Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Theatre mishaps, Holidays and love

Here is the second go around with this blog.

I was nearly done with it a few days ago and then my browser shut down unexpectedly and all was lost...

It has been a while since my last blog and I will do my best to recap as much as possible.

So after I came down with the terrible 24hr bug on the Opening Day of Aladdin, I was able to rest all of Saturday on my day off. I felt loads better, but was still nervous about coming in on Sunday.

I woke up feeling much better and took extra time to hydrate and warm up in the morning. My throat was feeling a little rough, but I felt confident that I could go at about 90% physically. I got to the theatre and saw that I was going to be doing the last two shows of the day as Aladdin and the first two as my other role which was both good and bad. It was going to be nice to have the first two shows to really let my body get warmed up and since I tend to feel the sickest early in the morning and later at night, I figured I'd be in good shape to perform my shows. The downside was that when I do the last two shows, I have a hard time eating lunch on our break between shows 2/3 because I don't like coming back on a full stomach to go full out in the show. I was a bit concerned with NOT eating, because I still physically felt pretty weak. I ended up pulling through and ate just the right amount for lunch and closed my eyes to rest a bit. Next thing I knew, I was told that we had 25 minutes left till show and I was nowhere near ready, not to mention I had just come out of a deep sleep! I ran up and down the stairs a few times and did some sit-ups and pushups while warming up vocally and headed to the dressing room to throw on the costume. Because of my cold, I was freezing so I kept moving to stay warm until we received the, "Places!" call. I ran upstairs and then ran up the second set of stairs o my starting place and felt pretty good, the sleep had done had done wonders. I felt great for the show and popped some emergen-c and dayquil before the next show and felt even better for the last show. Before the first show, I will admit I started to get nervous because I was hoping that I would not get sick during the show like I did two days earlier. Once we started and the first number was done, I knew I'd be fine.

Monday was a fun day at the theatre. I had Katie, Laura and Kevin coming to see the show but found out that I was not going to be doing Aladdin that day so they were going to see me do all of the stunts, which they were fine with...who are you kidding, they got park-hoppers for free, of course they were fine! In the past the show did not perform on Mondays and this would be the first time it was not dark. The first show was on it's way and as my first stunt was in motion, I realized something was off. I could just tell the timing was off with where I was positioned and where the music normally is at that point. Sure enough, the time came when I was to fly across the stage and nothing happened. I instantly thought of the contingency- but quickly realized I had not been briefed on this situation! How could that slip through the cracks, they are sooooo thorough?!?! I had the common sense to stay put because I was still harnessed and attached to cables and could not just cover and run off stage. I figured that they would just be stopping the show and I would be experiencing my first--and then I was OFF! All of a sudden I was being flung across the stage, thankfully I wasn't hit by one of the swords that are usually slicing through the spot where I am not standing in. Right away, the techs and assistant stage manager are asking if I am OK after I land and I was alive, so I said yes. I was waiting for someone to tell me that I had jumped or anticipated the cue but no one said anything. As the rush calmed down, I started to feel a little pain in my lower back, no doubt coming from my sudden departure from stage. Turned out that the cue was running slightly behind and due to all of the cues in the show and each number, they couldn't bring it to current time without stopping the show since some of the cues are timed to the music...I survived and had a great rush to start my day, what more could I ask for?

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are kind of fuzzy right now. I know it was a mixture of work at Apple, unpacking, cleaning and decorating the apartment and nursing the poor dog who was recovering from his surgery. I think I also fit in some Christmas shopping too.

Friday, I was headed to Disney for some shopping and to give a good show cheer to Emily who was going to finally be going in as Jasmine in the show. She was booked to do the first three shows of the day, which was I'm sure exciting for her. I stopped in and said hello and then took off for the day. Shortly after leaving, I got a text from Carl saying that they had to stop the first show....TWICE...AND they almost had Dylan, one of our Genies, fall down a trap! Mind you, our show is only 40 minutes long and when they stop a show, they have to clear everyone in attendance from the 2,000+ theatre...so they did this once, then shortly after had to do it again. The second show of the day also was cancelled to fix whatever was the issue from the first show. The third show finally was fine and Emily was able to get through her show. Poor girl.

Saturday was work again at apple and I rocked my great elf ears, which everyone loved. We also watched The Wrestler that night, which was AMAZING. I grew up a wrestling fan and know that shit inside and out and it was all fresh for me. I felt like I was watching a documentary and even Erin and Casey enjoyed it, who are not quite into the world of Sports Entertainment. I've been a fan of Mickey Rourke ever since reading a touching article about him while I was in College. They mentioned his meteoric career and his quick downfall that left him shunned from the business and how he was working on his comeback. He went on to do, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", "Spun" and, "Sin City" which begun to create a buzz around the man once hailed as the, "New Brando". I couldn't have been more in awe of a performance. It was edgy, raw, specific and unlike ANYTHING you have ever seen! Regardless of his past problems and troubles in the entertainment business, I can't see them denying him a nomination for an Oscar and although I haven't seen, "Milk" yet, I'm thinking he will take the crown.

Sunday was back at Aladdin and I was doing the last two shows again but we were told right away that we would have to use some of the contingencies due to some of the effects being out of order. LOL It doesn't make for the best show, but we have to move forward and that's the way it goes, better than no show I guess. That wasn't enough, the theatre gods were not through poking fun and when I get shackled near the end, the shackle broke right off, which was a bit awkward considering it is my main obstacle in the scene! But wait, the second show they said it was fixed and when they get put on me I usually move my wrists and thrash them to break out and this time it worked! I broke open the shackle so now one was just dangling there and thank god Monte who was playing one of the guards, saw and just grabbed me which lead Marc to do the same. Regardless of that, people enjoyed the show and apparently, I was proposed to during my first show when I was riding through the audience on the Elephant. I didn't hear it at the time, but I think they might have come back to the last show, because this set of girls kept screaming at me like I was a Backstreet boy. They had competition though and might have lost the cheering battle to Erin and Katie who came to the last show too. I must have been asked, "Do you know the two blondes in the front row?" at least 7 times from different cast members. They sat dead center and were screaming and laughing the whole time like giddy school girls LOL I waved to them during the curtain call and they lost it, probably because I can look pretty silly up there at the end dancing to the choreography LOL After the show we three went out to eat at Downtown Disney and had the BEST tram ride back to the car...and when I say BEST I mean ABSOLUTE worst LOL It was FREEZING and the conductor was singing every christmas tune under the sun, but replaced all the words to fit a disney theme! LOL Katie loved it!

