POST SONDHEIM IN SEPTEMBER

This is overdue folks but it’s been a crazy week.  Sooooooo  last monday (a week ago today) I did the third and final installment of SONDHEIM IN SEPTEMBER, the gala three night benefit for The Actors Fund of Canada.  It was amazing.  For the last night (my night)  a choir of about 30+ people plus about 8 or 9 soloists performing selections from Sondheim’s last 5 published shows – MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, INTO THE WOODS, ASSASSINS, and PASSION.  It was quite a night.  Elicia MacKenzie and Warren Kimmel did beautiful versions of Sunday In The Park with George (Elicia), Move On (Elicia/Warren) and Finishing the Hat (Warren).  Patricia Zentilli and Erica Peck did a cool duet of Not a Day Goes By (Patricia) and Good Thing Going (Erica), Jay Davis and Evan Builing gave some great drama in a scene from Assassins, and Charlotte Moore gave us some breath-taking beauty on I Read from PASSION.

I sang Putting It Together from SUNDAY . ..   My God, so many words.  SO MANY WORDS!!  It’s 28 pages of music – What!!!!  But it went well.   I got through it and managed to tell a story.  People seemed to enjoy it.  Whew.  That was in the first half.  Then I sang Last Midnight in the second half.  It’s a song I love so much.  It’s from INTO THE WOODS.  Such a great number.  I think I scared the living daylights out of the audience.  It’s big.  It went well except . . . there is a weird key change in the middle.  It sort of happens in the air.  (ie, there is not music under it until you vocally change the key).  I’ve never had a problem with it before but I’ve always been aware that if you lose focus at that point, it would be easy to lose the thread of it.  And I got it in every rehearsal.  So come the night, come that point, and for the split second before I got there, I thought “wouldn’t that be gross if I lost the thread tonight” . . . . well, . . . . since I was busy thinking that thought at the moment I should have been singing through the key change, I totally screwed the key change.  AAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhh

On top of that, the music of the accompaniment is such that you the notes could be several possibilities that would all be harmonic . . . yet wrong.  So I had to start speak/singing the lines trying to find a musical thread.  Luckily as we came to the end of that phrase going into the next section, my ear caught it and I managed to find it for the last held note of that phrase.  But HOLY-FLOP-SWEAT, BATMAN!!!!  In the end, I brought it home but the song got particularly intense after that.   It still went over alright though, I think. I hope. It’s all very humbling, people.

Now in other news.   I managed to get to Stratford on Tuesday and Wednesday. I saw A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, and WEST SIDE STORY.   All really enjoyable. Standouts being WEST SIDE and EARNEST.   Go support theatre, people.  Woohoo!!

Advertisements
Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm  Comments (3)  

CANADIAN ON BROADWAY

No, not me yet.    My buddy Kate Hennig is about to take over the role of the dance teacher in the musical Billy Elliot on Broadway on Tuesday night.  She was my Sally Bowles when I played the Emcee in Cabaret.  One of the most open, talented, committed performers I’ve ever had the great pleasure and honour of working with.  I couldn’t be prouder.  (Is that a word???  Ah well, suck it, it’s my blog.)   I learned the art and gift of “stillness” from her.  We first worked together in a production of BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL.  There is a picture of me from that show on my website.  gallery.htm At one point in Act 1, Katey went on stage and sang Surabaya Johnny.  For those of you who don’t know it, it is one of the most powerful songs ever written  – about a woman done wrong by a . . . well, a jerk, basically.  The song has three verses.  The staging was very simple – first verse in an above spotlight upstage left, second verse in an above spotlight centre stage, and third verse in an above spotlight downstage right.  Other than walking from one spotlight to another, she didn’t move anything but her head, bit of shoulder and perhaps a finger every now and then.  And you could hear a pin drop in the theatre.  No bells and whistles.  And every night the crowd went mental because they could tell they were in the presence of a truly skilled singing storyteller.  That’s when I understood what power there is in stillness and clarity.  I’ve never been the same performer since. It made me the storyteller I am today (or hope I am).  I adore her.  Thank you, Kate.

Anyway here’s an article from today’s Toronto Star that Richard Ouzounian wrote.  Whether you know her or not, say a little prayer and/or send some good energy her way on Tuesday night.

704085

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

INTERESTING AND TRUE OBSERVATION

This is a great article I saw today in the Globe and Mail.  Never thought about it but it’s totally true.  I don’t read a lot of men’s magazines (or women’s magazines – just for clarity) but this is so true.  Loved it.  Interesting dichotomy.  (You like that $5 word?  I’m pretty sure I’ve used it a little wrong.  Whatever . . . it’s my blog.  ppppbbbbssssssttttt!!)

article1307333

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment