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!

The Tarzan Chronicles – Part Two: Another Chance

Hello Again, Dear Readers,

So, I thought I was not to be a part of the Tarzan company at Artisan. Then, while flying home from Atlanta, I hop on Gogo Inflight Wireless (truly the greatest invention of all time) and see a Facebook post saying that Tarzan had a new director and was having further auditions to cast a few roles…one of which was Kerchak.

Say what??!!

I did a little hunting, and there was some drama that I don’t know much about and don’t care to know any more than I do in which there was a change of directors for the production. I also found out that I was able to audition for the new director, Joe Sturgeon.  I prepared my stuff again, went in and sang my best…and a day or so later I got a call from Deeann Blair offering me the role!  My first Disney show was going to happen!!  And my nieces and nephew are going to see it!!!  Huzzah!

In this time of career transitions, the idea of leaving Texas, and basically trying to figure out what to do with my life…things have been made better by having this show.  Us theater people are a strange bunch.  We are eccentric.  We are obviously a little nuts.  But most of all, we are a family.  Ok, we do put the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’, but you can always rely on your family.  I am privileged to have been given another chance at joining this Tarzan family, and they have helped keep my focus in tact.  It’s a funny world.  You get cast in a show and for a few weeks you have a new family.  Instantly bonded.  Best friends.  Then, the show closes and people move on to their next projects.  Most you stay in touch with, but often you turn around and realize you haven’t seen that person who was your closest friend for those weeks in too long a time.  Then, like magic, you happen to get cast in another production together…and it’s like time never stopped.  You have an instant connection.  This strange phenomenon works over periods of years…even decades.  I have a number of people I could list that I went for nearly 20 years without seeing only to be cast again together and pick up like it was yesterday.

Anyway, Tarzan just entered tech week…which is a topic for another post.  Coming soon.  So, come back, won’t you?  Hang out for a few minutes in my corner of the sky.  I think I shall leave you with a little tease.  One of our Terks practicing some trapeze work with one of our young Tarzans.  OH…if you want to come see the show, comment on the post and I will tell you how I can get you $1 off a ticket just for reading my blog!   

The Tarzan Chronicles – Part One: Background

A few years back Disney created a stage version of the movie TARZAN for Broadway.  It didn’t do very well, but seeing as I am the Disney fan that I am, I still wanted to see it.  I mean, Phil Collins music!  Apes flying around the stage!  A guy in a loin cloth flies over the audience!  What’s not to love?  So, when the closing was announced, I secured myself tickets to the final performance.  I had never done a closing night before, but WOW, what a night!  The show was a blast and even though it is not one a critically acclaimed show or anything, I will always remember being present that night.  It is one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen on Broadway or on tour.

Jump forward to last fall.  I have an out of the blue conversation with Rick Blair about coming to Artisan Center Theater to play the Big Bopper in Buddy.  As he is showing me around the theater we talk about the fact that they put Disney’s Tarzan on their 2014 season.  Now, let me be quite honest here…I thought they were CRAZY!  How could you pull off this VERY technical show in such an intimate space?  But they had a plan.  And right there I knew that somehow I needed to be a part of that plan.  I dropped many not-so-subtle hints that I wanted to play Kerchak, the leader of the apes.

When it was time for auditions, I made my appointment and picked a song that I thought resembled the role pretty well.  I really felt like I did one of my best performances that night.  I sang my song and was around to sing some of Kerchak’s numbers from the show.  I left feeling like that I gave it my best, which is all you can do in these things.  For any of you that don’t know the harrowing experience auditioning is…well, watch A Chorus Line (not the movie, please) and that might give you a little taste.  It is the most miserable part of this crazy thing we actors do.  Some go well, some you just bomb.  Sometimes the one you did well still doesn’t lead to you being cast.  Sometimes the one you bombed gets you a role. 

The day after the audition I had a message on my phone from the director saying they were making decisions by the end of the week “but you sounded WONderful!”  Hey…I sounded wonderful.  Great!  I think I may have a shot here.  Days go by….nothing….  Then a call from the stage manager saying that I was not being offered a part.  It was just a few days later that I was laid off from my job.  I had also kicked butt at another audition I had been at for a show that I really wanted to sing.  I would have killed to have even been in the ensemble.  Didn’t get that one either.    As these things go, it was kind of depressing to have that much rejection in the span of under 2 weeks.

Don’t get me wrong.  Rejection is just part of the game when you are an actor.  You don’t get cast much more than you do.  You just have to keep at it, plugging away.  But sometimes shows come along that you really want to do for personal reasons.  Tarzan was that show for me.  See, first of all, I am a huge Disney fan but have never had the chance to be in a Disney show.  It would have meant so much for me to finally portray a Disney character.  Second, I love my nieces and nephew more than just about anything, but I have never had the chance to perform for them.  All of my shows of the last few years have been a bit too adult in nature.  But here was a DISNEY show…it would be perfect!  But it was not to be. 

But wait……

 

To be continued……

Down…But Not Out

Well, Hello Readers,

If any of you are still around.  I mean, I haven’t made a blog entry in months so I understand if you have stopped coming for a visit.  But, now I’m back!

It’s been a tough few months.  I did travel a bit, but just didn’t keep up the adventure here.  You see, I had one of those things they call a ‘major life event’.  After just over 9 years in a job with a company I loved, I was called in to my boss’s office and told that due to the merger with another major airline my position was no longer needed.  9 years…all my plans for life, retirement, family…gone in an instant.  Now I find myself among the ranks of the unemployed and it’s just not easy.  But that’s OK.  I will not let this get me down, it’s just a time to rethink the plan.  But, if you know anyone who is hiring, let me know!

So, in the time since I last posted I had a couple of standard trips to Orlando.  Did a trip to NYC to see Aladdin and The Bridges of Madison County.  Stayed with a friend who was working at a hotel at Niagara Falls.  Completed the Expedition Everest Challenge 5K with obstacles and scavenger hunt.  Did a day trip to San Francisco to see a preview screening of Maleficent and see the new Disney Infinity 2.0 announcement.  Took a last minute cruise on the Disney Dream with mom.  Have been to Atlanta to see my sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews a couple of times.  Plus a day trip to Jackson to take care of some family business.  Down…but definitely not out.

Plus, I have a little show I am doing.  Did I say little show?  I am doing Disney’s Tarzan!  More about that on my next post!

Another Openin’ Another Show!

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Gosh, I haven’t posted in forever.  Sorry about that.  I missed travel blogging a trip to Orlando where we drove back stopping in Biloxi on the way back.  I also passed through Beaumont, TX to pay my respects to the final resting spot of the real Big Bopper, JP Richardson.

Since my last post, I have been in rehearsals for a two week run of Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES the concert version.  I am playing Roscoe, who sings Beautiful Girls at the top of the show.  It is truly an amazing cast and I am humbled in their presence.  I hope I can try to hold a candle to the amazing performances happening on that stage.  The high A at the end of my song is trying to ruin me, though.  I used to have that note solid….then I got older.  I am trying to muster up a blended falsetto…but so far it is not happening.  Tomorrow we open.  So, hopefully the gods of Sondheim will send their good graces to GLCT tomorrow night.

I am hoping to put together a quick weekend trip later this month.  I kind of want to do some Broadway since there are so many new shows to see.  If anyone has any suggestions on where I might go or what I might do…let me know!

Until then, come see me at the FOLLIES!

-E. Scott