Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prepping the driveway for spring

Incredible weather today! Probably got close to 70 degrees and sunny (hard to believe it'll be December tomorrow!), so when I got home I decided to plant the crocus bulbs I meant to plant a month or more ago. All 60 (24 "giant" crocuses and 40 regular ones, assorted colors) went into the dirt down the center of the driveway, so it should look nicely and colorful come March.

The mazus reptans I planted in the driveway this spring is hanging in there, barely. At least one of the 4 plants has spread, but not one of them still looks green in the center. I'll see how they get through winter, but for now I'm thinking I won't be planting any more. I'll probably just move some vinca or pachysandra there; heaven knows, I've got plenty of vinca in various beds around the house and in the back yard.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Scorecard so far

Since August I've auditioned for 5 shows:
  • Urinetown: blew my audition song when the accompanist started before I was quite ready and I let myself get flustered. Not cast.
  • Patience: called back for a lead when all I'd requested was chorus - very encouraging! Ended up in the chorus.
  • Ruddigore: called back for a named chorus part despite having auditioned when I had a cold; ended up in the chorus.
  • Into the Woods #1: called back for a trio of moms, still waiting to hear. (At this point, I'm assuming they've contacted all the leads and are starting on the "thanks but no thanks" calls or e-mails.)
  • Into the Woods #2: not called back; haven't heard anything yet, so I'm assuming I'm not cast.
That's 5 auditions and 3 callbacks - pretty darn good. Obviously I'd be happier if I'd been cast, or been offered something other than chorus, but it's encouraging.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

G, I love it!

Moogie "assigned" me a letter - 10 things I love that begin w/ G. So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Great news on Mom's latest scans!
2. the great Guy I'm married to
3. my Girlfriends
4. Grass between bare toes
5. Green stuff instead of concrete out at the cabin
6. Gardening - I'm a haphazard gardener at best, mostly just going on spring & fall planting binges, but I still love to see things grow.
7. the Group I sing with at church
8. Gettin' down to music - any excuse to dance!
9. a Generous spirit - seems that's a common trait of all my favorite people
10. Getting a letter instead of junk mail, bills and the like

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thoughts on auditions

I've now finished all my November auditioning. I'm in the chorus of the 1st show I auditioned for this month and am waiting to hear from 2 companies about their respective productions of Into The Woods. Company #2 is having their callbacks Monday night; if I haven't heard anything from them by tomorrow night, I guess I'll assume I'm not cast. Which is OK, because there are lots of other May & June shows to audition for.

I don't envy the directors of either company. From what I saw on Sunday night and the latter half of Monday night, company #1 could easily cast the show 3 or 4 times over in some roles. Company #2 could do an entire under-20 cast, or do one cast each with Broadway- and classical-style voices, or .... Before I left company #2's auditions Tuesday night, I wished the director a happy Thanksgiving, wished her luck with the casting and told her I didn't envy her the process.

Very interesting to see what kinds of auditioners two different companies got for the same show. #1 got a wide range of ages, from children who looked as young as 6 or 7, through teens and 20s, straight through to a few who might have been in their 60s or even 70. I was interested to note that the youngest auditioners sang their pieces a capella and the few who forgot their words didn't get flustered or upset, just started over, or la-la-la'ed until they got back on track. One of the youngest auditioners looked young enough that I wondered if she'd be able to read some of the bigger words in the monologue everyone had to read, but I guess she'd heard it often enough from others by the time her turn came around that she didn't seem to have any trouble.

Perhaps because so very many people turned out, they took auditioners in groups of 10: each would sing his or her audition piece till all 10 in the group had sung, then each of the 10 would read the monologue, then all 10 would get up on the "stage" (platform about 4" above the floor) to do the movement combination. In one or two cases when someone auditioned a capella, the MD would ask them to sing Happy Birthday w/ accompaniment, and in nearly all cases the MD asked for a scale starting at F. After each group finished these 3 events, the 2 directors would put their heads together and ask a few to stay on. That was when the directors would have different combinations of people read the same scene or two.

By contrast, most of the auditioners for company #2, at least the night I auditioned, seemed to be high school or college age. As I was filling out my paperwork, I heard them tell one hopeful that there were no children in this show. (#1 is apparently creating things for a chorus and children to do, while #2 is doing it with the casting pretty much as written.) One young man (middle school age?) did audition, but he's already had a few major roles with the company, so perhaps they're letting him try for Jack.

These auditions went much more quickly - they heard 45 or 50 people in a little over 2 hours, so that we were all dismissed by about 9:15. But then, these were run differently: the MD let most people get through only the first chunk of their audition piece (in a few cases, he warned the singer that he'd be starting somewhere in the middle because the first section didn't show off enough range). He then asked for a scale, then a top, bottom, and middle note, not necessarily in that order. After all of us had sung for the MD, we were herded onto the stage (yes, all of us at once!) to learn the movement combo. This one was closer to choreography than what company #1 asked for, but still not terribly complicated. After the choreographer had us all go through it a few times, she then had half of us do it, then told off 8 names at a time so she could watch us do it "for real". And that was it - no one read; presumably that will happen at callbacks.

It was interesting to see what kinds of songs the younger auditioners picked. One girl picked a song much too low for her voice; the MD had her do a couple of different scales and lectured her gently on choosing a piece better suited to her voice. (He can be dictatorial but is generous with advice and nurturing young talent.) I think a lot of them just pick something they like and know well. Company #2 got a much higher percentage of male auditioners, too (most of them in that under-20 group), at least the night I was there, and I've already mentioned the difference in the ages of the auditioners. And while both companies wanted to see how well we moved, only #2, which has presented some impressive production numbers in previous musicals, has enlisted a choreographer in addition to the stage & music directors.

Before I left for #2's auditions, TW asked me how many of the folks would be there who'd also auditioned for #1. I told him I wouldn't know until I got there. I did see a few familiar faces, but not all that many; I guess the 2 companies are just far enough apart that there isn't that much overlap in their audition pools.

The biggest thing to be thankful for!

Mom got her detailed scan results on Tuesday. Everything is getting better, chemo is definitely working, but the biggest and best news is that the tumor is a little less than half the size it was when they first discovered it back in September!!! So instead of taking November off and doing 3 weeks of radiation in December, Mom will be doing another 3 rounds of chemo (round 4 was last week). She's pleased because she's been tolerating the chemo pretty well, and relieved because the radiation carried a risk of liver and kidney damage. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Burning the candle at both ends

So last night I went to callbacks, which were held on the heels of regular auditions. They didn't start having us read until 9:15 or 9:30 and didn't get to me (there were lots of us!) until 10 or 10:30, and I didn't sing until 11 p.m. And what was first? The highest lick, of course - Jack's mother, which tops out at a G. Not in my comfort zone, and I was fighting congestion (colds just hang on forever), and hadn't sung since I'd warmed up 2 1/2 hours earlier. I just hope those top notes weren't too screechy. I didn't notice any hands clapped over ears, and no one fled the theater, but maybe they were just being polite. ;) So I got to sing some exposed high (for me) notes when I was tired and no longer warmed up, then didn't get home until 11:30. I'm tired!!! Callbacks continue tomorrow night, and they've already warned us it could be "a coupla weeks" before they get back to all of us. Given the flocks of people who auditioned, I can see where it will take a long time to send all those e-mails or make all those calls.

One more audition tonight. I'm sincerely hoping that I'll be able to leave as soon as I've sung my piece so I can come home and get a little sleep before we hit the road at 0500 tomorrow. zzzzzz

Monday, November 20, 2006

audition, callback, audition...

