HALLOWEEN FUN

Now as we come into Halloween, we (the cast of Drowsy) won’t be able to do much as we do our final two performances that day and then we have a cast party at Peter Hinton’s place (the Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre).  But we had a surprise birthday party for Nora McLellan (Mrs. Tottendale – for those of you who know the show) last night and we decided to make it a costume party.  I will try to get real pictures for you all but for now, I’ll just include the picture I took of my face at the end of the night.  One of the characters in the show uses the expression “Holy Cats” a lot.  Now you can’t see the end of the chain but there is a jewelled cross at the end of it.  I went as Holy Cat.  It was good times.  The make up is faded as a lot of the black got absorbed into the silver as the night went on.  I’ve also included a test run of the make-up from that afternoon.  Hey don’t judge me for a test run, bitches, I knew I’d only have about half an hour so I didn’t want to be making it up with so little time for mistakes.

Holy Cats!!Holy Cat - Rehearsal

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

THIS IS JUST FUNNY

So every morning I go onto Playbill Online and see what’s happening in theatre in New York, Canada and London.  I love knowing what new shows are happening, who’s doing them, etc.  And every now and then they do an interview.  So I was on there reading an interview today with Broadway actress/singer Dee Hoty.  I’ve never seen her live but I have several recordings of shows she’s been in.  I love her.  Cool voice, really beautiful emotion in her voice.  So she was asked what her worst job ever was.  Her answer made me laugh for about 5 minutes.  I had to share it with you, my peeps.  Enjoy.  Here it is:

“Making a filmed industrial for Kirby vacuum cleaners (back in Cleveland — how I got my SAG card). Here was my line, as I demo’d the sweeper on my carpet: “My! The Kirby really DOES suck!” I’m not kidding…! (I think they changed it later.)”

I’m still laughing.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

LAST WEEK

It’s bizarre to imagine but it’s the last week of The Drowsy Chaperone.  This is it.  By the time we finished our run in Vancouver, we already knew we would be doing it again.  But this time it’s done.  It will be very sad when this over but it’s been such a great ride.  Seriously.  I have loved this cast (including the replacement folks who joined for this time round) and the crews and our amazing stage management team.  The theatres we’ve played in – The Vancouver Playhouse, The Citadel,  and The National Arts Centre – have been so warm and welcoming and excited to have us.  We’ve been treated like royalty, with such generousity and humanity.  And even with the death of our dear Lloyd, the NAC staff stepped up and cradled us in such love and safety, I can never say enough about them.  We definitely have some good times in the theatre and I have to say I feel like I’ve been so blessed to be in some wonderful shows with some fantastic people/performers.  But this is definitely in my top 3 great experiences.  I’ll miss it and I don’t actually miss things that much.  I’m not terribly sentimental.

It will be fascinating to revisit the show in a whole different way 6 weeks from now.  Yes, I start rehearsals for the Winnipeg/Calgary co-production of The Drowsy Chaperone in Winnipeg in 6 weeks.  I’ve never done that sort of thing before.  Entirely different production – different  director, choreographer, designers, cast – the whole shebang.  I’m playing the same part.  So the nice thing is I don’t have to learn a whole new show so I can spend more time visiting with my family and old friends in Winnipeg.  And I get to be with my family for Christmas which I’m usually not.

Many things to be grateful for.

Oh speaking of which.  I spent the most wonderful afternoon with my God-son and his family yesterday.  He’s 4 and his mother was the daughter of my God-mother.  She and I grew up together.  So I visited with her and her husband and my God-son and his older brother (6). It was great to play with them and go for a walk and have lunch and hear about their lives.  Really rejuvinating and it puts the world in perspective when the most vitally important, earth-shaking issue of the moment is how high I can push the swing.

Enjoy the beauty of the simple life moments today, y’all.

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

WHAT BREEDS UGLINESS OF THE SOUL?

Ummmm I don’t know what to say about this.  I’ve met the fiance who is still alive which is why my buddy Sharron sent this to me.  But what kind of animals do this to a person – no matter what the reason is – gay bashing or human bashing?  It makes me despair that of the 2 to 4 people  who were a part of it, not one of them stopped with a shred of humanity to say, “No, this isn’t right.”  How do you decide that a life means so little that you can take it.  You can’t run over with someone with an SUV and not know they will probably die.  Beating him wasn’t enough.  No, we must make sure this stranger doesn’t live because . . . . .

There is nothing to justify that statement.    Maybe if he was Hitler, but then he wouldn’t be a stranger.  You’d know who he was and why you want to kill him as these people MALICIOUSLY KILLED this poor man.

Darkness, my people, darkness walks this earth and rears it’s ugly head sometimes.  I still remain hopeful for humanity but this is a truly sinister moment in our evolution.

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Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

3 FOR 3 – LISA LAMBERT LIGHTS ON DROWSY

Lisa Lambert and I

Sorry that’s a little blurry.

So our final show of the this past long, draining week, we had a lovely suprise.  Lisa Lambert, half of the Tony-award winning duo who wrote the MUSIC for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE,  came to the see the show.  She’s awesome.  So great and easy-going.  She’s just a “chick”.   A very cool chick.  (For the record, I don’t use that word as a patronization of women . . . . why am I explaining myself, it’s my blog)  Anyway, we all went for drinks afterwards and yacked about all of the different productions she’s seen, including an amateur one in Hawaii recently.   Now, I am always nervous when the writers/original performers come to see a show I’m in.  It’s just a bit freaky.  I’m very happy, relieved and grateful to say she took a moment to say some really great things about my Aldolpho.  Whew!  Thank you, Jesus/God/Buddha/Allah/Universe and anyone else I left out.

So two more weeks.   Wow.  It will be weird to say goodbye to this show. So much has happened.   This cast has really become like a family and I think we’ll miss each other a lot this time.  It really will be strange to move on to another version of the show.  For those of you who don’t know, I finish this show on Oct. 31 and a scant 5 weeks later, I start rehearsals for a completely different production of Drowsy in Winnipeg.  I’ve never done that before.  It will be wild and kooky.  Fun though.  I’ve already got ideas for some new things I want to try.  God I love what we get to do . . . sometimes.  LOL  The really great thing about it is my parents can’t really travel much anymore and they had heard so much about the production and my mother sooooo wanted to see it.  So even though it will be a different production, she will now get to see it and me in it and not have the discomfort of the travelling.  So that is a huge blessing.   Oh, I’m from Winnipeg, for those who don’t know and my family is there.  So I get to be with my family for Christmas which I’m usually not.  I’m usually doing a show somewhere else.  All good things, y’all, all good things.

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

GOODBYE, MAN-IN-CHAIR

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Just want to leave a little love to Lloyd front and centre for opening tonight.  There has been a large outpouring of love and condolences for Lloyd on line – e-mails, Facebook.   It’s pretty beautiful. He touched a lot of people.  He was funny, quirky, demanding, odd, joyful, open, and infinitely entertaining.  I only knew him at the end of his incredible life but I will certainly never forget him.  He was around in the early days of theatre in Canada and as an actor, dancer, musician, musical director, mentor and teacher, he influenced many young theatre professionals.

In THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, the Man-in-Chair is this sweet everyman who loves/lives for musicals and their history.  He knows all the actors, their backgrounds, the shows, how they came to be, all of the trivia.  Our director, Max Reimer’s vision was that at the end of the show, the Man-in-Chair dies and that’s how he is able to truly join the company in the final number. It is always a bittersweet element that the audience wouldn’t necessarily get but added a dimension for us as actors.  Lloyd really was the Man-in-Chair.  He knew every show, who was in it, what songs had been cut, etc.  and so as we send our Man off on his final plane ride tonight, that last beautiful chord will be singing Lloyd’s name.

Bon Voyage, Lloyd.  Tonight is for you.

