Friday, October 06, 2017

Stomping Ground Theatre Company's Cabaret

Last weekend was LUSH!

I got to sing for Stomping Ground Theatre Company's cabaret, celebrating their 1st Anniversary in New York City! What an incredible amount of work this company has done in a year, and they're zooming into the next one!

They focus not only on new musicals, but on productions that empower people and tell stories from the heart. Thus, they got the rights to and produced Steel Magnolias last Spring, and I had the good fortune of playing Truvy! What an honor!


Then they did the new musical, Strike, based on the true story of Barbara Johns, a high school junior show led the entire student body of Robert Russa Moto high School to walk out in protest of their school's conditions.


And now they're producing "Christmas Letters," a musical they did a reading of last Fall. It'll be in full production for this Christmas :)


A song from that show was featured in the cabaret SGT hosted last weekend, and, to quote my husband, "The cabaret blew me away! Every single performer was unique and brimming with talent!"

There were 17 songs and 1 stand-up piece, the latter of which was done by Katie Donnelly, who played Annelle in Steel Magnolias (below left). She is off-the-charts funny, and I'm so honored I got to share the stage with her! More Magnolias lent their talents, including Anna Laura Strider, the gorgeous redhead below, who played our Shelby and hosted the evening. Our director, Angela Shultz, (bottom right), brought the house down with her rendition of "Not Getting Married Today," and our Oiser, Rebecca Hoodwin (top right below), gave us a sweet taste of "Georgia (on my mind)."


I sang, "Yes," by Cabaret masters, Kander and Ebb.



Then I sang the duet, "Move On" with Scott Koonce from Sunday in the Park With George.


Since the cabaret was called, "Perspectives," this song fit so beautifully since it's about an artist trying to find his own way of making "something new."

As Sondheim wrote, "Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see."

Stomping Ground is conducting a fundraiser to get some headset mics for their space, so if you can, please help them MAKE SOME NOISE! Thank you!



Friday, September 29, 2017

Perspectives

I've been working on my songs for Stomping Ground Theatre Company's cabaret, Perspectives. There are a bunch of talented people performing, honoring SGT's work for the past year, and it's a joy to be on the bill with them! Scott Koonce is directing and Brett Kristofferson is our marvelous piano man. There are even a few songs of Brett’s which are being sung.


It's also a mini reunion with 4 of the Steel Magnolias, including Katie Donnelly, who rocked the house as Annelle; Rebecca Hoodwin (far right below as Oiser); our director, Angela Shultz (below right); and our Shelby, Anna Laura Strider, the gorgeous redhead in the middle, is the emcee for the cabaret.


I'm singing 2 songs for the show, and one of the things I love about singing is the homework that goes with it: practicing the music, finding how it feels to sing it, where it moves in my voice, which places need strengthening, how to let it flow. And then there's the acting part of character creation, script analysis, understanding where the song fits into the story, and how can it stand alone for a cabaret?

It's FUN! I love all that stuff! And since I have a very busy life, I'm singing wherever I can, whenever I can. Sometimes it's in a rehearsal studio with my coach. Sometimes it's at home in my bedroom. When my husband and I traveled last weekend, I was singing in the hotel room. And I'm almost always singing on the street when I walk to my support job, or classes, callbacks and auditions. It's Manhattan! I WALK! :) And I rehearse where I can! Learn where I can! Enjoy it all where I can! That's my Perspective. :)


Fittingly, I'm singing "Yes" by Kander and Ebb, which is pretty much my anthem. And I'm doing the duet, "Move On," by Stephen Sondheim.

Years ago, I posed near a replica of George Seurat's painting in Saugutuck, MI, and I dreamed of playing Dot in "Sunday in the Park with George."


Tomorrow, I get to do just that!

Isn't it marvelous how the roads we travel loop back around to something we wanted to do. It's like everything's in bloom!

Tomorrow night's performance is at 8 PM at 410 West 40th Street "behind the red door!" Tix are available at the door, and are a suggested donation of $15.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Singing in September

It has been a busy MUSICAL month! Cue Something Rotten's "It's.... a... musical!"

I kicked off September with a reading of a beautiful new musical called, Pieces. I don't know how much I can say about it, because it's so unique, and I want to respect the writers' decision of when, where and how to promote it. Suffice it to say, I fell in love with this cast in 3 days. It was incredibly special, and I was honored to be a part of it.


In the midst of "Pieces," I was called back for another musical, and got a callback for a commercial. Then received another callback for the same commercial. Woo! Now I'm hold (in the midst of "first refusal"), so I'll know next week what's what. Either way, it's been a blast!


