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! :)