Monday, July 7, 2008

Goodbye, HiFi

I had to wait until today to post my final entry to this blog, because it's taken me a while to collect my thoughts about this experience. I know that the recurring theme for many of the cast members has been the Top 5 list, but it's too hard to list just 5 things that I will take away from this. How does one summarize a life-changing experience? That is what this has been for me.

HiFi was my first theatrical performance. It pushed me way beyond my comfort zone as an artist. I was very comfortable onstage singing and playing the violin, but I have never acted onstage outside of high school. I wasn't sure at all if I could do it. I was very afraid, very nervous about learning lines and blocking and choreography, especially coming in as the third person cast in the part. I just knew that I wouldn't be able to remember my lines, or where to go, or when. I am still a little amazed that I was able to do well because I know that artistically, I am my own worst enemy. I fell in love with theatre from just this one show, though. I cannot say enough about what a fantastically strong cast, band and crew we had for this production. If you missed it, you really missed a great experience!

I have to agree with Jeff, who said in his blog that he thought that we all stepped things up a notch for the last weekend of performances. I think that everyone wanted to really do their utmost to kick it in the ass, and they did. Scott mentioned that everything ran like clockwork on this show and I agree. Everyone knew exactly what to do at all times and we knew the show so well that when there were little bobbles we could recover with no panic whatsoever. The audiences for the last three days were wonderful, and seemed so engaged with what we were doing. It is such a gratifying experience to look out at the audience during curtain call and see them smiling and clapping, clearly appreciative of our hard work.

I have to say that the least fun part was strike, which is kind of the wrong word to use for a lot of hard work -- isn't a strike refusing to work at all? Anyway, I pitched in as best I could, helping to disassemble the risers, and climbing a 900-ft ladder to take down lights because nobody else seemed excited to do so. I can't imagine why. I thought that I was afraid of heights, but I guess I'm not now. I also got to break in my new truck's storage capacity when I provided moving services to Aaron and Zak, who took Rob's couch for their own apartment. Good to know to know that I can fit a loveseat in the back of my new ride. I think that we finally made it to Kimi's for the cast party after 1:30 am.

Kimi had some of the best food I have ever had at her party, and her house is just lovely! I spent most of my time outside as I brought 2 cigars to enjoy. The cigars were fantastic and really helped me unwind, and they make me a little..umm...mellow too. The best moment of the party for me was singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" with everyone just before we went home for the evening (morning), and seeing Zak and Aaron show us the scene they did behind the funeral flat during the argument that Rob & Liz have towards the end of the 2nd act. I have never quite laughed so hard in my life. Jeff and I did the lines and they had this very, very hilarious, over the top pantomime that would not have been out of place in the WWE.

I am going to try and figure out how to post my slide show on this blog. I took some pics of cast members backstage and when we were just hanging out. I don't want this post to just go on and on, so let me just say that I am so grateful that I got to do this and it was definitely one of the Top 5 best experiences of my life so far. I got to meet very cool and interesting people and make some new friends, and, I also was privileged to perform with some very fine actor/singers (singer/actors?) and create a piece of art that people wanted to see, repeatedly. Scott Miller, you are a genius and thanks for letting me a part of this! I wish the very best to everyone who was involved in this production and I really hope to stay in touch with as many cast members who still want to talk to me ;) In closing, I want to share my Top 5 favorite quotes from my High Fidelity experience (you knew I had to put at least one top 5 list together!)

  1. "Don't change anything! Don't add anything new, just keep doing the same show you have been doing."
  2. "Remember -- be fierce, and always tell the truth." (or some variant of that)
  3. "Are you on crack or just retarded?" (heh heh)
  4. "It was the Indigo Girls, Rob, you should have seen it coming."
  5. "All I know is 'ball'..and 'good'...and 'rape'." (Hand Banana lives!)
Thank you for taking the time to read my postings. It has been great putting my thoughts out on the Web for the whole world to see. I have been fortunate to be cast in New Line's production of "Hair" and I think we get to blog for that too, so please look for that coming soon. This is Liz 3.0, signing off. Buona notte.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Final Show for Liz 3.0

I simply cannot believe that the end of our run is here. I swear it seems like I was just saying to myself, "How the hell am I going to do this? I've never done this before! I am so freaked out!", and now it's over! I have said it a million times and I know I must sound like I'm on some awards show, but this has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I hope you have some free time because this is going to be one long post.

