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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 5 Practical Gifts For Your Actor Friends

Wanna show your actor friend you care? Get them a thing!

How about I lend you a helping hand? Because, let's face it, actors are hard to buy for. We're moody and outlandish, and we gesticulate a lot.

Five-Trick Pony's list eschews conventional, some might even say thoughtful, recommendations (like Sondheim's Finishing the Hat, or sheet music, or theater tickets) and gets back to the bare essentials. Presenting,

TOP 5 PRACTICAL GIFTS FOR YOUR ACTOR FRIENDS.

GIFT IDEA #1: Scarf.

The gist: Simple, fashionable.
Why: Unique accent pieces like a toadstool scarf (at right) help your actor friend draw attention to himself, which provides a fleeting sense of self-worth. Also, they protect vocal cords.
But Remember: Every actor owns hundreds of scarves, so it's important to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. If he doesn't like it or you give him something he already has, just tell him it's a belt, or a prop.
Verdict: Perfect gift at an affordable price.

GIFT IDEA #2: Hot Guys and Baby Animals 2011 Calendar.

The gist: Hot guys and baby animals help you know what the date is.
Why: My boyfriend is featured in this calendar as the month of February. He is shirtless and holding a goat (I am not joking -- see right). And if there's one thing I've learned from working in theater, it's that pictures of my shirtless boyfriend can bridge any social gap. Regardless of race, religion, or voice part, people love to look at a hot dude, and then they all become friends. The United Nations should employ this tactic when negotiating with hostile countries.
But Remember: A small percentage of your actor friends might be straight males, in which case, you should reconsider buying this gift.
Verdict: Much better than the Hot Animals, Baby Guys 2011 Calendar.

GIFT IDEA #3: Money.

The gist: Easy, no wrapping required.
Why: If your friend is an actor, he is probably unemployed. If he is unemployed, he probably needs money. If he needs money, he probably wants it as a gift.
But Remember: You can't pretend to have spent more money on your money than the amount that's written on the actual money.
Verdict: You really can't go wrong here, except if you give out Sacagawea coins, which are heavy and comical.

GIFT IDEA #4: Double-stick tape.

The gist: Countless uses, hours of fun.
Why: The complete list of double-stick tape's practical applications would take me days to transcribe, so I'll simply list the most relevant: 1) Affixing headshots to the backs of résumés, 2) Sticking Twilight posters onto your ceiling, 3) Taming your assets in low-cut apparel, 4) Pinning up photobooth prints and/or Polaroids to your shabby-chic full-length mirror. Also, lends itself to a whole host of puns in the accompanying gift card, i.e. "Let's stick together!" "I'm stuck on you!" "We're double the trouble!" "Sorry I leaked your sex tape!"
But Remember: You run the risk of giving too good a gift.
Verdict: Don't think, just buy.

And, finally...

GIFT IDEA #5: Clinical Strength Deodorant.

The gist: Keeps you dry under pressure.
Why: Actors are sweaty beasts (I know from personal experience) and there's nothing worse than trying to impress an audition panel while you're crying from your pits. This gift helps prevent NWL (Net Water Loss), a dangerous armpit-sweat side effect.
(Water Bottle Input – Pit Sweat Output = Net Water Loss
if Pit Sweat Output > Water Bottle Input.) Plus, hardcore deodorant has all kinds of chemicals that shorten life expectancy, which means that after your actor friend reaches an uncastable age, he will suffer through fewer years of self-loathing and regret.
But remember: No one, especially an actor, wants to admit to using this. Be discreet!
Verdict: Life-changing, but be sure to hide this gift inside another gift.

And that concludes this year's list. Now, go be a good little consumer! Disperse!

And do add your own suggestions to the comments section.
--FR

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trinity Youth Shelter benefit recap!

Blogoriffic Blogfriends!

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of performing in a benefit for Trinity Place, the GLBTQ youth shelter, alongside Shoshana Bean, Joey Taranto, Carrie Manolakos, Donna Vivino, Scott Alan, Neil Davis, Breedlove, SIRPAUL, Joe Hubrich, and my special friend and life-mate Libby Servais. The event was hosted by the brilliant Bianca Del Rio, who as a drag queen is much more attractive than I'll ever hope to be.

It was a rollicking, heartfelt evening, which is no surprise, given that it was organized from start to glittery finish by the inimitable Rob Harmon, who is a kickass makeup artist / general guru (I know Rob because he painted me green for a week when I was doing Wicked (he was the one who said on good authority that I was the sweatiest Elphaba to date)).

To kick off the event, Libby and I sang "I Will Never Leave You," a throwback to our Wicked standby days, when we literally never left each other's side, and then we hosted the first live auction of the night (of which there were many more throughout the evening). Um, live auctions are so much fun. It's the one instance in which the forces of peer pressure can be wielded for good!

Of course it was a treat to be able to watch the other performances, and I also got to reunite with several of my former Wicked castmates, many of whom were in attendance. What's more, I got a chance to talk to Shoshana Bean! She's the first gal I ever saw perform the role of Elphaba, so naturally I was starstruck. I don't entirely remember the details of our interaction, but I have a vague recollection of telling her, "I follow you on Twitter." There are some instances in which I can parlay my awkwardness into charisma; this wasn't one of those instances. She was exceedingly gracious, nevertheless.

Wanna see some photos from the night? Check out BroadwayWorld.com here and Playbill.com here.

Okay that's all for now! Bye!
--FR

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December! Get in the holiday spirit!

After you lovingly erect your very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree (which they actually sell at Kmart), watch this outrageous movie, courtesy of my friend Martin Landry. We met when we performed together in -- of all things -- a Chanukah Musical Review.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yale cares about what I have to say!

In a recent inexplicable turn of events, Yale University, my beloved alma mater, has invited me to come speak to its students about what it's like to be a real person!

More specifically: the university's Undergraduate Career Services is assembling a panel of alumni to expound on what it's like to forge a career in the arts. I'm not sure who else is going, although I do know that my dear friend Sam Carner, lyricist extraordinaire, will be in attendance.

So, if you happen to be moseying around Yale's campus in New Haven this Thursday, December 2 between 6-8pm, stop by Linsley-Chittenden, Room 211, and watch me mold young milds!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes: this is what I like to see on Playbill.com

Check out this hilarious Playbill.com photo diary by Jeff Hiller and Greg Hildreth of Broadway's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. (Fun fact: I worked with Jeff briefly on the Rosenblum and Lessner piece Garbo and Me, but I literally had two lines and doubt he remembers me, although he was a lovely fellow. Hi, Jeff!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to write an email when you're self-submitting.

(Warning: This post's title is misleading. It should actually read, "How NOT to write an email when you're self-submitting.")

If you're interested in getting work as a performer, chances are you're familiar with the sites Playbill.com, Backstage.com, and actorsaccess.com. In a stormy sea of online sketchiness (think Craigslist ads and the like), the aforementioned websites act as beacons of (sometimes-)legitimacy, providing opportunities for actors to submit their headshots and resumes to casting directors and everyday chums looking for free labor.


But, Felicia, asketh you, don't you have an agent? Isn't the agent's job to submit for you? Right you are. They are indeed submitting me for roles, which is an ongoing process. But for actors who are not represented (i.e. me when I first got to NYC) or who are looking to dabble in non-paid projects (i.e. me right now with respect to on-screen acting, something outside my comfort zone, that my agents might not yet be looking to foist on me) there's no harm in self-submitting.

Personally, I am at war with myself when it comes to submitting casting "cover letters" (i.e. emails). At first, I did my best to be all legitimate-like, what with my respectful salutation, my succinct and self-promoting description of prior experience, and my general sense of professionalism. I even bolded the most salient details, like a typographically conscious super nerd! Lately, however, out of acute boredom, I have tried to make my emails more interesting.

Why, here is one example. This is an email I sent out, just today. (Reminder: Do not do this.)

"Please, against many odds, consider me for your film.

I am hardworking but easygoing. I've dabbled in film, but most of my time has been eaten up by musical theater. I know that this is often a red flag for filmmakers, but I promise you I'm not your typical, bug-eyed, gape-at-the-camera kind of chick. Plus I can sing and stuff, which is fun. Resume and headshot attached. My hair is longer now! At the very least, I hope this email has amused you in some small way.

