Saturday, May 31, 2008

my last-minute audition

    So, I saw a post for an audition for a new show that is premiering here in Los Angeles.  The title of the show is Minsky's, and the director/choreographer is somebody named Casey Nicholaw--a man who has made quite a name for himself in the world of theater.  He directed and choreographed the broadway show, The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as choreographing Spamalot, another Bway show.  Anyway, there was a slight buzz around our cast with people saying they were going to go.  I had pretty much decided I was not going to go because, being the uber prepared individual that I am, I had left my book of audition music--as well as dance shoes--at home.  Luckily, I had thought to grab one headshot and resume (not a stack, just one--now that's thinking).  However, my housemate offered me her book--which happened to have one song in it that I knew.  Plus, she offered me her shoes, which I happily took.  So, I thought, why not?  

    See, no matter how talented a person is, auditioning is a skill that one must develop. So I like to force myself to audition as much as possible--just to get better at it.  To get more used to it, so that when I do audition, it's not such a big deal.  That way I can trick my nerves into calming down, since dancing and singing and acting for a judgmental stranger becomes such a normal happenstance.   That's the plan, anyway.  Plus, its really nice--almost fun--to audition when you already have a sweet job.  No pressure.  
   I had never auditioned in L.A. before.  It was different from NYC--not so many people and they all seemed to know each other.  Some of them recognized me from ACL and were very nice about the show.  I overheard a conversation in which one dancer was telling another that they had seen the show the night before.  She said it was amazing, which made me feel good--especially since she wasn't telling me directly, so I know she was genuine and not just flattering. Anyway, there were maybe about 35 of us there.  They took us all in one group and proceeded to teach us a cute dance combination.  It was simple, nothing too difficult.  Just dancey and a little showgirl-ish.  
   They took their time teaching it to us, which was nice.  Then they broke us into 3 groups so we could spread out and perform it full-out, one group at a time.  I could feel the director's eyes on me and got a good feeling from him, which was encouraging.  Finally, we did it in groups of 4, two times in a row.  I was the very first person to be called, in the very first group.  I love being in the first group.  That way the combo is fresh--plus you don't have all this time for your nerves to get worse just watching others go before you.  You do it bam! right away and then have the sweet relief of knowing that you did your best and can simply wait it out.  Anyway, I felt good about it...After everyone had danced, they said their standard line: We appreciate your coming out, now we are going to ask some people to stay and sing.  And so, the moment of truth.  It's funny, even though I was not totally sure I would even want this job--and I already have a great job--at that moment, when they were making a cut, I really really wanted to stay.  I wanted to be one of the special ones whose name is called.  That feeling is amazing.  But, of course--we all have to keep our poker face on when we hear our name called, acting like it's not such a big deal, like we are not having a little party somewhere hidden away inside our minds.  
     So, my name was called. First.  And yes, I did have the party inside my mind while I looked up nonchalantly.  But then they asked for us to sing something funny and character-ish.  And that is when I really wished I was in possession of my own book. Really.  Because the only song I knew in my friend's book was about the Mother Mary, carrying the future of the world.  And I don't care what kind of comedian you are, that's just not so funny.   Intense and inspiring, absolutely. But funny? No.  
    Anyway, I went in to sing and I explained that I was here with ACL and did not have my book, so did not have my funny stuff (or at least funnier than the Virgin Mother Mary!).  They were very kind and said to just sing what I have.  So I did.  It went fine, though I sort of repeated a lyric--but that wasn't such a big deal. I hope.  And that was the end of the day and I am glad I went.  Who knows? Maybe I will hear from them again.  But either way, I was glad to be seen by someone new in this business and I feel like I left a good impression.  

Thursday, May 29, 2008

2 out of 3 ain't bad

     Tonight my body hurts.  I'll just say it really quick, so I won't have to say it again, but my gluteous medius is tender to the touch (so you can imagine how it feels when I am dancing).  Oh, and then there is my left achilles tendon that is acting up. Again.  And let's not forget the very top of my right hamstring--cause it's not letting me forget about it.  Good thing there are three ice packs in this house, cause they are all in demand right now--sadly, just from me.  I kind of feel like my body is betraying me, but I'll be ok.  I always am.  It's part of dancing.  And it helps to remember when it didn't hurt so much,  cause I know I'll get there again.  I am just hoping for that sooner rather than later.  

