Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chess Success!

It was so nice to get back to the theater last night and see my lovely chessers! We had a fantastic show on Sunday, perhaps even better than what I had written about for Saturday. It may have been a personal best for everyone in the show to date!

This week in between was a busy one for me. Lots and lots of work - we're looking to fill another receptionist position, so we're rearranging to schedule for the end of the month, I've been calling applicants and setting up meetings, and doing my regular work stuff too. I also went to the Red Sox/Angels game (the Sox won! Yay!) with Evan and my roommates and neighbors and friends, went to trivia night for the first time at Q's Billiards, and had an audition. A productive and fun week.

The audition I went on was yesterday morning for Kevin Smith's new horror movie, "Red State". I was auditioning for two small rolls and I think it went fine. One of them was actually supposed to be in her 20's, which was nice. The other one (or two actually, it was for Girl 1 AND Girl 2) is a 17 year old high school kid. Not that I'm unbelievable as a high school student, but when the other people at the audition talk about living with their parents or having their mom drive them there that morning, I feel pretty seasoned. I have no doubt that I'm doing fine at the auditions, I just need to find where I fit. Soon enough we'll figure out where the industry sees me and I'll start booking things, I'm sure of it.

We were called to the theater at 6:30 to do mic check and run a few numbers. Everything seemed to be going along pretty smoothly, and it's always reassuring when you remember your words after nearly a week of no shows. We were all having fun backstage getting ready, and at our half hour i started getting dressed, only to realize I couldn't find my shoes. They're fairly simple black heels, but since I had worn bright pink polka-dotted galoshes there, it was very important to find them or some other alternative. There was a dance show at the theater over the week and our choreographer was in it, so she text'd all the girls to see if anyone had grabbed them by accident. In the meantime, there were some short boots at the theater from a past production of Oklahoma that almost fit and that's what I wore for the first act. It did throw me off a bit. I want to feel very strong and womanly and these shoes didn't allow that. I felt like my acting was a bit off and I did forget some of my words, but hey - it could have been much worse. I'm sure it's better than to have had to go on with the pink rain boots. I didn't even realize until people told me when I got off stage what a huge applause I got after "Nobody's Side".

Luckily one of the dancers had grabbed the shoes, thinking one of her fellow dancers left them behind, and brought them back so I had them for the second act. I felt like that went much more smoothly for me, and we had an amazing audience. We had a woman in the very front row - closer than normal because of the added seats - mouthing every.single.word of every song, which is impressive because most of us in the show couldn't do that. And our musical director pointed out that you know you've got something really good when the audience starts applauding before the song even ends. Josie, one of the cast members, said there were critics in the audience and they absolutely loved the show. I also had a few friends in the audience, people with whom I've worked on projects before, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

We actually oversold for the night, and even after bringing in more chairs we had to turn a lot of people away that had comp tickets, including another castmate's agent. My manager is coming with a casting director tonight, so I told her to let the people at the box office know who they are just in case we oversell again.

And for those people that got turned away, they'll have six more chances to come see it because we've officially extended the run! Unfortunately not everyone will be able to do the extended shows, so we'll have 2 weeks off to rehearse and put in a few new people, and our extended dates are August 19-21 and 27-29. We're going to record some audio at tonight's show to use as promotional samples on the ticketing websites, and I wouldn't be surprised if we sell out each of the new dates.

After the performance last night a bunch of us went to The Other Side, a piano bar in Silverlake where our pianist plays weekly. People bring their music books or choose songs that he knows how to play and sing along, a kind of live karaoke. I think almost all of us from the show sang at least one song, if not backing up someone else. Sad that we're all really starting to bond when it's the last weekend for some people, but better late than never.

I have a great feeling about tonight, I have at least six people coming to see me and I'm very excited. We've decided to have a cast/crew potluck afterward which I think will be the perfect way to top off a fun/busy/productive week, and send off those that won't be able to continue the extension with us. Our pseudo-closing night is going to be fantastic.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What A Scene, What A Joy!

As I hinted at earlier, we had a great show last night.

Our preview on Thursday went pretty well. We had a small but enthusiastic audience, and there were just a few flubs throughout the show. I think overall it gave us the confidence that out official opening night would go well. On Friday, most of us managed to get to the theater early so we could run some of the tricky spots that hadn't worked as well as we'd hoped the night before.

