3 Year Anniversary with California

 

Exactly a year ago, I was in rehearsals for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Annie. I was playing Grace Farrell, my first lead in California. I got to work with Norman Large and Sally Struthers. It was one of the most memorable show experiences I had had at the time and felt so blessed to be apart of it! Sally Struthers playing Miss Hannigan and me

Playing Grace Farrell led me to my first agent, Steven Dry, with Connor Ankrum & Associates. He started me out on my first run of auditions. The first one sucked. I completely screwed it up. It was my first audition where I actually knew that when I turned and exited through the door, I wanted to shoot myself and bury myself in a hole. It was stupid-dumb-bad. And to make matters worse for myself, it was the first audition I had that my agent scheduled me for. I wanted to cry.

I redeemed myself, not right away, but eventually. As the months passed, the auditions were few and far between. It was a slow season for the theater world. Equity houses were closing down without hope of reopening. Union actors were leaving the union just so they could get more work. It wasn’t looking good for California theater. It still isn’t…

Nonetheless, the shows must go on…I don’t know how, but they will.

A few months more went by and I finally signed with my first commercial agency, Brady Brannon and Rich. So I experienced my first round of commercial auditions and callbacks. Let me tell you!!! They are SOOOOO easy. You don’t have to prepare ANYTHING. Just show up and look right. Such a change compared to all my theater auditions, where you have to prepare 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and ballad, bring dance clothes, dance shoes, and whatever else they may want you to do.

I didn’t land a commercial yet, but had mostly callbacks, so I thought that wasn’t too shabby.

Around winter time, I had finally made a good group of awesome friends. I hadn’t really made any since I had moved; I got close to some, but didn’t find anyone I could trust yet. So I finally found some people I could love AND trust. At the same time, I also lost contact with my friend and ex The Terminator. The confusing relationship finally reached its end since I had moved out to California.

During this time, I had met William Shatner. I actually got to hang out with him ON SET, Bill and mebeing apart of the crew. My life was complete at that point. If I had died the next day, I wouldn’t have cared. I also got asked out by four different crew guys that same day. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word for THAT.

For a while there, I wasn’t landing any shows. I was getting callbacks, but nothing after that. It was a serious dry spell. But a part of me was grateful for it. I had time for other things in my life that I normally wouldn’t have if I were in a show. The show-life takes up MOST of your time. Eventually, I was invited to audition for The Movie Guys, a comedy webisode about movies ‘n such. I got in and was able to become SAG-eligible, something I had been thinking pretty close to impossible considering I wasn’t really doing any union related stuff until then.the movie guys

I was ecstatic that I had the ability to call up SAG and say, “I wanna sign up and pay my dues!” I couldn’t believe that doing New Media was a way in.

And then, just to mess with me, my “dark side” decided to come out and be a pain, and I started cutting again. I hadn’t sliced up my leg since I was in college, so it was a serious wake-up call when it happened again at 26 years old. I finally accepted the fact that I was born with something I had no control of. I wasn’t allowed to take any more birth control, according to the nurses, because of the severe depression I was feeling again. They took me off it, and then put me on Prozac again. I hadn’t been on it for a while, but after my bad cutting experience (taking a butter knife at work and going at it on my right leg), I decided it was best to stay on the Prozac indefinitely.

Once I accepted my “craziness,” (as I like to call it), I felt a sense of equilibrium. And, funny enough, things started making sense and being good again. I got cast in The Music Man, playing Marian Paroo, which was one of my dream roles. A friend of mine told me to Lida Roseaudition, and I got it. It really is about WHO you know. I wouldn’t have known about the audition if my friend hadn’t told me about it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got the part.

From there, I got another lead in a show, Abigail Adams in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of 1776 the Musical. I COULDN’T believe it! I wanted to play her so badly, I was beyond shocked and thrilled that I actually got cast.1776

I began a working-out life style I thought I’d never have. I started Cardio Barre with my roommate. I started running, something I used to HATE all my life, and now love it! I FINALLY achieved my Victoria’s Secret stomach goal, which I had been wanting to reach since I was 14 years old. Took living with a stunt woman with rock-hard abs to actually push me.

And on top of all this, my romance life became interesting after nearly a year of zilch. Sure, I had been meeting people like The Bartender from Bogie’s, and the crew guys from Shatner’s shoot, but no one I actually felt like spending time with.

But then came Mr. Big (MY version, not Sex and the City’s version). And then Mr. Spock. And then Blue Shirt (aka, possibly Skywalker). All of which I have very unusual relationships with. Two of them are close friends, one of them closer in a more physical way, and the third is one I’m technically dating (as in a date once a week kinda thing). ALL wonderful!!!! I’ve become sort of a Queen Bee, giving my love to all my little worker bees…although I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all. In all honesty, at this time in my life, I admit I have a serious problem with monogamous relationships. But we all go through this at one point or another, right? I panic at the idea of being tied down to just one person right now. And not one guy in my life that I’ve been with seriously has deserved my loyalty, so why try to be loyal at all? I guess I’m answering myself with this one…the one who does deserve it will be the one to marry. WELL I’m not even CLOSE to that, so game on! Time to really live out my loving side. I might as well be a futuristic hippy.

Last night was a perfect ending to my 3 year anniversary with California: a whim on the beach that only happens in your dreams. I had a found a secret entrance to a private beach in Malibu, and a small group of friends and I ventured out into the dark of the night, stripped down to our skimpies and played in the ocean, all the while, of course, wondering if Jaws was laying in wait. It was the whim of the year!

