END OF SECOND WEEK OF DROWSY

Hey kids.  So we have just finished the second week of rehearsals for Drowsy Chaperone.  It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into complacency.  I’m feeling it.   I dip into places where I go into a lot of automatic pilot.  I need to get more specific with what I’m doing.  But it’s good to feel that right now.  I would hate to get to performances and realize I had been dead creatively . . . as fun as that would be.  hahaha  No it’s a good lesson.  Luckily it’s a great part to be creative in so it’s going to be fun to do that.  I had a great rehearsal in the run-through yesterday, I refound the fun of Aldolpho.  I was just tired today so I didn’t sweat it but I did realize how anything can become heavy if left unexplored.

Then I spent the evening looking at music for the Sondheim in September concerts I’m a part of.  I mentioned it several blogs ago.  If you guys are free, you have to go.  Seriously, they’re going to be amazing.  Go to all three (oh yeah, there are three of them) or if you can’t, at least come to the one I’m doing – Oct. 5.  Yes, I know, “But Thom, I thought you said Sondheim in September.”   Ok, I know but they are September 21, 28, and Oct. 5.  I can’t tell you why that is.  I guess it was catchier than “Sondheim in September Except For The One Day in October.”  Anyway, here is the web site.

index.html

It’s a benefit for the Actors Fund of Canada – GREAT CAUSE  – and it’s started by two guys named Warren Kimmel and Peter Huck.  They’ve assembled some of the finest musical theatre talents in the country (not all of them – don’t go getting all uppity everyone) and they walk through every show Sondheim wrote, taking several songs from each show.  They shows are at the Metropolitan Community Church at 115 Simpson Ave., Toronto, ON.   You can get tickets at TICKETLINE at

647 367 8477

Or you can get them at the door but it’s CASH ONLY at the door.    Do come everyone.  It’s going to be an amazing three nights.

That’s about it for now.



Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 6:46 am  Leave a Comment  

NOTHING IN PARTICULAR

Hey guys,

I don’t have one specific thing to talk about it.  It’s just bits and bobs tonight.    I guess the first thing is: two more video clips of my last cabaret.

This one is a “two-fer”.  And in this one, I royally screw up the lyrics to the first song, and I have the lyrics in front of me, because I was afraid I may forget “one or two words”.  Jeez.  But I just had fun with it and the audience just went with me.  Bless.

Okay what else.  Oh, I haven’t told you guys.  I’m in Edmonton now.  We started rehearsals for The Drowsy Chaperone on Tuesday.  My God, I love doing this show.  I must or I wouldn’t be doing it again.  It’s been very relaxed.  There are just 7 of our 15 cast members in right now.  This production is a re-mount/co-pro of the production I did in Vancouver at Christmastime.  But we have 5 new cast members replacing people who weren’t available.  So three of us who started on Tuesday were in that production and the other 4 are new.  Our director very wisely had the four newbies (the fifth newbie doesn’t have choreography to learn – it’s featured role)  and their “partners” (most of the characters have a counterpart they spend most of the show with) come in a week early to build a mental/physical rapport before he had everyone else join us.  It’s been a great way to re-learn the choreography and I’m finding my body is a lot more accepting of it.  It’s like an old friend now.  The movement has the comfort of familiarity.  Unfortunately, they seemed so familiar, I forgot to warm up for the first two days.  Yeah . . . .  OOOOOWWWW!!!  Oh my Hey-soos!!  (That would be “Jesus” but I didn’t want to fully alarm my Christian friends.  😛 )  I fully had to take a bath in epsom salts.  Two nights ago.  I told our choreographer, the INCREDIBLE Dayna Tekach, that she’s lucky her choreography is so fantastic or I’d have to kick her ass . . . when I’m actually able to lift my leg of my own volition again.  I think Edmonton is going to love it.  It really is one of the most, if not THE most, fun I’ve ever had doing a show.   It’s up there with the Emcee in Cabaret.  And that was fun.  Richard O. and Kelly N.,  if you are reading this (and I think you are),  I would love for you boys to come and take a look at this, if only because there is such great work going on and it’s basically (because its the same production with most of the same cast) the first Canadian regional production of this Canadian hit.  And if you hate me in it, don’t print it.  I don’t want my bubble rained on.  Wait . . . I mean my parade burst . . . or well you get me.  😉  It’s going to be a blast.  And there are little bits that were supposed to happen technically in our Vancouver production that are now going to be incorporated into this production.  Which is even cooler as it keeps making it fresh for us “do-overs”.  I will even have somewhat different hair.  apparently none of our wigs came with the show.  Which is weird and, apparently, a loooong story which begins and ends with money.  So we are all getting new wigs.  The one they have for me is so cool and it wasn’t even styled yet. I may have to get one for myself.  You’d be surprised how many times a wig has come or would come in handy for the right audition.

The Edmonton Fringe Festival is on right now.  I’ve been a little sick with some sort of stomach thing for the last couple of days so haven’t felt like going out.  But tonight I just thought “screw it, I’m going to catch something”.   It was  good night – mixed, but good – I decided to walk to the area that the Fringe was basically taking place.  What better way to see the city?  Well it took about 35 minutes.  Not bad.  Part of it was steeply downhill.  And another part was semi-leisurely uphill and over a bridge and around the baseball diamond.  My God, will I ever get there.  By the time I did, I had missed the 3 things I wanted to catch so I found something a little later that looked promising.  I shan’t say the name to protect the innocent.  But i still had an hour to kill.  Luckily a magician/entertainer was doing his outside show so I stayed and watched that.  Very funny guy – so personable.  He did some great stuff with cups and balls and a balloon animal.   . . . Seriously, he was fantastic.  Then the show. *gentle but strained sigh*  Oh dear.  Not good. Not good at all.  I love that it was the fringe and everyone can come in with a show and put it on.  But my word, did the term “pacing” never even enter the rehearsal room, let alone life-like dialogue or I’d settle for a real moment that wasn’t an accident.   I so appreciated the earnestness of the performances but it was 500 degrees in there and it was 20 minutes too long. And by 20 minutes, I mean 5 days.   The play was so ill-conceived.  I can’t tell you which play as I make it a rule not to slam anyone specifically.  But yeesh!!  It didn’t help that every once in a while my stomach started feeling like the lining and contents are having a full on “Krystal and Alexis catfight” and it’s sweeps week.  Then came the same walk back home.  I was sweating and tired and I wore the wrong sandals.  But you know what – I’m so glad I went.  I’m determined to do different things.  To get out more.  Excited about that.

Um, what else???  I can’t think of anything else.  I’ll let you know.

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 7:18 am  Comments (1)  

PROMO VIDEO

Okay okay okay.  I’m really excited.  So here is the promo video.   This is to sell me/my cabaret to theatres/venues all over Canada or wherever.

Published in: on August 17, 2009 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  

LAST CABARET VIDEO

Hey guys,

So thanks to my best bud, Sharron Matthews, I have the video of my last cabaret so I’m starting to put some up on Youtube.  Here are the first couple.  Hope you enjoy.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

WEEK OF JET-SETTING . . . WELL, BUS-SETTING. SHUT UP!

I have several blogs to catch up on.  So last week was basically my summer vacation.   On Monday and Tuesday, I went up to Ancaster to spend two days with one of my best friends, Bill.  He was house-sitting for a mutual friend and invited me to come up.  Woohoo.  It was fantastic.  They have a beautiful house with a pool with a great patio, the whole nine yards. On top of that, Bill is a great cook and so we ate and drank wine-spritzers (I’ve never had a wine spritzer  – I felt like a Real Housewife of Ancaster or some such), ate great food, sun tanned, swam and LAUGHED OUR ASSES OFF.  Oh my God.  When we get together, we are like 6 year olds.  Funny voices, short hand jokes, stories.  It was such fun and so good for my soul.

We got back Tuesday night.  I did errands and saw my best bud Sharron Matthews do her show at Statlerson Wednesday night and then I left for the Niagara Region on Thursday morning to see my friend Teresa.  We met in Dreamgirls at the Grand Theatre in London.  Awesome singer.  She asked me then to come and see her do her gig at this bar where she lives in Jordan.  I said yes and I knew she didn’t believe I’d actually come.  But I did and spent Thursday to Sunday with her family.  It was so great.  She is this beautiful black chick.  She’s married to this funny Dutch (yes that is about as white as you get – lol) guy named Ryan who’s 6′ 7″ – Good Lord.  That’s a lot of man.  And they have 3 beautiful children.  I had only met Ryan on opening night and there I was spending four days with his family. He is fantastic.  We had a great time.  But I haven’t eaten that much food and drunk that much wine in a long time.  I met all of Ryan’s family (they all live in that area) and Ryan’s mother turned Teresa’s event into a big 60th birthday party for Ryan’s dad.  Ryan’s dad is the youngest of 12 children – most of whom live nearby.  Needless to say I met a lot of people that night.  Teresa is an amazing woman and we just connected.  She’s like a sister if I were ever to have one.  But that two days by the pool and then the 4 days with this joyous, wonderful, human family did so much for my soul.

I want more of that in my life.  “What exactly is he talking about?”, you ask.   More impromptu moments of “yes”.  Someone saying come to this or see this.  “Yes, I’d love to”  More adventures.   See what happens.

Good times.

