life on the... oh yeah, not on the road anymore. uh, life in the big city, then.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

home in the northwest

music: Jason Mraz
books: "Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain" by Charles Cross

Hey campers, big howdy from Camano Island, Washington. I'm visiting the family for a few days here, taking advantage of the time off. (Mom and Bill, and Bailey the golden retriever, say hi.) It's good to be out of New York for a minute. Will be having Thanksgiving with my sister and her boyfriend, and my dad, who's coming up from Arizona.

Actually, at the moment, I'm scrambling to transfer all my files to a new, official, You crazies read this blog so often, I've exceeded my monthly traffic limit for my free Earthlink webspace. The email I got said "Dear EarthLink Member,
Your free member Web site has been popular this month -- maybe a little too popular." A followup informed me access to the site would be shut down until the 1st of the month.

So, thank you all for the motivation. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I hung out with Tim Hunter, a friend from the Aida tour, in New York the other night, with the balmy weather bringing everyone out to the sidewalks of the East Village for drinking and dining. He had just met his "favorite soap actress", who starred on The Young & The Restless for some 13 years, at Solas. The 3 of us talked over drinks and Japanese food from the takoyaki stand next door. Sol, a buddy from high school and fellow East Vill dweller, joined us and we headed up to 44th & X for dessert.

The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special is on TV. Peppermint Patty and Marcie are the prototypical lesbian TV couple. Who knew? They were way ahead of their time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


movies/DVDs: The Human Stain, Master and Commander, Mulholland Dr., STP "Thank You", Inside Bjork, the work of Spike Jonze
music: Gavin DeGraw, Stone Temple Pilots, old Metallica

Had a very informative visit with a speech therapist today. We went over my case history and he listened to me talk for a while, then gave me his analysis: I need to relieve the pressure on my vocal cords by allowing the voice to resonate my "mask", or nasal cavities, more. It gets raspy when I let my cords do all the work instead of letting the sound up into my head.

So I was given some exercises which involve saying "mm-hmmm. Many, money, many, money, many, money. My marvelous mother makes magnificent macaroni. Many men make much money on Mondays," etc. The goal is not to sound overly nasal like Fran Drescher, but rather to let the voice project and relax the larynx, so that the air does the work, not the muscles.

Turns out talking like Michael Jackson wasn't the best, either. No wonder my voice got tired doing that. Any time you try to manipulate the pitch of your voice, or whisper, even sotto voce, it's a strain on the muscles. Just speaking at a normal volume, with proper resonance, is the best thing you can do for your voice.

I'm still waiting for written confirmation from the production office, but it looks like I'm out of the show until January 4. They're going to "suspend and extend" my contract, so they'll tack on as many weeks to the end of it as I've missed, which means I'll be back in it at least through the first day of spring.

Yes, that was longer than expected. More on that to come. Meanwhile, I'm bummed because I'm missing the student matinee today, and I probably won't get to sing at the Giants game on Dec. 7th.

They're playing Xmas and holiday music at Starbucks already. Yikes.

There are a couple of funny articles about blogging on the front page of right now. Blogging can definitely get you in trouble. My blog in particular is occasionally monitored by RENT company management, who have on more than one occasion asked me to avoid any specific mention of my castmates, in performance or otherwise -- though I've never said anything critical or negative. It's understandable given the fervor of certain fanatics, and the wildfiery rumor mill.

When my mom first discovered my blog, she was quite upset that I was posting my personal business for the world to see -- until she visited and realized thousands of others were doing it too. And far less eloquently or tastefully than I. ;-)

Friday, November 14, 2003

full circle

I haven't performed since Sunday night. Although my voice is in decent shape and there's no physical evidence of damage like there was before, the consensus is that I need some time to get back to 100%. I just wasn't able to jump back in and do 8 shows a week.

I'm negotiating some medical leave, probably just a couple of weeks, although the length of time remains to be determined. While I'm out, my sub will be none other than Jeremy Kushnier, whom I understudied as Radames on the Aida tour. Tonight (Friday) is his Broadway debut as Roger! (As you may know, Jeremy has played Roger previously on the Benny tour and in the Canadian company of RENT. And he's been on B'way before, originating the role of Ren in Footloose.)

I'll be there to see him sometime this weekend, but probably won't be talking. And over the next couple of weeks, lots of work with the voice coach and possibly a speech therapist so I can get these issues under control and come back better than ever.

Thanks for all your support. Will keep you posted....

Sunday, November 09, 2003

turning blue

Made it through the week and only missed one show, today's matinee. I got up pretty early and thought I'd be OK... steamed out my throat at the 10th St. Russian Baths, then tried some warmups, but the sounds weren't pretty. It doesn't hurt, really, just sounds like dying ducks when I try to hit certain notes in my break, around E-flat or so.

It's cold here! I have a feeling the dry weather is affecting my voice too.

Felt pretty good tonight though. I caught the tail end of the cast potluck between shows... amazing food! We were all really full. Thank God for Maalox.

Had a voiceover audition for McDonald's again on Thursday. It was for a local ad for some Green Bay Packers memorabilia they're hawking, and I went to Mickey D's for a #2 combo (two cheeseburgers, fries, diet coke) afterwards. I guess I'm over being righteous about certain causes... there was a time in my life when I was vegetarian and would never have considered doing an ad for fast food. Now I buy fast food for good luck. sellout...

Friday afternoon I met with an interesting young playwright who's written a 3-act play called "Cheyenne". I think he's pretty talented. He's having a reading of the play Friday night at Soho House, and hoping to attract some producers. It's about a happily married Wyoming cowboy who finds out his best friend is gay.

Thursday, November 06, 2003


music: foo fighters "see you", wallflowers "see you when i get there", scout "all i want is you"

It's been a long day. I awoke at 9:30 to try to reschedule the appointment I had with Dr. Korovin, which conflicted with seeing Anna In The Tropics at 2:00. Got a 10:30, headed straight to her office, waited 30 minutes and decided to bag it. I think I've got the throat issues under control anyway.

Also bailed on a student film audition at Hunter College... oh well. The play (not a musical) was very moving, passionate, steamy. "Anna" refers to Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina, passages from which are being swoon-inducingly read by a lector (Jimmy Smits) in a Tampa cigar factory circa 1929. The dialogue was so beautiful -- flowery Marquez-ian metaphors about love, art and tobacco smoke. Daphne Rubin-Vega aroused some serious chemistry with Smits as her extramarital lover. The end really got me: an exhortation to seizing the moment, if nothing else.

Tonight I saw Mike Albo's solo collection of character monologues (and comedic choreography), "I Can Only Come So Far", at a community theatre in the Lower East Side. I HIGHLY recommend this piece to anyone who appreciates a keen eye for social commentary... true, honest send-ups of people you know and love to hate.

One of his characters, "The Underminer", the basis for a soon-to-be-published book, is so familiar it's scary. He's only doing the show for the next two Wednesdays... it's a compilation of his best work from the last few years on his own and with the comic trio Unitard. Please go see it... you'll walk away in a better mood, I promise.

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