Sincerely,
Felicia Ricci"

And here's another:

"Please consider me for the role of Ms. Edythe Herbert -- not least of all because I can spell the character's name correctly.

Sincerely,
Felicia Ricci"

True stories.

Okay, and here is my last tip for you: forget everything you just read and never speak of it again.

--FR


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reading List Recommendation: A DREAM OF PASSION

I've titled this post a "Reading List Recommendation" as if that's a thing I do -- recommend books for some exclusive Five-Trick Pony Book Club or something (move over, Oprah!) -- because it gives the illusion that there's continuity and purpose to my blog.

But seriously, the book I'm going to recommend is a must-read for aspiring actor-folk who are serious about improving their craft and who (like me) have struggled to understand and focus their ongoing practice.

The book is called A DREAM OF PASSION and is written by Lee Strasberg, eminent teacher/actor/director/theoretician. You might know him from the highly revered Actor's Studio in New York City (although he is not to be confused with James Lipton, the bearded dude who interviews famous people in front of an audience of actor-students, and asks for literal answers to rhetorical questions, like, "Up....or down?" (FYI: Lee Strasberg is deceased, James Lipton is not)).

Anyway. Per the recommendation of my acting coach, I have just now finished A DREAM OF PASSION and have found it wonderfully affirming. If you've ever struggled to articulate or conceptualize the process of finding out who you are as an actor -- your weaknesses, your goals, your impetus for improving -- this book is like a warm bath filled with epsom salt wisdom, gooey bath pearls of encouragement, and floating rose petals of clarity and direction. While much of its prose is technical and/or historical, I found myself smiling throughout the read, stumbling upon countless "aha!" moments, as Strasberg crystallizes questions I've long struggled to put into words, and, in the most clear, detailed and ordered manner, deconstructs the oft-referenced but rarely understood "Method."

In summary: he teaches yous guys how to act good.

If you've read A DREAM OF PASSION, feel free to submit comments below... And if you haven't read it: read it!

Enjoy!
--FR

Monday, November 8, 2010

Upcoming gigs

Here are some upcoming NYC performances that you might be interested to check out! I haven't rehearsed any material, so in each instance I can promise one thing only: that I will be there in the flesh trying desperately to win your approval and admiration.

What: I will be performing the role of Lydia Languish in a reading of Rivals, a new musical by Jonathan Breit and Greg Edwards
When: November 20 & 21, 8PM
Where: Shetler Studios, Penthouse 1 (I think...), at 244 W 54th St, 12th Floor
Who: Me and some other people TBA!
Why I don't know more details: I've only just learned about this, but will be receiving more info soon!

What: I will be singing fun songz in IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?: THE MUSIC OF CODY OWEN STINE
When: December 9, 9:30PM
Where: The Laurie Beechman Theater at 407 W. 42nd Street
Who: Raymond Bokhour (of Broadway's CHICAGO), Amanda Ryan Paige (ZANNA, DON'T!), Felicia Ricci (THAT'S ME!), Kurt Robbins (THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE nat'l tour), and more to be announced soon, perform the music of Cody Owen Stine.

What: A new comedy web series
When: Soon
Where: Online
Who: Me playing somebody funny
How: Filming throughout November
Why: Because it's FUN! OBVS!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Darryl is a Boy (And He Made Me Sweat A Lot)

Bambini! It's been so long. Not really, it's been a week and a day. In this post I shall recount for you my first official post-Wicked-post-return-to-NYC, mid-existential-unemployment-haze gig.

I find that many who enjoy acting in plays or musicals but are reluctant to pursue it as a career share a common desire for stability and control. These kind, unassuming folk (and may God bless them for their sanity) feel that, when there's enough rehearsal and preparation time, theater is a happy fun time of love, truth and beauty. But there's gotta be plenty of time to get comfortable with the material before delivering it to an audience.

The ensuing story will help illustrate how 95% of professional theater work is nothing like this.


So, if you're like me -- which is to say, an actor who is, ahem, between theater contracts -- nay, even if you happen to be in a production contract -- you might get asked to do a number of gigs outside of your job (or lack thereof) usually as a favor to a writerly friend who wants to showcase his or her new work. These gigs run the gambit from performing in classrooms in jeans and a t-shirt, reading the score from a binder, to dressing up all fancy-pants and delivering memorized songs in a concert setting -- songs which you've presumably worked on with a director or coach and have polished within a few reasonable inches of perfect.

Even trickier: when you say, "Yes, I'll perform in your gig," you often don't know what exactly you're getting yourself into until, oh, say, the day of the performance.

You want me to give you an example? Okay:

Some of you may have know the song "Darryl Is A Boy (And He Lives In My Closet)." I sang this song about a year ago in a concert and, because everything was sort of last minute, I had a lyric sheet to guide me through the performance. It was fun and low pressure, and went off pretty well. But it gets zanier.

Fast forward to present day, mid-October. The composer of the song, Michael Mitnick, asks me to perform "Darryl" again at a showcase of composers that are signed with William Morris Endeavor agency. Cool. I've never met Michael, but he's seen my YouTube, thinks the song suits me, and asks me for the favor. I am happy to oblige! It'll be totes chill, I think. No biggie. I've done this song before. I'll just do it again for some friendly composer folk.

Fast forward to day of the gig, October 25. I roll up to Playwright's Horizons (which, in understatement world, is kind of a well-known venue). That should have been a clue right there, but I am determined to trick myself that the gig isn't a big deal. I haven't rehearsed the song yet so I am scheduled to run it with the pianist during a 3-3:30pm sound check. (Gig is at 6pm.)

3pm no pianist. 3:15pm no pianist. 3:25 pianist arrives. We have five minutes to run the song.

The fact that we have such little time is, in and of itself, intimidating. Add this to the fact that the man directing the concert turns out to be Lonny Price, a legendary Broadway actor/director/writer and general awesome dudesome, who is at the rehearsal to watch and critique. Gulp. Okay, I run the song. I, um, sort of have it memorized? Basically. So I keep a lyric-sheet security blanket on a nearby music stand, and glance down only a couple of times. Okay great, says Lonny.  But then, in consultation with Michael, he changes one of the lyrics. Gulp. I get some more notes about the diction and rhyme scheme but -- yep, we're out of time.

The intimidation factor keeps mounting. After sound check I chat more with Mr. Mitnick about what tonight's event is all about. Huh...it turns out that this showcase of new composers -- organized by arguably the most reputable and influential talent and literary agency in the world -- is going to be performed for THE MOST REPUTABLE AND INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE THEATER INDUSTRY. Yep: producers, investors, directors, and all them other folk whose names appear above the titles on theater posters. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE I'M GOING TO BE SINGING FOR. I'M SO NERVOUS MY THOUGHT-SENTENCES END IN PREPOSITIONS.

Needless to say, I start sweating a lot, and not just because I am a raging Italian.

For the sake of Blog Drama, I wish this story had a truly awful ending, but, the truth is, after I sweated my brains out anticipating some terrible and violent conclusion involving me, razor-lined tomatoes, and a theater full of booing Broadway producers, it all went off quite well. Indeed, there was more intimidation to be had when I saw who else was performing (think Jenn Colella, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Carrie Manolakos, to name a few), but it all ended up being quite a fun romp through brand-new-musical-theater land.

Indeed, even as the performance was upon us, there were still some unknown factors to be dealt with, like, who should move the music stands, or the microphones, when and where to enter and exit...but it all got worked out. You just have to pretend you're 100% confident and comfortable with what's going on. That, my friends, is acting.

Let me also say that I blame no one but myself for my copious sweating: the burden of preparation was on me, and it probably would have done me good to put more time into practicing the song several days before. But, yeah, I assumed the event was low pressure. And, it's like that age-old saying about what happens when you assume: you get really large pit-stains from anxiety.

So let that be a lesson to you all.

But, then again, it went well in the end, so maybe the real lesson is: just act like you know what you're doing and you'll be fine.

Also, don't do drugs.

--FR

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bus. Guilt. Weakness. Opposites.

