Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Bloodties is written by Ned and tells the story of Ned. It is raw, hard, beautiful, and devastatingly open. I can only say that there was something about this project that broke me open, just in reading it. As loyal blog readers may know, and those closest to me have witnessed, this past year or so has been incredibly trying and hard. So hard that training for a marathon was "easy" and "accomplishable" in comparison. And I believe when we go through these times, it's human nature to bundle up inside a shell of protection, to crawl back into a shell of comfort, whatever that is. For me, I crawled into numbness, and when I wasn't numb, I was angry. Alternating between numb and paralyzed and infuriated, raging at the unfairness of the world.
I read this script, and it just felt so daring, so scarily honest, so ballsy--walking the line of fully putting yourself out there, warts in all. Presenting your trials and tribulations for the world to see (and turning it into Musical Theatre nonetheless). Something about the story spoke to me, in its brokenness, its universal humanity, the daring courage it takes to put yourself in your entirety out for the consuming public.
I didn't get cast, though I did get a callback, which gave me more time to sit and ponder this material and the implications I was feeling on my life. And I was pissed when I didn't get cast (I mean, we always are a little disappointed no matter how well-adjusted you are). I don't believe everything happens for a reason, but I do believe everything can be made good. And I had already gotten what I needed out of this project. Which was a wake up call of sorts.
I gushed to Ned about my adoration for the project, and for his courage in sharing his story. And we became friends. I mean why not be friends with someone you respect and admire? I admire his courage, his transparency, his faith and spirit, and of course, his unmistakeable talent.
I'll leave you to experience Ned and his musical Bloodties on your own, but you heard it here first. And if you ever are so blessed, you should make him your friend. I am lucky to have him as one.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Kate worked at New Stage Theatre in Mississippi both times I went to do a contract there (loyal blog readers will remember that Spitfire Grill #2 was in Mississippi). When I returned a few years later to do I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and Kate was working there, that time as Director of Education. She now lives with her Beloved in Denver, Colorado, and I am sincerely hoping that the DBF and I can make a trip out to visit soon. It has been on our to-do list forever, and maybe this year will be the year!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
The DBF's grandmother passed away last night, after about 6 hard weeks of hospitals and nursing home care. She was 92 and until very recently healthy as a horse, even living alone and taking herself for walks to go to church, get a manicure, have her hair done. She was a spectacular lady.
The first time I met her, The DBF and I had been dating for a few months and she and I happened to be coming up the stairs to his house at the same time. She looked at me and said "I know who YOU are!".
Last Sunday, before things took their last turn this past weekend, we visited, and she was having a pretty good day. The DBF and I, however, weren't having the best day, having had a misunderstanding that ended up in a little spat in the car. But as we sat with her, she held my hand and said "Take good care of him. He will take care of you.".
And I will, Eileen. I promise you I will.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I think I am a pretty good writer, and I think I have a way of being able to use words to convey my thoughts... and when it comes to Nathan I'm at a bit of a loss. Because the task is too wide, it's too huge. I feel daunted by the task.
Nathan and I met during Ragtime, my first show here in New York after moving here and getting my Actor's Equity (union) card. As just a little bit of background on me, moving to NYC was a long time coming, and there is only one reason it took me so long to get here:
Of failure, I suppose. Or even mediocrity. It took me a lot of time, energy, love, recouperation, loan repayment, stints in jail (I'm not kidding about that one!) before I was able to get my butt to move here. And I moved here and someone basically offered me my Equity card (which is like someone just walking up to you and saying "Hey, would you like a raise?"--a holy grail of sorts for a lot of actors!). And then I went to my second Equity audition and booked the leading lady role in Ragtime. And the day of my callback I stood up the DBF (by accident) for our first date. So by the time the rehearsals for the show came around, I was on cloud 9. Or cloud 15! I know life is full of ups and downs, and at the time I knew I was on an extreme high. And I was enjoying it while it lasted.
What was so wonderful is that Nathan and I booked the next show together, The Who's Tommy, where I was once again leading lady, but he was playing Uncle Ernie. Which begs the first question: what actor can play J.P. Morgan and then just a few short weeks later turn around and be an fantastic drunken, lost and lonely Uncle Ernie perverting young deaf, dumb and blind boys? Oh just you wait, blog readers.
For me, if Ragtime was a high, Tommy was a low. It was probably during this time that Nathan and I became closer. I'm not sure two souls like Nathan and I can do an emotionally tortured show like Tommy and not come out a little worse for wear. It is nearly impossible to go to that place each and every day and not have it sink in to your pores a little bit. And to share that experience with someone is unique. Long story short, I think going to hell and back, on stage, day after day, we were friends for life.
The DBF refers to Nathan as the best actor he knows. That's not to say all of my actor friends are talented, and no worries, the DBF loves you all. But he thinks Nathan takes the cake. And I have to agree, that Nathan is the most transformative actor friend that I have. In my mind there is no role that he can't pay, and exceed.
