I love this song. It’s just fun. But HOLY SWEATY PITS, BATMAN!!! It was hot as hell in there that night.
Oh my God, y’all. I finally sort of discovered how to use my movie editing stuff. I’m so excited. It’s been a year and I couldn’t remember how to get my stuff up. Woohoo.
Oh and Shaw did a benefit for Amnesty International which it apparently does every year. George Masswohl and Sharron Matthews hosted. They were great. And everyone was great. Nice and diverse. Nothing that was too long or , God forbid – painful. I’m sorry but sometimes it can be a bit painful when someone just hasn’t thought through what they’re doing or when a ‘civilian’ thinks that what we do is so easy they can just pull something out. EEK!!! But it was great. I did two numbers. I did Miss Celie’s Blues (from the movie The Color Purple) and Infinite Joy (from the musical Elegies). Had a really good time. Quiet audience but really appreciative. And now I’m going to bed.
Just posted a video from a year ago at my first club gig.
Okay guys, you know how I said I had more news to come? Well now I can tell you about it.
First of all, I can now announce officially that I won’t be returning to the Shaw Festival next year. I’m happy to say it’s not because they thought I sucked and didn’t want me. There was an offer and a desire from Jackie for me to be here with an eye on the future but I simply didn’t feel the offer was one the called out to me right now. But Jackie and I had a great talk (she’s an amazing, funny, innovative artist) and we both look forward to my returning one day with the right project(s).
Okay, so, second bit of news which is really exciting. Acting Up Stage, which produced ELEGIES: A SONG CYCLE that I got my Dora nomination for last year, is doing a production of A NEW BRAIN next year. It’s written by the same playwright who wrought Elegies, William Finn. It’s a really interesting piece – sort of auto-biographical about the brain tumor he faced down several years ago. It’s about a songwriter who discovers he has a brain tumor and goes through it’s removal with all of his loved ones – his agent/friend, his mother, his lover, his current boss. I know it sounds heavy but, in fact it’s really funny as the brain tumor allows for some really fun hallucinations. Well, I’ve been offered the role of Roger, the leading man’s partner. Great part, great songs. It’s going to be so fantastic. Directed by Daryl Cloran, who I’ve known and wanted to work with but never had the chance to – so that’s also exciting. It’s a cast of 10 and because Acting Up Stage, led by founder and producer Mitchell Marcus, has been doing such well-done, quality productions, great performers are all eager to be a part of his shows.
The show runs from Feb. 12 to Mar. 1 at CanStage Berkeley Street Downstairs. There will be more info on the Acting Up Stage website soon, including how to get tickets, etc.
Hope to see you all there.
Okay so the Shaw Festival company for years has had random cabaret nights at the Royal George Theatre in the bar downstairs on a Saturday night. There is a small cabaret stage and anyone can do anything basically. Readings, songs, comedy acts, combinations of all of this. They’re called Saturday Nights At the George or SNAG. Well, last year (and I’m not sure if it’s been done before and for how many years) they did a DRAG SNAG. And yes, it’s just what it sounds. All the guys dress as women and all the girls dress as men. Everyone really gets into it, whether you’re performing or not. Well this one was just as produced as any of the shows thanks to Kawa Ada – one of the members of the acting company. It was amazing – costumes, wigs, choreography, back-up dancers.
Well, Kawa asked me to be the featured guest. What the hell, I said sure and started to think about what to do. Now I never need to find a reason to be the special guest but I like to hook it on something. Well one day in the shower, it came to me. I was George Bernard Shaw’s Secret Black Mistress. She’s a cabaret performer who was much younger than him. Kawa told me that unlike the other acts, I’d have my own “set” to fill – about 10 minutes or so. So I set about writing the material and picked the songs. I decided to tell the story of how Shaw and I met and began our affair and then how we ended. It was really fun. And I have to say, it turned out really well. You know how you plan on something and hope it works out with very little rehearsal and in the end, it actually works out just the way you wanted it too. Well that was how it went. I got a standing ovation, y’all. Woohoo I was very touched and honoured as I was told people don’t get standing O’s at SNAG’s.
I’ve picked up enough tricks from make-up artists that I can do a pretty good girl-face pretty face and the Shaw let us use their wigs and they did them up for us. I’m such a perfectionist I had a whole look (wig, dress, shoes, etc) to wear to just walk around in before my number and then a whole outfit for my number. Again it worked like a charm. What a fun and bizarre way to leave the season. But fun. Here are a couple of shots that someone sent me.
Oh, her name? . . . . that only came to me the day of the performance. A lot of people try to come up with something sexual. I wanted her to be a little more up-scale but be edgy and provocative. But I wanted it to be clever. I couldn’t come up with anything. So I suddenly thought of where the festival is located and it came to me. (Now yes it is totally politically incorrect but it was too delicious to pass up. Offensive yet fun. my favorite)
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . . NIGGERA FALLS
Pre-performance look (with Robin Evan Willis)
Hey y’all. I’m part of a benefit that’s going to be an amazing event. If you are around, into it, can affourd it, come. Here is the info:
“Monday, October 20th….the Theatres are Dark…The Toronto Theatrical Community Stands Ready to Perform!
Fife House celebrates its ongoing partnership with Toronto’s performing arts community with The 7th Annual SPOTLIGHT! Benefit. The official “cast party” and Launch to the annual Performers for Life in-theatre fundraising campaign, The SPOTLIGHT! Benefit takes place on Monday, October 20th, in the Historic Canon Theatre Lobby.
Tickets include two complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres, wonderful performances and a fantastic silent auction that is always extremely popular because of the quality and range of goods and services up for bid. Teamed with some of the best performances from the local Toronto theatre and music scenes, the evening is going to be a huge success. Every ticket purchased will be entered into a draw with a chance to win a wonderful door prize valued at more than $800.00.
It is again, my pleasure to Chair this exciting event and I invite you to join this wonderful evening of theatricality, all in support of Fife House. Tickets are only $50.00 and may be purchased from me directly or by calling 416 205 9888.
Starring: Thom Allison, Kathryn Domoney, Anne Marie Leonard, Julie Michels, Marion Newman, Lucy Peacock, Paula Wolfson and some very special invited guests!
See you in the SPOTLIGHT!
Chair, 2008 SPOTLIGHT! and Performers for Life Committees”
Heaven. We just had two days off. It was fantastic. And perfect timing. I had forgotten that it’s about this time – end of August, beginning of September – when things start to become ‘work’ at the festivals. ie. it starts to feel like work. You start to get tired of doing the shows so you have to start being creative to get through them. You imagine someone in the crowd you know and who will get a kick out of seeing you perform, you imagine that young person who sees this performance and decides-because of your commitment to the performance-that they want to go into acting, whatever works. So it’s a great time to get two days off in a row, it’s like having a mini vacation. woohoo.
So Monday I went to the last day of the Ex (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto. I went with my dear pals Sharron Matthews, George Masswohl, Bill Humenick, and Scott Fink. Then we were joined later on by Justin Stadnyk who plays Henrik – George’s character’s son – in A Little Night Music. We got there at 1:45 and left at 10:15. Needless to say, good times were had. We laughed, ate, played games, ate, rode rides, ate, stood in lines, and to pass the time, we ate. It was awesome. Now, I don’t do rides anymore. I had a couple of weird experiences with rides that played with my inner ear and I’ve never been the same. And once I’m nauseous, my day is ruined. So I don’t do rides anymore but I still love the energy of carnivals. Perhaps its the circus freak in me. And I love going with friends who do rides, it still makes it fun. And Sharron doesn’t do a lot of rides either so we would wander or sit and people watch and talk and laugh our asses off. It was a blast. But by the end of the day, we were zombies.
Then on Tuesday, I did some errands, met a friend for lunch and then saw Jersey Boys that night. It was so great, you guys. What a show. A great blend of slick and heartfelt. Great cast and my God, do they work. All of them, they never stop. And the four lead guys were amazing. The singing was so clean and the energy is high. That added bonus was seeing Jeremy Kushnier do it. Jeremy and I grew up in the same arts community in Winnipeg. I haven’t seen him in years so it was great to see him do something and then see him afterwards. He really was a highlight of the show and that’s not just because I know him. He was always talented but he’s become such an incredible and excited and ‘polished’ performer. I know that can sound condescending but I really mean it as the highest compliment. He was awesome and still one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.
And now here I am back in NOTL. We have 5 more weeks. It’s hard to believe. It’s gone so fast. I have lots of things to do before I’m done here. And couple of people who are coming to visit which will be nice. Things are good.
Hope all had a good summer so far. Enjoy the last few weeks of it.