K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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NEW YEARS DAY,
2017

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MMXVII


Mon, Jan 2, 2017

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MY FIRST ACTING GIG OF 2017:
On Stage icon
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON
Ohio Playwrights Circle

As I've mentioned a few times in the recent past, I will be on stage in a dramatic reading in mid-to-late February, the exact date not determined yet. I will be in the role of Tully Parker in the new play, The Lesser Light, by local playwright Brett Shane Cooley. This is an Ohio Playwrights Circle event, hosted by Human Race Theatre Company and likely presented at The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center. There's some chance it will be on The Loft Theatre stage but it's more probable it'll be at the Philips Center. It'll be on a Saturday or Sunday, and it'll be a free public reading.

The characters page in the manuscript describes Tully as "War veteren, keeper and company of the dead." I am reprising the role from readings of scenes from an earlier draft of the play that I did for the OPC during a playwrights workshop in April/May of last year. To quote myself from the May 7 blog entry, Tully is "big and broad and maybe just a little bit crazy." It's a lovely chance to go over the top yet not actually be "over the top." Tully is a fascinating character and I'd be more than willing to step into him again in a fully-staged performance.

Stay tuned for the exact date and exact location.


ROUNDING THAT BEND AND MOVING TOWARD THE LAST MILE STRETCH:
LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Producer icon
All of a sudden I look up and there are less than three weeks until Opening Night. I've not been called upon much as producer to address any problems or issues. The biggest concern has been one that actually crosses over to more of a sound engineering issue. I also was not one-hundred percent sure that I had my sound tech signed on; I didn't get a complete "yes" until today.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
SOUND TECH ICON
Sound design has been a focus of the last few days. It's been a lot of tracking down the music I need to choose all of the production music and the pre-show and intermission music. I asked the three main principals to each give me a list of their characters five favorite recording artists (or composers) as a way to inform me of music to choose for the show and the pre-show/intermission. I advised them that I would not necessarily be bound to their choices but that i was not likely to dismiss them out-of-hand, either. Naturally, many of the recording artists I was given were not already in my personal library, though a couple I think should have been; I've been running work by these artists down, from various sources.

Though I have confirmed my sound tech, she will have to miss a few technical rehearsals and possibly a couple actual performances, so I may have to pinch hit.

DTG Promocast Production logo
No Report


SCOTT BRADLEE'S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX

And I AM looking forward to seeing this band later this month. I admit I know little about them but I have liked very much every thing I've heard by them.



Thu, Jan 12, 2017

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NEXT.....TECH WEEK:
LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Producer icon
As we wrap up this week of rehearsals we step to the precipice of Tech Week, which starts in just three days with Tech Sunday. The Tech Sunday cast call is for mid afternoon; crew call is late morning, 10 a.m., to be exact. We'll do a dry tech session with the light tech and sound tech, with oversight and adjustments being made by Tony Fende, as lighting designer, and myself, as sound designer. Stage Manager Deirdre Root will also be working the stage crew who need to perfect the scene changes, especially the changes that require moving one of the two set trucks.

The rehearsals are going well, by the way. The cast is on top of their game and this is shaping up to be the standard excellent fair that a DTG production usually is. I attended the Monday and Tuesday rehearsals this week, wearing all my hats for this production: producer, sound designer, and promocast producer/director. I missed rehearsal last night but I am back this evening, still wearing all three hats.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
It's not out of the realm of possibilities that I wil be there before the 10 a.m. call on Sunday, depending on how much ground I gain on sound design between now and then. The big issue at the moment is settling on production music. I have only chosen a few songs, the song that opens the show, and some scene transition music. I have a strong idea for the end of the show -- going out of the last scene and then a separate choice for the curtain call, but I have not settled on that music.

One of the things I've been doing this week is judging and measuring the tone of the scenes as I experience the actors playing them, rather than just relying on the written word, to get a better sense and feel for what sort of music or specific song will work well at each point. Just as importantly I need to rule some music out. I need more than a dozen songs; I've created a pool of about ninety potential song choices, with no guarantee I still won't go outside that pool for a scene change or two. This is what my Friday night, tomorrow, is going to be about: picking the production music.

The sound effects stuff, like doorbells and cell phone ringtones, etc., were no challenge and have all been found -- had it all in my library. Some of it's actually already programed into the Show Cue Systems Luna Gale project.

Tonight is my last chance to get the feel and tone of each scene, especially the starts and, more importantly, the endings of each scene. Then it's off to drive myself crazy with the pondering of the pleathora of musical options I've plowed upon myself. The monkey wrench, of sorts, is that the director, Debra Kent, decided not to do full runs, either last night or tonight, but to rather run only Act I last night and only Act II tonight. Which means, since I could not be there last night, I missed what I thought would be my last chance to "experience" the performance and tone of each scene in AI. So as I make my decision on musical choices, I have to go on more memory for AI than AII.

DTG Promocast Production logo
Tonight I do about five minutes of principal photography for the promocast, shooting, well, actually, probably less than sixty seconds of footage to get one actor who will not be there on Tech Sunday. The rest of the principal photography will be done Sunday afternoon. I have chosen all the moments and we will likely buzz through the whole shoot in about fifteen minutes, or fewer. That's been my experience thus far this season with this new production method.

Another monkey wrench, also minor. I realized after I arrived at the rent-payer this morning that I didn't grab the HDDV cameras and stick them in my car trunk. The problem?: I skipped the gym yesterday so I must go after work today -- I will miss two days in a row this weekend (Sun/Mon) so I can't miss two days in a row this week. I will not have time to go home after the gym and get to the theatre in time, so I have to go home and get the cameras at lunchtime. Which means, of the two meals I packed, the peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, with a container of assorted veggies, will be my lunch, and the chili, again with a container of assorted veggies, is dinner, nuked in the greenroommicrowave, when I arrive at the theatre. I was going have the chili for lunch, but I can eat the PB&J in the car as I drive home at lunch.

Unfortunately, this means I'm 99% sure to lose my prime parking spot at work when I trek home for lunch.   sad icon



Sat, Jan 14, 2017

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LAST STRETCH TILL GAME DAY:
LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Producer icon
Opening Night is six days away. From this point forward it's all tech rehearsals. Thursday evening was the last of the "pre-tech" rehearsals. I was there as I said I would be, wearing all three of my hats as I said I would. I actually, kind of, wore a fourth hat, as well. Neither the AD nor the SM could be there Thursday, so I was on book for the rehearsal. Just in case you're interested, keeping up with the script while making line notes as the actors keep moving through a scene -- this is a skill, one that I am not as accomplished at as others are.

So......

Tomorrow is Tech Sunday. Am I ready? I am not quite ready, completely, but I am confident I will be when the 10 a.m. call comes around.

Stage Crew Member Still Needed
As of the posting of this entry we are still in need of a volunteer production stage crew member to work with our stage manager, Deirdre Root.

The crew will be required to help move wheeled set trucks during scene changes, as well as other usual stagehand duties.

Production stage crew members are needed for the following rehearsals and performances.

    Sunday, Jan 15 -- Tech Sunday, 10am-(approx 6pm)
    Mon-Thu, Jan 16-19 -- Tech rehearsals, call time 6:30
    Fri, Jan 20 -- Opening night, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
    Sat, Jan 21 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
    Sun, Jan 22 -- performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00
    Fri, Jan 27 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
    Sat, Jan 28 -- performance, 5pm curtain, call 4:00
    Sun, Jan 29 -- performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00
    Fri, Feb 3 -- performance, 8pm curtain, call 7:00
    Sat, Feb 4 -- performance, 5pm curtain, call 4:00
    Sun, Feb 5 -- closing performance, 3pm curtain, call 2:00 -- *strike after final curtain

    *call times may be adjusted by the stage manager

If you are interested, please contact me at: kl.storer@daytontheatreguild.org.

Or please pass this information on if you know someone who may be interested.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Today I pick the production music and the pre-show and intermission music. Last night I did not feel well; I ended up sleeping from right after I got home until into the early morning.

DTG Promocast Production logo
Thursday I shot principal photography of one segment of the moments I will use in the promocast. The rest, I shoot tomorrow.



MLK Day, 2017

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 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!"

