First Preview Night

So… we’ve made it through tech weekend – pretty near flawlessly.

We survived our black out in the middle of dress rehearsal last night and now we are at First Audience. My theatre does something we call Community Preview where at our Final Dress Rehearsal we invite, for free, members of our community who would not otherwise attend the theatre. They come in groups, because they are all members of groups – special homes, they have care-givers or case workers, etc. They mostly know one another – and yet they all sit spread through the theatre. It’s fascinating. Our house seats over 350 and tonight I see about 100 folks spread throughout the house, but they are all talking to one another – some across the rows and some from the back to the front of the theatre. It should be a lively night.

Two years ago, at our Community Preview for The Three Musketeers (the first in my Ken Ludwig Trilogy), near the end Milady was about to poison Constance with a beverage she said would calm her nerves. Someone in the audience yelled out, “Don’t Drink It!” They are a fun crowd and anything can happen.

Tomorrow night is Preview and then Friday is Opening Night! Months and Months and Months of rehearsal and it will all be over in the blink of an eye…. But that’s part of why it’s so addictive. The payoff is, generally huge enough to balance the effort.

I know I’m going to enjoy the payoff of this piece.

Here’s to a successful run!

Break your legs!



My share of the task/load/project

Everyone’s got to do their share, right?

They sure do and in theatre the share can be any size… but whatever you can give is worth it. Believe me.

Last night we had a mix up in our rehearsal. It turned out to be a great mix up as it meant we got to rehearse on our stage a little earlier than originally planned, but it meant moving a fair bit of stuff from one room to another and then packing it all away out of sight and mind to be safe from the Big Event that’s coming into the space this weekend. That kind of task could be unbearable or a heavy burden on one or two people, but that’s not what happened.

What happened was this, everyone volunteered to help move a little something. That many hands made all the stuff transfer and then disappear into protected areas in minutes. Something that would have taken the Director and Stage Manager hours to do on their own took minutes. That’s what happens in theatre – EVERYBODY chips in – even folks who can’t carry heavy things can help – and they do. Hold a door, pick up a coffee, turn pages for the pianist, whatever – it doesn’t matter what it is, every little bit really does help.

So, I’m asking you, right now, what are you going to contribute? I don’t care if it’s big or small or minuscule… just do it, okay? Someone will appreciate it.

What makes the best…?(Part 9)



“What I really want to be… is an Actor.”

Really? Are you sure?

No really? Are you? Cause here’s the deal. It’s a tough job. Sure it can be fun, rewarding and at times even lucrative, but acting is one of the toughest gigs in the whole business of show. Here’s why…

You have to be ready for rejection. Lots of it. Daily. You not only have to be ready for it, you have to almost crave it. You have to be prepared to seek out criticism so that you can grow from it and improve. Not everyone has the guts for that. It’s tough to get rejected at your work on a regular basis and still want to do it each day.

You have to know how to act. And no, people are not just born with “it”. I don’t believe that. You can learn it. Sure, some folks have an innate quality that draws us to their performances, but if you want to be good, and I mean really good, then you’ve got to practice and learn and study and get rejected. And then start all over again. That is the only way to get really good.

You have to do it all – especially these days as film, television and stage demands are so much greater. You have to act, sing, dance, tumble, do voices, fight, crochet, whatever! You’ve got to be able to do it. And not just SAY you can do it, you’ve got to be skilled at it, or don’t say that you are.

You’ve got to be ready to take risks. No everyone was born with a voice ‘like buttah…’ but if you want to act, you’ve got to sing. No actor made a good living staying away from singing. Get some lessons. Learn some repetoire, develop a taste for musicals and Gilbert & Sullivan and all the rest. Know the material and know your strengths and then keep practicing them. Ditto for dance. And whatever other skill you want to put on the bottom of that resume.

When you do get a part, be fun to work with – for heaven’s sake! You want to work again, don’t you? Be on time, be organised, take notes, be prepared and learn your part. Come with ideas and be willing to play, but be ready for a vision that you weren’t expecting and go with it! Nothing pleases an artistic team more than a flexible actor who is willing to grow.

So, if out of all these roles in the 9 parts of this series, if THIS one still stands out for you above all else, then go for it. With gusto. Cause that’s the only way you are going to have any success!

Break a leg!

Why new projects can help you get through the dark days…

Have you ever felt blue, you know, a little anxious for no particular reason? A little sad, a little self-conscious or perhaps even really sad during those long dark times that take us from the beautiful colourful days of fall into the bright sparkling days of rebirth in spring? How do you combat that? What keeps you going?

Let’s face it, it can be difficult to get up in what seems like the dead of night to face whatever challenges your day may bring, but we’ve got to do it, right? We’ve got bills to pay and houses to clean and all manner of other commitments that make us get out of that comfy cozy spot where we’d much rather stay until April. So what keeps you going?

For me, it’s the promise of creative projects. This fall, I have less on my plate than normal, but that’s quite alright as the new year will bring several exciting shows my way and stocking up energy now is vital for all that I’ll need to keep organized.

Of course the podcast and blog will continue, but then there’s also a production of Sullivan & Gilbert with LCP at The Palace Theatre, a staged reading of Under Milk Wood again with LCP, two Original Kids Productions – one which will see me working with one of my favourite things (PUPPETS!) – that’s of course Avenue Q, the alumni show in June of next year and finally just today we received word that our submission to the London Fringe – [THEY FIGHT!] was accepted for this year! It’s going to be a busy six months for sure.

So, while I may be feeling a little non-specific sadness in these months as the days get darker, I know there’s some real creative buzz coming in the new year and that will certainly speed the time towards the longer sunnier days. And that’s my advice, find something exciting that will keep you going and make you want to get up, regardless of the light. Then, share it with others. They may benefit from your creativity as well.