Friday, December 18, 2009

Gifts from the Heart

This is such an unusual Christmas. For one, I'm getting married the day after. Wow. Just mind-blowing bliss. And I'm trying to keep track of all the last minute stuff. My sister-in-law suggested making a check-off list, so I've started doing that. I'm just hoping everything runs smoothly. So far so good!

Add to that the usual Christmas run-around. I went to Rockefeller Center the other day to check out the new Lionel Train Store for my brother-in-law, and so I caught a glimpse of the infamous tree:

My honey and I try to go every year, and maybe we'll make it this weekend, but if not, I feel like the tradition still stands. I saw The Tree. And while it seems greener this year than last (maybe it's the lights), it's still magnificent.

I love this town. I love that people were wishing each other Happy Hanukkah last week and that they're greeting each other with "Merry Christmas" this week.

I love that every moment is a gift, and I am so thankful for the bounty of blessings that are in my life. Friends sharing their life lessons with me, family coming together, these are gifts that are last forever!

And with everything going on, I'm amazed that I'm still able to maintain my audition schedule, but it's my job, and it's what I love to do, so I made sure to get my postcards out to agents and casting directors, and I hit an audition yesterday for the Irish Rep.

The director was so kind, laughing at my comical piece and thanking me for my choice of material, and I am so glad I went. Every time I hit an audition, I get stronger. I can feel it in my work. And yeah, I could easily choose to skip auditions since I have so much on my plate right now with the holidays and my wedding. But every time I go, I learn and grow, and it feels wonderful. And with the creative teams giving me these hearty nods of encouragement, I know I'm on the right track.

Like the evergreen trees that stay tall and lush in the winter, like the holly and ivy in my red rose bridal bouquet, I am vibrant and full of life, love and artistry. And I keep growing! I love it!

Hope your holidays are very merry!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Full Speed Ahead!

I'm a Star Wars kid, and I remember seeing that scene where they jumped to lightspeed for the first time. It was miraculous!

I still get a kick out of it!

And now, where I'm at in my life, I feel like I'm making the jump to lightspeed!

I'm getting married in 18 days. The holidays are in full swing. I'm hitting auditions, making sure to savor each step of the way. In fact that holds true for all areas of my life!

"I'm deriving a great deal of pleasure from each and every one of you, as if you were chocolates."- Wallace Shawn, Grasses of a Thousand Colors.

And I'm so grateful for all the incredibly cool people I've met this year. From working with old buddies like the Hell's Belles creative team on their new musical, Argentina Rumpus...

... to reuniting with the Kaboom crew for an improv event and the staged reading of Michael Small's new play, Got You...

... to meeting so many wonderfully talented people in Karen Kohlhaas' classes at the Atlantic Acting School. It's a pleasure to work with such incredible people, and I've fully realized that we all have something delicious to bring to the table! It's a thrill to share in such bounty!

I met with some musical theatre friends last night - amazingly talented people with Broadway credits on their resumes - and we nurtured each other in our preparations for auditions. It was a great forum, and I'll be doing the same thing tomorrow night with some more students from Karen's classes, focusing on monologues, scenework and goals.

Karen talks about doing what you need to do to find satisfaction as an actor, and her Advanced Monologue class particularly focuses on time management skills and creating healthy daily habits. Seriously, her classes are the best investment an actor could make. I have felt richer and freer in my work, bolder, always making discoveries, breaking through boundaries. It's thrilling!

And that's where I feel like I'm at in my life. "Unlimited... my future is unlimited."

I am so thankful to be on this ride, and I'm ready to make the jump to lightspeed!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Gift of a Performance

My honey and I were watching some old Ed Sullivan clips last night, and I swear it was like traveling back in time. There were the Beach Boys, The Doors, and Sly and the Family Stone. These were bands my parents grew up with, and then my brother and I discovered them. That had to make my parents laugh, hearing us groove to tunes they'd rocked out to as kids.

My friend, Tina, blew my mind by telling me she'd actually SEEN Sly and the Family Stone live, as well as The Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie (whom I don't know, but you can bet I'll check him out!), James Taylor and Carol King. Can you imagine seeing all these people perform live? I'm still simmering from the performances I got to see on PBS last night!

And this whole thing has reminded me of how incredible art and music is, how it moves us and inspires us and pulsates with this great sense of sharing. Generations can be bridged! It's too cool. And it inspires me to press on, to find my freedom and expansion and joy in my art.

I tell ya, watching Sly and the Family Stone rock out with such unbridled jubilation... it made me want to go there and Dance to the Music! :)

Follow your bliss! Groove with your muse!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Dig the life fantastic."

I saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox yesterday, and I'm still grooving with it.

Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors. His films are always so layered and a delight to visit (and re-visit) - from the incredible color palettes of The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to the emotional rollercoaster rides of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums! I still need to see Bottle Rocket. :)

The Fantastic Mr. Fox was a wonderful adventure about family and community. Yes, it's about a family of foxes and their neighboring animals, but it struck me as so human, because Mr. Fox talks about why he is the way he is and how he doesn't "want to live in a hole anymore," that he's most alive when he's being true to his nature. There's also a great scene where he points out the strengths of all the other animals, and I just saw it as a great testament to recognizing each other for who we are and why we do what we do.

"Influenced in part by Le roman de Renard (1930) ("The Story of the Fox"), a stop-motion film by Russian animator Wladyslaw Starewicz based on the trickster fox of medieval European folklore. It inspired Wes Anderson to use the bristling textures of real animal hair, as well as sets and puppets of varying sizes."

I really enjoyed the artistry of the film, and feel inspired as I embark on my own fantastic adventures.

There's a sense of artistry in every aspect of my life right now, from planning my wedding, to working on a solo show project (The 20 Monologue Challenge) and cultivating the cabaret I've been wanting to do, to nurturing the short film ideas that are bouncing around my brain.

This is an exciting time, and I am looking forward to enjoying each step of the way and celebrating each bountiful blessing of the harvest!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fun Factor

Last week was jam-packed! In the midst of planning my wedding and hitting auditions, I went go-kart racing with my office-mates from my support job...

I also had a presentation to do for Karen Kohlhaas' Advanced Monologue Workshop. I tell ya, studying with Karen has been so life-changing for me as an artist. The homework has been awesome!

This class focused on choosing monologues that got us out of our comfort-zone. Plus we looked at the business aspect of show business and had to come up with a game-plan for reaching daily/monthly/yearly and 2 year-goals.

I created a daily monologue and song workout and set monthly goals that included gym-time, nutritional goals, training, self-made-productions, and something I like to call The Fun Factor.

See, you have to have fun. Each and every day! Life's too short not to include Fun on the to-do list. Don't you think?

And actually, one of my best friends reminded me to incorporate this into my wedding planning as well. So I'll tell you what I've been doing that's been fun!

I loved trying on 10-20 dresses with my Mom in some little bridal boutique in CA. Imagine a tiny stucco shop in the desert - I think it was even near the railroad tracks - but they had absolutely beautiful dresses inside. Just goes to show: don't judge a book by its cover!

Mom and I had a blast looking through the gowns, which were all top-quality, but nothing really called to me as THE dress, so for fun we went to our favorite thrift store, The Assistance League. It's wonderfully clean and they always get great things in.

Well, don't you know they had a wedding dress and train that they had just received! It was pristine! Not a mark on it! In fact, my designer believes it was used as a prototype for other gowns because of how it was put together.

The gown fit really well in the bodice, and the rest could be easily tailored, and the price was beyond right, so my mom quickly snapped it up for me. Thanks, Mom!

And everyone in the little shop went wild with cheering that a bride had found her dress at their place. It was a really neat moment.

Then my sweetheart's co-worker, Annamarie Ferrando, offered to assist with altering the gown. She's a ballroom dancer, a la Strictly Ballroom, and she's been refashioning gowns for a long time! So she took on this project with glee and has absolutely transformed the dress! I hesitate to show too much of it here, because I want my honey to be surprised when I walk down the aisle. :)

Annamarie and I had a blast running all over midtown Manhattan this weekend in the misty rain. She took me to all the sewing shops, and we found almost everything we needed: gloves, veil; I bought shoes earlier in the week, and I really enjoyed going to places I'd never been to before, finding all sorts of beautiful treasures. I swear, Manhattan is magical, because just when you think you "know" this city, it opens up another door and says, "Look what else I can show you!"

The other fun stuff? The cake:

It's based on this design, and it's a TOTAL CHOCOLATE EXTRAVAGANZA!!! :) We met the cake-maker, Pam of PamKakes, whose shop is in McAdoo. I just love saying that! McAdoo! What a great little town. And Pam herself is lovely!

The other cool stuff: Rob being with me 100% of the way, showing such love and support and his usual sense of humor. We've laughed a lot, and that's been key. It's really kind of a testament to how well we work together.

So yeah! I'm having fun! :) Hope you are too!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Wedding Wows

The Fall is always a busy time for me. Usually I'm in the midst of juggling shows, and while I've been busy with readings, auditions and acting classes, this year is especially exciting because I'm planning an event that is incredibly close to my heart: my wedding.

My sweetheart, Rob, has been awesome about helping me with it. It's such a testament to how we always do things together - with a sense of adventure! So welcome to our wedding adventure!

On Friday we went to get our marriage license. The building was plain and simple, but inside, there were books upon books filled with marriage licenses. It was kind of cool to think that we were adding our names to the book, so to speak.

Then we were off to meet the pastor, Reverend Jane at Faith UCC. She is a really cool pastor and I'm glad she'll be doing our wedding. The church itself is very welcoming and has a really nice vibe. We've been to many events there, including Rob's sister's wedding, and it's going to be decorated so beautifully for Christmas. I'm absolutely delighted that I'll be walking down the aisle surrounded by poinsettias and pine.

Then we met with the florist and were also able to squeeze in time at our favorite jewelery shop, Fellin's.

This place is so beautiful and the staff is wonderfully helpful and friendly. Rob bought my engagement ring there and has given me many other little treasures from Fellin's over the years. It was neat to shop for our rings together, and we found exactly what we were looking for!

We also visited Pam at Pamkakes. Rob's sister Lani recommended her to us, and her cakes look amazing, so even though we ordered our cake with her last month, we still wanted to drop by to say hello!

And we met with a wonderful photographer, Tom Probert (, who's starting his second career, doing what he's always loved to do. We'll be his third wedding, and his pics looked great! I'm very happy we'll be adding to his portfolio and he'll be helping us out by capturing some special moments of the day.

It's been so cool how everything for this wedding has just fallen into place. My brother-in-law remarked that it took them 2 years to do what we'd done in two days, so Rob and I felt pretty good about what we'd accomplished!

We're just so thrilled that there have been so many green lights along the way. And I am wonderfully warmed by all the love and support from our friends and families.

Looking forward to the rest of the adventure!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I love this time of year - the chill in the breeze, the golden leaves. Growing up in CA, it was a time to grab onto those last days of summer, but here on the East Coast, it is a time to revel in the changes of the season and to make preparations for winter.

October is usually a busy month for me. Last year, I had just finished a run of Johnny On A Spot Off Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements, and I had the immense honor of performing with F. Murray Abraham in a staged reading of Isaac Bashevis Singer's play, Sin.

This October has been just as busy. I was called in for voice over auditions to play a teenage vampire for an audio book and to play a crab for a new cartoon on HBO.

The best news is that my sweetheart and I decided to set a wedding date, and we're going to be married at the end of the year. Very very exciting stuff, and I have a ton to do, but everything has been miraculously falling into place. My Mom and I found this beautiful wedding dress at one of our favorite thrift stores! The gown is pristine, looks brand new and never worn!

One of Rob's co-workers, Annamarie, works on revamping gowns for ballroom dancing competitions, and she offered to alter the gown for me, so I'll be seeing her tomorrow.

Everything else has fallen miraculously into place! The pastor and church we wanted were available! The restaurant for the reception, the cake, the flowers, it's all coming together.

I keep saying how I want it to be a small, intimate event, but it's funny how these things seem to bloom. Guess it's like life. You can't control it. It just has to flow.

So needless to say my head has been filled with wedding bells this month! And it seems like Halloween snuck up on me.

There were also some sad tidings that have been on my mind as well. My Aunt Sharon, my Mom's sister, and my cousin JoAnn on my Dad's side, passed away. This was such shocking and heart-breaking news. I'm still processing it all. And I can't help but think of them with today and the Celtic tradition of celebrating the Final Harvest of the year. "It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night."

These women were both a huge part of my childhood. My Mom's sister was always very beautiful, and it was only later in life that I learned she had patterned herself after her idol, Marilyn Monroe. I wish I had pictures of her from that time because she really was a beauty!

My cousin, Jo, on the right, was an absolute ray of sunshine. She was only 5 years older than me, and I always looked up to her. She lived in Arizona, but we would have long visits with each other almost every year, and it was such a treat, knowing I was going to be spending time with Jo. As we grew up, she got married and had kids, and I came out to the East Coast to live my dream of being a working actor. We'd still touch base with cards and what-not, and I'd see her every 5 years or so at big family functions. She was such an incredible woman, full of love and inspiration, and when we'd see each other, it felt like no time had gone by at all! I am so sad at her passing.

But I will pay my respects to these women every day by doing as they encouraged me to do, and living life to the fullest!

May your Hallowed Eve be full of many treats. Blessed be!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Class and Cartoons

I am astounded at how much can happen in a week! Is it just that whole NY minute thing? I'm not complaining, believe me! And I can tell from my friends around the country that they're zooming too!

Last week, I performed scenes from As You Like It for an NYU screen-writing class. It was really cool to meet some of the young writers afterward and talk about the shows, films, and music that's inspiring us all!

Then I jumped into the advanced monologue class with Karen Kohlhaas at the Atlantic Acting School. Man, I love that school! Just such a great vibe, and Karen's class is simply amazing! Like putting your foot on the gas to go-go-go!

One of the parts of the class focuses on goal-setting, from small (can do in a day) to medium (2 weeks to a month) to the really big deals! I tell ya, it really helps to look at things this way and to really celebrate all the steps we take towards fulfilling goals.

For example, late on Friday, I got an email to audition for a new cartoon about life in an aquarium. I was sent a scene, which was really cute, and just had to get a decent recording to send to the casting director. Thank the gods, I already had gone through the process of making MP3s for a voice over company a few months ago! So I was able to get my recordings done in a few hours and get the best ones mailed out. That felt great!

Now I'm working on a new monologue for class, and researching one for a specific audition coming up next week. I also have rehearsal with one of my classmates tonight.

I LOVE being in the groove with this great sense of moving forward! Vroooom! :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Wild Week

My head is still spinning from all that's going on, so let me backtrack.

The readings for Got You went really well. We received a lot of positive feedback, and I was floored to have a 2-time Tony Award winning actress tell me how much she loved my work! It was such an unexpected, magical moment, and rather surreal when someone you've seen on Broadway and in film is suddenly right there in front of you. To have her say how much she enjoyed my performance was simply mind-blowing, and I felt so honored to be able to share with her how much I admired her work as well.

I love love love how theatre (and any kind of art-form really) can bring people together in unexpected ways. It is wonderful to come together and share what moves us.

Next up - I'm going into rehearsals for a guest performance as Celia in As You Like It at NYU.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

45 Bleecker Theatre

I just got back from tech rehearsal for Got You, and had to gush about 45 Bleecker Theatre.

For one thing, you can't miss it. There's a giant "45" painted on the doors, and the place simply oozes art!

The inside is a combination theatre-lobby and art gallery. There are some amazing paintings on display!

And you know what floored me? A few years ago, I had auditioned there for an Off Broadway show, and I remember thinking at the time how much I would love to perform in the space, because it's so open and inviting. And now I am!

How cool is that? :)

Busy Bees!

So much good stuff going on!

First, Got You, the play-reading I'm doing, has a website:

We're in the Bleeker Theatre today, doing tech (lights and sound), and then we're performing on Thursday and Friday at 9:30 PM if you're in the mood for some dark comedy in the Village. :)

It's really cool to be part of something in the beginning stages, seeing it all take shape.

I have so many friends and cohorts working on projects too - I have to give them a cheer!

My Shakespeare coach, Deloss Brown, is directing a new play, Boxed In, starring Ron Voz, the lovely gentleman who worked with me in Lucky Stiff at the Astoria Performing Arts Center.

Selda Sahin and Carl Danielsen, who had me sing the title role in their demo of Lilly's Big Day, are doing a reading of their new musical based on Jane Austen's "Persuasion."

And Andy Monroe, who composed The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, is going into rehearsals for The Kid, his new musical slated to be staged by The New Group in 2010.

Really exciting stuff! Bravo, everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Overnight Success

I was reading about the new movie 9 the other day, and was surprised to discover that the feature film was based on director Shane Acker's student film of the same name.

He completed the 11 minute short film in 2004, received an Academy Award nomination for the film in 2006, and was awarded various honors from film festivals all over the world.

Nurtured by producers Jim Lemley, Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, Dana Ginsburg, and Jinko Gotoh, 9 was released on 9/9/09 and it's on my must-see list.

It also made me think of a student thesis I did quite a few years ago called Sincerely Yours, which won various honors at NYU (including an acting award for yours truly) and how, if the right producers had picked up the film, perhaps it could have grown some "legs" like 9 did.

Then I came upon an interview with one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris, whose books include the popular Sookie Stackhouse series, upon which HBO's show True Blood is based. Apparently, Ms. Harris got her start by taking a creative writing class in St. Louis! And after twenty-five years of getting her books published, she is now "an overnight success."

I just love these instances of people doing what they love to do and putting their work out there. And how many years it took for these projects to really zoom!

Some projects only take a few years to catch on while others require growth over time, and it's a great lesson to keep investing in yourself and what you love to do, and to put your work out into the world.

Speaking of, I'm doing a reading of a new play called Got You next week at the HOWL Festival. I'm working with some of my Kaboom folks from last summer: Penny Ayn Maas is directing, Fred Rose (pictured far right) is performing with me, and Michael Small is the playwright. I'm also working with the delightful Heather Laws (seated right) and Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone (left).

Performances for Sept. 24-25 at 9:30 PM at 45 Bleeker St. Lobby Theatre. Tix are $10.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Serve and Protect

This morning, on my way to sign up for auditions, I passed a group of policemen assembled at Columbus Circle. They all stood at attention while one fellow held the American flag and another officer read the names of their comrades who had passed away 9 years ago at the World Trade Center. I caught them just as they were finishing the list of fallen heroes, and they bowed their heads for a moment of silence.

I stopped as well and bowed my head, thinking of all the people who were lost in that tragedy.

A few other pedestrians stopped as well, and I thought, "Wouldn't be it amazing if everyone stopped at the same time to pay their respects?"

And some people actually stopped and bowed their heads, but a lot of people still zoomed by us on their way to work, and I too, had to leave as well.

Of course, I'm still thinking of those warriors, standing so tall, hoping they are strong and brave and true. In this cynical world, it seems there are some folks who constantly preach negativity and seek to undermine others, but when I think of all the officers, fire-fighters and medical personnel who lost their lives trying to save others on 9-11-01, I am overcome with the good that can manifest in humanity.

And I have hope.

Blessed be.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I just got back from a little vacation at the beach and was thrilled to discover that the new play I'm working on, Got You by my Kaboom playwright Michael Small, is in the Playbill News.

This is such a cool thing, being listed on Playbill. I remember the first show I saw as a kid, The Pirates of Penzance, and I absolutely savored the Playbill, reading about the cast and crew. It was such a wonderful memento.

And when I was first listed on, playing Rita in the Off-Off Broadway revival of Lucky Stiff, it felt like such an achievement.

It is such an honor, and I look forward to when my name and bio will be printed in every Playbill that goes out to the Broadway audiences. Very very cool.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Acting Intuitively

You know when you get that gut impulse? It's like your body takes over, and your mind is practically relegated to the backseat while your body and intuition drive you forward.

This happened to me last week. There was an audition for Elf the Musical (based on the Will Farrell movie), and I seesawed about going to the audition, because there was a ton on my plate as it was. I was wrapping up 2 classes, had a callback, was juggling other auditions and working a fulltime job.

Yup, that's one of the harsh realities of making it as an actor. You have to pay bills whether or not you have an acting gig, and while I've been fortunate to get paid acting work this year, I still have to make ends meet with other work. A lot of actors do! They wait tables, temp, work for cleaning companies...

I'm fortunate to work for an online advertising company that is very friendly to the arts. They have worked around my rehearsals, shows and out of town engagements. They're also great about working around my daily auditions, callbacks, agent meetings, etc. Heck! They even made my show Kaboom at the Cherry Lane Theatre part of their office scavenger hunt last summer.

So my daily routine goes like this: Get up, go sign up for an audition, go to the office, work for a few hours, then head out to an audition studio and do my acting work there. After that I head back to the office, do some office work, and then head out to a class, workshop, or performance. So it's a lot of running around! And in a NY minute there's often a feeling that you're constantly running. It's rare that we get a moment to stop and breathe, so we schedule time for that!

That's one of the things I loved about Karen Kohlhaas' Fearless Cold Reading and Audition Technique Class. A really important lesson in that class was learning to take time and take care of ourselves as artists and really nurture our mental attitude towards ourselves and the audition process.

This takes me back to the Elf audition last week. I didn't think I'd have time for it, and isn't that insane? I have the GIFT of being able to audition for Broadway shows every day! Isn't that amazing??? So while I sat at my desk, working on online advertising, I kept going back to the audition posting in my head, and before I knew it, my body got up out of the chair. I picked up my music book and bag, and got on the subway to go to the audition.

I walked right in, smiling all the way. And don't you know that I got an audition appointment immediately! I went in and had a BLAST, doing what I love to do, and the casting person went from a state of relaxed boredom to absolute physical engagement. It was cool to see that. I really love when people sit up and take notice of my work.

So I'm continuing to hit as many auditions as possible and just get out of my own way! :) It's worth it! I can't overthink any of this. I have to just GO!

And in the midst of auditions, I've had some fun projects arise.

On Monday I performed in a reading of a new musical, Argentina Rumpus, playing a nun on the run (with a gun)! Bryan D. Leys, the writer for Hell's Belles, asked me to take part in it, and it was A LOT of fun!

Also this week I heard from my Kaboom writer, Michael Small, who asked if I was available for a reading of a new play in September. I read one of the scenes and it's really meaty stuff. Mmm!

I feel like a kid on a rollercoaster, putting my hands in the air, and letting go to enjoy the ride. Wheee!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Letting Go

I had a callback yesterday for My Illustrious Wasteland, a really fun scifi rock musical that is slated to make its premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival this Fall. And it felt really good.

I rocked Piece of My Heart and then read from the script, getting lotsa laughs. But the thing that was interesting was that the comic bit I had planned and worked on with my coach didn't quite work. When I pushed for the laugh, it didn't happen, but when I stayed true to the character and just let her flow through the words, the laughs came very easily, and it was such a great reminder: Let go of the schtick and go for the meat of what the character wants.

Don't get me wrong. I believe in great bits. There are things that almost always work.

Exhibit A: The pie in the face bit that Jon Stewart recently did on the Daily Show.

A pie in the face almost always works. Likewise, the pratfall. But it's gotta be well timed, usually in rehearsal, and often with the guidance of a good director.

When I played Kandy in Kaboom, I had to come onstage in drug-addled ecstasy, and it would never have worked if I didn't go full-throttle for it, so I threw my body and soul into it every time and always got a laugh.

In Johnny On A Spot, my character Barbara was a conniving Southern belle in the 1940's who could've gone head to head with Scarlet O'Hara. The temperment of the play and the character could've soured real fast, because she was a bit of a homewrecker, but I almost always brought the audience over to my side, not because I "played" them, but because I was truthful with the character's passionate pursuits, and everyone loved her despite (or because of) her outrageous behavior.

Good directors have helped me "time" the comic bits, and I've discovered that when I get to perform in a piece with longevity - heck, even if it's just 2 performances - I've found what works, by listening to the audience and staying true to the character and her pursuits.

When the audience clicks into the vibe of the piece and the character, you practically breathe together. It's a rhythm, an ebb and flow, a really delightful dance.

It makes me think of a recent trip to the beach with my sweetheart. We couldn't wait to go swimming, even though the waves were probably 9 feet tall and seriously gave us a run for our money. Yet no matter how many times the waves dashed us to the rocky shore, we both laughed and dove back into the water, body surfing through the wild waves for a really enjoyable ride.

And it was only when I let go and felt the natural rhythm of the ocean that I was really able to gauge how to move with it.

I feel that comedy is like that. Every piece is different. Every writer is different, and they will write each character with a unique perspective. For that matter, every actor is different. We all have a unique sense of humor and it is delightful however it comes out.

I'm really enjoying finding my groove in all this, knowing when to "drive" the tempo/pace/energy, and when to let go and just go with it. Love love love this process!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Going for it

My first time scuba-diving was an exciting but scary experience. I was in the Caribbean with my fiancee, Rob, and we had taken a beginning scuba-diving course on this amazing cruise where we could dive with a certified instructor in the gorgeous Caribbean ocean.

I was a little nervous because my mask would initially fill with water and I would panic, but my instructor - Keri, was her name - was so wonderful and literally held my hand, helping me deal with my mask until it was tight against my face and I could dive down to 30 feet with Rob and the other divers.

On our first dive, we swam with a sea turtle and it was so incredibly mind-blowing. Rob and I went on daily dives after that, and even though I'd have that tug of fear, I'd still dive in. I couldn't wait to get in the water and swim through that turquoise liquid world world. Just amazing!

There's no holding back with scuba-diving. You have to go for it! And this reminds me very much of the audition process.

I had an audition this week for a Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig. It's one of my favorite plays and is being revived on Broadway.

I did my research, re-read the play, picked a monologue I felt was appropriate, and was ready to roll. But when I got to the audition, I had a little moment of uncertainty. Had I chosen the right piece? Would I be showing them what they were looking for? Should I try a "safer" monologue instead of the character piece I loved?

I took a breath and thought about how some of my favorite actors like Judi Dench still get butterflies. "It's anxiety and fear that create adrenaline, which for me is petrol," she explains.

Many actors refer to it as "the juice," and my coach, Karen Kohlhaas talks about how nervousness is part of life and it's up to us how we choose to use that energy in performance.

And yes, even though I've been performing professionally since I was 14, every time I go onstage, I still get those butterflies, but it's also very exciting and I can't wait to get out there.

It's a lot like scuba diving.

There's no holding your breath. You HAVE to breathe through it. And you have to be alert and aware and open to the joyousness of it all.

And you know, I found that with my Lend Me A Tenor audition this week. I took a deep breath and supported myself and the choice I had made for that audition. And instead of focusing on how to please "them," I went in and took care of myself by doing the piece I loved and had prepared and felt really wonderful with. I followed the action of the piece (Atlantic Acting technique that Karen talks about in her book The Monologue Audition), and just let myself go, not putting anything on top of it, but just letting myself and the character bloom through the words and the action of the piece. It was marvelous! And the gal who was behind the audition table was wonderfully complimentary, even stopping me as I was leaving to say how much she liked my audition, what a great monologue I had done and that I would be great in that role.

It was such a great affirmation and made me realize I have to get back to clarifying and defining my goals, because - heck yeah! - I KNOW what I want! I want to play Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday someday (that was the piece I auditioned with and got such great response). I'd love to perform in Lend Me A Tenor. I want to play many of Alan Ayckbourn's characters in his delicious plays. And you know... I feel like I'm on my way!

Taking a breath... and diving on in! :)

Woo hoo!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Your Own Back Yard

You know how in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy talks about the magic of her own backyard? Well, it made me feel lucky, because Manhattan is my backyard, and it has always been my dream to make it on Broadway. But it also made me think of friends and family who are making their dreams come true in their own backyards. :)

My brother is recording music and filming videos with the bodacious band Hippie Cream in our hometown of Hemet, CA. I am amazed at the talent that has come out of that tumbleweed town, but it keeps booming! A few people have even remarked that "Hemet is the next Seattle" for the music and art boom. They also make some awesome coffee at the Ya Ya's Coffee House. :)

I could say the same thing about Lancaster, PA, a place that was home to me and my honey for a few years while we performed with the acting troupe for the PA Renaissance Faire.

I recently visited The Twisted Sisters, two hysterically funny women whom we met at the Faire. They ran the Herb Shoppe at the Faire and later branched out into their own businesses, including handmade soap. Maryanne also makes gorgeous glass jewelry via her Torchsong Studio, and Tina has cultivated various books and is the editor/creator of the magazine The Essential Herbal.
I visited the Sisters last weekend, and got the bonus of hanging out with Tina's daughter Molly (above left) who is a very groovy girl all her own.

Going to their place was almost like visiting Oz, because it's SO GREEN!

This is Tina and Maryanne's backyard. Wow!

The Sisters make incredibly cool products, and I'm HOOKED on Tina's tinctures and teas. I'm hoping they'll be adding the teas to their websites soon, because they are AMAZING.

And their soaps are absolutely luxurious and smell wonderful! Chock full of essential oils and herbs. Mmm!

While I was visiting Lancaster, Tina also showed me the booming downtown area, complete with art design school and all sorts of hip little shops.

We went to Sarah Campbell's shop, Radiance, which was like walking into a layer of heaven. The shop is filled with color and light and all sorts of cool stuff. Books and clothes (I got a really cute tanktop) and jewelry (I actually bought some earrings that Maryanne had made), and I love-love-LOVE Sarah's bodycare line. I bought the eye cream and night serum and am thrilled with both. They truly are luscious! And there are all kinds of classes that go on there. The Yoga Room also serves as an art gallery. How cool is that? And Sarah's daughter has a massage room right next to the children's fairy room. Can't wait to go back there!

It was a great visit, and I can't wait to go back period!

The Sisters are going to start giving herbal tours called Weed Walks, an all day event that teaches how to identify herbs and plants, cooking with nature's bounty, and crafting. Their first all-day herbal adventure is coming up August 9th.

Talk about truly getting creative in your own backyard! :)