community theatre

Twelve Angry Men at Sunset Playhouse


Last week I attended First Call for Sunset Playhouse‘s upcoming production of Twelve Angry Men.

A Reader’s Guide to the Above Statement:

  • I attended: I had Friday night free, and when I walked into the theatre and sat down nobody kicked me out…
  • First Call: The actors’ first on-set rehearsal. At Sunset the show’s volunteers are invited to watch this rehearsal to get an idea for the sort of help needed backstage, etc. for the production.
  • Sunset Playhouse: A vibrant community of theatre lovers working together successfully to create a fun story-telling experience.
  • (A few past Sunset posts here on Locutus of Blog: Sunset Playhouse Q&ATwerpshire Hathaway, a defense of community theatre;  and “I got a river of life flowin’ outta me” wherein yours truly bloodied her own nose.)

The man behind the curtain is one Mr. Matt Daniels, the same dude behind Sunset’s heart-cockle-warming production of Tuesdays With Morrie, and its spooky dram-rom-com Prelude To A Kiss. An actor, director, and teacher he is busy all over the place here in Milwaukee. Click those links to check him out! I got to see his Assistant Director, Katherine Duffy, as the lead in Sunset’s Sweet Charity this past summer and I mean to tell you that girl is an absolute riot. Her delivery, her timing– loved it! It’s exciting to see such a talented pair teaming up to work on this powerful drama.

It was great seeing a few familiar faces in the production team when I arrived. Since what I saw was a rehearsal I didn’t get to experience anything in the way of lighting, sound, or costumes, though I am very much looking forward to seeing what their respective designers have got cooked up for this one. Alan Piotrowicz’s and Jan Pritzl’s award winning lighting and sound design (respectively) in previous Sunset productions assure me the twinkly and tinkly details I missed last week are ones I can very much look forward to when I finally see the whole thing put together. And I didn’t know Jennifer Allen even did costume design, so that was really a special treat to see her listed in that role!

Exploring Koren Black and John Hemingway’s set before the First Call run.

The stage management team on the other hand… Oh where to begin?! Antoinette Stikl and Debi Mumford are rascals, and can only be described as mad as a couple of March hares, and probably flammable. They’ll lure you in with a hug hello, a few jokes, and boundless patience. But don’t be fooled! It’s all just part of their plan. And when I know what that plan is I’ll be sure to pass it along. Unless it’s just a plan to give hugs, tell jokes, and be patient, in which case: *points upward a few lines* You’re welcome. Also, props mistress Erica Ziino and I may or may not have become engaged, and planned out a road trip honeymoon, after First Call. I just hope fellow props mistress, Beth Bland, isn’t jealous. (We promise not to hit the road ’til after the show closes, Beth!)

The real draw for me on this show, though, is the cast. What a group this is. I could try to tell you how sorry I am that I can’t be up there acting alongside this group of lovely fellas, but you couldn’t believe how much I would mean it. What a fun group, this is. What a cast!

Foreman- Dustin J. Martin: Dustin and I go way back, and I’ve always known him mostly as a director. He introduced me to theatre proper, encouraged my love of acting, and taught me again and again the value of professionalism in every aspect of the craft; so of course whenever I get to see Mr. Director trod the boards it’s especially fun for me. One of the things that was particularly cool about seeing Dustin in this show was seeing him apply his own direction to himself. It was a bit like spending years listening to your parents describe how they used to hold you and rock you when you were a baby, and then finally getting to see them cradling some other child in their arms. You always believed their stories, but watching them live those stories is a different experience altogether. It adds so many adverbs to the tale that you never knew were missing.

Juror 2- Scott Jaeger: I knew Scott from his backstage work for show after show at Sunset, but it wasn’t until their production of The Underpants a few years back that dude finally auditioned to work on the lit side of the stage. Happily for all of us he seemed to enjoy the experience, because he has hit the stage several times since then, and frankly he’s just as charming on stage as he is off stage. There’s this pleasant, affable realism to his performance as Juror 2. It provides such a welcome island of contrast to some of the other jurors’ sound and fury, and I think that is exactly what this role requires.

Juror 3- Dan Esposito: It had been years since I’d last seen or read this show, so I forgot how abrasive this character is. This man’s noisome vitriol is that of a sad old man faced with the prospect that his anger at others is unfounded, his opinion unwanted, and his pain unmourned. Like all bullies he demands control and attention, yet deserves neither. For most of Dan’s scenes I found myself cringing at such a realistic portrayal of a heartless, broken man descending into uselessness, but at the end I cringed only that there are really people out there who could treat others this way. This is truly the saddest role in the show, and Dan does a remarkable job inhabiting it. I’d never seen him perform before, but I can absolutely see why he was cast here. Mr. Daniels has a clear eye.

Juror 4- Michael Chobanoff: I first met Michael in December of 2006 when we performed in Sunset comedy Jake’s Women together. Of every actor I’ve ever worked with, Michael seems to jump most consistently from comedy to drama, comedy to drama, comedy to drama. If I had my druthers I’d stick to thoughtfully chuckle-inducing pieces time after time, but this guy just really owns his own comfort with walking both sides of the fence. There is a strong, grounded air to his performance in this show, balanced with the kind of approachable reason Juror 4 cannot do without.

Juror 5- Jared Kuehn: What else can I say? I like this guy. He’s sweet, he doesn’t upstage, he doesn’t steal laugh lines, he’s memorized on time, his choices are clear and believable, and here on this stage of larger than life personalities his low-on-the-totem-pole character holds his own in every one of his scenes. We’ve only worked together once so far (Sunset’s 6 Degrees of Separation last season), but I hope to do so again. I just really like this guy.

Juror 6- John Roberts: I first saw John in Sunset’s Social Security a couple of years ago and oh! Oh! I died! Every time he appeared on stage I sat up in my seat, not wanting to miss a single twitch or sigh. This role here was quite a departure from that one. John brought a thoughtful intelligence to his portrayal of Juror 6, layering him in a detached toughness as a guard against all the poverty and hard work he’s lived through so far. He’s no threat until he threatens – – and I like that, because that is life.

Juror 7- Matthew J. Patten: I’ve been saying it for years and I’ll say it again: This guy is my favorite character actor both to work with, and to watch on stage. He has a tremendous gift for making real people interesting, and interesting people real. He also has a preference for comedies so I was initially surprised he was trying out for this show, but now that I’ve seen what he had in mind for Juror 7 I can’t picture anyone else in that role. Dude knows what he’s doing, doesn’t mug, doesn’t upstage, doesn’t horn in on other people’s time to shine, and makes memorable moments out of lines and activity that could easily have been missed entirely. Plus he walks and chews gum at the same time repeatedly throughout the show, so, you know, hats off to that.

Juror 8- Randall T. Anderson: I trust any stage that has this guy on it. This role must ground the entire piece, must set it in motion, keep it rolling, and catch it on its final descent. You don’t have to like Juror 8- though that helps- but you do have to believe him, and Randall gives the audience the opportunity to do both. I’ve watched this actor shine in comedies, dramas, and musicals, and from the other side of a shared microphone with Radio WHT (much to my own delight). He is ever the gentleman, ever the professional, and ever The Guy you want on your team to keep things afloat with you when the waters get choppy, and to enjoy the ride with you when the waters are smooth.

Juror 9- Doug Smedbron: He’s a sweetheart, Doug is. And somewhere out of all that he pulled up real force, a real “growl” for Juror 9. When he speaks he is standing even when he is sitting down, with a portrayal that commands respect from the other jurors in the room. I found his speech after his first “not guilty” vote particularly compelling.

Juror 10- Gene Schuldt: Juror 10 is a despicable, racist, loud-mouthed jerk. Gene, on the other hand, is an amiable, open-hearted, loud-mouthed actor, fight choreographer, Chicagoan, and professional Santa Claus. Hearing 10’s ugly words in Gene’s voice, and seeing 10’s quaking rage on Gene’s face was unsettling to say the least. As an audience member I felt sick hearing 10’s racism boil down farther and farther into a general “fear of otherness,” and as a friend I had to keep fighting the impulse to interrupt Gene’s rant to tell him he should be ashamed of himself! Good thing I remembered it was all just an act before jumping up and ruining the show. ;)

Juror 11- Ralph Frattura: Ralph’s was the only name on the cast list I didn’t know. I’d never met the guy, never seen him perform, but I figured if he was up there with the rest of these lugs then he must be the right man for the job. And wouldn’t you know it: He was. His behavior was real, his choices made sense, and– God love him for this– his accent was neither hokey nor inconsistent. I don’t attend shows like this one to see cartoons, to see caricatures. I attend them to see what Ralph did in his portrayal of Juror 11: He created a man with a unique perspective which he supported fully and which I bought entirely. Thanks Ralph.

Juror 12- Spencer Mather: This guy… Let me tell ya’ something: This guy is all right. I am so glad he and his wife decided to get involved at Sunset a few years back, and that they both loved it enough to keep on coming back. There’s not much they haven’t been a part of there, from working in the office to acting in shows to serving on the board. Watching Spencer is great, working with Spencer is great, talking shop with Spencer is great. But I digress. *ahem* Watching Juror 12 is great, working with Juror 12 sounds great, and talking shop with Juror 12 is also probably pretty darn great. Spencer’s 12 is easy-going but distracted, and while he cares enough about the case to have opinions about it,  the ad man in him seems intent on going with whichever vote sells to the biggest audience of his 11 peers. When he finally took a stand I cheered inside because this was a guy I couldn’t help but like, so I wanted to see him on the right side of justice.

The show previews this Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 pm. Show dates, times, and ticket* prices are all available by clicking here to view the production’s page on the Playhouse website. From there you can also get the goods on other upcoming Sunset fare, like next week’s 3 Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue Musical Mainstage show, or their mainstage Christmas production of A Christmas Story.

If you make it out to Twelve Angry Men at Sunset Playhouse I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments below. Until then, happy theatre-ing!

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*A quick note before you buy your tickets: Due to the nature of the set- trying to fit twelve grown men around a long table, the bottom of which is four feet up in the air on a stage- visibility is poor in the first four rows or so of the center and side sections. So don’t you go reading this post and then buying tickets in those rows, now. Not after I took the trouble to warn ya’! ;)

Sunset Playhouse Q&A


Sunset Playhouse‘s annual Event I Can Never Remember the Name Of is coming up this Saturday. I’ve turned in my ballot for Best [___], and chosen which dress I shall wear (grandma’s cast-off), leaving naught else to do save answer the following questions that arrived with my invitation:

“Tell us something about you… your favorite story from the season, how you found Sunset, why you volunteer, what you love about Sunset, funniest backstage antic….”

“Tell us something about you…”

Well for starters I’m a Pisces, Year of the Dog. I don’t put any stock into that sort of thing, mind you. I just thought you should know those things about me in case they mean anything to you. When I was three years old a dog bit me in the face, leaving a row of short scars from my eyebrow to my chin. One day I’d like to rent a cottage in the Appalachian Mountains for a few weeks and just write. I like my pizzas deep dish, my theatre community, my screwdrivers sonic, and my sagas set in space.

Also: Ferrets.

“Your favorite story from the season”

I was only involved in one show at Sunset this past season- 6 Degrees of Separation- so I hope you’re up for tales with a limited scope.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as much fancy-pants candy as I did during rehearsals for 6 Degrees. Every day we’d show up to a decadent sugar buffet courtesy of Jim Santelle and Sendick’s, and every day we’d clean that sucker out. And then there were the people there like Donna Daniels, man. They wear their little khaki pants, you know? And their little cardigans? And they drink their tea and they eat their veggie snacks and you think they’d never belly up to a processed sugar smorgasbord. But wouldn’t you know she totally did every time? Admittedly she wasn’t matching the rest of us bite-for-bite, but I will say this: Girl is not afraid to put away a few sweets. Admirably so.
  • And then there were the nights when it was time to go home, but it wasn’t time to go home. It was time to congregate outside the door to the back parking lot to shoot the breeze for an hour over bottles of Red Stripe while the bad kids smoked and the short kids had their pictures taken next to the tall kids.
  • The good times weren’t restricted to post-practice rolling, much to our collective great fortune. I can’t tell you how many times I pulled into the parking lot before rehearsal to find our director, Jim Farrell, sitting out in the grass with Spence Mather, the two of them swapping stories and guitars. As our 7pm start time ticked closer and more cast members arrived, the number of lawn hippies would increase. The stories that went around the circle are theirs to share, but I will offer you a prompt: Track down Joan End some time and ask her how not to dispose of a cigarette while traveling. Bad to the bone, that one.
  • And then there was the party at Jim Santelle’s. Oh Jim Santelle, sender of eloquent emails and hero of high-school smokers everywhere: You are great! And your stove is great! And your books are great! And I love your taste in fruit trays and cheesecake decorations!
  • Then there was the time after we opened when I dreamed my mom and I gave JFare and his non-existent elementary school-age daughters a ride back home to their Tuscan villa in a community of theatre folks, all tucked away past miles of farms and fields and hills. The girls wanted to show me their room and their books, then wanted to share their cake. I’m more of a brownie person, but that was some mighty fine cake.
  • Plus we acted in a play, which was pretty cool. (This’un is mighty good for monologue mining for anybody with auditions coming up.)

“How you found Sunset”

Turned left at Greenland.

I’ll be here all week.

But seriously, folks…

I graduated from Carroll University- though we called it Carroll College in those days- back in aught-four. Toward the end of the school year an event was held honoring department chair Dave Molthen, complete with a snack table and places to sit, so naturally plenty of Carroll theatre alumni came to call. Among them was Mark Salentine, the fella who’d directed me in The Nerd my second semester at Carroll. A bit of a nerd himself, I quite liked the man. One of those sorts you can’t help but smile about. So when I learned he’d be directing Cabaret at Sunset that summer I decided to have a go at auditions, in spite of my being neither a singer nor a dancer. And wouldn’t you know the fool cast me?

And that was it. One show was all it took. Cabaret came and went and left me hooked, and I’ve been going back ever since. Occasionally racing head over heels toward my own disaster. Ask me some time where it still hurts from Noises Off!

“Why you volunteer”

Yeah, I mean… I’m gonna keep doing it, I’m just sayin’ if they offered me a paycheck I wouldn’t turn it down, kapeesh?

“What you love about Sunset”

There’s nothing quite like having a hobby where the Venn Diagram of the cool kids and the weird kids is a circle, and Sunset has its fair share of both.

Thank God.

For me, Sunset has had a “home base” feel ever since the first time I crept off-key, and off-beat, through “The Telephone Song” for Donna Kummer, my heart in my throat, my throat in my sinuses, my brain long since flown into hiding so I’d never be able to fully reconstruct my memories of that particular part of the rehearsal experience. The rest of it, though? Not nearly as scary. Brilliantly fun, even. I’d never have believed you if you’d told me I could have such a blast doing so many new, difficult things in front of hundreds of people at a time for weeks on end. But then I did it. And it was wonderful.

It was all wonderful. Every show. There hasn’t been a single one that hasn’t fulfilled some acting dream, or given me a reason to spend countless hours plugging away at exciting work with lovely people, or proven to me that yes I can memorize a stupidly large number of lines. Shows like:

  • Bedroom Farce, where I got to run around in a nightie while talking with a British accent
  • Rehearsal for Murder, where I got to run around in a robe while married to Ken Smith
  • The Seven Year Itch, where I got to run around in a nightie while haunting Brian Zelinski
  • Jake’s Women, where I got to run around in flats while my boyfriend was haunted by Coleen Tutton
  • Noises Off!, where I got to run around in a nightie while talking with a British accent
  • It’s A Wonderful Life, where I got to run around in wigs while my husband was haunted by himself
  • 6 Degrees of Separation, where I got to SUFFER OUTRAGEOUS EMOTIONAL TORMENT AS THE ONLY TRULY INNOCENT VICTIM

Themes. I’m sensing themes…

Really it’s the people, though, that made those experiences so memorable for me. The directors, the designers, the crews, the other actors, the beautiful, beautiful audiences. I forget all my lines within two weeks of a show closing, but the people I keep with me forever, tucked away in random brain folds, smiling and laughing and shining.

I love how you all shine.

“Funniest backstage antic”

I– I mean I can’t… Aw geez.

I can’t even begin to think of how to answer this one. Randall Anderson’s slot machine anecdote comes to mind, and Jim Bloomingdale and Mark Salentine with sleeves full of shaving cream are floating around up there too. But as with most great “backstage” stories, the element that made the moment truly magical is lost in the retelling, especially if the tale can’t be acted out since most of the hilarity occurs in silence.

That is, you hope it occurs in silence.

I’ll tell you what: I’ll see what stories come up at Saturday’s Annual Theatre Volunteer Annual Event for Theatre, and if there are any that can stand on their own without the aid of miming and the quaking laughter of onlookers, I’ll post one or two of them here. ‘S’good?

‘S’good.

*Read about 2009’s Annual Theatre Thingy here: The Jello Covered Grapes Annual Volunteer Choice Awards

Twerpshire Hathaway


I love me some community theatre. I’ve been acting in it, and loving it, for seven years this July. Sometimes it’s (amazingly, movingly) great, and sometimes it’s (agonizingly, painfully) terrible.

But so are kids and that doesn’t stop people from having ’em.

From time to time I run into folks who aren’t as fond of community theatre as I am. Folks who aren’t as fond of it, and who like to share that lack of fondness verbally. Dissing the interests of others is, I mean– that’s kind of weird, right?

Sometimes these- and other- people ask me why I do community theatre instead of “real theatre,” as they so charmingly put it. And they don’t know it, but more often than not this question makes me want to shake them by the face.

See, it’s kind of like this:

An image you may find amusing if you like your numbers aggravating.

Let’s say you’re somebody who digs numbers. You dig numbers, so you go to college and major in Seven or Avogadro or Counting or something. You graduate, maybe even with a 4.0. (See? I know some numbers too.) Then you go out and apply for a job at companies that like people who like numbers- insurance companies, accounting firms, grocery stores (cash registers, duh)- and then you sit back and wait for the interview requests to start pouring in.

In the meantime, people you know- well meaning idiots who love you- say things like:

“Berkshire Hathaway employees make tons of money using numbers. You should go work there.”

Oh? I should, huh? Okay, well I’ll do that then. Throw on the ol’ Willy Fioravanti, walk in through the front door, and sit down at the first desk that strikes my fancy.

Ah, but you know it doesn’t really work that way. You don’t work places that are great simply because they’re great and you want to work there.

So you snap back to reality. You snap back to the interview calls tying up your phone. Except that they’re not tying up your phone. The real calls are few and far between, and often non-existent from the Big Guys. Maybe it’s because you’re good at pi but bad at 11. Maybe it’s because your plus signs lack professional polish. Or maybe it’s because they’re just not looking for someone right now who does what you do.

So you gratefully accept the position at Mom and Pop’s Bean Counters, even after a friend (read: “friend”) let’s fly some doozie like:

“Mom and Pop’s Bean Counters? I hear they’ll take anybody. You should at least be working at Aunt and Uncle’s Legume Talliers. Their receptionist’s phone has way more buttons.”

Numbers made relatable.
© We Sign

But you don’t let it get to you because you’ve met Mom and Pop. You’ve interviewed with them over burgers on the grill. They are awesome and chill and professional and dependable and the commute is practically walkable.

So you don your Kohl’s shirt-and-tie-combo-pack, head on in to work, and enjoy the fact that the day ends at 5 pm no matter what, that you are awesome at using numbers in order, and that Pop brings the basset hound in on Fridays.

It’s not that you no longer want the Berkshire Hathaway paycheck or prestige. It’s just that those things don’t appear to be in the cards for you, no matter how many times you apply.

But!- and here’s the important part: You can still be a totally rockin’ counter of things someplace else.

Aw yeah. Look at you all countin’ up in there. Right on, right on.

So, back to theatre where those kinds of assumptions and statements are just as absurd as they are in the “working” world. Back to:

“The Rep is a great theatre. You should act there.”

(Responses to which are almost always followed by “It can’t be that hard to get in,” and “You must not be trying hard enough,” all, incidentally, based on the totally erroneous premises that 1) this is the only theatre in town where one could possibly want to act, and 2) once again all you need to get into a place is the desire to get into it.)

And back to:

“XYZ Community Theatre? I hear they’ll take anybody. You should at least be acting at ABC Community Theatre. Their ushers have nicer name tags.”

But you don’t let it get to you, because screw them anyway. You’re fine. It’s fine. It’s all fine. And a lot of fun. And the source of some of your greatest memories and friendships and experiences. And you make people laugh there. And you make them cry. And you get to play parts you’d never be considered for at places that offer direct deposit. And you get recognized at places like the Vitamin Shoppe and it weirds you out. And you get reviewed in the paper and that weirds you out too.

And even though it doesn’t pay, and even though the hours are long, and even though you still get asked condescending questions in an unintentionally insulting fashion– you still love it. You wonder why you feel like you’re always being asked to justify your participation in it, but that’s fine too because by now you’ve gotten pretty good at that. You’re still fine. It’s all still fine.

And then?

And then you blow a community theatre audition.

That.

And then you fear that friends who don’t respect community theatre will make some well-intentioned but totally humiliating comment about the situation and mid-blush you’ll have to come up with some kind of response because they’re your friend after all and you can’t just ignore them even though it’s so awkward blowing it for something they look down on, while not really being totally awkward because you were there and you know the other auditioners were solid, and yeah you mind that you weren’t cast but you also kind of don’t because sometimes that’s just how it goes so it’s fine and all but still upsetting and at least now your weekends will be free, though really that just gives you more time to worry that you’re getting too fat for the parts you want to play which doesn’t really matter too much yet because at least you’re still in your 20s even if only for a few more months but even that is all good because “30 is the new 20” and you love how that sounds because… it’s got numbers in it and… you know I always… wanted to pretend… I was a mathematician…

I forgot where I was going with this.

In conclusion: If you’re going to ask a question, try not to be an jerk about it because you never know how many run-on-sentences you’re up against.

*twitch… twitch…*


Two things which are currently ticking me off:

Oh oh oh wait! The ferrets just did cute, wriggly, ferret stuff! :D Slightly less ticked off now, but I’m sure I’ll work my way back up there as I write; no worries!

1) My (fading, happily) memory of the Danny Gokey look-alike in the silver sedan by the Goodwill in Waukesha this afternoon.

So I’m at a stop light, right? And it’s just me and this other car in front of me and we’re in the left turn lane, right? So the left turn arrow comes on and I can see the guy in front of me is just kinda lookin’ around, taking in the sights, whatever. It’s a gorgeous fall day so I totally understand. Lost in his Autumnal reverie he doesn’t realize the light has now been green for three seconds. (I counted.)

So I give ‘im a little “Beep!” on my horn. A “Beep!” so short and high pitched it sounds like I’ve traded in my Toyota for a Tonka. The kind of “Beep!” people give when the light has turned green, several seconds have passed, and the person at the front of the line hasn’t moved. I didn’t invent this particular beep, folks. It’s been around since before my time.

So I beep, dude looks up at the light, and makes the turn. I follow suit.

We’re driving along and he gets into the right lane while I stay in the left, and he starts to slow down. We’re both still a few miles over the speed limit though, so I figure he’s just a speed-limit-conscious driver.

We’re nearing my turn to get to my apartment so I put on my turn signal and slow way down as I enter the left turn lane. At this point punk ass Danny Gokey wannabe LAYS ON HIS HORN AND PULLS IN BEHIND ME, TAILING ME- HORN STILL BLARING- UNTIL I MAKE MY TURN, AT WHICH TIME HE SWERVES OUT TO MY RIGHT, COMES ALMOST TO A STOP TO MATCH MY SPEED, AND GIVES ME A GRIN AND A TWINKLE-FINGERS WAVE BEFORE SPEEDING AWAY.

What. An. Aaaaaass.

I don’t know why that got to me as much as it did. I kind of hope he’s like that all the time so he has more opportunities for it to come back to bite him.

Ass.

2) Directors.

The following didn’t happen to me. It’s just my delayed reaction to a conversation I had with a friend a long time ago about something that happened to them with a director I’ve never worked with. It only ticks me off when I think about it. And right now I’m thinking about it. Except I’m thinking about it with a lot of run-on-sentences and excessive back and forth between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, so um– sorry for any confusion. :S

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"Pompous Bastard" by Tanner Morrow (Click to see his other stuff; very cool)

If you act… well… and a lot… and a director pats your head with platitudes suggesting you ‘keep auditioning’ and not let it ‘get you down’ when they don’t cast you in a part you didn’t want but which they continually insisted upon you, it is both annoying and insulting.

Didn’t they listen when you said (repeatedly) you weren’t interested in the part? Didn’t they figure maybe you know better than they do about what you like enough to make it worth the commute, the rehearsal time, and giving up a month of weekends? (Particularly if it’s a part you’re not getting paid for: you’d sure better at least enjoy it.)

And– they have your resume! They can see you’ve been acting for years. So maybe by now you’re used to the “sometimes you’re cast, sometimes you’re not” dynamic. Right? Maybe by now you’re adult enough to not throw in the towel after their rejection, even if they don’t encourage you to ‘buck up little soldier’ as though you were some pouting middle schooler. I mean– just guessing here.

*pffft* Based on how many people are like this I sure do!

Don’t directors  realize how pompous it sounds when (in the absence of the right kind of relationship) they try to coach actors in things like the golden morality of ‘branching out’ in the roles we’re willing to play? Surely the fact we’ve been doing this for years gives us some insight into what parts we are and are not interested in, no? Or into what kind of parts are worth branching out for?

And I’m not talking about actors who just don’t know what they’re capable of, or what they enjoy. I’m talking about experienced actors who can say with total certainty “I am in no way, shape, or form interested in playing this particular part,” and about the kind of directors who can’t accept a “No.”

You will not woo me with “top billing.” You will not entice me with reassurances about how it’s “The Lead.” Do you think I don’t know these things already? And do you honestly believe all that matters to every actor is having the most lines?? It doesn’t matter if I’d totally rock at a role if playing it would make me regret getting involved in the first place. Are souls really so cheap?

And maybe the director is right; maybe the nay-saying actor would be ideal for the role in question. But once an actor has to beg or insist about it, then casting becomes more about the director’s ego than about getting the right person into the role.

Actors! Stop playing parts you hate out of some misguided sense that it is a sign of artistic maturity! (Enormous, totally respectable exception: Paying gigs for working actors. Y’all dudes are kinda stuck taking whatever comes up in that regard, but it’s an admirable kind of stuck. I applaud your commitment and your flexibility.)

“The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” James Baldwin

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Wesley in his favorite sleeping position

Hm. Guess I’m more philosophically peeved about that second one than I’d realized…

Okay, that was it. Those were my two lousy, stinkin’ things. And I’m already feeling much better.

Isn’t writing therapy great?? We should all have blogs.

Blogs, broccoli and granola in our bellies, and ferrets fast asleep upside down in giant, homey cages in our living rooms while the final episode of Xena plays on our TVs.

Wesley just woke up to scratch. Okay: Full un-ticked. ;)

Short-Sleeved Gill Tee


Welcome to my Nothing post. It’s here to remind me to write an *actual* blog post about Waukesha Civic Theatre‘s upcoming production of “Crimes of the Heart,” running February 5-21, 2010, which I am in and about which I have written far too little given how seriously rockin’ it’s going to be.

For shame, little Ruth. For shame. So now every time I see this post– oh the guilt! How it will eat away at me!

Until I write that real post. And delete this one. Ta-da! In the meantime: Vvvvvvlog.

ETA: Waukesha Civic Opens ‘Crimes of the Heart’
Russ Bickerstaff

The last full month of winter opens with a pair of local productions that explore the strange convolutions of human passion and the lengths to which people will go to pursue happiness.

On Feb. 5, Waukesha Civic Theatre opens its production of Beth Henley’s 1980 dramatic comedy, Crimes of the Heart. It’s the story of three adult sisters who reunite in Mississippi and confront the dark paths along which their hearts have led them. A larger-than-usual group auditioned for the show, resulting in a very promising cast. Donna Daniels plays the oldest sister, Lenny, who has been looking after their grandfather. Ruth Arnell plays the middle sister, Meg, who has returned from Los Angeles after a faltering singing career. Jenny Kosek plays the youngest sister, Babe, who shot her husband because she “didn’t like his looks.” Mark Neufang will direct the show.

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Crimes of the Heart runs through Feb. 21. …

ETA: Dark Comedy On The Edge of Milwaukee
Russ Bickerstaff

The trip out to Waukesha is a bit further than I’m used to going for a show. I don’t make it out that far for a show, but as there was nothing else opening this weekend and there were people involved in this production who have done work I’ve seen elsewhere before, I was looking forward to the long journey west. …

Director Mark Neufang introduced the show opening night. The initial feel of it is very reminiscent of the type of fare that wouldn’t be entirely out of place on stage in a suburban theatre with a generally older demographic than one might find attending studio theatres in town. Things progress and we meet playwright Beth Henley’s three Magrath Sisters—the first of three shows to open in the next couple of weeks featuring three sisters.  Ruth Arnell, Donna Daniels and Jenny Kosek play the three sisters… a cast that has developed a really good rapport to connect-up with a very cleverly-paced Beth Henley dialogue. Between the three lead actresses and a really stylish Michael Talaska set, the production quickly becomes one of the best dark comedies to hit local stages this season. There’s Jenny Kosek at the end of the play dragging a lighting fixture behind her. And she’s contemplating the oven. And it’s a really funny, really darkly comic moment. Much of the action leading into that moment was executed really well. It’s not what I expected out of a trip to Waukesha. It’s well worth the trip.

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Crimes of the Heart runs through February 21st. A full review of the show runs in this week’s Shepherd-Express.

ETA: Four Shows With Three Sisters
Russ Bickerstaff

My wife’s two sisters came over yesterday. The three of them were in the kitchen making cookies as I worked on bits of writing that I was attempting to get done. The three sisters motif was particularly strong this weekend, as my wife and I had also attended a show about three sisters the previous night. It’s a motif that’ll be carried out on a number of stages in the next few weeks. …

Now through February 21st, Waukesha Civic Theatre presents Crimes of the Heart— Playwright Beth Henley’s award-winning comic drama about three sisters meeting-up in a small hometown in Mississippi. My wife told me that the dialogue was quite true to what conversations between three adult sisters are like—particularly when the three are all talking at once. The three actresses in question (Ruth Arnell, Donna Daniels and Jenny Kosek) may not have a real strong family resemblance between the three of them, but the rhythm of the rapport between the three of them feels very authentic.

The Jello Covered Grapes Annual Volunteer Choice Awards


Sunset Playhouse‘s Annual Volunteer Choice Awards were last night and everything about them made me feel so proud, so utterly delighted, to be connected with such a fabulous network of people. But before I begin delivering my run-down of the evening’s events I must first share my amazing new culinary discovery from the reception for those of you who can’t abide reading more than a paragraph or two of blogs: Tim Gensler’s much discussed and highly sought after…

Jell-o Powder Covered Grapes

grapesAccording to Gensler, one of Sunset’s resident Jacques-of-All-Trades and chef extraordinaire for the evening’s appetizers, you take the grapes, right? And you get ’em a little wet– not too wet or they get all clumpy– and dust them with Jell-o powder; cherry for the red grapes, lime for the green. Pop ’em in the fridge or the freezer for about an hour to get them to firm up a little, and voilà: A tasty summertime snack guaranteed to get a hundred+ people asking “what those little grape looking things are” and then coming back for seconds, and thirds, of “whatever the heck they are.”

“Let’s go out to the lobby…”

Sunset’s special night officially began at 6pm with a wine/ beer/ soda bar in the lobby, catering to some of the choicest mingling this actress is likely to experience until next year’s awards show. Everywhere you turned was a person, a conversation, a memory which served as a brilliant reminder of why this room was filled with all these people in the first place: We love creating theatre together.

What a place!

(And thank you thank you thank you to Jean J. and Chuck U. for the wonderful conversation and the extremely kind words. You warmed my heart more than you can possibly know!)

The Awards Ceremony…

…got rolling at 7pm with a song from Vasiliki Fafalios, an area high school student participating in Sunset’s “Rising Stars” program. It sounded like no one in the audience realized she was so young until we were told as much after her delightful rendition of “You’re the Top,” at which time the audience was filled with whispers of “She’s in high school?!” I’m fairly certain it’s a good sign when you leave an entire audience shocked by your age in the wake of your obvious talent.

Next on the stage was MC Ken Smith, presumably given the honor because he has the best beard on the Board of Directors. Hey: When you’ve got it, you’ve got it. He introduced Inge Adams who was to present the award for Best Supporting Actor. It went to David Kaye for his performance as Tim Allgood in Noises Off, but unfortunately dude wasn’t there to receive it. I made sure to give him what for on Facebook as soon as I got home, though, so that’s all taken care of.

Cindy Zauner then floated onto the stage in a lovely… in a colorful… in… in– well in just a joltingly godawful mess of a bridesmaid’s dress to sing “Always A Bridesmaid” from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! As though I didn’t have enough reasons for being terribly disappointed in myself for not seeing that show, I can now add this little number to my list of reasons to kick myself for missing it. Cindy was too stinkin’ funny. The audience ate her up.

The only award one can give when dressed in something so, so, so terribly unattractive is, naturally, the award for Best Costume Design, which went to Sue Fromm for her work on Escanaba in da Moonlight. Rock on, Sue! Besides being one of the sweetest people on Sunset’s volunteer roster, she’s also quite the talented hand at dressin’ folks it would seem. She certainly got my vote.

Social Security: S. Loveridge, B. Krah

Social Security: S. Loveridge, B. Krah

Bryce Lord, director of this Spring’s Social Security, had the opportunity to present the award for Best Supporting Actress to one of his own: Bonnie Krah. I could fill an entire blog entry with praise for Bonnie, but I would no doubt lose the few of you still reading due to the length of it, so I’ll leave it at this: Bonnie Krah was hands down the best choice for this award. She gave a fantastic performance and the voting could not possibly have gone any other way. Bonnie was also not in attendance, much to my dismay, so I shall have to rib her good naturedly for it the next time I see her before proceeding with my usual Bonnie Accolades.

Another musical number to keep things hoppin’? Don’t mind if I do! Kyle Breitzman performed “Luck Be A Lady” because he figured, as Ken Smith shared with us, “It’s short, easy, and relevant.” Smart fellow, that Breitzman. Smart indeed.

Brenda Gravelle, last year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero Award, presented this year’s to Sue Fromm, who you may remember from such awards as Best Costume Design. Way to rake ’em in, Sue. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of drive in that woman. An asset to any company and dearly appreciated by Sunset.

