Ah, Musical Theatre!

I was just sharing with a friend that I would like to direct a musical. I have never directed one in my 14 years as a director. Imagine that! Not that I don’t love musicals.  I just haven’t had the chance or haven’t found one that moves me like Rent or Godspell or Passing Strange.  Where oh where is the musical that has my name written all over it?

Then I read Ken Davenport’s blog about the fate of musical theatre which not for nothing I have been hearing about since…forever and a minute ago.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions that may be of interest to me, comment away.

 

Faith! And a Review of Done to Death

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”

That quote is by Tony Robbins and I love it. I have been living in this zone over the last two weeks. You can have total faith but without the work it ain’t going to show up. Or as I love to say, “Uh, _______ is not going to knock on your door and say hi, I am ___________ and I am here to fulfill your __________.” It’s funnier when I do the scene for you.

It’s the truth though. I remember being upset for years about not having an emergency fund. I felt awful about myself and my situation…a complete failure who was going to end up in a tent community with my husband, my cat and my wedding china…and some plays. Then it hit me.  I never worked toward an emergency fund. That wasn’t a financial goal at that time. However, my career is in a different place from five years ago because I took massive, determined action to succeed.

Good QOD! How often do we say woe is me when really it is woe is me for not taking aggressive action.

In other news, I have the pleasure of doing the publicity and house managing for the Parkside Players. Done to Death by Fred Carmichael and directed by my pal, Natalie Jones. The plot is simple and the storyline easy to follow.  The characters are telling the audience what is going to happen and who did it. So, in a nutshell, and I ripped the description from the Sam French site, here’s the story: (add mysterious music) Once famous mystery writers involve the audience as they apply their individual methods to solving various murders. They include a couple who write sophisticated murders, a young author of the James Bond school, a retired writer of the hard hitting method and an aging queen of the logical murder.

This is such a fun show for only one reason! All the actors use multiple acting styles and are terrific.  Mark Dunn and Bridget Bannec are the classy couple who do things well, plot and drink. Great chemistry between the two. Richard Weyhausen plays a Raymond Chandler type writer who fancies himself better than Bram Stoker. His acting style ranges from silent movie star to tough guy. Then there’s Rosemary Innes who reminds me of Jessica Fletcher and who doesn’t want to be compared to Agatha what’s-her-name. Mike DeRosa makes his debut with the Parkside Players as an Robert Ludlumesque spy writer who is the most current of the writers. Bringing this group together is Mike Miller who is his usual wide-eyed insane character. Again, lots of fun especially since the writers end up acting in their own styles as well as their counterparts’.

There are two additional actors in this show who flawlessly play multiple roles. Johnny Young, Twelfth Night’s director, plays crazy way too well. It’s really refreshing seeing him onstage for a change. Laura Cetti, though, is the glue of this production. She plays at least 5 different roles in this play and transitions into each of them with ease and costume changes. I so enjoyed watching her. It’s tough to go into detail about their roles without giving away the story. Special kudos to Susan E. Young who plays the surly stage manager and Frank Gentile as a supporting character in one of the scenes.

So, if you aren’t on the beach this weekend, visit www.parksideplayers.com for info.

More to come on Imaginary by Nick Radu – my first producing gig without Black Henna – and Twelfth Night.

Seasons Change and So Do People

Do people change? I think so. I know I have. My grandmother-in-law said to my mother-in-law that I am a very happy person. I had to digest that compliment then ponder it and then accept it. 

I had to accept as true because it is true. I made a choice to start living a more zen existence because for too long everything in my life was high drama. After a while I just became so over it. The frenzied feeling that I used to thrive on now makes me very sick. Once upon a time I would use that to achieve goals. However, I am finding that I am able to make them in a more relaxed place.  I thought it was normal to be in chaos. All the shows I have worked on has had a level of draaaamaaa. Not my current show. There’s no room for it. I don’t want it.

Black Henna is in pre-production for our summer show, Twelfth Night. The process for this show is very different than the past. The old process entailed many meetings and discussions. We would rip everything to shreds then repaste it. It was all a big to do. This show has been very simple. My director, Johnny Young, and I have had simple exchanges regarding the show.  This is the concept, this is where we are performing, here’s the rehearsal schedule, auditions, casting, and scene.  Of course, there are issues rising up but we have been able to handle them without going into crisis mode.

Do you know why? Most things in life aren’t life or death. That was a big realization for me. Once I realized that and started being grateful, I felt a huge shift in everything. My mind, my body, my spirit. Do I still get crazy? Of course but it is more contained. No one is going to benefit from insane outburts. I have a saying: “If you have an insane outburst and no one is reacting or responding, then you look like a crazy person.”

And that’s coming from someone that knows!

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The Parkside Players open this weekend with Done to Death directed by Natalie Jones!  Check out www.parksideplayers.com

The staged reading of Imaginary  written and directed by Nick Radu will be up next month. Stay tuned for more details.

 

 

Auditions and Other Life Lessons!

We held auditions for Twelfth Night last weekend and I am always astounded at the level of talent that exists. The best auditions were done by actors who chose monologues that most spoke to them. I have written and given advice on auditioning many times but this time I had a true aha moment. I realized that in addition to having a good headshot and a professional resume,  it is also important to prepare a monologue that speaks to you. At the end of the day, the audition process should not solely be about getting the part but also about doing your best.

One of the many lessons I learned in school and continue to apply is asking myself  have I done my best. Not only in acting or directing or producing, but in just about everything I do. If I know that I have done my best then I am mentally prepared for whatever follows. I also try to find the lesson. There is always something to gain from an experience. The moment I started doing that I find that I don’t get as crazy if things don’t go my way. That’s a big deal for me because I want everything to go my way,

So getting back to the audition process, here are my observations from last week’s auditions from the other side of the table:

  • The most interesting monologues were the most natural ones. We can see the passion in the your eyes and body if the monologue brings that for you.
  • If you are comfortable and in love with the monologue, it is easy for you to take direction and apply it when asked to do so.
  • It says a whole lot if you ask if we have a preference of monologue as it shows you are versatile and prepared. 

Here are my additional thoughts on the audition process as a whole. I have always said that you never know what goes on in a director’s head. I think it’s important to keep this in mind:

  • Don’t take it personal
  • Don’t think about the competition
  • Do your best work

And here is the information for Twelfth Night:

After a sudden summer squall, twin campers wind up on the wrong side of the lake and find themselves at Camp Illyria! After getting separated in the storm, Viola and Sebastian must contend with lovestruck Administrators and Athletic Coaches, vivacious Accountants, Kitchen Staff that has to be seen to be believed, and the surliest “Camp Cheer Counselor” they could possibly imagine, all the while trying to meet back up with each other, and get back to where they came from! Their twisted and madcap journey of fun and discovery takes place this summer in:

Brooklyn at McCarren Park on July 14th & The Waterfron on July 16th
Queens at the Forest Park Bandshell on July 15th
Manhattan at Cherry Hill in Central Park on July 20th and 21st
The Bronx in Van Cortlandt Park on July 22nd