|If you have a question for Carolee, please
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I know I've probably mentioned it before, but I
don't LOVE rehearsing. That may seem weird for an
actor ... isn't that the creative part, the exciting
process of the art? Well, maybe for some people
(hmmm ... sounds like a song cue ...
Some people might like to rehearse,
Making their choices for better or worse.
That's peachy for some people, for some ....
oh, you get the idea)
but I really enjoy the day when we say goodbye to
the rehearsal room and move to the theater. Well,
We did some good work here at 42nd Street Studios
thanks to the amazing direction of Diane Paulus,
but after 4 weeks in the same room 8 hours a day,
we're a little stir-crazy. Now we're getting a little
closer to my favorite time ... playing it in front
of an audience! We will have our first preview performance
on March 15th at The Lunt-Fontanne Theater. I can't
wait to see what the reaction will be. I'll keep
"Press Day" at
the rehearsal studio with (from left to right)
Back row - James Graham (book writer), Mia
Kelsey Grammer, Eliot Kennedy (song writer)
Second row - me, Sawyer Nunes, Laura Michelle
Kelly, Diane Paulus, Matthew Morrison, Teal
Boys in front - Jackson deMott Hill, Hayden
Signoretti, Alex Dreier, Chris Richards,
Noah Hinsdale, Aidan Gemme
This business brings with it lots of hellos and
just as many goodbyes. This week I have both.
I'm excited about opening night for the world premiere
of Tuck Everlasting in Atlanta. I've been
involved with readings and workshops of the show
for almost 5 years, and being able to perform in
the first real production has been very satisfying.
Unfortunately, the production dates overlap with
another show I've been working on....Finding
Neverland. So, the only way to do both is to
leave Tuck early, which means I will open
the show on Wednesday, and finish my run on Thursday.
Crazy! I will miss that cast and that role a lot.
(After I leave, the role will be played by the amazing,
Tony Award-winner, Beth Leavel.) It's been really
fun and I hope this is not the end of the Tuck
family, but as I say goodbye this week, I really
don't know what will happen.
On the hello side, I flew in last night to be at
the first day of Finding Neverland. I will
miss a few days of rehearsal this week so that I
can be in Atlanta, then I'll be back full-time.
It's always exciting on the first day ... it's like
a musical theater pep rally! I think part of the
excitement comes from the feeling of possibility
... this could be great ... only time will tell!
And you guys will let me know what you think.
I'll try to keep you posted.
Speaking of posts: I now have a Twitter account
and Instagram, too! Go figure! @CaroleeCarmello
I had a rehearsal last night with 212 lovely men
from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. I'll be
singing a couple of songs at their Home for the
Holidays concert on Dec. 19th, 20th, and 21st. It
was a real lesson for me, because after more than
30 years in this business, I can feel kind of jaded
about work sometimes. But last night I saw people
who were singing for the love of it, and having
the time of their lives doing it, too.
They seemed so happy just to enjoy the company and
the music and the fun of it. It was infectious.
I will try to carry that feeling with me into the
holidays and into my upcoming jobs.
If you're interested in sharing the fun, check out
their website .... www.nycgmc.org
Hope to see you there!
professional use of the "air microphone!"
Sometimes, a song is more than the sum of its parts.
This morning I sang on Kathie Lee and Hoda's hour
of The TODAY Show.
It was a song written by Kathie Lee and David Friedman
for a young woman who has been battling breast cancer
for years. Her mom wrote into the show as part of
the "Everyone Has a Story" segment. She
talked about her daughter's strength and courage
while fighting the cancer and raising her young
son as a single mom. It was a wonderful celebration
of Breast Cancer Awareness month and I was honored
to be a part of it.
Moments like that remind me of how lucky I am that
my children and I are healthy. It was really inspiring.
If you want to hear the song, you can use this
link to the video.
It's worth watching just for her adorable son,
Devan! He steals the show!
Ok, so I've been asked to do a Twitter chat!
I feel kind of stupid, because I've never done one
before and I'm not sure how, but I'm going to give
it the 'old college try!' Speaking of college, it's
happening in conjunction with a concert I'll be
doing this month at my college, The University at
Albany. I'm excited (and nervous) about being back
there and performing for so many friends and family.
