Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Of course, there are marvelous moments of serenity and beauty. I braved the elements last weekend to go to FAO Schwarz toystore for my nephew, and it was the most wonderful adventure. I haven't been over there in a few years and it was a treat to see how beautifully decorated the store was. There was a mystical menagerie right in the center of the store with plush dragons, unicorns, griffons, pegasi...
The dragons had to be over 20 feet tall! They even had a Harry Potter store which was just like stepping into Hogwarts!
It completely brought out the kid in me! Which come to think of... aren't kids always pretending to be superheroes anyway?
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a cool Yule, and a very Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I also had a neat growth spurt today. I've been working on music for the upcoming audition for Jerry Springer the Opera, soon to play at Carnegie Hall. The call is for a woman who can belt to the heavens, and the gal who set the bar was an Australian singer named Alison Jier. She belts a high G# (sharp) which is super super high. So I've been working on it, because I belt a G in my rendition of "Piece of My Heart" (another nod to Janis). Well, today, while working on "Once Upon a Time" from Brooklyn the Musical, which ends on a G#, I hit that high note. Hit it and didn't hurt myself, which is an accomplishment. :) Just let it ride.
Feel like I'm bustin' loose!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Monday was marvelous. I sang in the Kaufman Center's Bound for Broadway Concert, which was held at the lovely Times Center since the Kaufman Center is being renovated. The Times Center is part of the new NY Times building and it is gorgeous! Beautiful on the outside and sumptuous on the inside! There's even a little garden of trees and grass right in the middle! Astounding!
The concert itself was such a treat! There I was, sharing the green room (actors lounge) with Broadway stars Mary Testa, Chip Zien, Kelly O'Hara and Jan Maxwell, not to mention the wonderful writers and other up-and-coming performers. Everyone was really focused, and while the mood was buoyed with laughter and good-natured jokes, everyone was there to do the best job they could.
Our Singing Nun group consisted of Tracey Gilbert, who plays my love interest, book writer Blair Fell and composer Andy Monroe. We seemed to hit it off with the Ever After writers, Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, who were BMI Musical Theatre alumni like Andy and Blair. They were lovely ladies, warm and funny, and their musical based on the Drew Barrymore movie, Ever After, was AMAZING! The concert ended with their presentation, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
5 new musicals were showcased: The Next Thing You Know, The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, The Road to Qatar, Vanities, and Ever After. Liz Callaway hosted the concert, and she was WONDERFUL! Sweet, funny and engaging, she interviewed the composers, writers and directors prior to each performance. She also performed the last song of the evening from Ever After.
We were 2nd to perform, and Andy and Blair spoke a little bit about the real Singing Nun and her history, which had inspired them to write the show. They had the audience in stitches! And all I can say is, "Truth is stranger than fiction."
Then I took the stage to sing Jeanine's (aka the Singing Nun's) opening number, "Don't Be Afraid , Adele." It's about her journey to the convent, and she sings the song to her guitar, which she has named, "Adele," her mascot and inanimate best friend.
The audience was so with me on this ride, sharing the laughter and love. There is something so magical about that connection between a live audience and a performer. It's a communion of sorts, and I felt like we were in sync. It was wonderful!
Next, Tracey Gilbert sang, "I'll Follow You," which is a love song that starts adolescent but gets much more adult in terms of the depths a person will go to for the one they love. And we finished up with the duet "Offer It Up to God," which was Jeanine's actual idea of how to handle the love these two women were feeling. "All of the shame that we dare not name... we'll just offer it up to God."
It was an absolute blast and the audience seemed to have a good time. When I went out for the reception later, a lot of folks came up to me, saying, "Hey! Singing Nun!" The response was big, warm and very encouraging. :)
One of the cool things that came out of this is the director John Znidarsic, who was the stage director for the concert, called me in for the new musical, Hell's Belles. I auditioned and booked the show! Received the script today, and it looks like so much fun! I'll be performing Jan. 16-27, 2008. "Proud Mary keep on rollin!"
