I've been so uber (I love that word) busy the past month, I have yet to contribute anything worthwhile to the theatre-going blogosphere since my last clever post title concerning a certain ingenue in danger (see previous post). While the SOB Steve pumps out new posts everyday, I sit at work fighting sleep. And may I add, I lose the battle most of the time.
My lack of sleep is due to my rehearsal and performance schedule. I am currently in my 4th week of performances with Side Show, that other Henry Krieger musical that deserves to be considered "the other one." I've always considered Side Show a great premise with awful execution. I think the score and the book are ridiculously melodramatic and not subtle. The show wears it emotions on its sleeve and holds nothing back.
However, I'm performing under the direction of a certain Ken Frazier, who has become a house-hold name in the San Antonio theater scene. Ken is always a creative director with a true vision and loves to take risks. As was the case, he fell in love with the premise of the show and was considerably underwhelmed with the actual material itself. He's created a seedy underworld of side show freaks including a disfigured woman, a reptile man, a geek who walks on stilts and eats chickens, a he-she in a wonderful costume, a 500lb lady, and of course - yours truly, the bearded lady. There is great talent among the cast, most notably Stephanie Bumgarner and Kimberly Stephenson as the 2 conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton.
I'm drawn to the direction of Ken Frazier and the staff of the Sheldon Vexler Theatre. This is a rare instance that I'm not drawn to the material, too. But I'm giving it my all. And I really enjoy singing in "The Devil You Know" - belting out high C's is always fun. And I'm enjoying the cast as well.
But that alone isn't enough for me to lose sleep over. What's killing me is that on top of these performances, I'm in rehearsals for another show that opens a week after my stint at the Vex closes. Just North of San Antonio is the small town of New Braunfels, TX. My home. And the home to the greatest water park in the world. And the home to the June production of New Braunfels Theatre Company's Hello, Dolly! I play Cornelius, which is a great part. And I feel that I'm doing a great job with it. Unfortunately, the production has been suffering from a management standpoint. And it has bled its way into the ensemble. People are frustrated, people are annoyed, people are bitter. And quite frankly there is only room enough for one diva in this town and that's me. I'm not gonna even go into more detail here because no good will come of it. But hopefully the cast can come together and pull out a great performance. I hope.
Oh yeah and then on top of that I just started rehearsals for Honk! I play the Cat and open in July, a week after Hello, Dolly! closes. Oh and I just got done with a stint as Snoopy in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Will Parker in Oklahoma! - my best performance yet in my opinion. Extremely proud of my work on that show.
And then of course there's work. And home life. And school. And my New York plans. Meh.
Oh and our reviews for Side Show were appropriately polarizing. Here's a snippet from Deborah Martin's glowing review in the San Antonio Express News:
“It's a little weird,” an older gentleman said to one of his companions at “Side Show” Saturday night.
It's a fair observation for a show that opens with a number titled “Come Look at the Freaks.” The show is a little weird, but it's a good kind of weird. It's also frequently moving and hard to forget.
And here is Thomas Jenkins' snippet from the San Antonio Current, a less favorable review:
The Vexler’s current production presents a mixed case for the merits of this cult musical, with several strong casting and creative choices, but also some real head-scratchers... Unfortunately, some baffling casting choices undermine the musical’s potential as a more affecting piece of theater, particularly in the romantic subplots.
Well there you go. Now that I'm through with this endless self-indulgence, on to blogging about things that people care about. Well, theatre people.