And so the adventures continue! By the way, Cali, did I ever tell you that I love you? Well, I do. Happy 3 years and may the fourth one be ever in my favor!

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Waitin’ on the zombies.

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So I hear the end of the world is coming, 2012, and that there’ll be zombies afoot. Well, that’s just great, because I’ve always wanted to blow zombie heads with a shotgun—a whim I’ve wanted to take a wham at for years. I’ve been practicing too, 2012. Honing my skills in Nazi Zombies, Resident Evil, and Left 4 Dead. Learning to reload in stressful, fast-paced situations. And running. Running is always key.

But what I really want for Christmas, 2012—oops, sorry, already past, lemme rephrase—what I really want for New Years is to be able to quit my current job, The Restaurant. Although, I figure the end of the world is coming ‘n all, which would mean the end of The Restaurant indefinitely, I’d much rather spend my last year NOT working for them and finally working for ME. Selfish? Absolutely. Why not think of yourself in the final months of human life on this planet? That’s what whimming really is all about, anyhow. You whim when you lose. Whim when you have NOTHING to lose. Whim when you’re a losER. Whim when it’s the last thing you can do. Whimming is for yourself when you have nobody else.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s the end of the world at all. And I’ll admit, grudgingly, I’ve been a poor whimmer in 2011. My career as an actress has enveloped me into a career-only lifestyle. And it’s very lonely, I have to say. However, I had been ecstatic about everything that happened in 2011. I visited, AND performed, in Hawaii for the first time. I did three musicals back to back without a break. I had my very first lead in California, playing opposite Sally Struthers, a celebrity no less! And I finally got a theater agent, which was my New Years resolution for 2011.

So because of my unrelenting concentration in one path, my career, I had neglected to do the things I’d never done before. I brushed aside the adventures that awaited me. I ignored the possibilities of new friendships because there was no time left. The whimmer who searches for new experiences in life had died in me somehow. Even on New Year’s Eve I refused going out with a small group of good people, a whim to downtown L. A. it was to be, and instead stayed at home with myself watching Star Trek. Not a bad night. In fact it was very relaxing. The only thing I kissed that night was my cat. Dare I say it, I sound old. And that is something I swore I’d never be. Life should never be boring or old. Life is our one shot at anything. You never know when it’s your time to go…or if a zombie might get you. Don’t sit and wait for them either. Live so hard that it hurts so good.

With that said, 2012, may it be that I never grow old; may it be that I never know loneliness; may it be that I love harder than ever; and may it finally be that I can QUIT The Restaurant, for the love of all that’s holy! Because who knows? A zombie might actually get me. But at least I won’t be waitin’.

Why Actors Are Skinny

The week before opening night for Annie was a stressful and nearly discouraging one for me. I had never before cared so much about getting the role I was playing just right! The part of Grace Farrell was my project. In the past, I had played characters like “Guenevere” in Camelot and “Louisa” in The Fantasticks, but these women all had some sort of emotional fluctuation or quirkiness about them with personalities an actor could really mess around with.

But Grace was none of these. She was a straightforward business woman from the thirties, a woman with infinite patience and positivity. A real lady type. Strong, but delicate and demure. And never aggressive. And the LAST thing I wanted to do was make her boring!

Being a redheaded, Scottish AND Irish girl myself, it was very difficult to suppress my aggressive nature. And so it became a fabulous challenge, being that Grace was a role I had never tackled before in my career.

Opening night was only a few days away and I still wasn’t happy with my character portrayal. I was doing all I could, channeling Olivia DeHavilland, practicing my patience at The Restaurant (my bill paying job). My lines and songs were down solid, so that wasn’t the issue.

The real issue was that I was beginning to think I was a terrible actress. I lost my appetite and stopped eating. My stomach felt like it would erupt at any given moment. I was clinging to my confidence by a thread. Every night after dress rehearsal I went home in tears. And then, of course, I would get angry because I felt so pathetic. Because I had never reacted this way before. Even on opening night, as my wig was being placed on my head, I burst into tears (which was really stupid considering all the heavy makeup I had on).

As I paced alone in my dressing room, listening to the ensemble sing over the monitors, I rehearsed my lines in “Grace-speak.” I knew I had about ten minutes left before my entrance, all the while there was a pressure behind my eyes threatening to make me cry again.

Stupid, I thought, you’re being so stupid!

And then I recalled what my friend Noelle, who was also in the show playing Lily St. Regis, said to me earlier: “Just have fun and don’t care so much about what other people think of you. Just enjoy it!”

And then I remembered what my mother said: “Remember, in the whole scheme of things, it’s just a show.”

Tactics at making your anxiety go away. The funny thing was, I knew this all along, but I had gotten so caught up with the largeness of the production of Annie and its star talents that I actually let my nerves take over. Nervousness!! Something that Rowaders don’t usually feel. I guess there really IS a first time for everything…

So my ten minutes were up and I stepped out on stage to greet my scene partner Sally Struthers. It was all over from there on out…my anxiety, that is. Winking smile 

Anyway, one day someone said to me, “You are so skinny!”

“That’s because I haven’t eaten in a week,” I laughed.

“Why?” she said.

“Because I was freaking out.”

And so is the life of an actor…

 

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