Oh my Lord, y’all.  I don’t wish this ear shit on anyone.  I had to miss a performance of Wonderful Town yesterday because of this labyrinthitis business.  What a pain.  So annoying.  It’s getting better but it’s slow.  Yesterday it got a little worse.  I started the day thinking I could do it but by the time I got to the theatre, the world was starting to move in unpleasant ways.  I do not wish this on anyone.  There is only so much time anyone can spend in bed.  The good thing is it totally subsides as long as my head is on a pillow.  So there is definitely respite.  But we have our first of two dress rehearsals tonight for A Little Night Music.  The second one is tomorrow afternoon.  I really need these rehearsals as we have our first preview on sunday night (2 days away)   There is stuff to work out.  So it’s about figuring out how to be as well as possible to get through to that first audience.   Aaahhh.   I’m just being tested.  It just means, things will be great in the end.  (insert hopeful grin)

Okay I’m going to have some breakfast and see how I feel after that.

Fingers crossed, my dears.

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  


Alright, y’all. I’m just pasting the next section of info on my ‘illness’ from an e-mail I just sent to a friend because I realized – why type it all over again.

We opened Wonderful Town on Saturday night. It seemed to go really well. And we are going into tech week for Night Music and we preview on Sunday night. There is a wee problem for me right now. Are you ready for this. After the party on Saturday, I was on my way home and felt a bit woozy. Now I had only had a glass of wine at the party but I thought I must be tired. I went home and went to bed. Sunday, I could barely get up. Severe vertigo – dizzy, room spinning – and nausea. It continued all day. Luckily I had the day off sunday and monday. It couldn’t eat a thing for aboutt 36 hours. I was finally able to get up on monday morning and get myself to a walk in clinic (by riding my bike with my eyes mostly closed because I couldn’t walk a straight line without help and if I had my eyes open, I’d fall over and all my friends were out of town). I was then diagnosed with labyrinthitis – an inflammation of the inner ear. The doctor described it as a cold in your inner ear. It’s viral so there is nothing to do but take gravol to take the edge off and wait. And it heals like a cold. It can take up to a week to 10 days. She said I’m lucky if it’s moving fast enough that I can stand after the first day. LUCKY!???!!?! Papa got a tech week to do. We have an afternoon of pieces this afternoon and our tech run tonight. I’m feeling a little better still this morning but still woozy. I don’t know that I can sing without passing out. WHAT THE “F”? So the universe is testing me. Which I always feel is a good sign. It means the outcome is going to be good. Ah well.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  


So we had our “sitzprobe” yesterday.  A sitzprobe is the german word for when we sing through the song in a musical with the orchestra/band for the first time.  It sounds AWESOME, you y’all.   It’s five person/7 instrument combo.  Piano, bassoon, cello, violin, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet.  The arrangements are so fierce.  Very exciting.   Seriously  It’s going to sound so great.  And it’s so exciting to have that music played and sung so live.  No microphones.    We start our Q to Q tomorrow and do that for 3 days.  Those are always long days.

Saw the opening night of An Inspector Calls tonight.  What a great play and a really riveting production. Ben Campbell is so engaging and great to watch.  And Graeme Somerville is just a wonderful actor.  His voice is so magical.  It’s like he’s barely talking but you feel like you are right in the middle of his voice.  You hear every word and it seems so effortless.

And now I’m watching Iron Chef and planning my imminent exodus to my bedroom and the comfort of the bed.
Oh – bit of a CD review.  The recording of the musical “LoveMusik” – the musical telling of the relationship between Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya starring Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy.  It uses all Weill music.  Fantastic.  I really like it.  Interesting performances.  And by interesting, I mean evocative.  Of a time, of an era, of the emotions between this complicated artists and the world they were working in.  If you don’t know Weill’s work, it’s a fun way to hear some of it in an interesting context.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  

A DREAM DEFERRED by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  


I know these blogs have been getting a tad serious lately but I think it’s having time here in NOTL to think and reflect and be working again full time.  After taking the last two years to try the film and TV thing, which is so sporadic, it’s nice to be back to a rolling work schedule.

Had a great talk with my BBF Sharron Matthews last night.  She came over and we had some wine and our first real ‘sit-down’ since she moved up here to be with her hubby, George.   I always gain a great deal of clarity when we have a gab-session.  It made me realize I have things I want to do and things I need to be.  That sounds kind of vague but it’s hard to explain in a blog.  It made me re-affirm my resolve to not take work because I need work. To always trust that if I follow my instincts, I will be right.  I’m tired of people trying to make me smaller to make themselves more comfortable.  I want to see the world and do work I want to do.  I’m going to use my time more wisely here.  I want to do some writing, create some cabarets.  I think I will do a cabaret or two while I’m here.  Work up some new material.  And I should probably look at doing some more cabaret work in Toronto when I’m done.  I may look at doing something in October.  Hmm.  I need to just set a date and then get on it.  I feel like I’m on the verge of a major epiphany.  I love that word – major. LOL  kidding. I mean – epiphany = a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

Something else – I’ve realized I’ve gained back most of the weight I’ve lost on Jenny Craig.  haha  I love to eat, y’all.  What is happening with Jenny Craig, you ask?  (Well, even if you didn’t, it’s my blog so I get to say whatever I want – whee)  Apparently my credit card is full and they couldn’t process the order.  Good times.  I’m being tested.  So I have to wait until monday, call my business manager (business manager – best thing I ever did) and get some cash put on the card and then re-order –  –  – FOR THE 3RD TIME!!!  Not that I’m bitter . . . or fat . . . or bitter . . . or fat . . . or bitter     BITTERFAT – THE THOM ALLISON STORY

I think I may also start doing morning pages again.  For those of you who don’t know the Artist’s Way, which I talked about in an earlier blog, morning pages are three pages of hand-written, unjudged ‘brain-drain’ you do every morning as soon as you get up. It’s amazing what comes out that you didn’t even know you were thinking.  Anyway, I feel like it’s a good time to help to focus my energy.

Okay, that’s all.


Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  


. . . it’s been 5 days later than it should have been to receive my Jenny Craig ‘shipment’ of food. I finally decided I should call. Duh!! THEY HAVE NO RECORD OF MY ORDER – I’M WAITING FOR AN ORDER THAT ISN’T COMING. How ridiculous is that? Anyway, I decided it wasn’t worth the ulcer. The woman on the phone was very nice and very apologetic. I had to re-order the whole 4 weeks-worth. Ah well. Hopefully it will all get here by Friday. I’m so not ready to be left to my own devices. Hahaha. I’m sure there’s a lesson in this. Perhaps it’s a lesson in anger management.  Ah well. I just hope it arrives this time. Pray for me. Pray for my waistline.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 1:57 am  Leave a Comment  


Sorry it’s been so many days. Just been rehearsing and doing the show. And gaining weight . . . hahahaha Dang!! Something happened and my Jenny Craig shipment was delayed so I’ve had to fend for myself for the last 4 days. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!! Yikes, clearly I’m not ready to go it alone yet. It will be fine but it’s like my will goes on vacation. Ahh.

Things are going really well with A Little Night Music. Finding my way through. Although one of the songs was killing me. It really is a baritone role. It’s about finding the breath down that low. The funny part is, as I said before, I sound like a baritone but I’m so not. Well, not living down there. Thankfully Paul Sportelli, who is one of the most generous, gifted and insightful musical directors/musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, helped me immensely in a session yesterday. (For the record, that last statement was not kissing ass. I’m pretty sure Paul doesn’t read my blogs. He just really is a marvel. He and Stephen Woodjetts are two men I respect beyond words) But we had our second run-through of the show yesterday and it was really great. It’s made huge jumps and you could really see a show happening. Goldie Semple is so fantastic.

I’m so tempted to start posting videos of myself on facebook. I’ve been watching Sharron Matthews videos which are so hilarious but I can’t imagine being that funny. But I guess that’s it, you don’t have to be that funny, just as funny as yourself. . . . which will just be different funny . . . but probably still not as funny as Sharron . . . she’s pretty funny . . . I’m a fan. Technology is so amazing these days.

Sharron and I have been talking about the upcoming Dora awards (the Toronto version of the Broadway’s Tony Awards for those of you who don’t know) and what we are going to sing and wear. Cause c’mon, that’s what it’s about. And we’ve now decided what we are singing. I need to take a little foray into Toronto and look for something snazzy to wear. Not sure. I wore an all-white suit with a sort of teal/aquamarine shirt last year. Darn, I should have worn that this year. But who knew I’d be entertaining the people of Canada at the awards this year. (“entertaining the people of Canada” is Sharron Matthews’, not mine but I love it)

So here I am on my day off and I’ll admit, I’m torn. Part of me wants to do nothing but eat and go for a walk and go to the discount store and watch movies. Oh, I have to get my dry-cleaning. Wow, how domestic this blog’s become. Eek!!! But I’m just sharing my NOTL thoughts. Anyway, the other part of me feels like I should go the gym and make some healthy meals and blah, blah, blah. Oh Lord, y’all (I don’t know why I say things like “y’all” and “dang” in my blogs when I don’t even remotely speak like that in person. Maybe it’s my inner hillbil . . . I mean, . . . . rural southerner coming out.) I just feel like taking a day of not doing anything. You know, I had this great session with my therapist months ago. Yes, I said therapist. You guys, he’s awesome. He’s an energy therapist. Allow me to explain. For about 45-50 minutes you talk and work through issues, then for about 25-30 minutes you get on his table and he does energy work (chakras, reiki-ish stuff) So balancing. Some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever done. But I digress. . . . so we had this great session where I realized with his help that I rarely have a day, let alone a moment where I don’t feel I “should” be doing something else. All these shoulds – ie. “I SHOULD be going to the gym.” “I SHOULD be working on another cabaret” “I SHOULD be working on a script” “I SHOULD be answering those e-mails”. And essentially and without knowing it, making myself mentally and emotionally exhausted with the weight of all of these things I SHOULD be doing that I’m not. So I rarely let myself just be quiet and unoppressed, mentally, in any given moment. Sound familiar to anyone. So that is going to be the goal for today. To not SHOULD myself into anything. Do what I feel like. That was what my therapist and I decided was the goal. To sit quietly in those moments and listen to what I WANT to do . . . and strive to do it. Hmmm.

Now speaking of my therapist, if anyone of you is looking for someone who is awesome. His name is David Scammell. He used to be an actor and then felt he was being drawn to other kinds of connection and healing and . . . well, you can read about him on his web-site.


If any of you are looking for an amazing way of clearing your shit up and out for the 21st century, I cannot recommend him enough. He has the most extraordinary spirit and I feel like I’ve peeled away a layer of life toxin whenever I see him. I know it sounds all new age-y but it is actually so practical and not ooga-booga. Awesome!!! (Yes, I’m still saying awesome.)

Oh something funny I wanted to share. It probably won’t be that funny to read but I’ll give it a shot. I can tell I’ve been a little stressed lately. I’ve realized that when I get really stressed or busy, I start to forget things. So for the last 4 shows I’ve forgotten/changed lines in Wonderful Town. Now I haven’t really forgotten them. I always know what I mean but I will forget a word or two and end up having to change it. One line I changed is this: I’m supposed to give a simple greeting “Hiya, gorgeous” and what I said was “Hello, gorgeous'” Now that by itself doesn’t seem too funny but add the fact that I’ve got a New York accent, I sounded like a black male Barbra Streisand. And then on Saturday, I was supposed to begin a story by saying “It reminds me of that time in Panama” and I said “It reminds me of that time in . .” and I couldn’t remember the name. I knew it was somewhere hot and dark-skinned but what popped into my head . . well these were my thoughts in that split second “Bolivia, B B B B Bahamas, no wrong kind of dark-skin, B B B it is starts with a B doesn’t it, maybe it’s not a B no I don’t think it’s B, I’ve got to say something, something hot and far away from here but I can’t think of a country say something now, the whole theatre is waiting.” So what I ended up saying was ” . . in . . . in South America” I figured that would cover all possibilities. There were only 5 people on-stage including me – needless to say, there were some very funny faces happening for the rest of that scene. Our stage manager came back-stage at intermission, laughing. She said she was on the edge of her seat but so impressed because I didn’t even break into a flopsweat. I told her, I wasn’t freaked out. I knew what I was trying to say so I wasn’t worried. I’m hoping that is the last of it. But it is . . .LIVE THEATRE. Okay that wasn’t that interesting in print. But I swore I’d share all. Don’t be hatin’.

I’ve been getting some really cool feedback from you guys and I can’t tell you how lovely I find that. It’s weird, you write this stuff out of a need to stretch out and share something with the world and after awhile you don’t even know if anyone’s reading them. But I’ve been getting calls and e-mails from you guys saying that you’re reading and enjoying and even being inspired by some of it. That makes me feel so full, y’all (heehee y’all – yeehaw). It’s not that I’m taking credit for anything. I feel full because all any of us are doing when it comes to inspiration or entertainment is ‘paying it forward’. We learn from people, we are inspired by people, and we, in turn, pass it along. It just shows how connected we are to each other – not just now but through time and through generations. Once more, I say – AWESOME!!!!!!!!

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  


Hey y’all. I have a request to all of you. If you can spare a few minutes. A very dear friend of mine is a kidney-transplant recipient and after 20 years, her body has gone into a state of chronic rejection.

After so many years dealing with the ups and downs of her situation, she has had a really inventive idea. She is exploring the idea of becoming a some-time corespondant for the Oprah Winfrey show covering and bringing awareness to the misunderstood arena of transplantation and organ donation. Awesome.
Her name is Henriette Ivanans and she is the most extraordinary human being – so full of life and light and spirit. She is the perfect person for this.

So here is the request, she needs to gather as many letters as possible, endorsing her and her idea. Below is a letter that you can simply cut and paste (add your info at the bottom and send it the e-mail at the bottom.)

Thanks in advance, everyone.




My dear friend, Henriette, has had kidney disease since she was 13, and had a living-related kidney transplant when she was 19. She has had wonderful quality of life for 20 years, but is now currently rejecting this organ.

I believe there is much misinformation circulating about transplantation, organ donation and related issues. I ask that you strongly consider her quest to become a sometime correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. With her professional work history, and through the viewfinder of her future experiences, I believe there is so much to be learned about these and related issues.

I believe she can be an incredibly valuable vehicle for exploring transplantation that can be both educational, entertaining, and humanize this most dry and mysterious subject matter.

Most sincerely,

Home address
Telephone number
E-mail address

PS Please personalize this (If you wish) and then send it to “hennybird@verizon.net”. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  


I don’t have lots to say these days, guys.  Things here are buzzing along.  We are working away on A Little Night Music which is going well.  It’s dense.  And a little ass-kicking, but it’s coming.  I adore the group.  Morris is great fun and has an amazing mind.  And the cast is so much fun.  It’s such a joy to really get to work with George Masswohl.   He is such a dear friend and generous spirit and talented as hell.  We were working on our duet last night and he’s just so generous and fun and easy.  It’s a pleasure.  And it was so great to watch he and Goldie Semple work on the “Send In The Clowns” scene yesterday afternoon.  It’s going to be heartbreaking.  Good stuff, y’all, good stuff.  I’m so interested to see what people think of the show.  It’s a real re-thinking of the piece.  Morris is really striving to make the show more intimate and less stylized.  Much more about the people on a smaller, more human level.

On other fronts . . . . well there aren’t really other fronts right now. hahaa.  I have my understudy run for Wonderful Town tomorrow night.  It will be good to get that done and then really concentrate on Night Music.

I’m noticing that a lot of people (in the business of show in particular) seem to be searching for something more these days.  What I mean is, I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are feeling like there is something more to strive for, to want to be.  As people and as artists.  I think that says a lot about where we are as a society and as artists and as people. There’s a sense of discontentment and disenchantment. The good thing about that is that’s when magic starts to happen.  New ways of thinking develop.  New ways of communication.  People are questioning the status quo.  Don’t know where that will lead but we’ll see.  It’s not something new.  Art starts fresh and then get popular and then gets taken for granted, then falls apart, only to be born again as something fresh.  That’s the blessing of cycles – for every downturn, there’s an upswing.

There is no answer in the post.  Just observation for right now.  I know I’m searching.  I know I may not be in Canada for much longer.  I just don’t know how much more there is for me to do.  I’ve been so lucky/blessed in my career.  I’ve done the summerstock, I’ve done corporate gigs, I’ve done the regionals, I’ve done the mega-musicals, I’ve done Stratford and now Shaw.  I’m not interested in just going in circles.  It’s a big world.  I don’t want to be afraid to experience it.  I want to do Broadway and cabaret in New York.  I want to do cabaret in Berlin.  I want to concert work all over the world.  So much to see and do and only one small life (or several if you believe in reincarnation) to see and do it in.

My best friend, Krista, once said something so innocently sage to me.  She once said, “I’m tired of waiting”.  And I said, “Explain”.  And she said,”It seems like we spend 60 percent of our lives waiting.  I don’t just mean  literally waiting for the dentist, the doctor, in bank lines, for rides at the amusement park.  But I mean waiting till we’re thin enough to go on the vacation, till our kid is old enough, till we meet the right person, till we make enough money.  We wait our lives away and then look back at all the things we didn’t do.  I don’t want to wait anymore.”

I’ve remembered that because that was part of what started to change how I think about my life. Ever since then I can’t get that out of my head.  I find I’m constantly asking myself, “Am I waiting?”  And “For What?”  And then I strive to kick my own butt.  That’s why I don’t want to take jobs I don’t want anymore.  All I’m aware of is that while I’m contracted to do this job I hate, I’m keeping myself from being open for the job I will love.  Now, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to say no.  In fact, I went into a lot of debt last year, remaining “free” for what is “right”.  But the real truth is money comes and goes (if you just trust in your own ability and are on the right track) but your personal truth (in terms of who you are and who you want to be) will shine brighter than anything else if you stick with it and trust.

Wow, apparently I did have things to say.  Okay that’s all folks.

Live it and love it, my dears.

Published in: on May 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm  Comments (2)