It seemed like we had gotten all out good nervous energy out the night before and couldn't find it for our opening. My personal show was... meh. I forgot a couple words, and wasn't supporting my voice like I should have been, and though it could have been much worse it still wasn't great. There was the lack of energy, but I think the main thing that threw us off is that some parts of our orchestra didn't get specific cuts in the music, so at times there would be extra bars, or the song would be played in two different keys at points. It's hard to be in the moment when you're worried about what you'll hear next. There were spots that some people had to just speak their words instead of sing them.

I had all day yesterday to think about the previous performance and the one coming up. I don't know about you, but when I'm nervous or agitated or I just need to occupy my mind for a period of time, I clean. But even when my room was spic'n'span and my laundry was done, I was more nervous than ever. It's so frustrating, not knowing what to do about that feeling. I stopped taking xanax a long time ago and didn't have time for a nap, so I had some chamomile tea. It's almost embarrassing to admit that I felt so weird I wanted to cry. It seemed like if I did then I would feel better, but I couldn't even do that. So tea was my next best option.

Funny how as soon as I get to the theater I always feel better. All my crazy bad nervous energy soon turned into good energy and I got the feeling we were going to have a great show. As soon as we started, I was sure of it. And a good thing too, because Evan and two other friends of mine were there to see it. We had a couple sound issues in the beginning, and I messed up some of my words in the exact same spot as the two days prior to that, but the orchestra was fantastic and the audience got more enthusiastic as the show went on. I've said it before and I mean it: I'm so very proud of what we did last night. I know it wasn't the personal best for some people, but as a whole it was definitely the best we've done yet.

When we were finished our director, Robert, came back stage to congratulate us on such a success and inform us that...... there's a possibility of extending the run. I think it would be amazing to have more than just 3 more shows. We've gotten great feedback, and it's a show that a lot of people wouldn't normally get the chance to see. So I'm crossing my fingers that this is going to happen. :)

I'm feeling pretty okay today. Maybe it's because I'm working and don't have the whole day to wait around for the show tonight. I still get little flashes of the weird nerves, but I'm mostly excited. I got a couple video clips of when we were running parts of songs last night, so I'll try to get them up here.

**Tickets can be purchased at - select nights have discount tickets with the promo code "bargain"**

Ladies And Gentlemen, We Have A Show!

I just needed to say how insanely honored I am to share the stage with the brilliant cast of Chess and proud of what we've put together in collaboration with so many other talented people. I love you all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Tonight is the preview night for Chess. We're going to have an audience, and it's actually going to be the very first time we've run the entire show from beginning to end. When I told my coworker this, she asked if I was nervous. I told her that I had butterflies, but now an hour and a half later I realize that I am nervous. It's strange, since I don't remember the last time I was actually nervous before a show. I'm used to having butterflies, because putting up a show is always exciting for me. I've gotten very good at trusting that I know the show and that if anything goes wrong it will be fixed. So this is strange, knowing I will be just fine but still feeling a little scared.

I'm pretty sure it's the situation rather than self confidence. I've never put up a show in this amount of time, not to mention I'd only heard a few songs before being cast. We've had the orchestra for three days, they just got their music Monday, and we just finished the blocking yesterday. Also, I was talking with the music director yesterday and at one point he gave me one of those looks and said something to the effect of: Don't freak out, but this is a huge opportunity for you. Make the most of it.

Even with all of this in my mind, I'm absolutely positive that we've put together an incredible show. I think anyone I know that has seen me perform before will be impressed at how different this is than anything else I've done. Plus, I'm hitting higher notes than I ever thought possible for my voice :)

I'm so pleased that I've been trusted to take on such an important role, and proud of myself for taking the strides to make it happen. Writing all this out is really helping me feel better. I know as soon as I hit the stage the adrenaline will kick in and all will be fine. I wish there was a chance for more performances. This show is so rarely done, and I know that there will be a lot of people coming to see it.

And on that note, there are a few 1/2 price tickets available on for this weekend! Search for Chess In Concert or The Met theatre.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Home Stretch

Funny that last time I wrote I said that it was getting easier and more fun to blog, but then I don't write again for over a week. Though in my defense, that week-and-then-some passed very quickly since I've been busy busy busy working to open a show in a time span of just over 2 weeks.

So, there's less than a week until Chess opens and I am SOOO excited! The breathing is going much better in case you were wondering. Actually, the first rehearsal we had as a full cast I think I pulled lung muscle. Is that possible? I'm guessing I was so focused on expanding and supporting that I didn't realize I probably pushed my body too hard too fast. Luckily the pain was gone by the next day and I've been more careful about the way I'm warming up and singing.

