself to a corsage made of blue gardenias that has been tossed aside after a night out. "I lived for an hour...what more can I tell? Love bloomed like a flower, then the petals fell..."

6.) Original Sin - Taylor Dayne - Maybe one of the more embarrassing entries in my top ten. It hails from 1994's soundtrack to The Shadow, this song is terrible, tick-tacky, and I love every cheesy second of it.  I have no idea why.  The lyrics are terrible. The orchestrations are terrible. And I can't get enough of it. Thank you for this turd, Taylor Dayne.

5.) Snow - Matt Conner - One of the most gorgeous instrumental pieces that I have ever heard.  This is from Matt's first album, Winter.  Right after the album was released, I went home to Pennsylvania, and as it began to snow, put the song on and shot this video. Watching the birds and the snow are always  the images I see in my head when I hear this song. Breathtaking.

4.) Rumor Has It - Adele - When we look back on the past 2 years, Adele has dominated the charts with her modern classic album, 21.  This album will enter into the best albums of all time. This track happened to be the most played from the past year.

3.) Paper Bag - Fiona Apple - A throwback from 99/2000, this amazing song centers on a woman who knows "she is a mess that he doesn't want to clean up...". In any Fiona Apple song, lyrics are the main star, and this song is no exception. "I've got to fold cause these arms are too shaky to hold, hunger hurts, but starving works; when it costs too much to love." And watch the brilliant video, also one of my favorite music videos.

2.) All Over the World - Xanadu Original Broadway Cast - Yes, perhaps one of the gayer entries on my list...;.and how embarrassing that it is number 2. Yes, I may sing this in the shower.  Yes, I may dance as well. Yes, it is all Matt Gardiner and Signature Theatre's fault for staging a brilliant production of the show and making me obsessed.

1.) I'm Addicted - Madonna - Hailing from her latest album, MDNA, the sentiment of this minor key dance song is nothing new.  Robert Palmer explored the same idea in the 80's with girls in black dresses and their hair pulled back. The idea of being addicted to one's love has been around.  But, I don't go to Madonna's songs for lyrics.  I go to her songs to dance. This was one of the most exciting tracks off of her latest album, and clearly the one that I wanted to jam out to in the shower the most.

SO there is my very gay shower playlist. You can die happy now that you know that information. Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life Upon the Wicked Stage - 2012

 2012 was a blessing, filling my schedule with many different theatrical adventures, all of which I was lucky to be a part of. I started my year with the conclusion of the highly successful run of Hairspray at Signature Theatre. Corny Collins was a dream role of mine, and I am so thankful that I got the chance to play around with him.
Favorite moment: The top of Nicest Kids in Town, where I got to fulfill my TV host entrance fantasies.
 The next adventure took me to Tsar-ist Russia. The cross dressing, murderous Prince Felix Yusupov was my next stop. This guy was sooooo much fun. He is one of my favorite twisted gentlemen that I have ever played.  Between the ridiculously high high heels, the asymmetrical coat and hair, the press on nail, and the insane excess of "The Good Life", he was always interesting and fun to live inside of. Dana Rowe and John Dempsey created a terrific piece of theatre that I truly hope lives on.
Favorite moment: The big 4 male voice harmony part in "Good Life" when Russell, Kevin, Chris Mueller and I sang "This is What You Call the Good Life" as we stood and toasted with our champagne. Terribly decadent and ridiculously rockin'.

 I then had the honor of covering all three men in First You Dream, the Music of Kander and Ebb at The Kennedy Center. It was a wonderful learning experience, and was a challenge to learn all three of these intricate vocal parts and dances.  I love a challenge, and this was definitely the biggest challenge thrown my way in a long time.  I hadn't understudied in quite a long time, and the last time that I swung a show was for The World Goes 'Round at Round House back in 2005. While I never had to go on, unlike my fellow swing, Eleasha Gamble, I was ready at the drop of a hat to tag into the show. Eleasha and I had a monitor in the rehearsal room, so we basically did the show along with the show in the rehearsal room every night. What a dream job.  Being paid to sing in a room with Eleasha all evening. We used to do that at my house for free back in the day!
Favorite Moment: So many...James Clow singing "My Own Space", Matthew Scott singing anything, Heidi and Leslie's hysterical "Apple Doesn't Fall Very Far from the Tree", and, since I am partial to Heidi, having worked with her before - virtually anytime she opened her mouth and sang was my favorite moment in FYD. From her frantic and desperate "Sing Happy", to her Hysterical "Ring Them Bells", to her triumphant "Maybe This Time"...this woman needs to be a gigantic star right this very minute.
 I had my seventh cabaret at Signature Theatre this summer. It was entitled "Naked", and dealt with my relationship with Matt Conner, and our upcoming wedding. Oh, and I took my clothes off. The glorious Steven Walker was my only accompaniment, and the amazing Karissa Swanigan sang back ups and solos with me. It was my most personal cabaret to date, and the most brutally honest one that I have ever done.  But it was also the most rewarding.
Favorite Moment: Opening number -   a re-vamped, up tempo and rock infused cover of Paula Abdul's "Rush, Rush".
Late summer brought with it a trip to Miss Mona's. I got to cross another thing off my bucket list by being an Aggie Boy in The Best Little Whore House in Texas at Signature Theatre. Talk about a challenge! The Aggie Song was the most challenging dance that I have ever been a part of. Choreographers Karma and Brianne Camp constructed a rigorous and athletic testosterone fest for us, as we stripped down to jockstraps out of our football uniforms and into cowboy gear. I have also never been THAT naked on stage, so there was another first! This was a fantastic cast, and was a fun group to be with.  Talk about having to be TOTALLY comfortable with your cast members! Being naked and simulating sex is definitely an ice breaker!!! Near the end of the run, I fractured my right second and third toes during the Aggie Song. I finished out the two show day (of course it had to happen on a Sunday matinee) and then was out of the show for a week.  I have never been out of a show for that long, and it was awful. to be away from it. I rejoined the show for the final week, and we closed the show out with a bang.
Favorite Moment: SOOOOOO many...the chasse cross in the Aggie Song, 24 hours of Lovin', The Raid, watching Dan Manning every night try to make us laugh in The Sidestep, the backstage Bus from Amarillo nude interpretive dance (don't ask), Tom Simpson singing "Good Old Girl", Sherri singing "You were a Friend to Me".

The toes in question. Yep. I broke my own toes by dancing too hard.
During the final weeks of Whorehouse, my limits were put to test in many ways. While doing the show, I was researching, writing, and assimilating a brand new Cole Porter review at Creative Cauldron, which I also directed, with choreography by Kara Tameika Watkins, and Co-Direction and script editing by Laura Connors Hull. Inhabiting the spirits of Cole and Linda Porter were the fabulous Carolyn Cole and Sean Thompson. This little review was magical.  I wanted it to be more than just another shitty review, and give it the framework of a little more theatricality, and some dancing as well. The song selection was the hardest task. When dealing with the canon of Cole Porter's music, it is so difficult to narrow the song list down to a finite number. I loved what we ended up with...many familiar Cole songs, with a nice smattering of rarely heard Cole songs, some of which no recordings can be found of! Carolyn and Sean did marvelous and touching work bringing this odd couple to life, and Kara Tameika Watkins created a gorgeous tango and fox trot for them to sweep the stage with.

Favorite Moment: Too many. Sean singing "I'm a Gigolo", Carolyn singing "Love for Sale", both of them singing "Well, Did You Evah?" - and watching the sultry tango of "So in Love", and the romantic and sweeping fox trot of "Night and Day".


My final project of 2012 tried its best to test not only my limits, but my sanity. The first musical that I have ever written, and that I wrote with my partner, Matt Conner - had it's world premiere at Kensington Arts Theatre. I directed the show, alongside Co-Director and every woman, Jenna Ballard. So, to keep things in focus, I was performing in Whorehouse, researching, writing, and directing Cole Porter, and in rehearsal for NightoftheLivingDead at the same time.  I felt like I was working on Cole Porter's "Whorehouse of the Living Dead". It has been my dream to see this show realized on stage, and I am glad that I got to direct the maiden voyage, so I could edit the script on it's feet to make future directors lives MUCH easier when the direct this show. So much good work was done, and I am so proud of my amazing cast and crew. The show was an intense roller-coaster of a show. I didn't breathe for an hour every time I saw it. It ain't The Music Man, that's for sure.
Favorite Moment: do I single one out? Maya Gensler as Karen, tracing her father's blood stain along the wall with her finger, the killer fight scene between Ben and Harry, the boards flying off the walls in the final sequence, Susanna Todd as Helen doing just about anything, Karissa Swanigan Upchurch's devastating "Johnny and Me", Ben Simpson and Susanna Todd singing "Drive", RaMond Thomas doing just about anything, Leslie Vincent and Stephen Hock's fantastic scene and song of "What You Say". The entire cast in the opening, 2:50am, and the finale was breathtaking.

I want to thank everyone who had anything to do with any single one of these shows. I am very blessed to have been a part of them, and am forever grateful for my continued employment! May the new year bring you much success and happiness!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mea Culpa

Oh dear readers (if any are still out there), forgive me, for I have sinned.  My last blog entry was 3 months ago. Well, much has happened. Cole Porter opened and closed to wonderful reviews, and a Helen Hayes Reccomendation. I was beyond proud.  I loved the show so much, and the performances that Carolyn Cole and Sean Thompson gave were magnificent. Whorehouse went chugging along well, until I fractured two toes near the end of September.  It happened in the middle of the Aggie dance on a matinee.  I finished out both shows (it was a Sunday), then on Monday I went to Urgent Care and got the x-rays proving the two fractures were indeed there. I was out of the show for around a week.
I almost went crazy laying flat on my back for the off time. I should have blogged then, but I was too busy in LivingDead world. The show was in the middle of rehearsals, and I was revising the book, and obsessing over it. And watching Walking Dead, The New Normal, and American Horror Story; Asylum. I finished out the last week of the show, then opened LivingDead, and obsessed over it for the entire run. The run was helpful for me to watch and learn from.  I had an amazing cast, and was very proud of the work we did. The show was well reviewed, and I am still revising it for it's next appearance in St. Louis this coming Fall. The good news is that I am not applying major surgery to the piece, as after the first reading, but merely nips and tucks.

After LivingDead was done, I have gone back to my 3 day/night jobs (teaching/walking dogs/bartending). I choreographed a dance sequence for Creative Cauldron's production of "Christmas Cabin of Carnaween", which was reviewed well - "Driven gently ahead by excellent storytelling, folksy singing, and surprisingly good Irish-style dancing in a tiny space, this little production does the job explaining the reason for the season."
I was also featured in a tv spot on the after school classes that I teach.
After (thank GOD) President Obama was re-elected, and in our planning of our June wedding, I was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun about considering Maryland as a wedding location. We are still undecidied, and will probably wait until after the holidays to finalize plans.
The next theatrical project that I have in the pipeline is directing "Thunder Knocking on the Door" at Creative Cauldron this coming Spring. I saw this show at Arena Stage about 10 times in 1998, and am so excited to bring it back to the Washington area.
I am back in the blogging world, I promise. I will be doing year end wrap ups for the next few weeks leading up to 2013. Thank you to anyone who still reads this and gives a shit.
Talk soon, xoxoxoSGS