Master Class…Finally

mariacallasEver since my senior year of college, when I wrote my thesis on Terrence McNally, I’ve been wanting to play Manny in Master Class.  Today we just had our first rehearsal out at Music Theatre of Connecticut, and it was incredible.

The woman playing Maria Callas–holy sh*t!  She is intense.  We were just doing a table read and she was unshakable!  She was Maria Callas, head to toe.  If someone giggled at one of the humorous lines as she was delivering them, she would sharply turn their way and deliver the following lines right to them, as if they were a student disrupting her class.  She would not break.  It was mesmerizing.  I don’t know who she is or what she’s done, but she is unbelievable (and a little frightening if you were the one snickering).  I would have paid to attend the read-through today because it was a show, and she’s only getting started!

So now it’s time to get my act together.  This woman, Irene, was 90% off-book, and she never stops talking.  I have about twelve lines and I had to look down and read every single one of them.  I’d write more but I’m afraid if I’m not off-book tomorrow, Callas is gonna kick my ass!

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The New York Pops Education Launch

newyorkpopsTonight, thanks to my roommate Melissa, I was able to photograph the New York Pops Educational Outreach launch for their aptly named program, PopsEd.  I just posted some of the step-and-repeat photos on my photography blog, so if you’re interested, you can see them here!  I’d post them here, but it’s late and I start rehearsals tomorrow for Master Class!!!!

Ok, just one.  Here’s a group photo of the Pops Ed Ambassadors: Brian d’Arcy James, Kelli O’Hara, Ashley Brown, Rob McClure, Santino Fontana, Laura Osnes, Aaron Lazar, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and the New York Pops conductor, Mr. Steven Reineke.

New York Pops, PopsEd Ambassadors.  ©Kevin B Photography

New York Pops, PopsEd Ambassadors. ©Kevin B Photography

And now, the sun has gone to bed, and so must I!



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Flap heel heel spank heel toe heel

yaeltapToday was a pretty relaxing day, which is just what I needed after an exhausting weekend without much sleep.  I was able to sleep in until 10:30, getting my full eight hours for the first time in a long time.  My buddy Lee came over because he needed new headshots.  I did his last ones, and always have a great time hanging out with him, so it was definitely fun to catch up and get him some new shots (even if we did keep having to take breaks to let the rain fall).

After that, I went to Five Napkin Burger with my buddy Evan, who just got back from a whirlwind tour of shoes.  This guy NEVER stops working, so when he finally makes it back into town, we always have tons to catch up on.

Then it was off to one of my favorite weekly rituals: rehearsal with Ya’el Tap.  I auditioned for the group in January I think, and after a callback that revealed my gross inability to spot, I called my roommate to say “well, I totally blew it, but any time with tap shoes on is time well spent.”  And the fools let me in.  When I checked my e-mail later that night, there was a group e-mail saying “Welcome to Ya’el Tap.”  I waited for about thirty minutes for a follow-up saying “I’m so embarrassed.  I sent the welcome e-mail to the ‘better luck next time’ group.  Please disregard.”  But it never came.  I’ve been dancing with them since January, and am so thankful that Julie never owned up to her mistake and kept me around.

Not only do I get to tap for free (in NYC, with neighbors above and below you, you have to rent a tap-friendly space by the hour) but I have had a blast getting to know and dance with everyone in the group.  Initially, there were two guys in the group, but right before the show, the other guy booked a cruise ship, so since then, I’ve been the token male.  And I love it!  I’m so used to being the only guy in the tap groups I’ve been apart of, that it actually feels more comfortable that way.  Although there’s the occasional mass text before rehearsal saying “can someone bring me a tampon?” which I take in stride and add then add a witty remark.  But these girls are great, and it’s always a great way to unwind, share some laughs, and burn a few calories in the process.


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Posted in Tap

Trouble in Kansas City

kansas_cross_out_symbol_hand_towel-rfcc12a28c19f4cbfbcb95bd45487d923_2c81h_8byvr_324Well, it was a good, long run; 48 hours after my pledge to blog daily and I fell asleep without writing a word.  To make up for it, I’m writing from the LIRR on my iPhone.  If you’ve ever tried to write more than a short text or email on an iPhone, you’ll know how typo prone these suckers are, so I’m really going out of my way to make things right! And I refuse to be one of those clowns who uses the signature “please pardon any typos, I am sending this from my mobile device.”. That’s basically the same thing as writing “I wanted to get back to you right away, but I don’t care enough to watch what I’m doing. Deal with it!”

Yesterday started off with four hours of auditions for Oliver. A company I had musically directed for in the past asked if I was available to play the auditions for the kids coming in; the adults were scheduled for a later date. What does that mean? Four hours of Where Is Love! Apparently, a music teacher at an adjoining school taught all the kids in his chorus that song–and only that song– to help anyone wanting to audition.  And as much as I wanted to roll my eyes every time a little brat performer walked in, I kept it to myself.  First, I know how intimidating it can be to walk into a room full of strangers and sing a song; I still get intimidated and I’m 34 years old.  And secondly, these kids were much better than I was at their age, which is a post for another day. And actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably start a Blast From The Past category because there are some great stories I should jot down before the dementia kicks in!

Lots of kids, Oliver, blah blah blah.  You get it.

Then it was off to Character Man again.  A “friend” of mine came to the show, and as you can tell by the quotes, this wasn’t your typical friend.  In this case, someone I’m hoping will soon be more than a friend.  Everything was going great, until one moment, during “Trouble” from The Music Man, I remembered that my “friend” was in the audience, and had never heard me play piano or sing before.  I started to smile a little, thinking “I bet I look pretty darn sexy up here playing this Imperial Bozendorfer”  And in that very moment, I leaned into the microphone, ready with my backup vocals, and loudly proclaimed “Oh we’ve got trouble.  Right here in KANSAS city.”  Apparently everything wasn’t up-to-date in the Oklahoma/Music Man hybrid I was singing.  The rest of the number it was all I could do to keep from completely cracking up.

“Wait! This story has a moral.  All my stories have a moral.”  If you really want to try and impress someone, don’t!


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Character Man week 2

CharacterMan_image_for_emailToday started our second week of our two week run of Character Man in Rahway, NJ.  After having four days off, it’s amazing to watch an actor jump right back in without missing a beat, as if we just did a show yesterday.  I’ve got the easy job because my music is in front of me, so what I’m expected to remember is minimal.  But Jim has to carry a two hour show completely on his own, and he does so brilliantly!

And now that I know Jim so well personally, I appreciate his honesty with Character Man even more.  So many people attempt to write a show, a book, or a screenplay about their lives, and while I can’t say with any certainty, I wonder if how they portray themselves is authentic, or how they think they should be portrayed.  With Jimmy, what you see is what you get.  He’s exactly the same whether he’s entertaining dinner guests, performing on stage, or fight rush hour traffic through the Lincoln Tunnel to get us to the show on time.  And that is precisely why audiences adore him.  Character Man really is an honest and intimate glimpse into the life of a man who has spent his entire life in the theatre, as well as every facet of the entertainment industry.

I love when I can just sit on stage and listen to stories while I wait to play the next song.  This isn’t a show where I’m merely listening for a cue line to bring my hands to the keys;  I’m on the same journey as the audience who is hearing this material for the first time.

I’ll be cat sitting for Jim and Steve for two weeks in November, so hopefully they’ll leave a little bit of their creative energy behind for me to soak up, as I’ll be writing some new material myself.

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An apple a day…

apples_optimizedIf you were to look at my planner–and yes, I still use an actual, paper planner–you’d see a lot more entries there than you would here.  Like a lot of well-intentioned bloggers, I haven’t been keeping up with posting as much as I should.  Sometimes I think that I’ll wait until such-and-such happens so I can report about it, or I’ll decide “rather than give a daily report on a shoot, I’ll wait until the project is finished,” and then I’m overwhelmed with where to start, and I put it off and eventually forget about it.

So I’m trying to commit to a daily schedule, where I can just get in the habit of summarizing the day right before I go to bed.  Good, bad, or boring, I think it’s a great routine for me to start.  It’ll be like a nightcap…unless, of course, I’ve already had too many nightcaps and can’t remember my log in credentials.

Generally, I try to do something creative every day, so the posts should still be relevant.  And even if not, part of what I’ve been missing is the day-to-day stuff that we all struggle with: paying the bills, finding the time and ability to schedule as many auditions as possible, networking, social media, wondering if I should tell my OKCupid date that I’m too sick to meet up because I can’t afford a cup of coffee until Friday, all while trying to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.  It’s exhausting, and definitely worth writing about.

My favorite blogger, Ken Davenport, made a commitment to himself to blog every single day, and he is far busier than I am; he’s an incredibly successful Broadway producer who has kept that commitment for years, much to the delights of fans like myself.  Me?  I’m just an incredibly successful Broadway dreamer, so my excuses pale in comparison.  He’s also the chap whose idea I stole borrowed for crossing out text when I’m feeling witty.  (He’s not English, in case you were wondering.  I just felt like calling him a chap.)

So here’s to blogging a little bit every day.  And yes, I’m raising a glass as I type.

Hopefully my next post won’t be weeks from now, starting with “The best laid plans…”  (and if so, I blame Candy Crush)

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