We started blocking a few days ago and it became apparent how very much music there is in this show by the amount of material we hadn't even had time to look at yet. In the time since I'm pretty sure we covered everything musically, though that doesn't necessarily mean all that's left is the blocking. Some of the most difficult numbers were saved for last, and they're going to take a lot of work to be ready to put in front of an audience. We were informed that we will in fact be able to use our music binders for the performances, but I think a good number of us want to have it all memorized. I'm among those that want to do it without the binder, and I think it's definitely possible with the rate I've been going. If I just focus on those tricky songs for a day or two I'm sure it'll work out.

I got really excited trying to put together my costume today. It's basically black and white stuff, but I have so much of that that I got to tear my closet apart and play dress up. Also, it gives me an excuse to go shopping. They said if anyone couldn't put together their outfit from their own wardrobe not to worry, but... well I am a girl after all. If I still can't find something after shopping, then I'll let them care of it :)

I had a dream last night I found a gray hair on my head, and when I got to work my co-worker pointed one out in the exact same spot as in the dream. Creepy. I'm really not surprised though. Even aside from the whirlwind show, I've got a lot on my plate right now. Luckily the stress isn't overwhelming, I feel like I'm holding things together nicely. I'm actually very glad I've got the show to keep me busy and my brain occupied.

I've got another audition coming up this Monday, for General Hospital. I'll be auditioning to be an Irish girl. Yes, me an Irish girl. Which I recently found out, I am not. Not that I look like it, but when asked what my ethnicity is, I always threw that in the mix. It's an eclectic enough mix anyway, I'm actually surprised that Irish is not in it. Even so, there's still enough left to leave people perplexed.

Oh, I nearly forgot!! I went to see Inn The Heights again last night and it was just as amazing as before. I was in the 4th row this time, which I initially thought would be too close when I first sat down, but it was perfect. I could understand everything that was being said and sung and it was more engaging from that close.


If you're interested in seeing my show (Chess), tickets can be purchased through or at 323.960.7735

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Literally... I need to learn how to breathe again. I went through a few of my songs with the Greg the musical director yesterday afternoon, and do you have any idea how much Florence sings in Chess? Well, it's a lot. Greg said it's pretty much the Florence show, and it's not only a lot of singing but a lot of serious powerhouse songs. I am thrilled to be a part of this production and the challenge doesn't scare me, but it is a challenge. I just need to remember to do the important things - like breathing.

When I was in Alabama doing RENT Casey, Ben and I would get on a treadmill or bike and sing "Today For You" and boy oh boy did it help with the breath control. So I did it again today. this morning I went to the gym and quietly sang "Today For You" a few times on the treadmill. I'd take a couple minutes in between and I could feel that it got easier each time. I even went through some of my Chess songs to see if I remembered all the lyrics, and it seems they're sticking in my head better than I could have hoped after one day. Now I just have to do that 3 or 4 times a week and I'll have those songs completely memorized and singing them like a pro in no time.

Tonight we have our first rehearsal where we will get to meet the rest of the cast and people involved, get more music, and rehearse all together! I took a look at the cast list and was surprised to find that I didn't know anyone in the cast. But I did hear a lot of amazing voices at the auditions, so I can't wait so see which ones they decided to put together. Since I've been out here there hasn't been anyone I've done a show with that I really didn't like. There have been people that had their quirks that took some getting used to, but in all each cast I've been a part of have become a sort of family. At least for the time being. So I'm ready to meet my brand new Chess family tonight.

I got some great news today, in a roundabout sort of way. I got a voicemail from a casting director about auditioning for a brand new musical. It would involve recording the music late this month and doing a reading possibly in September. And this casting director? He's the one I thought I had burnt a bridge with by turning down the job in Colorado. So I feel much better now knowing that all things are well on that front. He's a really nice man and I'm glad he'd like to work with me again.

And one more thing. I realized that I actually enjoy blogging now. In the beginning it was a bit of a chore sometimes, but lately I've been eager to blog when something exciting happens. It could be because I kept a journal for at least 11 years and have tapered off from writing in that, and it could also be because I get so many people telling me they really enjoy what I write, and look forward to the next entry. Thanks everyone, I like you too!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Someone Else's Story

Apparently I was what they were looking for, because I landed the lead! I'll be playing Florence in Chess. Well, Chess in concert. Sounds to me like it would just be the music, but I'm not certain. I've never seen a play done "in concert", and I tried googling for the answer to no avail. I guess I'll probably find out at the first rehearsal/meeting this afternoon.

