DAY OFF AFTER OPENING

So it’s the first day off after opening RENT on Tuesday.   It went well.  The crowd really seemed to love it.  It’s a funny journey watching the audiences here.  And yes, I said watching the audiences.  It’s one of oldest open-air theatres in Canada – it may be just about the only one.  So it’s still daylight and you can see everyone.  There are a couple of moments where one can actually look out and see people’s faces.  Gotta say it’s been a hoot to see the Winnipeg faces.  I don’t they’re quite ready for what is going on in this show.  When Angel and I (as Collins) first meet, they feel (feel as I’m not looking at them but I can feel the energy) like “wait a minute, are those two boys hooking up?”.  Then when Angel comes out all dressed in his ‘Santa Drag’, I’m getting the “hey, is that the boy from before?  He’s dressed as a girl. Is this a gay show??!!” vibe.   When we get to Angel and Collins’ love duet, they’re confused because they’ve enjoyed Santa Fe and they find us charming but “they’re gay and kissing . I’m still uncomfortable.”  They the time we get to La Vie Boheme at the end of the first act, they’re having a good time and are sort of getting used to us. By the time we get into Happy New Year, they giving us some, “I know you guys are gays but you seem like you’d be fun at a party.”  By the time Angel dies, they’re in the,”No way, he was the nicest gay I’ve never known.” zone. So by the time we hit Angel’s funeral and I’m singing “I’ll Cover You Reprise”, there are grown men weeping in the audience.  It’s quite amazing to witness.  You can really feel them travelling with us.   It’s cool.  And every night so far, they are on their feet, sometimes before the lights come up.

Now we just have to run the show.  Only two more weeks.  It’s so weird to even think of.  We have Saturdays off and two shows on Sunday.   But that’s the only two show day.  Hallelujah.   It will be weird, REALLY WEIRD to do a show in full daylight tomorrow afternoon.  RENT is such a night show.  Usually by the second act, it’s dark.   But that’s alright.  We’ll live.  Especially since we also get Canada Day off as well this week.  Woohoo.

Other than that, it’s just wild being back in Winnipeg in the summer.  I’m really excited for the Fringe Festival to start on July 14.   I love going to theatre, y’all.  The one thing I’m sad about is I don’t think I’ll be able to see anything at the festivals (Shaw or Stratford) and I usually go and see stuff.  I have a bunch of pals in the shows doing some really cool stuff and I’d love to see them do it.  But I’ll only have one evening in Toronto on Aug. 21 before I head to New York to start rehearsals for Priscilla.  I’m back on Sept. 26 but I don’t think I’ll have the time to go.  That makes me sad. I wanted to see Chilina Kennedy in Evita and Kiss Me, Kate and The Tempest and Peter Pan at Stratford.  And I wanted to see One Touch of Venus, The Women and Serious Money at Shaw.  Ah well, I’m not complaining.  My ass is going to Broadway.  LOL

I feel like I should have more to say but I don’t really right now.  Oh, I am disturbed to hear about the rioting in Toronto.  That’s insane.  I don’t understand the human propensity for violence when emotions run high.  The “I’m mad so I’m going to blow up a police car” mentality.  Good Lord, go and punch a bag or something; have a run; have sex; something more focused.  Jeez!

And the earthquake.  Seriously, y’all.  Mother Nature is getting pissed off and trying to send messages.  She is ready to kick some G8/G20 boo-tay . . . . . apparently.  It’s like she’s saying, “since I’ve got you all in one place  – FUCK YOU!”  Pardon my french.

Had a cool talk today with a friend over lunch.  We were talking about how so much of our reality is up to us.  How much personal energy we have if we actually took control of it.  So many people will not take the responsibility for their own existence.  They become ‘victims’ of their own lives.  Everything happens to them.  They are simply swept off in the tide.  Now before anyone blows that up into some horrible overjudgement, let me be clear.  Things can happen to us beyond our control, of course, (death, rape, robbery) but we ultimately have choices in how we deal with those things during and after, how we survive them.  But other than those big things, so many other things are in our scope of choice.  Let me elaborate.  If you decide you’re stuck or trapped in a situation, you are.  You get what I’m saying.  The biggest part of anyone’s life is BELIEVING.  Look at how many people get far with not necessarily the most talent or ability but they crawl their way up the ladder of success.  Why?  THEY BELIEVE.  This was where our conversation was going.  Everything is energy.  Thought is energy.  So if you send the energy in the direction you want it to go in, it can’t help be change the vibrations around you.  Wow.  Even as I write that it sounds sooooooo freakin’ esoteric.  But I think you get what I mean.  Positive energy begets positive energy.  It’s the same way laughter makes you feel better and rage can make you sick.  It’s pretty simple yet I’m always amazed at how many people can’t see it.  As I get  . . . what’s the word? . . . . . Riper? 😉  I have less patience for people who just whine and whine and don’t actually change their attitude or tactics.  If you keep getting the same results and you don’t change your tactics, where does the problem lie? Get what I’m saying?

