Though mostly on the mend, I am still not totally recovered from being ill
over the last several weeks and my voice/throat is still in poor
shape for singing. In fact I have spent the predominance of my time in bed,
asleep. I did actually go into work at the rent-payer,
as scheduled on Friday, but then spent the whole weekend knocked out.
The good news is that I actually am not called to rehearsal until next
Monday. I'd put the call sheet schedule into my calendar app and then
promptly forgot that I am not called until January 12; rather I had it in
my mind that my first day or rehearsal was tomorrow night. Fortunately I
was wrong, which gives me another week to work on melody lines, vocal
phrasing, as well both memorization of sang lyrics and spoken lines. The
off-book dates aren't until
February 16 (Act I) and February 18 (Act
II), but I'm all about "as soon as
possible," especially since I don't have what I'd label a heavy amount
of material to learn.
THE NEXT DTG PROMOCAST DV MOVIE:
I dropped into The Guild Friday night to, among a few other things, watch
the full-run rehearsal of the show so I have some idea of what to shoot on
tonight, which will be my only night of principal photography for the DV
The plan is to edit to final cut on Tuesday. I have almost all the
graphics for the movie finished. I'd wanted to edit together the
opening splash before-hand, as wells as put together most of the elements
of the closing credits, but, you know: that still-being-sick thing....
It's probably important to note that I'm actually not really terribly
behind in terms of the production, but I am far behind where I had planned
to be by now. I have done some work on the dialogue lines, but off-book
is a long way away. Also my voice/throat is now healthy enough to start
real work on my vocal parts.
I have in fact started work on the music, though full vocal phrasing
is not something my voice is ready for. I'm hoping that by tomorrow I can
start working on such. In order to experiment with the different vocal
phrasing approaches. my voice needs to be up to par.
I'M FINALLY CALLED TO REHEARSAL AND WITH A RELATIVELY IN-SHAPE SINGING VOICE:
My voice/throat is in the most decent shape it's been since probably late
November. It's still not 100% but still better than it's been for over a
month. Yesterday was the first time I was able to really work,
full-tilt-boogie on the Dr. Madden's songs. There's still some slight
soreness this morning, as there was yesterday, but I have most of my
singing ability back, enough to actually work on that "phrasing"
I wrote of earlier. Truth be told, there's a little bit of backslide in
the soreness, but it's still not too bad. But I spend today talking as
little as possible, sucking lots of cough drops and drinking a lot of
Throat Coat Tea.
I had some hot chocolate. It may not really help, but, hey, I want some.
In fact, however, the heat on the back of my throat has helped, so
much so I am likely to get some more.
Tonight is my first call to rehearsal since the read-through rehearsal in
mid-December. Ensemble vocals are slated for the evening. Tomorrow night,
more of the same plus character work on Doctors Fine and Madden. I have
ideas to bring to the table about both doctors.
I don't know what the count is right now, but the class needs at least six
students to fly: Here's the official write-up:
Advanced Acting Techniques
Mondays 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
January 26-March 2, 2015 (6 classes)
Fee: $150.00 (Early Bird discount, register by January 19) /
$165.00 (after January 19)
Location: Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center, 116 North Jefferson
Street in downtown Dayton
Instructor: Kay Bosse
Welcome returning and advanced acting students. Expand your
repertoire and improve your acting skills in a relaxed and
positive environment. Through scene study and cold readings, you
will be working on strengthening your performance abilities.
Scenes from the classics and contemporary works are personally
selected for you based on your interests. The class concludes with
an informal performance showcasing the strengths of each student.
Save with our Early Bird Registration prices when you register
at least one week prior to the first day of class.
To register or for more information, please contact
Education Director at (937) 461-3823 x3132.
THE OPENING WEEKEND:
I hate to sound like a broken record or a deja-vu-all-over-again kind of a
guy, but I can only report second-handed that opening weekend went very
well. I worked Friday as House Manager and Opening Night Gala host so I did
not see the performance. But the audience feedback was most positive and
the cast felt good about it. I was there Saturday but l only pre-show and
not at all Sunday. However the reports are that Opening Weekend went very
Many local theatre folk will know that we've had a lobby TV up and running
since the production of
last fall. Until last weekend, it wasn't placed in its permanent home, its
intended mounting on the small angled wall in front of the main entrance
into the L. David Mirkin Theatre (the main-space).
The background is that we bought two 50-inch flat screen TVs for the
The Dead Guy
to serve as monitors for faux commercials and other supplemental video (the
latter which I produced) to be shown during the performance of Dead
Guy. When the show was closed we raffled one of the TVs off and the
other we kept to repurpose as the lobby TV, which shows a looping movie
about the current production and any other timely material or information.
We will also be mounting a camera in the booth so that after the
performances start, the house manager will switch the TV over and the
performance will show in the lobby. That camera will also feed onto a
small flat screen in the greenroom. For a little while that camera may
be one of mine, until I find the right one to buy.
So, here's the Oooooops!-factor:
The lobby TV was mounted on the wall this past Saturday and it could have
been completely set up with the computer living in the tech booth save
for a little problem. The cable to send the signal from the laptop when
it's in the tech booth, as well the cable to send the signal from the
camera, in the tech booth, are running through conduits under the floor.
That calls for a length of cable that gets tricky if the cables are
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface).
A/V signals begin to degrade after a certain distance of HDMI cable. The
solution is run short HDMI cords out of the source devices and on the
other end, into the TVs. The full cable in the conduits is
Ethernet, which can
keep strong audio and video signals over a very long distance. Then on each
end we have
HDMIs Extender adapters
to connect the ethernet cables to the short HDMI cords.
Well, some idiot, whose initials might, perhaps, possibly be 100% similar
to my own, bought the long ethernet cables; he just didn't happen to know
there's more than one type of ethernet cable, and he bought the wrong
kind. Fortunately, there is a solution that this person with the initials
that might, perhaps, possibly be 100% similar to mine doesn't wholly
understand. However, one of our volunteers, Jason Bigler, who is heavily
involved in the installation, knows exactly what to do. So, there is hope
that the TV will work as planned by next weekend.
As mentioned above, the TV is mounted where it belongs, but the computer
is currently setting on a table right under it. The same table shown in
the picture above, of the original, temporary set-up. Only in the pic the
computer is hidden underneath. We couldn't hide it in the new spot because
we don't have the length of cable to set in underneath.
The fb screenshot above is from Monday. Yes, I was slated to be there that
evening, but because there was a forecast threatening and ice storm,
Director Matt Owens cancelled the rehearsal. As the fb post says, I worked
on vocal lines at home, instead. I was there last night, for ensemble
vocal work and also a discussion about both my
characters, Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden.
I posted the one just above on facebook
yesterday morning, but my voice rallied quite a bit by the time I made
rehearsal. I still came close to not making it. I had an appointment with
the eye doctor in the morning and he dilated my pupils for a test and I
spent the afternoon into the evening listening to
The West Wing
while wearing a sleep mask. Okay, it's possible I spent some of that time
actually asleep. By the time it was time to leave for the theatre my eyes
were okay. So I made it after all.