I was called back for two things - Florence and "featured soloist", the latter we all assumed was code for "ensemble". I saw a few people I knew there so that sped up the time between the two callbacks. For the first one, we were split up into parts and learned one of the hardest four part harmonies in the show, then sang in groups of four. Once that was done we waited and chatted until some of us had other parts we were called back for. I was the last of the Florences to sing, and out of 5 or 6 girls, I felt it was between me and one other girl. Luckily I didn't go right after her, because that would have been a little nerve wracking. She sings how I want to sing, just an absolutely beautiful and natural sound. Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit in this, but I think in the end it came down to height. Though, out of everyone who auditioned and the few who were called back, it ended up being me! I'm proud and I think I did a great job so I think I'm giving credit where credit is due.

One thing that's crazy about this show is that there isn't one solid version of it. If you check it out on wikipedia you'll see that it started as a West End production, then when it moved to Broadway the second act was completely revamped, changed yet again when it went to Sydney, and productions since seem to have taken pieces from each prior production and combined them. I would imagine we'll do the same thing, especially since it's just in concert. We can have all the great songs we want and not have to worry too much about how it all fits into the story. I think. All I know is I'm really excited. I can't say it's a part I've wanted to play forever since I never really knew much about the show, but I've always loved the songs and they've been some of my favorites to sing since the first time I've heard them.

How was your 4th of July? Mine was very nice. Both Evan and I had the day off, so we went to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for the dishes we were going to make and bring to a friend's house. I made the ever popular bacon wrapped water chestnuts, and a salad that turned out to be a hit. Evan created giant burger patties that contained, among other things, bacon. Yes, right in with the ground beef. He topped them with taleggio cheese and a home made spicy aioli. You can read all about our day on his blog here. Happy birthday, America!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


First things first - I had an audition for Chess In concert last night. I showed up, sang something from Jekyll & Hyde, and I think that may be the best I've ever sounded in a musical audition. Now I know that if I don't get a callback, it's simply because I'm not what they're looking for. It's great to fees so confident about that.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

My hair has been causing problems for me. It started yesterday when I woke up at 8 to go to a 10:45 audition in Culver City, for a small role in a Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis movie. I showered and got me hair set to do a beautiful blowout, and decided to use a brush I don't normally use for that. Huge mistake. As I started unrolling my first strand of hair from the brush, it was absolutely stuck just one inch from my scalp. Normally you roll it back up a little or pull a few small strands from the brush to fix that, but it wouldn't budge. I spent at least 20 minutes trying to free the brush from my hair, and I hadn't even decided what to wear yet.

Once I finally found a way to put myself together I set off for Sony studios. Of course, the 10 was awful and I got to the parking structure exactly at my appointment time. Only to find out security didn't have my name in the system, and in calling my manager I found out the audition was for this morning, not yesterday morning.

So I went through it all again today. Woke up about 10 minutes earlier and made sure to use the right brush this time. Everything was going smoothly until I was halfway done with my hair and, pop, my blow dryer exploded. Ok, I guess that's exaggerating a little. But there were some serious sparks that came from it -- and not the part where the air comes out, the part where the cord meets the handle. A bit frightening, I'll admit. There was no way I was letting the other half of my hair air dry with all that mousse in it, so I threw it up in bun and hustled down to Walgreens to buy a new one.

Luckily I had picked my outfit early on accident (remember, I did it the day before!) but got on the road only 10 minutes earlier than I did on the first try. Thank goodness for those extra minutes I gave myself in waking up early. The 10 was fine and I parked with 10 minutes to spare. Seems like "10 minutes" is the theme of this segment... So I check in with security and get a map to find my way aaaaalllllll the way across the lot, past at least 27 sound stages, past the streets and buildings they have on location to tweak to look like real places, and up three flights of stairs. In the summer. In California.

The audition itself felt like it took less than a minute, and it very well may have. There were some girls that were literally in the room for 20 seconds and then they were done. I was called into the room and read my four lines, she gave me a slight adjustment and asked me to do it again. I did and it was fine, and that was that. I feel like it's really going to be based on looks, and though I'm confident in how I look, there were some AMAZING looking girls in that room. I'm find with believing that I didn't get the part, and I'm sure Evan's even happier because if I got it I'd have to make out with Justin Timberlake.

So until next time, I'm just waiting for the next train (that's for you, Lauren!)