Friday, November 30, 2007

A Christmas Carol - Blog 2 - Mike Lawler (Marley)

The cast of A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre is a family.
Kim Bennett (our Scrooge) said it and I believe it. And while we are in rehearsal we are spending more time with each other than our families. But what a great time!

My name is Mike Lawler and this is my third year of playing Jacob Marley (Scrooge's deeased partner). What a cast! We get David Barker entertaining us during rehearsal breaks with some of the wackiest jokes ever heard. We're in our second week of rehearsal and he is still trying to get us to do a group improv to 'break the ice'.

5 year old Casey Likes is playing Tiny Tim this year. He is a 5 year old renaissance man. Not only doing a great job playing Tiny Tim but he has another project in the works. Casey is directing and starring in "PowerMan" which he will be shooting during the Christmas Carol run. He's holding auditions for the cast (though some parts have been pre-cast). There is lots of excitement about this movie. Rumor has that Matthew Wiener is either going to have a cameo as a Starbucks latte man or play Casey's sidekick. No decision yet.

Lillie Richardson just makes me laugh. She's fantastic.

I get to work with actors and actresses who are first-rate. I'm thrilled when I get to work with them in scene or song and I love watching them when I'm offstage. It's a thrill to work with Kim Bennett as Scrooge who makes me laugh and then rips my heart out.

I love working with Matthew and one of my favorite parts in rehearsal (and you never know when this will happen) is when he jumps out of his seat, comes around his table and illustrates his direction to me: Kim and I are working the end of the Marley/Scrooge scene. The scene reads like this-
Marley: "Expect the second (spirit) on the next night at the same hour, the third, upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has cease to vibrate".
Marley begins to levitate
"Look to see me no more. And see that, for your own good, you remember what has passed between us!"
Marley rises out of sight
...and Matthew acts out for me what he's after. He kind of gets in Kim's face: "Scrooge three spirits are coming, here's when they're coming. Matthew then pulls away like he's being lifted up: "O.K. I'm outta here". He is so helpful and funny. And effective. Matthew set the bar last night- we are to achieve 150% in rehearsal of what we will deliver in performance. I'm sure we will get there. Matthew makes me believe.

Arthur Marks is a terrific music director and so supportive. He has blown us all away with his 6 octave vocal range and his talent as a dancer and actor. Actually, it's kind of depressing.

Robbie Harper, our Co-choreographer as well as our Bob Cratchit, is amazing.

It's a gift to be able to tell this story of spirit and reconciliation with great actors and an excellent theatre company. I have every confidence you will love A Christmas Carol as much as I do!

Mike Lawler

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Christmas Carol - Blog 1 - Matthew Wiener

Better late than never. Time to kick off the Xmas Carol 07 Blog-O-Rama. Today is actually the last day we will be working in the rehearsal hall. Tomorrow is the day off and then we hit the stage on Wednesday afternoon. A mere 72 hours later we perform for our first audience.

Doing A Christmas Carol every year is unlike any other project I have ever been part of in the theatre. This is the 13th year I have directed this show – the 10th year for this adaptation. If we rehearse for approximately 2.5 weeks every year - that is about 32 weeks of rehearsal. Yikes – a normal show has 4 weeks. You would think we should finally be getting this right.

But every year the journey is slightly different. Although many cast members return year after year there are always some new people that have to be worked into the show. And these new people bring new energy and ideas – which to a certain extent we cherish but on the other hand the show is pretty much locked down in terms of blocking and lighting. We call this a “remount”. Which is supposed to be easy. But hardly ever is.

A Christmas Carol is a huge undertaking for Actors Theatre. Most of our shows are performed in Stage West (300 seats) and have an average of 3-5 actors. And the set usually just sits for the most part. This show is different: Center Stage, 750 seats, 22 actors, 2 stage managers, 2 followspot operators, 3 wardrobe people, 5 stagehands, a sound mixer, a sound runner, a light board operator, and of course – a musical director. In three days getting all these people to work together as a finely tuned machine is always challenging. But we do it. Year after year. After all - it’s just a remount.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pursuit of Happiness - Blog 15 - by...just guess.

Tuesday October 6, 2007 11:04 am

So here we are, ready to begin the last week of the show. I'm an emotional rollercoaster. This show has been an absolute dream to work on, which is a lot more than I can say for some other shows I've done in the past, let me tell you.

As we approach this last weekend, I start to become reminded of why it is that I do theatre. I originally started acting because I eventually wanted to be in broadcasting and TV, always thinking about what it would be like to have my own late night talk show or sitcom on the Disney channel. But as you begin to involve yourself into this wonderful world of community and art, you begin to see how acting is so much more than just trying to get noticed. When you talk to people after a show or in a post-show discussion and they tell you how profoundly moving the production was to them, or when some people actually cry at what they have seen on stage and they get caught up in the moment of the scene, it makes you feel lucky to do what it is you do. Being an actor is truly the greatest job in the world and I thank God every day that I get the chance to do it on at least a semi-regular basis.

I probably won't be writing too much more after this blog since I have a ton of homework to do this weekfor school, and also because I'll undoubtedly get caught up in the constant partying that always ends up happening during the last weekend of the show. As usual, this run was too short, but then again they always are. I've never really looked forward to seeing a show end, but this one is a hard one to let go inparticular because of the incredible cast I got to work with and because of the fun that I have in just doing the show. This is one of the few shows I've done that I can honestly say I could do over and over again for years and never get tired of it. There have onlybeen two other shows in my career that I can honestly say that about, so this one certainly has a special place in my heart.

Trivia question:

Who keeps a picture of LillieRichardson (the Angel from Actors Theatre's Angels in America)on their dressing room mirror?
a. Joe Kremer
b. Katie McFadzen
c. Kyle Sorrell
Take a wild guess.
You got it....................(b)

Another Trivia Question: Which actor in The Pursuit of Happiness decided that Katie's name should now be Katie McFabulous?
a. Gene Ganssle
b. Lindsey Marlin
c. Joe Kremer
okay, okay, you got me. ..................................(c)

One more: Which stage manager for The Pursuit of Happiness gives us a "places" call in the style of a Gregorian Chant?
a. April Smith
b. April Smith
c. April Smith
d. all of the above
that's right..............(d)

Okay, last one: Which actor from The Pursuit of Happiness will probably never work for Actors Theatre again because he (or she) writes blogs discussing drunkeness and lewd behaviour?
a. Joe Kremer
b. Kyle Sorrell
c. Gene Ganssle
d. Katie McFadzen
e. Lindsey Marlin
f. all of the above except for (a.)
If you chose (f.) you are CORRECT!

Okay, okay, I'm just kidding.

It's (a.)

Talk to you all very soon. Much Love!

Pursuit of Happiness - mini-Blog 14 - by Joe Kremer (Imagine that :)

Wednesday October 31, 2007 1:50pm

I'm procrastinating again. I should be doing homework but instead of that I am writing this blog.

So, have you read the reviews? Well, they're beautiful. It's a really good show and I think that everyone that has come to see it has really enjoyed it.

Thank you everyone that came to the show this past weekend. Thank you Alan for the candy. Thank you everyone else who hung out and partied with me afterwards. (And you know who you are.)

If you are a fan of this blog, let me know. We arehaving a talk-back at our show on thursday nite so let me know then. otherwise I'll just stop writing these damn things! hahaha! nah, i can't do that...this is much better and cheaper than going to my therapist.

much love. hope to c u this wkend.

Pursuit of Happiness - Blog 13 - by Joe Kremer (Spud)

Monday, Oct. 29, 2007 3:28pm

I thought I'd write this blog real quick before I leave to go pick up my daugter from school. I want to tell you about my exciting opening night and all th epartying afterwards (which, let's face it, that's what you really want to hear).

So I was nervous as hell but I got through the opening night show. The crowd was so freaking amazing! Everyone did an absolutely fantastic job and I just LOVE this cast! They are soF-ing talented!

Okay, so after the show we all went to a cast party at My Florist Cafe. It was so awesome. I wore this big red shirt so I completely stood out, although I had brought a jacket to wear over it but it was too f-ing hot to wear. I hobnobbed with audience members, and I drank beer, and I ate cheese, and I drank beer, and I talked to people. It was so great...I felt soHollywood.

So then we left My Florist Cafe around 12:30pm and headed over to Kobalt, which is a bar over on Central and Osborn. It was so great to hang out with my friends and drink a lot, and hang out with my friends, and drink some more. I was in hog heaven! There was even a really nice lady that happened to be drinking there and came up to me and said I did a really good job with the show. Wasn't that sweet?! I should've got her number so I can call her if I ever feel like my performance wasn't that good.

There was a whole bunch of stuff happening at Kobalt that I'm afraid I can't talk about. Lets just say SOMEBODY had a camera and SOMEBODY was taking some pretty crazy pictures with that camera and there was a lot of booze involved. A lot more stuff happened but I really can't tell you what all happened. I'll just tell you that it was a great time and I am NOT looking forward to this show ending at all. I love everyone involved in this freaking show and the crowds have been great. Much love. Talk to you later.