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

JUST ANOTHER TRADITIONAL JEWISH GAY WEDDING

This is over due as I’ve been busy trying to get myself ready to go to Edmonton to start The Drowsy Chaperone.  But almost two weeks ago, I had the most extraordinary experience.  I went to my first traditional Jewish gay wedding.  It was a friend and his fiance.  About 200 people.  They had researched and searched ancient Jewish texts and found real, text-based foundations for a true union that didn’t specify male/female.  They wanted it to be a traditional Jewish wedding. Their mothers made the chuppah (the beautiful held awning – my word – that the fiances stand under as they get married) and it was beautiful.  It had the names of the families on it, including the deceased grandparents of my friends fiance.  The ceremony itself was beautiful and moving but what was even more extraordinary to me is that here were these two gay men getting married and their whole families were there.  My friends elderly Jewish grandparents were there – BOTH SETS – and they were so happy and weeping.  There were cousins, and brothers and sisters.  All of them so happy for these two boys.  Then there was the amazing reception.  My God.

And the speeches were so beautiful. The grandparents spoke.  The parents each welcomed their new son-in-law into their lives with such happiness and acceptance.  The young cousins got up and sang a song and read from some texts.  The best friends got up and told stories.  The siblings got up and did mini roasts.    I have rarely been in a room where such love was flowing.  These boys were so protected and loved and respected by their families.  It was inspirational.  It gave me hope for a world where tolerance and acceptance is still a little shaky.

It made me think of all of those people who had a problem with gay marriage in Canada.  I’d like to know now, how have the lives of those people with issues changed?  Has it done anything to their quality of life?  How does two people who want to commit to each other for life – two people that they don’t even know or have anything to do with – have any affect on their life?  I never understood that.  We’ve had gay marriage for how many years now and has the world stopped?  Has straight marriage become “less meaningful” in the years following the passing of the new laws?  My god, in a world where love is sometimes struggling to live, why dim your own humanity by trying to shut down love in someone else’s life who you don’t even know.

That’s all, y’all.

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

POST SHOW

Well, I did it.  I lived through the show.  It was a wild ride.  It was also a bit nerve wracking.  I usually give myself 6 weeks to prepare as I tend to do a lot of songs.   Well, I made the mistake of still doing lots of songs but I only had 3 weeks.  Good Lord, y’all.  I’m realizing people tend to do 7 to 14 songs in an evening like that.  I did . . . . . .  26 (27 with encore).  WHAT?!?!?!?!??!!?!!??!?!   Eek!!!  Needless to say, I had some lyric issues.  But I laid it out on the table at the beginning that I was an idiot and that the evening was basically a test of will.  LOL

I ended up forgetting some lyrics but not badly.  And when I did, I was able to just work it in and make jokes and keep the ball bouncing – I think. hahaha  The crowd didn’t seem to mind.  But I actually remembered most of them and most of the songs went really well.    But it did teach me a few things.  One – if I AM going to sing a lot of songs, I need at least 6 weeks of prep.  Two – if I have less time, do less songs and tell more stories.  Three and most importantly, DO NOT SING “I AM CHANGING” FROM DREAMGIRLS 24 SONGS IN!!!  Good God, what was I thinking??!!!

What was amazing was due to the beautiful article Richard Ouzounian wrote about my show on Thursday and me singing at Metropolitan Community Church on the Sunday before, I was sold out.  Even better was a lot of people weren’t regulars.  They had heard me sing at church or known of me and read I was doing the show.  So many new faces.  Really thrilling.  And they seemed to enjoy it.  I got a rather enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of the evening, sold some CD’s and many people stuck around to tell me how much they enjoyed the show.  It was pretty exhausting and exciting.

On another front, I saw The Sound Of Music last night. What a beautiful production.  Oh my word.  The mountain?  Come on.  What a simple but clever bit of stage craft.  And the singing is absolutely beautiful.    Definitely worth a see.

And there you are.  Now I have two weeks before I start Drowsy Chaperone.  Time to re-learn the show. I’m looking forward to getting to Edmonton and working at The Citadel.  And getting to the West Edmonton Mall.  I have memories of being there when I was a kid.  My Aunt Helen, along with Uncle Abe and my cousin Stan, used to live there so we’d visit them every now and then.  When I was about 12/13, Stan and I were wandering the mall.  On a whim I stuck my finger in a pay phone and the slot would barely open.  I realized it was full of change.  I started fishing and walked away with $7.35 in change.  At 12/13, I had basically just won the lottery.  So much ice cream and candy.  I was in love with the mall forever after that.

Hopefully I’ll have a lot of stories when I’m there.  In the meantime, I’m heading off to see a friend for a couple of days.   And then I’m going to see another friend in Niagara Falls for about 2 or 3 days.  She’s singing with her Jazz band on Friday night and I’ve never really gotten to see her do her thing.   I love being busy.

Um . . . . that’s it . . . . for now . . . . . stop staring at me.

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment