Episodes 8,9 and 10. I fail…but hey if you are reading this you might as well check it out.
Episodes 8,9 and 10. I fail…but hey if you are reading this you might as well check it out.
well here we are on Thursday…with the events from Tuesday. I know that I had originally thought I would be uploading 5 episodes a week but I actually think that it will be more like 6 a week. Sunday is the only day that we really have “off” in the sense that we only have 4 Sunday Matinee performances throughout the whole year. We do get Tuesday mornings off, but I know that I will be busy with meetings and personal rehearsals on those days. That being said…here we go!
Nice holiday weekend. Managed to get myself down to the Detroit Jazz Festival, out to Royal Oak for Arts, Beats and Eats, spent time with my new classmates and with my wonderful GF. Oh yeah, I also got cast in the role of Stanley Kowalski in our upcoming production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Check it out.
Hello hello. In all the chaos of trying to get the videos edited and out to the inter webs I completely forgot to post the second video on my own website! Woof. So here we go, episodes 2 and 3 are now available for your digital consumption. If you are interested in following along for the journey make sure you like the video, subscribe to my YouTube channel and if you are feeling up to it go ahead and share my videos with whomever you want.
Alright folks, lets take a head first dive into my life and explorations in the world of 21st century Theatre. Like, comment, subscribe, follow, share on all social media if you will. Hopefully you’ll give it a look.
Certainly I am not the first person to consider that theatre is the actors medium, not film or TV. Fran Montano wrote about it in 2014, Kevin Spacey expressed it at a Bollywood panel, Rutger Hauer, and many more have states this thought before it even occurred to me. But as an aspiring actor it is something that has been gnawing at me more and more. My third year of graduate school we will be taking an “Acting for the camera” class and attempting to put together a basic reel that I will be posting on this website as well as submitting to agents in hopes of getting film auditions. It is important to note that film (including commercials) can obviously be lucrative. A single national commercial can net an actor a years worth of income in a matter of days. Additionally you could find yourself in the position of someone like Stephanie Courtney, better known to most of us as Flo from Progressive. She is fiscally set for the rest of her life. But she didn’t go to LA to become the face of an insurance company. Stephanie worked her tail off and was a company member for The Groundlings out in LA because she was and is an actor. She performed frequently and wrote often to hone her comedic and performative skills, giving herself the tools necessary to walk into an audition room and become the character known as Flo.
This is where I currently train, The Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, MI. I got my BFA from CU Boulder and then spent 5 years in Chicago doing store front theatre all over the city as well as a touring production that went around the state of Illinois. I turned 30 this summer and at this point I am 12 years into this profession.
The theatrical stage is where the Trade of acting is actually practiced. Not in front of a camera. Good editing and cinematography, along with some nice underscoring and foley work, can make a mediocre actor look fantastic. On the flip side those departments can also ruin good acting. Great film requires many masters in many different fields to come together and collaborate on a single artistic vision, the acting is just one part of that. The stage, especially if we are talking about minimalistic design elements, is where you can see someone truly Act. Add back in masters of light, sound, costume and staging and the theatre can be a place that is more powerful than the cinema. It’s just damn hard to pay the bills. So go to the theatre, watch someone working on their trade and recognize that they do this for well over 40 hours a week and for very little financial compensation. Especially in smaller theatre spaces. In my last post I talked about how Concert’s Are Kicking Theatre’s Ass and I think that one aspect of the live concert that people enjoy is the fact that even though this music is recorded and I may own the album, or even just the one hit wonder, the live performance of the song that I am seeing right now is unique and will never be the same again. That is something that Theatre needs to embrace and lean into in my opinion. Hamlet will be performed for another 100 years, but tonights performance is perfectly unique. Did you see it, or did you watch a movie that you’ll be able to watch any other night? So go see a show, if you’re lucky you’ll see a master before everyone else. And for my own selfish interests, come see a show at the Hilberry.
Pete Miller wrote a great blog post two weeks ago, posted on 2AMt blog, that addresses a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now; Do we need more theatre in which audiences take an active role?