The ensemble music that Music Director David McKibben went over was not
what I have been attending to -- and finally have been well enough to work
on -- since I was cast. My lack of functional music-reading capability was
driven home for me. I will be able to sit down with the sheet music and
eventually parse out the notes for my ensemble parts, but as I have no
sight-reading skills, I spent a lot of Tuesday night, well, lost. I did
record the rehearsal on my
iPhone, so between
that and my slowish homework with the score, I'll get it. It has made me
realize I need to at least get some better fundamental sight-reading
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We
cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied
as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police
brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the
fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and
the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's
basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed
of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be
satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New
York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not
satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like
waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and
tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of
you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by
the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the
faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go
back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of
our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be
changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of
today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in
the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that
all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together
at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists,
with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition
and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white
girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and
mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the
crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With
this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of
our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will
be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be
free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a
new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee
I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from
the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening
Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring
from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we
will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and
white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at
last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
First off all, though still not at full, one-hundred percent capacity, my
voice/throat has been in much better shape the last several days than it
has been in about six weeks, if not longer, though there's still a little
tickle in my throat. But the overall shape is much better, which is good
because I have been anxious about how the sore throat retarded my work on
the musical aspect of the show. Although, in terms of my main, solo
vocals I am in pretty good shape. It's the ensemble vocals parts that are
Monday, which I had off from the rent-payer
for MLK Day, was mostly about all those ensemble vocal parts that are, for
the most part, not as easy to pick up by ear from the
original Broadway cast album
as are the solo vocals. You know that point earlier in rehearsal when you
ask yourself how the hell you're going to get it all down cold and safely
burned into your brain and molecular structure? That's where I have been.
That's been the more recent anxiety, specifically in respect to these
ensemble vocal lines.
I'm not fearful that I won't get it; it's just that I'm at that place in
the process where it seems amazing to me that I ever have committed to
memory all that needs such commitment for any role of any substantial size,
especially when something such as these ensemble vocal parts, which are
proving to be an enormous challenge, are thrown into the dog fight.
My lyrics and notes highlighted on a copy of the score
The keyboard, the score, and my laptop, the latter from
which I play back the recordings of whichever songs I
am currently studying.
Since I have zilch sight-reading
capability, and only a fundamentally functional ability to read a music
score at all, my method is to sit down and painstakingly parse out what each
note is, based on the key signature to the left of the staff, *(which
indicates which musical key the composition is in), then use a key board
to get my vocal part. I am better at getting the pitch of the note than I
am at getting the length of the note, but I have the recording to assist me
This, of course, all has to do with working on my vocal harmonies in the
ensemble work for the show. There's a lot to cram in and to suggest I am
more than just beginning this work would be a very big lie. I do know
other cast members apprise their own status similarly and express the
same low level of anxiety, so at least I'm not swimming alone with the
The good news is that the off-book
dates, as I believe I have stated before, are February 16 for Act
I and February 18 for Act II,
so I -- (WE) -- have more than three weeks left to get this stuff
down, along with the spoken lines. I mean, I assume off-book also means
The sitzprobe is then a week
after the off-book deadlines and a week-and-a-half before we open, so I
would hope that my castmates and I have a firm grip on the show by then!
Actually, I feel confident that we all will. The great, bright ray of hope
for us is that, from what I've heard, we are solid on our main, solo vocal
parts, so we all can devote more time, energy and focus on the complexities
of this ensemble work. And the dialogue text is not a daunting amount for
any of us. I haven't worked on my spoken lines for a while, because my triage
told me these ensemble parts are the high priority. But I am not at all
worried about my lines. But, man, this ensemble stuff is a bit
We were slated to finishing blocking Act I
then start Act II, this past Monday, but we
actually got all of AI on Wednesday of last
week. A few people were sick this Monday, and Director Matt Owens was
sure that we could get all of Act II blocked on
Tuesday (previous slated to finish blocking it). So we got Monday off,
which helped me in terms of the Ralph Memorial (*see below), from which I
would have needed to exit early had there been rehearsal. But, the whole
show is now blocked, at least the rough overview with tweaking as we get
into the runs that are coming up soon.
Last night we were scheduled with Music Director David McKibben for
music review, etc., but he had to cancel due to a car problem. So, at
some point soon we will be picking this work up. Honestly, I was a little
relieved because it gives me a chance to get a little more work in, on my
own, on the ensemble stuff so I don't walk into rehearsal barely able to
productively contribute. I think I will change my tact and devote as much
time as needed for each piece before moving on. Tonight, for instance, I
will work first on
"Who's Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist and I"
and only move on if and when I feel some palpable progress. So, it may be
then only thing I work on tonight.
The memorial gathering at The Guild last Monday evening to honor and
celebrate Ralph was a lovely event and I am very happy I was able to
spend the whole evening there, rather than leave after the first hour as I
would have had to do if I'd had Next to Normal rehearsal. As
fellow board member Deirdre Root put it about the evening: "...Lots
of good people, good stories, laughs and tears all around....A bittersweet
In the Dec 27, 2014 blog entry I
wrote a bit about Ralph and I'm not going to repeat what I wrote there.
But I will essentially repeat what I said at the memorial, expanding on it
somewhat. I only spoke briefly because I was a half an instant away from
loosing it by the end of my little commentary.
The quintessential word for Ralph is "gentleman," that's not a
point that many would argue, and none successfully. Yes, Ralph was the
dictionary illustration of Gentleman. When I was welcomed into the DTG
family, Ralph was one of those there leading the gesture.
However, as much of a gentleman as he was, as much benefit of the doubt as
he was willing to allow you, he did not just assume you were good at what
you did. He wanted to see good action and good results before he decided
you were one to call upon for any given task, the one to trust with the
Earlier in my tenure as a Guild board member I brought up in a meeting
the need for us to purchase a new CD player for the tech booth. This
was back in the days when we used CD players, and mini-disk players, in
the cramped little booth on Salem Avenue. Someone made a motion that
the board approve the purchase of a new CD player; then Ralph tacked an
amendment on the motion that the new DC player be purchased by Bob Mills.
Bob, you see, has a Ph.D in electrical engineering and was one who'd done
a lot of sound design for shows and had already done some of the rigging
for the sound system we had at the time. Ralph knew Bob and what he
brought to the table. He had less of a sense of my skill set -- though
I'll freely admit, though I was perfectly qualified to choose a new DC
player, I did not and still do not have Bob's skill set. This practicality
aside, I was nevertheless pissed off about being, as I saw it, dissed by
Mr. Dennler. The truth, of course, is he was simply being diligent to
assure the best outcome for the theatre; it was nothing personal.
In intervening years I have designed sound for quite a few shows and have
shown some technical ability and knowhow, albeit of the seat-of-the-pants
variety -- no Ph.D. here. I designed sound for Ralph a few seasons back
when he directed Horton Foote's
Dividing the Estate
He expressed great approval of my work on that show. This past summer, as
he was gearing up for what would be his last directorial venture, our
14/15 season opener,
Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music,
by Lee Blessing, he sent me an email that basically said, "I hope
you are willing and able to design the sound for my show. I can't think of
anyone I would rather have take on the task."
I don't believe I have ever stated here that I took over
term as DTG board chairperson when he left town and then was re-elected
into the position in Aug of 2013 when I finished that first term. A few
weeks or more after Ralph sent me that email about Nice People we
had the first meeting of the 2014/2015 board, when the Chairperson for the
new season is elected. I was nominated for a third term (the second full
term). After the nomination was seconded, Ralph immediately said, "I
move that nominations be closed!"
As I said at the memorial, that motion was one of the best compliments I
have ever received.
After a break of two shows, I will be back designing sound for
show. We have a production meeting this coming Sunday after the closing
Don't know if I'll be approached to do the last show of the season, but,
honestly, I hope I have a conflict. There is, you see, a production at the
end of the season, at another theatre, that I am greatly interested in.
I'd say I'm about 90% solid on being off-book
for Act I, in terms of both lines and lyrics.
The solo vocal work is solid, but I still am shaky on my ensemble vocal
parts, though there is improvement, if marginal. Act
II: again, solid on the solo stuff, shaky on the
ensemble stuff, and I haven't really worked on dialogue, yet. Though there's
not much dialogue to work on.
Fortunately, as I may have stated before,
Next to Normal
director Matt Owens has been gracious enough to allow me to arrive late on
the Mondays in question, though I am most probably either going to leave
early or miss the last class session completely since that is the Monday
of Tech Week for NtN, and
I can't personally justify not participating fully in all the show runs
during the last stretch before opening.
This evening, I attend a production meeting for this one.
My estimation of my own musical vocal ability is that I am good, just
centered at "good"; I'm adequate; I hold my own. I'm not
Mandy Patinkin nor am I
and would not dare to suggest so. But, I can hit the notes and give some
quality of good style to a song. I feel safe in stating that I am the
weakest singer in the NTN cast ensemble, hands down....
....This is a good thing.
We had musical rehearsals Tuesday and Wednesday this week and hearing
where the vocal work has already progressed to was exciting. And we're not
anywhere close to the polished results the next few weeks hold in store.
Last night rehearsal focused on moments that do not involve me so I wasn't
called. I worked at home on one of the songs in which I am sing ensemble
harmony. The song, in fact, was "It's Gonna Be Good," referenced
in the facebook post I inserted above. The challenge is to correctly get
my pitch for each section I sing. I think I worked it out, but some serious
practice will need to be involved.
This weekend will again be about heavy work on the ensemble vocals,
especially, Act I, but also II,
which we haven't really adressed as much in rehearsals, yet -- but will on
Wednesday. Of course I'll still keep in practice and keep improving upon
my solo vocals, which are in pretty good shape. And I will work to get
solidly off-book on
I and begin to work on getting so for
II. Fortunately, I have many fewer words in
II, and I am pretty solid on the lyrics to
Madden's solo vocals and relatively solid on my ensemble lyrics, so I have
a decent start on II.
And to reiterate in a more straight-forward manner: I am feeling very
good about this project as a whole! This a great company of performers and
The Advanced Acting Techniques
class with Kay Bosse
The Human Race Theatre Company
got off to a nice start Monday evening. It was mostly orientation and get
to know each other night. Only one classmate from previous classes is in
this one. I also know one other from the theatre community. But most of
the class members are new to me. I also am the only male which somewhat
restricts some of the scene work that might be done.
I did bring my copy of Greg Pierce's
so perhaps I and the one younger woman, who can sell teenaged girl, might
do some pages from it. At any rate, I'd love to take on one of Sterling's
• The Fantasticks
at Dayton Playhouse
-- I'm seeing this one tonight. It features quite a few people I have
worked with before: Shawn Hooks, Robb Willoughby,
Charles Larkowski, and
other cast members: William Scarborough, Kami Flanders, Tyler Henry, and
Brian Sharp. Matthew Smith is the director; Ron Kindell is musical director;
Mike Embree is choreographer. Word-of-mouth is that it's a great production.
• Things My Mother Taught Me
at Beavercreek Community Theatre --
Tomorrow night it's Aaron Brewer, Steve Strawser, Terry Larson and Jamie
McQuinn, all whom I have worked with, along with Aubrey Strawser,
Christina Tomazinis, and Andrew Stokely in the cast. The production is
directed by Jill Proudfoot, who is a past DTG board member (as is Steve
• Waiting For Godot
at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company --
A week from tomorrow I head to Cincinnati to see one of my favorite actors,
in a matinée performance of
Beckett's most well-known work.
And when I say Bruce is one of my favorite actors, I don't just mean
locally or regionally, I mean: altogether, even pitted against the
nationally or internationally known actors.
My mistake on Saturday was to opt to watch an episode of
on Netflix while I was taking
care of some personal record keeping, etc., in the morning after I arose.
In case you're interested, next in the cue was,
"The One After Ross Says Rachel."
It's no shocker that I was not able to restrict my viewing to that one
episode. The mischievous little pixie in my head kept enticing me to watch
"JUST one more!"
to the point that I'd viewed a mini Friends marathon before I
mustered the discipline to shut it down and do the planned NtN
woodshedding that Saturday had been intended to be wholly about, or, at
least so about until it was time to get ready for
Things My Mother Taught Me
at BCT. I did do some work, but I
cheated myself greatly. It was not one my finer Be-The-Professional-Actor
Well, NO TV "programs." I did access a few ambient music
channels, via Apple TV, while
I worked on line and lyric memorization. Other than that, though:
One good thing about yesterday was that one task was to woodshed memorizing
the words (lines & lyrics) from Act II.
Fortunately, the predominance of my words in that act are lyrics that I
already had fairly solidly memorized. Further, I was already even closer
to completely solid on Act I, so this
off-book deadline of February 16,
though still not fodder for complacency, is hardly intimidating. Now I'm
certainly running in the high 90% range with it all. Still, this doesn't
stop the perfectionist in me from almost stroking out whenever I err.
There is one other hurdle to overcome, though "overcome" may be
a slightly stronger word than is needed. Dr. Madden has to waltz briefly
with Diana in an Act I moment. If you are one
of that minority of people reading this who have regularly read this blog
(AKA: You Five), or you otherwise know me well enough, you will know that
I essentially have, as I have intimated before, two, possibly three left
feet when it comes to dancing. Fortunately the dance moment is short and I
don't believe Director Matt Owens needs or wants anything elaborate for
the moment. A simple box-step waltz should accomplish what is needed and I
can accomplish that well enough. Else-wise "overcome" becomes a
much more appropriate, accurate word to use in context.
Okay, okay, I will admit I did watch some actual TV programming
for a bit after I burned out on woodshedding my ensemble harmony
parts. But my home rehearsal work was finished and I was outside
the zone, so I'm good. Well, it was virtually finished; I did
review my line/lyric flash cards after I went to bed
*) OFF-BOOK: The point in the rehearsal period when the actors
have their lines committed to memory and do not need to read the
There's still probability work will be done from
• The Fantasticks
at Dayton Playhouse and
Things My Mother Taught Me
at Beavercreek Community Theatre --
Nice evenings at the theatre this past weekend. Friday night at The
Fantasticks, featuring Tyler Henry, Kami Flanders,
Shawn Hooks, Robb Willoughby, Brian Sharp,
and William Scarborough; directed by Matthew Smith; music directed by Ron
Kindell; choreography by Mike Embree. Saturday evening it was Things
My Mother Taught Me featuring Aaron Brewer, Aubrey Strawser, Terry
Larson, Jamie McQuinn, Christina Tomazinis, Steve Strawser, and Andrew
Stokely. It was directed by Jill Proudfoot. The latter closed yesterday.
The Fantasticks runs for one more weekend.
• OH, AND BY THE WAY!:
at DTG -- Seems to me
I've been so preoccupied with Next to Normal that I failed to
mention that I sat in the audience for the closing performance of our
most recent Guild show, 40000 Miles, by
Amy Herzog. My
impression?: nice script performed quite well by Ms. Barbara Jorgensen,
Jarred Mola, Lindsey Kortyka, and Anna Prince. It was directed by Kathy
The plan, for the Mondays while the acting classes are in session, is to
drop into DTG and hang between
the rent-payer and class
time, rather than waste gas by driving home then to downtown. Then, of
course, from class I drive to Beavercreek, to join NtN
rehearsals, already in progress. So, this Monday I did that. I dropped by
a fastfood joint on the way, went into the boardroom, ate my dinner, then
went into my rehearsal briefcase to pull out the music score to look at
some problem music spots. I noticed that my mark-up copy of the libretto
was not in the briefcase; neither was the original libretto. We were
working Act I and I really needed the mark-up
copy, since all the blocking* that has already been determined, was/is in
The gasoline conservation was spoiled for the day, because it was clear I
had to make the forty-mile round trip to home and back to get my mark-up
copy, so I'd have it when I finally arrived at rehearsal.
Acting class runs from 5:30 to 7:30. I promptly left on the dot and arrived
at the theatre just a little before 8:00. I noted as I pulled out my
cellphone to turn it off before entering rehearsal that I had a text from
Kay Bosse: "I have your Next to Normal script. Should I wait
here." Of course, it was too late to go back by this point. And I did
not know what she had. Clearly I had pulled something out of the briefcase
to get to class material, then ldid not put it back, but wasn't sure what.