Best Lighting Design went to Marty Wallner for Escanaba, presented via a flip tablet by Erika Navin, winner of the Ruth Arnell’s Annual Best Glasses Award. Marty really pulled off some pretty neat effects in this one that were hopefully as much fun for him to put together as they were for us in the audience to watch.

Escanaba: R. Zimmerman, A. Lien, J. Bloomingdale, M. Patten, G. Villa

Escanaba in da Moonlight: R. Zimmerman, A. Lien, J. Bloomingdale, M. Patten, G. Villa

Mark Salentine’s remarks on the importance of sound design in theatre, a fun little giggle-inducer to remind us all how much we truly depend on ringing phones and Jan Pritzl, was delightfully punctuated by Matthew Patten, the presenter of the Old-Timer Award to Inge Tiberius Adams. Wait- scratch that. Make that the Newcomer Award to Andy Lien. Lien swears up and down he hasn’t acted since high school, but his spot on comic timing and delivery in Escanaba sure do make a body wonder. Terrific actor, friendly guy, can grow a decent beard; Lien’s a gem and Sunset’s all the better for having found him.

More music? Bring it on! The fourth song of the evening was from next season’s Mid-life! The Crisis Musical, with Mark Salentine and Doug Jarecki as Mary DeBattista’s hapless, helpless would-be lovers. There’s something so charming about a woman who can maintain artistic composure and powerful breath support while straddling a park bench…

Jacquelyn Ranallo and Lena Tomaszek went home with the No Small Parts Award from Anne Gorski for their contributions in I Love You… It was kind of a cute award to see given as the adorable Tomaszek had been the one actually handing out all of the evening’s awards. It was nice seeing her finally get to hang on to one!

Doug Jarecki and Jason Powell were up next with a little improv game (the Alphabet Game, for the curious among you) to entertain the troops, who were duly entertained. Incidentally, JASON POWELL’S HILARIOUS ORIGINAL MUSICAL COMEDY INVADER? I HARDLY KNOW HER! OPENS AT THE ALCHEMIST THEATER ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2009, which is cool.

Same Time...: C. Gamino, S. Hughes

Same Time…: C. Gamino, S. Hughes

Doug was also there to present this year’s Best Actress Award to a very talented young woman, Sarah Laak Hughes, for her performance in Same Time Next Year. This was another show I did not get to see, but having seen Sarah’s work elsewhere I can only agree wholeheartedly with the vote on this one as I’m sure she was teriffic in the role. Not to mention the mad props you’re almost duty-bound to give to any actor who survives a two person show with their sanity so graciously intact.

The Best Actor Award, presented by Mary DeBattista, went to Matthew Patten for his performance in Escanaba and I figure there’d’ve been a bona fide mutiny had he not won for his work in that show. You want a brilliant character actor? This guy’s the real deal, and he works flatullance-joke-loving audiences like a charm. And no, they did not let him keep the red long underwear.

An Awards Night tradition I was glad to see continue was that of Mark Salentine delivering a review of the season as a whole to the tune of a well known song from a musical. This year’s review, to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, allowed us to reminisce together about the joys of Sarah Laak Hughes, and the pain of patrons who are shocked at the idea that infidelity might make its way into a plot. Ah theatre.

A Sunset original, the Rudy Award, is presented every year by Rudy Miskowitch to a volunteer who goes above and beyond the call of duty to bring the season’s productions to a whole new level of quality through their hard work and dedication. This year’s recipient was Marty Wallner, a man who embodies the phrase “to know ‘im is to love ‘im.” Congratulations Marty!

Escanaba: J. Bloomingdale, A. Lien, M. Patten, R. Zimmerman

Escanaba in da Moonlight: J. Bloomingdale, A. Lien, M. Patten, R. Zimmerman

The biggest award of the night, Best Show, was presented by Sunset’s new Managing Director Jonathan West, he of bow-ties-and-blogging fame. The top three nominees were Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner, Escanaba in da Moonlight, and Noises Off. And the award goes to: ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT!

I couldn’t see this award going anywhere else. If Sunset could remount one production to present year after year with the same direction, actors, and set, it would have to be this one. Featuring an absolute dream cast under the delightful direction of Mark Salentine (and my God do you see the costumes and the set in these pictures?! Gorgeous!), this was far and away my favorite show of the year and a true testament to the professional quality theatre one finds at Sunset Playhouse.

Another “Rising Star” at Sunset, high school student Allie Babich, brought the awards ceremony to a close with a performance of “Stars and Moon” which I heard one audience member say brought tears to his eyes. When people tell this young lady “You’ll go places, kid!” I sure hope she knows they aren’t just whistlin’ Dixie. Beautiful voice, lovely presentation. Thank you Allie.

Reception

Tosa Jazz, directed by Donna Kummer, serenaded the audience into the studio theatre for a swingin’ reception. One thing for which you can always count on Sunset Playhouse is a delicious, buffet style spread at every event they host. Last night’s was no exception, and yes I went back for thirds. Oh and happy anniversary to Jim and Susan Loveridge! Y’all were so cute out there on the dance floor.

Music, dancing, food, wine, art, friends, laughter. We who had the opportunity to enjoy such things together on a warm, summer night should be thanking our lucky stars. And for those still looking for such a place of their own, well it’s real easy…

You take 94 West from Milwaukee and get off at the Mooreland Rd. North exit over by Brookfield Square Mall. Hang a right on Bluemound, a left on Elm Grove Rd., and a right on Wall St. Sunset Playhouse will be on your right. Shouldn’t miss it. ;)

Catching the moon in their hands


"Fame" at Sunset Playhouse - Photo by Mark Frohna

"Fame" at Sunset Playhouse - Photo by Mark Frohna

Saw “Fame” at Sunset Playhouse the other day. If you know me at all you know I’m a huge fan of Sunset and a supporter of all they do, but I’m gonna level with you on this one: I’m kinda glad I saw it for half price. I laughed, I clapped, I had fun, but $10? That’s about right.

The show has some really nice things going for it, namely that it features genuinely young actors playing genuinely young characters. There’s something that’s always struck me as a little false about seeing a 26 year old try to deliver the energy of a 15 year old, so it was nice not having to sit through that charade in this production.

The downside to using younger performers, of course, is that you run into a lot more “young actor pitfalls,” ie. singing through the nose, substituting faux nervous laughter for introspection and development of empathy, turning off your face until it’s your turn to talk and then firing up the pearly whites. You could see a lot of potential in some of the performers, but the lisps, the front-talking, the VERY HEAVY presentationalism (even for musical theatre), the waiting-til-it’s-their-turn-to-talk, the frequent looks into the audience… Some very nice, genuine efforts, but some of them really have their work cut out for them.

Because some of the folks involved in the show are fairly young (or maybe they just make me feel old?), I’m only going to name names for the parts that really stood out for me in a positive way. Not that these were the only good folks in the show, but a few other standouts also have some significant “they were good, but…” statements attached to them in my mind that I couldn’t not include as qualifiers, so I’d just as soon stick to the positives. ‘S’nice? ‘S’nice.