Monday was a treat with Casey and her boyfriend coming in to see the show. I had told them beforehand that I was probably not going to be performing as Aladdin that day, but they still braved the weather and came out as it poured down in Anaheim. Good thing they did, because they ended up having me do the first two shows of the day as Aladdin so they were able to catch the first show...boy what a first show it was! Everything was going great until the quick change leading into the Prince Ali number. For some reason, I didn't make it. Everything felt like it was going smoothly and right on time and then all of a sudden I hear, "The Elephant is cut, he is going to have to walk!" I wasn't ready in time to get into position so it was time for the dreaded...WALK OF SHAME. If you've been anywhere on this planet, you've probably seen Aladdin at least once and know can probably remember the big number when he comes in on an elephant in a parade to propose to Jasmine. If you don't remember, we have a nice sound cue of an elephant loud as shit to remind you, so imagine the surprise when the music hits and out comes...the dancers and Aladdin walking through the crowd..OH! without the big Prince ALi turban, just his nappy, sweaty hair LOL Welcome to the walk of shame. So I hammed it up and shook hands, kissed babies, stopped for pictures and did everything I could to draw the focus and not get lost in the shuffle. It actually wouldn't have been that bad, had I had my turban. That was what I was most embarrassed about. Fast forward about 15 minutes towards the end of the show and we are back to the famous shackle part of the show...well this time once I got the shackles on and was thrown to the floor, I nearly broke my thumb. In fact, I was sure I did because of the excruciating pain I was in right away. I landed flat on my thumb and it bent all the way back. Thank god by that point I am huffing and puffing and sweat is pouring down my face, because I was able to just blend it all in together, but I thought I was done for! I just reached down and gave a little yank and felt something pop and waited it out. I of course had a meet and greet following and wanted to see my friends so I went down for a little, but by that point I knew it wasn't broken because I was able to move it a lot and the pain had gone down significantly. I finished, went down to the athletic trainer where he confirmed that it was not broken and then he wrapped it beautifully for the next show, but I was not able to move it the same which I was a little nervous about especially considering I did not make my quick change fast enough the last show. However, it worked out and actually ended up being my best performance to date!

I had some gifts to pick up after and shopped before coming back to pack, clean and exchange gifts with Erin. I got everything done that I needed to and thank god, because at one point I was dead tired and wanted to just wake up an hour earlier to finish and I'm glad I fought through it because I over slept a little and nearly missed the cut off time at the airport to check my bags!

So Tuesday was the flight back to the family in NJ which I was really excited about. I realized that I hadn't been back since the same time last year which was kind of sad and scary considering how fast I felt the year went by. It was great to see them and it was freezing back east! We ate pizza from the famous Scorntino's and rested at home...in sweaters and sweat pants...and a hat and scarf lol I was a little sad at night talking to Erin because that morning she also dropped off Wolfy to the trainer's house and he would be there for the next 3 weeks :(

Wednesday I picked up a few things from Walmart and then the rest of the family was coming to my house to hang out. It was great to see everyone and we ended up bugging out with Karaoke till like 1:30am lol everyone was all horse from singing, but we had a blast. Of course they wanted me to sing Whole New World, which I'm not going to lie, I did want to sing it too but it was the Peabo version which is a little whack and way to high for me. It was a true Karaoke moment LOL but was fun because I sang it with Alexis (my little sister). SPeaking of....she is sooo TALL! and smart! I also talked to the trainer earlier that day and she helped put my mind at ease when she told me how good Wolfy was and how he was getting along fine. I can understand how my parents probably felt at times.

Christmas Day we opened gifts and I was still waiting for a package to arrive that had one last gift for my parents, sister and Peter. We then went to eat at my grandma's and then hit up my aunts house for the remainder of the night. I was able to see all my aunt's and uncle this trip which isn't always the case, so it was great for me!

The day after Christmas I went to Peter's house to stay for the night and we pure bugged out. I brought my Red Pajama One Piece and my elf hat and before we sat down to play Rockband, we decided to hit up the liquor store. I decided I would go in full costume and Peter was beyond embarrassed but still allowed us to talk him into filming the whole thing. We pulled up and I was walking to the store and could see about 8 or 9 people standing near the door and I walked in and shouted, "Merry Christmas!" Mind you, we were at a place not far from a shady part of Trenton but I obviously didn't care...I left that to Peter who was saying that I was probably going to get shot by some Bloods or something. I told him that they would clearly see and understand that I was celebrating and bringing Christmas to everyone. We got some good footage and there were some people that were staring and it was priceless. Later that night, I was showing Peter how to import his video into iMovie and I quickly cut something together and added a song within 30 seconds to give him an example and it ended up being a happy accident because we were dying! We then added another little piece...and then another and then two hours later, we had a little short of our adventure and more that we uploaded on youtube. Of course a lot of people did not get the video, but everyone in it and involved loved it. Plus, if you know me well, you'd understand ;)

Saturday, I came back home and watched Valkerie with my family and Phil, my sisters bud. I enjoyed the film although I did doze off a few times in the middle. No disrespect to the movie, it's normal for me unfortunately. I think I'm constantly on the go, so when I sit down in a dark place in a comfortable chair, my body goes into sleep mode. Not always! But often enough. Everyone always jokes about it with me and says that I'll do it at my own premieres. I then picked up some groceries for the meal I was planning to cook for my family. They loved it and I ended up feeding 7 when Peter and Brooke came by. It felt nice to cook at home! Then it was off to see the UFC fight, which I could honestly dedicate a whole blog to. I won't and I'll just say that I'm happy for Frank Mir, worried for Wanderlei and indifferent towards Rashad and Forrest. I wanted Forrest to win, because I like his attitude and I wanted to see him defend, but wasn't disappointed with Rashad beating him. In fact for a while I was always defending Rashad because I thought he had great potential, but recently, I've grown to dislike his antics a bit.