Where do I start? I would love to be clever and have some sort of "Top 5" List, but I'm not feeling that creative right now, probably due to the fact that I have only had about 4 hours of sleep, since I left the cast party this MORNING at about 4:30. Can I just say that there is a big difference between staying up all night when you are in your 20s versus your 30s? Anyhow, let's start with how this week has been so far.

Wednesday was absolutely one of the best birthdays that I have had. Aaron and Zak cooked dinner and Scott came over as well. The meal was delicious, the company even better. I am just so happy to meet interesting people that are fun to hang out with. As I have mentioned before, my husband and I have been together for about 13 years, and he was really my only friend for much of that time. So, it's really, really cool to get out and meet folks! I think I haven't stopped thanking Aaron and Zak yet. I'm sure they don't think it's a really big deal, but I just don't take stuff like that for granted. I have about two really close friends and we don't get to hang out a lot so for someone to open their home to me virtually any hours of the day is huge as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday night I was very anxious because for some reason I was feeling very disconnected from my characters and my lines, everything was for some reason. I had this real fear that I was going to drop out whole sections of dialogue for no reason. I think my anxiety was definitely amplified by hearing Scott say "Don't change anything, keep doing the same show" every FREAKING night. It was like some kind of reverse psychology for me -- I kept thinking, "here's the night where he is going to come tell me that I screwed the entire show up for everybody". So, Thursday I was frantically going over my lines prior to the show like it was the 1st week! Of course, it went fine once I got onstage, so all of that drama was for nothing anyway. We were sold out for Thursday and I saw many repeat attendees so that's saying something about the basic quality of the show -- most people are just fine with seeing something one time. We are also sold out tonight, yay!

Friday night we had a kind of rowdy house, which I thought was cool. People were laughing uproariously and cheering for us. I think that they really enjoyed it. It's nice to have an audience that shares energy with us, it just makes it so much fun. I spent a good part of my afternoon prior to the show hanging out with Trish -- she hosted the cast party last night that was off the chizzle for shizzle (not sure if that is the right Snoop Dogg grammatical structure). I went grocery shopping with her as she bought a truly prodigious amount of food, a veritable cornucopia of gastronomic celebrations (okay, sorry, I love big words used in ridiculous ways). The pary was just so much fun! Trish and Mike have this very hip, cute apartment and it was the perfect size for the cast and friends to hang out. With some wood (thoughtfully provided by Amanda) in the firepit, the atmosphere was wonderful. Zak was the BBQ king, grilling without cease, leaving no piece of rendered animal flesh uncharred. Everyone was just so relazed and comfortable, it was great to just wind down after the show.

I have to put a special note in here for my buddy Jeff, who I kept giving so much crap to over the course of the night. I want to put it here in writing: Jeff Wright is not a punk-ass bitch and I will personally beat up anyone who says so. Except me, ha ha hah!! I could not resist teasing him because he got this great indignant look every time I would call him a name. I love the fact that we can all joke around and laugh together. This is just such a funny group of people. Anyway, Jeff, for what it's worth, it's your side, I'm on your side. I will miss your subtle sarcasm and dry mockery greatly when this is all over, and it has been a huge pleasure working with you.

So, one of the highlights of the part for me was watching new people get introduced to "Hand Banana". Google it if you don't know. I have to thank Zak and Aaron for my new addiction to Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And the lines just get funnier every time I hear them. I have to go now, I thought I had more time to chat. I promise that I will wrap this up later on tonight after strike and the cast party. Hopefully I'll have time to do a few Top 5 lists too. Ciao for now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, so today is my birthday and I have to say that I'm pretty happy about that. In a few minutes I will be going to hang out at Aaron's for a bit, so I wanted to give that update that I promised. But first, I must state that I am very pleased to be 35 years old and I feel good about where I am at. I definitely feel like I am starting to really become the artist that I always wanted to be. As I go into this last weekend of performances of HiFi, I feel like things are just falling into place. I have so enjoyed this experience, I just can't say enough good about all of it. The show is fantastic, the cast is just so talented and I have to say Scott is every bit as brilliant as he thinks he is ;) I feel so privileged to have been a part of this, I couldn't have asked for a better experience my first time.

So, to recap, last weekend lyricist Amanda Green and phenomenal original Avenue Q cast member Ann Harada came out to dinner with us at the Cheesecake Factory, after our show. I was just so relieved that Ms. Green enjoyed the show. I mean, if she didn't really like it, I don't think she would have come out to eat with us. I really debated about being a complete nerd and asking to take a picture but Charles gave me so much crap about it I had to go ask them I could take a picture. Here it is and yes, my name is Nikki Glenn and I am a nerd and apparently even more of a flaming theatre geek gushpot than even I thought as evidenced by my "isn't this cool" double thumbs up.