That's always been harder for me than singing for
strangers. Anyway, I'd love for you guys to join
in the conversation, if you're interested. It's
going to happen on Tuesday, September 17th at 8:00pm.
( Use #AskCarolee to join in! )
This will be fun, if I can figure it out. But, hey
... I went to college, right? Yes! I can do this!
Wish me luck. Talk to you soon!
July 11, 2013:
Hey everyone, Just a short post to say that I'll
be at the Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, July 16th
to sing a couple of songs and sign copies of the
Scandalous CD. I'd love to see you there.
Kathie Lee Gifford will be there too, and we can
chat and take photos ... maybe some of those photos
will end up on this blog the next day! It's quite
The Barnes and Noble is at 150 East 86th Street
(at Lexington Ave.) and the doors open at 5:30pm.
If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and
June 9, 2013:
So, how did TONY night feel? Well, I've said this
a lot, but I felt grateful. Truly grateful.
I was so excited to be able to do Scandalous
in New York at all, and even though it had such
an untimely end, I was really still thanking my
lucky stars that I got to do that role-of-a-lifetime
(and it really was) 8 times a week. So, to have
been remembered during award season was a bonus!
I know how unlikely it is to receive a nomination
for a show that opened early in the fall, closed
quickly, and didn't receive such nice reviews...
so my hopes were not high. But (and here's where
I felt more gratitude) when I did get nominated,
I was thrilled!
The night started off with some hectic press on
the red carpet ... lots of photographers, lots of
video interviews, and lots of controlled chaos.
We moved into the theater and got to the snack bar
just in time to be told they were closing up and
that we should take our seats. (I begged for a cup
of tap water, because I was so thirsty from talking
for the past 45 minutes, and I finally found one
girl who took pity on me. Thanks to you, unnamed
snack bar girl!)
I had a great time sitting next to my daughter during
the show. She's very funny and I love hanging out
with her. It was a great chance for us just to be
together for a few hours. I thought the broadcast
went well. The numbers were fun, the speeches weren't
too long, and Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant
The party afterwards at The Plaza was lovely. What
a beautiful, elegant, and charming New York institution.
I love it there. I got to say hello to some friends,
including Patina Miller who won Best Leading Actress
in a Musical (a category near and dear to my heart).
We had a great time doing Sister Act together,
and I was really excited for her win (even though
there might appear to be some mixed feelings ....
see photo below). All in all, it was a thrilling
night and I was counting my blessings to have been
a part of it. It was a great topper to the whole
Posing on the red carpet
... so fun!
About to go into Radio City
with my daughter
Giving Patina a run for her
Today was a long day, but a day that I've been hoping
would happen for years.
We recorded the cast "album" for Scandalous!
(I know it's old-school, but I can't help calling
it a cast album.)
Anyway, it was a great day. I sang for about 12
hours, with short breaks, but I was so grateful.
I'm really glad we'll have a good-quality memory
of the show. It's a show that I've been involved
with for so many years and I've always wanted to
do a recording of the score with full orchestrations
and great voices and talented musicians.
It was a dream-come-true. Of course, the abbreviated
Broadway run was frustrating. We all wanted to have
a chance to do the show for a while, once we finally
stopped rehearsing. But, so many shows never make
it to Broadway at all, so I count myself lucky.
And even luckier now that it's been recorded!
I hope you'll enjoy listening to it and maybe get
a sense of the show, if you didn't have a chance
to see the production.
I'll keep you posted about the release date.
In the booth where I spent
most of my day.
Just wanted to let you guys know that I started
shooting a video blog that's being posted on Broadway.com
this week. There will be 8 episodes all together
and as I started to think about what you might want
to see in these videos, I thought 'Why not ask?'
So .... I'm asking .... Write to me at Caroleequestion@aol.com
and tell me what would be interesting or fun to
see me cover in one of the episodes, and I will
try to do it (as long as it's legal and doesn't
involve my nudity... Other nude people? Sure.) OK.
I look forward to hearing from you! Don't forget
to say 'hello' at the Neil Simon Theater when you
come to see Scandalous.