Sunday was football and I sat down with my Dad to watch the Giant game and Peter came by too. It wasn't a game that mattered for us, but of course you always want to win. We were not looking so hot, and then came back and were winning the game. They obviously were not concerned and took out some of the starters to rest them and although the secondaries kept it up, a missed field goal ultimately ended up costing us the game. No matter, we did not need the win and there were other teams like the Patriots, who got screwed LOL I probably would have gotten yelled at by most NJ folks if they heard the way I was laughing and cheering for the Dolphins in the end, but oh well...I then went through boxes that my parents had stored away to make room for them. When I came home from college I never finished unpacking some boxes because of lack of space so my Dad had 5 big boxes sitting in his shed still. He also had 5 big boxes waiting to be shipped out to LA, but again I had no space originally. I decided to go through them because I obviously didn't need them for the past two years. I was able to get it down to 4 small boxes and one big box. They'll be joining me in LA soon :( LOL

Today I ran some errands and packed before it was time to head out to the airport. I had a great stay and loved seeing my parents. I found out that they are hoping to visit in March, which will be nice! I'm excited for them to visit LA and can't wait for them to meet my dog and see me in Aladdin. I am actually writing this while I am on the plane and will be touching down in nice weather in about 2 1/2 hours. I'm so excited to see Erin and be back, but I'm also missing the dog as is she from what I hear.

I'm glad I finished this thing. I was close to letting it go, since I didn't want to type it all over again, but here it is.

Now it is time to think out a resolution for what will no doubt be my best year yet!

TiLL NeXt TiMe!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Great Opening Day, Offical Cast Member and Sick Beyond Belief

So yesterday was the big day! It was the day that I was going to be put into the show as Aladdin and it happened to be the Opening Day after a few months of being dark.

I woke up and felt some dryness in my throat, but didn't think much of it because it has been this way the past week or so and I figured it was just the new heat system in the apartment. Erin felt under the weather and I was encouraging her not to accept being sick and she would be fine...LOL

Well I dropped Wolfy off to the Vet for his surgery, no kids for the Wolfster. It was sad watching him walk back into the room, but I knew it was for the better and he would be healthier pup because of it.

I came back to the apartment and was waiting for E-kan and Tyler to find parking so we could head off to Disney. They were going to be joining Erin at the show and of course taking advantage of the Park Hopper Passes for the day.

We got there and I felt pretty good, I did my usual Vocal Warmups on the Drive and felt ready for the big day. After signing them in, I headed to the theatre and got ready to watch the first show of the day with the rest of the Audience. I was actually sitting there really tense and nervous for the performers on stage and that I started to get restless knowing that I would be going in next...I just wanted to get up there already! But the 1st show went great and it was awesome to see it with 1,800 other people. It brought back that feeling of watching a show on Broadway. The show ended and I headed backstage to get ready.

I got dressed had my wig put on and then ran around and up and down some stairs in my shoes to warm up in preparation. I heard the, "Places" call and headed to my position and just could not believe how many people were in the theatre. This by far, is the largest show I have been in and aside from the quick Fear Factor show at Universal, I have never been in front of this many people. The vibe was crazy and a few nerves crept up. However, once the show started and I made my mad dash down the stairs to hell for my entrance, everything went out of the window and it was game time. The show went great and it was so nice to have an audience out there. I made some adjustments and was really surprised at how different it was to be out there on the Elephant with everyone watching and waving at me as I made my way around the audience. Kids were so cute waving and people with their cameras were really into it. It was tricky, because I was wanting to wave to everyone but of course that wasn't possible. I also managed to cut myself in the show and was bleeding towards the end, but it wasn't anything severe and it stopped after a few minutes. Blood, Sweat and Tears for this role of the Street rat. All in all, it was an awesome welcome to the show!

I met up with Erin, E-kan, Tyler and Nina after, and they had really nice things to say about the whole show and it was a great moment for me. They also took some great pictures and I will be posting them soon, so keep your eyes open. As I was talking to them a chill came over me and I was starting to feel some soreness in my throat. I couldn't shake the chill so instead of eating I took a hot shower to see if it would bring my body temp back up. Mind you, I ate a little bowl of oatmeal earlier in the day and then some almonds between the show, but I didn't want to eat lunch because of how fast paced this show is and I didn't' want to cramp up or feel lethargic. After the shower, I felt a little better, but still was cold and my throat was a little better after gargling salt water and drinking a bunch of water during the break. I was starting to get a little worried because I couldn't feel warm and my body felt a little weak. I did a couple of jogs up and down he stairs and then some push ups and prayed that my body would hold up. The show started and I was off and my adrenaline kicked in and I had a blast again. Everything felt fine and the audience was really into the show so of course that energy was feeding me. I got to do it with some different people from the first run which is always fun, because it keeps it different and fresh. Toward the very end of the show, I was on the ground and stood up and I felt a bit Lightheaded, but I knew I only had a few minutes left and it was probably my body telling me I had to eat. Well the show finished and I headed downstairs and was greeted by our Director Marya, who told me I was officially approved to play Aladdin LOL and then I took a shower. After that I headed into the greenroom and grabbed a krispy kreme and then ate some cottage cheese and my chills just hit hardcore, not only that, but my throat was on fire. I think the buzz from being in show mode wore off and I was just a mess. I knew I had to go watch the last show and wanted to support the last cast, so I made my way out but as I sat there in a resting position, my body just began to shut down little by little and I officially felt like crap and was also REALLY Achy! I knew I wanted to take part in the tradition we were going to be having later on in the night which was a bowling championship to see who would take the crown for the Hyperion Theatre Bowling Award (or something like that) but I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. After meeting up with E-kan later who was stoked at the idea of meeting the cast, I pulled it together and decided to head over but I was not feeling good. I stopped along the way and bought some fresh OJ and a couple packs of Emergen-C and it definitely helped, I wasn't feeling as weak as I was earlier, but I knew it was time to eat. We headed to Johnny Rockets after being notified from the cast at the bowling alley that they had been waiting over an hour for food. I ordered food, ate two fries and I was not feeling well. I felt like I was going to throw up if I ate anymore. After that we headed back down to the bowling alley and everyone was leaving because of the terrible service (I mean it IS a bowling alley) so the championship is being postponed, which I am fine with! It was time to head home.

I got a text from Erin on the way home saying that Wolfy was in pain and looked really weak after his surgery and I knew she felt bad. I got home and she was really upset and felt like he was mad at her and she was feeling like she did the wrong thing, but after a little talk she was fine...not me. My body was just ready for bed so I listened after popping the last emergen-c, some Tylenol and Tussin (Yes the fake stuff).

Thankfully I woke up today and my throat was feeling much better, which was my biggest concern considering I have shows tomorrow and Monday. I knew I would be able to rest today and the worst that I am dealing with, is extreme soreness all over. My head feels a little tight with pressure and my nose is a little clogged, but I feel much better. Erin made a run for me and picked up some gatorade, throat coat, dayquil to accompany the chicken soup she made for me and Wolfy and I are just resting as I watched Aladdin. I'm glad I did too, because it reminded me of a few things and has given me some ideas for the show now.

I had a great day all in all yesterday and had a lot of the veteran cast members coming up to me and saying some great things and I am just so glad to be a part of this show. I'm thankful for everyone's generosity in the show too, there was never a shortage of advice or answering of questions from the previous cast members, in fact some of best help was offered from the other Aladdin's. I look forward to rest of this run and I'm getting to know some great people. I hope a lot of my friends can come out to see the show as well!

Hopefully, I'll be in good shape for tomorrow. I will have to make sure I eat properly and am well fueled, because I'll be doing 4 shows tomorrow, splitting Aladdin of course with Sam. I'm looking forward to a nice hot bath in a few and then maybe unpacking a few boxes before settling down for the night and watching the Ultimate Fighter Finale on Spike! Poor Wolfy is hanging in there and also looks to be feeling better, but still is just not moving much and I have to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't continue to lick the sutures.

TiLL NeXt TiMe!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Removed from the show, Eviction plus a Farewell and Congrats!

It's about time I post a new blog. It's been a crazy week with the show opening tomorrow. We've been having tons of runs and I've been so tired after each rehearsal that I just want to crash when I get home.

So during last week I was informed that we were going to have to pay to have our rugs replaced due to some stains, which I feel is BS anyways, because every apartment I looked at had new rugs and it seemed like most of the places replaced their rugs after two years. We've been there 1 year and 9 months about and it pisses me off knowing, that our apartment complex was probably going to replace it anyways...not to mention that the shitty place uses nothing but the cheapest materials in their apartments, so the rugs were crap to begin with...but, so it goes...along with our deposit. Better things to look forward to though right?

So Saturday was the official move day into the new apartment. My original plan was to have moved most of the stuff out and over throughout the week so that I had very little come Saturday. I actually moved a LOT of stuff during the week, but still had so much to go. It always seems like it is going to be much less than what it actually is. Let's just say that the original plan was to rent a truck and have my friend E-kan help me move some basic items. It actually ended up being, E-kan, Tyler, Erin, Javed, Nina, Erin and I and we barely got done in time! LOL THANK GOD for friends and I'm so lucky that everyone came through. Javed and Nina were nice enough to drive all the way from Cosa Mesa and I wasn't even expecting them to come, but after some miss communication, they called and said they were close and I was so happy to hear we were getting more help. Then Tyler called and asked if we still needed help, which we did. I honestly, don't know what I would have done, if I didn't have each and every one of them there. Erin and I are so thankful. I cleaned out the old place, said my goodbye and left the hood.

Sunday was supposed to be my day to relax and just watch football. NY had a tough weekend, not that I really care about those dudes in Green, but it must have just been in the air. My G-men, played like crap and lost a game that they shouldn't have. E-kan and I are tied 1-1 and I have a feeling we will meet again. It's not like the Giants really need to win, they can rest their players, but who want's to have a losing momentum going into the end of the season, especially with Division Games coming up. After watching the loss, I started to unpack a bit as the Steelers Game came on, thank god they pulled it through! Then it was off to finish clearing out and cleaning Erin's old place.

Monday was the first official day in our apartment and it was back to what would be the first of many busy days at Disney. We started working in costumes which was fun, but I was still pretty nervous about not having my shoes yet. I was the only person not to have my shoes and I was starting to worry because of the confusion in the past. I am normally a size 10 1/2 or 11 depending on the shoe. In the beginning they came in and had me put on a size 10 1/2 which was too small. The shoes we wear have been named Air-Aladdin's and they need to be custom made for each performer so when they came back to me a few weeks later, the shoe was a 10 1/2 again. They swore they made them a size bigger, but I know that I would have remembered if they originally bought me a size that I don't even wear...but whatever. There is a lot to be done and I could have easily thought wrong... Anyways, I asked if there were any shoes from an old performer in a size 11 to see if they fit, before having them make a whole new set, but they said no. We ran the shows, and I did them in my sneakers but it went great.

Tuesday, no shoes- good shows, but no shoes still. At this point, the choreographer, director and some of the stage managers were asking where my shoes were and were beginning to get worried. So was I, because it was made clear that if the shoes were not going to be around for me to rehearse in, then I was probably going to be held from performing, until I had time to work in them :( I was also told that there was a size 11 pair of boots in their possession from an old performer, which I was originally told that they didn't have. They fit! So they took them in and had the Air-Aladdin's made to match the boot size. Hopefully I would get them by Thursday.
I also received a call from my land Lady and she was saying that the guy downstairs was complaining about my dog barking. She pretty much told me that he needed to stop, or we needed to find a new place to live. I was not happy. This guy downstairs works from home and I'm not saying my dog doesn't bark, he has separation anxiety, but he is a puppy in training at the same time. Barking is not something that is going to stop overnight, so It just bothered me and felt like I as backed into a tough spot. I called a few dog trainers on the way home and Erin and I decided that we were going to need to get serious and get Wolfy fixed and get him into some legit training.

Wednesday, I was a little out of it in the beginning of the day due to the worry of a barking puppy and a sensitive guy who works from home LOL I called my landlady to explain what was going on and it was a great talk, she understood that it would take time to get the dog to stop barking. I had the pair of stretched Air-Aladdin's delivered to me and I used them in the first run of the day which made me feel like I was a half a step behind because they felt so heavy. Thank god, I had another show and another full day to work in them. The second show went well and I was getting really excited for Friday and an Audience.

Today I was kind of hoping to have an easy day at rehearsal. I've been really tired physically and vocally and I just wanted to have a day to rest before Friday. I came in and sure enough, I only was in the first of three shows and it was as the chorus role, SAVED! They also were going to be recording the 2/3 shows and they had most of the veteran cast scheduled to perform in it. So, we are stretching and warming up and Tracy the choreographer came up to me and told me that I was being added to do the last show as Aladdin. So much for rest! But I was actually happy, I always like to perform the day before the opening, even though it seems like those shows can sometimes be a bit off...this was no different lol There were a lot of good things in the show, but a few technical things were off that haven't been before, but I also had a few new discoveries and I was able to make a couple of new choices that felt pretty good...all in all, I just am ready for an audience. It was kind of sad towards the end, because the 19 of us who came in to learn the show 7 weeks ago are scheduled for different days or are call ins and it would be the last day that we would all be together. I sat in the audience after I showered as we received notes and after getting a few notes from Todd, our Vocal Consultant I sat back in my chair and had to take a couple of deep breaths as I began to tear up a bit. He had some nice things to say and said that he hopes I am enjoying it and I couldn't help but smile. I think that was the thing that made me tear up a bit. Our stage manager said, "After today there is no new cast or veteran cast...it is now the ALADDIN CAST!" It didn't help my case, it just made me think about how badly I have wanted to play this part and be in this show and in less than 24 hours, it would be happening. All those times of singing the songs in my room as I jump around and act a fool, all the times someone said that I looked like Aladdin and it made me smile, all those dreams from my childhood of wanting to play this part in a movie and I was going to get the next best thing, if not THE best because of it being a live performance. As cheesy as it may seem, I feel like I am in a Disney commercial talking about the magic of the park LOL But I don't care, I'm going to enjoy every minute of this and be spoiled while I can and just play. I have felt happier these past few months and I've learned a lot. I've brought a lot of that joy I have been experiencing with this show to other places in my life and I know I want nothing less than that from now on. I hope to see and stay in touch with everyone from my group and I'm sad to not be seeing you all regularly. I'll be missing not being able to joke or prank you all, but you better watch out, because when I do see you, it will be on. I can't wait for my friends to see the show and I look forward to the day that my parents and sister come out to LA and see one of the performances of a show that has meant a lot to me for many years.

I also am a little sad at the thought of this blog ending. I started it as a way to keep people informed of my experience and to also keep the thoughts fresh for myself. I started to take different life as I began to journal a little bit. I just don't know how it will be without having rehearsal everyday to write about. Life goes on and new experiences will be had no doubt, so maybe I will continue to write. When it comes down to it, I've enjoyed writing these little things. Not sure if I'm ready to let go just yet ;)

Tomorrow I'll be performing the two middle shows- one at 1:55pm and the other at 4:20pm. Wish me good shows and send me luck at the cast party as I do my best to dethrone the current Hyperion Bowling Champ at the 300 Bowling alley!


Thank you for reading

Saturday, December 6, 2008

FREE TIX to DISNEY, No Internet & Falling Onstage

So, this is my first blog since last Sunday.

As I mentioned, I am in the process of moving and had no internet at my old place, so it was just basic email on my phone for the most part. We got the keys for our new place on Monday and of course we decided to stay the night since our bed was already there. We had water, electricity and we THOUGHT heat, but we found out later that the pilot had been turned out when the place was painted. We brought over sheets and A blanket. LOL It was cold! We froze that night, but it was still nice to wake up in a nice new place on a nice new bed. Back to basics. Wolfy seems to love this place, maybe because it gives him a lot of room to run around and cause trouble. At this point, the heat, cable and internet are on, and I moved most of my clothes and everything from my kitchen/bathroom. All that is left is my room shite that I will be moving Saturday morning with the help of E-kan and Javed from my Aladdin Cast. I've had a rough week with rehearsals every day only to come home and pack and move boxes to the new place. I wanted to move a little bit every day, but I paid for it with a sore back and tired days at rehearsal. I think it will be easy tomorrow, but who knows, it always looks like so much less work than it actually is! Either way you slice it, I have to be done with the truck by 1pm and I'm hoping to have all of my shit done by then.

I get really anal with wanting to have my stuff unpacked right away and settled in so I can finally feel like I have completely moved ya know? However, I already told myself, that I am just going to get it here and then wait until after rehearsals end before I really attack unpacking.

I'm excited to have people over for parties, or FINALLY host a UFC Fight on Pay Per View or have people over for football

GO GIANTS - 11-1 BABY! Big game this weekend. One of our rivals who we beat just a few short weeks ago, E-kan and I will be at it again LOL

So in the Aladdin world, things are going great! This was our last full week of rehearsals as we open next FRIDAY!!! I'm so excited! I've had a really great time with this show, which I'm sure I say a lot, but it really has been an amazing experience. I will definitely miss the cast that I came in with. There are 19 of us and some are scheduled for different days, while others are on an on call basis. We've had a great time, and it's the first show in a while that I got close to everyone and we all got along LOL for the most part ;)

I wasn't supposed to be in on Monday because of my St. Louis trip, but since we came back early, I called ahead and they told me to come in, which I was excited about because I really was itching to get back. I really am spoiled with this show. I missed two days and it felt like forever LOL I know how Carl felt now when he was hurt. But I heard they did runs, which I was upset I missed but we started in and finished working certain scenes in the space. You'd be surprised at how long a 3 minute song takes to stage, but when you have people learning multiple roles in a show, you have to keep going back to switch everything around so everyone learns their stuff. I'm really impressed with the talent in this show and their ability to handle all their different roles. I get confused with mine by itself LOL

I really can't remember too much from the week of rehearsal, most of my thoughts were involving moving and thinking about preparations for that. It was spirit week and there were themes for every day.

Monday was Camouflage day, which I wore my full desert fatigues and was only outdone by Ray who had the black boots. I had the same pair, but didn't take it all the way.

Tuesday was sports day and everyone was coming up to me asking if I was going to dress like a UFC fighter LOL I figured I'd wear my Giants gear in support instead.

Wednesday was Pajama day which I am bummed about till this day because I totally missed out and forgot to wear my famed one piece red pajama outfit with buttons in front AND back. I just forgot about it with the confusion of being at the new place. I did find time together to play a prank on one of the cast members that night. They were all headed to a bar to sing and I texted Kumi saying that I had been watching her from across the room. She didn't respond till 3 hours later when I was in bed...

Thursday was Superhero day and I was wiped this day and just threw on my Superman T-shirt which worked well for the scene in the show when I float into Jasmine's window on the carpet. I didn't even think about it, but some people said it looked really cool. That was the day also that I first ran the WHOLE NEW WORLD number with all the effects and when you see the show, you'll know what I mean. It looks really cool, but it is a little scary up there because of all the smoke they use in the scene. We also started decorating our Ornaments for the Christmas Tree in the green room. Let's just say that some people went overboard and couldn't stop making these things, not going to mention any names or anything but let's just say that there are two roommates who could not stop. On my ride to work though, the girl I texted the night before, got the Ace treatment and I texted her back on my drive and she couldn't figure out if it was a joke or not. It went on for a while, but hidden in one of the messages was a cryptic code saying that it was me...too bad she didn't catch it. I went on to say that my name was HANK, which some of you have met LOL During our warmups, she sat in the audience texting and watching to see who reached for the phone, but I was ONE JUMP AHEAD ;) and snuck them in fast. Finally she asked who was from JErsey and it didn't leave very many options, I was discovered. But I had her going good and she has vowed to seek revenge...we shall see. She said that when people mentioned it was probably me, she couldn't believe it as she didn't think I was capable of it, but she obviously didn't know me well.

Today was just costume day and I busted out the Pirate costume and I wasn't alone. Javed wore a full out Jack Sparrow Costume and Ray was SUPPOSED to be Capt. Morgan but couldn't get it together. We also continued with the ornaments and the two roommates continued. One of them, who I actually performed with as Jasmine, was getting really into it and was throwing everything into these ornaments. They were colorful and busy, lets just say that. We did 3 runs of the show all the way through with full effects and I did was scheduled to do the first one. I felt great and warmed up and then all of a sudden, I was just feeling BLAH...I don't know what came over me, but I just felt lethargic and out of it. We then went up onstage to practice a flip I have to do with the Alexa who was playing the carpet and we kept messing it up. It was alittle frustrating and one of those things you didn't want to be worried about in a show because that is when mistakes happen. I shook it off and had about 15 mintues to get back into my groove and started to do some push ups and anything physical to see if it would help, but only a little. It was time for places and I figured that I would make a couple of mad dashes down the stairs to hell I call it which helped get the blood flowing when I saw Mark 'Poison' Oka in his position for top of show. I said hello and we chatted a little and he had some real kind things to say about my work and before I knew it, they had called places and I ready to rock and I felt ready to kick ass. I like compliments as much as the next person, but it wasn't so much that...I just really respect Mark a lot and I remember he was the first person I talked to at Orientation. He has worked everywhere and has done some huge Broadway shows and I just was always inspired thinking about how he carried himself and how you could tell how much he loves what he does. I remember in Orientation we were supposed to share an interesting fact and he shared that he is still a dancer at age 50. It was simple, but it really hit home for me. He's a great guy and I really admire him a lot. I feel like he is one of the reasons that I've really pushed MYSELF hard in this and I've learned a new level of commitment that I don't think I could have achieved without being around such DEDICATED, TALENTED and CARING people that really go all out in their work. It's part of the reason I love working with Dancers, because in my opinion, they bust their ass and deal with pain and work at such intense levels and they just keep moving forward. I just wish I can perform with all these people all the time.

Anyways, our show went great and I felt the same about my run in it. I tripped in the FRIEND LIKE ME number over my BAGGY ASS ALADDIN Pants, but didn't fall thank god...I actually saved that part for after the show when I was running off stage with Jasmine and I got caught again and totally went down HARD! Thank god I had on knee pads...i'm a little sore though from it LOL.

We finished the day in the house with the Director and Choreographer and she gave us details about our specific performances. Now I already knew I was performing Sundays and Mondays, I just didn't know what I was performing for what shows...well I was informed that I was actually being brought in for the OPENING DAY next FRIDAY! We all get put in days which are basically the days they put us into the show and then give us final approval to do the parts. Yes, we already have the part, but it is some weird thing they do that none of us really understood to be honest. We all just got tense when they announced it because it felt like an audition again. Granted we have been doing this show for 6 weeks and I'm pretty certain that they have a good idea of what we are capable of, but who knows lol Regardless, everyone has to go through it and I'm not really worried about it at all. I'm just excited that I will be there to perform as Aladdin on the opening day!!! So if you are free, I think I will be doing the last two shows. I can get you into the parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) for free, if you come to the show of course! Let me know!

Anyways, it's time to wrap up. Gotta see if I can stay awake long enough to get through last weeks Dexter and 2 Ultimate Fighter Eps..


Monday, December 1, 2008

St. Louis Trip, Thanksgiving, Airport Troubles and a Crazy Strip Club Experience

I've noticed that my blogs started as a way to keep people informed of the Aladdin gig but have turned into more journaling each time. Oh well, I actually look forward to writing regardless of if anyone is reading or not. I know it is probably good to have some sort of record to help trigger certain memories that may not come easy with my old age ;)

So Erin, Barnaby, Katie and I were heading to St. Louis for Thanksgiving. I've been tons of times during my time at Stephen's and this would be Barnaby's first trip to St. Louis…let alone his first trip out of L.A. aside from Vegas. We talked about all sorts of things to do while we were there and Barnaby was most excited and interested in checking the city that is notorious for having some of the best strip clubs…more on that later!

So it's Monday night and we are staying over Katie's apartment so we can just roll straight to the airport in the morning. Everyone is already there, they were just waiting for Erin, Wolfy and I. Wolfy was going to be staying there while we were away. We get there, and he instantly runs to Stanley and they begin their frolicking and picked up right where their affair last left them. NON-STOP! Erin and I were beat so we set up our little sleeping area on the floor and started to watch the latest episode of Dexter before we passed out.

Tuesday morning hit and it's freezing and of course we had hardly slept before the alarm sounded. But the excitement of leaving town carried us as groggy as we were. We get to the airport, grab our tickets and head to the security checkpoint. Erin and Barnaby were stopped to see if there bags would fit in the overhead storage area of the plane. I'll never understand why they pay such close attention and make you stick your bag in this tiny spot, but when you get in the plane, the area is much larger. They started to give Erin a hard time so she had to remove some stuff, put it in her purse, and then put it right back in once she got through…ridiculous. After putting all my clothes back I notice I'm still waiting for Erin and Barnaby to get through. I look over and they have Barnaby stopped at the end and they are removing shit from his bag. I couldn't help but laugh because of how funny the image was. There were a bunch of canned items that Barnaby was going to bring for his meal on Thanksgiving. We each were going to prepare something for the feast and he apparently forgot that we were going to get the groceries once we were in STL, so he packed a bag full of plantains, a bunch of canned evaporated milk and god knows what else LOL. They let him keep the bananas, but not before they gave him a scare and almost took his burned DVD's with the pile of cans, lotion and whatever else they confiscated from him.

The flight was alright and at least they gave us free soft drinks and a packet of pretzels. We landed and were informed that we were going to be having dinner at Erin's Grandparent's house later that evening. When we got back to Erin's house, we were all starved so we pigged out on various items before we left for dinner at the Grandparents'. We pulled up and were greeted by Ray and Jane and a smell of a nice cooked meal. We each were poured a glass of wine as we gave Barnaby a tour of the place, mainly the cool basement they have. After chatting a bit downstairs, we made our way to the dining room for dinner. Barnaby made a touching toast, thanking Erin and Katie for inviting him to St. Louis and he also stated in his own words that he wanted us all to have a good time this trip regardless of what we may have all gone through in the past. It was simple, but effective and really put into perspective for me how it is sometimes easier to let little things get in the way of the bigger picture.

On a side note, there have been times of ups and downs, back and forth for me and B in our apartment, but I'll always cherish the year plus we spent as roomies in the hood and will no doubt miss seeing him all the time and his white friend Doug. I feel that for me, it was great to have him around and be a constant connection to something I could only describe as an East Coast Vibe. Of course, it was more than that and as we've only known each other for about 3 years now, I know there are still many more things to learn about Barnaby and it will come with time as this will be a lasting friendship. I'm sorry for being a fool and for any immature way I chose to handle things and I look forward to making moves with you in the future Barnaby. Thanks for putting up with my shit and for reminding me of Platano's and for just being yourself. You taught me a lot and I admire how you speak your mind, do what want and hold your friends dear.

Back to dinner, we ate, had some FUNNY chats and discovered that Barnaby was plastered from the wine. We were heading out because we were going to be meeting up with some of Erin's friends later and as we were leaving Barnaby missed a step coming out of the house and almost broke his foot! LOL it was too funny, that and Katie was driving on the neighbors lawn as we were exiting because she couldn't see the driveway at night.

We dropped Katie back home and realized that the Ice Skating rink we were going to go to was close that night so we had to make other plans which involved hitting up a pub. I forgot how cheap everything is when you are not in NY or LA. Barnaby, Erin and I had a round of Captain and Cokes and paid less than 12 total, not to mention, the bartender brought over two more for us on the house! Well Erin's friends came by and I met Courtney and Shannon and they told us that we were going to party classy that night and the next night was going to be trashy. We ended up cruising downtown near the St. Louis Arch and it was kind of dead. We also found out that the next day's hockey game we were supposed to be going to was actually in Colorado, NOT St. Louis. Apparently Dale, Erin's Dad, was misinformed by his broker but thankfully he had not yet paid for the tickets. Anyways, we ended up cruising to this new Casino called Lumier and I hit up the Blackjack Table for about 45 minutes before walking away $1 up. LOL at least I didn't lose the $40 I put down. We called it a night after that and decided to head home since we were no doubt going to have a long day on Wednesday starting with a Mani/Pedi ;) LOL I was excited to pass out in the guest room because the beds are perfect in there and I always sleep like a king. Apparently, so did Barnaby, because he kept talking about the beds the whole time LOL.

So we headed in to the nail salon and did the deed. Barnaby and I both had them paint our toes for kicks and I bought a bag of Gus' Famous Pretzels. I think Erin was a little disappointed to hear I wasn't blown away by this St. Louis gem. We then hit up the World Market to get some items for our dishes and I was quite impressed. In the middle of St. Louis they had items I can't find in L.A. Barnaby and I found bottles of Malta and were in heaven. It was then off to one of my favorite places on earth, St. Louis City Museum. Worth a trip to St. Louis ALONE! If you have been, let me know below what you think of this place and if you haven't been, it is a place you should visit. Let's just say it is an adult playground. They serve liquor and it is not uncommon to see business men dressed in their best crawling through tunnels or bouncing around in the oversized McDonald's like playpen. They say you need to allow 3-4 hours to see everything and it is true- SO MUCH FUN and Barnaby loved it as well! After that we headed back to shower and change for dinner at Bar Louie's which had $5 buckets of beer. This was where we got our buzz for the night, we kept ordering these things and we were set for the night. The next stop was going to be the "Ghetto" part of town and the club that we surely were going to get shot at in called MP O'Reilley's. When we pulled up, I'll admit it was a little considering the part of town and the two cop cars parked outside, but when we got inside Barnaby and I couldn't help but laugh at how "Ghetto" this place actually was. Leave it to a couple of former Catholic School Girls to talk up this place and complain about how dangerous it was. It was fine, nothing at all Ghetto compared to what we were used to. There were a few odd characters, but nothing worth wearing a vest for. I don't know maybe we were lucky that night. The real fun was going to be had after this spot, because we were on our way to the Roxy's strip club. I'm not a guy that really cares about strip club's, it's not my thing, but it is fun when you are with a group and one of your members has been looking forward to it for a while. This deserves a blog of it's own and indeed and will get one. If you wish to read it, follow the prompts in the other blog. Ask to be on the preferred list. Otherwise, after our adventure inside Roxy's, we were walking to the car and Shannon's boyfriend told us the place across the street was actually, "Worse" and Barnaby wanted to go in there after hearing that LOL

We headed home though and could not stop talking about what just happened. We got home, and Barnaby, Katie and Stacy passed out downstairs and I hit the bed at 3:00am. I set my alarm for 6 to wake up and begin soaking some rice for one of my dishes that I would be preparing for T-day.

I woke up and realized that I never picked up the ground beef for one of my dishes so I had to cruise to a Super Walmart in Fenton. God I miss Walmart! LOL I got back and begun cooking with Barnaby as my right hand man. Everything I made turned out OK…one was a little overcooked and the other needed more cooking. Not bad for a first attempt…still edible LOL There was soooo much foood and all of it was great, we were all at least 5 lbs heavier.

We then went to watch the new James Bond movie, which I really liked. I've heard some people complain about it because it is more a film and not a James Bond flick, but I really liked it. There were a few parts that were not clear to me, but all in all, I like what it did to establish his character more and I really dig Daniel Craig as Bond! After that we headed back home for round two of T-day dinner and a flick on pay per view. We ended up buying Dark Floors, which was ABSOLUTELY horrible. A really bad, terribly acted horror film…ugh…we turned it off about ¾ of the way through it was so bad. We then watched A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS which was really good. It reminded me a lot of growing up and the only problem I had in it was Robert Downey Jr. I think he is a great actor and feel he is on a tear the past few years, but I felt that the older version of the character he was playing was not consistent with the character Shai Labeouf played. He seemed too polished and didn't have the urban, NY feel that was felt throughout the rest of the film..

Friday came and it was time to head out, Erin and I spent some time looking around the house at things we wanted to bring back for our new place and then we had some Imo's Pizza, which was pretty good. It felt like the dough wasn't cooked all the way, but maybe that is how it was supposed to be, I don't know..We said our goodbyes at the airport and headed to the security checkpoint, where once again, they stopped Barnaby and removed several items from him LOL We finally got on the plane and were pissed that because of "cut backs in money" they were now charging us two bucks for a friggin soft drink, not even the whole can of soda or bottle of water, just a glass. Not only that, they stopped in flight movies, because IM sure that costs a lot too. To make things better, about an hour into our 3+ hr flight, there was a malfunction with the smoke detector in the bathroom and it meant that the rest of the flight there would be an annoying alarm that sounded at random times. It really pissed me off, because they are "cutting back costs", but we still paid the same overpriced amount for our tickets, not to mention, gas is much cheaper now. I hate airlines…so shady.

Anyway, we made it to Arizona, grabbed dinner and a beer and then headed back on our next flight into LA.

Saturday, was pretty mellow, I took Wolfy to the dog park that is close to our new place and then Erin and I went on a date to watch Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Great Movie…the theatre was silent when it ended, in fact Erin and I took about 7 minutes before anyone said anything.

Sunday, I headed to a bar on Main St. Santa Monica to watch the Giants game with a bunch of other Giants fans. 11-0 baby! Plaxico Burress is an ASS. I then took the Wolf to the dog park so he could get his weekend hump in and then I came home and packed everything in the kitchen and got it ready to be cleaned. 1 room down, 2 to go!

I had a great time in St. Louis, could have stayed another day, but I'm happy to get back and get everything squared away with my new apartment. I also missed not being in rehearsal and can't wait to get back tomorrow. We are nearing the stretch and will be opening the show within two weeks! I can't wait to move!