Monday, October 31, 2011

"Miss Saigon" & Next Steps...

It has taken me a week to actually sit down and write this entry. Lots has happened (or at least felt like it has happened) and weeks’ schedules only seem to continue to fill up with activities, work, and steps to be taken. 
Last week I was in my mom’s Honda CRV, driving myself up to see my boyfriend’s last performance of “Miss Saigon” that he was performing in up at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. I had the great pleasure of seeing the show its first weekend with my mom and was blown away by the quality of the production. The talent within this production was absolutely astonishing. I was amazed by all aspects: the direction, all design components, and all of the performances. 
Then I got to see it again! I was looking so forward to a second chance to experience the strength and conviction of this musical theatre piece; this production blasted me into the genius ways in which musical theatre can inform historical instances. This second time though, there was a depth that I connected with, bringing me to utter tears at the end. 
What was different this time around? Was it just that they had found more throughout their run? Were they giving it 150% for their final performance? I’m sure these were some reasons, but I think what I was tapping into along with all of this was the sense of community and family that they as an ensemble had created. Kavin would tell me stories about all the fun they were having, all the crazy things that would happen during rehearsals and shows, as well as how they all came together for the depth and honor this show specifically requires. In a weird, twisted way I felt a part of their process, somewhat secretly able to hear first account everything that was happening. 
But I wasn’t. I’m not officially a part of their show, their ensemble, their family. At first, bubbles of jealousy came into my chest, wishing I was there to partake in all the fun a production brings, the friends made, and the staged experiences to be remembered. But I knew this jealousy wasn’t going to do anyone any good, especially me. 
What I was seeing and experiencing through the “Miss Saigon” backstage stories, along with this last performance, was a beautiful expression of harmony and joy unfolding in front of me, instances in which I was able to reminisce with my own theatre memories and bask in the warmth of what theatre brings to me as an individual. Theatre allows us to partake in collaborative opportunities to not only create artistic endeavors and unique expressions, but be together with other like minded beings to learn and growth within our own individual lives. 
This is so beautiful to me, and I am so grateful for the entire cast and crew of Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of “Miss Saigon” whom reminded me of yet another reason why I love this creative work. 
In having Kavin back in the city, I was excited to have him watch the video of “Braver. Stronger. Smarter.” as he was up in Maine for the actual performance. 
I turned on the video and immediately tensed up for the entire 40 minutes. Kavin kept saying, “Relax”, but I couldn’t until it finished. Finally, Kavin was here to watch it and I was able to hear what he had to say about this piece. I knew he would be honest and I wanted him to like it. He had so many wonderful things to say as well as some really great constructive criticism. But with these constructive ideas for change I froze, thoughts swirling around, falling off the deep end into a panic fury. 
Am I actually cut out for this? Was what I did actually good, or were my friends just being nice? Can I even sing? What if this isn’t the path I should be on? Have I always sucked and everyone haven’t had the heart to crush my dream?
I went through the entire gamut...
Being slapped out of this deer in headlights mode finally by Kavin, I was able to see that it’s okay that there is still room to grow, to change things. There is ALWAYS this room. I had to remind myself that this was the point of this piece; I wanted people to be here to join me in a brand new piece that is still under construction. 
There is work to be done to truly allow all that I want to say and wish to say to come out in a constructive, professional, beautiful piece. This requires time and patient finesse to put together, and that very process is so exciting to me. I am seeing the positive aspects of both cabaret styles I’ve tried out, and now it’s a matter of joining the two.  Something here is inside me and ready to burst out into a creative force to be reckoned with. 
Once again, as it has always been, it’s about sitting down and and taking that time to create. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Hello World. Here I come; get ready!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Start of Something New.

So many things are happening right now in my head, it’s extremely difficult to put fingers to keys to write this entry. I’ve been thinking about this entry for a long time now, wanting to chat about my time with this new cabaret I have been working on since May. 

Now, all of a sudden, my show is done with a 40 minute performance. It just went by so fast and there is so much to process about the actual evening at The Duplex plus “the beyond”. 
The performance was perfection for myself. I was actually surprised about how good I felt throughout my entire time onstage. I felt happy, secure, and comfortable in my piece with the rehearsal I had had with my directors. That rehearsal time gave me confidence to fall into this piece and cohesively share this performance with the audience. There was this strength that filled my being unlike any other time that I’ve been onstage. It felt so right to be there.
To accompany this pure joy of performing this piece, I was joined by the most loving and amazing audience I will probably ever perform for in my life. The family and friends that were able to make it out will always hold the most special place in my heart. Along with this super audience, all of the people who weren’t able to be there sent their love either through beautiful notes or Kickstarter donations. The support I received from everyone in creating this piece astounded me. I will be forever grateful for everyone’s love in this journey.
What have I learned from this voyage into another cabaret experience? 
I learned that I have something to say. 
I learned that I want to be the one to create opportunities in order to share these ideas. 
I learned that my venue is the cabaret stage.
This is where I belong, and I am ready to continue on in this cabaret medium. The ideas that are coming with this new home on the cabaret stage are endless at this point. So, how do I bring these to the table in a compelling, original, and entertaining format?
I need to learn more. Learning doesn’t only come through these opportunities to try out shows in front of audiences, which has been how I’ve been learning about cabaret since I started last December. It’s time to expand my vocabulary and understanding of the performing arts in general (something my roommate Jayson has been stressing for months now). I’m now seeing that I have to learn more about what has happened, what paths have been paved, and paying respect to the geniuses who have graced the stage. Everything from one-person shows, to recording artists’ live shows, to musicals, it’s time to immerse myself and really learn the history of my art.
So this is my idea to start this educational journey: Listen to a musical soundtrack everyday. I’m going to start with what I have and then go to the Lincoln Center library to find more. Luckily, Jayson’s knowledge and library is super extensive, so I’ll be in good hands. :-)
Tonight, I’m going to kick off my new endeavors with a medium Dominos Meat Lovers’ Pizza and “Liza With A Z”. 
I’m ready for this new adventure and dedication to creation in the cabaret world. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So Close to the Start of Something New.

Kinda crazy to think that my show is in two days. 
In two days it will be over. Done. Finished. 
And then what? A next performance of this piece? A brand new one? A version of this?
I don’t know, and that’s what is so riveting about this job. 
I couldn’t be happier about where I am with this creation. I had my final rehearsal today before our tech rehearsal on Friday right before the actual show. It was great. I feel great. I know it can be great. It will be great when I let go and let this piece release from me. 
There are so many words to remember. Just so many words. But, I think I’m good when it comes to memorization of this one-man show. I’m so ready to get it up on its feet in front of my family and friends. It’s time.
This piece has made me look at my whole spectrum of dreams and do a bit of re-evaluation of it all: What is it that I want to be doing in this world of theatre? What do I truly want to be doing with this art? What road should I be traveling down?
All I know is that I love this work I’m doing with my cabaret. Kinda obsessed with it actually. 
I can make a difference with this kind of creation. I feel strong in this format, stronger than I have felt in an artistic mode, and that’s exciting to me.
More to come on all of this. There’s gonna be some searching of the soul after this performance. Different paths are to be taken and I am excited. I’m excited.
Here we go! It’s time to take off and soar.   

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What happened to September?

What actually happened to September? Like, seriously though.... 
It’s finally becoming sweater weather and I have a night to sit and write a catch-up blog. I’m gonna push through and get to everything in a “short and concise” way. September was insane, full of ups and downs in all directions and on all levels. 
My brand new cabaret, “Braver. Stronger. Smarter.” has been coming together in so many amazing ways, and I am so proud of what it is becoming. Working with Martin and Shannon on this piece has been absolutely perfect. Their team-work in creating a compelling and intricate piece on all levels has set me in a beautiful state of pure joy and peace for this process. The stories are strong, the songs are just-right, and the combination of these two story-telling techniques brings my life to a whole new place. 
With less than two weeks till my performance date, I am in memorization mode. This isn’t like my first cabaret where I had my little cheat sheet on a music stand in front of me. Nope, not this time. Now it’s more of an hour-long autobiographical one-man musical. So I really have to know it backwards and forwards. I have a feeling I know it better than I feel I do, but tomorrow is my day to get the rest of the fuzzy spots sharp and toned for performance mode. 
Here’s my poster for the show with all the information for the performance. If you’re in the area and can make it out, be sure to make a reservation so you can get a discounted ticket at the door!

The creation of this piece couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Recently I’ve been going through those “actor crises”, aka, “Am I good enough to be in this commercial musical theatre world?”, “Why am I putting myself through this all?”, “Is this really what I want to be doing with my life?”. There’s a lot of business that people talked about that I didn’t initially pay attention to, but am now facing from time to time. This commercial musical theatre world (a term I got from my auditioning workshop) has the option of being EXTREMELY picky. The fact that I possibly didn’t get a role because I was too tall, that I may smile too much during one audition and then not enough for another, or that I’m gay (yes, even in this gay world there is fear about casting a gay man in certain roles) just makes my skin squirm. 
But this is where I am for now. I’m going to continue to audition for these big regional shows as well as Broadway because that was and still is an aspect of my dream. However, I am going to be spending more time on creating more of this work that I’m doing with my cabaret, whether it is touring this piece, creating new ones, or another dream of mine, creating a company dedicated to creating and spreading this kind of truthful, musical, theatrical story-telling. Obviously that is all up in the air now, but my cabaret has definitely opened my eyes to the kind of work that I truly want to do and the opportunities that have started to open up with that drive. 
In that “actor crisis” moment, I got super sick. Sicker than I’ve been in years. I was out for a week with a scary throat thing. With a lot of scared friends telling me I should “go get it checked out” I turned back to my Christian Science roots and had a beautiful healing. While they are supportive, I know a lot of my non-Christian Science friends think I’m crazy for not going to the doctor, especially when “my body is my career”. But I didn’t get to almost 24-years-old as healthy as I am without Christian Science. 
“But medicine is reliable. Why not rely on medicine to keep your body, your instrument in this business, in top shape to succeed?” 
Christian Science and its scientific healing methods have proved just as reliable as any medicine in my life as well as thousands of others. Sure, I definitely thought about going to the doctor a few weeks ago, afraid of never being able to sing again. But I stayed with Christian Science to eliminate the fear of any material substance being able to take my joy of performing away. And here I am today, no pills or shots and singing just as I was before. 
I’m continuing on with Christian Science now in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long time. After not being allowed to go back to the Christian Science camps because of being openly gay, I definitely took a step back from my faith. Now I am seeing clearer than ever that I can be whoever I am as well as believe and practice whatever faith that centers me to live a fruitful life. Christian Science is right for me now. Sure, there are still questions that I have, but this is truly a science, providing the methods and tools to live a happy, centered, and joy-filled life everyday. So this is where I’m starting from. 
Catering has been getting really old recently. Like really old. I feel like those older school horses for horseback riding classes/camps that just get bitter and pissy when they’re ridden so much with inexperienced riders. I find myself getting continually more and more snappy and pissed when I get back from working, and sometimes even while at work. So I’m staying open to other options for work if they come along. I still can’t beat the flexibility and pay that catering has to offer. Thus I’m going to stick it out for a little longer. Let’s just hope I don’t kick or bite someone like those school horses do... 
Amidst these little dips and bumps along the way, I have been the happiest I have been in a really long time. I met the most wonderful man who has brought not only so much light into my life, but continually stretches me to think, grow, and learn. You hear how the happiest couples explain that they are best friends. I never understood that until now. I can tell him ANYTHING I’m thinking about or dealing with. I’ve even been able to be really honest and open talking about Christian Science; the subject of faith in my past relationships wasn’t ever really talked about. But with us, both being spiritual people, we definitely talk about it, and I can’t explain how grateful I am for that. 
What’s even more amazing is that my parents like him. Yes, my boyfriend came to see me in “The Producers” this summer and stayed at my house for four days, hanging out with my parents and I. It’s crazy to think that just a few years ago I wouldn’t even dream about actually bringing someone home to introduce to my parents. We as a family just weren’t there yet. When I look back actually though, I think it was more my fear than my parents’, but it is what it is. To add to that, Mom and I took a day trip up to the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine last weekend to see my boyfriend in their production of “Miss Saigon” (which was INSANELY FABULOUS). 
Everything feels sorta surreal right now, everything from how accepting my parents are and how open I can be with them about who I truly am, along with having this wonderful man in my life. I am so blessed. 
On another completely different note, I just figured out how to get some of my choreography up onto YouTube. So be sure to check it out! You can follow this link to my channel and see all of the videos I uploaded:
It has been a busy and eventful September to say the least. I am looking so forward to this October with my cabaret coming up as well as lot of auditions for shows I feel I’m right for. 
So here’s a big fall welcome to all! May the changing of seasons meet you well with lots of fresh apple cider, a new sweater, and the beautiful autumnal leaves.