N.Y.C.

NYC
Just got here this morning
Three bucks, two bags
One me!
NYC
I give you fair warning
Up there, in lights
I’ll be!

– Annie, N.Y.C.

Mama Won’t Fly Photos

Here’s a slideshow from my recent production of Mama Won’t Fly!

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Mama Won’t Fly

Mama Won't Fly

I’m about to head out to my last performance of “Mama Won’t Fly” so this post will be short and sweet. The closing of a show is always a sad time for an actor because it means that you’ll no longer be seeing the cast members you’ve bonded with for the past few months and you’re putting to rest the show you worked so hard to bring from page to stage. Before long, the experience fades into nothing more than a distant memory. But such is theatre. I’m especially sad to see this particular show close because I know it is my last play in NJ. I’ll be moving to NYC in a little less than two months and while I hope I can do more theatre after I move, there are no guarantees. I feel like NYC theatre is the big leagues and I’m sad to be leaving the security of the familiar NJ theatre scene.

Mama Won't Fly2Playing the accident-prone Hayley in “Mama Won’t Fly” has been such a joy. I love making an audience laugh and this role has given me plenty of opportunity to do so. I feel like I’ve grown as a comedic actress working alongside such a talented and hilarious cast, especially my fellow leading-ladies. (We were in the newspaper! Here’s a link.)

I’ll miss this quirky group of actors terribly and hope our paths will cross again in the future.

So long NJ theatre, and hello NYC!

2013 Recap

Happy New Year! I know, I know. It’s been a while since I’ve written. A long while. Life kinda got crazy. So where should I start? Let’s start at the very beginning and recap 2013.

This time last year I was studying British theatre in London and it was fabulous! (Wow! I can’t believe that was a whole year ago!) In the spring I interned at Parenting.com, acted and costume designed for some school plays, and enjoyed my last semester of college. In May I graduated from The College of New Jersey and got my B.A. in Journalism and Professional Writing. (Yay!) In the summer I worked at a theatre camp and directed Beauty and the Beast, Jr. The kiddies were ah-dorable. Towards the end of the summer I was cast in a local production of Avenue Q. I learned how to puppet….then I kinda disappeared.

Oops. Sorry about that. Let me explain what happened.

Well, while I was in rehearsals for Avenue Q, I got my first real big-girl job! In New York City! I started working as a Community Manager at an advertising agency doing social media for BlackBerry. It’s all been very exciting… and completely exhausting. See, I live in New Jersey. South Jersey, to be exact. I’m about 10 minutes outside of Philadelphia. So New York City is a bit of a hike from my neck of the woods. For the past few months my life has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Here’s a day in the life:

5:37 a.m. – cue alarm clock and subsequent grumbling from yours truly

5:52 a.m. – finally get out of bed, realize my hair will look bad today because I waited so long to get up

6:20 a.m. – leave house in a mad rush, drive to Hamilton train station way too fast

7:01 a.m. – arrive at Hamiltion station, park and RUN to train

7:04 a.m. – JUST barely catch express train to NYC, attempt to nap on train

8:08 a.m. – arrive at Penn Station New York, take brisk walk to office, try not to make eye-contact with homeless people

8:32 a.m. – get to office feeling cold and out of breath, it’s time to start a full day of work!

5:33 p.m. – finally leave the office, walk like a zombie to Penn Station

5:54 p.m. – arrive at Penn Station, mad dash to appropriate track

6:03 p.m. – express train leaves Penn Station, practice lines on train, resist urge to punch annoying passengers

7:04 p.m. – arrive at Hamilton station, walk up what feels like a million flights of stairs to get to car, finally time to go… to rehearsal

8:00 p.m. – get to rehearsal, be fabulous on stage (obviously)

11:34 p.m. – get in car to leave rehearsal, sing in car to keep self awake while on the road

12:07 a.m. – finally home! Time to pass out for a few hours so I can wake up and do it all over again tomorrow

This is an ideal day. Some days I miss the express train and need to wait around for a slower, local train. This can add 30+ minutes to my train ride and it’s the worst.

But I digress…Back in November, Avenue Q ended after a lovely 4-week run. I would finally have time to myself! (Or so I thought.) I auditioned for another play the day after Avenue Q closed and was cast on the spot. While this was kinda awesome, it also gave me zero time to relax after Avenue Q. I literally went from a performance, to an audition, to a rehearsal in a matter of 24 hours and I’ve been in rehearsals ever since. This new play, “Mama Won’t Fly” opens in 3 weeks and I am so excited for opening night! It’s a very funny play and I have a great part in it. I’m playing Hayley, a high-energy, accident-prone, bride-to-be. It’s such a fun part and I’m so happy.

But this lifestyle isn’t sustainable. During the week I feel like I’m living in a constant state of commute. On the weekends all I want to do is sleep. Something’s gotta give. So once the play is over I’M MOVING TO NEW YORK!

I don’t know exactly where I’ll be moving, but I’ve been looking for apartments in Queens and Brooklyn. My goal is to be all moved into my new apartment by March 1! Once the play is over, I will focus all my energy into finding an apartment and making this exciting move! For a Jersey girl (born and raised) this is a HUGE step for me. Heck, I even went to The College of New Jersey. I think it’s time to give one of the other 49 states a chance.

I’ll hopefully be able to give you a more detailed update on my new play and this exciting move to NYC sometime this weekend, but considering my track record, I won’t make any promises.

Hope everyone had a lovely 2013 and I wish you every bit of happiness in 2014!

xoxo

Avenue Q Musical Musings

Hello lovely readers!

For the past week I’ve been learning the music for my latest show, Avenue Q. I haven’t performed in a musical in two years, so I’m thrilled to be singing again. The music rehearsals have been a blast so far, but the music is slightly more challenging than I would have expected. Since Avenue Q is a silly show filled with catchy songs, I assumed the music would be a breeze. (I mean, my character is a puppet for goodness sake!) But despite the ridiculous laugh-out-loud funny lyrics, I found that I’ll really need to work hard to make sure I sing everything perfectly.

Here’s a particularly funny section of music from the song There Is Life Outside Your Apartment:

“There is life outside your apartment!

Oh, you never know what’s around the bend

You could step in dog $#!* or make a friend!”

You’d never know it just from reading the lyrics, but we’re actually singing in four-part harmony there. I’m really enjoying learning the music for this show because the songs are so catchy, plus I get to sing in a puppet voice which is really fun. I’ve been drinking a TON of tea with honey this past week to try and preserve my voice. Singing in a puppet voice can really take a toll on your vocal cords.

This week we were given our “rehearsal puppets” to start practicing with. The rehearsal puppets have the same feel and weight as puppets we will use for the performances, but they are for rehearsal purposes only and do not leave the theatre.

Bad Idea Bears Rehearsal Puppets

Bad Idea Bears Rehearsal Puppets

I loved practicing with my rehearsal puppet, but my hand was very sore by the end of practice. I definitely need to build up my strength before opening night!

Do you have any questions about the rehearsal process for a musical or about working with puppets? I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Announcing my next show…

After a magical, yet exhausting, summer directing a children’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr., I decided to go in a completely different direction for my next show.

See if you can guess the next show I’ll be in.

Here are a few hints:

  • This show won three Tony awards in 2003 including Best Musical
  • This show was written by the composer of The Book of Mormon
  • This show features both actors and puppets

If you’re still stumped, I’ll come right out with it… Drum Roll Please

So, without further ado, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be playing Bad Ideas Bear in the upcoming Haddonfield Plays and Players production of Avenue Q!

This musical is essentially a raunchy Sesame Street for adults. You’ll definitely want to leave the kids at home for this one; it’s R-rated for indecent language and puppet nudity (I’m not kidding). Unlike Beauty and the Beast, I’m one of the youngest in this production. Our first rehearsal was last night and by the end of the evening my sides were sore from laughing so much.

Bad Idea Bears

For the past few weeks I’ve been attending Puppet Boot Camp to prepare for this show. Not only did I build my own puppet out of felt, foam and hot glue, but also I learned how to talk, walk, sing and act with a puppet! I have a new-found appreciation for puppeteers and the craft as a whole. Our first music rehearsal is tomorrow and I cannot wait to start learning the songs. This show is going to be a blast!

Theatre Camp – Week 1

Image

This week I started my job at a local theatre camp! It’s my second year working at the camp and I’m so happy to be back. I am one of the three senior counselors in charge of 51 kids ages 5-14. This year the campers will be putting on Willy Wonka, Jr. and Beauty and the Beast, Jr. I’m excited to be co-directing Beauty and the Beast with another senior counselor. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and I’ve always wanted to work on this production!

Monday was the first day of camp and we started off by having the kids do some ice-breakers to learn each other’s names. After that we taught the kids stage directions with a game of Simon Says. By the end of the day all the kids knew the differences between Stage Right, Stage Left, Center Stage, On Stage, Off Stage, Up Stage and Down Stage. Afterwards we listened to the music from each show and selected the music that they’d need to know for their auditions. Girls auditioning for Belle need to sing Something There starting at “New and a bit alarming…” The boys could choose between a section of the song Gaston or the Beast’s part in Something There. Girls auditioning for any part could sing the selection from Gaston.

On Tuesday we had the kids do some scene work. We split them into groups and had the counselors assign them different scenes to read. I was blown away by my group! They were all excellent readers and took direction very well. In the afternoon we started our audition process. We called the kids into the hallway one-by-one to sing the song of their choice. After they sang we had them do cold readings from the scripts. We didn’t get through all the auditions on Tuesday so we had to finish on Wednesday. Our choreographer taught the kids a short dance routine to Be Our Guest while the senior counselors conducted the auditions.

Auditioning and casting 51 kids was way more difficult that I ever could have imagined. The kids are immensely talented, but it is tough to figure out what parts they can handle. The cast list wasn’t sent out until around midnight on Wednesday because it took so long to finalize!

I’m really excited to start blocking the show next week! On Thursday (July 4th) we didn’t have camp, so I spent the day brainstorming how I want to block Beauty and the Beast. I’m most looking forward to blocking the Prologue. Even though I’m not a dancer, I want it to be like a ballet with very exaggerated movements. Our Enchantress is an excellent dancer and I definitely want to take advantage of that.

On Friday our camp took a trip to New York to see Matilda on Broadway and to do a workshop with one of the members of the cast. The kids learned Miracle, the opening number of Matilda, and were taught a short dance routine to go with it. Some of our kids are such great dancers! For lunch we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and then we saw the 2:00 performance of Matilda. The show was excellent, but I think I liked the London cast slightly better.

Friday was a looooong day, but we had a great time. I’m really looking forward to start working with the kids next week so we can make such a magical show come to life!

I’m Back!

Happy June, lovely readers! I know I’ve been gone for a while, but I’m back and I’m here to stay! There’s so much to tell, but where to begin?

Well, I guess the most important thing is that I graduated from The College of New Jersey!

Graduation

Highest Honors, baby!

It feels so weird to be done with school. I miss my friends and my roommate terribly, but I don’t miss all the homework! Now that I’m back in good ol’ Jersey I can catch up on my ever-growing reading list. Right now I’m reading “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This” by former Cosmo EIC Kate White. I’m hoping the tips in this witty book will help me land my dream magazine job! (Fingers crossed!)

Image from KateWhite.com

Now that I’m home indefinitely (or at least until I can land a job and move to the Big Apple), I’ve been spending my days applying for jobs. So far no luck, but I’m not giving up hope! (By the way, if you happen to know anyone in the magazine/web/publishing industry I’d be forever grateful if you could pass along my resume!) I’ve only been out of school for two weeks, but it feels like an eternity.

But on the plus side, I’ve started running again! It feels great to be out there, even if it is ungodly hot outside. And I finally bought a new pair of sneaks! With the help of a lucky find on Pinterest, I even learned how to relace them so my toes don’t fall asleep while running. They’re nice and colorful and make me happy whenever I lace up.

What do you think?

What do you think?

I also got some new shorts, shirts and sports bras. Nothing really matches but I like all the bright colors anyway. Since I stopped running towards the end of the semester I decided to start the C25K app from the beginning again. This time I’m going to finish it!

Hmm… what else can I tell you… oh yeah! Remember all those costumes I was busy with this semester? Well, all that hard work paid off! I won Best Costumes for the 2012-2013 ACT season. They even gave me a pretty certificate! Speaking of theatre, while I’m searching for that dream job, I’ll be working at a local theater camp. This season the kiddos are putting on Willy Wonka, Jr. and Beauty and the Beast, Jr. I’m ecstatic about Beauty and the Beast because it is my favorite Disney movie! I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures!

Well that’s it for now! I’ll post again real soon. Tomorrow I’m going to see Cinderella on Broadway and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!

Another Openin’ Another Show!

Yesterday was opening night for ACT’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile and I couldn’t be more proud of the cast and the entire production staff. Hopefully this explains my  hiatus from blogging — preparing for a show is a huge time commitment. I’m so glad to have been a part of this production and I’m really happy with how the costumes came out.

Even though I wasn’t able to watch the show last night (I need to stay backstage to help with a couple of quick changes) I could certainly hear it — and the audience was roaring with laughter. This show is hilarious and the cast is immensely talented.

The last time I blogged about the show I told you about my awesome finds at a vintage shop, so let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to since then. I got a few costume pieces at the Goodwill by my school, repurposed a couple of items from my own wardrobe, ordered some items online, and picked up a couple of tricky items from a costume shop in Philadelphia. Nearly every costume needed to be altered, hemmed and embellished. All the characters have hats, wigs, coats, aprons, scarves, jewelry and purses. Since the play takes place in October, it’s more realistic for the characters to need to take off their coats when they enter. I had several discussions with the director and the set designers about adding a coat rack and hat hooks to the set. I had another long discussion with the director afterwards where we discussed which hooks the actors would use to hang their coats. Only in theatre would people spend 15 minutes talking about hanging up a coat!

I am so proud of the hard work that went into the costumes and I am especially thankful for my three lovely costume assistants who helped me so much.

So without further ado — here are the costumes for Picasso at the Lapin Agile! Let me know what you think!

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Thrifting Treasures

I had such a lovely Saturday! In addition to getting lunch with my grandmother, I spent the day running in and out of shops looking for the perfect costumes for the play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. As I’ve mentioned before, Picasso takes place in France in 1904, so finding the costumes isn’t as easy as running to the mall and buying something off the rack. Costuming a show like this feels like going on a treasure hunt — and today I struck gold!

My first stop was a cute thrift shop in Moorestown, NJ. The downstairs of the shop was filled with odds and ends — everything from pillows and books to jewelry and umbrellas. I could stay there for hours sifting through all the curious objects, but today I was on a mission and I didn’t let myself get distracted. When I walked in I headed straight to the back of the store, up the rickety staircase and into the room filled with clothes. I veered past the men’s clothing and went straight for the racks of women’s clothes. Today I was costuming my actresses.

A novice costumer might come to a thrift shop armed only with her wallet and an eye for style, but I’m no novice. I came prepared. Today I brought along my arsenal — my iPad mini displaying a spreadsheet filled with the measurements of each actor, character descriptions, and an itemized list of every item of clothing that they will need.

Almost immediately I found the perfect blouse for the character Germaine. It was a cream colored button down made of 100% silk. Luckily the price was right. The tag read $5.Picture 6

Next, I found a beautiful two piece outfit for Sagot. This role is normally played by a man, but in our show the director changed the role to a female. The matching skirt and top are a pretty dark purple velvet with delicate beading. Price tag? $18 for the set. Since the top has spaghetti straps I will need to pair it with some sort of jacket.Picture 4

Hanging a few racks over was a gorgeous blue strapless dress. I picked up this dress a couple times before I decided to buy it. I’ll need to alter it a bit by adding some sleeves. It cost $40, a little more than I wanted to spend on something that will need alterations, but it was too pretty to pass up. The Countess had to have this dress.

Picture 3

Finally, I dug through some bins searching for a corset for one of my actresses. The character Suzanne changes shirts onstage and she needs to reveal her sexy bra to the audience. I bought a lacy black bra/corset. (I hope it fits! I don’t have the girls’ bra sizes.) Price tag: $2.50

When I went downstairs to pay for my treasures I received quite a shock — Everything was Half-Off!

Let’s review:

Silk Blouse – $5 $2.50

Skirt and Top Combo – $18 $9

Dress – $40 $20

Corset – $2.50 $1.25

(No sales tax on clothes in NJ)

Total = $70 $35!

And how’s this for luck — today was the last day of their sale. I’m still in shock!

After I paid for the costumes and the sweet cashier gave me a handwritten receipt, I tried my luck at a local Goodwill. Nothing. I was about to call it a day when I decided to check out the Burlington Coat Factory on the way home. Jackpot! When I walked in I saw a giant display of Easter hats, which happen to look very similar to the hats worn in the early 1900s.

Picture 7

I bought three hats and went home to gaze at my treasures. With some feathers, ribbons and fake flowers, the hats will be perfect. I can’t wait until my next thrifting adventure!

What do you think of my loot? I’m afraid the photos just don’t do them justice.

Costumes – Picasso at the Lapin Agile

As you may know, I’m acting in a student written play — my first acting “gig” in over a year, but what you may not know is that I’m also doing costume design for another play! I’m the head costume designer for Picasso at the Lapin Agile and I couldn’t be more excited! Picasso was written by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and tells the story of Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and a time traveling rock star *cough* Elvis *cough* who all meet in the same bar one evening. It’s odd, funny, and wordy — I can’t wait!

I absolutely love costumes and I find being a designer for a show incredibly rewarding. Last night we had our first production staff meeting for Picasso and it got me super pumped. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with theatre, a production staff meeting is where all the designers for each aspect of the show – props, costumes, set, sound, lights, etc. – meet with the directors and producers to discuss the “vision of the show” and begin the planning process). Since we are in the very early stages of the show, we were discussing the script and throwing around preliminary ideas. The play takes place in a fictitious French bar in 1904, so I’m getting to costume my first true period piece! Clothing from the early 20th century isn’t easy to find at your local consignment shop – women wore S-bend corsets and long gowns and the men wore tailored suits. It’s all very elegant. The director and I tossed around the idea of playing with color and perhaps having the costumes change from blue to red to represent Picasso’s transition out of his “blue period”. I’m interested in sticking with traditional 1900’s silhouettes, but perhaps playing with different textures and patterns that wouldn’t be found during that time. We’ll see! Thankfully, I’m not doing this alone – I have three costume assistants (who all know how to sew – I basically won the assistant jackpot!) and I will train them and take them under my wing. I pretty much learned how to costume shows on my own through trial and error, but I will teach them what I’ve learned so once I graduate there will be more experienced costume designers at TCNJ.

Last night I was up really late because I couldn’t stop looking up 20th century clothes and sketching costume ideas, but it was so much fun. I’ll keep you updated on the show!

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”

– Oscar Wilde, Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic

A Return to the Stage!

sailorkissIn the past year I’ve directed and designed costumes for various plays, but it’s been over a year since I’ve actually acted in a show. Well readers, I’m happy to announce that the hiatus is over — I’ll be returning to the stage this March!

I just found out that I was cast in a small student-written play! (I cannot describe how excited I was to see my name on the cast list – it’s been so long!) I cannot wait to start rehearsing!

All I know is that the play is a WWII-era love story. I’ll post more details after my first rehearsal.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xoxo