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!