Defying Misery: How WICKED Got Me Through the Election of Donald Trump

Every now and then I get the opportunity to play piano for the Wicked auditions in Los Angeles. I haven’t done it too often, but it struck me this week as I played 16 bars for nearly 200 singers, that the last time I did was a year ago.

A year ago. Election week 2016.

I remember it vividly. I played two days that week. Monday and Wednesday.

When I left on Monday, the mood was exuberant. “See you after we elect our first female president!” I probably said leaving the room, skipping. Everything was possible. I skipped everywhere back in those days.

Sure Hillary wasn’t always a Popular candidate. People feared and mistrusted her simply because of who she was. Some even called her a witch. But though she was guarded, wonkish, and at times inaccessible, one thing she definitely was not is green. She had a lifetime of experience. When it came to running the country, I knew Hillary would be a Wizard and I was so excited to vote for her.

Then Election Night happened. Continue reading Defying Misery: How WICKED Got Me Through the Election of Donald Trump

WAYW: Loglines

This post is part of a series on Writing About Your Writing. Check out more posts here.

A logline is a one to three sentence summary of the main elements of your story told in an emotionally engaging way. Think of it as your ultimate elevator pitch. The term logline is mostly used in the Film/TV industry, but I find it useful for any type of dramatic, narrative storytelling.

Loglines are incredibly useful when you’re trying to market a show, pitch an idea, or apply for grants and awards. The better you can succinctly communicate your story, the easier it is for people to jump on board.

But Loglines can also be useful for you, the writer, to help shape and heighten the arc of your characters and story. Let’s dive in. Continue reading WAYW: Loglines

Writing About Your Writing (WAYW)

One of the most important skills for a writer is being able to write ABOUT your writing. Ironically, this is often one of the hardest types of writing for writers to do, and many – if not most – do it badly.

When writers don’t know how to write about their writing it suggests a very damning truth: She hasn’t done the work to craft a strong, compelling, or emotional story. This isn’t just happenstance. Being a good writer and being able to write about your writing  are tightly connected. In other words: good writers have an awareness of how their writing works. Bad writers either don’t know, or don’t care. Continue reading Writing About Your Writing (WAYW)

Michael Jackson Lives

In a recent post about Race and the New Generation of Musical Theatre, I gave a shout out to Michael R. Jackson, a musical theatre composer/lyricist whose work I recently came to know, and who was telling stories about people of color in a way I’d never seen before.

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I had originally heard of Michael when I saw a song from his largely autobiographical musical A Strange Loop performed as part of William Finn’s Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Should cabaret at 54 Below. (Well – truth be told I think I originally originally heard of him when the pop-star Michael Jackson died, and he was forced to distinguish himself on Facebook as Michael “Living” Jackson, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I then got to meet him as we were both participants of the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at the Goodspeed Musical Theatre this past January. There I got to see more of his work on the show come to life.

A Strange Loop is, how shall I put it…graphic. Continue reading Michael Jackson Lives

Mind-Hacking the Audition Process

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The relationship between actors and the casting process can sometimes be antagonistic, and that’s super unfortunate. If you find yourself ripping your hair off over the audition/casting process, and feeling resentful toward casting directors who “always bring you in, but never cast you,” consider these 3 mind-hacks: Continue reading Mind-Hacking the Audition Process

Craft is for the Brits!

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An article in The Atlantic caught my attention the other day with the headline The Decline of the American Actor. Being an American Actor myself, I must do what I can to stay up-to-date about my decline. Wait…come again?

First a quick digest of the article: author Terrance Rafferty makes many assertions that bumble about throughout the piece. The most important, in my opinion, is the comment that (in relation to their more successful British counterparts) American actors have less appreciation for training and technique. Continue reading Craft is for the Brits!

Post-Apocalypse Now

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A cloud of smoke rises following an airstrike by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, northeast of Damascus, on February 5, 2015 (AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

There’s an ad I often hear on NPR featuring a film critic saying, “I can’t wait for the real post-apocalyptic dystopia to arrive so we can finally stop seeing films about it.”

Every time I hear it I think:hodgins-yes

I so often see synopses for new films or tv shows or plays that take place in this post-apocalyptic landscape, particularly written by younger, (I’m just guessing here, but…) white, male writers.

I totally get the impulse. It’s hugely dramatic after all. What do you do after the worse possible thing has happened? You fight the man and reclaim the day! Does matter how vague, contrived, or illogical the details. Hell yeah! Tune in! Continue reading Post-Apocalypse Now

OSF Breaking Down Barriers

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival proves once again that it is America’s foremost regional theatre company with the launch of its facilitator training program on inclusion and equity issues called artEquity.

As organizations continue to seek new ways to connect with their changing audiences, it will become increasingly important for artists and organizations alike to learn how to break down barriers of gender, race, and class. The problem is that these barriers are often invisible to the artists and organizations.  That’s why this type of training is so integral to making real and lasting change. Continue reading OSF Breaking Down Barriers

Last Chance for BWAY BOUND

Tonight through Sunday is the last week to see Broadway Bound at La Mirada.  The audiences have been absolutely wonderful, and the critics have only fantastic things to say about everyone.

 

“[As Stanely and Eugene,] Ryback and Alda are ideal…Ryback embodies Stanley’s astoundingly unshakeable faith in, and readiness with praise for, himself and Eugene as great comedy writers.  Sweating out their first assignment for radio, Ryback’s Stanley is absolutely driven.” ~OC Register
mtn8pu-b781175088z.120130924115535000g3u1g38e0.1“As Stanley, Brett Ryback provides the almost frenzied ambition and creative anxiety against which Eugene’s own creativity blends or bumps. He must always vibrate with urgency, and Ryback makes that both believable and highly entertaining.” ~Long Beach Press-Telegram

 

The show is a delightful, heartfelt experience and I would love for you to get to see it.

To purchase you may call the Box Office at 562.944.9801 or order online.

 

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Photo Credit: Michael Lamont

 

TKD in Pasadena

999354_10102468071421906_1529618435_nThis week the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program (PMTP) is producing my musical THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre @ Pasadena Playhouse!

PMTP is a unique performing arts training organization where students are encouraged to embrace musical theatre as a method of self-exploration to enhance their personal growth and professionalism.  I have been associated with them for many years as a director, writer, and musician.  They are a fantastic organization, with an incredibly talented group of students, and run by my good friend Ryan Scott Oliver – who also directs this production!

Go see the show and support local arts education!

THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER plays Thursday July 25th at 7pm | Friday July 26th at 7pm | Saturday July 27th at 1pm & 6pm | Sunday July 28th at 12 noon & 6pm at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre @ The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101)

Get tickets here or by calling 323-250-3150.