Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Came, I Tapped, I Conquered!

I have been puttering around the house, trying to avoid writing this post because I know how emotional it will make me. I literally already started crying. I guess I feel that there are no words that can express the feelings that I am feeling right now. But I will do my best.

I consider myself to be a very hard worker and the girl with the get it done attitude. But, I have never given more of myself to a project than I have to 42nd Street. From the moment I received that call telling me that I was cast as Anytime Annie, there was a fire ignited. This was my chance to stop all the excuses of why I can't dance. This was my chance to prove to myself that I can do anything that I put my mind to. And for one of the first times in my life I can confidently say that I am so proud of myself. I came, I tapped, conquered!

I was watching the 42nd Street tap ballet last night and for the first time I stopped and looked at everyone on that stage and just smiled. There are kids who I have taught and have seen grow up through the KidzAct Program. There are old friends who I have worked with who continue to amaze and inspire me with their dedication. There are new friends who have opened their hearts to me and have become a part of my life. There are people backstage, giving up their free time, to support us, and they are watching, as I am, in amazement. Everyone working together. Some may have said that we couldn't do it, but then some do not understand the hearts and souls of these amazing people. I could never have done it without each and every one of them. And that is why I feel so lucky to be where I am today. Sure, I am not famous. My name is not on I haven't been on Broadway. But I know that I get to work with the greatest people in show business because their passion for this never dies. These people are my family. They love me, they support me, they comfort me. And I only hope that I do that in return. Life is not about your resume. It's the passion you bring to each day. It's about doing the best you can in each and every moment. And we did that every performance. And we'll do it tonight, one more time!

I dedicate this final blog post to the cast and crew of 42nd Street. I hope you know how much it has meant to me to have spent this time with you. I would do it all over again, in a heartbeat.


Your Mission Accomplished Tapper!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Giving It Everything I Got!

One of the things that I love most about performing is what you learn about yourself through the process. It has been a rough couple of weeks with the voice. I finally broke down and went to the doctor on Tuesday and found out that I have tonsillitis. And I have probably had it for the past 2 weeks and was speaking all day and singing all night with it. That's gotta do some damage. I got my medicine and was on my way. But the damage was done. I have been squeaking through some notes in the show. And although many tell me that they don't notice, I notice. I want to be able to sing my face off. But I have to be careful. But you know what, I am doing my best not to let it bother me. I can't let a couple notes pull me back from doing my best. I just gotta keep on keeping on. It hasn't been easy having this attitude, especially when you are crying through vocal warm-ups because you can't hit notes that usually aren't a problem. But when that orchestra starts and that curtain goes up, I am flashing that Annie smile and if I can't sing my face off then I am going to dance my heart out. After all, I have worked so hard to get here, I am never going to settle.

On the way home from the show tonight I realized something as I was chatting with my wonderfully adorable husband, I always give it 100%. I never want to walk away and wonder what I could have done or make excuses and blame a bad performance on my voice. I take it one scene, one song, one dance move at a time and try to be in it to win it. If I go away in focus for one second I pull myself back. I have worked on this focus for many years and preach it to my students every day. And I am glad that some of those students have come to see the show and can see me practice what I preach. Check out the pic of 2 of the cutest kids in show biz.

And then there is my wonderful mother who has come to see the show every Friday and will do so again next week. Now you see, my mother loves Broadway. She is probably the one that influenced me most in this love of the theatre. And when I was talking to her about auditioning for this show she told me I had to do it because she just loves the music. And I have to say, during the reprise of Lullaby of Broadway at bows, when she is in the audience, I only sing and dance with her and it makes me cry every time. I feel like it is just the 2 of us in the room and we are having our moment. My mother is wonderful but not one to shed a whole lot of tears or share her emotions freely. But when she saw me in this show she immediately teared up with pride and told me how proud she was of me. You have no idea how much that means to me. And she continues to tell me every Friday night. This show is such a blessing in so many ways but the most important one is how close it brings me and my mother together. I love this woman.

Who knew so many great things could come out of hard work and determination. I am beginning to like the fact that nothing in life is easy. I learn so much more when I work harder.

Only 5 more shows to go and I am already feeling emotional about it. I honestly could do this show forever. This is the most fun I have ever had in a show and you know why that is, because I love to dance and I am so grateful that I get to do that 5 performances a week and improve myself every time.

Time for bed. We have a matinee tomorrow. Oh and by the way, for those of you following and don't live in the area, 42nd Street had a completely sold out run! That's pretty impressive for little old Naples, Florida in the off season.

Goodnight all,

Your Loving Every Minute Tapper!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Never Wanting It To End!

It's been a difficult week of shows. I have been battling vocal troubles all week. And with worrying about my voice during the show it distracts me and takes me out of the moment. In this show you can't leave for one second or you will make a mistake. But I tried so hard not to let it bother me. And I have to say I was somewhat successful. I just kept saying to myself I can only do the best that I can do right now. And that is what I did.

Finally, my voice came back strong for the Sunday matinee. I was really happy to end the week on a good note (get it?).

So now we have 2 weeks of shows left and I am already dreading the end. I don't want this show to end. I always feel a certain amount of that with shows, but I feel like I have so much room to grow in this show. Yes I would like more time to myself and yes I would like to get more rest in my life. But I would give that up to continue performing in this show.

Well it's back to work teaching the kidlets.

Your Not Wanting to Stop Tapping Tapper.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just How Hard Can One Push Themselves!

So I have been feeling neglectful of the blog lately and then my friend Ken came up to me in the green room tonight and said he had been missing it. I honestly just haven't had the time. There are always interesting things that go on night in and night out but nothing that stands out as blog worthy.

One of the biggest reasons that I don't blog as often is because there literally is no time. I am up at 6:30 AM and eat my breakfast while I make my lunch and dinner for the day. Then I squeeze in a shower, make sure I am prepared for my classes and it's off to the theater (with many bags in hand and some lemon tea for the vocal cords). My first class starts @ 9:00 AM and I have 15, 6-8 year olds who I try to teach to sing, act and dance, but mostly I am just trying to keep them quiet and not hit each other. Class is out @ noon and I get a short lunch break where I work on class stuff, eat and some times try to get a nap but that rarely happens. Then it's off to production class @ 1:00 PM where I am a rehearsal assistant / acting coach for 36, 8 - 13 year olds. That class lets out @ 5:00 PM and then it is time to go to the teen production class rehearsal which goes until 6:30 PM. That brings me right up to my time to start getting ready for the show. Talk about changing gears! How did I ever think I could do this? Oh I know the answer, because I think I can handle anything. But I must say I am breaking a little bit. Not that I am too tired to do the show, but my body is exhausted. And with all the talking, stress and lack of sleep my voice is weakening. This really upsets me because I love doing this show every night. I don't care how tired I am, I fee so blessed to have this opportunity that I want to soak in every moment. But I find that hard to do when I am worrying about straining my voice and squeaking in mid song. I have been very careful the past few weeks in class and I have really been trying to support my speech and singing but it isn't working. And I can only do so much to remedy it. I'm sucking down lemon tea, sucking on raw ginger root, drinking tons of water, staying away from alcohol and getting vocal rest whenever possible. And I just think my body is telling me, this is too much. But I don't like that answer. So my question, how much is too much?

I like to think I can do it all and push myself very hard, I always have. And I do my very best. I guess that is all you can hope for. But I just wish things were a little easier right now so I can enjoy every minute of this show. Any words of encouragement would be appreciated.

Well it's time to go to sleep. Gotta get up at 6:30 AM.

Your Tough & Tired Tapper!

Before I go, on a positive note, the audience rocked tonight. Their energy was incredible. It felt good to feel like a rock star at bows again. I just love this show and I can't say it enough. I never want to settle I always want to push and get better (I'm such a pusher!) GOODNIGHT!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Proud Mama Tapper!

This blog post is dedicated to my students in the cast of The Ever After who inspire me every day.

The show that I have been directing for the past month opened yesterday. I invited the cast and crew of 42nd Street to come and see our final dress rehearsal since they most likely will not have an opportunity to see the show because we are performing at the same time. The kids were ready for an audience and what a perfect audience they were. It's like Preview Night. It's filled with people who are so supportive. These kids rocked the house. They stayed in character the entire time, they were improvising lines and jokes left and right and they just enjoyed themselves. My cheeks hurt so much because I couldn't stop smiling and laughing the whole time. I was a proud mama. And the audience loved it too. People could not stop talking about how talented these kids are. And you know what, their right, they are talented! And it is their talent and risk taking that inspire me every day. I am so lucky.

So, of course, I was disappointed last night when I couldn't see the entire show because I was getting ready for 42nd Street. But when I gave my opening night pep talk I told the kids to do the show for me and I would do my show for them. In between getting ready and vocal warm up I was able to see a good chunk of the show and they were rocking it again. So when I went to places for 42nd Street, I was a little nervous because I was out of my usual ritual, but I was also motivated to give it my all and take risks like my kids and I had the best show yet. I finally had that feeling where everything just went right and I didn't make any mistakes and I was fully living in the moment. It was a great day and night!

And as I was talking to my husband today on our way to Whole Foods (side note, the only 2 place I go now are the theatre and Whole Foods, or at least that is how it feels) I told him my favorite thing about this show is that I feel like their is always something to improve upon. And my students remind me of that every day because they are always improving.

To the Cast and Crew of The Ever After, thank you for an amazing experience!

I could say the same to the cast and crew of 42nd Street. And I look forward to our remaining time together.

I am in theatre bliss right now. Well it's off to the theater for another wonderful show.


Your Proud Mama Tapper!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

You Can't Lose Focus For One Second!

It's been an interesting couple of days. After a wonderful Preview performance and Opening Night, the exhaustion started to kick in. I was really feeling it on Saturday night. And even though I had gotten a full nights rest and relaxed most of the day, I was still dragging. I guess it all just caught up with me. But I knew I had to do the best show that I could do. I have also been really worried about my voice. It has been a little raw and I was worried about getting through Saturday nights show. Well I think I really let that get to me and rather than be completely in the moment and just see what happens, I was worrying about it. Now don't get me wrong I didn't have a bad show but my body kept making little mistakes. And in Lullaby my hat fell off and the chin strap was choking me. I didn't think it really mattered but as soon as I thought about a moment I could put it back on, I lost a second of choreo. Normally, I am very good about not missing a beat but with dancing, it's much harder. But overall I got through. I just kept reminding myself to push through each number and do the very best that I could, and that is what I did. When it was all said and done everyone said that I had great energy and that they didn't notice the mistakes. The moral of the story is, you have to keep going like nothing has happened and the audience will forget all about it. I have really learned to let those little things go. In the past I have always strived for absolute perfection and if I didn't get it than it wasn't any good and I let it ruin the rest of my show. But I realize now that it's not always going to be perfect and I will experience a brain fart now and then. Just keep going and forget about it. Don't occupy your mind with unnecessary junk.

So today I was ready to go. I had a great nights sleep, woke up and made protein pancakes for the family and went in to the theatre. I felt ready, even though my voice was still a little raw. Everything was going well, but I made a few silly mistakes in Go In To Your Dance. Again I don't think many people would notice them but I knew I had made them. Than in the ragamuffin section of We're In The Money, my hat fell off and I again thought about how to pick it up and lost a second of choreo. Blast these hats! But I did pick up the hat inconspicuously, so it wasn't hanging about for the rest of the number, which was good.

Overall, in my mind I had a rough couple of shows. To everyone else, they were good. Although I know everything can't always be perfect, I don't think that it's a bad thing to strive for. As long as I don't let the mistakes get me down. I never let myself waver in energy and always go out there and do the very best that I can and that is all that I can do.

I am loving this show and I am so happy that we have 4 more weeks to perform it. On my way home from the theater, I turned and looked at my husband and said,"Can you believe that I am in 42nd Street?" It's very surreal. I know I have said it before, but I will never forget this experience.

Well I have a full day off tomorrow. No work, no show! So I am going to get some much needed rest. I can't wait until Wednesday when we get to start all over again.

Your Happy to Have Some Time Off But Eager to Get Back to 42nd Street Tapper!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To!

Opening Night was amazing. The show was really tight and maybe a bit better than Preview which is odd. You know how shows usually have 2nd night blues? Well I didn't feel that last night. Everyone was really on. There is just something about this show that keeps you pushing and fighting. We can't ever lost that. That is what makes it fun and rewarding.

I was definitely more relaxed last night. Preview Night really made me feel like I could do this. I needed that first show out of the way to prove to myself that I could do it. Because, quite frankly, I wasn't sure. I thought my whole body would freeze up.

And I realized something last night. I spent the entire rehearsal process worrying about the dancing and the tap, that I never had a chance to relax in to my character. But I was able to do that last night because I finally believed in myself. It's amazing how much we can stand in our own way. And let me tell you, it is fun to play Anytime Annie. She's so brassy and sure of herself. I am so excited about the run and finding new things every night.

I look back on the start of this journey and I guess in the back of my head I always knew I could do it, but there was always that little voice saying, what if you can't? It feels so rewarding to have worked so hard and to reap the rewards. And I really feel like I proved to myself that you can do anything you set your mind to. And I like that my students see that example, because I would never want them to think they can't do something. That is why I teach, because when I was a kid, I didn't have a teacher there for me, believing in me, telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be and anything I wanted to do. I want to be that for them. Kids need that in their lives. And I am so lucky to be able to share that every day. I have such a passion for the theatre. It is my entire life. I don't know anything else. And that is what you will see on that stage. My deep passion for this art form. I am so blessed.

Thank you so much, again for supporting me on this journey. And although this feels and seems like a goodbye and an end to the blog, it is not. I fully intend on continuing, because the learning has not stopped. As actors, we are always in process and therefore, always learning.

Well I am off to enjoy my Saturday off until showtime tonight.

Your Mission Accomplished Tapper!

Friday, July 1, 2011

What A Night!

Words cannot describe the emotional roller coaster that was last night. It was an amazing evening but before the show started I had no idea how it was going to turn out. To say I was nervous is the understatement of the millennium. I couldn't tell you what emotion I was feeling because I was feeling all of them. I was scared, but excited and a little bit numb. As people started trickling in to the theatre it was becoming more real. I couldn't believe we were finally here. And then my great friend Gaby pulled me aside and gave me a gift, an evil eye to wear during the show to ward off evil. I bawled like a baby. She knows how hard this journey has been for me and when she told me she was proud of me I just lost it. And then Dawn came over and just looking at her made me start all over again. She was the one who believed in me and gave me this opportunity. Without her belief and pushing me, I never would have been able to have done this. I cried at vocal warm-up, I cried putting my make up on, I just couldn't stop crying. My journey kept coming in to focus and I remembered the days of spending 3 hours in the studio working my butt off and I got so emotional about it.

So before I knew it, Rhoda was calling places. Ahhhh! So nervous. Are all my costumes set? Do I have my shoes? Do I have my water? Do I have my throat spray? Do I remember the moves? Walking on stage behind the curtain, I lost feeling in my legs. I was so numb. I have never felt like that before. I didn't feel prepared or unprepared. I just felt tingly and numb. I kept reminding myself to have fun but my fear was winning. And then it was go time. As soon as the curtain rose on our feet the crowd went wild. That just filled my soul. It reminded me that I couldn't fail.

We finished the Opening Number and the audience went crazy. People even stood up. At that point my engine was revved. Although, I was still very nervous about Go In To Your Dance. I didn't know how my nerves would affect my tapping. But when it got to the number I just let myself go and it went very well. It might have been my best solo yet. And since the audience was filled with many people who know my story and follow my blog, I got some nice applause on that solo. It truly made me feel like I had accomplished what I set out to do.

I relaxed in to the rest of the show and had a phenomenal time. I knew when it came to the bows that it was going to be an amazing moment, and it was. It was more like a rock concert than a musical. People were going crazy. And then we started singing Lullaby of Broadway after the bows and I just couldn't contain my emotion, I cried like a baby. It was a great moment.

After the show we came down to the lobby for our Preview Night Reception and it was great to see everyone and hear the support. I got a lot of compliments on my dancing, some people didn't even believe me when I said that I had never tapped before. What a compliment!

The night was absolutely magical. And like Dawn said,"there is something about this show." I am so excited for Opening Night tonight. My voice is a little raw but at least I get some r & r tomorrow before the show.

And just in case anyone wanted to know, I will be continuing my blog through the run so don't forget to stop by and say hi.

Thank you all for your support!

Your Very Proud and Humbled Tapper.

No more working days, it's Opening Night! But I will still keep working and fighting.