     Anyway, my housemates (Jessica Woo--who we just call Woo--and Gabby--pronounced, Gobby) and I were talking today and Woo mentioned the sentiment that people are looking for three things to reach maximum fulfillment in life: a relationship, a career, and a home.  Part of that same sentiment is the idea that most only ever find 1-2 out of the 3, but almost never 3 at the same time.  Huh.
     That got me to thinking about my situation.  And my first thought (being the competitor and perfectionist that I am) was, Well, I am gonna have all three. At the same time--you just watch. But then I realized, I haven't really had all three since becoming an adult.  Yes, I have a fulfilling relationship--especially when I am home to share my everyday with Drew.  It is still fulfilling when I am on the road, but let's be honest, it is not ideal.  Also, I absolutely love my home in Delaware.  I love our townhouse, and the designs that we have put into it.  I love that I can call up my sister and she can be at my house playing nertz and listening to the Dixie Chicks with me in ten minutes.  I love that I am just a short drive away from most of my nieces and nephews, my brothers and sisters-in-law, and my parents and closest friends.  I adore my church and the people that make it the loving and nurturing place that it is.  However, I have never had a truly fulfilling job while enjoying my home and my relationship fully with Drew. And when I have a dream job, my home and relationship are sacrificed.  So not only have I never had all 3, I am pretty much the poster child for that 2 out of 3 sentiment!  
   But, I know it's not gonna be like this forever.  I am going to have all 3...I hope, I pray.  And thank God that I do not have a husband who makes me choose, or friends and family who allow my home to grow too cold or distant when I am not there.  They keep it close.  They keep me close.  
  So here's to beating those odds. Someday.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

He Had Me With Hardtack

   Drew won my heart with hardtack.  It sounds strange, I know, but it's true.  I have always been a sucker for romance.  But not just the generic stuff--the typical gifts that could be for any given girl.  I mean, don't get me wrong--I enjoy roses (actually, one guy gave me a literal rose bush one year for my birthday. He pointed out that a bouquet would just die, but a bush could be planted and would bloom every year on my birthday--that was sweet. But it was not Drew who did that, and this is supposed to be about Drew...).  I appreciate jewelry.  Actually, I would be hard-pressed to get a gift that I would not enjoy (hmmm...I do remember getting a hawaiian skirt and bra from my Aunt Skippy when I was about 6.  Being a good and modest christian girl--it horrified me.  Worse, she mentioned me actually trying the shameful thing on--and parading it around--so I spent the rest of Christmas day trying to hide from her, just hoping she would forget. But most gifts, I enjoy. And if she were to give me one today--I would try it on for her happily. And oops, again--I digress).  

    But Drew gave me a gift that took my breath away.  We had only been dating a couple of months, maybe, and of course we had spent most of that time talking.  Over dinner, while walking, watching a storm, during a drive, sometimes even during church (gasp!)--we would just delve into what made the other unique; what made the other angry, sad, happy, bored, interested, mesmerized, hopeful.  You name it, we wondered it about each other.  And all the other questions of life that did not pertain to Drew--or vice versa--suddenly did not seem worth asking.  Ask me a question, and I will happily tell you all my thoughts on that point (especially if you are a cute boy, which Drew happens to be).  And Drew's no dummy; he had been listening to my likes and dislikes and had gotten an idea.  
    So he calls me one night asking me to meet him after school the next day.  He has a surprise for me (no matter how old I get, those words will never cease to thrill me. Never.  hint, hint, Drew...)   You see, somewhere along the line of our discussions, we had talked about my absolute fascination with the Civil War--the battles, the soldiers, the women who waited at home, the politics and intrigue, the atrocity and the heroism that threaded through those years. I had been going to Gettysburg every year since I was little, had actually ran down Little Round Top to Devil's Den,  reveling in the fact that I was walking on ground made sacred by so many soldiers.  Anyway, like I said, I was mesmerized by that period of history.  
   Now, back to me.  I have just finished some dance class or another, and am meeting Drew in Rittenhouse Square.  He is standing there, shy, but excited with a small basket in his hand.  He simply passes it to me and lets me look inside.  Oh, I say, Thank you for this basket of...uh...bread.  He answers, not even trying to hide his pride now, Jess, it's not just bread.  It's hardtack. Real, honest-to-God hardtack.  I looked it up and found the recipe. This is exactly what the soldiers from the Civil War ate.  I made you hardtack, cause I know how much you love the Civil War. 
   Wow. This was from a guy who, if it couldn't be microwaved or cooked in a George Foreman Grill, than it was too much trouble. But when it came to me, he went to the trouble.  He found out exactly what interested me, then made something from that genre. Baked it, to be specific.   That is romance.  That is hot. I felt special and important to him.  I felt worth his time, his labor--and yes, worth even the trouble of baking some antiquated bread. 
  So yeah, he had me with hardtack. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

