Monday, July 27, 2009

Up, up, and away!

I know I'm late to the party, but I would just like to note that Up is completely charming and sentimental in the best possib-- SQUIRREL!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Connections, Week One

In which our Diva breaks a promise

So here I am, all excited to cut together that video diary I promised on Twitter the other day. Then I went to download the video files into my PC and discovered that the two I needed most... hadn't saved properly. I'm guessing it's because they were too long and overran the available memory. If that's the case, the problem should be solved by the fact that I finally cleared off the Christmas morning videos. *blush* It's also possible that I hit I wrong button somewhere.

The shiny shiny toy in question was an early holiday present from my hubby, in response to my saying I really wanted to get a camcorder for recording auditions, etc., but was leery of spending several hundred dollars for a serious one. I wouldn't make a feature with it, but it's certainly sufficient for my needs, and I've been meaning to make more use of it, thus the video-diary-from-the-set idea.

So, next week. In the meantime, I'll tell you I'm having a blast. Our set -- the office of a fictional (and rather dysfunctional) social service nonprofit called "Positive Connections" -- looks, well, like a rather dysfunctional office. The cast is terrific, and everyone brought *ahem* positive energy to our first episode. Not too surprisingly for Chicago, most of my fellow actors come from an improv background, and the green room chatter featured a lot of interesting "tales out of school" from Second City.

Columbia College's TV department must be teaching people right (the show is for their on-campus and online channel Frequency TV), because the crew -- all Columbia students -- were as focused and on-the-ball as those I've seen on professional film sets. It does mean they'll be handing off duties in a way you don't usually see on pro gigs, which will be interesting to see as we go along. For instance, Cammie, the script supervisor/set manager (whose pleased reaction to my dubbing her "Goddess of All Things" was unfortunately lost with one of the bum video files) for episode 1 will be directing ep 2. She looks like Eliza Dushku's long-lost little sister, is super-organized, and will most certainly pick up admirably where ep 1's director, Joe, leaves off. Can't wait to get back on set!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's a small, small world

In which our Diva's TV adventure has begun

I'll make a proper post this weekend, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at my character Michelle's wardrobe for the first episode of Connections.

Guest star: "You look like a doll escaped from the Small World ride and grew up." He's... not wrong.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Theatre express!

In which our Diva heads back to the stage in a new way

Check out n.u.f.a.n. ensemble's Seven Plays in Seven Days one-act festival! One week from audition (last night) to performance (next Monday, July 20). I'm playing Jackie in "Triple Salami to Go," an eccentric little two-hander by David Kravitz, directed by Thirsa Hodits. Get more details and buy tickets here.

And yes, this is overlapping with Elgin Opera's "Comedy Tonight!" -- concerts Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, then 7 in 7 Monday night, with rehearsals slotted into the nights between now and then.

And yes, still shooting that scene for One Night overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

What can I say, I embrace my crazy. Come check it out!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And I feel the calling of adventure, and I hear the ringing in my ears

In which our Diva learns to sing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" with a lump in her throat

Broadway Night concerts were a blast, and I love that the less-well-known numbers went over every bit as well as the classic favorites. Our middle-American suburban audiences aren't afraid of opera, and they're not afraid of Sondheim or Jason Robert Brown or Adam Guettel either. Put that in your "lowest common denominator" pipe and smoke it!

Of course, our real secret weapon was the five talented kids in the cast, aged 10 to 17, who couldn't have avoided charming everything in their path if they tried. And I know for a fact I wasn't the only one crying by the time they finished "So Long, Farewell," though the audience didn't then have to get up and sing with them!

The old "never work with kids or animals" cliche notwithstanding, it's amazing to work with kids eager to take full advantage of the kind of opportunity that wasn't around (or if it was we didn't know about it) when I was their age. Especially the ones who've just discovered that it's there. Watching a jawdroppingly gifted and mostly-self-taught 17-year-old baritone soak up everything around him, in an environment that some would take for granted... just awesome.

Yeah, I have a soft spot for the scrappy ones. Can't imagine why that would be. ;-) I suspect that lump in the throat has as much to do with that as with a Pavlovian response to a certain holiday TV tradition.

Song for today: "I'm Not Afraid of Anything" from Songs For a New World. Kendra knocked it out of the park this weekend (hooray for grownup new recruits too!) and I'm a little bit obsessed right now. Can't learn it just yet, though -- another crazybusy week underway!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Opening night!

In which Broadway comes to Elgin tonight and tomorrow

Broadway Night! will be presented on Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11 at 8:00 PM. A variety of singers, including Solange Sior (Elgin), Susan Dennis (Bartlett), Robert Jastrebski (Arlington Heights), Charles Martin (Elk Grove Village), Valerie Meachum (Elgin), Kimberly & Brittany Albrecht (Barrington), Jori Jennings (Chicago), Kendra Wieneke (Barrington), Lindon Warren (Round Lake Beach), Marianna Adaire (Evanston), Nicole Teram (Chicago), Tatiana Ranallo (Gilberts) , Annamarie Schutt (South Elgin), and Gabriella Stocksdale (Elgin) will perform excerpts from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Porgy & Bess, The Sound of Music, Annie, Show Boat, South Pacific, Songs for a New World, and The Light in the Piazza, and music by Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Kurt Weill.

All Events and Performances will be held at the Kimball Street Theatre, located on the first level of the new Rider Center, on the Campus of Elgin Academy, 261 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120. (Visit our website at for map and directions.) Tickets are $18 for Adults and $15 for Seniors and Students. Discounted prices for members of the Elgin OPERA Guild.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And the beauty is, I still meet people I know

In which our Diva is holding breath and keeping fingers crossed

Posting on the fly. If I stop and think about how much I have going on through the rest of this summer, it's enough to make my head spin! So I'm just being in one place at a time and loving it. (And not thinking too much about how my house looks kinda like we were raised by wolves.)

The first concert of Elgin Opera's first Summer Music Festival is this weekend's "Broadway Night." Download a PDF of the festival brochure, and come join us!

There are a million things I want to post about right now, and no time to put them into words! Remember, if you ever want to know where and when you can see me performing live, check the events calendar on my website.

Song for today: "The Beauty Is" from The Light in the Piazza, which I get to sing in this weekend's program. I love Clara's sense of wonder and adventure, finding commonality with a foreign place and people. I hope I always remember how to approach the world that way.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

One night to get it right

In which our Diva climbs aboard yet another electronic bandwagon

The nifty little widget you see above is generated by IndieGoGo, a site where independent filmmakers can promote and get grass-roots support for their projects. This particular one leads to the page for One Night, the project I start shooting next week as Sheila the waitress.

If for some reason you don't see the nifty little widget above (I know not all browser settings are created equal, even if a lot of designers these days don't seem to!), click here and support independent film!