Luckily I withdrew to my corner so as to not frighten them any further, heh heh. Anyhow, the show has been going great. I am sorry that it will be ending but I have to say that I am excited for the next one.

I just got the call today that I will be a member of the tribe for "Hair" and I can't wait! I am hoping that it will be more fun and scary and more transformative than I can even envision at this point.

I think I will get to the theatre early tomorrow so that I can run through my lines because I want to put the same effort into these last 3 performances as I have been trying to do all along. I think that we really validated (vindicated?) High Fidelity the Musical and proved that the show itself was not the reason it didn't work on Broadway. Scott's vision of the story plays wonderfully in the intimate space that we are in and I would like to think that all of its range of emotion has more impact in this smaller space as well.

Sorry if this post is all over the place (welcome to how my brain works), but I have a bunch of pics that I want to post for your entertainment. So, last weekend we had billions of bouncing ballerinas backstage (I could use additional alliteration but I can't think of any more nice words that begin with the letter "b" and I think you know what I mean). I think that we managed as well as we could considering that all the areas that we would normally use to prepare for our show were covered in tutus or commandeered by Craft Services. To the best of my knowledge we were all pros about it, and Margeau even warmed up with them!

I took a lot of pics backstage last weekend and I am going to try and make them into a slide show with captions that I can post on this blog later on tonight. I have to go now, but thank you for reading and ciao for now!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More to come later!!!

Just a really quick post to let you I just had an unforgettable evening last night!!! I am going to spill everything to you really soon. I have pictures! I met celebrities and they were COOL!! I'm still very geeked out about it. Anyhow, more later.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just a little post, for now

I thought I was going to have a chance to do some in-depth post about my Tony awards experience, but I just ran out of time. Charles is dropping me off at the theatre fairly early so I'll try to do something else then. Basically I spent a fair amount of the show either crying or cheering. It's funny, whether the shows were weak or strong, I was just as affected.

I think because I have still never seen a Broadway show on Broadway, it has such a great impact to get a "tasting menu" at the Tonys. I absolutely love, love, love live theatre and it is just such a gift to get to see it, so I don't think I can give a good critical analysis of the show. For me it was the whole experience, from the pageantry of getting really dressed up, to the incredible visual stimuli of seeing the elephants from the "Lion King" process up to the stage, to getting to hear one of my favorite singers (Patti Lupone) sing from one of my favorite musicals (Gypsy), to just being wrung out at the end of the night, and having my ears ring with all of this great music (yes, even South Pacific).

When I spoke with other actors about my experiences, some of them mentioned that this musical or that one was good or bad, and that it wasn't a good year for musicals, etc. To a certain extent I agree -- how many more movies are going to be made into musicals that suck? But I am still in my infatuation stage with musicals, I am easily seduced by the bright lights and the orchestra, and the choreography, and the costumes, and the sets, yes yes I am running on and on, but this is the way I get just so GEEKED OUT about it! Okay, taking a breath...Anyhow, I don't know if any of this makes sense to anyone but me, but all I am capable of feeling about any of the shows that I got just a glimpse of is love, pure and simple. Maybe in a few years it will be old hat for us to go, and we can be so bored with it all, but I hope not. I am clinging to my childlike innocence and enthusiasm as long as I can.

So here are just a few more pics that I took with the camera that my husband graciously smuggled in for me and also that I took towards the end of our trip. No, I didn't take pictures during the broadcast or any of the performances because that's just rude and tacky. Also, I had to take a picture of the Weehawken exit, Jackie wouldn't let me leave NYC without doing it.

I'll try to chat with you in just a bit once I get settled at the theater.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Tony Awards YAY!

Okay, I have dropped Charles off at his gig and I am now sitting in the Bread Company being unfaithful -- to my diet that is. I am having a nice cup of hot ginger peach tea and a chocolate chip cookie and OMG is it good!! Anyway, now I have a little time before I go over to Hotch to get ready for HiFi.

(Sorry, I had to go back for seconds. I got more tea, and a Cinnamon Crunch bagel to munch on while I chat with you. Mmmm..)

Our trip to New York actually started after the cast party on Saturday night. We decided it would be better to stay up all night since the flight was at 6:00 a.m. and we would have to be at the airport by 4:30 anyway. The only problem? Neither one of us thought to pack prior to our respective gigs so we rushed home from the cast party just to do laundry so we'd have something to wear on the plane. Since my husband still doesn't understand that each pair of jeans in a dryer multiplies the dry time by like, 5 hours, some of our stuff was a little, erm, damp. But no matter because we were jet setting to NYC! We made it to the airport by 4:30 exactly and were in the terminal by 5:00 a.m. I then walked roughly a mile to the nearest open kiosk serving some kind of food. I was a little too excited to eat, but I knew it was going to be a long day.

We made our connection in Atlanta with no event and touched down in Newark on time. I had meticulously researched how to take the trains into Manhattan, thus saving us $100. But, Charles had other ideas, namely us just standing around looking like poor innocent tourists until one of the shuttle hustlers wrangled us up. Luckily, we were immediately accosted by a very fast-talking gentleman who gave us an incredibly discounted rate and was parked right outside the baggage claim area! He was chock full of information and was familiar with the hotel where we were staying. After a hair-raising ride into the city (which I actually videotaped on our return to the airport), we made it to our hotel, the Iroquois, which I highly recommend. The rooms were beautiful and had the most comfortable beds, and what a lovely bathroom! Anyhow, at this point, Charles got settled in the room and I went to get us some food and also search for some dress shoes for the Tonys (maybe I didn't look that hard when I was in STL, sorry!).

I walked around for about 1.5 hours before I figured out that I could just go to Macy's and get some. However, I forgot that this being New York, Macy's was like 7 floors and just crammed with shoppers. Just when I was about to despair of ever being waited on, a very helpful salesperson found me some lovely pointed toe pumps. Success! I stopped at deli that had a huge buffet to get stuff for Charles as I was just too excited to eat. Both Charles and I spent extra time getting ready and you can see that in our pictures below. Since we were close enough to walk to Radio City, we promenaded down the street in full regalia and people on the street were so complimentary to us! I am telling you we were frigging superstars just walking down the sidewalk. It was just such a big deal for us to even return for a second year to the Tonys, you would think we were nominated. In the pictures below, you will see that we stopped to pose with New York's Finest, and also got to wait in this 2-block long line just to get in the theater!

OK, it's time for me to get ready for tonight's performance. I have more pics and deets to give you on the Tony Awards show when I talk to you later!

Weekend recap, really quick like

I don't have much time because I have to leave for the theater soon. I will try to finish this later on tonight, but for now I wanted to tell you how I felt about our opening weekend performances. I thought we did a great job! The show is really coming together well and I feel certain that it's only going to get better as we continue. Thursday night after the show, the cast went to Joannie's Pizzeria, which was just fantastic. I could only have a little salad and some bread because I was trying to make my goal weight for the week (which I missed by 1 lb). But I have to say the pizza and calzones smelled so good that I was asking cast members to just describe how it felt to eat the food. I know, that's a little odd. It's funny how you don't crave things until you can't have them.

Friday was another good run, in my opinion. Everyone had great timing and energy, and the audience seemed to really enjoy it. Afterwards we went to the Cheesecake Factory, where my husband saved me from myself by ordering for me. I did order a slice of plain cheesecake with strawberries to go, though. Again, great times were had by all. We looked liked the world's most diverse extended family as we took over a good portion of the bar area of the restaurant.

Saturday was as consistently good as the other runs. The fun started after the performance when Aaron and Zak hosted a cast party in U City. I think we got a little too loud because the cops showed up and chastised us. All I remember thinking was, "God, did I pay that parking ticket before it turned into a warrant? I'm too fragile for jail!". Anyhow, it was definitely a nice party to me, with my limited social experience :)

It is so great to be a part of a cast that actually wants to hang out when we are not on stage. I thought everyone would go their separate ways and really only see each other on the gig nights. However, I have hung out with many of the cast members outside of performances and that is SO COOL! I like getting to know these people, they are just so interesting. Sometimes I do really feel my age though, especially when it's getting late in the evening and they are still going strong partying. I also went with some of the gang to see a very cool band called Elsinore. Although I only got to catch their last 2 songs, they were a tight, very musical band. I was surprised to hear that they were not signed. I guess it's only a matter of time.

Okay, I have to get my stuff together for the show tonight. I promise to post pictures and play-by-play from Sunday night at the Tony Awards later on. Talk to you soon!