a beautiful monday

    Sometimes I am astounded by the beauty of this life.  And in those rare moments, I am content.  I am not looking for an escape; I am just happy to witness this world.  

    My heart is so full. This is partly because I am laying in my bed and just saw a falling star from one of the huge windows that look out over Los Angeles.  It was like the universe had something to say and I happened to be the one lucky enough to hear it, to witness it.  It was special.   

   The other part was that our house was filled with wonderful people all afternoon.  Since today was Memorial Day as well as a day off for our cast, we opened up our home for a party.  And so almost the whole cast came over and shared time and food and conversation.  We grilled meat over our outdoor fireplace (and by we I mean two hardworking guys from the cast). We swam in our pool (that was very cold) and actually slid down a slide into it over and over again (I actually did this--despite the cold. I was very proud of myself, being the only girl to go in--you should be proud of me too).   We had some guests that were not from the cast, but still welcome, of course: Perez Hilton, a guy whose name escapes me from the Tonight Show, a casting director from Desperate Housewives (again, his name escapes me), and Diane Warren (she's written lots of songs for people like Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler).  Yeah--so that was interesting.  They were polite, and the casting director from DH was downright friendly. Something very nice was that Jase, Darb, and the kids got to come, too.  So my very special family got to meet my very special friends.  It was like two good worlds colliding and making something even better.  They all hit it off, and Darby told me that she is not worried cause she knows I am in good hands.   
     Oh, and I won my first arm-wrestling match ever.  How I found myself to be arm-wrestling is a little bit of a story, but it had something to do with me trying to prove that I am not underweight (Wii Fitness said I was--and a friend happened to agree, so I set out to prove her wrong).  We were actually very evenly matched, Emily and I, but I did win.  It was exciting.  I am a competitor by nature and I do so love to win...But now I wonder if my arm will be sore tomorrow.  Oh, well--most wins come at some kind of price, right?
      So, yes, this day was amazing.  I am grateful.  I feel happy and I feel like God is probably happy as well.  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The tale of Caspian

     I thought I would tell a little story about a dog named Caspian.  Really, Prince Caspian, but if you had know him, you would realize that title was a bit formal for him.  I just called him Caspian--though, it was my brothers, I believe, who christened him Pee Dog.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  When I was about ten years old, all I wanted for my birthday was a dog. Specifically, a dachschund (affectionately know as a weiner dog). My mom had thrilled me with stories of her dog when she was growing up, CeCe (she had a much longer name that I can phonetically pronounce, but could not even begin to spell...well, maybe I could begin the spelling--I mean, I know it starts with an M, but after that, I'm at a loss).  And CeCe was a dachshund.  My mom even has a picture of herself dressed up for halloween one year as Little Bo Peep, her hair in long brown curls and her little girl-self holding a shepherd's staff--and who do you think is dressed up in cotton balls as her lost little sheep?  Yep, Cece.  Anyway, I really wanted a little dachshund to dress up. And take outside.  And sleep with in my bed.  So, my birthday rolled around and I stubbornly would not ask for anything else.  I knew my pop was a hard sell and didn't want to get me a dog, but if I wasn't gonna get a dog for my birthday, then I wasn't gonna get anything.  So be it.  However, since I've already told you the name of the dog, then you probably can figure out that my pop relented.  I was summoned one morning to speak with him, and was told the happy news that they had located a dachshund dealer--or er, breeder--and mom was going to take me very soon to pick out a puppy.  Happy birthday, indeed! 