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
That's how this past Sunday was for me. I awoke to find snowflakes drifting past my windows, and was absolutely delighted to see all the NY rooftops covered with white. It was a light dusting and wasn't rumored to stick, so I threw on my big coat and snowboots and went dashing through the snow. :)
My sweetheart and I gathered some pine boughs and wreaths for our apartment, courtesy of our favorite bodega/grocery/flower-stand. Then we hurried home as the snow was already turning to icy rain and spent the rest of the day decking our halls with holiday trimmings.
This weekend I also rehearsed my Singing Nun songs and scenes for the Bound for Broadway concert. It was great to get back into this character a year later. I've grown a lot since then and it was neat to discover some new things about Jeanine, the Singing Nun, and her experience with her world. Really cool stuff.
More to come!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tonight I'm singing a song from The Kid by Andy Monroe and Jack Lechner for the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) "Smoker." This workshop showcases new writers and their works and has that whole "about to ignite" factor. Very cool.
I'm just jazzed to be singing music I really love. Andy's tunes have this way of getting into your heart and mind and they're so much FUN! This song from The Kid is called "Deep Process" and it's about a lesbian couple exploring the process that goes into any important decision (like having a baby). It's really funny and can be applied to any couple in the midst of those big life lessons.
The music is in the realm of The Indigo Girls meet Melissa Ethridge. And I love that I get to let my growly rock side out. ROAR! :)
Then after "The Smoker," I head to Jen Rudolph's Film/TV workshop for our showcase with NBC casting director Katja Blichfeld. I have a scene from 30 Rock, and it's really fun and funny.
Seems to be the theme of the day. :)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I am so grateful for the abundance of goodness in my life, made meaningful by getting to share it with my sweetheart, friends and family. Thanksgiving seems particularly poignant, giving thanks for all the love, laughter, good health and happiness that abound!
There's also an interesting bit of serendipity in that I just discovered I'll be performing in the Bound for Broadway concert with Mary Testa, the actress who originated the role of Rita in Lucky Stiff. Since I just came from playing that role at Mason Street Warehouse, I can't help but marvel at the coincidence.
Playbill.com is covering the Bound for Broadway concert, and I'm feeling positively buoyant to be sharing the stage with such incredible artists. I mean, I saw Chip Zien in Into the Woods when I was kid! And now... I'm getting to perform in the same concert with these folks... singing a role I love... Wow!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Now I’m back in rehearsals for The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, prepping for the Bound for Broadway Concert December 3rd, and I am so thrilled to get back into the habit of Jeanine aka Sister Smile, the Singing Nun. The show is a fun mix of fact and fantasy, and it’s a great tale of this woman’s journey to find spirituality, love and acceptance. Really big themes. And the 3 scenes/songs we’re doing for the concert give a nice preview of the show as a whole.
Since Sister Smile was a real person, I’ve been going back to my notes, reacquainting myself with her. In rehearsals, it’s all coming back very quickly, because I’m remembering what I had learned about Jeanine when I did the show last year, and finding a new understanding as well. Digging deep. I love it!
Everyone has been remarking on how much “heart” there is in this show. There is a lot of broad humor and irony, but most importantly, are the matters of the heart. And the music pulses with that beat... which is wonderful!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Last night we worked on dramatic scenes, which reminded me of the short film I did last year called Divine Intervention. With the camera right on your face, a little goes a long way, so there's no need to be larger than life. Theatre demands an extra amount of fireworks and energy while film is so wonderfully subtle. Just breathing, being present, letting the writer's words guide you (and there are SUCH wonderful writers out there)... its such a pleasure!
I was also reminded of something another acting teacher had told me, that every scene is a love scene. I noticed this in all of the scenes last night. Even though there was a great deal of conflict with various characters fighting and families and friends at odds, all of these scenes had humanity and heart and small touches of humor. Good writing, as I said. And I marveled at how art expands our hearts and our minds.
