Thursday, November 5, 2009

And so it begins

The show has begun! Yes that's right, let the Christmas music and images of Santa permeate your very being. Despite the fact that it is barely November, people are coming to see our Christmas Spectacular. We opened the show with a Thursday matinee audience of 300 people. The show is about 90 minutes long and features a host of dancers, singers, and an abbreviated version of the Nutcracker performed in bear and hippo costumes! Yes thats right, people in bear costumes run rampant around here and I am grateful everyday that I am not one of them.

For myself, I felt opening night was pretty good. It was really the first time we had run the show all the way through from start to finish. So the timing of a lot of the costume changes was a bit of a surprise. At the start of the show we are reindeer bringing Santa to little Virginia, Susie, Nelly and Johnny to convince them that he is real AND magical. We have these ridiculously huge head pieces which consist of a brown curly wig, derby hat, and two huge styrofoam antlers that light up! I am beginning to get discoloration on my forehead these hats are so tight.
From there the children in the show begin reading The Night Before Christmas and thats when the Nutcracker scene comes into play. The next number I'm in, however, is soldier. With my ridiculously huge pants and extremely uncomfortable hat that chokes me for the entire dance, I march around keeping my knees perfectly straight and feeling my IT bands lighting on fire for a full 4 minutes, but the audience loves it! We close out the first half with a candy cane number in these lovely red and white, leggy Santa suits. Its my favorite costume!

The second half opens with a welcome to Santa's toy shop and we wear these great big puffy sleeve green velvet numbers....they are huge and awkward and make us look like football players. I almost laugh out loud every time I put it on. Then Santa brings the a little girl named Suzie's doll to life and guess what that's us again! All of these numbers convince the children that he is real and they all live happily ever after. But wait! Santa has one more present for you! Baby Jesus! Guess who gets to be a king and wear a big curly beard? Me!!!! Clearly the highlight of my night as you can imagine. We close out the show with the red Santa costumes and a precision kickline. Blam! Over and done.

Sorry for that ridiculously long description of the show. Now for the drama. You would think that after all that is over and the first show is complete, we would get some sort of congratulations from crazy owner guy....but, no. Instead, we are told that SOME of us are bringing down the quality of the show and that he is thinking of firing some people!! You could feel the morale of our little group just plummet and on top of that we had to rehearse for 1-2 more hours directly after the show was over. So now, everyone is basically dancing for their jobs every night. Because, stress always makes you perform better....oh wait it doesn't? Too bad!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

If you see it in the sun then it is so

I debated a long time about whether or not to update this blog with non-audition news. At the moment I have landed my first paying job in a long time and am out of NYC. Thusly, there can be no more audition updates for awhile. However, several people have asked me to tell them about my time on the job, so I have decided to blog about that for awhile. After all, I can always get rid of these posts later and return it to solely my audition endeavors.

I have been out on a job for the past two weeks for a dinner theater in the midwest. I am doing their Christmas show and it promises to be a crazy adventure. You know you are in for some craziness when the owner of the theater tells you that a Santa Claus type figure is going to pick you up from the airport AND when you are picked up you find that you are catching a ride in a car, that can barely go over 50 on the highway and is smoking and making grinding noises all the way to your destination! Heaven help me!

The theater has housing for its performers right on the property so it is only a 2 min walk to get to rehearsal or shows which is really nice. The set up is pretty much like a dorm room. I have been sharing a room with another girl for these past two weeks, and I will be moving into my own room sometime in the coming days after our show opens. The whole cast shares a kitchen, tv room, and bathroom. Which sounds more inconvenient than it really is. I am looking forward to having my own room, but haven't minded the current living quarters at all. Yet there are some ridiculous rules for the housing facility i.e. we are not allowed to open ANY WINDOWS AT ANYTIME! Not if its blazing hot in your room, the room starts smelling like old socks, or you burnt something in the kitchen and there is smoke so thick you can't see 3 feet in front of you. DO NOT OPEN THE WINDOWS OR YOU WILL BE FIRED. Also, they don't believe in recycling....???

Rehearsals for the show have been long. I rehearse seven hours a day six days a week, with an hour for lunch and my body was not prepared for this AT ALL. The show has been stylized in a similar manner to the Rockette's show so there is a lot of kicking and I'm always wearing heels to dance in, which can do a number on your legs. I really wish that I had splurged on LaDuca's (really expensive dance heels) before I got here, but I definitely plan on shelling out the cash for them as soon as I get back to the city.

One thing I wasn't so much planning on was all the ups and downs that go on behind the scenes. We have a really great choreographer and my castmates are awesome. Yet the owner of the theater has been a bit of a pain. He has spent so much money on these beautiful costumes for our show! I mean they are gorgeous, but they weren't created with dancers in mind. We have some crazily complicated and heavy hats that make it hard to do almost anything, including breath or get oxygen to your brain they are soooo tight! LOL The owner is so hands on, that he is consistently butting heads with the choreographer and director on how the show should be run and ends up saying that he HATES the show multiple times a day. Yet the man has no theater experience so he really has no idea what he is talking about. So anyways, major drama over here!

The show itself is about a little girl who's siblings don't believe in Santa Claus and she asks Santa to come help her convince them that he is real. Santa takes them all on a magical journey to change their hearts and minds about him. In the midst we dancers the "Holiday Bells" appear as flying reindeer, soldiers, candy canes and rag dolls for a total of six numbers. Not to mention my own special appearance as one of the three wise men in the nativity scene! It has been really hard to get the precision dancing down, we are always struggling to keep our lines straight, dance exactly the same, and be super sharp, but the show has slowly been coming together.

These past two weeks have flown by and we are going into tech this week, which promises to be some very long twelve hour days. Our show opens on Thursday evening and will run until New Year's Eve! I'll be sure to keep you all updated!