HOW’RE THINGS . . .

Ma people, I just finished what felt like the longest week I’ve had in 137 years.  (Yes, I am the undead)  It was a good week but a loooooong one.  Capped off yesterday – we had an understudy run for Wonderful Town.  Now I wasn’t really doing my real part and I wasn’t really doing my understudy.  I just had to drop in to do two songs for my understudy.  Which was surreal.  We would just stop and then I’d Jay Turvey would step out, I would sing the song and Jay would step back in and we’d continue.  Bizarre.  Like being shot out of a cannon.  Then we had a run through of the first act of A Little Night Music.  Oh my.  I had that rehearsal where you bore yourself to sleep in the middle of your own scene.  Although Morris (Panych- our director) said he liked the notes I had incorporated – even they they made me forget most of my lines.  I’ve got to do some interesting and fun navigation.  This is going to be a rather different Carl-Magnus.  Ideally, (ie. if I can pull it off) a much sexier, sexually-driven Carl-Magnus.  Eek!!!  Pray for me y’all.

I’m tired these days.  I’ve been sleeping oddly.  I don’t know why.  So here I am at another day off.  Mmmm   It’s cozy and rainy today.   I feel like just curling up in bed and watching a movie on my laptop.  I may just do that.  I should go to the gym.  But I’m feeling tired and a little worn today.    You know how you just have one of those days.  I feel a bit like I’ve been run over by a truck . . . and then sat on by an elephant.

I don’t know what else to say y’all.  I’m so happy that those of you who’re reading the blogs are reading the blogs.  That tickles me.  Oh and for the record.  The Jenny Craig experience is making my life happy.  Especially with these days being so long these days.  I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat or whether I’m going to just grab something gross because I don’t have time or I’m too tired.  And I’ve lost about 12 lbs.  My clothes are feeling great and I feel healthier and I’m functioning better.  I no longer feel like I’m carting around newborn twins.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m almost ready for the partial nudity as Carl-Magnus.  Why do I keep having to take off my clothes?  What does that say about my career?  Arrrgh!!

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

BABY STEPS

At the risk of sounding goonie, I’m so proud of myself, you guys. First of all, I had a really great rehearsal last night for A Little Night Music. Got some good work done on my solo and the scenes surrounding it. I don’t know why but I’m nervous about finding the right tone for Carl-Magnus (my character). I feel so aware of those who have played him before and the expectations. So a lot of my work is trying to let that go and breathe through it to finding my own version of this man. And then I had the night off.

Now as I’ve written before, I’ve had eating issues for many years, and although I’m in a great place about that stuff, I have moments. Since I’ve been in Niagara-On-The Lake, I’ve had a real problem with evenings off. I just want to nibble. Couple that with any anxiety (Carl-Magnus) and it’s a recipe for disaster. Well, last night I felt so anxious, I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I sat at home, I would just start eating everything in my path – macaroni and cheese, popcorn, my printer . . So I went for a walk to the grocery store because I needed a few things (dumb thing to do, I know) and all I wanted to do was get something unhealthy. I DIDN’T! Woohoo. I brought the groceries home and then put them away. It was about 7:30. All I saw was a whole night of struggle ahead of me. Now those of you who haven’t been to NOTL, don’t understand – there really isn’t anything to do here. All of the stores are closed, I’m not going to go out drinking. There are no movie theatres, no clubs, nothing. So I decided I was going to go the the gym. I wanted to go running earlier but didn’t have the chance. So I did, y’all. I went to the gym and ran for 30 minutes. Then I went for a little swim. By the time I got home, it was 10 and I had my Jenny Craig snack (some low fat cheese and some J.C. microwave popcorn and a few grapes) – AWESOME!!!!!! Thus back to my first statement. I’m so proud of myself. Nothing like wrestling a personal demon to the ground, kicking and screaming to make you sleep like a baby.

Of course, I could barely walk this morning but hey, temporary loss of mobility is a small price to pay, right? “I win, [creak], I win, [crack], I win, [pop]” One must give a little to get a little.

Published in: on April 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

DAY OFF – NICE

I had the best day off yesterday, guys. I got up and did my regular web-surfing, then had a lovely Jenny Craig breakfast of french toast with berries and maple syrup – I’m telling you, Jenny Craig rocks. Why am I not doing commercials for them???!!!! I’ve recently been starting to run. I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm. And I decided to run outside for the first time. And I had the best time. Funny how fast time goes by when you have . . . oh I don’t know . . . changing scenery!!! It was beautiful. And I thought I would go for 25-30 minutes. Well I got home 40 minutes later. Awesome. (where’s my surf-board – “awesome” – my new word these days) Now, let me be clear, this is relatively new. I didn’t actually ‘run’ for 40 minutes. I would walk for 2 minutes, run for 5, walk for 2, run for 4, etc. But I really enjoyed it. I found this great trail here. When I got home, I decided to have a shower, have lunch and go for a bike ride. I thought I would bring my A Little Night Music script and stop along the way and do some work in the sun. Well, I just kept riding along the trail till I was half-way to Niagara Falls. I realized I should turn around and an 1 hour and 40 minutes later, I arrived back home, exhausted, exhilirated, and with my ass about two inches higher. Had a great dinner, worked on my script and watched a mediocre but sweet movie.

Good times.

I also had a great talk with my ‘home-girl’ Sharron (Matthews). I’m very happy to hear that she is finding her way through the grieving of the passing of her dear dog, Otto. And beyond that, we had a great talk about what it means to be true to who you need to be. And we both re-affirmed our belief that it’s not enough to just be working. I don’t want to take work I don’t want to be doing. Or even work that makes me go, “okay, I guess so.”. Money comes and goes but at a certain point, your soul is worth more than the money. And I don’t want to waste time doing something that doesn’t fill/thrill me. All that means is I’m keeping myself from doing what I should be doing, sharing all of whatever I have to share. That’s just not good enough anymore. So here’s to hoping that I can remain truer to that with every decision I make. Right now, I’m where I want to be, here at Shaw and that is a great start.

Thought for the day: Nothing new is created until someone steps off the beaten track.

Published in: on April 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm  Comments (1)  

TRANSFORMATION

Alright, so as some of you may or may not know. I’m a huge fan of transformation of all kinds. But especially human transformation. That is probably why, as an actor, I’m drawn to character roles. The more out there the better. But as a result of my fascination with transformation, I love love love love love love love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE make-over shows. I do. I wouldn’t use the word addicted cause that makes it sound like I plan my life around them. I don’t. But if I’m home and the TV is on and one is on, I’ll watch it. “Redo My Wardrobe”, “What Not To Wear”, “Vanity Insanity”, “The Biggest Loser”. I do not discriminate because I love the idea of people becoming something more than they thought they were. And I’m fascinated by what that does to them. And I’m a big fan of what a make-over can do for someone. I don’t necessarily mean surgical. (That gets much more complicated psychologically) But even a change of wardrobe can make people realize they are worth more to themselves.

I saw a show this morning. It was an English (England) version of one of those shows and I was so touched, it actually had me a little teary. A couple had been married for 14 years. The marriage had fallen on rocky times and they were thinking of separating. Then a year and a half ago, they wife got breast cancer and they decided to stay together while she went through it. She ended up having to have a single mastectomy. She had not been intimate with her husband for year. In fact, she hadn’t let him see her naked for a year. The two female hosts did some emotional therapy with them and then some retail therapy with them and made them over. Now there where two things that happened that moved me. One was at the end when they couple had the beauty make-overs – hair, he shaved, new smart wardrobe – and then saw each other for the first time in two days. It was like you saw them fall in love again and the hosts had brought their families and they renewed their wedding vows. What was really heart-bursting was how excited the husband was and how much he was looking forward to getting to know his wife all over again. (He was clearly not that type at the top of the show)

The second moment happened earlier when the hosts had the two of them go behind a screen and get naked (I know, welcome to television) and they had to talk about what they liked about each other’s bodies. Now the husband got totally naked and the wife got down to her bra – she still couldn’t show the scar to him. As they started to talk about each other’s bodies, it was so gentle and sweet. Clearly they hadn’t talked to each other this tenderly in awhile. The husband convinced her that he was ready to see her scar and he was so loving and respectful, re-winning her trust, that she showed him and all he could say was how she was just as beautiful to him as she had always been . . . . and I lost it. It was such a small moment but it was huge. It meant the continuation of their marriage, the renewal of their trust in each other.

It got me thinking about how things can go awry when couples stopping making the other person important. I’ve never really been much of a relationship person, although I’ve been in a few. But the honesty that is required must be unrelenting. It’s so easy to start keeping little things from each other and then it’s easier to keep big things. And life can be so fragile sometimes. There is so much to rejoice in. And if you have someone who is a partner on the journey that makes you happy, who is your safe harbour, who has your back and will let you grow and change and discover the world and want to discover it with you, that is something that must be cherished and guarded and worked on. I see couples who get complacent and start to make assumptions about each other; taking each other for granted. I really do think that is the beginning of the end.

