Sunday, February 12, 2012

Most Guys Have No Lyrics Left...

I think I am set to write another blog. All "writer's block fighting substances" are both within arms reach and consumed. Now. Where to begin...?

Everything's ready! See you on March 1st!

Cry-Baby Foizey

...You just got Punk'd. SRSLY.--- Scott posted something today on his FB. He said something about "18 days away from opening." Ummmmmm...Yikes. Now, I'm not "worried" in a sense that I don't believe we are nearing being ready or that we won't be. I'm merely shocked at A.) how time has flown and B.) how it's hit me that in the next two weeks things are going to fall into place. And I am excited for that. I WANT MY LEATHER JACKET!...(In my trailer, please). The set is on it's way in, providing us a home for our alternative John Water's Brainland. I have now tried on a few articles of what, soon, will make me look way cooler than I am in real life (Thanks, Amy). And I have met the "sound guy" and the "lighting guy," (for lack of knowing their names). You know what all of this means?...I'll tell you:

Given the talents I have come to know in this show, even from day 1, we have always had a "good show." But now?...Now we are dangerously close to a good production. And what's exciting about that is, for us as a cast , rehearsing and adding all of these new elements makes the show as fresh to us as our first read thru. In a sense, we get to experience this show from square 1. Once again the show becomes different every time we rehearse (because it was kinda stagnant for a while. Fun. But stagnant. Blocking is a tedious but necessary process). Now we get to experience the show in it's entirety and in succession like you will when you come see it (BECAUSE YOU WILL COME SEE IT!!). I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do...And I think you will.

You just bought tickets....It's called sales. (ABC-Always Be Closing, suckers!)

SO!...As you can see, there are definitely rainbows and unicorns all over what's about to hit the stage. Good times, happiness and fun. But, I've got work to do. Personally. I'll write to tell you about what's great and awesome. But as a reader, I like honesty. So here it is...

I'm having a tough time harnessing Cry-Baby's character for any length of time. There are good parts. Parts that are visceral, honest and accurate. But they seem to stick around only for a few moments. I can't put my finger on what is yanking me from my focus. But, it needs to knock it off. The times I feel most like CB is when he's pissed. For some reason, I don't know why, CB is most honest when he is angry. Mainly because, I think, he is angry. And there are parts of me that are angry. Now I just have to find the parts of me that are misunderstood and in love. I think adding these elements I mentioned earlier: costume, set, props, sound etc.. will help to keep my mind where it is supposed to be. When people look like they are in the same world that my brain is supposed to be in. When the "mini stage" is more than for corners composed of chairs and the mic I sing into is chrome and dope. I know adding these things takes time...

But it's time.

Basically it comes down to this: We have a great show. But, now it gets exponentially better from here out...Hang on. I'm going to "smoke a square." (*insert think time*)

Okay. Now that Baldwin is good and dead, I can get into what I am most excited about.. I am amazed at what Scott is able to both see and fix from behind the show sitting at a keyboard. But, I think I speak for all of us when I say, I can't wait for him to get in front of us and work the shows most intimate details and dead space that aids in our/my dropping focus. For him to see what the audience will see, more so than he already does. I hear he works wonders at this point in the process and I'm anxious to see what newness is still kept secret after almost two months of rehearsal. It's in there and I can feel it.

The choreography is cleaning itself. The harmonies are both rediscovered and earning their place. The other characters are exciting and learning things about themselves. And, the cast is growing hungrier for a responsive house.---> All ingredients for a good review. We got to move into the performance space a few days sooner than expected. This helps, too. The way that New Line operates and thinks is A.) smart, B.) inviting, C.) exciting, D.) raw and E.) original. I feel fortunate to get to be a part of such a great company and in the company of such great people. I'm also fortunate to get to say that this, officially, will not be my only New Line show. I won't pull focus from "Cry-Baby," but I am anxious to just mention that I am very much looking forward to "High Fidelity." Word.

  • Lenora: Stop breaking my character focus, you hilariously crazy biotch.
  • Pepper: Get your tubes tied.
  • Allison: I read your blog. You're your own worst critic. You're totally owning this character. Remember what we talked about, the other day? If you're uncomfortable, you're doing it right.
  • Mona: Nice face! Good lookin' out.
  • Dupree: Teach me how to do the splits.
  • Baldwin: If I wasn't required to hate you, I would go for you over Allison. Humor is the way to a man's heart.
  • "Director Guy": I knew I could trust you.
  • Whiffles: You are so whiffly. It's fun knowing you off stage. If the audience only knew...
  • The guy who plays "Everyone Else": Who else could do what you can?...I'd genuinely like to know.
  • Wanda: Keep praying. It looks good on you.
  • Jennifer (who I just nicknamed "Moment Maker"):  Your moments are a couple of my favorite. I'll never get over it. And that's awesome.
  • "Everyone Else" and Allison: Let's get moving on "Drop Dead Fred."
  • Jared: Keep up the good work. (Who's Jared?)...He's my friend. Don't worry about it.
  • Mufasa: You inspired me.
  • Santorum: Stop it. 
  • Nicholas Cage: you're welcome to "stop it," too.

I think that's about it. 

My wine is gone,
Mr. Walker


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Big Boo Hoo

"Now it's time to get funk-eh."

It's been a minute since my last blog. Whoops! So. To get caught up...:

We've at least started learning all elements of the show: choreography, blocking and music. So I can see it coming together and we're still a good month + out from opening. There have been several experiences that I have had in theatre that ended up falling into place in the last week of rehearsal. Which is frightening. I'm not saying that we don't have work to do...But it's fun to see, so attainable, the potential of this show from so far out.

Tangent: I shaved my mustache. I was saying leading into the process that I was going to keep it until the last possible minute, then shave for opening. I was rehearsing "A Little Upset" choreography last Sunday (which is SIIIIIAAAACK!) and I was slipping into character. I was moving my knees and it felt right. The hair I had slicked back was falling down, and I could feel a few strands tickling my brow. My hips were just doing what they wanted...which, in the mirror, looked right. It felt right. I brought my hands up to my face to snap 2 & 4.


It sucked me right out of that world. It's amazing to me how delicate being in character can be sometimes. It reminded me that I wasn't ACTUALLY this guy. This awesome guy. I was me, pretending to be awesome. Then I realized that with such an aesthetically exploited era/movie/person I have to "look it" to "be it." This may not be the case with other shows/characters. But there are some shows that just demand it. So much of who these kids are, is how they dress/walk/dance/look. They were idolizing. They had to look the part too. So I shaved it. Out of respect for my cast mates, too. Clearly, I had an issue embracing my character while staring into my handlebar; maybe other people would too. Especially with all the making out there is, in this show. You'll thank me "Allison."

The other night while rehearsing blocking for ACT I, I was measured for my costume. This just in: My Legs are Fucking Out of Control. Why didn't any of you tell me that I looked like a freak. Cry Baby had long freakish legs though, didn't he? Yeah. You know what? Yes. He did. Moving on...I got to put on a leather jacket for most of rehearsal. It's like some sort of magic cloak or some shit. I felt different. I'm pretty sure my balls dropped just a little further, my biceps grew in diameter, I got a little angrier, and I remembered that my motorcycle needed an oil change. I can't wait to be in full costume.

I'm stealing that coat.

Naturally, being so encouraged by the talent in this cast, I want things to be ready to go. Like, now. You know what I mean? I know it's going to be phenomenal. It's made me impatient. You know when you move into a new place and all you have is a couple of lawn chairs, an inflatable mattress, a shower curtain and some chips? And you just want to go out and buy all this amazing shit to spruce it up... But then you realize it'll happen in time. This is kind of like that. Except, we have the decor already. We're just taking the time to design. I'll try not to wish it away. I'm having fun. 

What I'm most impressed by (no particular order):
1.) Robin's ability to capture an era and emotion so perfectly in her choreography.
2.) Scott's ability to see something others don't.
3.) Dowdy's comedic timing and advice.
4.) Taylor.
5.) Ari's memorization and blog writing skills.
6.) Marcy's pregnant belly.
7.) How fun everyone is.
8.) The power of a mustache.
9.) Terrie's creepy little smile when she gets all "Lenora Crazy."
10.) "Aaaaaaawwwww YEEaaaaah! WWhoooooo Weeeeee!" (To the tune of Tutti Frutti)

After almost 4 hours of dancing last Sunday (A Little Upset), we get to go back to it tonight to finish it. That song is a BEEEAST! I'll stretch this time. For those of you that don't know: "A Little Upset" is the song that CB sings in jail after hearing on the radio that Allison is going to get married to the guy that framed him (Baldwin). All because Lenora is a crazy bitch and had to go telling Allison that she was pregnant with CB's kid. What a ho. Anyway, the choreography is brilliantly masculine and fun to do. It makes it easy to look upset. That song/choreography could stop the show. It's pretty sweet.

I can't wait to be memorized. I want to start doing things that can only be done without a script crutch. I still laugh, and incredibly hard at every rehearsal. I can't imagine this show without anyone who is in it. That being said...It really does break my heart that Joel won't be joining us as the judge. He was awesome and did the part so well. I wish him well in his surgery/recovery. Hopefully I get to work with him in the future.

I love the friends that I am making in this show. It's such a blessing and a perfect welcome to the STL theatre community. Thanks. I'm growing increasingly anxious to let an audience into our world. Until then? ...Let the fun continue.

P.s- I know who Ari's crush is. We're friends. He tells me things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Now We're Talkin'.

Ba bi da ba bi da ba bi da ba bi da ba bi da ba bi da baby! Bid a baby! Bid a baby! Bid a baby! *huge breath*

WHEEEEW!...Good gravy.

SO, last night we made it through the last of the music! I am writing this blog while  listening to "Money Honey" by Elvis for the, let's see...1, 2, 3, 4....24, 96....1,000th time? Starting to feel a connection with 'ol CB.

Last night's rehearsal was a lot of fun. I've found that in pretty much any artistic facet, one of the best things you can do for yourself to better your character, dance, sound, style, timbre, painting to observe. It's a fine line between "being influenced by" and mimicking, though. That's why I almost always rather play characters that exist only in someone's head. There is no wrong answer, and you don't have to forfeit your artistic expression by resigning yourself to a criteria or a "right/wrong" standard of performance. This is an interesting endeavor for me because CB is most definitely his own man. And a "character." A really fun one. But he is very clearly influenced. So, I have to be influenced by Cry-Baby who is influenced by someone else. The more parties you add, the more room you leave for miscommunication. It would be so easy to lose the authenticity through the multi-layer distance between my performance (today) and where it all came from. That's without having mentioned that his world exists in 1954 and I'm about as far removed as you can get from that era. It'd be easy to make him a cartoon. A "characature" of Elvis. But I can't. That's not what he is. He's a human being. Influenced by people just like I am influenced by Jim Carey and/or Kevin Spacey. The easiest way to capture that, I think, is to observe and find the admiration. I have to want to be Jerry Lee Lewis the same way and as much as Cry-Baby does. Which should be a blast (and is so far).

I'm starting to pick up on the little nuances of the casting choices and the interesting dynamics that make this cast so perfect and fun for this show. I'll explain:

1.) The Teardrops---> They, all three, look as though they belong to the same group. They look to be friends (in this world and Cry-Baby's): Short(ish), dark hair, spunky... But the unique sounds that each of them bring to their characters makes for a perfect distinction and identity. Marcy (Pepper) has a sound as big as a house. Huge voice. Sarah (Hatchetface, haha) has that Joplin rasp that makes you wish you smoked cigarettes. And Crissy's (Wanda) voice is perfectly sweet and pure. How cool.

2.) The Whiffles---> All of them have the perfect "blending barbershop" voices. Their timbres match. They bring an authenticity to it, too, by enjoying singing it. :) You can tell they have a good time. Because they sound brilliant!! And sounding great is ALWAYS fun. I can't pick out their voices individually, like I can The Teardrops. And that's the way it should be. It's perfect.

Drapes always want to stick out. Squares don't.-----> Fact.

Fuckin' Squares.

3.) The stark difference between my untrained voice and "Allison's"  trained (and beautiful) voice is really going to help paint the picture of this story (audibly, of course). There is an inherent difference between our voices as Ryan and Taylor. So buying into this "other world" will be a little bit easier because that difference isn't manufactured. It's organic. And fun.

As a cast I feel like we are starting to develop a personality. And we're only starting week 2 of rehearsals. I'd say I feel good about what's happening here, but that would be an understatement. Give us a couple of months and you'll have to pry my leather jacket from my hands during strike.

Now, I'm going to watch a little "Jailhouse Rock" before heading to rehearsal tonight for our all inclusive music review. Let's see what we managed to sponge up over this past week! Looking forward to working on the story, soon.  :)

Watch your ass,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby-Comma-Cry 101

It begins! Welcome to my Bloggy Blog. Let's see how I do about keeping up with this thing...Thank you, "Cry-Baby," for popping my blog cherry. Hurts so goooooood.

I'll start with this: I feel honored. These people are incredible. Everyone involved with this show is so fun, open, talented and perfect for their parts. So, thanks to New Line for a warm welcome to a, seemingly, awesome chapter in my life. :)

I am writing this the night before our third rehearsal so I'm getting a late start. Quick Highlights:

1.) Zak Farmer is funny.
2.) Scott's enthusiasm is contagious.
3.) The music is awesome!
4.) I'm nervous as all get out.
5.) When we sing together, as a chorus, it feels awesome.
6.) The Whiffles are sounding like one of the best Barbershop groups I've heard.
7.) This show is funny.
8.) I'm nervous as all get out.
9.) Ari (Our Dupree) is also from Iowa. And he's a show stopper. Very talented.
10.) We're all stoked!

So, NOW...I just got back from our third rehearsal, because I  procrastinated posting this bitch. The Teardrops sound SIIIIIAACK!

I'm just a teeny tiny bit frustrated with my vocals. Not anything anyone is doing wrong. Not even sure that I am doing anything wrong, really. I just have a sound in my head for Cry-Baby and I am still trying to find HIS voice. I don't think he should sound like any other character I have ever played, because I've never played a character like him. I'll be listening to a lot of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis over the course of the next few weeks (which is a great thing to feel like you have to do). I feel that, maybe, I have a lot of "rock" in my voice so far, but not enough "-abilly." CB's voice is hiding somewhere in my gut and I'm super anxious to find it. "Come out, come out wherever you are."

Judging by these first few rehearsals, everyone is exceedingly capable of their roles in this show. That's all anyone can ask for. I'm running out of things to say because my experiences have been limited to only 3 rehearsals, but I'm looking forward to having pages of things to write about, soon. Cheers!