CLICK HERE FOR DR. KING'S SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY


Tue, Jan 17, 2017

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DRAMATIC READING IN LATE FEBRUARY:
On Stage icon
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON
Ohio Playwrights Circle

The dramatic reading I will be participating in of Brett Shane Cooley's The Lesser Light looks to be happening on Sunday, Feb 26, though that is not 100% confirmed.

I'm also still not sure whether this Ohio Playwrights Circle, event, hosted by the Human Race Theatre Company, will be at The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center or at The Loft Theatre. Again, my bet is that it'll be at the Philips, but stay tuned. And, again, the reading will be a free public event.


TECH WEEK MOVES ONWARD:
LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Producer icon
Tech Sunday is behind us and we are almost finished with Tech Week; tomorrow night is Final Dress, and for a few invited guests also an unofficial "preview performance." The show is in great shape. It's going to be another stellar production for DTG belt notching. We've received some good pre-show press, too:

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
SOUND TECH ICON
Sound design is also in great shape. I still have some tweaking to do, of course, but overall we're good. I'm happy with the production music I ultimately chose, I think it all fits quite well, each between the scenes where they rest -- and of course opening the show, closing Act I, opening Act II, and closing the show.

The songs I chose were a blend of artists I got from the the three lead actors (given me the names of recording artists that their character likes) and my own choices. I did let the actors choices inform me somewhat about my choices, so I think we have a good, creative collaboration between myself and these cast members.

Tonight I cover on the sound board; Sarah Saunders, the show's sound tech, can't be there. I may cover one or two performances for her, as well.

DTG Promocast Production logo
As planned, I got the bulk of, and wrapped, the principal photography for the promocast during Tech Sunday. I wasn't watching the clock, but I think we got it all in about my projected fifteen minutes; it might have been a little longer, but it wasn't much so, if it was longer.

This new approach I'm using -- not that it's original to me -- of picking the moments before I shoot, and then having the actors perform those outside of a rehearsal run and specifically for the camera is much better than my previous practice. That practice was to shoot a lot of footage from a dress rehearsal then go back and chose the moments from all of that.

I generally would shot all of Act I and perhaps some portion of Act II. Since I shoot multi-cam (three cameras going at the same time) I always had more than three hours of footage to sift though. Granted it would be about an hour of material from each of three camera perspectives, but still, it made the editing process daunting at times. Plus, I had less control over movement of the actors. I also was somewhat restricted on placement of the stationary cameras and my movements with the hand held. Since the actors were in the midst of a Tech Week rehearsal, where they are trying to fine-tune their performances, I did not want the cameras or the camera man (me) to intrude much onto the set, to be too close while they were practicing for a live performance.

When we set time aside for them to act the moments specifically for the cameras, I can get more intimate when the lens, and I can control far more elements. I can be sure I have a camera set up to capture an actor who turns away at some point in the moment. I can have the camera physically closer for a close-up rather than zooming the camera in for one -- the first option looks better, take ny word for it.

The new way also provides for a more focused and thought out selection of moments. I've always had at least a reasonable idea what moments I thought would be best to capture and use, but this new way pinpoints things much better. And editing is a much faster and easier process. I know, going in, exactly what I'm going after -- the only thing now is to chose the best camera angle for each portion of each moment. That's the big wild card now, but even with that, I know what footage awaits me because the camera angles were all deliberate shot set-ups -- save for some of the hand-held footage which is mostly pre-determined but still has some of the spontaneity of documentary-style camera work.

At any rate, the promocast principal production was wrapped on Sunday. The editing was all completed by Monday afternoon, except for the last few seconds. I needed the group cast portrait for the end of the video, and that could not be taken until rehearsal Monday evening -- a cast member was not at the Tech Sunday rehearsal. So, the DV movie made it to final cut late Monday evening after I got home. It was at YouTube by about 2:00 a.m. Tuesday and posted to the DTG facebook page by mid-morning Tuesday.

Click here to see the promocast



Fri, Jan 20, 2017

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MORE ON THE DRAMATIC READING IN LATE FEBRUARY:
On Stage icon
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON

Okay, not really more, but, here's a graphic that I hope is updated quite soon:

Ohio Playwrights Circle Presdentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, time TBA. Location TBA. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as I habve the names of my castmates and the other 'TBA' information, I'll update this.


Opening Today

LUNA GALE by Rebecca Gilman, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Game day is here. Rehearsals are officially wrapped, well save for brush-ups. The cast is simply kicking ass, as is the crew.

So.....come see it.


COMING SOON!
I'll have some really coolish, clownery-type of news to annouce very soon. "Coolish" to me, anyway.


AND ON OTHER FRONTS:


Mon, Jan 23, 2017

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OPENING WEEKEND:
LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Producer icon
Good Opening Night! Virtually a full house and an audience that responded quite well. In fact, a large percentage of the audience stayed for the Opening Night gala, which is an indicator of a collective appreciation of the show and the performances.

As is usually the case with opening night, though I was there, I was pulling house manager duty, so I did not get to see much of the show, save for when I was able to sneak into the booth to grab some publicity photos to post on the DTG facebook page. A representation of those pictures is below. It wasn't until I processed the pics for this blog entry that it dawned on me that I wasn't able to snap any pics of Cassandra Engber while she was on stage; her scenes all came at times when I was engaged with house management.

I did actually sit in the audience on Saturday, since it was a smaller house and there were empty seats. We had something like half a house, perhaps a little more. They did like the show, however.

I wasn't there yesterday but I am confident it went well

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
So after sitting in the audience Saturday night I, of course, had to tweak a couple sound levels. There was a cell phone ringtone that wasn't quite loud enough and the volume on the curtain call music needed to be a little louder, as well. It being the smaller house that it was Saturday night, the applause definitely drowned the music out far more than it should have. Don't be surprised if the next post after I have sat in the audience again has another report of a tweak, especially if there is a bigger house with louder applause.

Here are a few of the photos I snapped Opening Night:
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Timothy Moore (Cliff) & Cheryl Miller (Caroline)
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Cheryl, Kayla Graham (Karlie), & Andrew Poplin (Peter)
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Heather Atkinson (Lourdes) & Cheryl
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John-Michael Lander (Pastor Jay), Cheryl, & Timothy
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Timothy at the Opening Night gala
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Heather at the gala
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Kayla at the gala
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Andrew at the gala
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Cheryl at the gala
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John-Michael at the gala
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Casandra Engber (Cindy) at the gala
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The gala toward its end



TWO THINGS COMING UP -- ONE TONIGHT:
In Concert icon
Puddles Pity Party in concert at The Taft Theatre, 317 E. %th St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202. 513-232-6220. $24 General Admission.

Here is the "clownery-type of news" I wrote of in the last blog post. I will be seeing Puddles Pity Party (aka: the "sad clown with the golden voice," aka: Big Mike Geier) in a little over five weeks from now at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati.

For those who are not initiates of Puddles, the best introduction to him is the one I had: the video of his amazing cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." It is both bizarre and awesome.

Click here for the video

But first up, also at The Taft Theatre:

TONIGHT
Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox in concert at The Taft Theatre, 317 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202. 513-232-6220.


Thu, Jan 26, 2017

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DRAMATIC READING UPDATE:
On Stage icon
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON

The location and the exact time for the dramatic reading of Brett Shane Cooley's The Lesser Light is set. Don't think the whole cast is finalized, so stay tuned for that.

Ohio Playwrights Circle Presdentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, 6:30 pm. the Caryl D. Philips Creativty Center, 116 N. Jefferson St., dayton Ohio, 45402. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as I have the names of my castmates and the other 'TBA' information, I'll update this.



THE CAST OF THE ELEPHANT MAN:
THE ELEPHANT MAN & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

In order of appearance:

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Frederick Treves            Patrick Hayes

Carr Gomm/Conductor            Geoff Burkman

Ross/Bishop How            Jim Lockwood

Merrick            Jared Mola

Belgian Police officer/ London Police officer/ Porter            Kevin Grego

Pinhead Manager/ Snork/ Lord John            Mark Reuter

Pinhead/ Miss Sandwich/ Princess            Melissa Kerr Ertsgaard

Pinhead/ Duchess            Meredith Hollingsworth

Pinhead/ Countess            Lorin Dineen

Mrs. Kendal            Heather Martin




Mary Tyler Moore, December 29, 1936 - January 25, 2017
I was 12 when The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted. Not only was Mary Richards (and MTM) a role model for young women, she was a good example for young men. I guarantee that she is part of the reason I grew up to like smart, independent women. I've admired Mary Tyler Moore, her talent, her tenacity, her good social works, for all of my adult life. There are a handful of actors (and other artists) I really would love to know personally. She was definitely one of them.