It could have been the score for Act I, or that
for Act II; it could have my working copy of
the music relevant to me. It could have been the original libretto or my
mark-up copy. It was the mark-up libretto. And the original was not in the
Fortunately, there was an extra libretto on hand for me to use, though I
didn't have my blocking notes.And yes, I'm at a good place as far as
having lines memorized, but it's not time to be on stage trying to recall
lines. I mostly was able to recall lines, and definitely lyrics, but still
had to refer to the script more than just a little. It's easier to recall
lines in the kitchen or the car than on stage, for one thing. For another,
until stumble-through, I
really don't want to slow down the rehearsals by calling for line. So, even
if I am trying to recall lines, I want the book in my hand so I can quickly
get lines I am having problems with.
Well, Monday rehearsal was not catastrophic, despite the ironic turn of
events. We worked Act I, including music, sans
instrumentation, i.e.: we sang a capella. Did the same last night for
Tonight, music with Musical Director David McKibben. I still don't have
my ensemble harmony parts mastered, but there has been much improvement.
Although I wouldn't want to take my current proficiency with them into a
why there's rehearsal, I guess.
Monday night Kay had us all do cold read,
which is fine by me. The more practice I can get on that, the better. I, in
fact, did mine stone cold, having read only the first, short sentence of the
monologue before I did the reading for the class. All I had to go off as I
began speaking the words was a little bit of character direction from Kay.
To a lesser degree I had some help since the monologue is from the
Allan Miller play,
which is adapted from the novella of the same name by
D.H. Lawrence, the latter which
I read in college. The fact that I've read the original source was help of
"a lesser degree" because it's been a while and I barely
I was pretty happy with the stone cold read. In fact, I think everyone did
a good job with their cold reads. We all did our initial cold reading then
Kay had us do them again, using mire directed approaches than our original
blind, exploratory interpretations.
Yeah, that damned sore throat problem, which has never been 100%-recovered
but was on the mend, has backslid. I am more than a little frustrated. It
hasn't slip back a lot, but it has regressed, all the same. Last night,
toward the end of rehearsal, there was some certain failure on my part. It
didn't help that I had taken some cold medicine designed to dry out my
nasal cavity; keeping my larynx hydrated was a challenge. Dry throat was
a major factor in my vocal flopping, along with the area already still
I have a nice vocal moment in the finale and right now I cannot deliver as
it should be delivered. This does not make me happy. The section needs
Dr. Madden to deliver it full-voice, in the middle register. The compromise
last night to was to hit the key notes in falsetto, but I believe that
diminishes the impact. And by the end of rehearsal I was even doing that
badly, which utterly destroyed the impact. In fact my voice was giving so
much that the whole song was an unsuccessful endeavor for me. My solace is
that I have four weeks left. If my throat and voice aren't in
performance-ready shape by then............then, well, I don't know what.
Today, I am back where I was a few weeks back: talking as little as
possible, sucking lots of cough drops and drinking a lot of
Throat Coat Tea.
I'm laying off working on vocals today, including vocal warm-ups, or at
least any warm-ups that would push my voice. I actually would like to
catch a theatre production tonight, but I believe I am going to pass and
stay home out of the chilled air, etc.
On another front, this week I've been attempting my lines without looking
at the script, while rehearsing. I've had the book in my hand, first
because there are blocking notes
in there, and still blocking notes to be added. As is always the case,
off-book is easier in the car
than it is on the stage, when you're on the spot. I still feel good about
where I am with off-book status and it's something I am constantly in study
I have been taking it easy on my voice and throat, just as I planned. I
have been rehearsing the vocal lines (the notes) but I have not been often
pushing those moments that have been proving challenging due to the
under-par shape of my throat health. I've also been nursing my throat in the
appropriate manners: talking less, cough drops, and drinking a lot of
Throat Coat Tea,
occasional gargles with lemon juice and salt in very warm water, and
keeping out of the chilled air as much as possible. I haven't tried to hit
those challenging notes since Saturday, where I was not wholly successful,
so I can't report where I am at the moment. There is still some congestion
in my throat and a tinge of soreness, so I probably am not ready to belt
that finale line as it should be belted, just yet.
I did lie in bed last night with my flash cards of lines and lyrics and
score pretty close to 100% off-book. I'd estimate I was at about 97-99%.
*And I'm not going to bother with the "definition" footnote
to explain "off-book.".
Michael's play is a lovely, lovely story with very fine work from
Corbin Bleu (Aaron Baker: the
Colleen Zenk (Marsha Baker:
the high-strung mother),
Randy Brooks (Sam Baker:
the even-keel father who has been hospitalized with a heart arrhythmia),
Adam Halpin (Aaron's
Arash Mokhtar (Dr. Geoffrey
Pattel), and, of course, home-grown
(Joyce Anderson: Sam's Nurse).
directed this beautiful production.
My throat/voice seems to be only marginally edged closer to 100% and I
still cannot sing the moment in the finale with the middle-register full
voice I believe it deserves. I did get it a couple times while
woodshedding before rehearsal last night, but my voice started failing on
the critical notes by the end of that session. I had to use falsetto at
rehearsal. That worked, well enough, I suppose. I will work to make the
falsetto version as impactful as I can, but I'm also going to keep testing
the middle-register version, and with hope as we get closer to Opening, my
vocals will be there rather than in Falsetto Land for that finale moment.
Off-Book Day for Act
I is tonight, with this Wednesday designated for
Act II. But I, and others in the cast gave it a
try at the Thursday rehearsal. I may have correctly rated myself earlier in
the week at 97-99%, but it's one thing to recall lines and lyrics in bed,
or in your car, or walking down the hallway at
the rent-payer, but it's a
different thing to be on the set and on the spot. Still, none of us did
horribly, which eases the stress-factor for tonight. I still drilled on the
words all weekend, and, at least "off stage" I'm "off-book."
We'll see how proficient I am On stage, tonight.
Oh no! Another new icon
I really wanted to spend some dedicated time working on that vocal spot in
the finale that has been challenging me so heavily. Though I did get some
time in on it, my voice is still not at the place to work it too much.
Actually, the stuff I sing later in the finale has been proving difficult
for me to deliver with the zest and power it should have. It all hovers
right in a precarious zone for me. The top of my middle register and
bottom of my upper register. Much of it works better full voiced (middle
register), but until I get my throat to 100%, that's not working too well.
I again took the day off, on Saturday, from singing at all. Then, yesterday
I had to take it easy singing everything. This isn't over; I will
get my voice into game shape soon and I will figure out how to do my finale
And yet, another new icon
However, the biggest challenge of the show is about to descend upon me.
For a few bars during the song "Who's Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist
and I," my Dr. Fine will be waltzing with Diana (Becky Barrett-Jones).
Those who know me or have read much of this blog will know that I pretty
much have three left feet when it comes to dancing. Fortunately the dance
segment is not very long, only a few measures. The monkey wrench is
during my little waltz I will be singing what will, at some points, be a
counter puncture, so throwing dancing into the mix is going to be an
interesting endeavor for me. I'm sure I'll get it, but no one best expect
Also this weekend I partially re-read
in the event that I and a particular young woman from class do a scene
from the play. The young woman (who can sell the seventeen-year-old
character, Becky) was given a copy at the last session. I had recommended
the play to Kay and she got it and read it and likes it. I, of course,
like it and have a strong interest in portraying Sterling on the boards.
When I posted about the play in August of 2013, having just recently seen
take it on stage at Steppenwolf,
I wrote that I'd found the script somewhat lacking, incomplete. However,
now that I have read the script a few times I have changed my mind. I still
think the play could be longer, a two-act play, but I have reconsidered my
opinion about Mr. Pierce not adequately digging into each character. I am
now satisfied that the script shows us plenty about both. It does leave
some things to be guessed, but that's not a bad thing.
LET'S START IT ALL OFF WITH MY OBLIGATORY,
AT-LEAST-ONCE-A-WINTER-SEASON, SUB-SUB-FREEZING WEATHER WHINE:
Until today, it hasn't broken above 9°F for several days anywhere in
South-west Ohio. For instance, yesterday morning when I climbed out of my
warm cocoon it was -8°.
********** -8°! **********
Yeah, this is not working for me. It can warm up right now. Right now as I
write this sentence, it's 16° in Dayton, but the forecast is for the
temperature to drop back down to close to 0° by midnight. Hey, I'm
trying to get my voice back up to 100% singing capability! This is not
helping the goal-achievement.
"UH, UM, UH...LINE!" PT.2:
I am happy to say that I did well with the off-book
situation Monday night. I flubbed a lyric once but that was because I was
flustered over a missed musical cue moment. The original plan for the
rehearsal had been to run Act I, but that was
altered and we worked on musical problem spots quite a bit as well as
running chunks of Act I with both dialogue and
songs in tact.
As for the continuing saga of my vocal whoas, I have not pushed my voice
at all, so far this week. Well, I did a little bit last night, but later
in rehearsal my voice revolted somewhat on me. I'm still nursing it much:
Throat Coat Tea,
yadda yadda. The frigid air outside is not helping the predicament, and,
as I was discussing with Ms. Barrett-Jones last night, I also am singing
more rigorously than I have in a very long time, quite possibly since I
was in my twenties. My voice is, I think, getting fatigued from being
out-of-shape and, let's face it, older; that likely is, in part,
retarding the wellness work. This factor being a poster for doing daily
warm-ups as a regular routine, regardless of musical gigs or not, and
singing a lot as well, regardless. I have loads of music CD I love to sing
with, that I can use to consistently keep my voice in shape. For Next
to Normal I'm hopeful that as the weather warms and I continue to sing,
my throat will heal and I will fatigue less. I'm confident that by
performance this will all be worked out and I will be performing at a
standard that pleases me, or, almost pleases
Our choreographer was there last night and choreographed the little dance
segment I am in. It could have been worse, but, my three left feet didn't
get in the way as badly as I anticipated they would. I am not fearful
it'll look to bad or awkward. There will surely be some dance calls, maybe
not through the run, but surely during Tech Week.
As I predicted, the biggest challenge for me is that I sing some
counterpoint during this and there's a section that I already have timing
problems with that adding the dance moves to, edges the challenge for me
and my rhythmically challenged self.
My classmate Brianna and I did the first few pages of
in class Monday. It was a nice, mostly cold read. I think I could have
done better, but I didn't suck. It was a virtually spontaneous read by me.
It certainly would not be the Sterling I would present on the boards in
front of a paying audience, but it was adequate for an early try. Kay has
me prepping King Richard from Shakespeare's
for next week. I will be playing against Angela Riley's
She also has suggested that if time allows, we might return to Slowgirl.
the big problem there is that next week may be my last session.
The following class session is the Monday of Tech Week for Next to
Normal and I will either miss class altogether or leave at least an
hour early. I just cannot allow myself to miss a tech rehearsal for a
show I am in.
First off, there has had to be a cast change. The role of Dan (the
husband/father) has just been assumed by Geoff Moss. Tuesday night was his
first rehearsal. The original Dan, Kip Moore, had to drop out when outside
conflicts made continuing in the production untenable. Before Geoff,
another replacement was bought in but then he, too, had to drop out. So
now Geoff as joined the ensemble and clearly seems up to the challenge of
learning this significant role in a compact period. He's got a lot to cram
and I am not envious. He and I are only slightly familiar with each other,
but judging from the last two nights, it's obvious he's more than capable
of mastering the role and will no doubt catch up to the rest of the cast
in a timely manner.
Last night we ran Act II off-book.
Few flubs, but not many. We did stop and work some problems, mostly musical,
and often, of course, for Geoff, who obviously isn't yet required to be
The voice has been pretty much the same, with a few instances where my
voice essentially annouced to me, Yeah,
um, no. No, I'm not doing that. Sorry.
Last night I sang my section of the finale using what I deem the
compromise of using falsetto. After rehearsal I asked Music Director
David McKibben if my compromising crap worked. He responded that he didn't
know why I call it "crap," that in his opinion what I did last
night is the correct approach that section.
So, I guess I'll embrace the falsetto thing. But I still would like my
voice up to snuff so even that could be a little stronger. It feels weak
and lame to me -- what can I say?
I also have to work on a couple moments in other songs where I need to
better get the pickups going into those particular vocal lines of mine.
Sub-Sub-Freezing Weather Whine --
A little after midnight, last night, the
on my iPhone
said it was -6°, and forecasted that it would dip down to -9°
before it started climbing back up to a heat-stroking +16deg; by late this
afternoon. At 10:30 this morning it was 3°. I was still up at midnight,
last night, because
the rent-payer was closed
until 10:00 am today; yesterday we were closed until noon. Both days it
was due to extreme cold. Yes, I know, this phenomenon is effecting pretty
much most of the USA and Canada, and I also realize the North-East is
getting socked with snow. But I still wanna bitch and whine and nobody's
gonna take that away from me. Just 'cause others are getting the same and
just 'cause others got it worse, that don't mean this is happy-fun-time,
nor that it should be erroneously embraced as such.
We ran Act I last night, which was a change
from the rehearsal agenda. The change, of course, to accomodate Geoff
Moss's newness to the show and giving him a chance to work on it. The
guy was on stage frequently without his book! Good thing to see for the
new dude. I, of course, had prepped more for Act II,
before rehearsal, not knowing the change was afoot.
The big issue for me musically last night was a particular ensemble part
that I thought I was counting correctly to sing at the right moment, but
discovered that I was still off slightly. It's the thing to work on the
most right now, just ahead of healing my throat to the elusive 100%
singing voice status. I also need to perfect a section of what I am singing
during my choreography, but that's the easier of the two direct musical
issues I face right now.
We have no clearance to use dialogue in the promocast for Desire.
Sunday being Tech Week for the
production, I will grab audio of Director Craig Smith discussing the play
and production and will shoot MOS
footage for the visuals. I edit Monday and hope the DV Movie is up by late
Monday eve or early Tuesday morn.
So, it's Sunday morning as I write this, and the show opens in less than
a week. Our sitzprobe was last
Thursday. It went well. The orchestra for the show is a rock combo* of piano,
guitar, drum kit and occasional electronic keyboard (played by the guitarist).
No bassist at the moment; there was originally going to be, but apparently
there was some sort of conflict that crept up. Don't know if one will join
the production this week, but I suspect that such will not happen. Too bad,
because a bass line, on a bass guitar, would have been valuable.
This evening marks the official start of Tech Week
with Tech Sunday and
cue-to-cue. We don't have the full
band tonight for Cue to Cue; nor do we have it tomorrow night, so that's a
dress rehearsal with piano
accompaniment only -- like tonight. Practically speaking then, whether it's
officially labelled such, or not, Tuesday, when the band is back, is essentially
Wandelprobe, only with a full
The weather threatened to be an issue, but not so much now. When I got up
I found an email in my in-box from the
National Weather Service with a
winter storm warning touting a prediction of upwards of seven inches by
noon. But by the time I was up, that was revised to one-to-three inches. As
I look out my window, right now, I see the asphalt on a cleared road.
And believe me, if the road
I live on is cleared, the highways and the main roads I need in order to
get to rehearsal are all cleared, because my neighborhood is always behind
the curve in terms of winter weather maintenance. Right now
Weather.com forecasts a possible
addition of less than an inch for this evening; so, I have no worries that
rehearsal will need to be cancelled. That makes me happy, as I am sure it
does the rest of the NtN company. Also, we have a virtual heatwave
of 30°F going on out there!
As for my singing: what can I say? My vocals are still not where I want
them to be, at what I believe is one-hundred-percent-up-to-par. I don't
find what's been going on with my singing as total failure, but I still
have not yet reached the level I am really satisfied with. As part of the
treatment for my still-ailing throat I have not yet sang since the
sitzprobe on Thursday. I will do vocal warm ups and woodshed my show songs
this afternoon, along with woodshedding my lines.
Oh, yeah, lines. I had more than several frustrating moments during this
past rehearsal week where I went up.
At this point I am not allowing myself any slack for not remember any line or
any lyric. I AM OFF-BOOK, GODDAMNIT!
Atthis point the problem has to squarely be focus. That doesn't mean that I
won't be hitting the line -- and lyric -- drills heavy today and this week.
* I'll supply the names of the band members at some point.
As it turns out, only some of the events, described in the above Feb 23
facebook post, happened. It was true
Final Cut Pro X did crash
on me while I was close to the end of the edit for the Desire
promocast DV movie. I was trying to paste the text of the closing credits
into the scrolling text effect. When I opened the software back up, there
was not a project file for the movie in FCPX. I then opened
open the project file from the 4 terabyte external hard drive I use for
HD movie editing.
It Was Not There !
I was alarmed but not wholly panicked yet. It have a choice when I start a
project to either save the file on my laptop hard drive or the external.
My want is to save to the external but I have in the past erred and saved
it to the laptop, in which case I have to move the project file over. So,
I looked in the Movie folder on my laptop for the Desire project.
IT WAS NOT THERE !
This was the point when that loud
could be heard rumbling, thundering, echoing from South-western Ohio. It
was followed by:
You son-of-a-bitch! You're suppose to autosave the fucking file
every time I make a CHANGE (There actually IS no save
button in FCPX).
YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH! YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH! All
that WORK! ALL THAT WORK!
At least the FCPX Event was there, on the external where I intended. The
FCPX Event is the folder with all the source material for a movie project:
the raw movie file footage, any graphics, any audio files. All that
material was still there. I could build the promocast movie project again.
But it was not going to be Monday. I had put in over five hours. This
mishap occurred about 1:30, maybe 2:00, in the afternoon. I could have at
least started the redux of the movie. I would not have finished it, because
I did need to woodshed some on Next to Normal; I also had to do some
prep for the advanced acting class with
at HRTC, which was less than
three hours away. I could have started it, but I just wasn't in the mental
place to deal with it. I couldn't take Tuesday off from work, due to what
my work day entailed that day. So I took Wednesday off to assemble the
damned movie again.
So, what do you
think I discovered when I opened FCPX up on Wednesday?
Turns out the project file was in the Documents folder. Had I looked a
little harder inside FCPX I would have discovered that on Monday.
As irritating as this discovery was, I was also quite relieved that I did
not have to rebuild the whole damned movie, but just pick up where I had
left off. This not withstanding the point that I had went from an
arrangement, where I could make up all the lost time on Monday at
the rent-payer, to one
where I had to use sixteen hours of premium vacation leave. Despite this
vacation-burning situation, I elected to take the rest of the day on
Wednesday to work on a few other projects for DTG. Of course, I also used
some of the day for Next to Normal woodshedding.
*See the finished Desire Under the Elms promocast by clicking
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD 2015/2016 SEASON:
Here is our forthcoming DTG season:
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR by John Patrick Shanley
Production Dates: Aug 21-Sep 6, 2015
From the author of Doubt and Moonstruck comes a
romantic comedy set in rural Ireland. Anthony and Rosemary are
forty-somethings who haven't got a clue when it comes to love. These
hopeless singletons will need to overcome a bitter land feud, familial
rivalries, and their own romantic fears to find happiness. Full of
dark humor and poetic prose, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer John Patrick
Shanley's tenderhearted portrait reminds us it's never too late to
take a chance on love. (Tony Award Nominee for Best Play)
Directed by David Shough
Produced by K.L.Storer
Audition dates: July 6 & 7, 2015
THE COLUMNIST by David Auburn
Production dates: Oct 2-18, 2015
In mid-century America, newspaper columnists are kings -- and Joseph
Alsop wears the biggest crown. Joe sits at the nexus of Washington
life: beloved, feared, and courted in equal measure by the very people
whose careers he determines. But as the sixties dawn and America
undergoes dizzying change, the intense political dramas Joe has been
throwing his weight around in -- supporting the war in Vietnam and
Soviet containment, criticizing student activism -- come to bear a
profound personal cost. A play from the Pulitzer and Tony
Award-winning author of Proof.
Directed by Doug Lloyd
Produced by TBA
Audition dates: Aug 24 & 25, 2015, 7:00 pm*
**** HOLIDAY EXTRA ****
ALL IS CALM, THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914
by Peter Rothstein with Musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy
Production dates: Nov 20-Dec 6, 2015
The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence a silence,
then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man's Land, singing
"Stille Nacht." Thus begins an extraordinary night of
camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words
and songs of the men who lived it.
Directed by Kathy Mola
Produced by Barbra Jorgensen
Audition dates: Oct 5 & 6, 2015, 7:00 pm*
NIGHT WATCH by Lucille Fletcher
Production dates: Jan 8-24, 2016
Elaine Wheeler, troubled by unsettling memories and vague fears,
suffers from insomnia and appears to be close to becoming unhinged as
one suspicious event after another takes place. From their Manhattan
townhouse, her husband tries to comfort her, but when he steps away
for a moment, Elaine screams as she sees (or believes she sees) the
body of a dead man in the window across the way. The police are called,
but find nothing except an empty chair. Elaine's terror grows as
shortly thereafter she sees still another body -- this time a woman's
-- but by now the police are skeptical and pay no heed to her frantic
Directed by Saul Caplan
Produced by Debra Kent
audition dates: Nov 23 & 24, 2015, 7:00 pm*
SLOWGIRL by Greg Pierce
Production dates: Feb 26-Mar 13, 2016
Sterling, a former lawyer turned recluse in the Costa Rican jungle, is
surprised by the arrival of his seventeen-year-old niece, Becky, whom
he barely knows. She is a talkative high-schooler whose parents sent
her out of town for a week of obscurity in the wilderness.
Unaccustomed to having constant company, Sterling slowly acquires a
sense of Becky's situation, which is disconcertingly similar to his own
retreat from the opinions of others, and both realize their own remorse
over moral negligences.
Directed by Rick Flynn
Produced by Kathy Mola
Audition dates: Jan 11 & 12, 2016, 7:00 pm*
TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL by Horton Foote
Production dates: Apr 15-May 1, 2016
Carrie Watts is living the twilight of her life trapped in an
apartment in 1940's Houston, Texas, with a controlling daughter-in-law
and a hen-pecked son. Her fondest wish -- just once before she dies --
is to revisit Bountiful, the small texas town of her youth which she
still refers to as "home." But her son, Ludies, is too
concerned for her health to allow her travel alone, and her petty
daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae, insists they don't have money to squander
on bus tickets. This prompts "escape" attempts each month,
which coincide with the arrival of Mrs. Watts' Social Security check.
Then, Mrs. Watts makes a successful escape, and one last trip home.
Directed by Craig Smith
Produced by Debra Kent
Audition dates: Feb 29 & Mar 1, 2016, 7:00 pm*
LAST GAS by John Cariani
Production dates: May 27-June 12, 2016
Nat Paradis is a Red Sox-loving, part-time single dad who
manages Paradis' Last Convenient Store, the last convenient place to
get gas -- or anything -- before the Canadian border to the north and
the North Maine Woods to the west. When an old flame returns to town,
Nat gets a chance to rekindle a romance he gave up on years ago. But
sparks fly as he's forced to choose between new love and ols. Last
Gas takes a hilarious and heartbreakingly hard look at love lost
and found, and what it means to "get back to happy."
Directed by Debra Kent
Produced by K.L.Storer
Audition dates: Apr 18 & 19, 2016, 7:00 pm*
*all audition dates may be subject to
change. Information about the 2015/2016 Season Tickets will be
We ran the show last night with full tech, but without costumes. It was
more-or-less our cue-to-cue, though
it really wasn't. It was really a run with all the tech cues incorporated and
adjustments being made as we went along or being noted as needed.
As you can see from the screenshot above of my facebook post, I did not
deliver a perfect off-book performance,
still. It's irritating. I never went up,
but I did stumble over a few words (i.e.: almost going up by losing the word
for a split-second too long). And I substituted several words for synonyms.
The last one may not be as bad, and doesn't affect the moment on stage as
adversely as other sorts of line screw-ups. But, if the playwright has
the character saying "hangover", then "headache" is
not what should come out of the actor's mouth. That being one specific
error of mine last night.
Despite that little bitch about myself and my brain-fails, the run last
night was, overall, pretty good. The ensemble, as a whole, was in good
form. I felt good about my character work, and thought everyone else was
portraying their characters well.
It also makes me very happy to report that last night my voice was in the
best shape it's been during the whole rehearsal period, going back even to
before the audition, which was hampered by the early period of this
mammoth, compromised-throat marathon. It's still not at 100%, but it's
closer than it's been for months. I was actually able to sing my finale
section at full voice in a manner that did it justice -- the first time I
have been able to do so. I still feel some soreness and tightness in there
right now; but I'll be babying it all day and I think it's on an upward,
mending trek. I am hopeful for tonight, the rest of the week, and more
importantly, the performance run.
Tonight we run our first dress rehearsal,
though without the full band. Tomorrow night is the quasi-wandelprobe
night (i.e.: the show on it's feet with the band, but a full run rather
than jumping from music cue to music cue).
Yes, yes, it was a rehearsal, but this is nitty-gritty time, it's
down-to-the-wire, final-stretch time. It's time to put on the wares as if
we're in front of the audience. Breaking character during a dress
rehearsal is not a suitable option. Muddle through, push through, work
around any problem, do whatever it takes to keep that
fourth wall standing.
The Monday rehearsal wasn't bad, save for that particular guffaw. There
were, of course, glitches. Other than that amateur BS mentioned above, I
had one that was unavoidable. During the start of one my songs in Act II
I got a burning, piercing tickle in my throat. I started the song, but had
stop, take a swallow, then start again. Fortunately it was song that leads
from a musical vamp. This time, I stayed in character and made it look
like -- or almost look like -- the re-start was part of the show.
Much better than breaking character and thus breaking the fourth wall!
Tuesday was a really good rehearsal. The last of the set-piece elements
were thrown and we hadn't yet adjusted to them, but, nonetheless, we all
felt good about the rehearsal. The energy was high and we were all solidly
on our games. I had one little line garble but it was minor. It was a
good night and we all left feeling good about what we have going.
Good thing we had such a strong rehearsal Tuesday, because last night's
rehearsal was cancelled due to the threat of treacherous travel due to
mix of rain, snow and below-freezing temperatures. I spent the evening
drilling lines but not singing. I gave my voice the night off.
After the improved level of singing/throat-health on Sunday, my voice did
relapse, but only slightly. I was still able to sing satisfactorily both
Monday and Tuesday. But, since we had the night off from rehearsal, I chose
to not sing last night, also giving my voice and throat that night off I
wrote of above, doing some nursing with throat soothing tea (this time
Yogi Throat Comfort),
running my humidifier, etcetera. Shortly before I left for what would end
up a cancelled rehearsal, I had done warm-up exercises. The text that
rehearsal was cancelled came while I was in route. So the warm-up was it
for the day for my voice. The resting of my voice just seemed like a good
move, since I had the opportunity. Right now my voice/throat is a little
sore but the Yogi tea and the throat lozenges therapy is about to begin
for the day; plus, I'll speak as little as possible.
Now we come to tonight and Final Dress.
Personally I am not anxious over the fact that we lost a dress rehearsal
this week, and I doubt anyone else is either, though I am sure we all would
have rather had it under our belt.
Monday, before NtN, I attended the first hour of the final acting
class with Kay, where I did scene work from a couple plays. I did a scene
from Man from Nebraska,
by Tracy Letts
with one classmate, then revisited the scene I had previously been involved
with from Shakespeare's
I had fun with both. The Letts scene was one where I had to start it in
distress, where the character "shakes insuppressibly, weeps, sobs,"
so I had to move myself into that place emotionally. While Kay was
addressing the class on other assorted business and instruction, I took
advantage to get to the zone I needed to be in.
In more general terms, I'm sorry the class is already over. Seems like we
just get firmly in the groove with these things as they come to an end.
ANNOUNCING THE CAST OF CRIMINAL HEARTS:
Nabachwa was one my classmates in the advanced acting class that wrapped
Monday evening. She has very good acting instinct. I am excited to see
her cast. I have read the play and believe, whole-heatedly that she will
nail the role.
I am designing sound for this, as I believe I stated somewhere in an
earlier post. I'm invited to the table read-through tonight. But, of
course, I have a prior engagement.
When I heard the news that Leonard Nimoy had died, a
thread in the fabric of my childhood was pulled and that
fabric is now a little more frayed, a little less in tact.
His passing actually moved me to tears, which was a
reaction I would not have predicted. I didn't, until that
moment, fully appreciate how deep an impact his Spock had
on my consciousness.
I'm not going to do a treatise on the metaphorical
significance of Mr. Spock. I will say that I cannot now
imagine anyone playing the role with such grace, strength
and presence as did Leonard Nimoy. Whatever the pallet
that Gene Roddenberry presented to him way back in the
mid-sixtes, Leonard took that and, with his own brush
strokes, defined the cultural icon that is Mr. Spock, adding
his own depth and significance to the portrait. At the risk
of drawing the wrath of a legion of Trekkers who may believe
differently, I believe that Mr. Spock is the most profound
and the strongest such cultural icon from the entire Star
Trek cannon. Nimoy is as responsible for that as is
Roddenberry's vision of the character.
I had recently re-watched the 1978 remake of Invasion
of the Body Snatchers, and it was the first time I was
able to disregard Mr. Spock and allow Nimoy's Dr. Kibner
to not be a Vulcan without pointy ears. I saw it when it
first came out, then several times over the years on cable,
and could not let go of Spock when I saw it. I had the
same problem when he was a cast member on Mission
Impossible not long after Star Trek was
cancelled. I was not alone in that and that, of course,
was the bain of his career for many years. His first
autobiography was title, I Am Not Spock. He
apparently eventually came to terms with the cemented
association, as his second autobiography was, I Am
Spock. This multi-talented man should have gotten more
recognition for his other artwork, directing two of the
finest Star Trek movies being part of that, as well
as some fine photography. The presence of Spock is still
the kind of impact most actors would love to make.
There is, sadly, no Genesis planet to place this fine
artist and humanitarian on. So: Rest in Peace Mr. Nimoy.
Last Night's Final Dress
-- "The tip of the tongue (TOT or Tot or Presque vu) is a
metacognitive phenomenon, an instance of knowing something that cannot
immediately be recalled": twice. Not lines, single words in two
different moments. Also left my street glasses on while on stage as Dr.
Madden. Dr. Madden doesn't wear glasses. Other people had their own flubs
so I don't feel alone. It was a good rehearsal, though, with that right
mixture of Final Dress imperfections. The adage is that you don't want a
perfect Final Dress; it jinxes Opening Night. My voice was okay. Still not
up to snuff.
The first half of our run went most well. Very high praise to my
castmates, the pit, and the crew. The audiences certainly liked the
Other cast members and I suffered from various levels of compromised vocal
health at various times throughout the weekend, but we all coped. I had
problems with that finale section at the Saturday matinée. I sang
it full-voiced, having had success Friday evening doing so, and my voiced
crashed a bit. So I used mostly falsetto Saturday night. Sunday morning
when I awoke it looked like I was in serious trouble. My throat was so
out-of-whack that I was afraid I was not going to be able to sing at the
Sunday matinée, at all. After doctoring my throat, and voice, all
morning I got it into relatively decent shape. I also gargled with salt
and lemon juice in warm water throughout the performance, whenever I had
enough time off stage; that helped greatly.
Overall, I was satisfied with my own work, though there were a few blunders.
The worse of those blunders was when I went up on a lyric line and made
the cardinal sin of breaking character for a moment. A few people I spoke
to afterward, who I do not believe would lie about it, said they did not
notice. Some connected to the show did. Regardless, I am unhappy about that
particular screw-up. I stumbled over a few words a few times, too. There
were also a few paraphrases, but, paraphrasing is the easiest flub to live
with, though not something of which to aspire.
Still, the performances were all very good, accounting for the collective
of the strong ensemble. We had a good weekend.
These last two days, Monday and Tuesday, I have rested my voice, not even
doing any heavy warmups. I've been continuing the honey, lemon, juice and
throat-sooting tea, as well as throat lozenges. My voice is healed
somewhat. I'm hoping to have it healed a great deal more by Friday. We have
a brush-up rehearsal tonight, which will be the only time this week I don't
take it easy on my voice, until the show Friday.
We had a brush-up Wednesday
evening. We were on our feet with props but not costumes. We only had piano
accompaniment from Jenn Clark and there were no mics nor light changes. In
terms of costuming, I did wear Dr. Fine's lab coat because he pulls a half
dozen pill bottles out of the pockets to give to Diana during the course of
"Who's Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist and I," and I didn't want to
pantomime those actions. Actually, some actors did pantomime some prop use,
but overall we used our props. We ran Act I at
pace, but ran Act II a bit more as a
faster tempos for most of the songs.
I had two mishaps -- both, going up.
One is a little easier to forgive myself for. There was a bit of silliness
action going on in the audience area and I lost my place during a song,
thus flubbing a line of lyric. Still shows a focus problem on my part, but
still a bit understandable. The other was when I went up on a line a few
scenes later. That one was a memory recall issue. I will assume that the
latter was a focus problem, too. I really am off-book,
so these instances of going-up are really perturbing me.
My voice was in better shape than it was for Sunday's performance, though
still not at the elusive 100%. Feels much improved as I write this, and
yet still. All the same nursing, as has been the norm, is still going on.
Don't know if it will be tonight, but it'd be nice to get at least one
show in with my voice completely up to snuff.
Without any hesitation, I can say that Next to Normal at BCT is one
of the best productions I have been a part of, period. So many wonderfully
talented and capable people sat at the table on this one. I certainly was
amidst a stellar cast. The directorial staff gave us great direction. The
pit, the crew, all gave us strong support. It was a well-done collaboration
all the way around.
Kudos to Becky Barrett-Jones (Diana), Abby Land (Natalie), Geoff Moss (Dan),
Desmond Thomas (Gabe), Brandon Ramos (Henry), Matt Owens (Director),
David McKibben (Musical Director), Emily S. Phillips (Stage Manager),
John Falkenbach (Lighting Director & Producer), Sandra Hyde
(Choreographer), Kathleen Carroll (Costume Designer), Maggie Carroll,
(Costume Assistant), Shannon Michalak (Sound Tech), Hans Unser (Stage Crew),
Jenn Clark (Piano), Damon Barnett (Guitars & Electronic Keyboard) and
Thomas Landis (Drums).
*I'm likely to do a "Part 2"
to this, sometime soon.
A couple Saturday mornings ago, on the 7th, to be exact, I attended the
Playwrighting - Level II
class at HRTC, taught by Michael London of the
Ohio Playwrights Circle.
I attended as one of the actors who dramatically read the work of the
playwrights taking the class, so they can hear their characters aloud. On
the 28th I'll return to read for the final reading for class, which will
be be presented in the evening.
In a nice little complement, I was told that a playwright "has
requested [that I] be cast in [that] final prepared reading of her work...."
That's quite flattering.
BACK ON THE TECH SIDE:
Though only the bare beginnings, I have started the sound design for the
next DTG show.
Meanwhile, I have heard nothing back about clearance to use dialogue in
the promocast DV movie for Criminal Hearts, so, at this point, that
may not be happening. It may be MOS
footage only with voice-over from
talking up the production.
I have gathered a generous amount of music together to use as production
music and as pre-show and intermission music. I have only put one piece of
music into the Show Cue System software, because it's needed in rehearsal
for a dance sequence.
I should be attending more to music selection and programming later in
the week. Also, I have a window, Saturday afternoon to be at the theatre
working on this, as I am already in town for the reader's theatre gig
associated with Michael London's
Playwrighting - Level II
class at HRTC.
I have tentative plans to audition for a local community theatre production
that will be up in a couple months. However, without giving much detail,
as I've been told to not do so, I am auditioning for a professional gig
that I can't pass up the opportunity to go after; unfortunately, if I book
that gig, it's very likely to be a scheduling conflict with key rehearsal
time, or performance dates, for the non-pro stage gig. Like I said, I can
give no details, yet, save that it's screen work for a cable series, and
it's not just day player work,
it's a guest spot,
which is pretty much a featured role.
Obviously, there would be travel involved if I book the gig. Actually,
there will be travel involved if I get a callback audition. More complete
information when I'm allowed to pass such on.
Saw a couple theatre productions this past weekend and had a good time.
Fix Me Jesus
at The Dayton Playhouse
-- First I saw this play, by steadfast-regular
adjudicator, Helen Sneed. I saw it Saturday evening and had an enjoyable
evening with a nice little play brought to life by Rachel Wilson, Sofia
Shannon, Tina McPhearson, Cassandra Engber, Pam McGinnis and Shawn Hooks,
under the direction of Brian Sharp.
No word about the supporting spot on the episode of the cable series. The
callbacks are Monday and Tuesday in Pittsburgh, so if I don't hear
sometime today, I'm not going to hear. This is another in that recurring:
"If it was 'yes,' (callback, that is), I'm betting I would have
Meanwhile, this morning and then this evening I will be with the
Playwrighting - Level II
class at HRTC, taught by Michael London of the
Ohio Playwrights Circle.
I'll be one of the actors performing the final prepared reading for class
in the evening. This morning will be prep/rehearsal.
This afternoon I'll drop by The Guild
to do some sound work. There's also set building going on, but I believe I
will give my attention to the sound. I'll migrate (well, really, copy) all
the music from my laptop into the Show Cue Systems program on the DTG booth
desktop. I'll probably do most of the programing in the SCS on the desktop
machine, then copy the project file so I can fine-tune and augment on my
I'll have to wait to assign any sound to dedicated channels above no.1 and
no.2 until I know I am done working on my laptop. I can't create a virtual
sound device with more than two channels in SCS on my laptop, because there
are not more than two receiver channels, or hardware devices -- the
laptop's stereo channels. SCS will not allow you to open and work in, or
run, a project that needs more actual channels than you have access to.
Once I create the, probably, four channel virtual device for the project,
I am committed to only working on and running the sound plot on the booth
computer. Not that this particular aspect means anything to hardly anyone
but me. But it's one of the things on my mind.
I have contemplated buying an 8-channel sound card, comparable to the
external one we have for the booth desktop, but I'd rather have one that
is native to my
rather than the Windows7
in my virtual machine;
I have not found one, yet. I'm sure I could run a Windows-only card
through the virtual machine, but I'd rather have full access on my laptop.