Taking a little retreat from the big city for a few days. I had this plan to write like five blog posts on the bus, but there was a weird med student sitting diagonally behind me who would not stop murmuring into his cell phone and I got distracted. Murmuring is pretty much a million times worse than loud talking. It is the human-voice equivalent of mosquito buzzing. What sad-sack person had that much time to talk to Dr. Murmur? Unless the person on the other end was also riding on a bus, I have no idea who would be willing to participate in such senselessness.

Okay, here are some more random facts about my life that may or may not lead to further explanation in future blog posts:

1. I feel EXTREMELY GUILTY that I haven't written back to the last batch of 15 or so fans who wrote to me in the final month of Wicked. It's, like, getting to be ridiculous. It's one of those situations where the longer I wait, the more ashamed I get, and the more desperate I am to do something insane and monumental in my replies to compensate for the time lapse -- like cut off my ear and mail it, or something. Too bad I don't have fifteen ears. Or do I.


2. I started using those weight-lifting machines in the gym. It's fun, but also impossible. It's been so long since I've used them. Turns out my upper back is extremely weak and can't, like, even move 2 pounds. I know: riveting news. But maybe this little tidbit will beget a longer post one day in which I shall expound on the perils of staying in shape as an actress (BAHAHAHAHA! AS IF I KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE!).

3. Acting for TV/Film is cray-cray. Last week's post was not an exaggeration: if you're being filmed, you literally should never try to act. Never try to do anything. Ever. More specifically, I found this little nugget emblematic of the theater/screen acting dichotomy:

When acting onstage in a play, an iron-clad rule is that you must "act on the line." In other words, if you have an objective and are performing some sort of action, you must use the verbal line to convey it. Don't sigh, or huff, or giggle, or do some sort of weird wavey gesture to convey what you mean, and then say the line. Instead, infuse the line with whatever sentiment the sigh/huff/etc was meant to convey.

Screen acting, however, is the exact opposite.  It is, apparently, rarely, if ever, about what's written on the page. The words don't matter. It's all in how you frame them, visually, and how the actor couches the words in his or her behavior, i.e. a glance, or a pause, or an exhale, etc.

Theater = Verbal. Film = Behavioral. Tell your friends!

There are, of course, many other distinctions between the two. More on this in later posts. (I think this is pretty interesting, don't you?!)

4. I'm singing "Daryl Is A Boy (And He Lives In My Closet)" this Monday at 6PM at Playwright's Horizons! I don't know any of the details about this gig, except that it's cool. But if it's open to the public, I will def post more info!

Unicorns!
--FR

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I started taking film/TV acting lessons

I think this video best summarizes the philosophy behind on-screen acting. Just substitute "act" for "surf."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lots of FeliciaRicci.com Updates!

I exist on many planes of the internetosphere, one of which is FeliciaRicci.com, my official homepage. I am pleased to announce that, after hours of toil and sweat, it has undergone a facelift that would make even Joan Rivers jealous.

Behold! My Official Homepage: updated!

Updates include: new homepage layout, an extended bio, a photos by fans page, among other little tweaks.

If you'd like to submit your fan photo to appear on FeliciaRicci.com (and, I'm not gonna lie, the main prerequisite for your being considered is that I don't look horrendous), visit my Facebook Fan Page, become a member, and add your contribution! It will automatically appear on Facebook, but I'll periodically transfer a few to FeliciaRicci.com.

Hope you like the updates! If not, well, that's your problem.

--FR

Monday, October 11, 2010

On The Audition (capitalized)

Last week I polled the audience about what I should sing at an upcoming audition. In true Felicia fashion, I abandoned all logic and decided to do something entirely different.

But this post is not about that, it's about the terrifying beast we call The Audition. And I'm going to capitalize it right there to make it intimidating.


Auditions stink. This much we know. But, in my opinion, the key to retaining sanity while being an ALE (Actor Looking for Employment (that's not an official acronym, I made it up)) is to cultivate a regard for auditions that straddles enthusiasm and apathy.

Why? One should be enthusiastic when it comes to preparations. Meaning: do the best you can. Given the time and resource limitations, this doesn't always mean you can memorize your audition sides, hire a private coach and learn a host of new music perfectly. But it means you can strive to do something like it. And, depending on the project and how excited you are about it, you can work hard to fall somewhere within the prepared-to-super-prepared end of the spectrum.

But -- and here's where the apathy part comes in -- actors go on a ton of auditions. To put all your actorly eggs in one audition basket more often than not leads to disappointment. So it's best to maintain a healthy emotional distance when going in for an initial audition, but then to rally the troops when it's time for a callback. At least that's my take on it.

(What's a callback? Callback comes after the audition. You're called back in to get a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) look because the creative team sees potential in you.)

So, in order to maintain a healthy emotional distance, I've decided not to disclose the details of last week's audition. Because, whatevs, it was just an audition (<-- apathy, Figure A). I did the best I could -- given my limitations. I didn't hear anything back but, here's the fun part: a lot of times you'll audition, nothing will happen, but later on down the line something new and cool will come of it (<-- residual enthusiasm, Figure B).

In truth, part of my staying mum is out of superstition... maybe if I leave it alone, it will boomerang back to me later on? I'm playing hard to get with the Universe.

--FR

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Evil links that I do not endorse but shall nevertheless relay to you, out of journalistic impartiality

Big news: I've decided to quit being insane and actually utilize the "label" functionality provided by Blogger, something I have heretofore eschewed as nonsense and used only in a nonsensical fashion (like by labeling my articles as "wiping my nose" or "I am a baby").

I would thus like to introduce to you the "resource" label, something which will be applied to all posts that might be (you guessed it) a resource -- i.e. helpful to youngsters (or oldsters, who am I to judge) and up-and-coming actorly folk who want to learn about the nuts-and-bolts of showbiz. Yesterday's post, for example ("Some of your questions, answered.") expounded on some terms that a few of my readers had asked me to clarify. Thus, it has been labeled a "resource" at the bottom of its text. NEAT-O! I will eventually cull these articles from the rest of the blog, post them onto a single page, and make them available as an easy-to-access link on the sidebar of Five-Trick Pony's homepage. In the meantime, simply click on the "resource" label wherever you see it, and Blogger will automatically bring forward all articles labeled thusly. In the span of one paragraph, I have used "thus" or some derivation thereof three times, not including this sentence. I feel ashamed, and exhilarated.

(Admittedly, I probably won't be able to contain myself and will still contribute a smattering of nonsensical labels, so you'll have to look out for them. It will be like Where's Waldo, except much easier and less fun, and when you find the labels, they won't resemble every man I ever dated from high school through college.)

Anyway. The post you are reading now is labeled as a "resource," because I'm going to provide you with something illegal (and AWESOME), that happens to be a -- say it with me -- "RESOURCE."

On the record: free sheet music is evil and terrible and kills baby seals and deprives writers of their due compensation. And is free. And awesome.

So in case I get in trouble for posting links to free sheet music sites (WHICH I'M NOT) I'm going to hyperlink-ify text, and you, my little detectives, must figure out what's on the other end.

Click here for pictures of Tom Selleck horseback riding.
Sign up for potato-throwing lessons from Elizabeth Taylor.

Thank me later.

--FR

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some of your questions, answered.

Q: What's a talent agent?

A: A talent agent finds auditions for their actor-clients by speaking directly with casting directors and/or accessing online breakdown services that publish audition information. He/she fields and filters audition requirements to the actor (i.e. date, time, what to prepare) and then negotiates the actor's contract should he/she book the job. An actor can either freelance with an agent (which means he/she does not need to work with them exclusively) or sign with an agency (agency = bunch of agents; this means the actor works with this agency exclusively; contract length varies, but usually begins as one year). Agents are paid when their clients book jobs, receiving a percentage of the actor's weekly salary.

Q: What's a secret agent?

A: A secret agent is someone who wears well-tailored clothes, carries gadgets, speaks in spy-talk (i.e. "transmitting intel in T minus oh-eight hours"), and fights evil organizations.

Q: What's a casting director?

A: A casting director works for a casting company and seeks out actors for various auditions. They are hired by production teams looking to cast a new or ongoing project. In most cases, the casting director does the initial screening of the actor candidates, then recommends, or calls back, actors whom he/she feels the production team should take a look at. Their expertise is manifold: not only must they have a thorough handle on the material for which they are casting, but they must also be highly perceptive in determining the best types of people to "fit" the role. Additionally, they must dip into their ken of experience and knowledge of working actors when determining who to call in for the audition. In short: talent agents (see above) submit their clients to casting directors; casting directors decide whom to let in the gate.