It is so cool to be doing this, to be finding freedom and truth and inspiration in my art... in all of its forms! From film and TV to music and theatre. Follow your muse!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
First is BMI's Musical Theatre Fall "Smoker," a semi-annual showcase that focuses on new musicals that seem about to ignite. I'm singing a song from The Kid, a new musical based on the novel by Dan Savage, and it's a fun song called "Deep Process." I performed it in October with my Singing Nun co-star, Tracey Gilbert, and the music is by Nun composer, Andy Monroe. We were invited back for the Smoker which is going to be a blast!
The Smoker is on Thursday Nov. 29th at 5:30 PM in BMI's 3rd Floor Media Room on 320 W. 57th St. I believe it's open to the public.
Then there's the Bound for Broadway Concert on Monday December 3rd. The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun was chosen to be amongst 5 new musicals presented, and I am absolutely thrilled to reprise the role of Jeanine, the little Belgian girl who becomes the Singing Nun. So much fun!
Word is that the show is already sold out, but here's the info just in case:
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Benny was a master at physical comedy and was great at inspiring the cast to explore our characters' full range of physical expression. A great teacher, I still remember him painstakingly teaching me to juggle beanbags, and I LOVED our trampoline work. I remember doing a somersault off the trampoline, and as he spotted me, I accidentally nicked him with my nails, and he said, "Those have to go!" But he was very patient, fun-loving and kind-hearted. He touched my life forever.
Kudos and great respect to a master craftsman:
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
So many of my friends have been echoing the same sentiment about transformation, feeling a need to refocus, reconnect and create anew. I always feel that way this time of year, and I can't help but wonder if its spawned by the natural changes around us.
In the meantime, I'm reading lots of plays, getting wonderfully inspired, listening to lots of new music... Speaking of which, I have to share the appropiately Halloween-ish song, Cuddles the Vampire, written and performed by the band Hippie Cream, which my brother Sean plays the drums for. They are truly unique, and one of my FAVORTIE songs of theirs is called 76 Years Young.... about agelessness. :)
"Spreading our beautiful wings...76 years young." Rock on!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
There is a pulse, a heartbeat to the city, that everyone seems to tune into. And though we've been having a bit of a heatwave lately (cue Marilyn Monroe singing, "We're having a heatwave... a tropical heatwave....") I've been enjoying that Fall frenzy that fills the air.
Since most of my auditions are around Times Square, I've been racing about, dodging taxi cabs and tourists as I make my way to the audition studios that are scattered throughout town. I usually walk by the Broadway theatres on my way to these auditions, and I've been delighted to see trucks parked outside the stage doors where stagehands are unloading set pieces for the new shows. The stage doors are wide open, and it's so cool to get glimses of the blackened Broadway stages. They're almost like clean chalkboard slates, waiting to be filled.
So back to this "new music" I was talking about. On Monday I sang in a BMI presentation of new composers' works. My Singing Nun composer, Andy Monroe, had written a song for me and my Singing Nun co-star, Tracey Gilbert, to sing for the presentation, and it was from his new musical, The Kid. It was such a blast, because not only did I get to rock out to Andy's new tune, but I got to hear some of the other composers as well, and what an absolute treat! Each composer has such a unique sense of style, and it's thrilling to partake of such excellent work, to be hearing it and performing this new music for the first time. Incredible!
What I especially love about Andy's music is that its a great mix of today's pop sound with really strong musical theatre roots. It's part of that pulse I was talking about earlier. And to be able to sing that, to make people laugh and feel and be inspired by this new music, it's an absolute delight!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A lot of people have been asking me about Broadway Idol, and while I didn't make the next round, I've run into a lot of friends who said they had trouble voting or that they never received confirmation that their vote went through. Another Idol contestant whom I ran into at an audition mentioned that his entourage had the same problem, and it surprised me that he didn't make the next round either, because he was really good too, so I'm guessing the process was a bit buggy. All in all, I felt good about my song, worked with wonderful directors and producers, received great feedback from the judges, and have been approached by several new folks who wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed my performance. Also, there's been an outpouring of love and encouragement from my friends and family all over the country who couldn't make the show. So it's all good.
Now shifting into high gear....
I was called in for the new musical Wine Lovers, and get this: the director is Holly Anne Ruggiero, who was one of the judges for the intial Broadway Idol audition. She was such a doll to work with and called me back for the final auditions for Wine Lovers. Today was dancing, singing, reading more scenes. It all felt really good, so keep your fingers crossed! :)
I also booked a voice over for a short film, Coyote, and I did that recording yesterday. So much fun! We spent hours trying the scene in all sorts of ways. It'll be fun to see what the director decides to use for the final cut. Will it be my smokey, sultry voice or my Valley Girl voice? LOL
More stops along the way: I had an interview with an agent, and that was really lovely. Some strong possibilities there. I'm also prepping for a song presentation at BMI for Andy Monroe's next project, The Kid, and I'm just enjoying this wonderful life ride, meeting other people and diggin it that we all have a part to play in this multi-facted gem of a business. So cool.
Zooming off into the sunset. Catch ya later!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Two years ago I auditioned for them and received phenomenal response. Then last year I booked the lead in The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun and ended up receiving the NYMF Award of Excellence for Outstanding Individual Performance. Woo hoo!
This year I'm performing in NYMF's Broadway Idol. It's like American Idol but more localized to the New York theatre scene. Jess McLeod is our fabulous director, Christopher D. Littlefield is our rocking musical director, and Eric Louie is our lovely producer. It is a thrill to be working with all of them!
Performances start this Friday September 21st at 10 PM at Stitch Bar and Lounge (247 West 37th Street). If you're in the city, come on by! It's sure to be an absolute blast!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Since I got back from Lucky Stiff, I've been a busy bee! Not only am I immersed in living life to the fullest, embarking on auditions and working on my craft, but I'm making sure to take in more theatre. After all, it's one of the reasons I'm here! So when my voice coach Carl Danielsen invited me to "Hooked," a showcase at The Zipper Theatre, I had to go!
It was one of the most fascinating experiences I've ever had and reminded me keenly of The New York Musical Theatre Festival, which I performed in and won an award in last year. This event was more of an intimate concert, a mix of musical theatre and performance art, and The Zipper was the perfect place for it! The theatre has fun, stadium-style seats that are like cushy car seats built for two. And the sound system is great! They also have a lighting designer who has an excellent sense of how to enhance the mood of a song.
Speaking of which, the music was certainly intriguing! There was a very funny song about a man becoming First Lady, written by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen. Carl Danielsen and Selda Sahin had three passionate pieces about love, life, and travel that are still noodling about in my head. Raymond Bokhour did a music hall number about a British transvestite. The outrageous Aussie, Anna Copa Cabanna, accompanied herself on xylophone and grooved along with what looked like a speak-and-spell. Then there was Corn Mo, a former ringmaster who reminded me greatly of a young Meatloaf. He closed the show with a song he had written for Una, an incredible trapezist who hosted "Hooked." Una climbed up a rope onto a trapeze onstage and did this magical routine while Corn Mo sang about flying like an angel. It was WILD. And beautiful!
Only in New York!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Our director, Kurt Stamm, was a dreamboat with a knack for physical humor. Here we are on opening night with the terrifically talented girls in our cast (from left): Sandy Zwier (ensemble), Lindsay Foreman (Dominique), me in the red heels as Rita, and Gina Milo as Annabelle.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The request for more Michigan pics has been commented on, and I'm still going through photos to post. I have plenty of stories to tell about my Lucky Stiff adventure, believe me! But in the meantime, I'm back in action in Manhattan! :)
I'm already in the swing of things with auditions, and I've received great response from some of Broadway's best casting directors. What a great feeling to know my work is being well-received!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
First off, I have to tell you that Saugatuck must be a butterfly haven, because there were butterflies everywhere! A few even deigned to "pose" for me. :)
There were also charming gardens in town and plenty to keep the local artist inspired, I'm sure!
The cast was uber talented, and we all bonded very quicky. The 4 leads, myself included, were all from NY, and the ensemble all hailed from Western University. They were really phenomenal, and our associate director, VP Boyle, kept saying, "There must be something in the water here, because you guys are incredible!"
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The minute I get back to NY I'm going to post pics I've taken of this place, because it is so beautiful! Saugatuck, MI is indeed small town America. There's even a Main Street which is only about 2 blocks long and is surrounded by trees. It is SO green here! And the tiny post office only sends mail out once a day. For a New Yorker this may sound primative, but the slow down-home pace is so relaxing and the town of Saugatuck is absolutely charming! Very artsy with lots of galleries, it's a rich resort town right along Lake Kalamazoo, and I love that I can see the water and yachts right across from the theatre, Mason Street Warehouse.
The theatre is AWESOME! It seats over 300 and has a real Off Broadway kind of feel. VERY POSH and fairly new (they're in their 5th season), they have a great reputation. The artistic director, Kurt Stamm, is an absolute delight! One of the nicest directors to work with, he also has a great deal of experience as a choreographer, and I feel like he has helped us approach our characters from a movement point of view, which is really cool.
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are the creators of this little gem of a musical called Lucky Stiff, and I am thrilled to be doing it again. I played Rita in the Off Off Broadway revival 2 years ago, and getting into this character again is like diving into a favorite pair of stiletto high heels... sexy but off-kilter. That's my Rita!
The audiences have been warm and wonderful and so receptive. They're from all over the country! Florida, Ohio, Arizona, Chicago, New York... And they're so generous with their laughter and applause. Many of them have gifted us with standing ovations.
Since I'm the comic villain, I've been overjoyed to hear the laughs that accompany my character, Rita, through this musical murder mystery. She's been written with great humor and heart, and I get the chance to win the audience over with a big, lusty, powerhouse ballad, "Fancy Meeting You Here." So much fun!
My sweetheart, Rob, came to the show opening weekend, and really enjoyed it. Also Andy Monroe and George Demarco from The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun are here to see it, and I'm so jazzed! I love getting to share this ride with so many wonderful people! :)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I've been so blessed with love and support in all areas of my life. When I arrived at work today, my friend, Jaimee started me off with a smiling salute, "4 days til blast off!" which made ME smile. And my manager, Ross, has been incredibly supportive about this Lucky Stiff gig at Mason Street Warehouse. They've all come to see many of my Off Off Broadway shows these past two years, and I feel so fortunate to have such an incredible team of people who are sharing in the joy.
Speaking of which, my Singing Nun composer, Andy Monroe and producer George Demarco will be coming out to see me in Lucky Stiff. My guy Rob, famous Swatch billboard designer (see blog below), will also be visiting, and I'm hoping other friends will be able to visit as well.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
If you live in NY, or you're coming in for a visit, take a walk to Times Square. And there on 45th and Broadway, you'll see a huge billboard for Swatch. Well, my sweetheart, Rob, created that. Isn't it cool?
He was given the initial design and had to recreate it for billboard use. Since he's currently freelancing from home, I got to watch him work on it, and it was so cool to get a bird's eye view of the whole thing.
To see a piece of art go from the size of a computer screen to the size of a billboard is truly amazing! I am busting with pride! :)
Check out more of Rob's work on http://www.whatsyoursigndesign.biz/
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It hit me today that it was exactly one year ago that I launched my one woman musical, Love in 35 Minutes, and I feel so good! I've been thinking about writing another one woman show, and I'm taking notes as I go. It feels a lot like planting seeds in a garden or cooking different dishes on a stove. I have to wait and see what sprouts or is "done" first.
In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the whole process, and when I think back to last year and all that has come to fruition, I'm just amazed! Like doing Love in 35 Minutes, directed by my dear friend Carl Einbeck, and then going right into The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, working with such amazing people on that piece! Winning the NYMF Award for Outstanding Individual Peformance, meeting all sorts of incredible people at the NYMF Gala, including Broadway stars and producers... Cultivating my craft with awesome people in awesome classes, working on The Onion's Country Music webisode, hitting auditions and seeing casting people and directors respond so powerfully to my auditions, whether it's with laughter, smiles and words of encouragement, or absolute physical reactions like diving onto my resume when I've completed my work. It feels SO GOOD!
Now I'm prepping to go to Mason Street Warehouse to play a character I adore: Rita in the Ahrens & Flaherty musical Lucky Stiff. Not only do I love-love-love the show (I did it at the Astoria Performing Arts Center two years ago), but I also received a note from my mentor, VP Boyle, letting me know he will be Associate Director for the piece, which is awesome!!! Working with VP is like working with Willy Wonka. He's so inventive and intuitive and FUN! He definitely brings magic with him wherever he goes. And I've heard wonderful things about Kurt Stamm, the Artistic Producing Director, as well. A lot of NY actors have nothing but high praise for these two fellows and I'm absolutely delighted to be working with them this summer. Woo hoo!
Friday, June 15, 2007
This has been such an interesting month in that I've been meeting up with cast and crewmates from The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun. It's been like a reunion of sorts, all of us catching up with each other and celebrating our strides forward. It's been delightful!
Krsitine Zbornik, who played my Mother Superior, recently won a MAC award for her amazing cabaret at the Metropolitan Room. Expect to see this talented funny lady on Broadway soon!
Tracey Gilbert, who played my love interest in Nun, shared this incredible photo with me of her, taken by Gary Matoso who has this phenomenal project called "Everyday People. Every Day." Isn't it cool? I love that I get to share this life ride with all these wonderful people who are passionate about life and making good art. It's very cool.
I also recently celebrated my Singing Nun producer, George DeMarco, who had a birthday last weekend. He is one of the sweetest people in the world, and is so passionate about the theatre. Like Company's producer Steven Baruch said in his Tony award acceptance speech last weekend, "Producers have dreams like everyone else," and I'd love to see George's dreams come true.
Andy Monroe, George's partner, not only wrote the music and lyrics for Singing Nun, but he's also working on a ton of other projects and he wrote a beautiful song for George's birthday called, "By George." It was lovely!
I feel so blessed to have met these wonderful people, to have worked on the awesome musical about Sister Smile with them, and to celebrate each other as we grow as artists and friends.
Monday, June 11, 2007
The Tonys were last night and they did a great job, showcasing NY theatre for the whole country to see. There were some inspirational performances. I loved all the musical presentations, and I'm so glad they showed some scenes from the dramatic pieces as well, because those are often overlooked.
Frank Langella is a marvel! Watching him and Christopher Plummer (who was nominated for Inherit the Wind) is like taking a master class. What phenomenal actors! And I loved Mr. Langella's acceptance speech:
"There's a line in Frost/Nixon which says, 'Success in America is unlike success anywhere else. That feeling when you are up is indescribable....' The line then goes on to say, "But there's another feeling -- when it's gone, to somewhere else, to someone else." And I know that feeling. Everyone in this room knows it. I suppose we can't stop people from putting us into competition with one another and once we are here, I suppose we all want to win. But I think we must honor the common bond in us, the struggle, the striving for success, because that's a race you simply can't lose. I am very proud and very honored to live and work among you splendid people, thank you. Thank you for giving me that indescribable feeling. I wish it for you all."
And Christine Ebersole's salute to "the Edies -- may they live in our hearts forever because those who take the journey, when they come and see Grey Gardens, help us get in touch with our humanity and our innate goodness."
Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik affirmed that "musical theatre rocks!" and writer Steven Sater asserted that "dreams really do come true." We singer/actors are so thankful for composers and writers like these two who push boundaries and give us all such wonderful playgrounds to explore in.
