Friday, November 20, 2015

What's going on: November 20-22

1. Show Openings: 20th Anniversary Celebration of Christmas Canteen
So this one is a little near and dear to my heart. Not only did I just perform with Aurora Theater doing Memphis but I was in the 2006 production of Christmas Canteen. Nostalgic tunes? Christmas music? period costumes? cute choreography? This vintage girl was all over it. Had a great time! So please check them out, oh! and show opens this weekend and is already 80% sold out. So move fast! 

Presented by: Aurora Theater
Direction: Tony Rodriguez    
Musical Direction: Ann-Carol Pence
Location: Aurora Theater
128 East Pike Street • 
Lawrenceville, Georgia • 30046 
678.226.6222
Date: November 19-December 22, 2015



2. Show Closings: Fetch Clay, Make Man and Brother's of Affliction 




Danielle Deadwyler and Rob Demery
  • Presented by: True Colors Theater Company
  • Directed by: Eric J. Little
  • Location: Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, Atlanta, GA 30331
  • Date, Time: October 27 - November 22, 2015
  • Play Synopsis: In 1965, Muhammad Ali sent for Stepin Fetchit to join his entourage and teach him the secrets of the great Jack Johnson. Life, love, friendship, and faith shape their world's as these two men work together to craft their own images under the weight of being a Black celebrity in America.

  • Presented by: Rising Sage Theatre
  • Directed by: Robert John Connor
  • Location: West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph D. Abernathy SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
  • Date, Time: November 6-22, 2015. 
  • What's Going On: Paris Crayton, III 's Brothers of Affliction is the story of three brothers and the deep secrets that bond them together yet tear them apart. The intriguing story delves into the troubled lives of the Owens brothers as they struggle to make peace despite their many afflictions. 

**Goldstar: has discount tickets for Fetch Clay, Make Man AND Brother's of Affliction while they last. **






 3. Family: Free Family Fun Day 


  • Location: Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309
  • Time: 1-4pm, every Sunday
  • What's going on: Explore, play, learn and create art in an interactive, family-friendly environment including free activities, every Sunday from 1-4 PM. To participate in the free activities happening each Sunday, you need to make a reservation on the website.
  • November 22, Free Activities:
    • The Rehearsal Room: A Christmas Carol
    • “Balloons Over Broadway” Read Alouds
    • Music Discovery Zone
    • Music and Movement Workshops with Kristin Pugliese from NoteKnacks
    • Drop-In Art-Making Workshop
    • Art Movers: Erik Thurmond + The Habsburgs

4. 68th Annual Macy's Tree Lighting: 4 days early
Kick off your holiday season a little early this year. The Great Tree lighting up the Atlanta Skyline always rings in the holiday season for many. Jordin Sparks to headline. 


  • Date: November 22, 2015
  • Start Time: Concert 6pm, Event 7pm
  • Location: Lenox Mall









5. Atlantic Station: Tree Lighting
So the Hubster is in previews for Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theater (I'll post about that later). So I try and plan or not plan family activities with his busy schedule in mind. This event definitely seems like a winner because it's just a short shuttle ride from Arts Center Marta Station which sits directly behind the theater. Score! This yearly tradition has activities, music, and so much more! The day ends with the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Central Park at approx 8:30 p.m. Then fireworks!

  • Location: Atlantic Station @ 17th Street
  • Date: November 21, 2015
  • Start Time: 1pm-9pm



Have fun, be safe, and let me know
what you got into this weekend!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Praying for Paris

No blogging today, just prayers for the people in Paris. The lives lost, the families and friends grieving, the nation torn.

When things like this happen I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say. I try not to sit frozen on the couch staring at CNN's endless coverage, afraid to leave my house for fear. I want to be brave, I want to be poetic and inspirational but instead I draw my curtains and lock my doors, I turn off the TV, and hold my baby a little tighter.

I pray for Paris, I pray for all of us that we would seek understanding instead of hate. I pray that we would be strong and steadfast not explosive and unstable reactors to our fears. God Bless us all.

Peace for Paris by Jean Julien, London based graphic artist.
This is his response in the aftermath of coordinated terrorist attacks
that resulted in 
at least 127 deaths and more than 200 wounded.

Mooning over Memphis

Drama Mama....I get it....you did Memphis, and you didn't have time to post during the process...sooooo can we see some pictures?

Absolutely! That, and I have no idea what to write for this evenings NaBloPoMo challenge. So here it goes in no certain order, a few favorite moments from the process.


1. Family Photo: This was during intermission for a 10am matinee...yes you read that right! We were belting high G's at 10am. One of the Aurora Company's interns was kind enough to keep an eye on our little one during the show. It was one of those RARE moments when we were all dressed, fed, and happy.
Gator (Eugene H. Russell, IV) and Felicia Farrell (Me). The family that acts together...

2. Radio: if you haven't seen Memphis this number has probably the longest dance break of the whole show. It's a magic moment where the kids on the "streets" of Memphis are able to put aside their racial differences and are brought together by the unifying power of the good music that the lead character Huey Calhoun is playing. AND it has a double-dutch segment. WHAT? Growing up in NYC you could often find me outside playing double-dutch so I loved watching this number every night. Don't look too hard I am not in this photo. Alas no double-dutching for me. 
Photo Credit: Chris Bartelski

3. Colored Woman: 
'Some got chances, some got choices, 
Some got freedom in these states. 
Colored women got few chances, 
Got few choices on our plate'. 
--Colored Woman, Memphis 

The first few lines of Colored Woman are chilling,this song rocks in every way. It's the kind of song little musical theater babies dream of singing when they grow up. Vocally it was terrifying until I found my groove. Acting wise it was one of the moments I connected with my characters struggle and pain so completely. It was such a huge song in the arc of my character and I think a big moment in the show that I wanted to nail it every time. 

If you know the show, you know that in this moment the record that Felicia, an aspiring singer, had been scrimping and saving to finally make is broken by Huey's mother. Any show where the record broke it two PERFECT halves was a good moment...let's just say it didn't happen often. I have done this song with only 1/2 of a record, pieces of a record, but thanks to the magic of stage managers, never no record at all. 

My co-star Travis Smith, who also won a Suzi for Best Lead Actor in a Musical, so lived and breathed the roll of Huey Calhoun. No matter what I felt before I stepped on stage I was always infected by his energy and believability and it made me connect to my own character's hurts, joys, and struggles in a new way every performance. 
Photo credit: Chris Bartelski. Colored Woman, Memphis. Huey Calhoun (Travis Smith) and Felicia Farrell (Me)
 I always have to pee somewhere in every show I do and I'm too afraid to miss an entrance to go.

4. Ain't Nothin But A Kiss: I wish there were more numbers like this in the show. This number is set in the club Delray's, and there were so many onstage shennanigans that went on to bring this club to life. There was an amazing band that backed us the whole show, but half way through the run I notice that Skyler my "piano" player is actually playing and improvising on the melody. The audience had no clue because the piano isn't mic-ed but just a small testament to how talented and humble this ensemble cast was. P.S. I make some really, REALLY ugly faces on stage.

Skyler Brown(Piano Player), Felicia Farrell(Me). Ain't Nothin' But A Kiss.
Photo Credit: Chris Bartelski. 

5. Any Moment Spent with my Cast: Goofing off with this huge talented cast and crew everyday was a blast. Getting to know the 20+ people in my cast and crew was such a delight. They had so much passion in everything they did big or small. Really, I could go on and on about Memphis but I'll stop here. I hope you Enjoyed!

After the final performance...that's one good looking group of people. Cast, crew, directors, designers.

Me and My dressing roommates.
Feeling very Molly Ringwold, Sixteen Candles-ish that day.
Yes my shirt says Bye Felicia!


Winner of Best Featured Actress in a Musical:
Megan McFarland. My other dressing roommate!
Don't ask me what my wig was doing. 








Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What's going on: November 11-15

Happy Veteran's Day everyone! This is my first blog post for What's Going On Wednesdays, at It's the Drama Mama. I'll post a short list, or feature a production or event that has caught my eye for the upcoming weekend. It's a great way to put my friends and fellow Atlanta artists on blast and it forces this Mama to search for new things to do with her little one.  Here's a round up of some happenin's around Atlanta for this weekend: 

1. Theater: Fetch Clay, Make Man

Danielle Deadwyler and Rob Demery
  • Presented by: True Colors Theater Company
  • Directed by: Eric J. Little
  • Location: Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, Atlanta, GA 30331
  • Date, Time: October 27 - November 22, 2015
  • Play Synopsis: In 1965, Muhammad Ali sent for Stepin Fetchit to join his entourage and teach him the secrets of the great Jack Johnson. Life, love, friendship, and faith shape their world's as these two men work together to craft their own images under the weight of being a Black celebrity in America. 
  • What's Going On: Industry Night is Friday, November 13, 2015. You can purchase tickets on their website for $10 with the promo code. Message me on Facebook for the promo code. 
** I'm making a personal mission to get out and see more theater. Starting with Eric Little's directorial debut. Fellow Atlanta actor and professor comes into the directing ring swinging hard. **




2. Theater: Brother's of Affliction

  • Presented by: Rising Sage Theatre
  • Directed by: Robert John Connor
  • Location: West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph D. Abernathy SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
  • Date, Time: November 6-22, 2015. This Thursday, November 12 is pay what you can night.
  • What's Going On: Paris Crayton, III 's Brothers of Affliction is the story of three brothers and the deep secrets that bond them together yet tear them apart. The intriguing story delves into the troubled lives of the Owens brothers as they struggle to make peace despite their many afflictions. 

**Goldstar: has discount tickets for Fetch Clay, Make Man AND Brother's of Affliction while they last. **





3. Music: Cole Sings Cole

  • Location: The Lyric Studio, Theater in the Square
  • Date, Time: November 13-14, 8pm
  • Tickets:  www.IngridCole.com
  • What's going on:A musical extravaganza of Cole Porter's music sung by me Ingrid Cole withDaniel Solberg at the piano. Jared Lanham playing percussion and Michael Beshara on Bass. It's going to be HOT. Too Darn Hot! Be a part of this live recorded event. Two nights only at The Lyric Studio Theatre in the Square

** Ingrid is a beast on vocals, this event is bound to be Hot, Hot, Hot! Support your local artists!**






4. Attraction: Center for Civil and Human Rights


  • Location: 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30313-1807
  • What's going on: See the super deals below for discounted admission to Atlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights. This engaging cultural attraction connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s Global Human Rights Movements. 
 $7.50 buys one ticket to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, thanks to a deal on PoshDealz.
$19 buys admission for two to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, thanks to a deal on Groupon.
Admission to the Center for Civil and Human Rights is regularly $15 for adults, $10 for children (age 7-12), & free for children age 6 & under. Students, seniors, & educators with ID can purchase tickets for $13 each.



5. Family: Free Family Fun Day 

  • Location: Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309
  • Time: 1-4pm, every Sunday
  • What's going on: Explore, play, learn and create art in an interactive, family-friendly environment including free activities, every Sunday from 1-4 PM. To participate in the free activities happening each Sunday, make a reservation below here.
  • November 15, Free Activities:
    • Makeshift Circus performance
    • Post-Show Circus Skills Workshop
    • Elephant and Piggie Juggling Balls
    • Music Discovery Zone
    • Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert
    • SoundScapes: Habsburg Splendor
    • Habsburg-Inspired Story Times
    **Wanted to try this one last weekend but the rain kept us from venturing out. Pud is still too young to truly appreciate things like this but it's never too early to expose them to the arts, and it gets mama out the house so she doesn't go crazy! **
    Have fun, be safe and let me know what you got into this weekend!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Mommy Monday: What's Baby Eating?

They told me it would happen but I didn't want to believe them. My awesome eater who had never met a food she didn't like, who was downing kale and sweet potatoes like a champ, no, no, no this baby couldn't possibly turn her nose up and refuse to eat anything remotely healthy. I'm not sure when it happened exactly, maybe around 18 months or so but the only thing I can consistently get her to eat now is pasta, cheese sticks, and oatmeal. I can sneak in veggies in those convenient little pouches or in smoothies but I'm not the smoothie maker in the family my husband is. He's been extra busy lately so what's a Drama Mama to do?

Plum Organics, Happy Tot, and Annie's can all be found in your major grocers or Target. 


Mini potato cakes and mini spinach quiches. So simple!

I started out making purees for her when she was 6 months old.  Then I started making the food chunkier and with more texture as she got older until she was eating soft but solid foods. Then I switched to mini veggie patties and quiches, veggie nuggets and fruit. I can not stress enough how freakin' easy it was to feed her. You shop on a Friday, you spend Saturday cooking and by Sunday you have enough baby food to last for 3 weeks or more. You save money, you save time, and you save your sanity.



Clockwise from top left: Pea fritters, mixed veggie nuggets,
Spinach quiches, mashed potato cakes and veggie patties (in the middle). 
Now at 20 months everyday is a crap shoot. Yesterday she ate rice...will she eat it today? I don't know? I try not to let her see me frustrated, I try and make a big deal about eating healthy foods and I try and remember that this too shall pass (but when damnit?)

So back to the drawing board. More recipes to try? More combinations to configure? I really thought she'd be eating what we were eating by now but unless it's cheese pizza she wants none of what's on our plates. Even scrambled eggs get the no-go in the mornings.

At this point I throw up my hands. She doesn't look like she's missed a meal and she's got enough energy to generate electricity so I'm going to keep pushin' the green stuff and hopefully she'll make her way back healthier pastures. 

My two favorite recipes come from this blog: The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis.

Mashed Potato Cakes: 
4 Medium Potatoes
1/2 Cup Cheddar (I added 1 cup)
2 Eggs (I add 1 maybe 1.5)
1/2 Cup Milk (Melissa uses rice, I use whatever is on hand usually unsweetened soy)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Cut potatoes into “chunks” and place in microwave in covered microwave safe dish for 8 minutes. Check potatoes in microwave- if soft, remove.  You may need to add 2-3 more minutes cooking time if not soft. 
  3. Transfer soft potatoes to mixing bowl- mash a bit with a hand masher or with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Add cheddar cheese, eggs, milk, and sour cream to the mixture. Blend WELL.
  5. Grease mini muffin pan, transfer heaping scoops into each muffin cup. 
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. 


Spinach Cups/quiches: 
1 Bag of spinach (finely chopped)
1/2 Cup Cheddar 
2 Eggs (I add 1 only otherwise they become too eggy)
1/2 Cup Milk (Melissa uses rice, I use whatever is on hand usually unsweetened soy)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
Sprinkle of pepper
Pinch of minced garlic
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Wash Spinach and place in food processor.  (I had to process in 4 batches) 
  3. Put finely chopped spinach in mixing bowl and add:  ½ c sour cream, ½ c cheddar cheese, sprinkle of pepper, 2 eggs and the rest of the minced garlic.  Mix well.
  4. Grease mini muffin pan, fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full or you're asking for a mess. 
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. 




Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nablopomo: Day 8 or The Unthanked!

I missed yesterday in my Nablopomo challenge. My computer was on the fritz yesterday and I honestly didn't have the energy to twist and bend it to my will so I gave up. I had to pick up my daughter from my parents, a 40 minute drive, and then I squeezed in some much needed shopping with a busy toddler.

Last Monday I won a Suzi Bass Award, an award for excellence in Atlanta professional theater, for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. There were so many people I wanted to thank but I was short on time, nervous and unprepared. Friday, I shared the list of people I actually thanked so here is the list of people I did not thank during my acceptance speech.

If you are following me on Facebook you know I've already posted 
something similar to this...okay so this exact statement. 
Hey, it's Sunday morning I haven't had any coffee, my husband ,who's rehearsing for A Christmas Carol,
is singing the baritone part of "Angels We Have Heard on High" quite loudly and 
my 1 year old is screaming bloody murder in my ear.
So....yeah...creativity is short today. 

Artist, George E. Miller


MY VILLAGE: for watching, raising and loving on my child while both mom and dad were on stage. During the run of the show my husband and I had a team of people scheduled to watch the baby Tuesday through Sunday like clockwork. This includes parents, friends and in-laws.They gave up their free time, their food, and their gas to watch our little girl. So many times we were running late and they met us to pick her up in odd locations. We are forever grateful. 
Also, thank you to the people that offered to watch the baby (and there were a lot). Even though we didn't take you up on the offer just knowing we had options made it easier to breathe.


Atlanta Theater Moms: to all of them that let me know I absolutely could work and be a mom, I thank you. For all of you that told me stories of babies in rehearsals, the inability to memorize lines post-partum, and just by your presence on stage 5 months pregnant, it gave me comfort and hope. No we are not some cliquish group meeting in coffee shops and trading secrets on breastfeeding and audition techniques we are just moms in the same business. A business often characterized by isolation and pettiness. I'm grateful I live among women who are seeking community over competition. 

Aurora Staff: the box office manager left her home and her baby drove to the theater and brought us her baby carrier when we left ours at home, she also watched our daughter in her office. Our stage manager and assistant stage manager were beyond calm, patient and accommodating. I appreciate them all for treating us like what we were, a family. 

Choreographer: Waverly Lucas is the founder of Ballethnic Dance Company and choreographed for Memphis. I didn't have much dancing in this show but he was always so supportive and encouraging. He and his beautiful wife came to see so many shows and they were a barometer of how the show was growing and progressing and that means a lot to hear that from someone that's been there from day one. 
This is not the theater I performed in. I have no idea who those people are. This is a stock photo.

Patrons: if you got off your couch and came to see the show, if you paid your money, used your gas, and sat through 2+ hours of dancing and singing I thank you. Friends, family, acquaintences and unknowns. If you supported live theater I thank you. You are not only supporting an art form, but you are supporting actors, designers, musicians, etc. in their way of life. 
I'm sure I've probably forgotten someone again and that is the danger in doing this. Just know if you have slipped my mind you are definitely in my heart. Thank you everyone!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

I Would Like to Thank....


I actually wrote this post last night but I didn't want to push the publish button without a little editing. I was off to see more beautiful Atlanta theater. WHAT? Mama went out last night, Yay!
So here it goes, my blog post for FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2015.

***********

Monday night's Suzi Awards Ceremony was a blast, I'm still trying to process it all. And still, life
goes back to normal so quickly. Poopy diapers and a sink full of dishes were waiting for me on Tuesday and the laundry, well the laundry never ends. I can only look at pictures and glance over at my Suzi Award snug in its protective box and know that no matter what comes next in my career that today, simply being recognized and winning is enough.

I couldn't have won without the help of some really great people. I am so proud to win for this show, and I am bursting with greatness over all of the people that helped me get to where I am.

Who I actually thanked Monday night:



Print from www.redletterworks.com
  • God-HE has such a plan, and he really does. Who knew I'd be here. Not only had I had a baby but real talk, I was burnt out with the business. I had stalled, stagnated, failed to produce growth. At first the baby was a welcome distraction but if you are born to be an actor you never truly stop being an actor no matter how far from the stage or screen your path may take you. In 2014  I'm sitting on the couch nursing my baby and I just "happen" to catch the Suzi Awards on Public Broadcasting and I "happen" to catch Andy Meeks' acceptance speech for best lead Actor in a Musical. He won for his roll as Burt in Aurora Theatre's Mary Poppins, a roll that wasn't even on his radar because he was busy being a stay at home Dad to his kids and Ann-Carol Pence, director, musical director extrodinaiire calls him up and tells him to get back on stage, something in me leapt. It was the beginning of hope. I so wanted to stay home with my sweet little nursling but acting wasn't done with me yet, I didn't now that at the time, but God knew. 
  • Suzi Judges and voting panel - as my co-star Travis Smith said in his acceptance speech, the fact that these group of people go and see EVERYTHING blows my mind (of course he added a few expletives, lol!)

  • Atlanta Theater Community - specifically the Atlanta theater moms that weren't even in the freakin' show who would come and encourage me and tell me I could most definitely throw that baby on my back and go to work. I embrace this community and I am excited to know and work with more people in it. 

  • Ann Carol Pence and Tony Rodriguez - AC was the musical director of Memphis and they are both the Co-Artistic Producer and Producing Artistic Director of the Aurora Theatre. I quoted Viola Davis in her Emmy acceptance speech and said 'the only thing that sepearates actresses of color from everyone else is opportunities'. I forgot to add the second part. You can not with Emmy Awards (Suzi Bass Awards) for rolls that are simply not there. I thanked Ann Carol for believing in me and encouraging me and I thanked Tony for producing brave works. 

  • Tom Key - the Director of Memphis and Artistic Director of Theatrical Outift. I told him that his energy, his love, his sense of awe and wonder, would help me to STAY IN (a Tom-ism)for the rest of my life. 

  • My Cast - For watching my kid, for tolerating my kid, for being amazing with their support and encouragement. 
Click on the picture to go to his website. I know, I know shameless plug.

  • My Husband - I simply said I am, because you are. What more could I say, to even get started would have caused an avalanche of words and emotions. They didn't want me to stand up there all night. There is so much that went on behind the scenes that it deserves it's own post so I won't get started here. Let's just say it's not easy to work with a spouse let alone do a musical with one, but no matter what he supported me. 
Tomorrow I'll talk about all the people I FORGOT TO THANK. Sheesh!





Thursday, November 5, 2015

I Won! I Won!

Hockadoo! Monday night I won a Suzi Bass Award. WHAAAT? Still can't believe it, I never win anything....except for that one time, nevermind. Anywho, back to the Suzi's. If you don't know what The Suzi's are it's an awards ceremony that celebrates the best in Atlanta's professional theater scene and Monday night there was a lot to celebrate. Whoop, Whoop!  The Suzi Awards mission is:


...to celebrate and promote Atlanta professional theatre through the evaluation and recognition of excellence. 

Our vision is of Atlanta as a vibrant home for numerous professional theatres that entertain extensive audiences with quality productions, provide a livelihood for a large and diverse family of theatre professionals and draw ever-growing attention and business to the greater Atlanta area. 

To say that I am part of this thriving, quirky, beautiful and vibrant theater family is inspiring. To be nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Musical among so many amazing performances this past theater season is humbling. To win, leaves me speechless...... actually no it doesn't, I have a lot to say. This win makes every tear of frustration, leaving my kid for days at a time, my ACHING feet because my show shoes hated me, my filthy house, my empty gas tank, and the hours upon freakin' hours spent in Atlanta traffic, worth it.


For the love of Pete somebody build a reliable transportation system up I-85 North.

My husband and I with the cast of Memphis performing Steal Your Rock and Roll at the awards ceremony.
Monday morning I spent hours searching for the perfect necklace (which I didn't wear) to go with my new ridiculously high platform shoes (that I almost busted in during the cast performance) and got my eyebrows unevenly threaded (because the lady was too busy talking).

By 5pm my darling 1 year old who has just recently learned how to scream....blood curdling, top of the roller coaster, ahhhh the zombies are coming, scream, is tearing through the house. I so needed my last few nerves to help calm the butterflies in my stomach so I barricaded myself in the bathroom and ate candy while I did my makeup. Don't judge Mama needed some peace.

By 5:45pm Grandad had arrived to take her AWAY!....no really I love my kid, but SHEESH!

By 7pm the Hubster and I were at the Porter Sanford Arts Center and 2.5 hours into the ceremony I was starving, I had a sinus headache and I was dehydrated. So when they got to the nominees for Best Lead Actress in a Musical and my name was called as the winner I think I was slightly delirious. I literally jumped up and down like a 5 year old on the stage in front of a room full of my peers...did I mention I didn't even bother to put those heinous 4-inch platforms back on? 

My sweet cast member Judith Franklin's Facebook collage.
My dressing roommate Megan Mcfarland won for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and I jumped up and down and screamed like a schoolgirl. My Co-star THE Travis Smith, wins for Best Lead Actor in a Musical and I hoop and holler like I'm on Arsenio Hall. But they call my name and my mouth goes dry....if a Black girl could go pale I would have. I was all like, what? hunh? where are my notecards? where are my shoes? Should I put my jacket back on? I've got to climb over 5 people to get to the aisle...ahhhh!

I get up there on stage, barefoot, with my chicken scratch notecards hastily scribbled in the off chance that I won and I tried to thank everyone I could think of....but of course you forget people, you forget to say things and that's what blogs are for. So tomorrow I'll share what I can remember of my acceptance speech and try and thank all the people I forgot to thank. I also left my cellphone in the car so there aren't more pictures...I'm really batting a 1000. Goodnight all!

Heinous platforms in my hand!



P.S. Still can't believe I won! #dreamsdocometrue





Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hey Drama Mama...Where Ya been?

Aaaaaaand I'm back. Let me just say that I missed you terribly and I never wanted to leave. I never meant to stop blogging almost 6 months ago. I wanted to blog about my first day of rehearsal for Memphis the musical back in June. It was a co-production between Aurora Theatre and Theatrical Outfit. Which meant we would perform at two different theaters in the same town. Aurora's run was July 23-August 31st. The Theatrical Outfit leg of the run was shorter but in a larger space and ran from September 10-20th.

I wanted to blog about what was in my rehearsal bag and the struggles of childcare drop-offs, vocal fatigue, opening nights, and performance stamina. I wanted to make cute opening night gifts and write thank you cards for all 25+ of my cast and crew members and my directors. I wanted to be SUPER-drama-mama (insert eye rolls). Reality is harsh though, and the reality is: Super Moms are a myth. If they are shining in some area then another area of their life is a hot-shoddy-mess.

I mean my husband and I had to buy extra underwear because we didn't have time to do laundry, don't judge. One week we found things growing in a pan at the bottom of a stack of dirty dishes (#gross, #itossedthepan). But hey, we were on stage with this amazing cast thrilling audiences 6-7 times a week.

Now, 6 weeks post closing I'm still digging my house out from the chaos and rubble of our chaotic schedule and my sweet daughters bedtime routine continues to suffer. So where was I going to squeeze in blogging? I even took my laptop with me a couple of times thinking I would have a moment to squeeze in a post here or there (insert eye rolls, snorts AND condescending chuckles). You don't have a moment to squeeze anything in when you co-staring in a large musical. In my mind, I wanted to be this and this and this AND this:

and in reality I could only be this and partially this.




Over the 4 months of rehearsal and show run I struggled with feelings of guilt over my daughters well being and the countless times I packed her overnight bag for the sitter and forgot her food or milk.

I struggled with frustration over how slowly I memorized my lines, my lyrics, and my choreography because baby brain is real, even 15 months later.

I struggled with the pressure of packing rehearsal bag, snack bag, baby bag, baby toys, baby food, blankets, lovies, pacifiers and getting husband and baby dressed and out the house daily...DAILY (okay so I didn't actually dress my husband but...you get the point). To my husbands credit he did drive round trip to the theater and did whatever it took to make sure I wasn't late. I just knew if I could at least make it into the car everyday I could get a good hour of cram time, sleep time, just breathe and play farm heroes saga time.

I was NOT about to struggle over having enough time or energy to blog, even though it has been a desire of mine to grow this blog for a long time. I mean I can only do what I can do. One dream at a time, ya know?

That 4 month hustle was a struggle and I loved it and I hated the pressure at the same time. So when the show closed on September 20th I cried my eyes out and then I walked out of the theater and released it. The next day I got some news that hit me like a freight train so I've unofficially been in hiding from social media. I've been trying to unwind, trying to process, trying to make sense of life post Memphis. What did I do before the show? Where are my friends? Do I remember how to make a meal that doesn't come from a box? What's next?

So last night around 4:30am as I am lay awake surfing the net, facebook stalking, Farm Heroes Saga-ing, I came across a blogger talking about NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month challenges bloggers to post every day for the month of November, so even though I'm a few days late getting started I've decided to take the challenge. Now I can't promise I'm going to finish but I'm up to giving it a try. I wanted to re-start/re-charge my blog, pull myself out of my post show funk and really get going so...welp...here it goes......


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

First Refusals....Just Let It Go!

I had a last minute audition yesterday that caught me totally off guard. Honestly my head has not been focused on my on-camera work for some time, I've had baby weight to lose, lessons to plan, a teeny-weeny baby bottom to wipe, blah, blah, blah.

So when I was requested by casting to come in, I decided not to do my usual stress thing (stress over my lines, my clothes, my hair, my teeth, my breath, you get the picture). After spending the morning rearranging the living room furniture and giving Pud' her own play area, I threw on a nice pair of jeans, a cute button down and sandals. My hair has been braided in a protective style since May. I don't have the time or energy to style my hair daily especially with a very aggressive theater rehearsal schedule on the horizon. That being said I have yet to book commercial work when my hair is in braids so... I guess America just isn't ready(that is another post altogether). So I just pinned my braids back, added light make-up, lip gloss, and small earrings and headed for the babysitters. No fuss, no muss. Mercifully I got the baby dropped off, made it through Atlanta's mad rush hour traffic and arrived on-time.

Notice a few things here, I decided not to do my usual stress thing, no fuss, no muss, I was clean, simple and on-time. I was ready to just go in, have a good time and then get my standard post-audition Arnold Palmer from Chic-fil-A (cuz it's so good). Seriously though, I've got to stop using food as a reward. On a side note: I had this same philosophy for a recent musical theatre audition and to my surprise I booked it. So I think I'm on to something. Be prepared, be clean, be on-time and then just LET IT GO!

So today I when I got the news that I was on first refusal I just thought that's great, ummm whose going to watch the baby, and then I went back to getting Pud' ready for nite-nite which has been really hard lately (teething, sleep regression, who knows). So here's hoping I book it, but if i don't I've learned/reinforced some pretty great lessons.

So what is first refusal anyway?
Also called Avail or Sticking a pin in you, it simply means that casting has narrowed down their long list of talent to a short one. Their first choice and 2 or more backups. They want to keep you available for the shoot date, to make sure they have talent if their first choice is not available, or not exactly what the client wants, or the moon is in retrograde. Bottom line it is not a booking. So YaY! you got feedback from casting, they liked you, but Boo! your ability to book is now based on several factors that are out of your control.

I'm not that eloquent so here is a better description.

http://thenycactor.tumblr.com/post/1424569784/learn-to-ignore-first-refusals

So say a little book that thing prayer for me and I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Am Rosie

I've been extra emotional (uber-emotional, hyper-emotional, crazy-woman) these days. It definitely has a lot to do with the weaning journey Puddin' and I have been on in the past few weeks. We've dropped the middle of the day feeding and now we are down to just two a day. Couple that with a bump on the lip that knocked her frenulum loose causing her latch to change, and it's extremely uncomfortable to nurse now. I might as well stick my boob in a vacuum cleaner. Nursing is almost over, the last physical cord binding my child and I together. When she is completely weaned the cords will be there but invisible residing only in the heart.

I can't put into words how sad I am to let go of the entire pregnancy and post-partum world we've been in for the past 2 years. So it's only natural that I am gravitating towards anything that speaks to me of strength, resilience, change and growth.


On the way to the Grant Park Yard Sale last Saturday I heard on NPR that Mary Keefe, the woman who posed for Normal Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter inspired cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943, had died. She was 92. I like many other people immediately thought of the image below and I was mistaken. Mary Keefe's photo is above, complete with a ham sandwich and a riveting gun.


Mary Keefe, Rockwell's neighbor at the time, posed for the picture at 19, and only pocketed $10 ($144 in today's times).  This led me on a chase to find out more about the image, the stories, and anything "Rosie" related, because how else do you pass the time when you're nursing?  I already had a basic knowledge of this icon because I binged watched and fell in love with Bomb Girls on Netflix during my pregnancy, two years ago.  It definitely inspired my DIY pregnancy announcement photos, although I don't think I realized that at the time.

When I posed for this I was only thinking "look at me I'm pregnant", "how ya like me now", "I so can't believe this", "yahoo!". With the first trimesters aches, pains and nausea behind me, the fear of miscarriage greatly reduced, I wanted to shout the news of my daughters impending arrival. It took us at least 6 months of actively trying to conceive and we had already been married 5 years. I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen for me. Now when I look at this picture I think about how far I've come, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Pregnancy, labor, and the ever changing world of post-partum life. Everything about this picture says YOU CAN DO IT. Whatever IT is.



Looking into the story behind the real Rosie the Riveter I found out the it was not just about Geraldine Hoff Doyle the model for the most popular painting by J. Howard Miller in 1942. Rosie was a term to describe the group of women, Black, White, rich, poor, old, young all of whom left homes, towns, and various backgrounds to work in the defense industry during WWII.



Some saw it as a patriotic duty, but quickly returned to homemaking after the war (which is its own defense industry, but that is another post). Some saw it as a career move, a way up, out and onward out of poverty to a better life. For every woman it was a change from the norm, a catalyst into a new life, a new way of being.

Rose Will Monroe, another Rosie and best known for her roles in promotional films about buying war bonds, was also a single mother after a car accident took the life of her husband. After the war she continued to defy any traditional paths set for her and held a variety of jobs outside the home, like taxi driver, seamstress and eventually opened Rose Builders a construction company specializing in luxury homes. If that isn't non-traditional I don't know what is.



My life as it stands right now is also a little non-traditional and images and stories like these fill me with courage to stand on my own rocky path. I have to embrace this new phase that my daughter and I are moving into, one where she is not literally attached to me for most of the day. With that change I have to also embrace those moments of sadness and uncertainty. Like those Rosies, who were not only fighting multiple wars, some foreign, some domestic, and some blatantly racist ones right in their own backyards, I have to pick and choose my battles, choose the hills I want to die on (becoming depressed, and eating sea salt caramel gelato) and celebrate those small victories.


Oh, one more thing....In my searching I also ran across Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, in Richmond California (phew, that's a mouthful!). I have to visit it, then my Rosie mania will be complete. I absolutely smell a road trip coming on....but maybe when Puddin' is older. I've got strength and resilience but I don't think there is enough in me to survive cross-country with a toddler.