Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: What a trip!

It's been a really weird year, seeing people go through incredibly traumatic times, doing what I can to help. I am hopeful that each day brings people closer together, hopeful that people will let go of hate and really let love light the way.

Not to get heavy. I just care.

My husband always says that laughter is the best medicine, and I found in 2012 that my artistic adventures were indeed more skewed towards comedy. It was cool to hear many a casting director discover, "Oh! You're funny!" ;)

Most of my work was Off-Off Broadway, and I took part in several readings. At the Manhattan Theatre Club, I played Judy Garland and Janis Joplin in the musical, Hell's Belles, which has a Forbidden Broadway vibe. I've been involved with this show since 2008, and the audiences are incredibly loyal. Many folks have come up to me after each presentation, telling me that I remind them so strongly of Judy Garland, that they can see and hear her entire career in my performance. I'm always moved by how people respond to my take on Judy, and I'm thrilled to take them down memory lane.

Wayne Henry, a friend of mine from the Off Broadway play Johnny on a Spot, caught me in Hell's Belles at HA! Comedy Club, and asked if I'd be interested in playing Sally, the quirky female lead in JAWS: The Musical! Wayne wrote the book, music and lyrics; took the basic premise of JAWS and made it entirely his own, focusing on a love story between the shark and a woman while finding plenty of humor for all the characters that inhabit "Amity Island." It was one of the most joyous experiences of the summer and ran from June to September at the Broadway Comedy Club.

Wayne is working on extending the 40 minute show into a full length musical for 2013, and I'm hoping we record some of the tunes, because they ROCK!

I also got to work on the new musical, "How to Marry a Divorced Man," reprising the role of Glenda, a punk rock mom going through a divorce, trying to find love and reboot her punk rock career. It was a lot fun! We did the reading at an art gallery in Manhattan, and as one of the producers said, I was the art! :)

I also found fulfillment, preparing for auditions and callbacks this year. I was called back for Martha in "The Secret Garden," received great response in my audition for Clarice in "Silence! The Musical," and was called in for leading roles in "Educating Rita" and "Urinetown."

Studying with LA acting teacher Tim Phillips was life-changing. I also took a 5 week commercial workshop with Brette Goldstein and video game voice overs with Kim Graham.

It was a good year, and I look forward to many more adventures in 2013. Hope your New Year is very happy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twinter Wonderland

Last week I had the pleasure of entertaining the masses via 360i's snowglobe cam at

Every time someone tweets about this project, 360i donates $5 towards Hurricane Sandy Relief.

360i is one of the online ad agencies I work for at my support job. They're a great company and have worked around my theatre schedule for the past 8 years. Since the main company I work for is global, I've been able to juggle hours successfully around both this job and my acting projects. They even gave me time off for a gig in Michigan!

So playing in the snowglobe last week was a real treat. I joined fellow comedian and improv clarinetist, Allison Hein. And Stephen Dauwalter alternated as Santa then a penguin. We even paid tribute to the Rockettes with the tiniest kickline ever!

I am very thankful to have a good support job, surrounded by other artists, innovators, techies, movers and shakers.

Here's to bringing some holiday cheer to everyone out there! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Blessing is in the "Break"

I don't know if it's the holidays or what, but this month in particular has me meeting up with old friends whom I haven't seen in years. Three in particular are actresses whom I loved working with, and it's a delight to share past adventures and learn from each other.

While I've stayed in NY, working on new plays and musicals Off and Off-Off Broadway, one friend has done the same thing and just closed a great play. Another friend went to grad school and was doing delicious work there. Another has been playing stellar roles in musicals throughout the country.

While we've all been very lucky, surviving the hurricane, one friend mentioned something about how "the blessing is in the break," and she equated it to the story Jesus breaking bread, miraculously building loaf upon loaf to feed the masses.

This made me think of all the ways artists view "the break." We're all looking for our "big break," and that seems to come about through discipline, persistence, patience, positivity, passion, and connecting with others.

My friend who went to grad school mentioned breaking bad habits as part of her acting process, and it makes me think of "tempered steel," how metal must be heated in order to be shaped.

                                     (Russian woman blacksmith in Siberia)

This also makes me think of the film, "The Life of Pi," which I saw last night (I'm now reading the book). I love the main character's view of religion since as a child he was initiaed in Hinduism, "met" Christ as a boy in a Christian church, and later discovered Allah. He viewed spirituality as different rooms in the same house. Not to get all preachy, but I love that sentiment, and the story of "The Life of Pi" sees a young man whose spirit is constantly tested when he's lost at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

Just when you think he's broken, something appears to lift him up. It's like the book The Alchemist, another fabulous spiritual adventure story.

So where does this put me and "breaks"? I feel like I'm excavating, digging for buried treasure within myself. There are classes I want to take to strengthen my acting and singing. My writing side is also calling to me, and there are projects I'm working on with friends. I can see the need to break bad habits, or to release old ways of thinking. It is time to change, to let go, stretch and grow, be persistent but flexible.

I am open to the ride.