Friday, October 24, 2008

Did I figure this out?

Alright, so I never let everyone know how my summer went.  And I think I might have figured out how to add photos to my blog so hopefully it works?  
So, everyone wanted to know how Sacramento, CA was.  It was really wonderful.  I had a blast all summer.  The only thing missing was my family.  But they did come visit during my 2nd to last week there.  They got see me in Hairspray!  So, the entire summer consisted of rehearsals, lack of sleep and pretty good food (sometimes...), and new lifelong friends.  I know it sounds like band camp but that's really what it feels like.  A group of strangers are thrown together for 3-10 wks. and if it works, it's magical.  If not, it can make for some uncomfortable days.  I began my summer (as my first blog stated) as the only black nun, Sis. Sophia in the Sound of Music.  It really was a lot of fun (surprisingly).  I was on stage maybe for a total of 35 minutes in a 2 and a 1/2 hour show.  So there was a lot of down time.  Unfortunately, the second week of the run, I was cramming the insane lyrics and music of my next show, "Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet".  I played a street urchin who's color of choice was drab and dirty gray.  Ugh!  Anyway, it was truly the best theatrical experience of my life.  I worked with the amazing Broadway star Mark Jacoby and Mary Gordon Murray as well as the director (who is also a professor here at UNLV) Glenn Casale.  The music that was performed was just glorious.  Which is funny when you think about the fact that it's a show about revenge and blood and murder.  But all in all it was good old fashioned fun.  My next project was "My Fair Lady" starring the fiery red head Kate Baldwin.  I threw away all my preconceived notions of what Eliza Doolittle is supposed to sound like or be like.  Kate played her in such a strong and stormy way that every night, I really didn't know how the show would end.  I had been looking forward to "My Fair..." all summer because I couldn't wait to get into the costumes.  And oh, what a delight it was.  My hat for Ascot was beautiful.  I even got a photo of myself in Eliza's hat (yes, it looked just like the one in the movie)!  I love costumes.  There was a ball, I got to waltz while the stage revolved and rose, and I was featured as one of the two maids that sings the show favorite, "I Could Have Danced All Night".   After "My Fair", I finally got to leave the stages of London, for Baltimore in "Hairspray".  I played one of the Dynamites who basically is one of the Supremes.  It was a fun show, I danced again, even a dance called, The Dirty Boogie!  My partner and I did the "G" version when my kids were there.  And yes, there was a lot of hair.  During all these main shows, I was one of two performers who was asked to do the Cabaret for the theatre patrons.  What was so fun about that was that I got to sing old standards that aren't heard anymore.  I got to sing Come Rain or Come Shine, Ain't Misbehavin', The Nearness of You, and even When You Wish Upon A Star.  It was the most fun 30 minutes of my life.  In the end, it was a wonderful summer and I learned a lot about my craft, and my strengths and also my weaknesses.  But I truly did make some wonderful friends.  And I did a lot of talking about the Church.  And I mean a lot.  And in some of the oddest places.  The laundrymat, backstage, and my favorite was in a bar.  Yep, a smoke filled alcohol infested bar.  But what do you do when someone asks you about your religion?  Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor (thank you Sondheim) so we as "misionaries" have to take what we can get.  So, there I was, sitting in a bar talking to Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett about our prophet, what we believe and why we believe it.  Hmm...  I also met the amazing Faith Prince (who I worked with back in '05 in Seattle) again and she remembered me.  But alas, anyway, it was a great summer and I hope that I am blessed again to perform and make lifelong friends.  It really is amazing how powerful theatre is and how it really does change lives, even if just for for 2 and 1/2 hours.  Enjoy the photos, if they load.

What's A Rally?

So on Sunday I went to a political rally with my friend Megan Jones.  She's everything I want to be when I grow up.  Anyway, before the rally actually started a small group of us got to privately meet former US President Bill Clinton.  Now, I know that many of my Vegas friends can't stand him let alone his political affiliation, but imagine that you were meeting someone that you held in major regard and you actually got a picture with them.  I hate to admit that I am often starstruck but sometimes I am.  Unfortunately, it is never over anyone that any of my peers to care for.  Oh well, anyway, the rally.  It doesn't really matter what the rally was about, although hearing the president speak was invigorating!  What matter is the energy that I was surrounded by.  It was amazing!  To be one person in a large group of people who look different from you, have a different life, needs, wants, lifestyles, yet you're all there cheering and rooting for the same thing.  It was so exciting and I loved every second of it.  Anyway, I know that soon (although not soon enough) this election season will be over, I hope that we can continue to get excited about the things that are important to us and go after them.  Just remember to wear really comfortable shoes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three weeks and counting...

