March 20, 2011
Our first day in the theater. We tried on another dress – also see-through. We checked out the minimalist set, with its fantastic, stretched-out sails ready to be lit in all manner of rainbow lights. We sang, we shuffled off to buffalo, we obsessed over infinitesimal differences in spacing.
I munched on a bagel sandwich in the wings during a break, missing home but also feeling so at-home. Then our stage manager/lighting designer/set-builder ambled across the set, taping the platform while his infant son Lucas dangled from his chest in a Baby Bjorn. And I thought about my own baby, and how he woke me up before five and refused to go back to bed, only to collapse on my chest 30 minutes later after crawling in circles and poking at all his toys. For a moment I felt split in two – Mommy vs. Performer – but for once it didn’t hurt, feeling split like that. I knew my children were having a blast in the park with their daddy. And I was doing the other thing I love most, next to mothering. I think those two versions of myself are getting better at living in harmony.
Now if only I could figure out the harmonies on some of these damn songs…
March 19, 2011
Well it’s official – I cannot organize a flash mob, rehearse for a show, wipe runny noses, get up in the middle of the night, and stay up-to-date on my blog.
For the record – the flash mob was an amazing experience. I felt – lifted. I think maybe many of us did, while we wiggled and danced and grinned and pointed up at heaven (I shall not apologize for the cheese-factor of that move). It really felt like Jude was watching and laughing. We put a lot of love out into the universe, and most importantly, everyone was thinking about Jude.
One of these days I’ll post a video and talk about it more – the whole experience deserves more than a dashed-off, sleepy post.
Also for the record – my wiser, more experienced mother-of-two friend PROMISED me that Juice would start sleeping through the night at nine months. I mean, I think I even remember it was a blood oath. But did Juice sleep peacefully through the night last night? No – he woke up four times. FOUR TIMES! Granted, it’s very hard to be annoyed with him for long, he’s so giggly-wiggly lately. But no – I take that back. It’s very, very easy to be annoyed at three in the morning. After my show is over, and after we gently guide Moo through the tragedy of bidding adieu to her night-time pacifier when she visits the dentist next month, this boy is in for some tough love. I demand more sleep!
Other than those updates, I’ll jump right to the present:
Our show opens in four days.
Moo turns four in five days.
Moo’s birthday party occurs in six days.
Party: “Come as Your Favorite Character” theme. We’ve been so excited about Moo’s first party with actual friends her age. And at first the theme seemed such a brilliant idea – perfect for Moo, who’s coming as Star Song (a pony). But as I wrote each child’s name on the invitations, I began to wonder – would our theme actually drive people away? Would these parents shudder at the idea of having to come up with some sort of costume? So far only three kids have replied. I’m worried that Moo will be heartbroken if so few of her classmates come – she’s been looking forward to this since August.
Birthday: Moo’s big day coincides with the second night of my show. Not ideal – but she’s decided she wants to come see the show that night. And there just happens to be a point in the show where someone is invited up on stage – guess who that’s going to be? I’m hopeful the extra attention will make her feel extra-special. Because as Rosalind said, everyone deserves to feel truly special at least one day every year.
Show: My costume is see-through. I accidentally spit in T.A.’s face. Two people cried at rehearsal today. Michael nearly ruptured a disk in my back when we foolishly tried to tango as if we had any clue what we were doing. We haven’t had a single run-through, and I’m still not sure of all the lyrics and harmonies. My silver sparkly shoes haven’t arrived in the mail yet. Of course, with a transparent costume, I suppose people won’t be looking at my feet anyway.
All that, and I’m still have the freaking time of my life.
February 26, 2011
On Wednesday, rehearsals began for my new show at Desert Foothills Theater. We’ve had rehearsals every day since, along with: Moo’s first parent/teacher conference (she prefers playing in small groups), Juice’s helmet appointment (Hallelujah, he’s done!), many many household chores utterly ignored, several panic attack near-misses as the flash mob’s first rehearsal approached, one memorial service for Judy’s husband’s father, and one flash mob rehearsal.
This has been some kinda week.
Show rehearsals are going well – just a small group of five, and we’re all on stage almost the whole time, so we have a lot of work to do. I got the first glimpse of my costume, which I’d describe as Classy Cotton Candy Disco Queen. We’ve learned lots of new harmonies and started staging the opening numbers. My role as “assistant choreographer” means I can’t space out, and I try to remember every incarnation of everything we do so that I can help clarify the movement if needed, while at the same time anticipating what she might need me to do next. That sounds exhausting, but I love it, because I think, at least in the director’s eyes, I’m pretty good at it.