Deidra Fabian (ensemble): You want actors like this in your ensemble. Loads of energy, beautiful smile, but never act-y, never scene stealingly hyper. You know the kind I mean, right? This girl was lovely and fresh and fun and a fantastic support to the production. Keep it up, Deidra. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing.

Ashley Levells (Mabel Washington): I’d watch this young woman in anything. Always in the moment, original, fun, energetic, but with a clear understanding that she’s part of a cast and not in a one woman show. Though Lord knows she could be. Great soloist. Her big song was easily (far and away) the best number in the show. And her non-verbals? Funny as hell.

Cameron Meilicke (Nick Piazza): Either this guy *is* Nick, or he just really nailed this production’s interpretation of the character. Gave a charming performance, very sweet voice, and some of the better acting moments in the show. I like this guy.

Samantha Moyer (Grace “Lambchops” Lamb): Maybe it’s because I know a girl whom this character reminded me of a great deal, but I couldn’t get enough of this kid. Just cute as a button, loads of energy, another team player. Seemed very comfortable in whatever she was doing, and you can’t teach that.

Mary Rodgers (Miss Esther Sherman): I don’t envy actors playing teacher roles in shows like this one. People go to see the kids dance around and sing on lunch tables, not to feel the frustration of the adults monitoring those tables during their free period. Mary really worked that dichotomy in her favor, however, by keeping her scenes strong, and her songs memorably performed. She was an endearing respite from the chaos, and never once fell into some of the more common traps actors tend to fall into when playing parts significantly older than their actual age.

"Fame" at Sunset Playhouse - Pic by Mark Frohna

"Fame" at Sunset Playhouse - Photo by Mark Frohna

The production also benefited from the beautiful work (as always) of artists Michael Desper (Scenic Designer) and John Dolphin (Lighting Designer). Everything on the set worked; you could see everything you were supposed to see, there were construction surprises built in to even the simplest scenes, and half the set was made from styrofoam and pool noodles. Where I come from that’s not just art- that’s genius. The lighting on the set was bright and colorful without looking like you’d walked into a disco. Some really beautiful mood effects were created without loss of visibility, and the multitude of cues kept things fun, moving, and alive. As for the costumes? I hope you understand the compliment in this statement when I say the costumes made me not mind the prospect of 80s fashions making an even stronger resurgence into the general public in the near future. Yes: they were actually that cute.

As of right now there are four performances left; this Thursday the 6th at 7:30, Friday the 7th at 8:00, Saturday the 8th at 8:00 and Sunday the 9th at 2:00. I’d recommend it for anyone with kids who are into the whole High School Musical/ Jonas Brothers/ Miley Cyrus thing, but I’d suggest you leave the very youngest ones at home as some of the language and topics covered are, well– they’re accurate for high school aged kids, which means there might be a few more curse words and pelvic thrusts than you really want to bring you 7 year old around for. I guarantee it’s cleaner by a long shot than the upcoming movie version will be, but something about seeing pelvic thrusts live makes them all the more jarring and slightly giggle inducing…

Click here to read Express Milwaukee’s mini blog review of the show, and here to read the Waukesha Freeman’s review.

Incidentally, I just realized this Mark Frohna guy who took the above pictures (which I yoinked from Sunset’s Facebook page) is the same guy who did my friend Libby’s new headshots. I don’t know what his rates are, but if you live in the Milwaukee area and you’re looking for headshots you should check this guy out. Libby’s pics turned out gorgeously, and while I attribute a huge percentage of her headshot success to the fact that she is a beautiful woman and any picture taken of her is bound to look great, what this Frohna fellow supplied skill-wise is no small shakes. You can check him out at frophoto.com.

But wait! There’s more!

Since my last post I went to the Renaissance Faire, bought a beautiful new corset, got my credit card number stolen, watched about 15 travel DVDs from the library, dreamed I ran a writers’ retreat visited by a couple whose race kept changing, and finally began saving my CDs onto my hard drive. As it is 11:27 pm on a Monday night, however, I am going to leave it to you to just imagine how exciting each of those topics would be were I to extrapolate upon them here.

Somebody’s got a case of the Tuesdays


The Good

I’m not exercising my right to bare arms until the divet on my bicep heals. I couldn’t even watch them work on me; it was just too gross. On the plus side- they pumped my upper arm so full of juice I wouldn’t feel it if an F-150 swiped it right now.

moleFor those just tuning in: About two months ago this *thing* suddenly appeared on my upper right arm. It didn’t hurt or itch or anything, and it was very small. Just this teeeeeeny little red scratch-like deal. That bled. A lot. Over the past two months it got bigger and bled more. No explanation. No previous mark of any kind prior to its appearance. There was just… nothing, and then there was something.

Through the connections of a bunch of wonderful people, most of whom I barely know and many of whom I never even met, I was able to get in for free to see a dermatologist this afternoon where I had the *thing* looked at, numbed, and cut out, with the ravine left in its wake cauterized so we all got to enjoy the scent of my burning flesh. I’ll find out in about two weeks when the biopsy results come back if this thing was cancerous or not. :S

The Bad

Speaking of things swiping me, I *might* have been robbed, but I’m not sure…

hamburglarEvery apartment in my building gets a storage unit in the garage. For a long time the wood around the lock on my storage unit was busted– apparently the previous tenant forgot the combo to their lock and decided that instead of cutting the lock off they’d just BREAK THE DOOR to get to their stuff– so I couldn’t keep anything in there very secure since not only could I not lock the unit, I couldn’t even get it to stay closed. For that reason I only ever kept empty boxes in there.

The door was eventually fixed, and I picked up a padlock so I could begin moving things in. I never did get around to putting the lock on, though, because I ended up never actually bringing anything down there except for more empty boxes.

I think.

I feel like I remember a friend of mine helping me bring down a few big Rubbermaid bins last winter, but I can’t be entirely sure if there was anything in them or if they were just helping me get some bulky, empty containers out of my way. I have a call in to him and his wife asking if they have any recollection of that favor, but I haven’t heard back from them yet so I don’t know for certain.

The *headdesk* part, the part that made this potential but as yet unverified theft possible, is that I still never did put the padlock onto the door. I don’t have any good excuse for why I never did that. I just… didn’t.

2244-blue-mist_smIf I did bring down any containers they were most likely just full of winter clothes and things like that, so there  was nothing of tremendous value lost to whoever (may have) robbed me. But, you know: It’s my stuff, and if it’s worth it to me to keep it then it’s got some value at least. Especially these days when I’m in no financial position to be out replacing things.

So now here I sit unsure if I actually put anything in there or not (because I still have several filled bins and boxes up here in my apartment and don’t know how many I had to begin with), and unable to really verify if I did or not until I hear back from the friends who helped me.

If it turns out that my things were, in fact, stolen, I plan on posting some notes around the building asking for the person(s) who removed boxes/bins from storage unit #17 to please replace them or leave them outside of my apartment door, no questions asked.

I need winter clothes. I’m frizeeeeeezing in here!! It’s 32 degrees outside, and about 56 degrees inside.

Dude: I need a job. O_O Speaking of which…

The Ugly

I’m registered with three different staffing companies and a talent agency, and applying for 3-4 jobs online every day, but still no luck in the ol’ Employment arena. I find this puzzling, to say the absolute least. I’m qualified, I’m honest, I’m loyal, I’m nice (enough), I bathe daily, and I’m available. I know the market is really rough right now, but… but… I still just don’t get it!

dilbert-02Basically: I find it impossible to believe I’m that much less qualified than people already filling positions out there that I know I could do. I mean– think of how many doofuses you work with. (And I know you work with at least a few or else “Dilbert” would never have become as popular as it is.) These are the people you work with who are so annoying and so inept that you complain about them on a daily basis to your significant other, your friends, your family, your bank teller, your grocery bagger… These are the people you know are going to get fired if the boss catches them screwing up, or screwing around, even just one more time.

So here I sit shivering in an apartment I can’t afford to heat, surrounded by furniture I’m taking pictures of so I can sell it on Craig’s List, asking myself: Am I really less suited to be your coworker than people everyone complains about and whose contributions are substandard? Really?!

*Meh*scellaneous #1

Click the Pic for a great blog entry about using this product

Click for a great blog entry about using this product

I wrapped my bedroom window in plastic yesterday. One of those 3M Scotch tape window insulator kits. I bought it after last winter for $5 bucks on sale. I don’t know if it’s helping or not, though.

I washed the window frame, let it dry, applied the tape- and pressed firmly!- cut the plastic to size, smoothed it onto the tape, tugged out any wrinkles… and then listened to it pop off as the pressure from the wind coming through the closed window loosened it.

(Series of Expletives Deleted)

At this point I’m kind of wondering if it’s worth it to attempt to insulate the window in the guest room since it’s just as drafty and therefore likely to have similar problems. I’ve been keeping the blinds drawn in there and the bedroom and closet doors closed and hoping for the best. Brrrrrrr!!!

*Meh*scellaneous #2

The show I’m in closes this Sunday. I had a great time with this cast and am really going to be sad to see this one end. Not to mention the fact that there’s really nothing I want to audition for until February, and that’s a long time to be off the boards, you know? Here’s hoping that aud works in my favor or I am going to be one bored little girl come this Spring.

08_7_noisesoffThere are really only two shows coming up in the area that I’m looking at auditioning for this Spring, and one of them is likely to have just about the fiercest competition I’ve ever seen. It’s a popular show at a popular community theatre and everyone I know who does comedy is already gunning for a role in it.

I’d be happy taking an added-in part of Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant Stage Manager and run a Canadian cross or two with a clipboard if that’s the only way I could get into this thing. It just sounds like such a blast.

If only they’d allow me to do the casting. Got a few good ideas up my sleeve… (JIM!!! MATTHEW!!! RICK!!! HINT HINT HINT!!!!!!!)

*Meh*scellaneous #3

You know what else sounds like a blast? A Filet o’ Fish meal. Or maybe just some chicken noodle soup and a pb&j while finishing “The Name of the Rose.” Now if I can just convince myself to get out from under the covers and remove my hat, coat, and scarf long enough to make them… Brrrrrrrr!!!!!

The Philadelphia Story at WCT


ETA: This post has been getting lots of hits lately from people searching online for info about Kris Kingstad, Waukesha Civic Theatre’s beloved properties mistress who passed away August 25, 2010 of lymphoma. She was diagnosed some time during the winter of ’09/’10 (as far as I know) and her condition began deteriorating quite rapidly in recent weeks. She was in the care and company of loved ones when she passed.

She was a wonderful woman. A consummate professional with a beautiful heart, an encouraging spirit, a fun sense of humor, and a brand of humility you don’t often find in the theatre. She was loved and appreciated by many and will be greatly missed.

There will be a celebration of her life at Bevsek-Verbick Funeral Home at 10210 W. Lincoln Ave in West Allis, WI on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, with a short service to follow. The interment is not open to the public.

Those wishing to honor her memory with a gift are being encouraged to donate to the Lymphoma Society and Waukesha Civic Theatre.

******************************

Hi all.

I’m in a show that Previews tonight; “The Philadelphia Story” at Waukesha Civic Theatre on Main St. in downtown Waukesha. It’s been loads of fun to work on so it’s almost a shame to reach opening weekend because it means the experience is nearly over! Though I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the prospect of having our evenings back to ourselves, so I imagine we’ll get over it. ;)

Synopsis, etc. of the show from the WCT website:

Tracy Lord, the privileged, spoiled, divorced, and uninhibited daughter of the Philadelphia Lords, is engaged to be married, but that doesn’t stop her from beginning a whirlwind adventure. Her fiancé, her ex-husband, a reporter, a scheming brother, a Broadway dancer, and her father all contribute to the mayhem, culminating in a hilarious turn of events and an unexpected ending you won’t forget.

The cast includes Ruth Arnell (Tracy Lord), Ramon Campos (Mac & Doctor Parsons), Ruth Caves (May), Jeff Davis (Willie Tracy), Eric Eggers (Sandy Lord), Will Elwood (CK Dexter Haven), Haley Gray-Hoehn (Dinah Lord), Beth Keller (Elsie), Jenny Kosek (Liz Imbrie), Ann Morrow (Margaret Lord), Mark Neufang (Mike Connor), Jeff Porter (George Kittredge), Jim Volden (Seth Lord), and Scott Wendelberger (Thomas).

Reva Fox is the Director. The production staff and crew includes: Costume Designer Aleta Bernard, Co-Properties Designer Kris Kingstad, Wig Master Anthony Mackie, Stage Manager Debi Mumford, Sound Designer John Santroch, Co-Properties Designer Monica Santroch, and Scenic Designer, Master Carpenter and Set Decorator Michael Talaska.

Performances are Fridays – Sundays and run as follows:

Friday  Saturday     Sunday
Nov 7-9 8 pm     8 pm              2 pm
Nov 14-16 8 pm     4 pm/8pm     7 pm
Nov 21-23 8 pm     2 pm/8 pm    2 pm

Ticket info from the WCT website:

Individual tickets are regularly $19.00 ($17.00 for students and seniors.) Tickets may be purchased over the telephone with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express during Box Office hours or Mail orders are accepted any time. Mail orders are processed in the order in which they are received. Specify show date and time, and mail order to WCT, P.O. Box 221, Waukesha, WI 53187. Please enclose $2 handling fee per order.

BOX OFFICE CONTACT INFORMATION
Box Office: 262.547.0708
Fax: 262.547.8454
E-Mail: boxoffice@waukeshacivictheatre.org

A side note on tickets:

I believe there are cheaper rush ticket options available, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about when they’re available or how much they are. I would strongly recommend that you contact the box office by phone when purchasing your tickets to confirm the rush time/cost, and to confirm ticket availability before waiting to show up to get in. There is also a Pay-What-You-Can option during the final Saturday matinee (2 pm, Saturday November 22nd).

This is one of the friendliest, most amiable casts I’ve ever worked with. I’m proud of what we’ve all worked together to accomplish, excited about the opportunity to work with Reva (audition for her if you can!), and looking forward to sharing the fun with you. And if you should come out to the show, let me know you’re there so I can be sure to pop out and say hi. :D