Q: What's a cruise director?

A: A cruise director does stuff like stage sing-alongs at midnight buffets. Somebody like this guy.  And God have mercy on their pitiful, seafaring souls.

--FR

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Help! I have an audition!

One of the recurring dilemmas an actor faces when presented with a new audition opportunity is: should she sing something she already knows that is entirely unsuitable for the audition, given the subject matter of the show she's auditioning for, or should she learn a new song in the span of a few days and risk messing up the lyrics and sounding like rubbish?

Hypothetical* scenario: I have an audition this Tuesday. I'm supposed to prepare 32 bars of a pop song and bring my Diti Boo, in case they want to hear more.  Hold on, you say, what's 32 bars? 32 bars of chocolate? No, silly reader, it's 32 measures of music, which usually times out to be a verse and chorus, or a chorus and a bridge. What's a bridge, you say? A structure that holds up cars over water? No, silly reader, it's a card game.

Anyway, I currently have two options for the pop song: Kelly Clarkson or Kelly Clarkson. Which do you think? Or if you have any other non-Clarksonian suggestions, comment below. Trying to find a song that shows off some belting. Or don't comment below, because I'll secretly feel really foolish for polling the audience for audition song ideas. (But maybe comment below.)

*Scenario is not hypothetical.

--FR

I signed with Henderson Hogan!

Great news: I just signed with Henderson Hogan talent agency! They now represent me in the fields of theater, film and television. I am beyond ecstatic, as Henderson Hogan has been in business over 40 years and is extremely respected by its peers.

I have a feeling this is prologue to many more exciting adventures.

If not, to keep this blog entertaining, I shall resort to lying. You have my word.

--FR

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Wasting 101: Adventures in Photoshop

My new apartment is borderline monastic and has a ton of white wall space. My boyfriend Marshall and I are highly economical (instead of going to the laundromat I wash my clothes on his abs (quit groaning, you love my jokes)) so instead of buying overpriced faux-silk screens of weird monochromatic abstractions at Ikea, I've decided to design some of our wall decor using my favoritest of computer programs, Adobe Photoshop.

Marshall has a special fondness for Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats on the Food Network, and it's totally okay, because my boyfriend's metro like that. The following image is inspired by that iconic Barack Obama Hope Poster (you know the one), and supplants "hope" with Brown's catchphrase:
The only kink in the plan is apparently it costs upwards of $50 to actually have the darn thing printed, so our new and improved plan is to change "patience" to "utilitarianism," translate everything into Swedish, turn every color cobalt blue, and sell it to Ikea as a monochromatic abstraction.

Hey, wanna see some other Photoshop projects I've completed in the recent past? Too bad, I'm showing you.

Most of them were made as gifts for my boyfriend's brother Dave, because, as I said, Marshall and I are cheap. I mean economical. The first one is not that exciting, it's just Dave's face on Indiana Jones:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Clearly, when someone graduates, the obvious conclusion to draw is that they are like Iron Man:
And my personal favorite, albeit the least successful:
The lesson today, boys and girls, is that even if you're unemployed in your chosen profession, it doesn't hurt to fine-tune other peripheral skill-sets, even if those skill-sets are absolutely worthless, because then you won't have to buy presents for anyone.

In other news, today I wore a purple dress with fringe on the bottom and then saw the exact same dress featured on That 70s Show during a roller disco scene. It was bracing reality check that made me realize I seriously need to redo my wardrobe. To do so, I'm going to enlist the help of my journalist/fashionista best friend from growing up, and you guessed it, I'm going to blog about the whole experience. It's going to be like an episode of "What Not To Wear" except no one is going to be a terrible human. Stay tuned, mis amigos pequeños.

--FR

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey, look, I'm more organized than you, want to cry about it?

Unless you're actually living the life of Adrien Grenier on Entourage and have someone named Turtle to drive you places and order New York pizza for delivery to Los Angeles via private jet (I'm pretty sure this actually happened in one of the episodes I saw during one of my bouts of extreme masochism), as an actor you are your own CEO, marketing team, fitness and lifestyle coach, secretary, bookkeeper, wardrobe consultant, and everything else under the sun.

But, let's face it -- and I'm totally going to stereotype here -- nine times out of ten, telling an actor to run his/her own business is like asking a fish to fly, a bird to swim, an ivy league student not to be antisocial, Glenn Beck to be reasonable (I could go on, but let's try and keep it on topic, Felicia, alright? Alright.). 

The point is: we actors -- we're sensitive, alright? We live the art! How do you expect us to keep our real-life affairs in order? To cross our Ts and dot our Is when we are too busy working to embody their alphanumeric spirits?

Two words: FILING CABINET. Get one. It will change your life. 

I don't want to brag here, but I will. I am awesome at filing stuff. When you're an unemployed actor questioning the meaning of her existence and finding even the most inconsequential setbacks totally life-altering in the most devastating sense imaginable (and I'm just speaking hypothetically here), what could be a better way to stay grounded than by putting things in alphabetical order? Answer: Nothing.

More specifically, I use my filing cabinet to hold all of my sheet music photocopies. Over the years I've amassed a butt-ton of sheet music, and when I'm not using it to kindle trash-can fires on the breadline, I'm doing my best to assemble a pleasing variety of songs and excerpts for my Audition Book -- or, as I like to call it, my Diti Boo. What's a Diti Boo? Well, for starters, it's the weirdest and most misleading truncation possible for "Audition Book." More concretely, it is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of songs and excerpts that you bring to auditions, all of which you should be able to sing at the drop of a hat, or, better, after you've pick up that person's hat and handed it to them out of common courtesy.

Behold! Photos of my filing cabinet! Songs arranged alphabetically by show! AAAH IT'S SO MUCH FUN! EVERYBODY WHO WANTS TO BE COOL START DOING THIS NOW.

YOU CAN EVEN FILE YOUR HEADSHOTS OMG LIFE-CHANGING!
In short, I feel better about my future because I have a filing cabinet.

--FR

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yep, it happened. I moved to Blogger.

Hi, again, friends. It’s been a busy first 24 hours for Five-Trick Pony (or as I’ve nicknamed it: “Blog 2: Hyperblog”) and already she’s found herself a new home (that’s right, my blog is female). As you could have probably guessed based on my thinly veiled hostility, I just wasn’t digging Tumblr. Blogger is better. The end.

So, let it be here writ: Five-Trick Pony’s new web address is http://fivetrickpony.blogspot.com. Sorry for the confusion! But, hey, I told you this blog was unpredictable.

—FR

Presenting: Stupid Texts With My Male Friend, Episode 1

Me: Happy birthday? If I'm right, I didn't even need facebook to remind me 

Male Friend: You're right!!! Thanks! Where u at now? 

Me: I'm in brooklyn eating a bagel. You?? 

Male Friend: Amazing. I'm starving myself so I look good for birthday pictures tonight. That, and I think I have a hernia. 

Me: Omg I love hernias 

Male Friend: I think I might just grab some icy hot and lather it up with one of my $100 bills and rub it all over me. That should totally cure my ails. 

Me: That is what I do! And what my mother does, and her mother did before her. 

Male Friend: Well, clearly your story goes on. 

Me: H8 that song. So are you 40 years-old today 

Male Friend: Basically 

Me: You've got a few more years in you I'm sure 

Male Friend: Yeah. 52 today. 

Me: Soon you can collect social security and wear hawaiian shirts in earnest 

Male Friend: Fo shizzle

Back to Square Two: An Unceremonious Start

[Originally posted on "Five-Trick Pony," my sequel blog, before I came to my senses and merged them to their current home here, on Unnaturally Green: the Blog]

Going to squeak out my first post here and keep expectations low. Mostly because I’m exhausted from spending the last million days trying to understand how in the heck Tumblr works and why it is missng its secnd vowl.

If you’re like 99.52% of the population, you probably don’t know who I am, which is good and bad. Good if you’re the type who hates to get involved, because you can X out of this page right now, and neither of us will be any the wiser. Bad if you’d like to keep reading and know some preliminary context. In the case of the latter, it might behoove you to read some posts from my last blog, Unnaturally Green, and learn about where I was before my lapse into New York City obscurity.