         So, I picked out Caspian.  He was originally called Cowboy, but it didn't take long for me to change that.  He had white fur with brown spots and lots of freckles on his pink belly.  He had very snaggly teeth and an underbite, making it so that he never would have won a dog show, but I didn't care.  I loved him.  He had the softest, silkiest red-brown ears you'll ever find.  They were so silky, in fact, that my dear friend Erin always said that she wanted to make them into a fur bra for herself.  This was not because she was into animal cruelty, it was just because she was into very soft things.  Caspian would sit at my feet, just near the pedals when I played the piano.  He slept in my bed at night, creating a wonderfully warm little spot at my feet where he curled up in sleep.  He licked my tears when I cried.  He loved me desperately and was content to just be with me.  
       However, Caspian was not perfect.  Considering his nickname of Pee Dog, I am sure you can imagine one of his struggles.  He was very bad at holding his pee.  He would get excited, or scared, or maybe just breathe, and would suddenly start to pee.  In the house, on my parent's carpet.  He would also poop in the house a good deal.  This was because he was very small and the outdoors was very big and he hated going out there.  It might also have been because I was not the best at walking him...Nah--couldn't be. It was probably just that he was scared of outside...One time, my pop excitedly found me and I detected a hint of pride in his voice as he told me that Caspian was, at that moment, wrestling a snake in our garden.  I was so happy because my pop had never been proud of Caspian before.  We tip-toed up to the conquering hero, and couldn't help but notice that the snake was just a sock.  Caspian had wrestled a sock to the ground. Whoop-de-doo.  So, maybe he wasn't ever gonna be Caspian-the-Snake-Wrestler, but I loved him anyway.   
       Then there was Caspian's love-life.  He was fixed, but that didn't seem to quell his desire for a girlfriend.  In fact, there was one stuffed animal that he particularly liked.  It was my Pink Raccoon.  She was striped and had a little baby raccoon that was sewn permanently into her arms. So, maybe it was nice of Caspian to be interested in a single mother--maybe he helped out with her baby and was a father-figure to him.  But, what he mostly did with her is unmentionable in this blog.  And it really grossed me out.  I would often try to hide the Pink Raccoon high up on a shelf.  But Caspian would know she was there and would bark repeatedly.  It got so bad that he would loose his voice and this horrible, raspy sound would come from him--raw with desire for the Pink Raccoon.  Anyway, I would finally relent and would go into the room quickly, get her down, and shut the door behind me...It made me feel like a pimp.  But despite even that, I loved Caspian.
       However, I got older and eventually went to school in Philadelphia.  I didn't really have the time to take care of Caspian, and my parents didn't enjoy his...habits in the house.  So, arrangements were made for him to temporarily stay with Neil (one of the pastors in my church) and his family.  He left and I started to get reports back that Caspian was having a wonderful time.  Neil's wife, Katy, is a clown and had incorporated Caspian into her act.  He was riding around on a wagon, dressed up and paraded before many adoring fans--and apparently his stage name was Pork N Beans (this most definitely did NOT make me happy--but what could I do?).  Caspian had hit stardom, and who was I to hold him back? He was happy, taken care of--with people a lot--whereas, I couldn't give him that much time and attention. And I certainly wasn't able to make him famous! So, his move became permanent--with the understanding that Neil would give me reports on how my dog was doing (and that he would never call him Pork N Beans around me).  
       After a few months, the reports stopped coming and I was so busy, I forgot to ask for them.  Finally, after another few months, I found myself driving in the car with my mom.  Caspian popped into my mind and I asked my mom if she had heard how he was doing.  Well, my mom is terrible at lying and her face does this tightening thing that is unnatural when she even tries to.  When I saw her face do that, I knew something was up.  My family also has a horrible habit of laughing at bad news...My mom then burst into a torrent of laughter--and was crying a little , too. Simultaneously.  She only got three words out, but they were enough: He's dead, honey.
      Neil had accidentally run Caspian over with his car.  He had been dead for a few months and everybody had kept it from me, thinking that I would just never ask about him again...Not the best plan, I gotta say.  Neil felt terrible, and I know he took very good care of Caspian up until that point--the point when he ran Caspian over with his car.  Since then, I have forgiven him, though. Really.
      So, that is the tale of Caspian, may he rest in peace.  