Busy, busy, busy! Auditioned for Into the Woods w/ company #1 last night, was one of 14 asked to stay to read after everyone had sung & done the movement combo (dbl grapevine in each direction, 2 jazz squares, then skip - mindless & fun). The best part was that the accompanist would get bored easily between singers and would start playing - showtunes, Beatles, that sorta thing - and people would start humming or singing along. First time I ever came across a sing-along at an audition! Anyway, they called me back, so it's off to their little (like 20'x40' - very intimate space!) theater again tonight to sing & read some more. Tomorrow I audition for company #2's Into the Woods, but first I'll need to pack, as TW and I leave early Wednesday morning (maybe 5 am) to spend Thanksgiving at his mother's. Can't wait to get there and just sit for a bit - no alarms, no deadlines. Heck, since her kitchen is tiny and we're in a hotel (I"m allergic to the dog), I don't even have to cook.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That's one wait over.

Got an e-mail offering me a position in the chorus for Ruddigore. Sigh. Part of me is rather chuffed that I made it to callbacks at all, if only for a tiny role, given that I auditioned w/ a cold, but still.

On my way out of callbacks last night, I was asking a friend whether he was called back for Old Adam, to which he replied that was about the only thing he wasn't called back for. I started teasing him about being called back for, oh, the lead soprano. He chuckled and said the role he really wants is the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in the Gondoliers (he's a bass-baritone). I jumped on that, said that sounded good, and could I play the Duke? So that's the plan - if I ever hold a G&S sing-in, I'll program Gondoliers (which I would anyway) so he can sing the Duchess and I can sing the Duke. Maybe I should ask him to regrow his mustache for the occasion; it was such a lovely one. :D

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Mom had CAT and PET scans yesterday, but won't have any results until Friday at the earliest. She's not worrying about the wait - not like September, when we were waiting and waiting for her biopsy results - but I'm impatient for her sake and want to know now how much effect the chemo has had on her tumor.

In other waiting news, I'm also waiting to learn how I did at Ruddigore callbacks tonight. Did I get the named chorus role I was called back for (along with 6 others)?

And I'm setting myself up for yet more waiting: two different companies are doing Into The Woods come spring and I plan to audition for both - one company on Saturday, the other on Tuesday.

Perhaps the cynics were right.

Here we are, one week to the day after the mid-term elections, and I notice the gas prices are already starting to inch back up - paid 2 or 3 cents/gallon more yesterday than a week ago. Wonder how long it'll be before we're back to paying around $3/gallon again?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November audition #1

My first of a slew of November auditions (G&S's Ruddigore) was Thursday night, so naturally I woke up w/ a sore throat Wednesday; sure sign that I was getting a cold. By Thursday night, despite zinc lozenges, orange juice, hot tea, etc., I had to go with the lower of the two audition pieces I'd prepared. I didn't hate how my voice felt, but I wasn't terribly pleased, either. However, I must have read fairly well because I did get invited to callbacks on Tuesday. Not for either of the roles I wanted, but for one of the two named choristers. Zorah & Ruth are both tiny parts; Zorah, a soprano role, sings one or two solo lines and ends up w/ the tenor. Ruth sings only w/ the rest of the chorus and has only one or two spoken lines; a very tiny part. The director is considering giving some of Zorah's singing to Ruth, depending on who's cast and their ranges. Zorah being a soprano role, her stuff sits a little high for me, but maybe at my voice lesson tomorrow we can figure something out.

I've been called back for small roles for this company before (Bridesmaid in Trial by Jury, Hebe in HMS Pinafore) but wasn't cast. Part of me is resigned, part of me is hoping the third time will be the charm.

Monday, November 06, 2006

That's that; on to the next....

The set is struck, the costumes turned back in, everyone gone home. I'm home today recovering from 5 performances in 4 days. This being my first time back on stage in nearly a year and a half, I'd forgotten how tired I get after a show. And how hungry! We had a potluck between the matinee & evening performances Saturday and I'm still marveling at how much I ate! Not as much as a teenage boy, but still more than I usually would.

It's always a let-down when a show closes, but with most companies you at least get a second weekend to do the show, with the intervening week to rest up a little. Not like this schedule - the Tech Week crescendo to Opening Night, 5 shows in 4 days, then boom - nothing! The first day after is hardest - no more contact w/ the rest of the cast after the enforced intimacy of sharing a crowded dressing room or backstage area.