Drowsy End

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

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So in the midst of trying to regroup after the loss of our dear musical director, Lloyd Nicholson, we did have something uplifting happen.  Bob Martin, the Tony-winning (I just love writing that) Canadian (and that)  co-writer (with Don McKellar) of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and the original Man In Chair, was supposed to see the 1st preview of our production on Wednesday (the evening of the day Lloyd died).  He came back stage before our rehearsal that night to give us his condolences and meet us.  He then decided to stay an extra night to see our preview last night and that’s what he did.  He saw the show and love it.  (His words.)  He said he had heard about our show from Don and Lisa (Lambert – she wrote the music) and really wanted to see it.

I had an extra bonus in that when he was leaving and shaking people’s hands, he looked at me, and I’m told his eyes lit up (I was too busy being excited that he was there), he shook my hand, told me I was hilarious (blush) and he said I made him laugh all the way through the show and he loved my “bits”.  I know it’s kind of gross to talk about “oh, yes, this famous man LOVED me and thought I was FABULOUS” but suck that.  It’s been a crazy time and I’m so proud of this show and this last couple of days has been horrible.  And I’m thrilled that the man who created the show liked what I did with his baby.  I’m so proud and touched and humbled by that and it’s rare to have that kind of experience  so for all of you who are sweet enough to give a shit about my blog, I wanted to share my joy with you, y’all.  (It’s been awhile since I’ve used a y’all – guess I’m feeling all nostalgic. )

And off we go tonight.  A final brush up with our new MD, Scott – who did an amazing job last night, by the way.  He managed to not just get us through but really make the show happen.  We will work through the harder bits this afternoon for an hour and a half and then open tonight.    Whew!!!

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

R.I.P. LLOYD NICHOLSON

LloydNicholson

Well, the unthinkable happened today, my lovely people.  Theatre legend, Lloyd Nicholson, our musical director for The Drowsy Chaperone, passed away peacefully this afternoon.  We don’t know exactly the cause as of yet, though we suspect, heart failure.  We are in Ottawa right now and were to have our media call today as well as a dress rehearsal before our first preview tonight.  He wasn’t feeling well, so we cancelled the media call and by 1/1:30, our beloved maestro was gone.    It was a horrible, sad, touching afternoon filled with tears, stories, and searching.

Stage management and our choreographer were amazing.  As were the National Arts Centre company manager and the National Arts Centre staff, from the wonderful Peter Hinton (Artistic Director) on down.  Our incredible director, Max Reimer, was in Vancouver taking care of Playhouse business and thank God – he has had to deal with the entire theatre community who has been devastated by this loss.  As well as Lloyd’s family and dear friends.

The NAC cancelled the first preview tonight and they looked after us all afternoon, keeping us emotionally safe and “held”.  They also went to work while we were grieving at figuring out what we were going to do.  We were so lucky that the gentleman  who played keyboard in the only other Canadian production of this version of our show was available, and lived in Kingston.  He drove to Ottawa and we had a rehearsal with him and the band  this evening.

We will have a dress rehearsal with him tomorrow afternoon then our preview in the evening, then open, as planned, on the Friday.  So, as always, the show really must go on but we will be thinking of our dear Lloyd every show.  He guided our production with such commitment, love and care, while being such a character; telling stories over drinks, marvelling at the most simple beautiful “life” moment.  He was an amazing man and he will be missed by this cast, this business, and this world.

May sweet angels play you to your rest, Sweet Maestro!

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  

SHEER POETRY

Sharrontub

Never ceasing to amaze me, my dearest bestest buddy Sharron Matthews has written the most beautiful blog about Thanksgiving, I had to share it.  I think it’s a blend of what is joyful and what is melancholy in holidays is exquisite. Enjoy.

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Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

INSPIRING PERFORMER

I was looking for something else on youtube when I came across this.  Mimi Hines took over the role of Fanny Brice from Barbra Streisand on Broadway.  She is fascinating.  She is kooky and playful and fearless (the mouse thing is brilliant) and then can be touching and moving.  But with such ease and then that fantastic voice on top of it all.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment