Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's The Day of the Show Y'all!

I can't believe the moment is here. It is the night before the show y'all! So many emotions are running through me right now. I am scared, exhausted, excited, nervous. Name an emotion and I am probably experiencing it right now.

We had our final dress rehearsal tonight and it went well. I was really feeling nervous in the opening number but I got through it ok. Then we were going in to Shadow Waltz and I got nervous again. Half way through the number I reminded myself that I know the steps, now it is just time to have some fun. It worked even though I made a slight mistake in the choreography while thinking of my singing note. You can't lose focus for one second in this show. I was really happy with Go In To Your Dance. Although I don't know why the slow tapping that I do to teach Peggy a move, freaks me out so much. I guess it is because it is just me up there, no music, no singing, just silence and my taps. But I was practicing when I had a second offstage and I know I just have to bend and go for it. Overall, I was really pleased.

So here it is, the moment that I and so many others have worked so hard for. I am so emotional just thinking about it. I know that I am a hard worker, but I don't know if I have ever worked as hard as this. We've come a long way from auditions and now it is time to go out there, have some fun and tell our story. I can't wait to share it with all of our friends and family.

Alright, it's time for bed. It feels a little bit like Christmas Eve!

See ya on the other side,

Your Anytime Annie

1 More Working Day Until Opening Night!
But who am I kidding, tomorrow night is showtime!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For The First Time In My Life, I Feel Like A Dancer

Tonight was a good night! I had a lot of fun and I put everything I had in to the show. I was trying to treat it like we had an audience. Before the curtain rose, I actually got some performance butterflies.

So I was able to practice today and take a nap. You can really do anything once you put your mind to it. I took a 45 minute power nap during my class when the choreographer was teaching a number and I practiced some numbers right after I got in to hair and make up. I realize that I have to run all of the tap numbers before every show to remind my muscles what to do. While practicing I kept reminding myself to think into the ground and really dance hard. That is always the best reminder because then you get all your sounds. What I tend to do is rush from step to step and then I look so frenzied all the time.

I like to stand on stage left and watch the ballet. The ballet is the actual 42nd Street number and it is an 8 minute tap ballet. It's got some really cool characters and the choreography is unbelievable. As I watched on the side I noticed the people I kept staring at were the ones putting their all in to every move and they had something going on in their faces. I found myself getting lost in it. I hope I look like that.

So here it is. Almost time to open. I have one more night in rehearsal mode and then it's nerves time. I have no idea how my body will react, but I hope I can calm it down enough to enjoy every step. I know I really need to relax before Go In To Your Dance but it's so hard. As soon as I realize that I have to tap by myself I clam up. Not that I don't know it's going to happen, but with all the changes and the way this show moves you are always in the moment and then all of a sudden it hits me right before and my hips tighten. But on a positive note, because I always like to add that, I really feel like I am a dancer. As you have heard me say before I have always wanted to be a dancer. I would look at girls in their dancer clothes and their buns on their heads and just watch them move and be so jealous. But I finally feel like a dancer. I have never danced this much in a show and I am so grateful to those who gave me this opportunity (you know who you are). This experience is one that I will never forget.

Well since it is before midnight, I am going to take advantage and get in to bed for some serious needed sleep. Look for my super nervously excited post tomorrow. I can't believe it's here. Goodnight!

Your Super Excited, Nervous and Overtired Tapper!

2 Working Days Until Opening Night!
1 More Rehearsal Until Preview Night!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Go Big or Go Home!

It's 11:45 PM and I am finally in bed. Tonight was our 2nd dress rehearsal and it went ok for me. I really felt like I lost a little fire. Ever since we started costumes I haven't been able to get back to that comfort level that I was beginning to feel. And tonight I was just making tons of silly mistakes. It's getting too close to Opening Night for silly mistakes. I know that I am tired but that is not going to change. My schedule is crazy and I just have to deal with it.

So what can I do to bring the fire back? Well I can keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be performing. Tell myself to go out there and just have fun. But I think tomorrow night I am just going to keep chanting, go big or go home. I know I need a little more push and I have to bring it now. Only 2 more rehearsals to go.

I really feel like I have to practice my tapping before we run tomorrow, but I don't know when. I must find time because I don't feel comfortable with some things right now. I find myself noticing how scared I am during the run. Annie is confident and knows that she can do anything. I just have to walk around with that attitude and believe it, otherwise I am not telling the story and that is my job.

I am really excited about Preview Night. I can't wait for my family to see everything put together. And all of our family and friends will be there supporting us. I know we can't fail in their eyes. But I really want to show them what we can do. We've worked so hard and it's gotta be great. I am going to do everything in my power to get there. Although I know I am going to be so nervous that I can't even see straight.

Well, the computer screen is getting blurry. Time for bed. Goodnight my loyal readers.

Your kicking it in to high gear tapper.

Only 3 Working Days Until Opening Night (WHAT?)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Home Stretch!

It is the eve of the final stretch of rehearsals. Tomorrow night is our first full dress/tech rehearsal. This is the last step before opening. And I have to admit I am getting very excited.

I will start out by saying, I have been riddled with problems this week. I'm constantly tired because I am working all day and expending a lot of energy, working with kids. I have also been battling vocal troubles that are brought on by overuse and exhaustion. But I don't like to let anything get me down. However, after a long week, I was feeling very exhausted. When we started tonight I was feeling very weak and almost like I was going to pass out. But as soon as that beautiful band started playing and the cast looked around at each other with,"Let's do this thing," written all over their faces, I was feeling a little more ready. And then we started dancing the opening number and I felt incredible. There is just something about that number that thrusts you right in to the show.

I am at this point where I have mostly forgotten about the tap steps themselves and am trying to let myself go and just have fun. And let me tell you, I am having a lot of fun. I am finding little acting moments here and there that are fun and remind me of my strength in this role. I am always looking for new things on stage. I will never stop looking until the day we close. That's the best thing about live theatre, it's never the same. That is what is so exciting about it. And it's why I volunteer my time with others who love it as much as I do. Boy, I am a lucky girl. And I always try to remember that on days like today when I am tired and feel like I can't go anymore.

So, this is it. The home stretch. I am still a little nervous but I think the excited factor is kicking in to high gear. The cast and crew have been very supportive and complimentary and that is always motivating. And I have to dedicate this blog post to them. I love going in every night and seeing their smiling faces. And even though they are as tired as I am, they still want to go out there and give it all they got. That's another reason why I am so lucky, I get to spend my time with such wonderful people. I love you all and I can't wait, "to show 'em what we can do!"


Your little tapper that could!

6 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Insert Eye of The Tiger Music Here!

Its the eye of the tiger, its the thrill of the fight, risen up to the challenge of our rival. And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night and he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger!

There is a lot going on in my head right now. I want to share it all because I am always 100% honest in my blog but I must admit I don't know if any of this has a point, so bare with me.

First of all I should have written my noon blog that I promised on Facebook, because last night's Dance and Sing with the orchestra was amazing. The band sounded, as I like to say, Super Broadway. I had goosebumps everywhere from the first notes of the overture. Go In To Your Dance was so much fun and so lively. It was the first time I came off of the stage after that number feeling like I had nailed it. And everything else was pretty great too. The energy in the room was great. Everyone was excited to hear the band. It was a great night and it was the first time I felt excitement, not fear, about the show opening.

We did a run through of the show tonight. It's our last one before we start teching the show tomorrow. So it was really the last time to concentrate, just on us, before we start layering on additional distractions like crazy costume and set changes, lighting, sound...etc. I have to admit I wasn't feeling very ready for tonight. I have not been able to rehearse as much as I would like because I am working around the clock. That is why I knew I had to work so much in the beginning. But in my head if I don't work a certain amount of hours every day, then I am not working hard enough. I know what you are thinking, "Jessica you are too hard on yourself." Boy, if I had a nickle for every time someone said that to me. I know I am too hard on myself but I don't know how not to be.

Anyway, I went in to tonight saying to myself, "I know the dances, I know my lines, I know the songs, just go out there and have the most fun possible." Quite honestly, that is what I try to do all the time. And I did have a great time. I still had my mistakes here and there but I was trying so hard to just get lost in the show. By the time we were done I was spent. I had nothing left. But I didn't feel exhilarated, I felt wiped. Then we started notes and working through them trying to make the changes that Dawn has been asking for. And I just got to a point where I felt like I couldn't work on it anymore. I was so tired and I have worked so hard that some times I feel like it's not getting any better. There is no way to judge. I felt a good cry coming on, but I held off until I got in my car.

Remember to smile, have fun, do the right steps, sing the right notes, push, fight, I doing it all? Can I push more? I am sure the answer is yes and you should always be working toward more, but at this moment I don't know if I have anymore left inside of me.

But I wrote something down on my notepad tonight that we all must always remember, "Never forget how lucky we are." Not many people have this opportunity and get to work with such professionals who demand so much of us. If they didn't demand it, no one would know what they are capable of. And that is worth pushing and fighting for. We are a part of something so amazing and I don't think we all even realize it yet. Last night, I actually cried when the band played the overture. To hear these iconic songs played to their fullest potential, produced such emotion in me. I stood there thinking about how many times I have been on a stage, getting ready to open a show, going through the process and I knew I didn't want to be anywhere else. This is what I love and this show begs for that love. It's like Dawn said, "Hello, you get to sing Lullaby of Broadway!"

It's been quite an emotional roller coaster these past few days. But I am happy I signed up for the ride. Because nothing is worth doing if you don't do it with passion. And I am so passionate about this. That is why I am also so emotional. Lychee martini, anyone? Just kidding.

Wow, this turned in to me cheering myself up. Good pep talk Jess. I am so beat, I must go to bed.

Thank you for reading.

Your fighting passionate tapper!

9 Working Days Until Opening Night! (Ahhhh....Single Digits!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today's Blog Is Brought To You By Breath Support!

I am sitting at the theatre, typing on my new MacBook Pro given to me as a surprise by my wonderful husband. I am so happy because now I can blog more, yay!

Tonight is our Dance & Sing with the orchestra. This is a very exciting moment! This is when it becomes real.

I have to admit that I am dealing with another uphill battle at the moment. I started my summer teaching last week. So I am at the theatre from 8:45 AM until 10:00 PM and now this week we go to 11:00 PM. Needless to say I don't get much sleep and I am teaching musical theatre to 7 - 13 year olds. It has taken a toll on my voice as it usually does. So I am taking this opportunity to learn from it. I have asked a few experts and I need to support my speech the way I support my singing, with full breath support. Easier said than done when you are used to a certain teaching style. But I must adjust or I will continue to lose my voice. I rested my voice all weekend and really concentrated on controlled speaking in class and I feel pretty good. My voice is still a little weak but I am hoping to remedy this problem. Which is why I always love challenging myself because it teaches you new things all the time.

Well I have to keep this short because I have to rehearse before our exciting night. Expect many more messages now that I have mobile technology. Thank you husband!

Your supported voice and new MacBook Pro owning tapper!

10 Days Until Opening Night!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad, You Take Them Both and There You Have The Facts of Tap!

Sometimes you just don't want to stay and work, but you do, and then...magic!

Tonight we finished spacing the show on stage. I was done at 9:15 because the cast was going to spend the rest of the time working on the ballet. I really wanted to go home. After being at the theater since 8:45 AM teaching children and expending all of my energy, I just wanted to go home and rest, but I didn't. I listened to my gut (that is nauseous because of how close opening night is) and I went upstairs to the 2nd floor dance studio and worked. And since we got our dance CD's to practice with tonight it made things very much easier. So I got to work on all the tap numbers in the show. I had some issues with the Opening Audition number, but nothing too major. And then I got to Go Into Your Dance and I just couldn't make certain sounds, I just wasn't hitting the floor at all. I was getting so frustrated. Here I am working my butt off day in and day out and it's not paying off. Or at least that is what I thought. I kept thinking,"What am I doing that is causing me not to make these sounds?" And I started putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I realized I wasn't bending my knees all the time. I start bending them and as I get more tense or tired I straighten them and that kills me. So I reminded myself to bend, pound that ground and smile baby. And the number was great. It really felt like another eureka moment. Some times you just need to sift through the bad to get to the good.

Well Bedtime!

Your so glad she stayed and worked tapper!

15 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Crunch Time Kids!

I know it's been a long time since I have blogged, but every time I sit down to write I don't know what to say. I am at this point of no forward motion, or at least I feel that way. But I guess there some things to fill you in on.

One thing is, we finished the show! Which is an accomplishment in itself. Yes we finished with our choreographed bows on Friday. It's nice to know that we are at that point where we don't have to process any new information. Except for the fact that we have to re-space the entire show onstage, which adds numbers in our heads. And since this is a massive dance show, it's a lot of numbers. This show is such a beast.

We finished Shuffle Off To Buffalo on Thursday and it is the cutest darn thing, and quickly becoming my favorite moment of the show. Since it's not tap dancing and it relies on character, I sink right in to the piece like an old pair of slippers. The thing to really make happen is to get that comfort with the tap dances. I realize that I just need to go for it and hope for the best. Act the you know what out of it. Easier said than done but I am trying my damnedest.

So here we are 2 & 1/2 weeks out and it's crunch time kids. "Go big or go home," as Dawn says. I keep trying to push myself harder and harder but it's just not there yet. I need to stop evaluating myself as I go. I must remember to have fun. But at this point with all the stopping and starting it's hard to get in to a flow. I am trying not to use that as an excuse but is difficult.

Since I am back to work full time with my teaching job, it doesn't leave much time for tapping outside of rehearsal. However, I have decided to tap for 1 hour every day. And I'll tell you what, I keep learning little things that help me become better day by day. Today I realized I need to strengthen my left ankle and get it really loose because when I shuffle I want to use my whole leg right up to my quadriceps and you can't do that. You need to utilize from your knee down. Every time I slip on those tap shoes I learn something. Which may be the coolest thing about this process.

I will say, I have a lot of support from my cast and crew. They are always giving me words of encouragement and telling me how much my hard work has paid off. That's enough to keep you going for a lifetime. That's why I love working in the theater, the family that I have accrued. I feel so lucky in that regard.

As I was riding home tonight, I was listening to the soundtrack of The Book of Mormon (my husband kindly purchased the CD and then put it in my car so I would be surprised when I got out of rehearsal). The music is big and very Broadway and it gave me goosebumps. It reminded me why I love musicals, because the music makes you feel something. It's like your heart immediately connects with it. I want to give that to our audiences. It's time to get wrapped up in the 1930's and in this world. Go after what my character wants and get it at all costs. Throw it all out there on the stage. No more being scared. Just go out there and do what I know how to do.

Wow, that was a good pep talk! I hope I can remember that every night for the rest of the rehearsal process and even performances.

Well I am weary and still have things to do so I must leave you now. Thank you for stopping by.


Your pep talking, take no prisoners tapper!

17 Working Days Until Opening Night! (Holy Wah!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Having Fun Is So Much Fun!

I went in early to the studio today and met with some of the other girls from the show. We wanted to review everything before the run through tonight. I was so happy to have people to work with. Some times it gets boring working by yourself. After we went through everything, the other girls left and I stayed just to solidify some things for myself. Then I got to that point where I knew I had to be done. So I packed up and left.

When I got home, I continued to work on other aspects of the show and really try to get everything set in my head. Of course, I felt like I didn't work hard enough, but hey, there are only so many hours in the day.

On my way in to the theater I just kept up my mantra, "just have fun." That's all I can do. If I am not having fun then the audience is not having fun. I turned on "Take On Me" by A-Ha and jammed out in my car and remembered how much fun dancing like a loon with complete abandon can be. I thought to myself, "have that much fun."

When I got in to the rehearsal room everyone was tapping away. I threw on my shoes and started working on some steps. And I found that I was messing up almost everything. I tensed up and got worried. But before we started I reminded myself once again to have fun. Who cares if I mess up just have fun. And that is exactly what I did. I went out there and gave it almost everything I have. I certainly messed up my fair share of steps but I didn't care. I noted the mistakes and moved on (I'll clean them in the studio tomorrow). And after it was all said and done I had that great feeling that actor's crave, I didn't even realize what had happened. I was so in it I couldn't remember it. Now that's what I call fun.

There are still many things to work on but today has been stamped as a success and provided just the motivation I was looking for.

Well it's time for bed! Nighty Night,

Your carefree, fun-loving, 100% committed tapper.

22 Working Days Until Opening Night!

You Gotta Fake It Til You Make It & It's Time To Make It!

I don't even know what to write about any more. Which is pretty much how I feel about the show. I feel like I have been working so hard and I have plateaued in every way. I need a jolt, something to energize me through the next couple of weeks.

I did work yesterday in the studio for an hour and a half and it was good work. Other than thinking in to the ground which is a constant issue with me, I discovered a few other things. I noticed I constantly lift my hips and that prevents me from striking the ground. This tightness not only comes from concentration and tension but also, I am not always breathing. That can't be good. I also realized that on my left foot I am pointing when I shuffle out which makes it hard to get it back in quickly. This is going to be a hard habit to break. But I did start to feel the certain bounciness that tap requires. It is all about weight distribution which I have said before, but it cannot be taught it has to be discovered.

I have to admit it was not easy going back to rehearsal tonight after 4 days off. I felt like I should have spent all that time working on the show but I was just unable to. One, because I went away for 2 days, two, because I have other work to do for my job and three, I don't even know what to work on anymore. I am singing and dancing non stop, drilling everything in to my head. And at this point nothing seems to be getting any better. Although I did enjoy learning the opening choreography to Shuffle Off To Buffalo. It was in my comfort zone. It made me feel competent.

And then on my way home tonight it hit me. I have forgotten the fun. Why do we do this? Certainly not to make money and certainly not to further our careers. We do it for the fun. Every time I get a role in a show I complicate it and make it so hard on myself to get everything absolutely perfect, when what I need to be doing is letting loose, trying new things and having fun. Most times I just let the uptight part of my personality get the best of me.

So from now on, forget perfect. I am going for fun. I am hoping that will infuse energy in to this listless hoofer.

Tomorrow is our Design Run where we will run almost the whole show (what we have up to this point). It's an exciting night because there are new eyes and new reactions. I hope all my hard work shows through. And if not, I am going to have fun anyway.



Fun loving, not perfect tappa, tappa, tapper!

23 Working Days Until Opening Night! (Yowzaa)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Smile, Baby!

I am writing to you while I am on my way to Orlando for a getaway weekend. You may be asking yourself, "Why aren't you at rehearsal Jessica?" Well that is because I have the night off. And it couldn't come at a better time because I need to step away from the tap shoes.

Last night we ran all of Act I for the first time. I tried not to think too much and really stay in the moment and I have to say that it worked. I really felt the culmination of all of my hard work. I knew I had to work really hard in the beginning in order to start feeling comfortable now.

It didn't hurt that my husband was present for the run. So as usual I asked him what he thought and he said your dancing is great but you need to smile. In this whole process I have concentrated so much on the steps that I forgot to smile.

So with that I went in to the studio to work today. I really wanted to work on Go In To Your Dance. But as I started working I just had no motivation. I realized I was tired and needed a break from the whole thing. So this weekend couldn't come at a better time. It's like Julian Marsh says in the show, "You've earned it, go out and have a good time, forget about the show." And for the next 2 days that is exactly what I am going to do. My hope is that I come back refreshed and ready to work.

Have a great weekend!

Your taking time off tapper.

26 Working Days Until Opening Night!