Sun, Jan 29, 2017

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CAST UPDATE:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle
With the exception of one character, the cast has been filled out:

Ohio Playwrights Circle Presentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, time TBA. Location TBA. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as featuring Kayla Graham as Bitty Lantry, Heather Atkinson as Rita Mae Lantry, K.L.Storer as Tully Parker, Joshua Richardt as Jude Riley, TBA as Lee John Tanner.




Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox in concert at the Taft Theatre, in Cincinnati, Ohio, January 23, 2017

The show this past Monday evening in Cincinnati was magnificent. There were twelve exceptional performers on that Taft stage. The musicianship was excellent. The vocal work was fantastic. The showmanship was topnotch. It was just simply a great, fun time. I will see Postmodern Jukebox live every opportunity I can seize.

Before last Monday I was intrigued by Postmodern Jukebox (aka: "PMJ"). I found them interesting. As I wrote before, I don't know a whole lot about PMJ but I've loved everything I've heard by them and I've loved every video I've seen from them -- check out the video at the end of this entry. Now, post-concert attendance, I am a true fan.

So I still don't know everything about PMJ but I have learned a few things. First, Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox isn't a "band," as much as it is a concept, or a show. Scott Bradlee is a pianist, arranger and producer who is the architect behind Postmodern Jukebox. PMJ isn't a set band, but rather has a dynamic, rotating roster of musicians and singers -- a cast.

Bradlee takes modern and contemporary pop songs and revisions them with jazzy arrangements that belong to the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's. Sometimes he takes rock songs and puts them into the Mowtown groove. He actually started doing this before PMJ but eventually his projects evolved into PMJ. For several years now, once a week he has posted a video on-line featuring a group of revolving musicians and vocalists performing a new song that has received this treatment. The line up (the cast) for each video is different to at least some extent and often almost completely if not totally different. Bradlee is, I believe, usually on piano in the videos.

The PMJ YouTube channel has more than one-hundred videos at the moment, and more than two-million subscribers. Some of the videos have had a phenomenal number of hits, including the PMJ version of "Royals," featuring Puddles Pity Party on lead vocal, which has had more than fifteen-million hits. Puddles, whom, of course, I will be seeing on March 1 at, again, The Taft Theatre.

A couple years ago Bradlee started booking PMJ tours and has put the show on a couple extensive international tours. He doesn't tour with the PMJ shows, but rather just casts an ensemble of excellent players and vocalists. There actually can, and has been, more than one PMJ tour going on at a time. For instance, there could be a European leg and a North American leg going on at the same time, with a show in Hamburg and one in Indianapolis on the same night. And the roster of cast members on a particular tour often changes to some extent during a the tour, with sometimes a significant change for the last show stop from the first.

Though the PMJ line-ups revolve and evolve, it seems clear from my brief exposure to more information about PMJ that some fans have their favorite cast members. No need to worry for the fans of many of the regular performers -- or ven those who are not so frequent -- as a lot of them have their own albums and tours apart from PMJ, as well as, of course, their own professional websites, as attested to by the links in the cast roster from last Monday's show.

If you want more on PMJ, of course, there's a lot of info at the official PMJ website as well as at the Wikipedia pages for PMJ and for Bradlee, himself.

Back to the show Monday, I assume it's clear to you that I was most impressed. The level of musicianship was high. All of the musicians were on top of their games. But I was especially impressed with two of them, for different reasons. The main bassist, Chris Anderson, who is also the musical director for the tour, was a particular interest to me, since once upon a time I was a bass player -- though never at his level. He was most excellent. The reed player, Chloe Feoranzo, was the musician who impressed me the most. I thought she was the standout in a group of standouts. One solo she played, in particular, which is shown in a pic below, just blew me away. I swear she was at one point playing a complex run of 32nd, maybe even 64th notes. She sang one song to, and did a fine job there, was well.

All the vocalist, especially the three main female singers, Robyn Adele Anderson, Dani Armstrong, and Brielle Von Hugel were exceptional. Our master of ceremonies, Mario Jose, was damn good singer as well. He was also a very affable and fun loving as our host. And Casey Abrams, who is the male vocalist at the beginning of the video below, was great, especially the several gritty blues vocals that he did during the show. And he's a good bass player to boot, as you'll see in the video. By the way, the band did "All About That Bass" at the show, and he and Anderson did the same doubling up on the stand-up bass that he does with the bassist in the video.

It's my understanding that there is always a tap dancer at a PMJ show. Ours was Anissa Lee, and Ms. Lee has some serious skill...serious skill.

Abrams is the only PMJ cast member from the video below that was at the show Monday. Here is the roster from the show:

Full disclosure: I did not catch everyone's names as they were introduced at the show. I went on-line to search the roster out, to no avail. I then used the email form at the PMJ site to ask if I could get the list. I got a response with the roster within minutes. My assumption is that they get such a request frequently and have the information at the ready.

Here are some of the photos I took at the show. I was in the second row. I actually didn't realize I was so close. I would have preferred to be back a few rows, but, you know what? Second row was just fine. BTW: don't ask me which songs go with which photos; I am not sure at all.

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The audience gathers in the lobby, waiting for the doors to open
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As the seats fill for the sold-out show
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The podium stands for Ms. Feoranzo & Mr. Finzer
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Chloe Feoranzo dances with Anissa Lee
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Robyn Adele Anderson
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Chris Anderson
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Martin Diller
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The S&L board operation, right off stage
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Casey Abrams on bass with Chloe Feoranzo on her Clarinet and drummer Martin Diller in the back
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Our MC, Mario Jose
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Casey Abrams classes it up, with a sneak peek at Nick Finzer
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Dani Armstrong
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Nick Finzer up front for a solid trombone solo whilst Casey Abrams kicks some bass violin
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Casey Abrams, Brielle Von Hugel, & Mario Jose at the mics
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Bob Hamilton
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Chloe Feoranzo taking no prisoners on what I remember as an amazing clarinet solo, with Casey Abrams holding the mic for her
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Chris Anderson, Robyn Adele Anderson, & Dani Armstrong
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Chloe Feoranzo, Casey Abrams, & Nick Finzer
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Brielle Von Hugel
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Logan Evan Thomas
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Chris Anderson, Dani Armstrong, Brielle Von Hugel, & Martin Diller
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Robyn Adele Anderson, Chris Anderson, & Brielle Von Hugel
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Robyn Adele Anderson & Casey Abrams
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Casey Abrams
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Drummer Martin Diller has a beat contest with Tap Dancer Anissa Lee
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Chris Anderson, Robyn Adele Anderson, Brielle Von Hugel, Martin Diller, & Mario Jose
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Anissa Lee
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Robyn Adele Anderson, Brielle Von Hugel, Martin Diller, Mario Jose, Casey Abrams, & Dani Armstrong
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Mario Jose
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Dani Armstrong, Brielle Von Hugel, Martin Diller, Robyn Adele Anderson, & Bob Hamilton

Click here for the PMJ 'European Tour' version of "All About That Bass"


Tue, Jan 31, 2017

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PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Yesterday I booked a gig for this coming Saturday morning as a witness in a mock trial for the University of Dayton School of Law. It's a new case for which I've not previously been an actor.

I actually will play two different witnesses. I haven't looked over the material yet, but I have between now and Saturday morning to get it all down, so I have more than enough time. I'll probably start the work at lunch today.


FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
AUDITION ICON
So there's one non-professional theatre audition that I am hot to go after. Another that I will likely subsequently audition for if I don't win the role in the first one. The second is a non-pro musical, so I have to prepare ahead of time for it even if I don't end up auditioning. I need to have the song practiced and I'll need to have a back-up son, as per the audition specs. As this musical audition is the only the next week after the straight play, I can't just wing it and try to prepare at the last moment -- not in a week's time; actually, probably less than a week, as I might not find out if I'm cast in the first one until a day or so after that first audition closes. I do have some interest in the musical, but it's the first of the two that has the role I'm chomping at the bit to win.