I'd love to meet you!
Rehearsing with the incomparable
I really never truly believed this day would come
.... the first day of rehearsals for Scandalous
on Broadway! So many things can happen to derail
a show on its road to Broadway, so I am beyond thrilled
that we've made it this far. We had a meeting with
the representative from our union (Actors' Equity),
then Kathie Lee spoke and David Armstrong spoke.
They are both so passionate about the show, that
it's like a pep rally. Then the ensemble started
working on music (there's a lot for them) and the
rest of us read through the whole script. We sat
around a big table and just said the words ... no
singing. Here's a photo of us in the rehearsal room.
There are some familiar faces and some new and exciting
faces (Like George Hearn! OMG!) I am so looking
forward to working with this group of people. I
feel so lucky today!
As we close the Broadway company of Sister
Act today, I'm thinking back on my
run here and feeling very fortunate. I have really
enjoyed my time with this cast. What a lovely, fun,
generous group of actors! I have had the privilege
of sharing the stage with two wonderful leading
ladies. Patina Miller's "Deloris" was
smart and beautiful and glamorous and touching.
Raven-Simone was charming, lovable and hysterically
funny. It's always amazing to me how two people
can say the same lines and sing the same songs and
give totally different performances. They each made
the character believable and winning in their own
unique way. It was a great run, and I'm sad to see
it end. But .... I can't help feeling really excited
about what's coming next .... Scandalous
on Broadway starts rehearsals in a week! Wow! Stay
Off-stage with Patina Miller
On-stage with Raven-Simone
July 19, 2012:
Big announcement today about Scandalous
coming to Broadway! So exciting! This is the show
I've been involved with for 7 years or so about
Aimee Semple McPherson. Some of you may have heard
me talk about it in the past. I've done numerous
readings, a workshop, and 3 productions of it under
the titles Hurricane Aimee and then Saving Aimee.
The music is by David Pomeranz and David Friedman,
and the book and lyrics were written by Kathie Lee
Gifford. This woman's life was so fascinating. I
have so much to sink my teeth into. It really is
a role I've been waiting to play for years. Aimee
was a pioneer in the history of powerful women,
she had three husbands (and probably a few boyfriends),
she was addicted to drugs and she was an evangelist
and healer. Anyway, I hope you'll come check it
out in October at the Neil Simon Theater. Here's
a photo from the recent production at The Fifth
Avenue Theater in Seattle:
Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't written in a while.
Life has been a little crazy the past few months
and it doesn't show signs of changing any time soon.
But the good news is, I have a job! (In this economy,
that's huge!) And it's a lot of fun! And I really
like the people I work with (see photo below):
Backstage with two of my
fantastic cast-mates: Patina Miller and Fred
I got an e-mail recently that made me laugh (and I'm
always grateful for that). Jamie wrote: I heard you
wear a wig in Sister Act? WHATTT? Do you have a picture?
Well, Jamie, I didn't have a picture.
But, your e-mail inspired me to get one. I don't wear
the wig for very long. There is one scene in the second
act where I am alone in my office and take off my
veil and hood. (The wardrobe department calls this
hood a balaclava, which is kind of like a ski
mask. The word comes from the name of a town in Crimea,
Ukraine. According to Wikipedia:
"During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were
sent over to the British troops to help protect them
from the bitter cold weather."
Other people sometimes refer to this hood as a "coif,"
but I digress ....) So anyway, I put the wig on right
before this scene. And I take it off right after.
The only way to get a photo was to stop for a moment
during the quick-change and have Karen from the hair
department snap a picture for me in the change area.
You can see Patina's gold finale costume hanging in
The wig itself is kind of cute. It's short and boyish
and gray. It seems right for the character. I was
nervous when I first heard I'd be wearing a wig, because
I thought it might be short and spiky. I had some
memory of nuns having their hair cut off when they
entered the convent, so I pictured a buzz cut! Anyway,
thanks for the question.
Stay tuned for more Sister Act fun .... Raven Symone
joining the cast next month.
The private Mother Superior
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a nice day
and a good meal. I had a few messages from people
who watched the Macy's parade and I just wanted
to tell you about the experience.
