Thursday, December 30, 2010

Readings, Recordings, and Reel - Oh my!

At the end of each year, I send out a Year in Review or Progress Report postcard to agents and casting directors, and this year has had the recurring theme of working on new and old projects with talented people from my past.

I was involved in some pretty big recordings, which was just thrilling. A delightful director whom I worked with eons ago hired me to do a voice over for an OnStar promo. He paid me a very high compliment by saying I sounded like a video game voice. Very cool! :)

The fantastic composer Andy Monroe, who wrote the music for this year's Off Broadway hit, The Kid, asked me to record a demo from his new musical Sally Peaches, and we also recorded a song from The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, which we had worked on at NYMF a few years ago.

 And Larry Moore, who orchestrated "Nun," hired me to sing for the upcoming CD series, "Unrecorded Victor Herbert Gems," which gave me the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented Broadway and opera stars. Simply mind-blowing!

We recorded in the concert hall at The Academy of Arts and Letters, and it was just thrilling the way the sound bounced off the walls!

I was also involved in some readings of new musicals. This summer, I reprised the roles of Judy Garland and Janis Joplin for the industry reading of Hell's Belles at HA! Comedy Club. I had played these characters (and about 10 others) in a production at the West End Theatre 2 years ago, and it was a blast to revisit the show with the same cast no less!

The producers and writer of Hell's Belles asked me to take part in another reading of a new musical, How To Marry A Divorced Man, based on the novel by Leslie Fram. The music was written by Clare Cooper, who had worked on Memphis and Toxic Avenger, and her style was just delicious! Great pop sensibility and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet!

I also reteamed with the wonderful Richard Binder, who played my husband Sigmund Freud a few years ago in the reading of the musical Vienna. We got to duke it out in a reading of an operatic scene for La Ribalta. Our fisticuffs ended with him sweeping me off my feet and taking me offstage in a very torrid manner. It was incredibly fun and a break away from my usual musical comedy.

Last but not least, I filmed a scene for the independent feature film, Marty's Magnificent Day-Glo Dreamathon, a wild rock musical created by Hippie Cream and directed by Daniel Maggio. I played the lead character's mother in a flashback, and had some juicy scenes which I hope make the final cut. If anything, I should be able to showcase the work in my reel.

So this year has been very fulfilling artistically and financially too. It is so important for an artist to get paid for her work!

I've been very fortunate to work with amazingly talented and good-hearted people, to share in the creative process and nurture each other along the way. This includes family and friends, teachers and classmates, casts and crews. We're all on this ride together! :)

Thanks to everyone who helped make this world bright and beautiful. I look forward to celebrating each day with you!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Stories

Yesterday, I was chatting with one of my best friends about the hecticness of the holidays, and we both began reminiscing about how magical the holidays are when you're a kid. Everything seems spectacular, and your hopes and expectations are beyond the moon.

I would ask Santa every year for a pony, because I loved horses and I was sure I could keep one in the back yard!

My parents tried to accommodate these wild wishes and would get me all sorts of horse figurines, so my dresser was filled with prancing ponies. They were never ones to squash my dreams.

So now that I'm a big kid, turning my dreams into realities, I was interested to hear my friend say, "We all dream of a Currier and Ives Christmas, but it usually ends up like (the chaos) of A Christmas Story."

This made me laugh and think of all my Christmas stories... Many wonderful years of waking up early to see what Santa had placed under the tree... Or the year I found out I'd be performing in my first professional gig as an orphan in "Annie"... Playing with my high school band at The Aloha Bowl, walking on Waikiki beach with my best friends and carrying my bassoon... Performing on Christmas Eve as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Fred's wife in various versions of "A Christmas Carol," and singing and acting in "A Charles Dickens Christmas" with my sweetheart, Rob.

Last year was my very favorite Christmas, because I married my sweetheart, and my family flew out from CA to join us for our winter wedding. It was just perfect. We were surrounded by friends and family, and there was so much love! That was the greatest gift of all.

I hope your holidays are very merry and that you're full of happy memories and hope for the future. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Limits

Last night, I completed Josh Pais' Committed Impulse class, and I really loved it because it made me stretch.

That's been the theme for me this year - good growth - and I love it because it informs all of my paid acting work.

It's funny how we can get stuck in a niche, ya know? And there's nothing like a good class - in any subject - to shake things up.

This past year I've been fortunate to study with teachers who are professional actors / directors and casting directors whose scope includes everything from Broadway to Hollywood. And again, they've all encouraged me to stretch by casting me in roles that I never thought I would play.

Like La Marquise de Merteuil in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses."

Or Mrs. Cheveley in Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband."

Last night I played Christina in Adam Rapp's "Red Light Winter," and I never thought I would be "right" for that character, but it turns out... I was!