Hmm,  not where I meant to go in this blog but I like it..  It think part if it is that I’m also just excited about starting the new phase of my life which Priscilla represents.  Okay that’s it for now.  I’m going to finish watching Indiana Jones And the Temple of Doom which happens to be on TV right now.  Good times.  Good Human Sacrifice Times.

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Published in: on June 27, 2010 at 5:56 am  Comments (1)  

THOUGHTS N’ BITS

I don’t know why – n’ – makes things an instant entrance into “casual” but it just seemed right.  This is supposed to be a blog about what’s in my head and I feel like I’ve been letting my peeps down a little.  So I just thought I’d ramble a bit.   We have just finished week three of rehearsals for RENT at Rainbow Stage.   It’s been an intense time but a good time.  The cast is really fun.  Jeremy Kushnier, who’s first directing gig this is, is doing a wonderful job.  He knows the show so well, having done it several times over the last 10 years, in Canada, on Broadway, on the Asian tour.  He knows the show inside and out.  And I’ve known him for so many years.  We grew up doing shows together.  I haven’t spent much time with him over the last 10 years so it’s been nice to have these weeks with him.  He’s a great guy and he’s got a good eye as  director.  I hope he does more.  (And not just for my sake but for the sake of the business).

Now, playing Collins has been an interesting journey.  I’m so instinctually aware of the Collins/Angel relationship from the Angel side, having understudied Angel in Canada and on the tour.  But approaching it from the other side has been incredibly entertaining and challenging in a really cool way and a bit of an exhausting way.   SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU’VE NOT SEEN THE SHOW, SKIP THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH!!!!!  You realize how easy it is to die, in a way.  . . . . .  Allow me to explain.  As Angel in the second act, you get sick in one number then die in the next one . . . . . . . then you go off and have some candy and read a magazine until the last line of the show.  But as Collins, you have to watch your lover get sick, die, then have to sing a soul-destroying song for/to him at his funeral, deal with all of your friends being assholes to each other after the ceremony, then put your life back together and move on  . . . .  all before curtain call.  Jesu Cristu!!!!   That’s a lot of things.  But it’s been really cool.  I’m finding one of the benefits of playing this role now is that I’ve lived through more things and some recent life occurrences have allowed me to access much more of my own emotional possibilities than I would ever have been able to before.   So it’s been a really interesting ride that way.

On the other hand, I’M TOTALLY WRONG FOR THIS ROLE VOCALLY!!!!!!  HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA!!!  I had forgotten how low it goes so when Jeremy asked me if I could sing it, I just said, “Sure.”  Holy Dropped Testes, Batman!     Wow.  It’s been a challenge but one that I’ve been totally game for.  I have the notes.  They’re just not my strongest.  That’s been a challenge but then I remembered that none of the Collins I’ve ever heard sound particularly natural down there so it makes me wonder if that’s part of what Jonathan Larson intended.  It’s just slightly self-conscious.  Hmm.  Anyway, that has been a challenge. I’m certainly interested to see how the show plays. We have our invited dress tomorrow night and then we have a preview on Monday and open on Tuesday.  Then run for three weeks.  I’m curious how Winnipeg with take to Rainbow Stage doing RENT.  I absolutely commend Ken Peter, the Artistic Producer of Rainbow doing the show.  It’s bold. And I wasn’t sure when I said yes but now I’m really glad I’m doing the show.  Oh, when I say, “I wasn’t sure”, I don’t mean about doing Rainbow, I mean about me revisiting the show and playing Collins.  I won’t lie, I don’t think I’m the best choice for Collins but I hope I can take people on his journey and do Jonathan Larson’s legacy proud . . . at least that I don’t shame him and myself horribly.  😉  BTW, if any of you see the show and don’t like me, have to good taste NOT to tell me so.

On other fronts, it’s nice to actually be in Winnipeg in the summer for the second time in about 19 years.  Not kidding.  I’m so used to being here in the dead of winter, I forgot that the bottom of buildings are 90 degrees to the ground.  I was just used to the curving snowbanks up against . . . well, . . . everything.  And the Fringe Festival is going to be on in July which I haven’t been home for since the last time I was home in the summer which was about 8 or 9 years ago.  And the Forks is here which is nice to just go walk around in.  And my best friend Krista is here which is fantastic.   And I still have a few old friends.  It’s going to be a good time.  I feel very hopeful and happy right now. If I wasn’t so freakin’ tired, I’d jump for joy but for right now, it’s all good.  We open on Tuesday and then I can have a little more breath.

