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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."


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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bittersweet Board-dom

Let's get one thing straight: I love my job.  It is awesome, and thus far has felt like a delicious hybrid of childhood fantasy, extreme sport, mental-endurance test, and adoption by an ever-expanding, kooky creative family.

Let's get one other thing straight: sometimes it is boring.  But that's okay.  Lots of things that are awesome can also be boring, like the Discovery Channel, or any novel by Victor Hugo.

As Elphaba standby, it is my job to be available at a moment's notice should our leading lady get sick or, for whatever reason, call out mid-show.  On days when I'm not performing (which, for the past week, was everyday), I have the privilege to wile away my hours in a shared dressing room with the impossibly delightful Libby Servais, our Glinda standby.  But that's not the only thing we share!  We also share laughter, tickles, secrets, rainbows, bunnies!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Part 2: Elphaba Debut Redux

When we last spoke I left you with an outrageous cliffhanger, in the style of ABC's LOST, except I will not invoke misaligned space-time continua and/or bodysnatching as a means to resolve it.  (In fairness to LOST, I haven't watched it in a while, so it may have in fact improved since I abandoned ship last year.)

Tangent much, Felicia? Right.  Okay.  So.

First day as a standby.  I'm psyched because, by all viable accounts, being a standby means taking up French, or taking up knitting, or taking up French knitting (like making berets and such) to pass the time in between performance gigs -- which, after three months of crazy rehearsal and cross-continental travel while working for WICKED, is, in my opinion, truly exciting.  (There it is again: dramatic irony!)

Presenting: Part 2! Which begins around...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You couldn't make this shiz up

Here it is: a recounting of the ridiculous journey that was becoming Elphaba Thropp in WICKED.  I can't promise anything except completely overblown babbling in which there is no discernible causality or sense of a narrative through-line because, gosh darnit, there are just so many details, I don't know that I will ever be able to string together in a way that makes sense.

Flashback! to February 17, 2010.  At this point I have been performing in the ensemble of WICKED for exactly 12 days and feel more or less assimilated into my 3F track.  I wake up and head to Boogaloos, my favorite brunch spot (incidentally, I went there again today (as in, the day I am writing this (to confuse you, I will use present tense to recount the distant past and past tense to recount the present) and spotted Adrian Grenier of "Entourage" and "Drive Me Crazy" fame), when, lo and behold, there is a voicemail from my agent, Ann Steele.  "Call me."  Feh, I think.  It is Wednesday.  I have a show in a few hours and need to stuff my face with lemon cornmeal pancakes.  But she's probably just checking in and being generally pleasant...alright, fine, I will call!  Conversation goes something like:

"Hi Ann! It's Felicia!"

"Felicia-- great.  Do you know you're flying to New York City tomorrow morning?"

My first two-show day: check!

I survived!!!!  I sit here typing in a huddled heap of sweat and tears with flecks of green makeup stuck in my ears and around my nails.  But, ya know what?? I did it!  It would be an understatement to say that I was just a little freaked out at the prospect of performing two shows today.  But, alas, 'twas done.

Long, indulgent ridiculous blog post soon to come, pending a little down time to gather myself and rest up (I had originally planned to recount last night's adventure tonight, but instead I had to go on, so had to postpone).

In any event, thank you to everyone who was there for me today and tonight, and for the kind words I've been getting via email, Facebook, Twitter (that's right, I am now a fully-functioning member of the 2010 E-Community).  You are all so nice!!!!