The work that's evolved in classes, doing these delicious scenes and exploring these marvelous characters, has opened me up in such an unexpected way.

And that's the thing that blows me away. There are no limits but the ones we place on ourselves.

No limits!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I have always loved time of year. The city is extra bright with colorful displays in the windows.

The sidewalks are "dressed in holiday style."

Even the fountains are extra jolly....

"With mistletoe and holly..."

".... and other things ending in 'olly." 

(with thanks to Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather" for that line)

My husband and I always make it to the Rockefeller Center Tree, which is about a 20 minute walk from our apartment.

Another favorite place is Lincoln Center, which is always so beautiful and magical.

May your holidays be very merry and may your New Year be especially bright!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Divine Sister

I recently saw this delightful play Off Broadway, and I just had to sing its praises.

The Divine Sister
is written by Charles Busch, who also stars as the Mother Superior.

I first became acquainted with Busch's work via the film Psycho Beach Party, and I was instantly hooked by his humor and great style.

There's also an awesome documentary about him called The Lady in Question. I caught pieces of it on TV and it's so inspirational. Any kid with a dream about working in the theatre would benefit from it. I know I did! :)

My friend, Wayne Henry, from Johnny On A Spot, saw The Divine Sister with me, and we, along with the entire audience, were in stitches! It's a fun story, complete with music and special affects... What's a miracle without special effects? ;)

The cast and crew are stellar, and the direction is handled with great ease by Carl Andress.

It reminded me of the musical I did a few years ago, The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun. I played Sister Smile with the wonderful Tracey Gilbert as my companion, Annie.

Seeing Busch's Divine Sister was like watching a bunch of talented friends get together to just put on a show - Off Broadway no less! I was reminded of how fun theatre can be, and that we really can make our dreams can come true.

The miracle is you!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Onion

If you don't know about The Onion, it's a satirical newspaper that's been in circulation since its creation in 1988. My friends, Carl and Michael, first alerted me to it sometime around 2002-3, and then I had the good fortune to be called in for one of their videos in 2007. I didn't book the lead, but they asked me to do some featured background work, and I got to do a lot of improv, which was fun.

That's also where I first met Babs Winn, the fabulous gal who runs the Kickin' Boogie Band.

Babs and I have run into each other over the years at auditions, and this Fall we performed together in the staged reading of the new musical, How To Marry A Divorced Man. She is a multi-talented lady and just delightful!

But back to The Onion! I've been called in for different roles over the years, and today I was called in again! I don't want to spill the beans about this piece they're working on, but it was incredibly fun to read the sides, and I left feeling high as a kite. There's just something about comedy that'll do that for you, ya know?

The thing I love is that I've been able to see their New York office grow over the years. It's got such a great vibe. And it's a delight to be called in to read for whatever new episodes they're working on.

They're making the leap to TV, and I wish them all the best. Go Onion! ;)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Still so thankful

I feel so much love and so many blessings in my life today, and I just had to say... Thanks! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010


This year, Gratitude has been such a front and center state of mind, and I am so very thankful for the people in my life who make the world so beautiful.

My husband wakes me up every day with laughter and love. It is truly the best way to start the day. I don't know what I'd do without him. He shares my highs and lows every day, and I am so thankful for him!

I'm also incredibly blessed in my friends and family. My brother, Sean, is one of my very best friends. He's a drummer in CA, and gets the business aspect of show business as well as the artistry, and helps me keep both in balance. I've always said that watching him play the drums is like watching a great painter paint.

Then I have my "soul siblings": Carl, Michael, Lisa, Lani, Ataman, Jayne, Maryanne, and Tina, whom I chat with almost every day. Tina keeps me plugging away when I have my challenging days and reminds me to celebrate each step of the journey.

I feel so fortunate to have performed with and formed friendships with artists like Tracey Gilbert, Omri Schein, Deb Radloff, Billy Hicks, Michelle Liu, Wayne Henry, John Haggerty, Martin Sola, Gina Milo, Billy Konsoer, Prescott Seymour, Richard Binder, Monica McCarthy and so many other incredible casts and crews.

Thanks to the terrifically talented people who hired me to sing their music this year like Andy Monroe, Clare Cooper and Larry Moore. My musical world is so much richer because of you!

I'm thankful for my teachers - Josh Pais, Alaine Alldaffer, Karen Kohlhaas, Chas Elliot, VP Boyle, Carl Danielsen, Seth Weinstein, Marcia Cloyd, Winnie Hammond and coaches from my distant past - whose lessons continue to inform my work as an actress and singer.

I am thankful to my parents were my first teachers and made it so I could pursue all my artistic studies as a kid.

They are still so supportive with my acting and have made a few trips out to NY to see my shows. I love that!