Our flash mob rehearsal went very well, although the turnout was less than I’d hoped. I think everybody had a pretty good time, and everyone learned the steps and looked great doing them. But in order for my vision to really come to life, we need about three times that many people… my hopes are high for next week’s rehearsal.
Tomorrow – rehearsal again and Desert Foothills Theater’s Oscar party. Our table has an “Inception” theme, so in attempt to cobble together a sort of sleek, Inception-esque suity outfit, I purchased jeggings yesterday. I actually own jeggings. Not sure how to feel about that.
I’m exhausted and I miss my little ones. But I’m doing good things. And now I’ll treat myself to a black out bar, a glass of wine, Castle, and see if I can convince my gorgeous husband to rub my back for juuuuuuust a few minutes.
November 8, 2010
November 8, 2010
Yesterday we moved from the rehearsal space to the theater, and we finally got a glimpse of our set. Um, there are STAIRS. I mean, I knew, in my brain that there would be stairs. But these STAIRS reach quite high, and have no rail, and are of rather uneven height, and EEK! Did I mention I’m supposed to run down them to my shrieking daughter? Did I mention I’m supposed to run down them while wearing 2-inch heels? Or are they 3-inch? They feel four inches high when I try to run down rail-less stairs, in heels, while attempting to act (that part’s not going so well). Haven’t broken anything yet. I remain hopeful.
But besides fear-of-stairs, our set is pretty cool. Our Macafee house, and all its furniture, packs inside its own little box, just like Moo’s Fisher Price playhouse, and as we start to wear our costumes and set lights – well, it’s starting to look like a real show!
Yesterday we rehearsed from 10:30 to 7:30. (Lots of standing around, being lit, and nervously eyeing STAIRS.) Tonight we go from 6 to 11, with costumes and makeup. I shall attempt to tease and spray and curl my hair into something akin to June Cleaver’s hair.
…Why do I suddenly have the urge to bake cookies and make Herbie a cocktail?
November 5, 2010
Just like it felt rude to eat cookies at Judy’s funeral reception, it feels rude to switch topics to a discussion of flitting about on stage, dancing and singing. In fact, it feels rude to flit about on stage, period. And yet I am able to enjoy myself – have fun, even – and then feel guilty about it later. The fact that I am able to have fun at all says that I am doing fine, and therefore please redirect any prayers you may be saying for me toward Judy’s husband, and maybe to Rosalind, too, who was even closer to Jude than I. But from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all your kind words.
So it feels rude to write about my daily adventures on stage, but then I remember that Jude faithfully read my blog, even though I think sometimes it was painful for her to read about all my family activities as things got more difficult and painful in her own life. And I also remember that she sent me an email two months before she died, after I auditioned for “Bye Bye Birdie,” which simply said, “Congratulations! I’m so very proud of you. Love you.”
So I’ll keep going.
The show opens in one week. I felt so strange at the beginning of rehearsals – the regular paralyzing apprehension, of course, with worry about Jude, and worry that the director was unhappy with me piled on top.
Our director has turned out to be this remarkable combination – nurturing, encouraging, challenging, and demanding at the same time. She didn’t even blink when I told her what was happening with Jude, saying, “When you have to go, just go.” She sent me out the door with a big hug the night she died, and didn’t mind when I was missing from rehearsal for a whole week. She’s a pretty special lady, and a talented director.
In fact, I think we’ve got a pretty great show on our hands. Great energy, great choreography, and even some Broadway-caliber performances. Yes, I can be a mature adult and say it – the woman cast in the lead is AMAZING, and a seriously nice person on top it. She’s perfect in the role. And she has a very compelling story herself, which I just discovered. But I shouldn’t share that without asking her first.
We’re heading into tech week, and I’ll definitely write more as the show tumbles toward opening night.
When I started this blog and announced my intention to get back on stage, I think Judy may have been the least-surprised person. Even back in high school, Jude had unwavering faith in my talent. It’s like she always knew I’d be back on stage and was just waiting for me to figure that out for myself. She wasn’t well enough to ever see me back on stage. The day after my audition for this show, I visited her in the hospital. I told her about my audition, and she asked me to sing my audition songs for her. She had other visitors besides me, and I demurred over and over, feeling embarrassed, and finally she gave up asking. I just felt silly – I didn’t sing songs to Jude – we sang them together. She had a beautiful voice.
I really should have just sung the damn songs.
Much later, when I’d already said everything I needed to say to her, I sat next to her and held her hand and sang song after song. I don’t really know if she heard me.
I hope so.
March 25, 2009
Let’s see – we don’t have costumes for the second act yet, I lost my skirt in the middle of a song, I ripped up another skirt, broke a globe, forgot my prop glasses, hit all the wrong notes in most of the songs, and couldn’t remember any of the choreography.
AND I forgot the Advil. Not a good night.
To top it off, today is Moo’s birthday. Moo is turning two and I can hardly even keep my eyes open, much less celebrate her the way she deserves. Instead, I’m dragging her to a promo for the show during the day, and I won’t even see her at night.
Yes, yes, she has a robot party to look forward to. But I want to feed her cupcakes and sprinkle confetti over her head all day long.
Since I can’t do that, I’m letting her have chocolate for breakfast.
Happy Birthday Moo!
March 24, 2009
Last Night’s Lessons:
1. Last night was our first night with lights, and it hit me for the first time what a dramatic switch this is from “Kiss Me Kate,” for me personally. In Kiss Me Kate, I was in the background, happily doing my thing and happily watching others in the spotlight. This time, the spotlight is literally on me. At first, it freaked me out a little, but then - ohhhhhh I basked.
2. Wireless mics = I don’t have to sing loudly! I’m so used to trying to belt as loudly as I can, I don’t know if I’ll be able to adjust for the mics. Luckily, Genius Sound Man Tom will adjust me accordingly. Still haven’t been brave enough to go to the bathroom while wearing the mic pack yet…
3. It is impossible for me to have any kind of expression on my face whatsoever during the two harmony monsters, “Cabaret” and “There Goes the Ballgame.”
4. Also, I don’t know what the heck kind of expression to have on my face while holding this pink ukelele during “Me and My Baby.” (Get it? It’s not a baby, it’s a ukelele! Get it? Get it? Me neither.) So do I go with daffy amusement? Utter befuddlement? Paranoid psychosis? Do I really believe this is a baby I’m holding, or am I just being ironic?
5. I am really blind and very likely to fall over repeatedly in the dark wings of the stage. Why do I not wear contacts?! Oh yes, because they are stupid and annoying and I hate them.
6. Don’t hold that note too long!
7. Don’t slow down during that verse!
8. Do NOT start on the left foot!
9. Wait for everyone else before you stride on stage and start singing!
10. ALWAYS BRING ADVIL.
March 23, 2009
Tech week, that glorious stretch of frantic freak-outs leading up to opening night, began yesterday. It was our first rehearsal on the stage – the first time we got to see the theatre and stage where we’ll be performing (and roller-skating). I got there early, trying to look my very best as a personal favor to Mary, who called and requested that I wear something nice, comb my hair and put on some lipstick, so that the costume designer might be convinced that I am not, in fact, a 12-year-old girl. So I wore my highest heels and ruffly sexy tank top and blotted on some lipstick, and Mary gave me a wink that I think meant she appreciated the transformation.
Then we tried on costumes for the first act (love my sexy-back magenta leotard) and played around with some hats and props, before beginning the terribly slow slog through each number, re-blocking and getting used to the new space.
We’re all getting a bit twitchy. We want to just get on with it, get this show up and going, while at the same time we’re desperate for more rehearsal time. Mary is terribly worried about one of us getting hurt in the roller-skating number, and as a result I am relegated to the bench for part of the number, and I don’t know whether to feel disappointed or relieved. We still haven’t staged the finale, but at least I’ve learned the German I have to sing in that number (I mean, I’m probably butchering it, but only my brother- and sister-in-law will know!). I’d love to rehearse “All That Jazz” about a million more times, but at least now there’s an actual piano (as opposed to a keyboard) for Ricky to lift me up onto, and now I’m consumed by the desire to drape myself across it a la Michelle Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys, but I don’t think that’s what Mary had in mind.
Mama, to Ricky: “Have you ever lifted a girl up onto a piano before?”
Ricky: “Well, not onto a piano…”
Tonight: LIGHTS! And wireless mics, and more costume fittings, and more re-staging, re-blocking, re-choreographing and re-configuring, until hopefully, on Thursday night, it all explodes into an orgasmic delight of musical theatre.
Or something like that.
March 23, 2009
Thought the blogoverse might like to meet my esteemed cast:
…As rendered by Annoyingly Over-Talented Cast Member Ricky (Is it not enough that he can sing like, ohh someone please name a famous opera singer, and has a face like Gumby, if Gumby were really attractive?).
From left to right, that’s Ricky, Julie, Blaze, me, and Duckie.
Duckie really doesn’t look anything like Jon Cryer in this particular artistic interpretation, and so, henceforth (and just to be really confusing) he shall be known as Norm.