There are a lot of odd and freakish things happening in the world right now.  World-destroying oil spills, natural disasters, people being so damn mean to each other.  I have to admit, I’ve always been so disappointed and heartsick when I hear of or see people mistreating other people with such cold-hearted venom.  I certainly can’t change that but I can certainly lead by example.  I’m more determined than ever these days to strive to not indulge my human need to “take someone else’s energy”  (to punish them, to hurt them, to teach them a lesson) which is only about feeling superior which makes it easier to control or dehumanize someone else.  It’s so easy to get caught up in what WE want.  We forget that other people have feelings and wants too.  Empathy can be a fair-weather mistress.  Wow, I just read that and it’s a mixed metaphor, to say the least.  Ah well, I’ll stand by it for now.  Anyway, try being aware of how often you have the impulse to be “better” than someone else – especially under the guise of a “joke”.  I think you’ll be surprised.

Just some random bits in my head these days.    It’s time to go to bed.  But I’ll leave you with this Youtube clip someone posted from the Acting Up Stage Paul Simon concert from two years ago.   Yes, it’s me.  But hey, it’s my blog.  😛  I like the song a lot and I forgot about it until it popped when I was looking for something else and I don’t know if I ever posted it.  I hope you like it.  I think I may work it up and put it in my repertoire.  I think this version has the seed of a version I might like to do.

Give love, get love, y’all.

Published in: on June 20, 2010 at 5:20 am  Leave a Comment  

DAWN FRENCH – COMEDY GODDESS

I had to share this with you guys.  Dawn French doing a brilliant take on Catherine Zeta -Jones.  Seems perfectly timed  comedically coming on the heels of CZJ’s Tony win for playing Desiree in the Broadway revival of A Little Night Music.

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

JUST FUNNY

There is no reason for this other than it’s funny.  I had seen this before but someone just sent it to me again.  It’s good proof that you should always do your research.  LOL

Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

RENT AND LIFE

hmmm   so many thoughts.  Okay let’s start with RENT rehearsals.  Having a great time.  Really fun bunch of kids.  It’s a very intimate version of the show.  But everyone is cast so well.  I had forgotten just how low Collins sings.  That’s turning out to be a bit of a challenge.  It’s right at the bottom of my range.  But it’s a good challenge.  Really keeping me on my toes.  Jeremy Kushnier is the same wonderful, fun, smart guy I have always known.  He just happens to have been on Broadway starring in shows a few times.  hahaha  It’s been great to reconnect with him.  He’s doing a great job directing the show.  There is so much I don’t remember from the show but moments keep surprising me in terms of what I’ll remember suddenly.    And I walked backstage at Rainbow on the first day and realized it had been 19 years since I had been back there.  They’ve re-done parts of the backstage and it’s really cool.  Lots of memories from the early days.  Not lots of time to put the show together but we are cooking along.  It’s a hoot.

Other than that, life is good.  I’m so happy these days.  My buddy Sharron Matthews killed at Joe’s Pub tonight.  It was packed.  2 standing ovations.  One more show tomorrow night (Sunday).  I can’t wait to hear how it goes.  It’s amazing when you know what you want and you set out on a path and it’s the right path, the universe just gets everything out of your way or sets up all of the right challenges to really give you the chance to earn it/appreciate it.  I’m so proud of her.  And I know there are many reasons to be in Winnipeg for the summer.   My family is here and it’s a good time to be here spending time with them.

I also have several things to take care of in terms of the green card stuff too.  I have a handful more letters to collect but that’s going well.

One of the main things I have to deal with now is this freakin’ rib I’ve got out in my back.  It’s been out for about 2 months but I didn’t know it until about 3 weeks ago.  My chiropractor in Toronto is great and he really started to loosen it.  And now I have a chiro here in Winnipeg who is great and has already made some strides so hopefully, that will be fixed soon.  I’d like to be able to sleep through the night without feeling like a knife is being jammed into my upper back.

Published in: on June 6, 2010 at 5:01 am  Leave a Comment  

STERLING NOD

Holy Doodle, you guys.  I’ve just been nominated for a Sterling award for best supporting actor for Aldolpho in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE.  The Sterling is the Edmonton theatre award.  Their Dora (Toronto) or Betty (Calgary) or Jessie (Vancouver).  I’m so thrilled and honoured.  That’s so awesome.  This role just keeps giving me gold, just adding to my wonderful memories.   I’ll miss doing it in Calgary.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll live – cause my ass is going to Broadway.  LOL  But I’ll still miss it and my wonderful Drowsy family from Winnipeg.   I hope whoever takes over has as much fun as I did.

www.sterlingawards.com

Published in: on June 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment