Thursday, August 25, 2011

On a Serious Note

I was shocked to learn that the NYPD, NYFD and EMTs who first responded to the 9/11 attacks have been asked to not attend the 10th Anniversary Ceremony next month. How is this possible?

I remember when it all happened. I live by The Met and was walking cross-town to go to work. Firetrucks and police cars were zooming by, heading downtown. This was before we knew what was really happening, and I thought, "Our guys will take care of this."

And they did what they could. My gosh, they did so much! They deserve to attend this 10th Anniversary Ceremony. They are the true heroes!

Please show your support and sign the petition to reverse this horrible decision:

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Day of School

My friend and fellow actress, Gina Milo, often refers to the first day of rehearsals as "the first day of school," and it's so fitting! You show up with your book (music and script), pencils and pens. Your desk is either a music stand or a table for the "table read" of the script. Your classmates might be new or people you've worked with before. And there's always that thrill of excitement in the air!

(me on the first day of school - age 10)

Last night was the first full company rehearsal for Hell's Belles, so my husband, Rob, asked, "How was your first day of school?" ;)

It was GREAT! The cast is marvelous! I worked with Omri Schein in the last 2 incarnations of the show, and he is such a doll! Very funny! Oakley Boycott is a tall blonde drink of water, and her take on Marilyn Monroe had us all breathless! Last but not least is the marvelous Kristen Mengelkoch who had me rolling every time she opened her mouth.

We three ladies play about 20 characters - everything from Eva Peron to Eleanor Roosevelt to Janis Joplin - and it was a delight to watch everyone "transform" last night. The bodies, the faces, the voices! And with Omri as the master of ceremonies, we make a very full-fledged ensemble.

A talented, funny cast, and a wonderful crew, including Ernie Fimbres as our Stage Manager and Gail Cooper-Hecht as our daring costume designer. It's a lovely group, and I'm so thrilled to work and play with them all!

Special thanks to Tweiss Productions for inviting me along! ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hell's Belles Ride Again!

A few years ago, I performed in a concert called "Bound for Broadway." I sang a few songs from The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, and the director of the concert, John Znidarsic, asked if I'd audition for a new show he was working on called Hell's Belles.

The show is a musical comedy about a cabaret in hell. The cast consists of one devilish MC and 3 actresses who play some of the most infamous women in history and pop culture. We play about 20 characters total, and it's an absolute blast! Crazy costumes, quick changes, social satire, and some lovely tunes!

I play Lady Godiva (above), Salome, Janis Joplin, Joan Crawford, Alice B. Toklas, Guenevere, and Judy Garland, to name a few.

Janis and Judy are my favorites by far, though I truly love all the characters I get to play.They're all unique!

I've been with this show through a few incarnations. The first presentation was at the West End Theatre on 86th Street. And last year, we did an informal presentation at HA! Comedy Club, which is where we'll be performing again this year.

Tonight is the first music rehearsal, and I'm looking forward to diving into the music again. The first rehearsal for any show always feels magical. :)

Hell's Belles will be running in The Midtown Theatre at HA! Comedy Club on Saturdays and Sundays at 5 PM, starting September 10th.

Hope to see you there! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Superheroes and Sketches

Have you noticed all of the superhero "nods" lately? There are all the summer films, which I'm enjoying, and HBO recently premiered a documentary about real-life caped crusaders, which was just fascinating!

Ironically, I recently wrote a sketch comedy piece about a superhero manicurist named Manny. It was performed last week at  The PIT (The People's Improv Theatre) and received great response. I was surprised by the uproarious laughter my sketch generated and was greatly encouraged to keep writing.

The class itself was my first experience in "round table" writing, though our tables formed more of a square, and I couldn't help but think of us as "knights of comedy" in one way shape or form. Or perhaps we were more like squires. :)

Each week our fearless leader and teacher Alex Zalben, provided us with a sketch format, which we'd write and then read to the class. We'd listen to each other and provide constructive criticism, saying what we liked about the sketches as well as addressing "room for improvement."

It was such a positive environment, and last week's class performance was such a treat, because every writer had tweaked their pieces, following the teacher's guidance, and it made for a really fun evening of sketch comedy.

So what does this have to do with superheroes? Well, one of our projects was to write a superhero sketch, taking a mundane task and finding the funny (and the fantastic) in it. That was my favorite sketch, hence the reason I worked on it for the class performance.

And this makes me think of the Superhero documentary, about ordinary people trying to make a difference in their own unique way. There are a lot of superheroes in my life. I think we all can have an incredibly positive impact on each other. And this gives me hope.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The First Harvest

I love this time of year. There's something so magical about August. It's often the hottest time of the year, and yet heralds the harvest to come. It is a reminder to play and enjoy the lazy summer days before the hard work of Autumn is upon us.

It is a time of Summer fruit and sweet corn.

A time to release fear and take heart, to recognize the star of hope within us.

It is also the time of sunflowers. I don't remember seeing these flowers in the desert where I grew up. But here on the East Coast, the fields are full of them - these tall, radiant flowers that turn to the light.

"I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life." - Calendar Girls (written by Julia Towhidi and Tim Firth)