My best friend, Krista (best friend is an understatement – she is my soul-mate) and I have known each other for 24 years and been best friends for 23 of those. I never have a doubt that she is there for me. That I can be whatever and whoever I need to be and she is still going to be a safe place. With no judgement, no conditions, no comparisons. It’s a relationship I treasure more than almost anything else in the world. I’ve always believed intimate relationships have to be the same way. And it shouldn’t take a near-death experience to remind us of that.

So if you haven’t already today, tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t just assume they know. Actually say the words. And watch their faces light up and/or listen to the joy in their voices when they respond. That outcome should be the goal of every day.

Be well, y’all.

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

SOMETHING FUN

Hey y’all, if any of you are at home or near a radio on Sunday night, tune into PROUD-FM (103.9) – Mark Andrew Lawrence’ show.

http://www.proudfm.com

Sharron Matthews will be his guest and he will be playing a track from my CD, A WHOLE LOTTA SUNLIGHT.  Woohoo.  How fun.  Mark is a great guy.  Such a huge supporter of the arts.  He loves the shows, the people, and has been such a huge supporter of mine.  So thank you, Mark!!!

Sharron will be talking about the new play she is appearing in at Buddies in Bad Times called HAPPY: A VERY GAY LITTLE MUSICAL and about her upcoming Sharron’s Party gig at The Diesel Playhouse on Apr. 27.  See both of those if you can.

http://www.sharronmatthews.com

On the show front, things continue to go well.  I’m getting acclimatized to the place.  It’s so cute.  The people continue to surprise me with how friendly and open they are.  I mean the company.  I don’t see a lot of locals but those I have seen have been more than friendly and helpful.  I’m starting to get known in the Valuemart.  Always a sign of settling in.  People are still loving Wonderful Town.  It’s crazy.  They laugh and laugh and get so into it.  It’s really a pleasure to do when you know you are giving people that much joy.

We are slowly getting throught the blocking (staging) of A Little Night Music.  It’s wacky, people.  Morris has such fun ideas.  Every day is an adventure and there is lots of laughter which is how it should be.  It’s such an extraordinary cast.  I’m constantly in awe.  I had a funny moment two nights ago after rehearsal while washing dishes.  I suddenly had the realization – “I just scolded and then threw my robe at Goldie Semple who I’m having an affair with . . . ” (in the show).  Oh my God.  I’m playing the lover of a  Canadian theatre icon.  AAAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!  I love this business!!

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm  Comments (2)  

IN MEMORY OF A FURRY FRIEND

Some sad news. For those of you who know Sharron and George (Sharron Matthews and George Masswohl) and may not have heard, they had to “put down” their dear schnauzer Otto last monday. George and Sharron are two of my dearest friends and to say they are both devastated is an understatement. My heart goes out to them and if any of you have lost a pet, you will understand their pain. Otto was almost 15 and had somewhat recently become quite ill. I cannot imagine a pet (or person for that matter) being more loved than Otto was. He was a very smart, brave, funny and handsome little guy and he made many a party or visit more entertaining. He will be missed by many. Goodbye, Otto. May you rest in puppy-peace! And love and blessings to Sharron and George.

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm  Comments (1)  

SUNBURN

No I don’t have a sunburn. That’s the name of this blog-page-theme. It’s interesting and it sort of mirrors my website sunburst. Hmmmmm.

So, yesterday we had the line run for the Wonderful Town understudies. It went really really well. Everyone had clearly worked really hard. There was the odd flub here and there but on the whole, great. Our stage manager Judy and our musical director, Paul, were really happy. And seemed to be genuinely so. If you guys haven’t heard of Ken James Stewart, remember that name. He is a really talented and funny young guy who was so great. I think he is going to be someone to keep an eye on. We finished early and I had the gang over for some wine and munchies. It was great. We just sat around and yacked. Judy and I ended up talking about baking for about 45 minutes. We are both enthusiastic bakers. So we started to talk about cuilinary porn – no I don’t mean vegetables that look like body parts, I mean cookbooks. And then we ended up having the most candid discussion about body hair – in all it’s . . . . nooks and crannies. It was quite the night.

Guys, I love playing host so much. If I had the money, I would just have get-togethers all the time. 3, 4, 5 times a week. I like to cook, I love to bake, I adore playing host. What I realized is that I really love to make people feel good, comfortable. I need to find a way to just do that for a living. I don’t mean catering. But I mean find a way to combine performing, baking, hosting. I will have to figure that out. It’s become clear to me that that is a big part of me as a performer. Yes, I am certainly an entertainer, but it’s more than that. I love to take people on a journey while making them feel at home. I think that is why the cabaret world interests me. I want to tell stories on my terms. I want to chose the journey, craft the journey, guide the journey. I want people to watch my work and be transported, inspired, refreshed. And by refreshed, I mean I want people to walk away from my work feeling lifted somehow, like they’ve been cleansed and they can now go on feeling lighter. I don’t just want to work. I know now I can get work if I want work. I want to be a part of great work, interesting work. I want to work with people who are better than me so I can learn and push myself.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure I will ultimately end up doing just stage shows. I don’t mean I’ll do film and TV. But I mean just plays and musicals. I really want to do concert work and cabarets. I want to start branching out. I’ve really enjoyed the cabaret work I’ve had the chance to start doing. I want to do more. But I want to really start doing it the way I want to be doing it.

As matter of fact, I’ve just had an idea. I can’t say where but I’ve had an open invitation to do a cabaret in a great space in Toronto that maybe I should take advantage of after my Shaw stint. Maybe I’ll do that. I want to put myself out there more. There is so much I want to try and experience. It’s a big world and art happens all over it.

Anyway, here I am, beginning a day off. Heading to the gym, then to get some groceries with the young Ali Momen – he’s enjoyable. And I’ll work on my stuff for A Little Night Music rehearsal tomorrow. It’s a beautiful day and it’s a beautiful life, my friends. Live it and love it.

Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 1:46 pm  Comments (3)  

YET ANOTHER THEME

Hmmmm.   That last one was a bit too dark.  This one is interesting.

Okay this is a totally boring blog.  I don’t have much to say right now.  I’m about to crack down and make sure I know my lines for the understudy run for Wonderful Town tomorrow.  I want to be as accurate as possible.

I’m not called for A Little Night Music tonight so I’ve got the night off which is convenient.  I saw a bit of the opening of the show last night.  It’s quite beautiful and it was just roughed in.  Woohoo.

A small group of us have started watching LOST the TV series.  There is a handful of us who haven’t seen any of the episodes.  Can you believe it?  It feels like we are the only ones in the universe who haven’t seen an episode.  We’ve gotten through the two part opening and the next two episodes.  What the ‘F’???   It’s intense.  So many questions.  What is that ‘thing’ that is stalking them all?   What did Kate do that got her arrested?   Why is the Korean guy such a jerk to his sweet wife – and when is she going to kick his ass?   When does the annoying sister get eaten or transformed cause she is on my last nerve?  So much to find out.  Very excited.  It’s my favorite way to watch TV shows – on DVD.  Woohoo.

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 12:34 am  Leave a Comment  

QUIET TIMES

Whassup, my little moppets??!!  So our director of Wonderful Town, Roger Hodgman, left for Australia yesterday.  It’s so weird to have a director leave before an opening but the show is basically done and he has two other shows he’s doing in Aussie-land.  He’s directing Frost/Nixon and Follies.  Busy guy and that’s the career you want as a director.  So it was the first day without being “watched”.   That always feels like the kids being left alone when mom and dad go out for the evening.

And I started Jenny Craig again yesterday.  I’m a fan.  I really enjoy it.  The food is pretty tasty (or I couldn’t do it) and I just like the convenience.  You totally get how all of these celebrities stay so “easily thin”. Sure it’s easy if you have food prettily prepared and given to you.  HELLO!!  Anyway, it’s nice to not have to worry about it.  And as I said before, it’s not about being ‘thin’, it’s about feeling better in my own skin and in my clothes.  Things were getting a bit . . . snug.  Just sayin’.

And I’m still auditioning themes for the page.  Come on, y’all.  I’d love to hear form ya!

Published in: on April 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm  Comments (2)  

READ/SING-THROUGH OF ‘NIGHT MUSIC’

I’m just on a break from rehearsal. We had the read/sing-through of ‘A Little Night Music’ this afternoon. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!   It’s going to be so great.  Such a great cast.  And I won’t tell you Morris’ concept.  Part of it is still developing but what he has already and the design has such huge possibilities.  And the design is so beautiful.  And extremely evocative on a really subconscous level.  It will transport the audience and soon as they walk into the theatre.   Quite a visual feast.  Both costumes and set.

Okay I’m off to rehearsal for the evening.

And I changed the theme again as you’ll notice.  The last one was a little too “opening shot of SOUND OF MUSIC” for my taste.

Peace, y’all  (that’s right, I said y’all – and I’m not sorry)

Published in: on April 9, 2008 at 8:38 pm  Comments (2)