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.


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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Stories with PRIDE

When I was a kid, I was a tomboy. Totally rough 'n tumble, getting scraped knees, climbing trees. I was an adventurer! And on the flip side of this, or maybe the perfect complement of this, was my love for the library. I was from a small town, so the one place which held the treasures of The World - and experience outside of my small town - was the library! There was a special section for kids, which was very colorful, and once I'd riffed my way through "Little Women," I went into the more grown-up part of the library. This was where I found my haven: PLAYS!

It was a small section. I don't think it took up an entire rack, but I read what I could, and this is where I found Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour."

This play was terribly distressful, as I'm sure was Ms. Hellmann's intent, but as a kid, I wondered, Why were the kids so nasty? Why did one of the teachers, Martha, feel such shame for loving her friend that she ended up taking drastic measures to end her suffering?

It's something that stayed with me, and when I moved to NYC and was cast as Jeanine, the title character in "The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun," I recognized this same pattern of hiding love because of shame. It was heart-breaking! And while "The Nun" was a musical, it indeed had a tragic love story about two women coming to terms with "the love that dare not speak its name."

(Tracey Gilbert in girlscout-wear above played Annie, Jeanine's partner of many years. We reunited to sing some demos for composer Andy Monroe and his musical The Kid, which was a great, modern love story about real-life-writer and LGBTQ activist, Dan Savage, his partner, and their quest to have a child.)

These stories took place from the 1930s to 1980s, so I hoped the Millennium would find "love triumphant" for men and women with same sex partners. I KNEW these stories existed in real life! I had friends in the 90s who had very loving healthy relationships with same sex partners, and they were some of the best relationships I'd ever seen!

So when I got to play Alice B. Toklas in Hell's Belles the Musical, I was delighted to learn about women from the early 1900s who lived an openly gay life in Paris.

I did two productions of the show Off Broadway, so I had two "Gerties": Rachel O'Malley (brunette on the left) and Deb Radloff (brunette on the right). Both lovely ladies! And it was interesting to see how the production went from having Gert 'n Alice in top hats and tails (very George and Gracie) to a Coupla Swells in comfortable shoes! Either way, it was fabulous fun, and we brought down the house every time!

The turn of the screw for the real Gert and Alice (below) was that when Gertrude Stein died, their union wasn't recognized by the Law, so all of Stein's possessions, including paintings by their famous friend Picasso, were taken by Stein's relatives. Alice died in poverty.

So when Marriage Equality finally came into play, I celebrated BIG TIME with my friends because so many unions could FINALLY be recognized!

There's still a long road to hoe, because many same-sex couples are still turned away from vendors when they want to invest in their weddings, and that blows my mind. One of my favorite playwrights, Bekah Brunstetter is writing a new play about a lesbian couple turned away from a bakery. It's called, The Cake. And my friends, Dwayne Heisler and Chris Defrain (above right) were initially denied their marriage license until the  Supreme Court ruling for Marriage Equality.

Theatrically, I'm happy to say, I'm seeing more LGBTQ love stories coming to the fore. I was part of a lesbian love triangle in the sketch-comedy-with-karoke, "Petunia's Coffee House."

My character DAR, became a bit of a hero for me, because she didn't take shit from anyone! She was based on Melissa Ethridge, the motorcycle mamas that lead the Pride March, Thelma and Louise, Stevie Nicks, and Jim Morrison.

Speaking of heroes, one of my favorite actor-playwrights, Joe Gulla, has performed several of his works at Joe's Pub, including The Bronx Queen, and the upcoming Faggy at 50.

I met Joe a few years ago when he was casting his play, Garbo. I didn't get the gig, but he kept calling me back for other projects, and last summer we did a reading of his play, "Sleeping With The Fish" at the LGBTQ Center.

I was the observer of a love affair between two mobsters, and let me tell you: It was delicious!

So where would we be without these stories, these beautiful stories of love and pride? Love is part of every human experience, and I hope we continue to grow with PRIDE in each other, and recognize that everyone deserves equal rights.

With thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda. :)