Lastly, my favorite speech was from Jay Johnson whom I've loved since I was a kid and would sneak peeks at the comedy TV series, SOAP. Jay won for his one man show, The Two and Only:
"To everybody that ever had a dream, always believe."
Congrats to all of the Tony Award Winners and nominees. Not only did you entertain brilliantly this year, but you moved people to expand their horizons, and you inspired artists like me to keep on growing. Bravo!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
My grandma was named Eleanor and she was born in 1918. Her mother, Leila, was a great believer in music, so she schooled all three of her girls to play an instrument, and Eleanor played the trumpet. When I first heard this, I thought it was so wild, because Eleanor had always been such a quiet, subdued person. I hope she felt great when she blew her horn.
I think it's so interesting that my brother and I came from a musically inclined family, because the arts are so essential for us both. My great-grandmother Leila would've been delighted that Sean and I are both making our livings with music and art. There's a great freedom of spirit and a lot of love.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Last year I had the lead in a short film called Laundry, playing a high-haired laundress with a thick New "Yawk" accent. It was a fun film that had a "Clerks" (in an East Village laundromat) kind of feel to it.
We filmed in the wee hours of the night, and a great deal of it was improvised, which is interesting considering I just did some improvisational filmwork for The Onion News Network last week. Ha!
The director, Julia Suo, wanted my character to have a wild and crazy hairdo, so she brought in a hair artist to sculpt my hair each night (it's shown mid-sculpt here). It took about an hour each night and you don't even want to know how much hairspray was used! There are stills of the final 'do on my website: http://www.lauradaniel.net/laundry.htm
And for the full reel, you can catch this quirky little film on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mswi_6z_R6U
Hope you dig it. :)
Monday, April 30, 2007
First, my little brother, Sean, put out an album with one of the bands he's drumming for: SMUG. These guys are so unique and it's cool to hear my little bro rock! Check 'em out! www.smugband.com
Robby Stamper, the musical director for Nun, premiered one of his compositions at the York Theatre's 4@15 showcase, and it was great. What a treat to hear and see new up and coming artists. Really Phenomenal!
And then I saw Kristine Zbornik's cabaret at the Metropolitan Room. This show is beyond compare. Seriously, I have never seen anything that comes close to the hauntingly wild humor of Kris' show. It is darkly comic, outrageous and moving, a true tour de force. Simply Google Kristine Zbornik and you'll see what I'm talking about. Go see her while you can!!!!
Lastly, I got to work on a webisode of The Onion News Network last week, and it was so much fun! Those of you who know The Onion know it's very satirical, so I don't want to spoil this upcoming webisode by giving anything away. Suffice it to say that I got to work with some really awesome folks, including Miss Babs and the Kickin Boogie Band. Everyone was at the top of their game and I enjoyed getting to work in such a professional and improvisational environment. It felt like a cross between Christopher Guest's films and SNL. So much fun!!!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I've been doing a lot of homework lately, inspired by Brian O'Neil's "Acting As a Business" and Bonnie Gillespie's Actor's Voice columns on Showfax.com. Throw Harold Guskin's "How to Stop Acting" into the mix, and I feel like I have 3 sage advisors on my team! :)
Lately, I've been exploring my "type," which can be a very effective tool for bringing clarity to one's work. I'm often cast as the quirky young heroine and have been compared to Kristin Chenoweth, Reese Witherspoon, a young Bernadette Peters and Madeline Kahn. A few friends also suggested I have a young Megan Mullally quality and another friend insists I'm a young Bette Midler. I think that's because I have this big personality and big belt voice in a tiny little package. :)
However I'm perceived, I feel a great sense of self, and I love doing what I do. It's a pleasure to sing, create and explore possibilities. I'm diggin the ride.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Even though Winter is fighting to hang onto the Big Apple with its icy grip, Spring is triumphing throughout the city. Trees are starting to bud with bright blossoms, and the newly planted daffodils in Central Park are standing defiantly against the winter winds.
I love this time of year. New York is glorious in all its seasons but I get a real charge out of the Spring.