It was a lot of fun! It started out pretty early.
I woke up at 4:30am in order to get to the theater
by 5:45am. We all got into costume and make-up there
and then got on a bus which took us to 35th Street
(behind Macy's). At about 7:00am we rehearsed the
number for the cameras and then we were ushered
back to our trailers for an hour and a half wait
until show-time. That was fun, too! We got to see
people from lots of different shows hanging out
on the street in their costumes .... it was quite
a sight! It reminded me of the old movies about
Hollywood backlots where you'd see people walking
around in various crazy looks from different films
that were shooting at the same time .... a girl
dressed as a princess talking to guy in a gorilla
suit .... or a man in a Frankenstein costume having
coffee with a Viking warrior. Anyway, I had such
a good time! And it turned out to be a beautiful
day, when the sun came up.
This has been a whirlwind of a week for me. I joined
the show a few days ago on Saturday, November 19th
and was barely comfortable with what I was doing
when we did this different version of "Spread
the Love" for the parade. But I'm so grateful
to have this job. I'm just beginning to feel settled
now and everyone at the Broadway theater has been
very welcoming. I'm thankful for that and
for all of you for always being so supportive,
Rehearsing the number before
the parade started
Passing through the store
to get to the performance area,
we couldn't resist a photo. (from Right: Alena
Audrie Neenan, Me, Danny Stiles and
dashing out of frame, Roberta Wall)
On the street with the adorable
and brilliant Daniel Radcliffe!
I got an e-mail today from Allison asking: I
know there are some rumors going around about you
taking on the role of Mother Superior in Sister
Act in the near future and was just wondering
.... Yes, Allison, it's true. I haven't started
to rehearse the role yet, so it doesn't quite seem
real to me, but it is official. I'm excited to get
back to work. I just got home yesterday from Seattle
(where I finished the run of Saving Aimee
at The 5th Avenue Theater) and I don't have much
time off, but I'm glad to have the job and excited
to get started. I will begin rehearsing this Thursday
and work with the Stage Manager to learn the scenes
and with the Musical Director to learn the songs.
Then my guess is that I will have a "put-in"
rehearsal with the cast the day I go into the show.
That may be the only time I work with some of the
other actors before I'm actually on stage with them.
It's a little crazy, but that's the normal routine
for replacing someone in an existing show. It's
a little like working in front of a green screen
when filming a monster movie ... you're acting in
a bit of a vacuum, but you hope it looks ok in the
finished product! So, wish me luck! It should be
fun .... eventually .... when I learn my lines!
I'll keep you posted.
Well, tonight we'll do our first preview of Saving
Aimee.... we'll have a real live audience! That's
usually a thrill and a nightmare all at once. And
this is no exception. The scary thing is that at
this point so many things are not solidified. The
set changes have not been completely worked out,
the costume changes are still a bit hectic, and
the script changes keep coming. We're on shaky ground,
but there's no turning back now.
This is pretty normal for a show at this stage of
the game .... especially a new musical, which is
constantly in flux. I have to remind myself that
it will get better. Maybe not tomorrow, or the next
day, but things will settle eventually. The rough
spots will get smoothed over and after a week or
so of previews, we'll see if we have a good show
on our hands.
So wish us luck! We'll need it.
Talking over yet another script
change with Kathie Lee
(Hope I remember them all.)
Sitting on the witness stand
in the courtroom scene
(notice all the stairs on this set .... precarious
with a long gown!)
Just wanted to let you all know how rehearsals are
going for Saving Aimee out here in Seattle.
As with most new musicals, the process is long and
winding. I have been involved with this show on
and off for about 7 years, and the writers have
been working on it even longer. Each incarnation
(whether it has been a reading or a workshop or
a regional production) has changed the piece. This
one is no exception. Every day when we start rehearsal,
we all get a stack of changes and new pages which
we have to incorporate. This week, the goal of the
writers (Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman, and
David Pomeranz) and the director (David Armstrong)
was to cut at least 10 minutes out of the second
act. It's tricky because they are trying to preserve
as much of the story as they can in the shortest
amount of stage time. That means that sometimes
things get cut that people were really attached
to .... we try not to take it personally. Tomorrow
we're moving out of the rehearsal room and into
the theater itself. That's always exciting, but
also a big adjustment. It takes time to get used
to the set, costumes, microphones and lights ....
there are a lot of new elements to deal with in
the next few days. So as we move out of this phase,
I thought I'd share a couple of photos with you.