Anyway, today I'm just sitting around, not doing much more than catching up a little around the house - laundry and such. Not even a voice lesson, since my teacher's heat went out, so we'll reschedule once her studio is warm again. Then I'll have one more lesson before my audition on Thursday. I'll ask to be considered for both the mezzo leads, but I can think of 4 or 5 other mezzos off the top of my head who've done leads for the company who could easily knock me out of contention. Given that I'm still solidifying my vocal technique, I'll be pleased if I just get a callback out of this audition. I'll probably accept chorus, if only because I want to get back on this company's radar before I audition for their "Pirates of Penzance" come spring. I really want to play Ruth!

Friday, November 03, 2006

One down, four to go

Wednesday's dress didn't go too badly. Good thing I have my own gloves, as the costumers didn't have anything to replace the pair of men's gloves they'd laid out for me, which were too big and had a broken wrist closure. I did have one big costume problem, though - in our second entrance I slipped on an overlong costume drape so that my feet slid right and the rest of me fell left. Thump! At least I managed to be more graceful getting up again than I was in hitting the deck. There were some weird balance things going on in the orchestra - musical cues I was expecting but not hearing - and some odd tempi, but nothing serious. Our costumes continue to develop; the ladies' closing costumes now have fetching little hats. Lovely little things, but figuring out how to secure them presented some difficulties at first. Not to mention figuring out which way they're supposed to face, where they're supposed to sit on your head - top, right, left...?

Last night was Opening Night. We had a much bigger audience than I'd expected (though I don't know the actual numbers) and they were very receptive and vocal - laughed at everything, applauded everything, and generally seemed as enthusiastic as we could possibly wish. I just hope they haven't spoiled us for subsequent audiences. ;) I think things went well - everyone in good voice, orchestra sounded good (though there was one place where we had trouble hearing a cue), good pacing. And no falls, though apparently the gazing ball got knocked off its stand at one point, and my Bunthorne badge, bearing the portrait of the poet the ladies are all mooning over, fell off during the Act I finale entrance and had not reappeared by the time I left last night. And I just realized this morning that the finger cymbals I use in that finale never made it back to me, either. I'll have to hunt up both those props as soon as I get to the theater tonight.

Costume annoyances: No one checked to make sure that those of us given men's gloves had gloves that fit. We were all supposed to get bags w/ our wreaths & blindfolds; I got a wreath, but had to ask for a blindfold. (But since I like the fabric & it goes w/ my dress, I'm keeping my mouth shut.) My dress still fastens w/ safety pins, not hooks or a zipper, the overdress is still in progress and is likewise attached w/ safety pins, and we got ribbons/streamers added at intermission last night, attached on the shoulder with - you guessed it - safety pins. If safety pins were banned from this show, most of these costumes would fall apart! And I dearly wish someone would HEM Lady Jane's dress, or at least trim it where it's fraying! The satin is lovely but it needs to be hemmed or something to keep it from fraying. That said, though, both sets of ladies' costumes do look lovely, and the men's uniforms turned out very well. The poets' costumes are great; the only ones I haven't seen are the officers' "aesthetic" costumes, because at that point I've been in the dressing room, changing into my 2nd costume and putting up my hair. It wouldn't be costume-appropriate to leave it down, not to mention that putting up my hair gives me more to pin the hat to.

This is a compressed schedule - performances Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday matinee & evening, Sunday matinee, then strike, then cast party. Whew! I'll be spending Monday getting over the worst of my theatrical withdrawal symptoms. Good thing I have an audition coming up on Thursday, and auditions the 2 or 3 weekends after that.


This year's award for cutest trick-or-treater to show up at our door has to go to the woman who showed up with her baby daughter in a snuggli. The baby, being particularly round-faced and chubby-cheeked, was already adorable, but mom had made construction-paper headbands w/ bunny ears for each of them. Baby's set was white with colored accents, while mom's had the same colors reversed. Clever and sweet.