Yesterday my guy and I walked through Central Park - a la Fred and Judy in The Easter Parade - and it was blissfully quiet (a rarity in Manhattan). When we headed home, we passed a hat shop that was stocked with fun frilly bonnets, and I just marveled at the charm of this incredible town.
My brother, who's a drummer in LA, always reminds me that we live in miracle cities, because anything can happen. Even today's Casting Corner article by Mark Sikes echoes that sentiment:
"Once a week, once a month or just whenever you need the reminder, tell yourself that you're here. Just that. You're here. You made it. No, it's not always a perfect town, but you are here and that's more than a lot of other folks can say. You're following your dreams and that alone is truly invigorating. "
Saturday, March 31, 2007
A few years ago, I played the character of Rita in Lucky Stiff at the Astoria Performing Arts Center. It was such a blast and I always hoped to play Rita again. Well, Mason Street Warehouse offered me the role! I'm so excited about it. Everyone at the callbacks was so professional and at the top of their game, so I know it's going to be an incredible show.
I also had an amazing experience at an audition few weeks ago. I was auditioning for the 78th Street Lab, which is currently producing The Nibroc Trilogy. I had the pleasure of meeting the playwright, Arlene Hutton, at the audition and she was so generous with fabulous feedback on my monologue. We chatted a bit and she invited me to the show to get to know the characters of The Nibroc Trilogy, and I was absolutely enchanted. I cannot recommend this show enough! It was beautiful! There was a Tennesee Williams kind of flavor to it, but there was also so much warmth and humor that made the piece wonderfully unique. I also found the subject matter (the growth spurt the US was going through in the post-war 50s) so appropriate for today's world, for looking back to the past to see what kind of changes we need to make to create a better world today. It was about family, and I have a feeling a lot of people could relate to it. The show was haunting, charming and is sure to delight many audiences, I'm sure!
Finally, I also heard from the folks for The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, and there's good work being done there. Things are moving right along and it'll be exciting to see what develops.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I have to laugh at the irony of my last two callbacks, because they both required big hair, a big voice, and big everything else.
Now the nature of callbacks can happen at ANY TIME - from immediately after the initial audition to 24-48 hours later, or sometimes even months later! As an actor, I'm asked to prep very quickly and then make changes on the fly. But it's a wonderfully fun ride.
My most recent callback was for The Onion's upcoming webcast about a fictitious country singer, and it was hysterical! I read from the script, improvised a scene with the director, then I sang a little bit of Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 and received great feedback from everyone including the cameraman and an Onion worker who could hear me from outside of the audition room. It felt GREAT!
The week before that I was called in for the lead in Lucky Stiff at Mason Street Warehouse. It was lovely to be considered for the sweetly heroic Annabelle, but I've played the comedic villain, Rita, before and I have a strong understanding of that wildcard of a character. I prepped for Annabelle, went in and sang, and they liked my sweetness, but asked for something a little more whacky. Well, that was like handing me the keys to a sportscar! I bounced into a fun and feisty song and when I finished, they said, "Oh! You're more of a Rita!" :) So they gave me the script and asked me to come back.
It was so freeing to get to play such a ballsy, unbridled character like Rita again, and it was a great lesson for me to not over-think auditions, to just do what I do and embrace my own bigness. My auditions since then have yielded great feedback and interest. Directors have taken time to chat with me and have asked me to show them more of my work. It's been very cool.
For Lucky Stiff, I made it through the final round of callbacks. The director only had one request... that I go with "Big hair! Big EVERYTHING!" So I had a blast playing with my clothes, hair, and of course the script and music, and the director was absolutely delight with the results.
The lesson learned: "Your playing small doesn't serve the world." And since I'm just shy of 5' anyway, it certainly doesn't make sense for me! I've always felt larger than life, especially onstage, and that's where we can be as wild and free as we want to be. "Free your mind and the rest will follow."
And as a friend of mine used to say, "Embrace your 3 B's! You are big, bold and beautiful!"
Enjoy the ride!