The driving force for me regarding this topic is the same as it is for most companies, how do we get more people to come attend a show at the theatre? Looking at other forms of entertainment is a logical place to start. I rule out TV, movies and the internet from this topic because they are not live. Yes I know that some live arts are broadcast over TV or in Movie theaters, but seeing a live show versus seeing something live being broadcast is not the same. Broadcasting live events is just one way to attempt generating additional revenues. The main contenders that I see for comparison are dance, music, opera, musical theatre and concerts. My conclusion is that concerts are kicking everyones ass.
When I attend a concert the crowds are alive and actively participating in the shows. Whether that be dancing, singing, talking with their friends, recording video for snapchat/instagram/facebook or simply watching/listening to the show. Audience members leave the concert having done almost anything that they found themselves motivated to do during the course of the show. Whatever the art onstage inspired them to do. As Pete Miller stated in his post “The most frequent research and practical finding is that millennials are hungry for experiences” concerts are an artistic outlet that certainly gives its audience that option.
Of those musical artists I think the theatre community should look at the live shows of Lady Gaga and Pink, among others, to see how they are constructing a narrative in their shows. They are not simply taking their albums and performing the music live but rather using their music as a component in a larger show. However, not all theatre companies have access to incredible sound equipment which allows an audience member to yell and cheer without disrupting the whole concert for everyone. I have no definitive answers in terms of what the theatre can do to include its audience more in the creation of the art, but I think it is something that is certainly worth exploring, I know that I will be trying to spend more time in that gray area as I continue my artistic journey.
The Underpants, adapted by Steve Martin in 2002 (originally written by Carl Sternheim in 1910) is a German farce featuring 7 of the 8 third year MFA actors. The play is being directed by Scotty Arnold, an incredibly talented musical composer based out of NYC, Stage Managed by Brian Haven, ASM by Jayme Beerling, Costume Design by Mary Liz Velesano, Scenic and Props Design by Emily Wilemse, Lighting Design by Natalie Colony, and Sound Design by Dan Morency.
Opening night is Friday, September 29th at 8:00 PM at the Hilberry Theater. Plan on being there because it is going be a blast.
The promotional performance at Sidetrack on Monday night for Under A Rainbow Flag went very well. People were quite receptive to the music and we handed out a ton of flyers after we sang our two songs. Hopefully that will translate into a few more butts in the seats for the remaining shows. Additionally we have been getting some buzz, good and bad, with some of the reviews that have come out.
Paul Thompson from Broadwayworld.com wrote us a wonderful review, and I had the good fortune of meeting him on Monday night after our preview. We also got favorably reviewed in Chicago Critic as well as Chicago Stage Standard. Thought it isn’t a full review Best Gay Chicago called us a “Must See” and 5 pink crowns. The review from Time Out Chicago wasn’t as positive as we were hoping for but the issues they took came from the script and the score not the actors. In addition to being Jeff Recommended we are also Chicago Reader recommended!
I am exceptionally excited with the feedback we have been getting and I can’t wait to get back to the show tomorrow night!
What an absolutely amazing opening weekend. I am so proud of my cast mates, our director, musical director, stage manager, designers, musicians….every single person that has been involved with Under A Rainbow Flag since the first staged reading. Thank you all so much for the hard work that you put into the show to make this opening weekend such a success.
Our performance on opening night was by no means perfect. I know that I missed a couple dance steps among other slight hiccups (that only the people who have been with the show would notice) throughout the night, but, and I kid you not, they laughed they cried. We were all having a very fun time and the energy was fantastic. Everything you could hope for in an opening night. Overall I was pleased with my performance but I am also continuing to look for and make new discoveries with my character. Paul Gibbs is an interesting man.
This morning when I found out that we were Jeff Recommended I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to get to the matinee performance. The Recommendation means that 7 judges saw the show opening night and enough of them liked enough things about our show so that now the remaining 20ish other judges will come see the show. Now this does not mean we are Jeff Nominated, we won’t find that out for a few weeks, but I will certainly be posting about that if it happens.
Tomorrow night, we are performing a promotional segment of 2 songs at Sidetrack during Musical Monday. We will be going onstage at 10:30, right in the middle of busy time…peeps got connections I guess. Then hanging out, drinking and singing show tunes. Nice.