I was on the fence about whether I would do the General Auditions for the Human Race Theatre Company's 2017/2018 season, which has just been announced. I am not sure there's much for me there, but, there seems enough to at least give it a shot. I've reached out to a couple people about age anges, etc., and didn't get replies that dash all hope. I have a little while to contemplate; the setting of appointments won't happen until probably April, and the actual Generals probably won't happen until May.

And we still go back to the principal that keeping myself in front of the professional eyes in town isn't a bad idea -- it certainly has paid off before.

This is likely also the year that I get back with an agency and start auditioning for professional screen work.


In the audience icon
Plan to catch the Can Night performance of 26 Pebbles, by Eric Ulloa at HRTC, tomorrow night. And if I want the better chance at a good seat that means I need to get there early, and it means I need to skip the gym after work tomorrow. But I'll have had four days in a row at the gym before that, so it's not an issue of concern.



Thu, Feb 2, 2017

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
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The infamous K.L. flash cards -- at lunch today at the rent-payer
Currently, I'm getting together all my facts and vital information to be memorized. I'm a little behind on the progress I'd like, but I'm still in good shape with no need to panic.

My plans for Friday evening have, however, had to be adjusted. I had planned to go see a theatre production, but that will have to wait until Sunday. I need to be home with the final sessions of prep for the Saturday morning gig.


LUNA GALE & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
The show got a nice review from Russell Florence, Jr. at DaytonMostMetro.com: "'Luna Gale' Review - Dayton Theatre Guild - Little Girl Lost."


In the audience icon
Last night I saw the Can Night performance of 26 Pebbles, by Eric Ulloa at HRTC. It's a well-done script, written much in the fashion of The Laramie Project, and presented thusly in this production. One major difference is that the fourth wall is down for the entire show, with all the characters addressing the narrative directly to the audience. They do interact with each other, but they are doing so with a conscious knowledge they are sharing those moments with the audience. The characters are explaining themselves and narrating their stories to the assembled listeners.

The actors did a nice job a stepping in and out of multiple characters, including slight to significant dialect changes.

I recommend the show.

By-the-way, in this instance, the cash donations made as part of Can Night go to a foundation connected to Sandy Hook that promotes education about such shooter events as happened there -- especially, I believe, information than can be proactively preventative of such a tragedy.



Sun, Feb 5, 2017

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Closing Today

LUNA GALE by Rebecca Gilman, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of Luna Gale

(in order of appearance)

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Karlie            Kayla Graham

Peter            Andrew Poplin

Caroline            Cheryl Mellen

Cindy            Cassandra Engber

Lourdes            Heather Atkinson

Cliff            Timothy Moore

Pastor Jay            John-Michael Lander

The show contains adult language

The Promocast for LUNA GALE

Great run! Great cast! Great script! Great time!


THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle
Gary Thompson has come on board as narrator. The role of John Lee Tanner is still not cast, but should be soon. The table read is pending until the first date that all actors can make is determined.

Ohio Playwrights Circle Presentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, time TBA. Location TBA. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as featuring Kayla Graham as Bitty Lantry, Heather Atkinson as Rita Mae Lantry, K.L.Storer as Tully Parker, Joshua Richardt as Jude Riley, TBA as Lee John Tanner.



U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
The gig came off without a hitch. I've probably made a statement like this before, but, once again I was concerned that I didn't have some details committed to memory well enough but there were no problems that arose.

there were a few times when I thought particular students could have done some things a little better -- in my layman's opinion, of course. In a few redirects, for instance, I think the particular students could have asked me to clarify or elaborate on some answers so that a better light could have been shed on things. I had good answers that would have helped their cases.

I think however, with those redirects it was probably a question of the students not being sure to trust the actor to give a good response, which was legitimate concern, since these were not things that we'd gone over in prep for either side.

There was also a point made during a cross examination, that supposedly rendered a pint from my testimony irrelevant, was an intellectual red herring, and neat debate trick, but not really a germane point. Had I been on the jury I would have had the same thought that was pulled from me during redirect. I want to be very vague about all these points because this case is a lesson plan and I don't want this to be searchable by future students. That's probably hubris on my part, but what-a-ya-going-to-do?

* 02/06/17 addendum: I forgot to mention that a woman serving as a "juror" came up to me after I was done and said she "hated the bad guy [I] played," referring to the DEA agent I played. I did play him a bit cocky, but I didn't intend on him being "the bad guy." ---- oh well.




Wed, Feb 8, 2017

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My Cardiac Update icon
Not for nothing, but, one year ago today I returned to work at the rent-payer from my extended medical leave. I did part-time for a few weeks (25 hours, per) before going full-time by the start of March.

Just a few days prior, on Saturday, February 6, I had ventured out into public, for the first time since the heart attack/surgery, to see a show. I saw a most excellent production of The Glass Menagerie at The Human Race Theatre Company with a stellar cast that included among its ranks, Jennifer Joplin, Scott Hunt, and Claire Kennedy.

In The Gym
I was also just about to start almost four months of cardiac rehab sessions. Those sessions were essentially, well, literally, actually, me working out in a gym at a rehab facility staffed by nurses. I was on cardio machines with monitors hooked up to me. Did that three times a week. After graduating from that I have continued to hit the gym, at the rent-payer, on average, three or four times a week, sometimes more. Every other session includes resistance training (weight lifting, etc). I'm not being aggressive with the weights, I don't think I'm allowed to, but, I am at least doing some muscle work as well as cardiovascular.

So, to report on my state, today, I'm feeling pretty damn good. My resilience has improved greatly -- I don't tucker out the way I was doing so for quite a while after the events of December 2015. My blood pressure is good; my heart rate is good; my blood oxygen is acceptable. These are all things I monitor daily, along with my weight, which has stayed down to a good number, though not yet at my goal number. I do a very good job of watching my sodium and cholesterol intake; not so good at my sugar intake, but, also not cavalierly horrible, either.

So the point is: YaY!


THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
Our playwright, Shane, has sent the draft that will be used at the reading. I don't think I have specifically stated how much I like this script. I've alluded to it or more or less insinuated that I like it quite a bit, but let me categorically say that this is an excellent play and I am quite pleased to be a part of helping get it out into the "Greater" Light.

In REHEARSAL icon
After navigating everyone's schedule conflicts, the rehearsal schedule has been set. Our table read will be next Tuesday evening at DTG. We do have a couple rehearsals where at least one person is absent, but we'll be able to cope with it.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
While I await rehearsals to begin, I'm studying the script. I don't have to be off-book for this, it being a dramatic reading, but I probably will be partially off-book, or at least very familiar with my lines on the day of performance. Truthfully, I'll have it pretty well memorized -- that's the plan. The language is beautiful but, by nature of the culture depicted, somewhat convoluted, so the better memorized and practiced I am, the better the performance will go.


In the audience - Not in the audience animated gif icon
• Sunday, I saw Foxfire, by Susan Cooper, Hume Cronyn, and composer Jonathan Holtzman, at Beavercreek Community Theatre. It's a sweet little story that was done well by this cast, crew, and musicains.

Kudos to Director Saul Caplan and his cast: Julie Hauwiller, Dave Nickel, Shawn Hooks, Mary Snapp, Skyler McNeeley, and Peter Wallace. Kudos also to the musicians: Ken Coleman, Dave Diller, Dennis R. Harris, Sara Kasten, Darrel Leister and the music coordinator, Mike Rousculp. Let's not forget the scenic designer Chris Harmon, the lighting designers John Falkenbach and Shannon Michalak, and the sound designer, Gary Thompson. Plus the rest of the production crew and staff.

• Unfortunately, I was not able to get to Xanadu at the Dayton Playhouse. Too bad, because all reports are that it was a fun time.

• I have or will miss a few other local productions as well. It's that same old song: lack of enough time and enough cash flow to facilitate all the theatre I'd love to attend.

• I am going back this Sunday to see 26 Pebbles again at The Human Race Theatre Company, and staying for the talkback with Playwright Eric Ulloa and with Annie Stephens of Sandy Hook Promise. As much as that seems to contradict what I wrote just above about time and cash flow, I am still going back to see this one again.

• But who knows, there may be some other theatre attendance by me in the near future -- -- -- -- or, not.



Mon, Feb 13, 2017

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REHEARSAL GAME ON:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
xxxx
xxxx
Highlighting Tully's lines in the "final draft."

Theoretically we received the final draft of the script, yesterday. Since the table read is tomorrow evening, let's hope that theory pans out. Betting that this is the last draft we'll get, I have highlighted my lines in my printout, as I can be seen so doing in the pictures to the left.

Meanwhile, Tully sings a set of lyrics a few times in the play. I emailed Shane to ask if there was a specific melody or if I was to create one. There is a specific melody, one that Shane created. He replied that he'd call me the next day to sing it to me. So I bought an app for my iPhone to record conversations. Although, after hearing the melody I realized it was simple enough that it wasn't completely necessary that I'd recorded it -- still, I did.

My evening tonight will be focused mostly on this script, as I voice Tully's lines out loud. I pretty much have a vocal identity for Tully, since I've played him several times before. Now it's time to start getting into study and trial with reads on his lines during the progress of the story. I've already made some mental notes as I've read through the drafts, but tonight feeling out the emotional and mental intentions is the name of the game. Practicing the words coming out of my mouth begins in earnest tonight, as well.

Plus, I have that melody to work on.


I RECOMMEND:
By the Way

If you've not yet watched Santa Clarita Diet, the new Netflix series, starring Drew Barrymore, I highly recommend it. Please pardon all the intentional puns here, but it is a deliciously gory dark comedy, that might be an acquired taste, but is witty, off-beat, brilliantly executed, and ultimately, easy to digest.

Click here for one of the official Santa Clarita Diet trailers.

PS: you might not want to watch the show while you're eating....



Tue, Feb 14, 2017

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THE REHEARSAL PROCESS BEGINS:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
In REHEARSAL icon
Rehearsals begin in earnest tonight with our table read at The Guild. This will be the first of only five rehearsals, but we have a Class-A cast so we're in good shape. The performance is only twelve days from today. Perhaps that amounts to some pressure, but not any significant dose.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
As was planned, Shane called me yesterday to give me the melody to Tully's song in the play and I recorded it. Last night I edited that phone conversation to reduce down to a recording that just contains the melody. Then I worked on the song as well as doing some general work and study on the script. I didn't get in as much work as I wanted; at some point, one must say, "Time for bed." At least I got through the script once and was able to experiment some with emotional and mental intent, naturally vocalizing the lines in Tully's voice -- his dialect and his vocal register.

But, see, I want to show up for this table read tonight with Tully close to performance-ready, which is really only about my perfectionism and ego.


Here's one....
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON
ACTING ICON
I feel a need to be deeply opaque and vague about this, but, I recently found out something about a particular professional development opportunity as an actor that I have been hoping would come to be. I now have confirmation from a most reliable source that this opportunity will be available later this coming spring.

I will be taking advantage of this opportunity when it comes into effect.

YaY!

....more details when I know information about the opportunity has been publicly released....



Wed, Feb 15, 2017

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LAST NIGHT'S TABLE READ:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
In REHEARSAL icon

The table read at at The Guild, last night went well. Our Jude couldn't be there, and Lee John isn't yet cast, so I took up those roles, as well as Tully. Our playwright wasn't able to be there, either, due to work obligations.

It's clear that the big challenge for us all is mastering the language so the words aren't clumsily tripping over our tongues. I had a little bit of a leg up on everyone last night since I am a bit more familiar with the script and my character. I also had rehearsed my lines the night before at home so my read wasn't cold like some other's reads were, as they just got their scripts at the table read. That all said, it was still a productive and promising read-through.

Our next rehearsal is this Friday. I can't speak for the rest of the cast, but I kind of guess I am, anyway, but I will be rehearsing my lines as part of my script study between now and then.


THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
AUDITION ICON
Then I have to also mix into the balance some preparatory study for the upcoming non-pro straight play audition that is coming up now in less than a month. Plus, as I stated before, I have to also workshed some songs and also do some script study for the non-pro musical production that auditions a week later, and that I'll likely audition for if I am not cast in the straight play.

NO TV ZONE
With these divisions of my creative attention it seems clear that my recent inclination toward ingesting a steady diet of a large handful of various television series on both Netflix and Hulu needs to be placed on a temporary moratorium.

It's time to declare a NO TV ZONE.



Mon, Feb 20, 2017

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LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
In REHEARSAL icon
Three rehearsals down (one table read and two rehearsals on our feet at the readers' stands). At the last one, we finally had our full complement of actors as Josh Richardt is now able to join us -- plus he has had that last character, Lee John Tanner, added to his casting. We have two rehearsals left, then it's game day.

Things are coming along quite well. We are all mastering the difficulties of the vernacular. We've been correcting ourselves when we've made errors, but as of the next rehearsal, this coming Thursday, we're supposed to not do that; if we stumble or get something wrong, we are supposed to move on unless it's a critical error that must be corrected. We've been charged to rehearse our lines at home to help with this, and also to get more familiar with the lines so we don't have to keep our eyes always on the pages during the performance. I don't really think any of us needed to be told to do this, on either account, however.

Although I haven't done so yet, I do plan to work some on memorization, to get myself at least in the neighborhood of off-book, which I believe I have stated before. I'll probably start tonight.

Meanwhile, here's the updated flyer graphic I have bootlegged-up for the show:

Ohio Playwrights Circle Presentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, time 6:30 pm. Location The Caryl D. Philips Cerativity Center, 116 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, OH, 45402. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as featuring Kayla Graham as Bitty Lantry, Heather Atkinson as Rita Mae Lantry, K.L.Storer as Tully Parker, Joshua Richardt as Jude Riley & Lee John Tanner, Gary Thompson as Narrator.



PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON
ACTING ICON
That actor's professional development opportunity that I was opaque and vague about a few posts back is an advanced acting class at The Human Race Theatre Company this coming May/June. Jennifer Joplin is at the helm again, and this time teaching an advanced class, which is where she better belongs -- and I wrote so in the evaluation for the introduction class I took from her last Fall, that in which I only enrolled because she was the instructor.

Here's the link to the Adult Education page for The Human Race, if you have an interest: humanracetheatre.org/education/adult-classes


THE DTG 2017/2018 SEASON:
Dayton Theatre Guild

The 2017/2018 Dayton Theatre Guild season was officially announced on Saturday evening. Here it is with the likely audition dates:

Dayton Theatre Guild -- announcing our 2017-2018 season

All My Sons
by Arthur Miller

During World War II, Joe Keller and his business partner were accused of knowingly shipping damaged airplane parts that led to the deaths of 21 servicemen. While only his business partner, Steve Deever, was convicted of the crime, Keller was guilty as well. When both the Keller family and the Deever family find out the truth, it damages even further the relationships among the children of both families, resulting in the Keller son's confrontation of his father. This play received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

Directed by Debra Kent

Show runs Aug 18-Sep 3, 2017

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, June 26 & 27, 2017*


Marjorie Prime
by Jordan Harrison

In the not-too-distant future and the age of artificial intelligence, 85-year-old Marjorie is trying to cope with the loss of her deceased husband through the use of a prime, an exact replica programmed to interact with her in human-like ways. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? Would we rewrite the past? This play explores loss and memory, the mysteries of human identity and the limits (if any) of what technology can replace. This play was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Directed by Jared Mola

Show runs Oct 6-22, 2017

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Aug 21 & 22, 2017*


The Christians
by Lucas Hnath

Pastor Paul's modest church of twenty years ago now has a congregation of thousands, classrooms for Sunday school, a coffee shop, and much more. But today Paul will preach a sermon that will shake the foundations of his church's beliefs. What happens when something we believe will always remain the same suddenly changes? A finalist at the Humana Festival in 2014, this play opened off-Broadway soon afterward. In 2016, it was chosen as the eighth most-produced new play by American Theatre Magazine.

Directed by Lorrie Sparrow-Knapp

Show runs Nov 17-Dec 3, 2017

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Oct 9 & 10, 2017*


Stella and Lou
by Bruce Graham

Lou's South Philadelphia bar is the kind of place where the same faces sit on the same barstools seven nights a week, drowning their sorrows into countless mugs of beer. Lou is happy to run the place and enjoy time with Stella when she stops in. But Stella has decided they need to take the next step in their relationship -- or she's moving to Florida. This funny, wise, and tender story is a mid-life portrait of friendship, and maybe more. At the play's premiere at Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2013, it was cheered by critics for its humor and honesty.

Directed by Gary Thompson

Show runs Jan 19-Feb 4, 2018

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Nov 20 & 21, 2017*


The Other Place
by Sharr White

Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life is coming apart. She receives phone calls from her missing daughter, has a breakdown while delivering a speech, and believes she has a brain tumor. When she visits "the other place," a cottage on Cape Cod that the family once owned, the pieces start to fall into place. Fact blurs with fiction, past and present collide, and the truth about Juliana comes to the surface. This play premiered off-Broadway in 2011 before running on Broadway, where it received a nomination for the 2013 Tony Award.

Directed by Kathy Mola

Show runs Mar 16-Apr 4, 2018

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Jan 22 & 23, 201X*


Bakersfield Mist
by Stephen Sachs

Maude Gutman, an unemployed bartender, lives in a trailer park and has purchased a painting for $3.00 at a thrift store that she believes to be an unknown painting by the great Jackson Pollock. She hires an art expert to verify the painting. Lionel Percy, a stuffy New York arts expert and a self-described connoisseur, goes to Bakersfield, California, to render his verdict as to whether Maude has a Pollock or a fake. This smash-hit comedy premiered in London in 2016 and has already had several productions across the United States.

Directed by Doug Lloyd

Show runs May 11-27, 2018

Auditions will be held Mon & Tue, Mar 19 & 20, 2018*


*AUDITION DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE


Season ticket packages go on sale at the opening of The Elephant Man, Friday March 17, 2017

Individual ticket sales: To be announced



The Dayton Theatre Guild
at the
Caryl D. Philips TheatreScape
430 Wayne Ave.
Dayton, Ohio  45410
937-278-5993

www.daytontheatreguild.org



Sat, Feb 25, 2017

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Happy Birthday George



IT'S ONE OF THOSE "THE SHOW MUST GO ON" THINGS:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
In REHEARSAL icon

Under The Weather Remember that in the last post I said I would probably start on Monday evening to get Tully's lines at least partially memorized? Yeah, that didn't happen. I started to get a scratchy throat during the day and then started to feel a little poorly. So, after the rent-payer, I went home, warmed up some chili, adding some cayenne, black, white, and red pepper to the pan -- to attack my throat with a little extra spicy heat, dropped an antihistamine and went to bed for the night. I put some extra pepper spices into the chicken curry I had for lunch the next day, too. Plus, I pulled out the bags of Throat Coat tea. I'd decided this sore throat and buggy-type stuff needs to be out of the way before Sunday.

Crud Bug icon
In fact, I've since spent the rest of the week sick. Tuesday night was then pretty much the same, only I went to the gym before heading home. But, still feeling a bit unwell, after arriving home I ate dinner then went to bed and slept through until morning. That was again a pepper-spice enhanced dinner: extra various peppers in the ground chicken for the tacos. And yesterday's lunch was more peppered-up chili.

By Wednesday it was clear I had the flu. Either I caught a strain that my flu shot in October didn't vaccinate against, or I haven't gotten as sick as I otherwise would have, but I was (am) still sick. Either way, I skipped the gym Wednesday and then again slept all evening. I woke up around 10:30, with the flu bug having taken a stronger hold on me. I missed work Thursday and most of Friday.

Thursday evening was our fourth rehearsal, with just one more left, this afternoon. I did make the rehearsal Thursday night, delivering the warning that everyone needed to keep their distance, of course. It was our first rehearsal at The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center. Of course, with all this asleep-in-a-sick-bed time I haven't been able to get as greatly familiarized with the script as I had planned, though I did rise for the day at noon Thursday and give the afternoon to script work -- with Groove Salad Radio on in the background for much of the afternoon.

We were also down an actor Thursday, so some scenes were skipped. It was a productive rehearsal despite this unfortunate hindrance, though I was not able to give it my all. We have our last rehearsal this afternoon, again at the Philips Creativity Center and though I feel better, I am not back one-hundred percent. But I'm hoping by this afternoon I feel a little more on the mend. I'm still debating whether or not I will go to the gym. I haven't been there the last few days while in the midst of this crud bug; I'll decide in the next few hours about that. Meanwhile, I have a line study to get at.


AUDITION ICON THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON VOCAL WORK ICON
Under The Weather
You five regulars will know that I am about to audition for at least one upcoming show, two, if I don't get cast in the first one. The first one is a straight play, the second, a musical; both are non-professional theatre productions.

I'm very interested in the role I'm typed for in the straight play; I'm not yet sure what role I'm interested in for the musical. The director may have one in mind, because he has asked me several times if I am auditioning for him. I told him I would if I don't get the first role. I also am assuming he might have a specific role in mind for me; he's neither said nor even hinted that he does.

Being sick the last few days, I have been taking it very easy on my voice. That dosen't address the fact that I have, as a whole, ignored keeping my voice in shape with regular warmups and vocal exercises, which I only seem to remind myself that I ought to be doing when an imminent need to do so occurs. I think the term we're looking for is: undisciplined. I am laxed at keeping my vocal instrument in shape, at least the singing functionality of it. But let's be candid, I do poorly at keeping in great shape for an actor in general.

Today, however, for the Lesser Light rehearsal I will do very gentle warmups but will not push my voice. The performance is tomorrow and I want to do what I can to be sure I have a voice at performance capacity.

Now excuse me, I have to heat some water for some Throat Coat tea.



Sun, Feb 26, 2017

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Showing Today
Ohio Playwrights Circle Presentation - THE LESSER LIGHT, by Brett Shane Cooley. Dramatic Reading, Sunday, February 26, 2017, time 6:30 pm. Location The Caryl D. Philips Cerativity Center, 116 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, OH, 45402. No admision fee. Directed by Debra Kent. As soon as featuring Kayla Graham as Bitty Lantry, Heather Atkinson as Rita Mae Lantry, K.L.Storer as Tully Parker, Joshua Richardt as Jude Riley & Lee John Tanner, Gary Thompson as Narrator.

In REHEARSAL icon
Our final rehearsal went well yesterday. Everything came together in a strong manner. I had worked on the script for quite a while late morning through early afternoon yesterday. I was still sick, as we know, but I was much better than I had been. My voice was still a little froggy but only a little so. I went to bed not long after I got home last night.

On Stage icon
Today is the dramatic reading and clearly it's safe to say that we are ready. As soon as I post this I'm going to rehearse a bit here at the abode. I still have the flu but I'm on the back end of it. My voice is still a bit froggy but I'll be able to get a good Tully out of it, nevertheless. Of course, I'm not pushing my voice until the actual performance.



Wed, Mar 1, 2017

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SUNDAY'S DRAMATIC READING:
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley - Ohop Playwrights Circle - The Human Race Theatre Company
On Stage icon
THE LESSER LIGHT by Brett Shane Cooley playbill --- Director - Debra Kent; cast, in order of appearance -- Narrator - J. Gary Thompson, Bitty Lantry - Kayla Graham, Rita Mae Lantry - Heather Atkinson, Tully Parker - K.L. Storer, Jude Riley - Josh Richardt, Lee John Tanner, Josh Richardt. Ohio Playwrights Circle. Mailing list: ohioplaywrightscircle@gmail.com

The dramatic reading of The Lesser Light on Sunday was a great success. We cast members performed well, if I do say so, myself. There was a full house in the Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center, which, admittedly, isn't a large house, but still, a full house is good.

I'd love to say that I was totally recovered from the flu -- that which my flu shot was supposed to have prevented -- but I was not. However, I was on the other side of it, heading toward recovery, so I was able to give an up-to-speed performance as Tully.

The audience received well both the play and the performances. They had some complaints about the script but all the problems they identified were minor.

There was also a big consensus from the audience that the language of the play is beautifully poetic, and I concur, as I know do my fellow cast members. It might have been a challenge for us to get those words to the point that they tripped fluently over our tongues and through our lips, but it was a honor and a privilege to speak them.

As I said before, if I had an opportunity to play Tully in a full production, I'd do it.


TONIGHT
Puddles Pity Party in concert at The Taft Theatre, 317 E. %th St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202. 513-232-6220. $24 General Admission.

Ah, yes, tonight I head to Cincinnati to see "The Sad Clown With the Golden Voice." Though on the mend to a great degree, I am still a little sick. In fact, I took yesterday off from work and pretty much slept the whole day. This is a general admission event, so I'll have to get to the Taft Theatre at least a couple hours ahead of time and stand around in the elements. Fortunately it's not supposed to be too terribly cold this evening -- the prediction is somewhere in the lower 50's -- so I probably am not risking a backslide of my recovery.


THE NEXT ACTING CLASS:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON
ACTING ICON

That Adult Advanced Acting class at The Human Race Theatre Company coming up in May and June, taught by Jennifer Joplin, has at least one actor enrolled.

That would be I.

Following is the official write-up for the class:

"Be Ready, Be Brave" will be our motto for this advanced adult acting class. Students will be required to arrive at the first class with a monologue they know backwards and forwards. We will use these pieces to venture outside our comfort zones while learning to quiet our inner critics. Classes will include exercises in movement, improvisation, character exploration, vocal expression, relaxation techniques, energetic connection, and emotional recall, with an intense focus on working in the moment. The final day of class will include performances for family and friends.

Again, here's the link to the Adult Education page for The Human Race, if you'd like to join me in the class: humanracetheatre.org/education/adult-classes



Wed, Mar 8, 2017

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AUDITION ICON
WAITING
Last night I attended the auditions for the Beavercreek Community Theatre production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, by Christopher Durang. I went after the role of Spike, because I seem just perfect for the role of a twenty-something, eye-candied, himbo.  .  .  .  . Of course, I am joking there; I auditioned for Vanya, which I'd obviously love to win, if for only the three-page monologue that I call "Vanya's texting rant."

I used a cut of that monologue at the Human Race Theatre Company Generals a few years back, when the show was on the slate for the upcoming season and we were permitted to use material from the shows on the season. I was clearly showing my interest in the role then, though I recognized that the odds of my even being considered for such a principal lead on an Equity stage were pretty slim. But, hey......

Crud Bug icon
Back to Beavercreek now, I missed the Monday night audition session because I backslid some in my recovery from the flu -- that which has held me captive for more than two weeks now. I prefer to be at both nights of audition, but, I just did not see it as a good idea to go on Monday. I didn't make it out of the house at all, except to go get a haircut, which I got specifically to appear more Vanya-like. I only did that because I had not done it on Sunday when I had planned, because I was already into the backslide on Sunday and pretty much slept all day.

Nevertheless, I've auditioned now. "How'd it go?" you ask? Meh. It didn't go horribly badly, but I didn't feel on top of my game at all. I was feeling better, but "better" is a relative term; I was still sick. I was told by someone there that I did well, but I know I was certainly not up to par. On the other hand, I don't feel like I tanked it.

One thing I unfortunately am pretty sure about: if I don't rally off this illness stuff poste haste, I will not be auditioning for a musical in the event that I am not cast in Vanya and Sonia.... I have not been in shape at all to work on the songs and may not be so in time for it to be of service to me.


PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Though it's in dark lead, I have "pencilled" rather than "inked" in another University of Dayton School of Law acting gig for the start of April. It's "in pencil" and not "ink" because it would be a little bit of schedule conflict with rehearsals for Vanya and Sonia... as I would be, at best, late on that day to rehearsal. I told the UD Law actors' coordinator, Fran Pesch, that if I am cast as Vanya I would defer to the Vanya and Sonia... director's wishes. If he feels that my lateness or absence from a rehearsal at that point in the process is not acceptable, then I would cancel out of the U.D. gig -- even though it's a paid gig.

I also assured her I will let her know as soon as I know if I need to cancel on her. I put this all in the audition info, as well. You just don't surprise the people who are hiring or casting you, unless it's justifiably unavoidable.

This UD Law gig, by-the-way, is one I've done at least twice before, so if I do get cast and Vanya and also have Doug's blessings to keep the gig, at least learning brand new information for the UD gig won't compete too heavily with getting off-book as Vanya. All I need to do for the UD gig is refresh my memory some.



Fri, Mar 10, 2017

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AUDITION ICON
NOPE ICON
I am not cast in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

I did get a callback, which was held last night.

But in the end, the answer was, "No."



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xxxx

What came as no surprise to me: the Puddles Pity Party show was a blast!

The show, Wednesday, March 1, was the fun time I expected it would be. Puddles (aka: Michael Geier) is a strong comedic showman, and , of course, an amazing baritone. I had a bit of worry after hitting a significant slowdown on I-75 during my trip down to the show. Since the seats were general admission I was concerned about getting a good seat. I was not sure what the crowd waiting to get in would be like. =The doors opened at 7:00; I got there a little after 6:00. As it turned out, I was just fine. I was, in fact, the first person in line. No one else was there when i arrived. Actually, a father and son was there, but they thought the show was at 7:00. They went to eat, which left me in the number-one spot.

Like I said, the show was a blast! Puddles puts on a great show. There was a bit of audience participation, with Puddles pulling people from the crowd to sing to, or to have drink a cup of coffee or eat a cupcake, and such things, while he sang.

A particularly clever novelty work from the show was his pairing of the lyrics for "Pin Ball Wizard" with the melody and country instrumentation of "Folsom Prison Blues." It was funny and it worked.

The highspots for me were his renditions of "Royals," for which his version with Postmodern Jukebox has had tens-of-millions of YouTube watches, and "Hallelujah," also with millions of YouTube watches. The second one, especially, was very touching.

The Puddles show was a good time. And now, some pictures:

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That mob at the front gate when I arrived around 6:00.
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The Puddles Party People.
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The Taft Theatre staff sound & light guy. Note the Puddles Mac Powerbook with the A/V for the show, in the upper left border of the frame.
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Yes, I did shoot some video. At some point it'll be available.
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The prop table, on stage.
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Puddles went into the audience, a lot.
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Look at that clown -- standing next to Puddles



THE ELEPHANT MAN & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
In just a few hours from the posting of this, I'll be dropping into watch most of the full tech run, late this afternoon, during today's Elephant Man Tech Sunday. This is in order to get a good idea of the blocking so that I have some idea about camera set-ups tomorrow evening, when I shoot principal footage for the promocast during that tech/dress rehearsal.

I've also done quite a bit of what would usually be called postproduction editing, on the promocast. For the most part, all I have left to edit in is the footage from the rehearsal tomorrow night, once I have that. I already have the introductory segment and the closing credits segment assembled. When I edit Tuesday evening, it will take much less of the evening, and I just might actually have the rendered final cut that can be uploaded to the DTG YouTube channel.



Tue, Mar 14, 2017

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PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
With the unfortunate lack of a potential schedule conflict with the rehearsal that night for the show I was just not cast in, the U.D. Law gig for early April is now "inked" rather than "penciled" on my calendar.


THE ELEPHANT MAN & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
I shot the principal footage for DTG Promocast 1617-05 The Elephant Man last night during the tech/dress rehearsal. I shot during the length of Act I and during the first scene of Act II. There is not an excessive amount of total footage; the sequence I'll edit together for the promocast will only be about a minute or two, so I have plenty to choose from.

Since there will be no dialogue, I did not have to be judicious about exactly what I caught in the footage, either. There was no need to capture good sound bites. All I need for this is interesting visuals to synch with the score music, in this case, Bach's "Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, Prelude."

As I wrote in the last post, I've already edited the start and the ending of the promocast; all I need to do now is put the footage from the tech/dress into the middle then add the music. That happens tonight.



Wed, Mar 15, 2017

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DTG PROMOCAST 1617-05 THE ELEPHANT MAN:
THE ELEPHANT MAN & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo

We have final cut! Though there had been a chance that the final cut and the publication to YouTube, et al, might have been delayed by a day. The plan had been to go to the gym after work, then head to The Guild to set up the booth camera, that feeds the performance on stage to the TVs in both the greenroom and the lobby, then go home, eat dinner and add the rehearsal footage to the promocast editing project in Final Cut Pro X. It didn't quite work out that way.

I decided to hedge my bet, to give myself more time to get the DV movie to final cut without chancing staying up too late. I cut the gym and went to The Guild straight after I got off the clock at work. Plus I realized I had to do some grocery shopping, which was another reason to cut the gym time out of the equation. So after the fifteen minutes or so that it took to set the booth camera up -- and also to change the theatre marquee slightly to reflect "our current attraction" rather than "our coming attraction," I did some quick shopping then it was off home to eat dinner then edit a DV movie.

I did manage to finish my dinner before I drifted off to sleep. In the mix of being in the flu-recovery mode, the addition of my flu medicine, and the general side effect of drowsiness that my blood presssure and cholesterol medications propel onto me, I'm not sure if I made it but a few minutes after my last bite of dinner.

At about midnight I woke up. I was not happy. But after a little while I realized I was not going to be going right back to sleep, so I got up and started the process of editing the rehearsal footage into the video. I could at least get some of it done, if not a lot of it. Turns out I got it all done. At about 2:00 I had the final cut rendered and was able to upload it to YouTube and then post it to the Dayton Theatre Guild facebook page.

Since I didn't shoot an enormous amount of footage I didn't have an enormous amount to sift through to find what would work. As you may know, we were not granted clearance to use dialogue in the promocast so I had no need to identify and capture soundbites of moments in the play. What I needed was compelling action. This is more of a talky show than one with much physical action by the characters (read: actors). Moreover, Director David Shough and I shared a conviction that the promocast not blatantly reveal the physical manipulations that actor Jared Mola employs to achieve the poetic suggestion of Merrick's appearance. I had shot a lot of footage of Merrick (Mola) from behind.

In the end, there was little compelling action that would stand up well unless it was underneath voice-over (of cast members or the director speaking about the show). There is no voice-over in this one, only music, graphics, and rehearsal footage sans the audio. It became clear early in the incorporation of the rehearsal footage that the way to make the DV movie visually compelling was to do a montage of shots of Merrick, all with him obscured from full view. There is only one moment of action that ends up in the DV movie that does not have Merrick in it, because it is quirky and compelling. Merrick is in all other shots, but we still do not see but just a little bit of what Mola is doing to give us Merrick. If you want to fully see what he's doing, come see the show.

CLICK HERE to watch the promocast.



Fri, Mar 17, 2017

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Happy St. Patty's Day



Opening Today

THE ELEPHANT MAN by Bernard Pomerance, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Click here for the promocast of the show



Wed, Mar 22, 2017

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RIP, The Actual KING of RICK & ROLL, Chuck Berry, Oct 18, 2916-Mar 18, 2017



AUDITION ICON WONDER OF THE WORLD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. HEALTHWISE ICON
I had every intention of going to auditions this past Monday and Tuesday evening for the closing show of our DTG 2016/2017 season, David Lindsay-Abaire's Wonder of the World, but was a bit sidetracked from that plan. Toward the end of the DTG board meeting this past Saturday morning, I was struck with an acute episode of vertigo, much like I had suffered twice in the weeks leading up to my heart attack in December of 2015. Like the second of those two bouts, 9-1-1 was called, only this time I spent a few days in the hospital rather than only getting ER treatment then being released.

The ER doctor invoked the words "brain stem stroke," which was not something I liked hearing, at all. My stay was until early Monday evening. During the stay I underwent both a CAT scan and an MRI, plus various motor coordination and metal acuity tests, and a stroke was, thankfully, ruled out. Of course, the first things done were an EKG, blood enzyme, and other tests to rule any heart issues in or out, due to my heart disease history; and, happily such was also ruled out.

At the moment, the medical consensus is that I have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), due to either a small stone (bone) in my inner ear that has moved out of place, or because of an infection or inflammation in my inner ear, any of which will cause false information to be sent to my brain which then gets the message that I am spinning. I learned from the attending physician in the hospital that this is what is known as peripheral vertigo, rather than central vertigo. Central means that it is a problem with the brain -- such as from a stroke. Peripheral means it's not of the brain and is from some other portion of the head, which is usually the inner ear.

In order to get a more precise, definitive diagnosis, I'm supposed to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, but at the moment I can't get in to one until next Wednesday. I'm looking to see if I can find someone who can me sooner. I'd like to still have some of the symptoms when I go in, and am afraid it all will have all dissipated by next Wednesday. That would mean that the doctor diagnosing based solely on the medical reports and anecdotal information from me, rather than being able to do a hands-on examination.

Currently, I am still experiencing some vertigo, though rather mild, and also some mild loss of balance on occasion. Does the fact that I am carrying a cane, in case I lose balance when not close to something to grab for stabilization, mean that the law firm commercial I did a few years ago, where I was "man with cane," was prophetic? Hmmm.

During the day Monday I sent a text to the Wonder of the World director, Saul Caplan, to say that I had the intention to audition Tuesday evening, if I was up to it; when the time came, I wasn't. I was functional enough to drive, but I don't believe I could have auditioned very well, so I didn't.

I guess I'll have to see what's next; maybe it'll be a FutureFest show.


ANNOUNCING THE CAST OF WONDER OF THE WORLD:
WONDER OF THE WORLD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.


CONGRATULATIONS!

Meanwhile, on the subject of Wonder of the World auditions, here is the cast list:

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Cass
           Kari Carter
Kip
           Ian Manuel
Lois
           Kerry Simpson
Cap'n Mike
           Scott Madden
Glenn
           Richard Young
Karla
           Marcella Balin
Multi-woman
           Debra Strauss



Mon, Mar 27, 2017

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REVISITING THE ISLE OF INISHMAAN, THEN LATER, AN EXCERSION TO A SUMMER HOUSE BY A POND:
In the audience icon
The Cripple of Inishmaan -- This past Saturday I went to the Eclipse Theatre Company in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Colombus, to see Martin McDonaugh's The Cripple of Inishmaan for the second time. Of course, it's my third involvement with the show, the first being my premiere as a full-blown adult actor, back in 2004, in the celebrated Dayton Theatre Guild production that marked my return to acting, in the role of Johnny Pateen.

As was that production, thirteen years ago, this new one was directed by Greg Smith, now a Columbus-area resident and also one of the founders of this new theatre over there. Hats off to all involved in this production; it was well done and worth the trip over. Another ex-Daytonian theatre person, Molley Burgo Collins, was in the role of Kate Osbourne, it was nice to see her on the boards again, and doing a fine job as usual. Jim McCullough took on my old role as Johnny-Pateen-Mike O'Dougal, and also did a fine job. It's always tricky to write a response about another actor's performance in a role I've taken on; I don't think I usually can step away far enough to form an analysis that is neutral enough to merit sharing. It is weird, as I believe I've stated in past similar circumstances, to watch another actor employing his interpretation and acting style, and it's interesting to watch, too. Everyone was good but I want to be sure to mention young Ms. Madison Garvin Lee whose Helen McCormick impressed me very much.

On Golden Pond -- Wednesday of next week I plan to attend the Human Race Theatre Company Pay What You Can Night final dress rehearsal of this classic by Ernest Thompson. This is, by-the-way, Jennifer Joplin's second appearance on The Loft Stage this season. Appearing also in the show is her dad, Joneal Joplin, who is a veteren Equity actor with far more than a hundred professional theatre productions under his belt. I saw the two of them together about two years back in Outside Mullingar at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, only a few months before we did it at DTG. I think this is at least the fourth or fifth time Jennifer and Joneal have appeared on stage together in a production.

Of course, you five will know that I will again be a student in an acting class at HRTC with Ms. Joplin at the helm, (the third time), coming up in May/June; and, this time it's an advanced class: "Be Ready, Be Brave" is the motto for the class.


THE ELEPHANT MAN & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
We've had two successful weekends of our latest production, with rave responses from the audiences. None of the official reviews seems to be out yet -- I can't even personally say if the critics have been to the show yet.

I haven't sat in the audience for a perfomance yet, myself. I plan to do so this Friday evening.

It is clear, however, that DTG has another strong production to add to its seventy-plus-year canon of such.



Fri, Mar 31, 2017

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HRTC 2017/18 GENERALS:
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
AUDITION ICON

I've made my appointment for the Human Race Theatre Company general auditions for the 2017/2018 season. Not doing a song this year, mostly because I am not typed for any of the characters in the musical HRTC is doing, Legendale. On the other side I may have a shot at being cast in one or the other of two of the straight plays, A Christmas Story and Brighton Beach Memoirs. If not, at least I'm back to actively doing at least one professional theatre audition for the year, having skipped last year. Again, of course, on second-guessing what HRTC or a particular director will see me as good for: I could be incorrect in either direction -- with the exception of things like obvious body-type or age-range mandates.




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