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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The Adventures of Keith and Kevin

country-musicToday started with a great audition for Soho rep.  They’re doing a production of Marie Antoinette and were having an EPA, so I decided to give it a go.  There wasn’t anything in the show I was particularly right for, at least from reading the breakdown, but I wasn’t really wrong for it either.  And they’re a great company that does shows all year, so I figured it’d be great to be seen by them.  I did one of my favorite monologues by Bekah Brunstetter, and as usual, they loved it.  Not because they loved me, but her material is so damn good!  If you haven’t read her stuff, you need to!  I have a couple of monologues of hers in my back packet, and they always get a great reaction!  They’re not overdone, and if I don’t introduce the piece, giving her name, the casting directors always ask me what the piece was from because this woman can write!  She’s definitely on my Caffeinated Confabulation list (coffee confab, for short).

And the night ended with something that might just turn out to be new and exciting.  At the very least it’s new, so we’re halfway there.  My buddy Keith and I had our first rehearsal as a …ready for it…country music duo!  “What?  You’re into country music?”  Yup.  Time to come clean.  My mama raised me on John Denver, and while I don’t admit to it often, I’m a closet country fan!  People that have known me forever can attest to it, but anyone in the less-than-ten-years category might be a little shocked.  I mean, I live in Manhattan and I’m in musical theatre so it doesn’t exactly come up in conversation.  But behind closed doors, I “thank God I’m a country boy.”

I met Keith when a mutual friend suggested I coach him before he had an audition for the musical Once.  Believe it or not, he had an appointment, and it was his first professional audition!  He has a great job, a real job that pays you in money, and benefits, and other things I’ve heard of but can’t really grasp the concept of.  He’s not looking to quit his day job, as the expression goes, but he’s really talented, and our friend Kristin saw it, and submitted him for Once.

Long story short, we hit it off, and a year later, he starts a text conversation one night asking my thoughts on country music, and if I’d be interested in putting something together with him.  The next day, we had a list of the first ten songs we were going to cover, so tonight we got started.  He plays rhythm guitar and will take lead vocals, and I’ll be on piano and backing him up with some harmony.  And his girlfriend is a bartender for the Pig ‘n Whistle chain so the networking game might go faster than planned, and lead to an actual gig or two.  The initial goal is to work up 45 minutes so that we could open for one of the bands that regularly plays there, and just see where things go.

So who knows?  But I’m excited!  It’s definitely a refreshing and welcome change of pace!

 

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The Bonus Army

Layout 1Tonight was my second rehearsal for The Bonus Army, being presented in “The Gym at Judson,” Judson Memorial Church.  I haven’t posted anything about the show yet because, well, I don’t do a lot of things I plan on doing.  The best laid plans…

The Bonus Army is a fantastic piece of theatre, originally produced in 1976 with the Judson Poets’ Theater.  Rather than summarize the show myself, here’s the description printed on the show’s website:

In the dark early days of the Great Depression, in the spring and early summer of 1932, tens of thousands of unemployed World War I veterans and their supporters marched on Washington, D.C. They demanded that Congress, which had voted the war veterans a cash bonus to be paid in 1945, redeem their bonus certificates immediately, when they desperately needed the money. They called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force, but were known as the Bonus Marchers or the Bonus Army.

I auditioned for the show because they were looking for actor/musicians to play soldiers.  For the initial audition, I performed “Tell My Father,” from Frank Wildhorn’s The Civil War.  It’s a beautiful piece that I performed and over-performed any chance I got while in school at Ithaca College and Elmira College.  It’s not one I use often for auditions because it’s so damn depressing.  But since this play had “army” in the title, I figured I’d give it a go.  Oh, and mainly because the guy who auditioned right before me sang Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” which was my first choice.  So I made the director and musical want to commit suicide with a song so drenched with sorrow that they asked for a second piece–never a bad thing–that was an up tempo.  So I did “Louder Than Words” from tick, Tick…Boom!

I was called back to read sides, but since I couldn’t make the scheduled call, the director was kind enough to see me at his home in the Village.  We’re just getting started, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more soon, but let’s say we’re already having a lot of fun, and I can tell you that it’s going to be an incredibly unique and environmental theatre piece which the audience is going to love!

 

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