The Tarzan Chronicles – Part Four: Another Week in the Jungle

This weekend I will tie my longest length of time doing one show as we hit the 5 week mark. The previous record was in Jekyll and Hyde at Theatre Winter Haven. However, I did have many more actual performances in the previous record. At Artisan, you only get 3 shows a week because of the double casting. I guess by the end of the run I should be pretty close on with the two. I wonder if I have the performance schedule for J&H somewhere to see? Hmmm. I am really having to work harder on keeping my voice in shape to last. Roaring as Kerchak takes it’s toll on the vocal chords!

The last week of shows was nice in the fact that I had visitors at each show. Tonight, my old AA work friends Katie, Mikel, and Erma came to see the show. Tuesday, the amazing Mark Miller stopped by. For someone of his stature to come and see my work when there are so many other bigger and higher profile shows going on is quite flattering. I was also visited by the uber talented Kyle Montgomery. He is currently in Uptown Player’s fantastic production of The Boy From Oz. I had the pleasure of working with him on ICT (now MILC, I guess)’s production of Urinetown. He is one of those class acts that I know will go far, so watch for him! Then, last Saturday, my friend of many years from Disney in Florida, Aron, surprised me and showed up with his family that live near by. So, it was a nice week for seeing friends in the audience.

It’s hard to believe I only get to do this show 7 more times. If you haven’t seen us, come on by. Say Hi. We would love to have you!

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Dallas/Fort Worth Theater Bursting at the Seams!

I cannot remember any time when we have had SO MUCH good and/or innovative theater playing at the same time. Summer 2014 may go down as the time when local theater finally got noticed on a more global scale.

Obviously I am partial to the work we have done bringing Disney’s Tarzan to the confines of the Artisan space. I am quite proud of the acting work I have done and continue to do as Kerchak. That being said…

Friday night I caught the regional premier of The Boy From Oz at Uptown Players. This is the first time it has been done in the United States since it was on Broadway…AND…the only other production was the Australian arena tour. The show is simply fantastic. A show to put Uptown on the map. A star-making performance by a guy named Alex Ross in the lead role. You just cannot miss this performance, it is THAT good.

I just caught a performance of the Kopit & Yeston PHANTOM. I saw Casa MaƱana’s production back in the 90’s and loved it and was very excited to see what MILC had done. Their use of projections was great. The first time I have seen that effect used at a community theater on that scale. Really a class act production.

Tonight, I am putting away my doubts and am going to watch the highly controversial production of LES MISERABLES at Dallas Theatre Center. It has garnered world-wide recognition and I just have to judge for myself.

Wednesday, I am going to Watertower Theatre to see the regional premier of DOGFIGHT. A musical that ran off-Broadway last year and won the Lucille Lortel award for Best New Musical.

And that’s just a sampling! So much theater and just not enough time…so get out and see a show!

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Another Day Trip! Part 2

So…today I took the opportunity of some open flights to head up to the City to catch the ah-maze-ing Sutton Foster in the musical, Violet, before it closes in a week and a half.

I took the 6am flight into LGA and after a bus ride into the City, had a nice lunch at Playwright’s Tavern over on 8th Avenue. I chose their shepherd’s pie, which I happen to really like and finished with some raspberry sorbet. Very yummy!

Then it was off to the American Airlines Theatre to see VIOLET. This was another chance to visit a Broadway theater that I had never been in before! It is a beautiful old space that had a modern building built around it, so you get the charm of the old and the amenities of the new.

A side note: Am I the only one who sees the irony of a show at the American Airlines Theatre has a storyline where a girl takes a life changing trip…BY BUS?!?! Maybe I am weird. Don’t comment on that.

The show had some amazing voices! The staging was very unique, especially since most of the action takes place on a bus. They pulled this off without trying to create the real thing. It was a beautiful show, and I wish that Theatre Arlington would put it on a future season. It would be PERFECT in that space!

After the show, it was on to my new favorite thing…the NJ Transit train with it’s EWR stop! It has made getting in and out of the city a breeze. Truly a game changer! Now I write this from row 30 on a 737 as we work our way back to DFW.

“I’m On My Way…”

Until next time!

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Another Day Trip! Part 1

Actually, there have been two day trips since I last posted. Sunday, mom and I flew to Jackson, MS for the day. You see, one of the things I did with my severance money from AA was to purchase a grave marker for my grandmother. She has been gone for a decade and mom never had the extra $2,000 to pay for it. I know I should have held on to the money in case I go for a really long time without a job…but it felt like something I should do. I NEEDED to do.

The marker was installed last week, so we flew over to see it. I am very happy to see it there. It was more than I had being unemployed, but it is beautiful and a great tribute to an amazing woman.

Getting home was more of a challenge as Eagle cancelled the last flight out of JAN (again) for “mechanical” reasons (again). So, I cashed in a free National car rental day and we drove back to Dallas.

The Eye of the Tiger

Hello from Row 16 on a Super 80 traveling from Newark to DFW! Today was pretty awesome. I took a bus into the city and walked from Port Authority to One Shubert Alley, where I picked up the music book from BIG FISH. I want to learn ‘Fight the Dragons’. While checking out I saw they still had Tarzan the Musical lapel pins! So I picked one of those up too.

I decided to take a shot and see if there was anything for Of Mice and Men…but only premium seats left…boo. Well, yay that people are selling out an American Classic. But I just can’t afford those premium seats. So…off to the Rocky box office I went. A great guy there got me a PERFECT aisle seat at the Playbill.com discount rate!

After grabbing a quick bite and picking up the new program from If/Then (it wasn’t made when I saw the show), it was show time!

I was shocked at how much I loved ROCKY. Maybe it’s because I never saw the film, but I just loved it. LOVED. IT! I cannot begin to tell you how incredible the finale was. Truly the most exciting moment I have seen on stage. It was THAT exciting. They actually transform the entire theater into the boxing arena right before your eyes. The center section of the orchestra for the first about 7 rows have to get out of their seats and go on stage to a big bleacher section. Then, the boxing ring moves out over those seats. A jumbotron like screen descends from the ceiling above the ring. Lights appear in all the walls.. Banners unfurl all around you. It’s just incredible. And incredibly exciting. The audience all got involved, cheering on Rocky. It was something like I had never seen before. A moment that could only happen in live theater. It’s truly ashamed the show is closing so soon. I think many more people should have the chance to be thrilled on that level.

So if you are in NYC between now and August 17th, go check it out.

Now, after a weather delay, I am en route back to DFW. Ready to do Tarzan again tomorrow night.

I will add that today I have seen a lot of travel habits that..well…just annoy me. Let’s discuss:

1. CROWDING THE GATE BEFORE YOUR GROUP IS CALLED
Look, I know we are all wanting the overhead bin space. But if you are Group 4, please stand back so the earlier groups can get to the gate. We can’t see your boarding pass. We don’t know if you are in line or just standing around. We are all going to get on. Worst case they gate check your bag. Is that really so bad?

2. LEANING YOUR SEAT BACK, THEN PROCEEDING TO LEAN FORWARD
This one makes me crazy. First of all, on a domestic flight outside of sleeping hours, just don’t lean back your seat. Yeah,yeah, you are entitled, but it’s still rude. Airlines have crammed coach seats closer than ever, and really, I don’t want to have the top of your head under my nose. If I had to sneeze right now, the bald man in my lap would be covered in mucus. If my fat self can sleep upright, you can too. Overnight flights…different story.
HOWEVER, if you choose to recline your seat and THEN lean forward…well, now you are just being a douche. If you are not using the recline, put your seat up! Don’t be this guy:

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3. CHARGING UP THE AISLE AS SOON AS THE SEATBELT LIGHT IS OFF AT THE GATE
Wait your turn. We ALL have some place to be. That’s why we are on an airplane. You are not exclusively the one who has something going on. Not many are on a plane, you know, for the heck of it.

What about you? What are your travel pet peeves?

A Little Diversion

Hello from 37,000 feet!

Today I don’t have a show and since it’s Wednesday, Broadway has matinees. So, I am on my way for a day trip to see a show! I had really hoped to catch James Franco in Of Mice and Men before it closes this weekend but the show is sold out save for some of those $300+ premium seats. That’s just a bit ridiculous for me, so my second choice is the musical Rocky. Yes, based on the Sylvester Stallone film. The original music is by my favorite contemporary composers, Flaherty and Ahrens and I understand the last 15 minutes are some of the most incredible theater ever put on stage. The rest of the show has had issues. Still, I think it could be really cool to experience!

The real fun will be making it out of the City in time for a 6:50pm flight back to DFW out of Newark. I think I may try the train out of Penn Station for the first time today. That will be a new one for me. Normally I take the super convenient Newark Liberty Express bus from the Port Authority. Now that they keep making the last flight out earlier and earlier, Broadway day trips are more challenging. Still worth it!

We had a great performance of Tarzan last night. Still a few tech issues, but the cast gets better and tighter every show. With a seven week run, I hope I can find more depth in the character. Really try to solidify some acting choices.

Anyway, I am excited to see whatever show I happen to see today. Any moment in a darkened theater is truly a gift.

The Tarzan Chronicles – Part Three: Tech to Opening

We made it through tech week. Barely. The last few weeks were pretty brutal. Putting together a show like Tarzan can be a technical nightmare. We had some long nights. One preview where an audience member stood up during curtain call and stepped into the path of Tarzan and Jane entering on their zip line. Now we are wrapping up a week of performances. This is a show that will get better and better as it settles and we smooth things out.

I got a very special moment this past Tuesday. My sister is in town with my two nieces and my nephew. So, I got to perform a Disney show for them…that was a dream!

Well, this post has to be short because I have to start getting ape make up on…time to entertain!