Where to begin? I’m not even sure what I want to say in this blog post. I know I have to cover the shows I have seen recently and give my opinions because they are so highly anticipated, but honestly I feel tired. As much as everyone thinks I live this wonderfully glamourous life, honestly there are some days when I leave work and head home to Jersey and crash. Regardless of that, I feel that the other evenings in my life are quite exciting.
The theater this week consist of two shows. The Mother F**ker with aHat and The Book of Mormon. This is probably my most controversial week of theater thus far, seeing shows that I wasn’t crazy about but that others raved about. I guess this just goes to show that we cannot always place our decisions in the hands of others. There is something to be said about making our own decisions.
So, casting. Yes, I still love it. And yes, I am scared to death about how I am going to go back to school finish my last year and then find a job. Its funny, casting jobs seem just as difficult to obtain as acting jobs. Oh this silly thing called life and the roller coaster ride of it all. I’ve enjoyed working on the various shows and learning how each show is its own beast. You do things one way for one show, and another way for other show. I will say that I have enjoyed coming to work not know what to expect and going with the flow. Perhaps all of this never knowing what to expect at work mixed with staying out late at shows, and meeting new people and making friends is what has worn me out. What that be surprising? I think not! But hey, having to adapt from No night life in Provo- to a super “everyone has one you need to figure this out and have one too” night life in NYC is exhausting. And look people, I live in Jersey. You may be able to hop on a subway and ride however long it takes for you to get to your house and my ride into Jersey may only be 10 minutes, but I still have to arrive at Port Authority to catch it and it runs on a schedule. Others can just melt into a subway station and be on their way. I digress, because I love being able to leave the city and not have to deal with it all of the time. I mean I love it, but there is something to be said for being able to escape.
In my down time, I am able to go through the binders of our past projects and see the audition notes. The office is lined with shelves filled with these three ring binders and occasionally there is a binder that grabs my attention. While I was looking through a rather popular one recently, I found out that an actress (whom I love and think is brilliant) was not the first choice for a part that she played previously. In the notes the composer and director liked another actress better. I continued to follow these two ladies through the callback audition notes, and it looks as if the casting came down between the two of them. In the notes, the actress whom I adore, had the note “The Hungriest.” It continued on to say, “So passionate and vulnerable.” A decision had to be made. One was the logical and the other was one that your gut just told you to go with. If there is something I have learned thus far, it’s that you trust your gut. It’s what makes or break you, but its also that unique thing that makes us different and exciting. The show Mamma Mia! has had a long run, and part of that is attributed to them casting by following who their gut tells them would do the best job. How do we translate this into our lives? I would begin by telling everyone to follow what they feel and never loose that hunger. The people who are best to watch on stage are those who are full of life and take risk. Go, take a risk! Live your moments. Be hungry for excellence and let yourself be governed by honesty and vulnerablitly. I promise you that if you do, things will never be dull.
Lessons learned thus far. I’ve learned that it is handy to have me in the office because I am able to move heavy things and reach high shelves. You may laugh at this, but its true. Last week I accompanied Tara’s husband Eddie, to the offices Manhattan storage unit to move some old files out of the office. After filling a freight elevator with all of our stuff, we put it in a U-Haul and began the trek. It wasn’t to bad, traffic must have been rerouted fro something that day because it was really heavy in awkward areas and almost non-exsistant where its usually killer. Anyway, I helped with that and he said that he may use me to move some other stuff. I enjoyed being able to get out of the office for a bit, dressing down, and just changing things up. I really like getting to go out and run errands. The chance to escape being inside and get outside is golden! I like being able to walk around.
Speaking of walking around, I got sent on an errand for Tara this week to go and pick up a gift the cast of A Minister’s Wife had left her. When I got to the theater to get it, it was in a Tiffany’s bag. Now, for those of you who have never been to Tiffany’s their bags are a unique color almost this light blue teal mix and have the name “Tiffany’s” embossed in small print on the outside. Super classy. So, this gift was at Lincoln Center (65th St) and I work on 41st St, so instead of taking the subway I decided to walk back to work –flaunting the Tiffany’s bag. Oh yes, I love the looks you get when people realize what you have. The first look is of wonder and amusement, “What is in that bag?” And then the look turns in to this angry jealous, “Why does he get that bag?” But, it ends in this hopefull look of “Hmmm, a big strapping man holding a Tiffany’s bag? What a lucky girl!” Needless to say the walk back to my office was very enjoyable. I found myself laughing and really just relishing the sunshine on that sunny day. Too many people are unhappy, live a little. Its good for you!
The Mother F**ker with a Hat: This play starred Chris Rock, and as you can probably guess from the title its about someone in a hat. The overall story is about a guy who has been recently parolled from Jail and is trying to figure out where his life is. The plot goes through his relationship with his girlfriend and her having an affair with his AA sponsor (Chris rock- the lovely gentleman in the hat). Very dysfunctional. As you can guess from the lovely title, the main word used over and over began with a F. So, what did I learn from this? I learned the power of words and writing. I left with a reaffirmed appreciation for those who have such a broad vocabulary that they can find other ways to express what they think and feel rather than having to resort to common curse words. Its degrading. I also found that after a while it gets old. You can’t spend an entire show throwing around one word. It just doesn’t work. Also, following the show, the lead girl came out and saw to high school aged boys standing on the sidewalk, all dressed up to be at the theater, and asked if they had seen the show. Following their, “Yes,” she quickly told them never to use the words they had heard on stage and to avoid any situation like that at all cost. As I stood there listening, I just wanted to say, “Then why produce something like this?” Many wil say that the theater also has a responsibility to show us other aspects of life and various situations, but it did not have to be done in this way. If you have to caution those who have seen it, I feel that artistically you have failed. Perhaps that is not the case, but still, I like to be proud of my work and things I see. And I wasn’t so much for this one. On a note about the performance, the show is physically and emotionally demanding. And I saw it on a Wednesday evening. The cast had already done one show that day, so when I saw them, they were pushing. Everything seemed forced because they needed to keep going and they were already exhausted. They screamed most of the play and you could see the veins throbbing in their necks. Not the best of times.
The Book of Mormon: Well, what can I say? There were moments that I really enjoyed and laughed at, and there were moments where I was offended – but, isn’t that the point?!?!? Have you ever seen an episode of the television show Family Guy? Well, imagine them as Mormons, and ta-da, you would have a good portion of the musical in your head. It was silly, and stupid, which was what they were going for. Many of the songs were mocking other popular songs from musical theater. The song “You and Me –but mostly me” is about the struggle that missionaries have being equal companions and the song was written in the style of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked complete with the same vocality and raising of the hand at the end. That part killed me. I laughed. I also enjoyed the opening montage of Elders ringing door bells and the reactions they had from the people who opened the door. It brought back some of my own memories. The music was witty, the choreography was very Mormon( I swear that one of the numbers they did had the same choreography we used in Children of Eden- I’m just saying), but some parts were straight up vulgar. One thing I will say is that I was grateful the writers obstained from desecrating anything that we find to be extremely holy (aka temple worship) but they did have a field day on the whole Joseph Smith story. But not to worry, they straight up attacked Jesus Christ – so, if anyone is a diehard Christian , you know the ones I’m talking about, they would have been mad! Its interesting how outsiders can look at us and find funny things, but at the same time, the Mormons do a pretty good job of making fun of themselves. I mean there is a whole market in Utah based on LDS films that spoof the culture. So, here’s my thought: I wonder what would have happened if the Mormons would have written their own musical. Just a thought. But one maybe worth exploring. If you like South Park, Family Guy, any kind of vulgar animated television series, this is the musical for you. Is it the best thing I have ever seen? No, but hey – there is a lot of talent on that stage and I am grateful to be able to have a show employing so many people. Besides, I waited in line for 5 hours just to stand in the back of the theater, so its extremely popular and making bank! If your debating if you should see it or not, I leave it to your discression, but you have been warned, its not for the faint of heart.