Reviews

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!

Jeff Recommended

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.

Opening Night Under A Rainbow Flag

In life you plan, train, practice, rehearse, re think, adjust, tweak, change, and prepare as best as you can for your moments.  Whether that is a presentation, a game, a test or any other number of important things.  Sometimes you are nervous and scared, other times you are excited and ready, but no matter how much preparation you do, eventually, you have to take a deep breath and go for it.

Fortunately, for myself, I am in the latter position in regards to my opening night feelings for our performance of Under A Rainbow Flag.  I have been involved with this show for about a year now and having seen the changes it has gone through, both in script/composition as well overall feel, I am confident and proud to say that this show is ready to be performed in front of an audience…hopefully a large one.  All of the people in this show are exceptionally talented and that isn’t limited to the actors.  The director, designers, musicians, stage manager, choreographers…everyone has brought an incredible amount of passion and dedication to this project.  We are ready.  Hopefully you will be able to join us for a show, we run for 5 weeks and I would love to see you in the audience.  I will also post reviews, good or bad, if they come out.

TICKETS CAN BE BOUGHT HERE

UARF Poster

Post Princess Bride

As you wish, to every single person who came to the show, tried to come to the show, lives outside of Chicago and told me that if they could they would have come to seen the show! It was a wonderful smashing success and I really could not be more pleased with how amazing the show turned out.  We took many pictures during the show and I will try to post some of those here once I get copies of them.  To all those who weren’t able to make it I do have this little treat for you:

Working with Dave Gonzalez (and Nick Toussaint, Inigo from our Saturday show) was really fun because this man is not only an incredibly talented actor but the dude really knows how to fight well.

So. Much. Fun. If any of you were ever thinking of getting me a gift (for some reason) you don’t need to ever ask me what I want because the answer is simple: Fighting gear.  This includes swords of all kind, daggers, knives, gauntlets, gloves and anything else that could be used in a stage combat scenario.  One last time, to all the people who were involved with this show in any way I love you.

Princess Bride Opening Night

What a wonderful opening night my friends and I got to experience last night!!!  The show went quite well but in the aftermath of the performance we started doing a little bit of reflecting and the things we realized were remarkable:

  • First rehearsal was on January 17th
  • We only had 16 total rehearsals
  • Of those 16 rehearsals we NEVER had the whole cast together
  • 4 of those rehearsals we did with a guest director
  • We did our Cue to Cue rehearsals without our light board operator
  • We had a stage manager for the first 11 rehearsals but not the last 5 and not for the run of the show.
  • The first time we ran the show with the entire cast was the opening night performance…

Not to be excluded are things like some of our ensemble members went above and beyond with contributions to costume, props and set work.  On Saturday night one of the ensemble will be stepping in to play the role of Inigo Montoya. Our Count Rugen is also running the sound for the show. We are going to end up meeting our ticket sales goal and make money for Edge Youth Theatre…The list just goes on and on.  I know that I want to work with all of these people again in the future and I hope that it happens.  Another sold out show tonight and hopefully we will sell the last few tickets for Sunday to make it a sold out run!  To all those who see the show and to all those who took the time to look at my website, as you wish.

Westley and Buttercup
Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

Ladies and gentleman I have been having an absolute blast the last 4 weeks preparing for this weekend.  Edge Professional Theater company will be performing a stage adaptation of The Princess Bride as a fundraiser for youth theater and I am fortunate enough to be playing the role of Westley.  The entire process has been a labor of love and here is a little movie trailer style preview of the show

Movie trailer on facebook 

Tickets are still available and I would love it if every show was completely sold out so that we could help raise as much money as possible for children’s theater.  The group of artists that I have been privileged enough to work with is incredible and I truly hope that I get to work with each of them again.  Originally I thought that fighting left handed was going to be the most difficult part of this show but I was mistaken, I guess that having two left handed parents means I have some of that skill somewhere in my DNA.  The most difficult task has been focusing on my life outside of this show because I honestly just wanted to keep working on Princess Bride everyday.  Come see the show and remember, every single one of you that reads this, “As you wish.”

Accountable

Following another weekend of keeping quite busy with performances in the evenings, speech and debate tournament on Saturday, rehearsal on Sunday morning, closing matinee and then strike for The Rover…I suddenly find myself with some extra time on my hands.  Now that Rover has closed I have Thursday-Satruday night and Sunday afternoons free.  What to do with that time….hmmmm.  It would be so easy just to take that time off for the next couple of weeks and slowly try to figure out what I would like to do.  But that is exactly what I am trying to avoid doing, wasting a day.  I need to hold myself accountable for my time and wasting a day is something that I am realizing that I don’t want to do, but more importantly, something that I can’t afford to do.

This week I have been listening to a mix of motivational speeches that thedjraz posted on 8tracks.com. Most of the speeches, but certainly not all, are given towards athletes but the same principles can be applied towards a career in the arts.  Becoming a professional actor requires a similar level of insane dedication that it takes for those who work towards becoming professional athletes.  Currently I have 18 more days of P90X to complete before I reach the “end” of the program.  That being said I will go ahead and say that I am already looking forward to the second round.  I’m looking forward to the pain, the struggle, the discipline that is required to survive the next 90 days, and I know that I will be looking forward to another 90 days after that.  For the second round I will be adding more daily goals, not just working out everyday. I need to sing, practice piano, read, run monologues, study movies, study other actors, see shows, network…I need to work.