I'm also in rehearsals for "Perspectives," a cabaret celebrating the first year of fabulousness (and next year's lineup) at Stomping Ground Theatre Company. I was fortunate to be hired by this fantastic company as Truvy in Steel Magnolias, and I'm beyond delighted to be part of the cabaret. I'm singing the joyous anthem, "Yes" by Kander and Ebb, and the duet from Sunday in the Park with George, "Move On," by Stephen Sondheim. Scott Koonce is my George :) And I'm loving every minute of it!


If you'd like to come to the cabaret, old chum, it's on Saturday September 30th at 8 PM at 410 West 40th Street (bet. 9th and 10th Ave). Suggested donation $15. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Trek

When I was on vacation a few weeks ago, there were a TON of caterpillars, and they were so delightful! These fuzzy little creatures were orange and black, and had unique variations of those two colors. They were all trekking across this dirt road to get to a field of trees, where my husband said they would build their cocoons.


Then I got back to Manhattan, and I've been seeing butterflies everywhere, even on people!


So I asked myself, Which stage are you in? Are you making the trek to create your cocoon, or is it time to acknowledge your wings, to open them and FLY? Right now, it's that last one, and I feel like I'm just opening my wings, testing them, knowing I have to take a leap and trust that I can fly!



There are many stages of life in which I'll go through The Trek, The Cocoon, and The Flight, and I want to celebrate it ALL!

Hope you are too! :)






Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering 9/11/01

It's hard to believe that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell 16 years ago because of a terrorist attack. But I was here. And I remember all too well.


Do you remember where you were?

I was on my way to my corporate support job in midtown. I had just gotten back from CA, and didn't have any auditions that day, so I didn't have to run around Manhattan as I usually do. I was walking across town, and I remember chatting with a friend on the phone. Suddenly, fire trucks were flying by, and when I looked down Broadway, I could see smoke coming from one of the towers. We didn't know what had happened at that point. It seemed like a terrible accident, and I remember thinking, as the FDNY zoomed downtown, "Our boys will be able to take care of it." I've known folks in the fire department, and know how incredibly well trained they are, and I have immense respect for them. None of us knew they'd be driving headlong into this:


By the time I got to work at 9:26 AM, the 2nd plane had struck, and my boss told me it was a terrorist attack. He sent us home shortly thereafter, and by then, the first tower had collapsed.

The city was covered in ash, and everyone was walking around like a zombie. Cell phones didn't work. That was the one time a landline came in handy, so we could talk to family and friends when we got to a landline.

It was such a horrible day, and I think of all those who lost their lives, all of those people so terribly affected by the tragedy. The attacks caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and injured 6000 others. Nearly 80,000 people have registered health issues - cancer, respiratory ailments, and more - 16 years later.

We have to look out for each other. Take care of each other. And be aware.

#NeverForget


Thursday, September 07, 2017

All At Once

My friend and fellow actress, Polly McKie, posted this recently:


Ain't that the truth? Auditions and gigs seem to come all at once!

This week, I was called in for a commercial, and had a BLAST! I got to share one of my secret passions onscreen: I'm a Gamer Girl! :)


Then I went into rehearsals for a reading of a new musical called, "Pieces." I'm not sure how much I can share about it, because it's a really special piece, so I'll just say it's been a thrill to work on this intricate music and beautiful story. I'm thrilled to be a part of it!

I perform in "Pieces" tonight as part of a reading for producers, so I have my outfit, my music and script. I also have an audition today for a musical comedy, which requires a completely different outfit, script and music, so I'm wearing both theatre masks today!


And it's such a joy to say, I'm a working actor in NYC! :) Woo!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Old Friends, New Projects

It's been a warm and wonderful summer with lots of gigs that have allowed me to reconnect with artists I've worked with over the years. And how delicious is that, to work with people I just ADORE!

It started with a trip back to The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun where I got to re-team with the divine Tracey Gilbert in a concert for producer George DeMarco.



Then I got to groove with Darg and Rayne, whom I had worked with on Sasquatched, which premiered at the NY Musical Theatre Festival. They asked me to record my big Park Ranger song, which was such a delight!


Then I made my debut at Signature Theatre, a fabulous Off Broadway house, in The Pound (another Darg and Rayne musical) with these puppies! ;)


I got to stretch my dramedy muscles in a non-musical reading about long-time mistresses called "Other Women" by Bryan D. Leys. I worked with Bryan Off Broadway on Hell's Belles, produced by the tenacious Weiss sisters of Tweiss Productions. That's me an Eileen Weiss below after a concert at the Abingdon Theatre.


And I got to work with Ellen Z. Wright, whom I also worked with Off Broadway in Johnny On A Spot. It was a blast working with Ellen, because we'd played adversaries in Johnny, but secret lovers in Other Women.


Last but not least, I'm going into a reading of a new musical called, Pieces, written by Kristen Penner and Lorelei MacKenzie, whom I worked with last year on Pageant Princess.


I look at all of these incredible artists, and I'm so thankful our paths keep winding together.