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My dressing room

       I don't have a whole lot to say...But, we'll see--it usually doesn't take me too long to find something to talk about...I can tell you that I have my own dressing room at the Ahmanson Theater.  It has my name on it and everything.  Not everybody in the cast has their own dressing room, so I feel grateful.  But the best thing about having my own dressing room, is that I have two special friends who come and visit me everyday (Ian and John).  We stretch together, talk about the day, and Ian generally uses my hairspray and sometimes my makeup (not much, though, considering he is a boy).  Lately, Ian has been kind enough to cover my aforementioned and unfortunate tan-lines with his own genius concoction of foundation, blush, and bronzer.  He works hard until it is just right and the audience is none-the-wiser when it comes to the color (or colors, currently) of my skin.  Yesterday, Ian and John were helping me pick out the right accessories to go with my opening night dress, and so I tried it on for them.  The dress was not quite long enough to cover a hideous bruise that I have on my leg (people are under the assumption that just because one can dance, one must be able to avoid running into inanimate objects.  Yeah, this is not always the case, which can result in hideous bruises).  John said, and I quote, You can not go out there with those gorgeous legs and that  **** bruise on one.  After explaining to him that I can't do anything about it--I simply have a bruise--he went on to tell me to cover it. That's what makeup is for.  So, Ian (my apparent makeup artist) went right to work and did a fine job, I must say.  Nobody mentioned the bruise at the opening night party.  It may have helped that the lighting was very dim, but I prefer to think it was John's good idea and Ian's hard work that saved that bruise from being shamefully noticeable.  Anyway, I like my dressing room and I like the people who visit me in it.  It's fun to have something of your own (in this case, a dressing room), because then you can share it.  

Friday, May 23, 2008

Opening Night in LA, baby!

      Wow.  That's pretty much all I can say.  Ok, so...being me, I'll say just a bit more...The house was absolutely packed.  And more than that, the audience's sense of anticipation could be felt like electricity.  They were expecting something great--making it easy for us to give them just that.  As soon as the lights dimmed to black, they broke out into wild applause.  You can only imagine how it was when we were actually on stage--performing.  We didn't have to work--not for laughs, not for sympathy, not for anything.  I wasn't sure how the L.A. crowd would react to a show that is set in New York City, especially since it's just so film and television here, while our show is about the stage.  But, they loved it.  Tonight was fantastic.  I will always remember it as one of those standout moments that are hard--if not impossible--to repeat.  

     My brother, Jason, came to the show and loved it (or so he says--just kidding, I believe him).  He also came to the reception afterwards, which was fun.  He got to meet my delightful friends from the cast--these people I am falling in love with (in a strictly platonic fashion. Don't you worry, Drew...).  I must say that Perez Hilton and Julia Roberts were not there (sorry, Jenna). However, Amy Adams (the star of Disney's Enchanted) was there and very sweetly praised the show. I met her and we were able to talk about how her first theater gig was playing Kristine in A Chorus Line (!!!).  Jason got a picture of us on his iphone, too.  Also, was there taking snapshots of us. Plus, I met an actor from Startrek (whose name escapes me), as well as a host of publicists, agents, and people of that ilk.  The director of our show, Bob Avian (who has been with A Chorus Line since its inception in the early 70's) said that this cast is truly one of the best casts the stage has ever seen.  Wow, I am so lucky to be a part of it.  So blessed.  I met a man who is friends with Tommy Tune (a Broadway director/choreographer) who told me to make sure I get seen by him, because I am exactly the kind of person he would like to hire--and that Tommy has a new project coming to Broadway.  I told this to Jase, and he quickly made me write down my info and give it to this man...I am learning that I need to be forthright and even a little aggressive when it comes to meeting people in the business.   Though I always want to conduct myself with grace and humility, that does not mean I have to shrink into the shadows and wait for things to simply happen.  I need to meet people and let them know that I mean business--specifically, once hired, that I will be getting business for me and will in turn bring business to them.  So, business all around, right?    
    Now, I have a seven-week run to look forward to in this beautiful city that has the ocean on one side and mountains on the other.  And in my more immediate future, I have a five-show weekend looming before me...But, a glorious day off on Monday.  Thank God for Mondays.  And for opening nights. And for wedges of cheese (which was about the only thing I found to eat at this reception, which was slightly disappointing considering they had honest-to-goodness hamburgers at our first preview party--and that was just a preview!).  But, other than the lack of hamburgers, it was a very good night.  I really love my job.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008


       It is evening.  I love this time of my day--I have for as long as I can remember, or at least for as long as I have been able to read and write.  See, nighttime has always been just for me. Private and comforting in its ritual.  There are things that I just always get to do do at night--and all the clamor and the busyness that have been getting my attention during the day are put to bed till tomorrow, where they can once again keep me busy.  But not now. Now, I have a full night of sleep between me and any work I must do, any show I must perform.  And there is comfort in this.  I can write in my journal without a deadline of somewhere I have to be in 5 minutes, 30 minutes--an hour, even.  I can get lost in a story, curled up around the pages of some book that tells secrets I can't wait to hear.  I can fall asleep praying (uh-oh, you think, so it's prayer that puts her to sleep; how spiritual can she be if a book keeps her awake and prayer puts her to sleep?!).  I can think about Drew, go over our memories like a mother lovingly sorting out a child's outgrown clothing.  And here, I can look out the window--a window with glass so thin there appears to be no difference between where I am and the night sky.  I think I really love the late evening because there is no rush.  No to-do list to check off. Just a sense of freedom and of time being...generous and infinite and mine for the taking.  

       The house I am subletting is being split between three of us from ACL and a group of European skateboarders. We have the upstairs and they have the downstairs-though, we share the pool and the grounds.  I say this because presently there is an herbal (of sorts) smell wafting up from downstairs.  I think after a hard day of skating, these gentlemen unwind with something that rhymes with hot. Though, I am no expert, that's for sure.  However, I think it may be safe to say these guys enjoy the nighttime, too...
      Tonight we had our first preview here in LA.  A preview is basically the same thing as a performance--the difference is the press cannot critique it yet because we are not officially open.  But anybody can buy tickets and tonight the house was packed.  I knew for sure that I was in LA when I couldn't help but notice two gentlemen in the front row--both with shades on. And one was looking pretty swank, what with his mohawk and mint green suit.   The rumor going around the cast right now is that Julia Roberts and Perez Hilton will be attending our opening night (not together).  I am not holding my breath--but will certainly let you know if this is true.  Jenna, my sister, has begged me to get a picture with each of them, which I will try to do...But since I have no camera, this may prove difficult.  Perhaps they will pause for a quick sketch?  Oh, and Jason, my brother is attending my opening night and coming to the after party with me, so that should be fun.  
     Well, it is late. I am tired.  You are tired (I assume).  Have a lovely night. My opening night is tomorrow, so I will let you know how it goes.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hamstrings, Proper Pronouns, and Tanning, Oh My!

       So, I have had a few days off, which has been wonderful. These are called golden days on tour--days in which we neither travel, rehearse, or perform.  I have been staying with my brother and sister-in-law (Jason and Darby), and my niece and nephew (Lyric and Ollie) which has been so fun.  Today, Jase and I went on a hike in the Santa Monica mountains.  There were many lizards doing the hike also, though they were much faster than us.  At the top of the mountain, we could see LA spread out before us--and the pacific ocean in the background.  I was trying to walk in a way that worked out my hamstrings, and so you don't think that statement is absolutely random, I will tell you why...Recently, I went to a massage therapist who gave me the unfortunate news that I have a pulled muscle in my right hip (which was not a surprise, because it has been hurting), and that my hamstrings were messed up (though, he did not use such a benign term for it).  Basically, I have overdeveloped quads compared to my hamstrings and glutes--and my quads have been taking over my life.  Oh--and my hamstrings are tight as a drum and need to be stretched pretty much every second of the day.  Awesome.  Now, if you saw the choreography that I do in this show, then all this would make sense.  So, anyway--I was trying to make sure my quads were not taking over, but I think they are used to it, so it's hard not to do.  But, I have been making a point to stretch even more...But, the hike was awesome.  I love being outside, love seeing natural beauty.

       Yesterday, I went to the promenade with Darby because she had an appointment for her mac at the Apple Genius Bar.  Now, her mac were being assessed by an individual named Dee. Dee is somebody who is midway through a metamorphosis.  Dee is a man, but is becoming a woman.  Dee is very tall, with broad shoulders, an adam's apple, and a boxy torso--none of which helps Dee's case so much.  Plus, though Dee does not suffer from a lack of make-up, Dee does suffer from a lack of skill when it comes to applying it.  Anyway, at one point I randomly asked Darby a question for which I could have bitten my tongue the moment I said it. Referring to Dee, I asked, So, is HE going to be able to fix it?  At that point, I couldn't have said, I mean, she... Cause that would have just made my faux pas even more obvious.  Darby just looked at me, I looked away, and Dee just walked away for a moment.  So, moral of the story: Always use the proper name of a person--especially when the person is somewhere in the middle of a big change.  
        On a final note, I was walking around the promenade for a while yesterday--which happens to be an outdoor mall.  So, yeah, I was in the sun.  And I ended up with stripes--tan lines.  Oh, and I am NOT ALLOWED to have tan lines, because of my costume for the show (a halter leotard and fishnet tights) the tan lines would be very visible.  I am not supposed to alter my appearance at all--and Kristine (my character) really cannot go on stage with stripes.  So, now I have to visit a tanning salon here in LA (first time ever at a tanning salon), and try to even out everything.  I am a little nervous. I'll probably be a little red. I know tanning salons aren't good for you, so please don't harangue me with all the reasons why I shouldn't go--it's just so I don't get in trouble (which probably isn't the best reason to do something that isn't good for me, I realize).  And I guess while I am out, I should pick up some sunscreen. Had I done that in the first place, I could have avoided this whole mess.  Sigh.    

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Chorus Line...

      I am fortunate enough to be a part of this fabulous cast of A Chorus Line.  It's a Broadway show. It's amazing.  I was home-schooled as a kid (literally, taught at home--a la Little House on the Prairie. No, scratch that--they went to a schoolhouse, I am pretty sure.  But, my parents taught me at home, leaving more time for dancing, music, going on trips-things like that), and one of my biggest regrets was that I didn't get to do a high school musical (not the Disney one, mind you--just any high school musical). Anyway, here I am touring a Broadway  I remember going to see Aida on Broadway, probably about four years ago, and thinking, I can do that. I am going to do that. Not in a prideful way--just in an identifying-something-that-is-true kind of way. 

      It's funny though, I am here--doing this thing that I have been hoping for--and already find myself thinking, so what comes next? I think this business makes it easy to always be living in the future--trying to pry open another door while you have a foot in the last one you stepped through.  Part of that is just the nature of going from show to show and is natural.  But, I also want to sit back and realize this.  To be content and grateful--and live in the moment.  So, let me tell you a little bit about what these moments feel like.
      For an 8 o'clock show, I will generally get to the theatre for a warm-up class at 6:15.  I say class very loosely, because it is more like a work-out.  It involves many leg-lifts (our choreographer, who teaches the class, constantly talks about how the show's downward lighting highlights any bit of fat one has on the body.  Enter the leg-lifts), sit-ups of all varieties, push-ups, stretches, and of-course, the staple of every dancer: plies, tendus, and battements, etc. Then, I put on my make-up, make my hair a little more 70's, configure my mic, and put on my tights, leotard, and heels.  I stretch a little more, and do some pirrhouettes, just to make sure I still can (I mean, I've been doing them for many years now, but there is always the irrational fear that once I step on stage, under that downward lighting, I will suddenly forget how to turn. I am convinced that every dancer is a little OCD--either that, or superstitious.  There are certain things I have to do right before I get on stage, or else I am afraid for my performance; even my prayers can feel more like chants or mantras that I say before every show). 
       Once I hear the call of places, I go backstage.  The lights black out and the hum from the audience goes to silence in their anticipation.  I hold hands with the actors on either side of me as we take our places on stage, and without fail I always feel nervously excited and wonder if I am really ready for this.  Before I can answer myself, the lights come up and I am in it.  Ready or not.  I have never been high or drunk, but sometimes I wonder if performing is a kind of amazing escape that is not so different from those.  It's intoxicating--to be able to throw yourself into a living story and entreat others to follow you there.  It's a gift, but it's also a job. Which means that sometimes, it does feel like a job.  I love doing the show, but I don't always feel like doing every kick and I get pretty psyched for a day off too.  But, in all--I love it. I am grateful. 

Exactly Just how Italian Are You?

Ok, so yesterday my friend, Ian, and I were getting into an elevator while having a conversation in which he was pronouncing certain Italian words (mostly cheeses) with an exaggerated Italian accent.  It went something like this:

Ian: I can say that, because I am Italian.
Me: Well, so am I.
Ian: You are? You don't look Italian...
Me: I look about as Italian as you, if not more. Just how Italian are you?
Ian: Half (at which point I think, shoot, I am only a quarter--he's got me.  Ok, I'll pull out the big guns and mention exactly which part of Italy my grandfather is from. That should show him how authentically Italian I am.)
Me: Well, my Grandfather is from Boltzano.
Now Ian is just staring at me, so thoroughly impressed that he has nothing to say--no way to one-up me now.  Ha, I think.
Ian: I actually don't know where that is...
Oh crap, neither do I. So I come clean...
Me: yeah, I don't either--just somewhere in the boot. 
Then, a thickly accented and thoroughly Italian voice jumps into our conversation, Eet's een-a Northern Eetaly...
    And she goes on to tell us just exactly where it is, single-handedly putting both of us in our place with her true Italian-ess.  We could hardly believe it.  In all the elevators in all the world, we happened to share one with her. In Denver.


                   "Home, where my thoughts are fleeting; home, where the music's playing; home, where my love-life's waiting silently for me..." That lyric is from a Simon and Garfunkle song that initially caught at my heart at the tender age of 12--when I was away from home for the first time, studying ballet at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York.  I can remember just sitting in my little dorm room, listening to that folksy song and letting it resonate within me.  Because it was describing me--maybe not so much the love-life part (or maybe it was just waiting very silently--think mime)--but at that point in my life, I loved home so much, that anything that was different from home was simply hateful.  Something to be endured, with the prize always before me--returning home.  Since then, I think I have matured some, at least to the point where I am not quite so black-and-white in the way I view my world.  See, I no longer hate everything that isn't home.  This is a good thing, because God seems to keep taking me far away from home...

        Which brings me to now: I am on my third tour (musical theater tour, that is--without the clarification, I sound like some kind of veteran, which I can assure you I am not, but only have the utmost respect and regard for those who are) in as many years.  Oh, and I am married to a wonderfully kind, patient, and funny man--and for how long have I been married, you may wonder? Yep. Three years....Anyway, my point is that I am trying to perform this balancing act of loving home, being apart of it, and embracing what my life looks like now. 
  What does my life look like now?  I am doing my first Broadway tour--A Chorus Line.  I love the show and I am absolutely grateful for this job.  I am acutely aware of the fact that the man I love is in Delaware, though, while right now, I am in Los Angeles.  I, with a few friends, am subletting a house full of character and charm with a panoramic view of the city. There are wonderfully citrusy fruits growing in the backyard, providing a perfect backdrop for the pool.  And the outdoor fireplace.  And there is a baby grand piano in the middle of a spacious living room--with another view of the city; it's stucco houses peaking through the foliage and life of this tropical space like so many shy mushrooms in a forest bed.  So, I am experiencing all this beauty and newness, meeting and befriending wonderfully interesting and lovely people, and the fulfillment of a job that really is part of my dream--and I am trying to make sure that Drew (especially) and all the people who are so intrinsically apart of my life, aren't left behind like an old toy after a kid's birthday party.  Don't worry, they won't be...
  Another awesome thing about being in LA is that I get to spend time with my brother, my sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew.  I'll be here for almost two, it's so comforting to have real, honest-to-goodness family here.   
  Ok, so here is my first post.  I'll write more soon. Promise.