In short: I just got done standing by for the role of Elphaba in the San Francisco company of Wicked. I laughed, I cried, I looked like this:

But now that’s all kaput. I’m back in New York City, “back to square two,” as it were: I’ve got to figure out how to be a job-seeking actress again. Because if playing the lead in Wicked is one side of the acting coin, unemployment is the other.

Why on earth should you read my blog? You probably shouldn’t. You probably should concern yourself with more pressing matters, like making paper from oatmeal or building ships in bottles. But, if you’re the type who has always wanted to know the nitty-gritty of what it’s like to build a career in the entertainment industry, from someone (me) who has just gotten her feet wet, this blog is for you. Content will (hopefully) be farther-reaching than the more clichéd actorly musings (“OMG I hate auditioning OMG!” “I sang my Face off today, gtg”), sprinkled with reflections on the art, the hardships, the triumph, and the irony of Showbiz. And other stuff.

I am, after all, full of tricks. At least five.

Now, being unemployed, and after having done something as huge as Wicked, I kind of feel like one of those genius twelve year-old kids with a PhD — you know those kids? They can solve the riddles of the universe but they can’t, like, use an ATM or drive. Except I’m not a genius and we’re not talking about grad school, we’re talking about Wicked, which I guess I’ve graduated from, and now I have no use for an ATM because I’m unemployed, plus I take the subway. Okay, bad analogy.

I do expect that many adventures await, but I can’t make any promises. I always think it’s a bit quixotic to begin a blog, because the assumption is that some fascinating storyline will develop that will be worth reading, and that doesn’t always happen. But what I can promise you is that if my plot lines get too mundane or depressing I’ll just make something up, like that I found my long-lost twin or that I’m David Blaine’s intern.

Thanks for reading so far! If you become my follower I’ll give you a virtual hug, which I decided is me thinking that I’m hugging you and you sensing this thought remotely. Bye!
—FR

Friday, September 10, 2010

That's all, folks!

Here it is: my last Unnaturally Green post EVER. Like most endings, especially those conceived by M. Night Shyamalan, mine will be, at best, mildly entertaining, at worst complete drivel, but, prevailingly, just kind of strange, disappointing, and self-referential.

I was reluctant to embrace a Blogberry send-off, and so I promised a Final Days Retrospective. After further inspection, however, I realized that my penultimate post ("I Am Not A Sentimental Man") rather did the Time-To-Wrap-It-Up trick, didn't it? Adding more to that would be like adding, I don't know, extra grated cheese to macaroni and cheese (which I do, by the way, but that doesn't make it dignified or healthy).

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Am Not A Sentimental Man

But I have occasionally been known to be a sentimental woman. Unfortunately, I no longer have internet in my apartment and therefore have no way to thrust my inner thoughts and agenda onto the general internet public, except through Twitter, which simply will not suffice for a verbose madamoiselle like myself. But this morning, lo and behold, I remembered: I can blog via Blackberry! I can Blogberry!

But I refuse to deem a post that was typed by my weary thumbs on the unfurnished floor my very last, so I've decided that either later today or, more realistically, later this week, I will sit down and do a Final Days Retrospective. It might be really blubbering, or I might try to repress my feelings and just list facts like a court affidavit (yeah, I used to do Mock Trial, no I never had dates to school dances. JK! I had dates! If you count my gay best guy friends. But whatever, now my boyfriend is the ubermensch. High school dating scene retribution lemme hear you say HEYO! (Blogberrying is dangerous, as under normal computer-based circumstances I would edit out everything I just wrote, but on a tiny screen/keyboard, this is far too much effort.)).

So, anyway: WICKED closed last night, and it was...how do I describe my feelings? Some folks asked me if I was sad, and I'd have to say no, but with a giant, multifaceted asterisk. I am sad insofar as something beautiful that was no longer is, and that's a huge loss to deal with. But WICKED closing also evokes so much positive emotion, as I think of all the lives it's touched here in SF. I know, from your letters and kind words at the stage door, to my own personal experience, that the story of WICKED is timeless, inspirational, cathartic, and quite universal, and I think I would be much sadder if its message had never been disseminated. But I'm thrilled to see firsthand how it has worked its magic on literally hundreds of thousands of people -- and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it.

Huh, I guess it is possible to be sentimental on a Blogberry.

More soon from me. Bottom line of this post? Thank you! Thank you, WICKED, thank you, amazing fans, thank you, universe, thank you, Mom and Dad, thank you everybody who came together to make this life-changing experience possible.

On the bright side: now I get to paint my nails any color I want. Today, I choose purple!

On another bright side: I will be releasing info about my sequel Blog (title, content summary, work-in-progress header) in the super-near future.

Okay. Sigh. See you soon, my friends. Same Unnatural time, same Unnaturally Green place. We've got a few more in us, right? Of course we do.

Love,
Felicia.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, August 27, 2010

So, this happened, too!

I hope you've all been sufficiently delighted and/or weirded out by the video pastiche I posted two days ago. If you didn't think I was capable of such senseless tomfoolery, boy, weren't you surprised.

Related tangent for a hot second: Isn't my sister the Ultimate Bomb Digs? I wholeheartedly concur, tenfold, with all the nice things people have had to say about the Little Bonus Ricci. She is an extremely talented singer and performer, and also a genius, and also might be the best human ever to live. Stop me before I start to brag. In all seriousness, thanks for all the complimentary comments. We so appreciate your support! (And if you liked "A Thirty-Eight Song Medley," do send it along to your friends! Our goal is to take over the world, through the power of song.)

Okay, back to my favorite topic: Me. Allow me to direct you to an interview with Yours Truly (that's right, from now on I'm going to capitalize all references to Myself) that's just been featured on the WICKED News site Innuendo and Outuendo. It's basically a fun li'l summary of the content we've covered here on Unnaturally Green -- a retrospective, if you will. Which is apropos, in a sentimental way, because both WICKED San Francisco and my WICKED Blog are, well...going to DIE!

(From whence I shall be reborn in a new, invigorating, me-in-NYC-doing-theater-but-also-other-things Blog, whose title is yet to be announced. So be forlorn not! Many more hijinks are in our future!)

Anywho, click here to read my interview, or click on "Read More," as I'll paste the full text on my blog after the jump. Enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fact of the Day #15

This post isn't going to be too thrilling for those of you who aren't super familiar with the show, but at the very end of WICKED, Fiyero re-emerges after the ensemble sings a brief reprise of "Good news, she's dead...the wickedest witch there ever was, the enemy of all of us here in Oz, is deeeeeead...." As he walks out there's a melody in the orchestra that is a deconstructed version of the Scarecrow's solo from "The Wizard of Oz," which is (although sans lyrics): "I could while away the hours." Eh? Eh? Stephen Schwartz, you're such a sasser.

At the very least, this post is a fine prologue to my next post, which will be about the time I sat in the orchestra pit for an entire show. Let me tell you, it's a jungle down there! And by "jungle" I mean "highly disciplined group of prodigiously talented people sitting in chairs, wearing black, and being unflinchingly attentive." If that doesn't scream jungle, I don't know what does.

Stay tuned!
--FR

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another kind of witch switch

So some of you may have heard, or even seen in person, that this past Sunday night I went on as Elphaba midway through Act II. Elphaba swaps during the show are pretty rare, although not as rare as you'd think, and swaps during Act II are even rarer. Like, if Elphaba swaps in general are Portuguese Man-of-Wars, then swaps in Act II are Goblin Sharks. (<-- Isn't that the weirdest video you've ever seen?)

Recap time, wut wut! So. Where was I this past Sunday night during the evening show, you ask? I was at home, luxuriating on my couch, about to watch another riveting episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" (the suspense always kills me: WILL SHE FIND THE PERFECT DRESS?!?!?!). Nothing out of the ordinary there: on a regular night of work, I usually sign in and head back home, turn on The Learning Channel and pretend not to notice the numbing repetitiveness of all of their programs. And I am always reachable by phone if WICKED needs me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fact of the Day #14

Bear with me. This one is a doozy.