It has almost been a month since my last post and I have done two shows in that time.  I have completed Sweeney Todd, closed My Fair Lady last night, and had an 8hr. day of Hairspray rehearsal.  My brain is fried to the max but so happy to be dancing and singing again.  I guess I should recap.  I will try to go slowly both for you and for myself.
First off, Sweeney Todd was the most amazing theatrical experience I have ever had.  More so than even my first year when I played a principle role.  The cast was amazing!!!  Broadway star Mark Jacoby was our Sweeney and he was a master at the craft of suspense and drama.  Our Mrs. Lovett (played by the lovely Mary Gordon Murray ) was incredibly funny and endearing in her own demented way (the character not Mary).  I met some beautiful people and got to work with Glen Casale (he directed the production of Peter Pan that you can see with Cathy Rigby) as well as Carolann Sanita and Max Von Essen and just too many more wonderful people to name.  I took tons of pictures which of course I will not know how  to upload.  But overall, even though it was hard as labor to learn all that music (ugh, Stephen Sondheim in his finest) it was the show I did not want to see come to an end.
My next show, My Fair Lady was a completely different show and experience.  For the ensemble the  show was much easier, but not as artistically fulfilling.  Not for any reason other than the fact that it's a heavy book show and it's heavy for the principles.  Our Eliza and Prof. Higgins were a dream team.  So much so that I am going to see Eliza (Kate Baldwin) in San Diego in the fall at the Old Globe Theatre when she does, The Women.  I am very excited.  I did have lovely costumes.  Which was a major change after having been a plain jane nun and then a street urchin.  I had been looking forward to My Fair... all summer long.  The beautiful gowns, the hats and parasols and of course the music of Lerner and Lowe.  I was not disappointed, just not as challenged.  It really was a lot of running around to change costumes.  But I did get to be one of the two featured maids in "I Could Have Danced All Night".  That was my nightly highlight!  It was also the only time I ever came in contact with Eliza so I did enjoy that little moment.  We had just a deliciously entertaining choreographer, Josh Walden.  Who after opening left to venture home in New Hampshire before returning to NY to rehearse for the first national tour of Legally Blonde the Musical.  I wish him the best!  
Anyway, I finally have a full complete day off.  I haven't had one in two weeks and I have needed it desperately.  I miss my family but they arrive on Saturday and are here through Thursday!  I can't wait to see how tall they have become as well as how Adam is handling being 12 and about to get the priesthood.  We have decided to have him wait until I get home.  I am very proud of him.  Alright, I have bored you enough.  Enjoy the photos.  If I get them up!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And on to number 2...

Tonight we closed, "...Music" and I have to say, I was a little teary eyed.  It didn't happen though until the middle of act 2 as the nuns (me) were singing the wedding music.  I know that in the beginning I griped and complained about having to learn Latin but I have to say, it had become very comforting.  Tomorrow I go full speed into my second show, "Sweeney Todd".  We are doing a "rough through" of the entire show.  And I do mean rough.  The lyrics are challenging and the music is very difficult but it's Stephen Sondheim so I wouldn't expect anything less.  
I so enjoyed a few of the kids in the production and will miss their sweet and genuine personalities.  I shall also miss our "Maria" b/c she really is a delightful and charming person.  Well I'm getting mushy not to mention sleepy so I'll end this for now.  I'll be sure to post more photos from "...Music" once I receive them from castmates.  Thanks for checking the blog!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Opening! (Sound of Music)

Well after a few days of rehearsal (literally) we opened our first show of the season, The Sound of Music. on Saturday night July 5th.  We had our season opening party last night (Sunday) and despite my doubts I had a blast.  I also got to meet two of the other casts that are here which was helpful considering I'm going to be working with some of them soon.  Myself and the other nuns got dolled up and danced the night away until about 1:30 a.m.  I haven't danced like that in a while.  Even with my one good leg I was still able to shake a tail feather.  Tomorrow I begin rehearsals for my next show, Sweeney Todd, so I will be doing double duty for the next week (Sound... closes next Sunday) not to mention I open the cabaret on Tuesday night (with 3 performances this week alone).  Yes, you can take pity on me for I am tired but loving every minute of it.  I hope you are all well and finding ways to express your talents that so often you forget you have due to family duties and church callings.  I miss you all and can't wait to see you again!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm In Sacramento!!!

Hello hello!  It's Joel here giving you a small update on my first two days here in Sacramento.  I here working for Sacramento Music Circus and I am playing the nun Sister Sophia in the musical, The Sound of Music.  I had my first costume fitting this morning and I have to say, I looked like a nun.  It's been so long since I've had a costume of any kind (other than when I would play dress up on Sundays to lead the music) and when they put my headdress on me, I got a little teary eyed.  And not because I was wearing a black potato sack.  I am just very happy to be working again.  I wish I could reveal that much joy with my first vocal rehearsal.  For those of you that think The Sound of Music is a simple show vocally, I encourage you step inside the world of our musical director (I would reveal his name but I am working on being more Christlike).  Anyway, I don't know what those original Catholics were thinking but Latin is HARD!!!  I have never made up so many sounds in all my life.  And on top of that, sometimes I am singing 1st Soprano, then 2nd, then back to 1st all in a matter of 10 or so bars.  If you don't understand  1st-2nd Soprano, one is higher than the other but at times their notes are very similar until the second soprano jumps to the lower (harmony) notes.  Ugh!!!  I just kept saying as I was reading the music, "this was not in the movie".  So let that be a lesson to all of you that thing seeing the movies is just as good as reading the book or going to the theatre, it's not!  Because they always leave something out of the movie.
Alright, I've rambled on long enough.  I am sure in the coming days I will have funny things to say along with funny pictures but for now, know that someone in Sacramento who's staying in a humid hotel misses her family and friends in Vegas.