Sunday, August 02, 2015

Unlikely Heroes

I love this age of unlikely heroes. Like Ant Man where an ex-con makes good as the tiniest superhero of all!

Great cast by the way. Michael Pena had me ROLLIN!

Or Trainwreck, which I'm still reeling from. SO funny but also incredibly heartfelt.

I was watching HBO's "Making of: Trainwreck," and it was mentioned several times how Amy Schumer and Bill Hader are usually playing "the best friend" of the leads, but this movie focuses on them as the leads, and I love it! Thank you, Judd Apatow!

For an actor like me, that's good news, because I always play The Wild Card, someone out of the norm. Like Rita in "Lucky Stiff": a near-sighted mob wife who tries to kill her lover and then goes on a wild-goose chase through Europe to find him and win him back.

Or in "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun," I played Jeanine, a Belgian girl who falls in love with another girl before entering the convent, writes a hit song, and then leaves the convent to be with the woman she loves.

It's time for our stories. And boy, do I realize I need to get back into writing them!

Write on! :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Rainbow City

With the Supreme Court's decision to declare Marriage Equality in all 50 States - HOORAY! - the entire island of Manhattan has rainbows springing up everywhere! I feel like Dorothy: "We must be over the rainbow!" :)

 There are so many couples who are now going to be able to legally benefit from this ruling. As a friend of mine said, "FINALLY!"

 I've been thinking about lesbian characters I've played over the years, and how they'd celebrate this momentous occasion. Darlene in "Petunia's Coffee House" would definitely be partying!

Jeanine Deckers and her partner, Annie, would be singing in some spiritual sanctuary.

I played Jeanine, AKA the Singing Nun, in the NYMF show, "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun" written by Blair Fell and composed by Andy Monroe. Jeanine leaves the convent to be with her long-time lover, Annie, but the two are beset by such challenges... they can't make it through (below with Tracey Gilbert as Annie). With governmental support, their story might have been very different.

There was also an amazing HBO film in 2000, "If These Walls Could Talk 2" about lesbian couples, and the most powerful story was embodied by Vanessa Redgrave and Marion Seldes who played a couple who had been together for decades. When the partner who owns the house dies, the other partner has no claim to the place or the things she's shared with her lover for 30 years, and she is asked to leave.

Marriage Equality will prevent that from happening.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Quest for the Perfect Take

I recently met a lovely casting director who advised, "In this world of (self-taped) auditions, everyone is searching for the Perfect Take."

This was timely advice considering I filmed 4 video auditions last week. 2 were for the big networks (woo!) and 2 were callbacks for web series (woo too)!

I learned a lot, specifically how hard it is to get The Perfect Take, but I had a ton of fun, and look forward to doing more, constantly working to improve my process. "This is my quest."

Below is a comic take about The Last Couple on Earth. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wonderful Writers

This has been a busy month for me, working on new projects by wonderful writers I'm lucky to know! :)

On May 4, I had the honor of singing in a cabaret honoring female writers of musical theatre:

Clare Cooper
asked me to sing one of her pieces from her show with Bryan D. Leys, "How to Marry a Divorced Man." This re-teamed me with Richard Binder, who's played my husband in many shows! In this piece, we played exes who have a tender moment, much to the chagrin of his new love interest, played by Tiffan Borelli, who also rocked a song from "Urban Momfare" by Pamela Weiler Grayson:

Then, on May 18, I played a sister mourning the loss of her brother in Rob Cardazone's new play, Terribly and In Private. It's an exquisite 5 character play that re-teamed me with my "Petunia" co-star, Wayne Henry, and gave me the opportunity to work with Andrew Schulz, whom I met in Heidi Marshall's on-camera class. Andrew is an incredible actor from The Actors Studio who recommended me to my current acting coach, Susan Aston.

Rob was mentored by Romulus Linney (father to Laura Linney) and Arlene Hutton, whom I met when I auditioned for her play, Gulf View Drive. Small world! Rob and I worked together a gazillion years ago at the PA Renaissance Faire, which was the basis for his play, "Ren Rats," which premiered at the Hunter Playwright Festival in 2013. Reading a play like Terribly and In Private took me back to my drama roots and was such a delicious piece to dive into! Hope to do so again soon!

Friday, April 17, 2015

More Fun with Film

Inspired by the scene I shot for the indie film, "Child's Play," I wanted to keep working that cinematic muscle, so I signed up for Heidi Marshall's 4 week on-camera class. I've worked with Heidi before, and was looking for a window in my schedule to open so I could take her Part 2 session. It was just what I needed!

We started with a scene called "Nice Apology" where I played a big sister on the eve of her wedding, struggling with her baby sister's recovery from addiction.

Then I got to do a scene from one of my favorite films, The Way Way Back. In this scene, the mom, Pam, has to tell her 14 year old son that they're leaving the beach house early, so they can head back home with her boyfriend who's cheated on her.

It was a really great experience, researching scripts and finding my groove. So much good writing out there! Can't wait to do more!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Filming in the Snow

A few weeks ago, on March 2nd to be precise, I filmed a scene for the independent film, "Child's Play." It's a family drama about a little boy obsessed with trains and time. I play a local news reporter who appears near the end of the film.... which happens to take place in the snow.

I've filmed in snow before for an NYU short called "Every Day." But that was a psychological thriller which took place inside a 3 story house. My scene for "Child's Play" was filmed outside in a few feet of snow, and it was absolutely exhilarating!

I met the cast and crew in Newfoundland, NJ at the train station which was used in the beautiful film, "The Station Agent," written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, starring one of my favorite actors: Peter Dinklage. It was such a treat to be working in the same place as that great film!

The cast and crew of Child's Play was AMAZING. They'd been filming in the snow for three days, and they were absolutely tenacious in their positivity and professionalism. I can't wait to see the final result, because just for my scene they tried so many different angles and lenses. It was such a unique experience, meant to put the viewer into all sorts of different shoes.

I met the director and writer, Aleksandra Szczepanowska, a few years ago in a class taught by Playwrights Horizons' casting director, Alaine Alldaffer. Somehow Aleksandra remembered me and brought me in for this role in her film. It was an honor to work with her and the superb crew. Alyssa Fulmer and Julia Warner are the producers. Patrick Linberg, Director of Photography, pictured above with Aleksandra, was so cool! Everyone was amazing!

So now, as I trek out into this snowy day that's supposed to be the first day of Spring, I'm reminded of the cast and crew of "Child's Play," with whom I made a movie in the wintery weather, and I take heart. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In the Groove

I feel like I'm in a really good place in my life. Every day, I get to dive into a script - whether it's a working on a monologue for auditions, rehearsing a scene for acting class (I work with the sensational Susan Aston), or crafting a scene for a film. I love it! It's all part of my daily routine.

Today I'm working on songs for upcoming auditions, and I find the prep work is very similar to crafting a scene or monologue. It's all about communication (as well as the sustained notes, but you now what I mean). What does the character need in that moment? What are the circumstances? And all of that deep-diving stuff that comes with researching a play, screenplay or musical. It's all about the story, bringing what I can bring to the character, and letting it flow through me. I love getting into the groove of it all!

To "get in the groove " means to enter into the spirit of the situation or circumstance of the moment. The groove is really the track on an old record in which the needle of the record player had to ride in order to reproduce the music--so the meaning is figurative. Gorgeous pic below by James Woody.