The best part about all of this?  I am the one who gets to make it all happen.  I get to look back on my life when I am older and I get to see this period in my life as the time that I really started to figure out what it actually takes to become a successful person.  That I held myself accountable and was able to make things happen.

Humorous Interpretation

Speech and debate played a very big role in my high school life and continues to be a large part of my world to this day.  I loved the competitive aspect that was brought into the world of performance and nothing helps a young performer more than doing just that, performing.  A Lot.  Though I am a coach now and no longer perform in speech and debate I am lucky enough to have a copy of the piece that I performed my senior year of high school.  In an effort to avoid losing that copy accidentally due to a hard drive crash or the DVD hard copy getting lost or destroyed I have finally uploaded the video on YouTube! Yes I am on a bit of an uploading kick as of late but it makes sense considering that I have done a lot of work in the past that friends I have now haven’t ever gotten to see.  So for those of you who want to see what Nick looked like one week before he graduated Niwot High School look no further! I present to you Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes by R.L. Stein.

 

Weekend Catch Up

Ahhhh I have fallen behind but I will catch myself back up…in one post!

Streamwood Sabre Speech Shindig: The kids did great!  I was so proud of the students who placed in the tournament because it was a perfect representation of hard work = results.  The kids who have been showing up to practice, working with coaches, working with their peers, stepping out their comfort zones, challenges themselves etc…all of them have shown great improvement and a lot of them placed in their respective events.  If you are interested in the specifics for the tournament you can see the overall team scores as well as the individual results on an amazing website called Speechwire. I look froward to more hard work from all the kids as we approach the first holiday break of the year.

 The Rover: Our second weekend of the show went quite well.  On Saturday and Sunday we had good houses of about 20~28 people each show.  The energy of the production was not lost due to our 3 day break, in fact I think everyone was rather well rested and energized from some time off.  The second weekend of a show is alway very interesting to me because typically the actors and crew have just spent about 7+ days of constructing the set, doing a cue to cue rehearsal, 2-3 dress rehearsals, 1-2 previews and then the opening weekend of the show.  After having been immersed in the show for that solid week+ I am always curious to see how everyone comes back to the production.  Thankfully this group of actors is very talented and professional.  I am excited for another 8 wonderful shows with these crazy goof balls.

Titus Andronicus: On Monday evening I attended a production of Titus Andronicus produced by The Right Brain Project (RBP) which my friend Zack Meyer was performing in. The show will be running for one more weekend and I would highly recommend that you GO SEE THIS SHOW!!! First off I love Titus Andronicus, I think that it is a brutally beautiful piece of work and when staged correctly can be exceptionally powerful.  The RBP does a good job with this production, the acting is solid, the scenic and costume designs work together (love it when that happens) and the fact that the amount of fake blood used in the show warrants a poncho for every member of the audience is awesome.  Check out their website for purchasing info, tickets will most likely be going fast for this closing weekend. Also, Zack was awesome.

That isn’t everything…but it is a lot of things and that’s good for now!  Till next time.

Only 2 days

Now that it is Monday morning I have the opportunity to sit, breathe and look back at this past weekend. Wow. An awful lot happened in only two days. Saturday was go go go from when I awoke till I fell asleep on Sunday morning! All three auditions seemed to go well and hopefully I will hear back from one or more of those. I had been told by two of those projects that they would be letting people know in two weeks, so now I will just be keeping an eye on my email. The treasure hunt at the Art Institute of Chicago went really well. Honestly it is a great job that reminds me a lot of being a camp counselor. I am just supervising an activity for a group of people, the only difference being that they are adults not children. But the same rules apply, if I am excited, they get excited. If I am having fun they are more likely to have fun. Simple observation, but very important.

The biggest event on Saturday was the opening of The Rover!!! Our first rehearsal was back on Monday, August 27th and then 62 days later the final result is one that I am very proud of. We will be performing the show Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Our closing performance will be on Sunday, November 18th. Both shows went well this weekend and I am hopeful that we continue to have a great time performing this production. We did have some reviewers come see the show and I will post the reviews as I find them.

Following the show we went over to one of our cast mates houses for a costume/opening night party.

20121029-142658.jpgThe theme was Peter Pan so I got myself dressed up as the one and only Rufio!!! We had a tinkerbell, peter pan, hook, smee, wendy and a few loat boys as well. The evening was a blast. It is a wonderful cast and a good group to hang out with.

Following the show on Sunday I had a first rehearsal at Gorilla Tango for one of the films I had auditioned for on the 12th of October (got cast!) which went really well. The director cast 6 actors (4 men 2 women) whom he will be working with to organically create a script and then film. I really had a good time and think this project definitely has some good potential based on the director and other actors.

Now sure that right there could have been the end of my weekend but no! Post rehearsal I biked down to Pilsen to see some of my friends in a production of The Kindly Ones. The script was written by my friend Bohrs Hoff and it is an adaptation of The Eumenides. The story is the first ever democratic trial conducted my the Greek Gods (and siblings) Apollo and Athena. We the audience act as the jury in this trial of Orestes for the murder of his mother Clytemnestra. Every audience member was given a white and a black stone which would be used to determine the final judgment. Apollo is representing Orestes and defending him because he deeply loves the mortal. Athena is representing the Erinyes as well as summoning the spirits of the dead that would be the witnesses (Iphigenia, Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra) in the trial. Overall I enjoyed the show, was very impressed with my friend Bohrs for writing that script, and proud of the work all my fiends did. Good physical and vocal work as well. Post show we went and had a taco (delicious) and then I biked 8.5 miles into a headwind to get home. What a weekend.