I am thankful to have worked with amazing directors like BT McNicholl, Jonathon Robinson, Kurt Stamm, Michael Schiralli, Dan Wackerman, Daniel Maggio, Brian Swasey, Dennis Anderson, to name a few... musical directors like Jeffrey Campos, Robby Stamper, Matthew Ward... writers like Michael Small, Blair Fell, Bryan D. Leys; and producers like George DeMarco and David Gerard and Eileen and Sharon of Tweiss Productions.

Thanks to Facebook for connecting me to people from grade school to high school and the casts and crews I've worked with throughout the years. I am thankful for you all.

And thanks to everyone who's inspired me and encouraged me to shine my light and keep on making my dreams come true. Much love and many blessings to you all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Marvelous night for a Moondance

One of the things I love about living in Manhattan is watching the moon rise between the buildings!

 Looks like a giant spotlight, doesn't it?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

City Sights

Last week, I had the honor of recording some songs for the upcoming CD collection, Unrecorded Victor Herbert Gems, orchestrated by Larry Moore. The recording was done in a sumptuous concert hall at the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the journey there was such a delight!

I loved the cobblestone road on the way to the Academy.

Last month, when I recorded another song there for this project, it poured rain, so I was thrilled with the sunshine and blue skies of this day.

 I could see Jersey across the way. And directly across from the Academy is this fantastic old graveyard.

I wanted to climb up there and explore, but I had to go into the building to start work on the recording.

The Academy is so incredibly gorgeous, and this sculpted doorway made me think of my friend, Tina, who's a writer, growing leaps and bounds with her Essential Herbal magazine and her new book, By The Hearth.

This is dedicated to the Women Writers of America.

The trip down to the theatre held such neat images of shadow and light.

There were all sorts of twists and turns on the way to the stage, and once we were inside the concert hall, the stage was set with a Steinway grand piano, music stands and mics. And when we sang, the music bounced off the walls.

It was me, Sara Jean Ford, Elizabeth Inghram, and Maeve Hoglund with Zachary Stains singing lead, all of us breathing in concert, voices lifted in glorious song, and then the incredible vibration of stillness when we finished. My heart was racing, blood pounding in my ears, and the energy was absolutely electric. It was such a thrill!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's Soundtrack

Listening to the Broadway recording of Little Women. An absolute delight for the ears and imagination! Great songs!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My favorite direction for the day

I'm doing a 15 minute peformance of a new opera tomorrow called La Ribalta, and the scene is quite passionate, so the writer/director said to me, "Think Tony Soprano..."

"... and Gina Lollobrigida."

That made me laugh, because I'm often cast in characters like this: sexy powerhouses who have a sense of drive and tenacity like that of a freight train! Unstoppable!

It reminds me of Rita, the mafia mistress whom I played in the musical Lucky Stiff.

Granted, Elena in La Ribalta is the long-suffering wife of an actor, akin to the wife in NINE, but she's also got the fire of the mistress in that same musical film, so it's an incredible combination to play with. So much fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unrecorded Victor Herbert Gems

I'm recording more songs today for the upcoming "Unrecorded Victor Herbert Gems" project. Larry Moore, whom I worked with on The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, orchestrated the works, and I'm singing with incredible Broadway folks like Zacahry Stains, Sara Jean Ford, and a recent classmate from Alaine Alldaffer's scene study class, Elizabeth Inghram. Aaron Lazar and the gifted Rebecca Luker also star on the album.

 Such a pleasure to work with these talented people! Looking forward to today's recording at the Academy of Arts and Letters.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


So proud of my friends, Stephen and Mike, who are "rocking the 'stache" for Movember, Men's Health Awareness month, raising funds and awareness regarding prostate cancer.

These guys make me think of one my favorite movies, Anchorman: "You stay classy," gentlemen! :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Busy Week

Meeting a writer/director this week to discuss a potential play for next year.

Recording more music for The Victor Herbert Project orchestrated by Larry Moore for The Academy of Arts and Letters.

I had a blast singing with the Broadway folks from last session. The music was bouncing off the walls in the concert hall! Looking forward to singing more tracks for this very fun project!

And I'm performing a comic "torrid scene" with Richard Binder from the new musical "La Ribalta," at Studio 353 on Sunday November 14th at 8 PM.

Presented by Golden Fleece Productions, there will be scenes from 5 other musical theatre works-in-progress, as part of Sunday Nights at Square One. Reservations / tickets / general information: 212-691-6105

Should be a fun week!

Friday, November 05, 2010

You Are Here

"You are here to get kites stuck in trees.

You are not here to catch trains and wear dress socks.

You are here to build things and teach things and jump into lakes.

You are here to make things better for others, better for yourself.

You are here to laugh, take naps, and run around the basepath.

You are here to live well."

- Lynn Grabhorn via GNC