But Nathan is also a wonderful, gentle man. He has a heart of platinum, not just gold, he is a fierce friend who will always go to bat for you, challenge you in your times of need, listen when you need an ear, but never afraid of speaking Truth. That's Capital T Truth.
There are not enough words to tell you how honored I am to be Nathan's friend. And I am so grateful that he has been with me as I explore this life as a runner. He too has been running, and I look forward to running our first 5K together this November, my first post-marathon race I have scheduled!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
She is always happy. I actually don't know how she does this! But it is always a pleasure on Thursday mornings to come to work and check in with Elyse.
Elyse also writes an awesome blog, which you should all check out! It is so awesome, in fact, that she's getting paid to write it. Elyse is unabashedly in love with pop culture, and takes on no irony when she tells you she loves the Backstreet Boys. I like a girl who likes what she likes, no apologies.
Thanks to Elyse for a wonderful donation, and for making my day each and every Thursday!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I "met" Jodie when I audited a class that Savvy Actor taught, and I can only say it changed my career life. Savvy teaches performers to find and be their most authentic self, and to take that energy and uniqueness and turn it in to a brand. It is very smart, and indeed very savvy!
After the class, I decided to use the one-on-one coaching services with Jodie. I am not sure I can really describe what the coachings were to me because they were so helpful on so many levels. It gave me guidance, confidence, a game plan. But there was one very distinct and important thing coaching did for me:
It made me decide to run the Marathon!
As part of my original prep work for my coaching, I had to set career and personal goals for the next few stages of my life. And a year ago I said in one year I would be running the marathon.
So here I am, about a month away from running 26.2 miles, in the best shape of my life, feeling strong and athletic and immensely proud, and I really have Jodie and The Savvy Actor to thank, for this, and much, much more.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Natalie is dedicated, resilient, focused and ready for anything. No matter what the idea, Nataie is always game to try anything once! And I love that she isn't afraid of walking. When I suggest we walk from Chinatown across the Brooklyn Bridge to go see a movie, she doesn't flinch or think twice. Natalie experiences life through a very active and participatory way of living it! She's fun to be around, and she makes you want to enjoy your life more.
What I love about Natalie is no idea is not worth a shot. When I ask "Wanna come over and help me make zucchini bread, eat leftovers and watch reality tv?" She always has an enthusiastic response of "Yea!".
Natalie and I share obviously a love for theatre and not sitting still, but she is also a deeply spiritual person, so it's a wonderful gift to connect on that level as well. She is a rock of a friend. You know you can call on her: anytime, anywhere. She will not judge you, and she will not get bored with your stories or process. She is patient and kind.
I am very grateful for Miss Natalie and I'm honored that she chose to help me with the marathon by her donation. And I wish she would book a Broadway show so she would stop leaving town and hang out with me more often! Sounds good.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Stacie and I met when we were both in Astoria Performing Arts wildly successful production of Ragtime in the winter of 2009. Stacie played the coquettish Evelyn Nesbitt to a T, and she was always so spot on. I remember in the very beginning, at our very first rehearsals, hearing Stacie deliver a line and nail it, and for everyone to laugh (she's a fantastic commedienne), or to subtly break your heart a little and hear the moment of awe from the room. But then the realization dawned on us all that she was already knocking her performance out of the ballpark, and she could only get better through the rehearsal process, and therefore we would all have to start working harder to meet her at her level of talent.
(I would like to think the whole cast did that for each other: raised the bar, and everyone consistently met it after each raise, and went beyond. I think critics who reviewed the show would agree. But Stacie certainly made me quake in my boots almost immediately, the woman is so talented!)
But I want to write something here about Stacie that I hope I can accurately convey, and I don't know if I can use words eloquently enough to describe it. Stacie is a wonderful performer, absolutely. She has training and technique and is also just naturally beautiful, gifted and inspired. But she is uninhibitedly and unabashedly Stacie. So many performers try to phone in their best Indina Menzel or their best version of pop-rock princesses, or whatever it is they think "they" (casting directors, agents, whoever) are looking for. But Stacie is Stacie, and she shines. I envy this about her. There is a freedom to her performances and her vocal work that I admire and am quite jealous of.
Acting is a crazy business. Yes, it's crazy for lots of reasons, but for me the most consistently mind-bending is the concept of running your own small business that sells only one thing: you. To be objective enough to know how to prepare, present, refine and improve yourself, and to be consistently proud of that product... Stacie seems to have this one down.
So I am a huge Stacie Bono fan, because to me she exemplifies a type of grace and freedom which is not only inspiring but encourages her fellow co-workers to be more, and reach their fullest potential.
And she is a wonderful friend. I told the DBF recently that I would like it if she and I became better friends, and I asked him how do adults do that? Just choose to be better friends? The answer it seems has remained the same since our mothers were our social directors: you arrange a playdate.
Hopefully we'll have a playdate soon!