I come from a family of five: my dad, my mom, my younger sister, my older brother, and me. My dad is Anthony and is a doctor, my mom is Patricia (and is also a doctor, but that's incidental to what I'm about to tell you), my sister is Tessa, I am Felicia. My brother's name isn't important. But it's Marcus, in case you wanted to know. That's the setup.

Here's the payoff:

Tessa (younger sis) and I basically memorized the score of WICKED growing up. In a moment of desperation and extreme boredom (second only to the time we spent nine days in the back of a van while touring Ireland's hypnotically underwhelming scenery, and so composed a 38-song medley that, to this day, we can recite from memory) we came up with a delightful familial homage by changing the lyrics to the following section of "No Good Deed":

"Nessa...Dr. Dillamond....Fiyero...FIYEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" (You know which part I'm talking about? Of course you do.)

Okay, those are the real lyrics. Here is our patented, Ricci-tastic version:

"Tessa....Dr. Anthony....Patricia....FELIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICIAAAAAAAA!!!!!!" (Implicit is that it's older bro Marcus (not mentioned) who is singing.)

And that, my friends, is not really a Fact of the Day so much as another piece in the How Did Felicia Get to Be This Way puzzle.  Let's never speak of this again.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Live Blogging: Witch Switch 2010!

6:56PM Heyo, heyo, heyo. Writing from backstage at the Orpheum Theater, where Glinda Standby Libby Servais and I are gearing up for a little something we'd like to call,

WITCH SWITCH 2010: COME 'N' GET IT, WITCHES!

That's right: Libby is getting into full Elphaba makeup / garb, and I'm going to try to squeeze into her tiny Glinda costumes. And we're going to take silly photos! What could be better? NOTHING.

I will update this post with live addenda as the night progresses.

Commencing... NOW!

9:24PM Okay, so I am really bad at live blogging. I guess it's hard to blog when you're actually, uh, doing stuff. But, no matter, here is a photo of the finished product!

[photos removed due to copyright]

Oh well. Photos had to be removed. But we have the memories. 

8/12/10 2:07AM I just reread this post and it wins the award for post with the greatest number of copouts. 

Fact of the Day #13

The dragon on the top of the proscenium is named Ozwald. I'm not sure if it's spelled with a Z or an S, and I have no idea who named it.

On a side note, my blog now has 100 followers! Yip!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elphaba: Dressing the Part

Ah, the inner-workings of a mega-hit musical. Yawn. Old news. Getting painted green? Please, they do that in Shrek: The Musical -- PLUS he wears a prosthesis, which is cooler, so whatever, it's over.

Reader, that hurts. I mean, it's been only seven months and already you've moved on to someone else? What did I do? What can I do?

I don't know, you tell me! You write less frequently, you promise articles and then never deliver, and when you do they're short and uninspired. Let's face it: you've changed.

Then I can change, still! What can I say to make us feel young again, like we'd just met, held hands for the first time, skipped through the San Francisco Tenderloin and pretended it was a meadow of sunflowers instead of a strange wasteland of destitution? .... I know! I'll write a post on my personal hero, Kathleen Giordano, Elphaba Dresser Extraordinaire!

(End of weird paragraphs-as-dialogue convention.)

So I've been planning this post on Kathleen for basically months but kept putting it off because I wanted it to be totally rad, like a kind of Vanity-Fair-meets-Rolling-Stone-type investigation -- which is to say, part interview, part cultural essay, part meditation on modern masculinity -- but I, in my crazed craziness, never quite got my act together. (Also I realized that those Vanity Stone articles are annoying, especially when they're celebrity portraits. The details are so random, and somehow everything is supposed to be sexy: She eats the iceberg wedge with her hands but smokes the cigarette in a holder. She blames her parents. "To Mama I was the iceberg, to Papa, the cigarette." I offer her a napkin. She takes a drag. And I thought I had issues.)

Speaking of random details, I'm selling my leather couch on Craigslist for cheap. If you want to buy it, email me.

Enough preamble! Presenting:

KATHLEEN MY DRESSER IS WAY AWESOME AND HERE IS WHAT SHE DOES OKAY THANKS BYE!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

September 5: Mi enemigo, mi amor

WICKED's San Francisco company will close on September 5. It is time to come to terms with the truth: my days here are numbered.

"Here" refers to many different spaces, physical and metaphysical: here in San Francisco, here in WICKED, here in Elphaba's (green) skin, here in the Blogosphere.

Will WICKED's closing mean the end of "Unnaturally Green," my blog?

Yes, I think so. It's sad, I know, but isn't life made more beautiful because we know we must die???

My final posts on "Unnaturally Green" will together strum a glorious swan song that is at once a surrender and an apotheosis, in which truth and beauty envelop the decay wrought about by time's tragic asymmetry and perform a mystical dance with death that is both contentious and erotic, like that scene between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas in "Zorro" where he rips her dress. (My blog is Antonio Banderas, and September Fifth is Catherine Zeta-Jones.)

But, what's better, I shall start anew! I have decided that I shall indeed continue to blog, this time about my adventures back in NYC. New thrills, new chills. So y'all best keep readin'!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two-show day, and now I am lounging in sweatpants

It'd been almost three weeks since I done did a two show day, but did one I done did, yesterday. All I gotsta say is RESPECK to the cast, and for peeps who do this all the time. Okay, enough of this strange dialect. I suspect two-show days are the kind of thing that get easier with time, as one develops one's endurance and all that. But HOT DAMN, it is tiring to do them on the irregular. I basically got home late last night and hobbled around like a, uh, hobbling zombie, and ate a bowl of cereal while watching the worst movie of all time, "The Transporter." 

And now I am lounging around in sweatpants sipping iced coffee and watching the Food Network's Alton Brown dramatize freezer burn through the use of sock puppets.

Ah, the life of a standby. Highs and lows, know what I'm saying?

More soon... promise!
Felicia.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fact of the Day #12

Composite warm-up facts, in rambly paragraph form: If I'm on as Elphaba, I warm up in the shower. Every time. Whether or not I actually wash myself is variable. Elphaba and Glinda's dressing rooms share a wall; we can usually hear each other warming up, and have an elaborate Morse-like code whereby words are pitches and vowel sounds are punctuation.* During WICKED's opening number, while I'm still backstage I usually sing along with Glinda's solo ("Let us be glaaaaad...") as I hear it come through the monitor (every dressing room has a monitor through which the show is broadcast, live). In the backstage area downstairs there are no rehearsal spaces, and many of the "walls" that separate the dressing rooms are more like partitions, as they do not reach all the way to the ceiling. This makes vocal warmups well-nigh impossible at the theater! Most cast members end up doing their warmups at home before arriving at the theater, or some sneak off to nearby stairwells to get in some final puff-hums before curtain. The name of the game is resourcefulness!

*The last part of this sentence is untrue.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Upcoming Events!

Here are two upcoming events that are pretty fun and cool!

Monday, July 12 @ 7:30PM - Broadway Cares Benefit with the cast of Young Frankenstein at Club Fugazzi. I'll be singing a duet with my hetero life mate, Libby Servais.

Tuesday, July 13 @ 6:30PM - Singing with Libby Servais (there's a trend here) at WICKED event at the Apple Store in Union Square. There will also be a Behind the Emerald Curtain presentation by Jonathan Ritter.

Also, I had a swell time performing in today's matinee; it was my second time doing the show alongside our new Glinda (Alli Mauzey) and our new Fiyero (Cliffton Hall), and my first time with Neka Zang as Nessarose. Yippppppeeeeee!

More soon,
Felicia.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fact of the Day #11

Today's FOTD (pronounced "fah-tud," as if you're saying "farted" with an upper-crust British accent-- because even people of high social ranking fart) is not super duper exciting, so I'll finish it up with a bonus juicy tidbit.

Throughout WICKED there are a number of pre-recorded sound cues that are made to sound as if they are being spoken/sung live. They include, but are not limited to:

1) The mysterious lover's singing voice at the top of Act I and its second iteration in Act II ("Have another drink, my dark-eyed beauty...")
2) The Oz Head's thunderous speaking voice ("I am Oz, the great and terrible!" etc.)
3) Elphaba's melting scream

Bonus juicy tidbit: As a member of the WICKED ensemble (before I became Elphaba Standby) I would underdress my street clothes beneath my mob coat costume from "March of the Witch Hunters" through the remainder of the show! My costume was very roomy and bulky and made it easy to wear a many number of outfits without them showing. (No harm, no foul!)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fact of the Day #10

The following two italicized lines, taken from the scene leading up to "Popular," appeared in the San Francisco tryout of WICKED but were later cut before it opened on Broadway in 2003:

Galinda: And, Elphie-- is it alright if I call you Elphie?
Elphaba: Well, it's a little perky.
Galinda: And you can call me "Galinda."
Elphaba: That's what I've always called you.
Galinda: Let's not quarrel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"How free are you to interpret the role of Elphaba?"

I recently received a letter asking me to explain the process of creating the role of Elphaba. To what extent was I free to interpret, it inquired, and to what extent was I supposed to "stay within the lines"?

This struck me as a great question. While my knowledge is circumscribed to my singular experience embodying the lean-green Elphaba Thropp, my process of learning the part is something which I'm pretty sure occurs within most long-running shows for which there are actors who come in as replacements and/or understudies.

Basically, this means I'm going to speak with authority on a subject of which I have limited knowledge. Because I'm a BLOGGER, damnit, and that's what BLOGGERS DO! YEAH, BLOG KEG STAND!

So, the short answer is: creating a role that's already been, well, created (sometimes many times over) is a give and take. There are fundamental "givens" -- incontrovertible facts of the story and of the original production that cannot change -- and there are...um, "takens" -- places where you can find room for more creative interpretation.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fact of the Day #9

The liquid in the mysterious lover's green elixir bottle is Scope (as in, the mouthwash) (in which there is also a green glow stick). While WICKED was being developed, the creative team tried a variety of liquids, from dish soap to colored water, but Scoped proved the greenest and most luminous!

Filed under: pointless but fun.
Filed also under: just like all Facts of the Day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fact of the Day #8

My first New York gig out of college was "The Jerusalem Syndrome" at the 2008 New York Musical Theater Festival, where I shared the stage with Chandra Lee Schwartz, who currently plays Glinda on the First National Tour of WICKED.  Chandra played a character named Rena, a feisty young nurse who's infatuated with a soap opera star.

In November 2009, one month before I booked WICKED, I reprised my role in a scaled-down, revised version of "The Jerusalem Syndrome," this time alongside Julie Reiber, former Elphaba Standby in WICKED's Broadway company, who came on to replace Chandra as Rena (Chandra was, at that point, already touring as Glinda).

The extra kicker: I myself had actually performed the role of Rena, way back in the day, during the summer before my senior year of college when "The Jerusalem Syndrome" was first being developed as just words on a page.  In later drafts, the creative team decided to recast me as Lynn -- a character who, incidentally, hallucinates that she is God. (Long story.)

Lucky for me, the casting change meant I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Schwartz and Ms. Reiber later on down the line.

FATE! Or something like it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farewell, Eden, Kendra and Nic

Just watched Eden Espinosa, Kendra Kassebaum, and Nicolas Dromard's last show. I am emotional! But what an exhilarating experience it was to see the three of them onstage tonight. And the audience (which included me and Libby) was so fantastic! Parts of the show felt like a rock concert, there was so much applause and cheering.

Anyway. Eden, Kendra, and Nic: you will be sorely missed.

Okay, I'm going to go eat my feelings and have nachos and a quesadilla.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fact of the Day #7

At the end of "Defying Gravity" Elphaba conducts the orchestra and ensemble singers with her broom! That way everybody does the final cutoff at the same time and the actress playing Elphaba can hold the note for however long (or short) she wants to.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Like Monday-night football, except not football

For as long as kicklines have had kicks in them and been in lines*, Monday has been the Broadway theater performers' day off.

*I wanted to evoke old-timey musical theater, but obviously this is an awful sentence and I have no way to verify it. For all I know, the 8 shows per week schedule has been in constant flux, and the Monday night off-day thing is only a recent development. But I'm going to run with it.

In any event, because of a strange and unusual change to WICKED's traditional schedule, last night we did a show. And, hey-o, I got to go on as Elphaba! What are the odds, right? Here is a photo of me backstage being happy about it, but also with a Monday-induced weird and crazed look in my eye:
In retrospect, it seems that WICKED's Monday show may have offended the theater gods, because apparently last night's show was unprecedentedly loopy, and not just because I was depleting all my energy taking weird and crazed photos of myself. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fact of the Day #6

Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" fits along near perfectly to the music at the end of the Ozdust Dance. Because what else says friendship and acceptance more than Whitney Houston?

Also: I'm going to eat a banana at precisely 6:30PM tonight. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fact of the Day #5

Hey y'all! Check out this neat-o fact-o!
5. In "Wicked" the musical, Elphaba takes a train from Shiz to the Emerald City, but the map of Oz curtain at top of the show depicts no train tracks between the two locations!
Filed under: continuity oopsie.
Aren't you relieved to have learned this life-changing bit of information? Yeah, I thought so.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fact(s) of the Day

1. According to swing makeup artist Rob, who subbed in for Joe last week, I am the sweatiest Elphaba he's ever encountered.
Also, I am writing this from my Blackberry. Booyah! Also, it's really late and I should be sleeping. But instead, I offer you facts 2 through 4, all of them exclamatory:
2. Elphaba's prop lunch is a Lemon Zest Lunabar; at intermission, I really eat it!
3. If I don't pee during "Dancing Through Life" in Act 1, I have no other chance to use the restroom for the rest of the act!
4. The hat Galinda hands Elphaba before the dance has a flower on it, but the one Elphie wears to the dance does not!
This Blackberry is dangerous,
Felicia.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blogging On-The-Go!

Hey, look! I'm blogging on-the-go! I've composed the above photo such that it reflects this in the most obvious ways possible: I'm sipping an iced coffee, there's a whimsical café menu reflected behind me, it's sunny, I'm chipper, and I'm waving to you. If that doesn't say "on-the-go" I don't know what does. Except maybe if I did this:
Why should anyone care that I'm on-the-go, and what the heck does that even mean? Friends, it is with this post that I am declaring a new commitment to much more frequent, "on-the-go" blogging. In the interest of frankness, I've graphed out what I anticipate this will mean, in terms of content:

Friday, June 4, 2010

My grandma, the original Baller G

Hi friends. Having trouble sleeping tonight. Found out yesterday that my grandmother passed away and, well, yeah.  It hurts.

I hesitate to get personal on a blog that has heretofore been dedicated to my professional life, but a few thoughts won't hurt. I know my grandma liked to brag about me, so now I get to brag about her!

My grandma, the indomitable Yolanda Cocozza, was such a Baller G. She was someone you'd swear would live forever. She seemed afraid of nothing. Never a shrinking violet, a truly unstoppable lady. She taught me to paint, about light and dark shading, about three-dimensions, how to make an S-curve with a paintbrush, she showed me short-hand and it made absolutely no sense, she cooked me egg noodles, pizza and doughboys, bought me thin-sliced American cheese, cranked up the radiator so it warmed my toes while we chatted and sat on swively high chairs, she collected People magazines, we reveled in its trashiness, she let me play incessantly in my grandfather's reclining chair, told me, over and over, not to touch the water in her birdbath, sent me cards, addressed them in her feminine, perfect handwriting, came to see me in my shows, lower, middle, high school, college, she chatted with me on the phone, got my sarcasm, knew when I was being a pill, she did crosswords, went to see crass movies like "Knocked Up," complained about them, but kept going anyway, she was a loving mom, wife, grandma, the whole shebang.

What a cool lady, right?

I miss you already, Grandma Yola, and if you were here I would hug you tight! And then we'd chat, about...anything, really: current events, my job, how you like my hair blonder, and love that my boyfriend is so tall, and I would laugh and tell you you were oh-so-feisty, and it would be the best.

Thanks for everything, Yol. I love you.
--Felicia.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My three-show weekend!

During the lovely Eden Espinosa's mini-break this past weekend, I was scheduled to perform as Elphaba for all four shows (two Saturday and two Sunday-- we recently began a new schedule in which there's no Wednesday matinee, but instead an additional Sunday evening show at 7:30).  And, well: three outta four ain't bad!

One of the coolest parts of the weekend was our new Elphaba understudy, Alyssa Fox (what's the difference between an understudy and a standby?), made her Elphie debut on Saturday night in front of a fantastic crowd!  I was out sick so I didn't get a chance to see it, but I've heard nothing but great things, like that she knocked the you-know-what off the you-know-what and took everyone's you-know-whats home with her.  Yeah, that's right, I'm mixing metaphors.  The point is: CONGRATULATIONS, ALYSSA!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A million apologies! (BUT HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS THIS WEEKEND)

It's been two whole weeks since my last post!  I feel nothing but boiling, festering guilt, tantamount only to that of Catholics the world over.  (I was raised Catholic, so I'm allowed to make this slightly controversial analogy.  And I get extra points because once I participated in a dramatic reenactment of the birth of Christ during Christmas mass.  I was the Virgin Mary and my older brother played Joseph.  My costume was a heavy sheet of blue felt that had no arm holes, so all I could do was hold my hands in prayer and nod my head.  Luckily, I decided to make my Virgin Mary very agreeable and very holy.  It was one of the weirder things I've done, and not just because my brother was playing my husband.)

In any event: I do have a good excuse for not writing!  One is that I got pretty darn sick over the past week (including on my birthday, May 16 (boo hoo!)) and, as we've all known at one time or another, it's basically impossible to be productive once you decide to live in your pajamas, eat peanut butter from the jar, and watch YouTube videos of people falling off ladders on repeat.  

But, for those wondering, I am 100% better now after having rested, spiked my protein intake, and gotten my fill of schadenfreude. 

But sadly, I must cut this post short, as tonight I am planning on an early bedtime.  Tomorrow begins my truly insane weekend!  How so, you ask? Well, if you must know, I'm probably going to be spending a lot of time at the theater this weekend... doing theater-related things... acting and singing and stuff... and my family's here to see it.  Want more info on what exactly I'm talking about in sloppily cryptic drivel?  Email my webmaster at felicia@feliciaricci.com!

More soon! I triple million infinity promise this time!

Goodnight, little chickadees,
Felicia.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

How I prep for my Elphaba shows

Using basic reasoning and even the most rudimentary aesthetic sense, the answer to this past Tuesday's trivia question was letter D: Conan O'Brien should shave his beard.  Which would hopefully leave one to deduce that letter C was false.  Which would leave one to further deduce that on Tuesday I went on as Elphaba!  Hooray!

Also, anyone who disagrees with letter D should look at this:

To elaborate on letter C, I will now post a time-stamped account of how I prep for an Elphaba performance. My goal is to indulge in the inconsequential nitty-gritty details, everything from when I warm up to how long it takes me to get my makeup on to when and how often I go to the bathroom. Well, maybe not that last part. But maybe. (There could be, like, an optional "For Unsqueamish Eyes Only" post addendum, kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure novel when you can either enter the castle unscathed, but without the princess, or wade into the swamp, embracing a life of infamy and destitution, in order to find true love.) (Except that this is not at all what it will be like.)

Presenting, the premiere installment of: SURPRISE! YOU'RE ON AS ELPHABA! (May 4, 2010)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One of these is true.

1) I am from Detroit, Michigan.
2) I was cryogenically frozen in 1931 and have only recently been thawed.
3) Tonight, the role of Elphaba will not be played by Felicia Ricci.
4) Conan O'Brien should shave his beard.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I am going to look like this, supposedly

How do standbys stave off the soul-sapping boredom of spending countless hours backstage? That's right: we WORK IT OUT.

Yesterday, Libby Servais and I, along with our other dressing-room-dwelling compatriots (i.e. swings in the female ensemble) WORKED IT OUT backstage to Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout DVD.

Tracy Anderson (at left), trainer and fitness guru to the eternally lithe Gwyneth Paltrow and Courtney Cox, has developed a workout method that apparently utilizes "accessory muscles" and makes you "really small."

I, however, would summarize her workout DVD thusly: it transported me back to the time of middle-school dances where everyone would stand around in concentric circles, vaguely keeping time through head bopping and knee bending. But you could never just commit to this simple repetition, because your sisyphean goal was, through rhythmic dance, to insinuate yourself into a spot that was of acceptable closeness to the center-most ring -- where the coolest, hottest, and most limber kids were gyrating and pulsating in ways you had only ever seen before on MTV or in documentaries about the nineteen sixties.  And then you would try to imitate them. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

FAQs and Coming Attractions

Ahoy there, you rogues!  Blimey, the winds have changed since we last set sail. We must once more take to the high seas, sing a bloggers' chantey, and dip our compass needle into the ink of a literary squid so that we might steer this sea scroll across the open waters of freedom.

I have no idea what incited me to attempt a nautical- literary- pirate-themed opening. "Ahoy there, you rogues" is actually a line from Peter Pan (the musical). I know this because I did the show in elementary school -- twice (Peter in fourth grade and Captain Hook in fifth grade).  Just two of many gender-bending roles I conquered at tender pre-pubescent ages that caused serious social and psychological scarring (I can appreciate now the saintliness of my parents, who counseled me also through the Cowardly Lion, Mercutio, and Fagin, all before high school).

In any event!  Today's blog post will answer some lingering questions I've received via the comments section of Unnaturally Green, Facebook, email, or in person at the stage door.  I shall then close with a brief, though exclamatory, Coming Attractions! addendum which will give you a glimpse at some blog topics I've been cooking up in my little conniving blogger brain.  (And no more pirate-ese, I promise.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hey, look, I'm in the Yale Daily News!

Check it out-- the Yale Daily News, student newspaper of my alma mater, published an article about my being in WICKED, called "Behind the scenes with a Broadway witch."  It basically reiterates some stuff I've discussed here in the blog, but via over-the-phone unpunctuated ramblings.  It seems that when I talk I really really like to use the word "really."

Really,
Felicia.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Miracle at the Orpheum: First Flight Fusilage

So remember that time when, during my Elphaba debut, I broke the broom right before the end of "Defying Gravity"?  As luck would have it, a very generous special effects higher-up heard my story, took pity on me, and decided to let me keep part of the broken broom!  Behold!  The top half of my Elphaba broom!

According to my calculations, this is the very same prop broom that has been used since WICKED's opening in Los Angeles three years ago, having passed through the greenified hands of such Elphaba greats as Eden Espinosa, Teal Wicks, Vicki Noon and others!  If you look closely, you'll find green pigmentation stuck in the wood's grooves, that, presumably, is from the green makeup painted on Elphaba's hands:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

San Francisco: Love Me or Leave Me

San Francisco, ye Shining Beacon of Rolling Hills, Liberalism, Organic Produce, Full House!  Envelop me in your sunshine, whisk me to wine country, sail me in a boat of dreams 'cross the golden bay of prosperity!

Wait, uh, hang on, let me just check the forecast first-- hmm, sunny, but with a chance of rain, off and on-- so should I bring both my light hooded jacket and my umbrella? I need to walk sort of far to the train, and I don't want to get too hot, so I'll have to layer and carry my extra layers with me in case the wind gets chilly. And once I get inside the train there's no air circulation, so I don't want to start sweating on the upholstered train seats...  And if I'm going to walk the hills I'd better wear my sneakers, but I don't want them to get drenched-- maybe I can pack my rain boots just in case?  Oh, but that's so much to carry...and I don't have a car, so maybe I'll just hail a cab on the way if it starts pouring.  Dum dee dum dee dum, walking down the street, oh crap, it's drizzling, and hard to carry all this stuff-- taxi!  TAXI!  Taxi.  Taxi?  Where are all the taxis?  Are there taxis?  I could call one, but then it'd take about fifteen minutes to arrive... I might as well just keep walking and put on all my layers.  Man, these city blocks are really huge, and I have to pass through long stretches of abandoned buildings in between neighborhoods.  Weird.  Man, it's pouring now.  Oh, sweet, there's a taxi!  Taxi!  Phew.  Do you take credit card? No? But there's a credit card machine right there near your windshield.  No credit card today? Because it's the weekend? But, sir, it's Thursday.  Okay, okay, fine, just take me as far as five dollars will get me.  Down to the end of the block?  But that's, like, thirty feet.  Sure, fine.  Just drive!  At least I can escape the rai-- hey, look, it's sunny again.