I'll try to post another update soon.
Rehearsing the "Garden
of Eden" scene with (from right to left)
Ed Watts and Billie Wildrick (as Adam and
Eve), and Mara Solar (on ladder). Notice my
make-shift rehearsal costume .... the cast
thinks the cape makes me look like a vampire!
Discussing the script with Joel
Fram (musical director) and Kathie Lee Gifford.
She is always entertaining!
I received a photo today from Tom who happened to
be at Citifield on Monday when I was lucky enough
to be singing the National Anthem for the Mets'
game. It was a lot of fun! I brought my kids along
and we got to stand right on the field by home plate.
It was a real honor. Singing the anthem is always
an emotional experience for me, and it's a real
challenge to sing, as well (it covers a wide range).
I've found that the trick is to make sure you don't
start too high. If you choose the right key you'll
be fine. The problem is that usually you are singing
a capella, which means that there is no instrument
to help you choose your starting pitch. If you choose
incorrectly, there's no one to blame but yourself!
In a big stadium like Citifield, there's also the
"delay" to contend with .... you hear
yourself sing each note about 2 seconds after you
sing it.... very distracting. All that being said,
I love doing it and I'm so grateful to the Mets
for inviting me. P.S. They won the game, too! That
was a bonus!
Luckily, I was facing away
from this giant image of myself. Yikes!
This is the only way I'll
ever get on a major league ball field.
July 30, 2011:
I was thrilled to receive not one, but two e-mail
messages from Europe recently! It's so exciting
and flattering to know that people from across the
Atlantic are writing in! Jamie from Ireland asked:
....When you do a long run in a show, do you
constantly have to remind yourself of your next
line or does it come to you naturally? That's
an interesting question, Jamie. When I do a long
run, which I have been fortunate enough to do a
few times, most of the hundreds of performances
go by without a hitch. I don't think about the lines
or the lyrics before I go onstage, and they just
sort of flow easily. There are times, however, when
I have done a show for a very long time and suddenly,
for no apparent reason, I will "go up"
and forget what I'm talking about in the middle
of a scene. It's easy to get distracted by something
in the audience, or something the conductor is doing,
or something in your own head, when you've said
the same lines over and over, eight times a week,
for a year or more. When you do mess up, it certainly
tests your improvisational skills (to get yourself
out of the jam), as well as the concentration of
the other actors in the scene with you. It wakes
everybody up! And of course it's harder to get out
of a mistake in a song because there's usually
a rhyme involved!
Bernard from the Netherlands wrote in to say:
Hope to see you on (a Broadway) stage real soon
.... any chance of that happening? Well, I
certainly hope to be back on Broadway in the not-too-distant
future. In the meantime, I will be reprising a role
that I have performed in several past productions
(and workshops and readings). The show is called
Saving Aimee and I play real-life evangelist,
Aimee Semple McPherson. She led such a fascinating
life and I always having a good time playing the
part. The show is being produced at The 5th Avenue
Theater in Seattle, and we start rehearsals in August
and performances in September. Here's hoping it
goes well and makes its way back to New York. Stay
Preaching as "Aimee"
at The Signature Theater (2007)
May 23, 2011:
Well, unemployment has it's advantages. I have been
able to spend more time with my children and also
do some readings and workshops of new shows. Then
there are the benefits. So many organizations and
causes are struggling for funds right now .... theater
companies, too .... so time between gigs offers
a good chance to help out a little.
Tonight, I was performing at one of the many fund-raising
events that happen all over New York everyday. This
dinner was honoring Broadway director and writer,
James Lapine, and it was raising money for The New
York Theater Workshop.
One of the nice things about participating in events
like this, is reuniting with friends from years
ago. Back in 1992, I was lucky enough to be directed
by James in the Broadway production of Falsettos.
It had been about 19 years since I had sung "Unlikely
Lovers" with the original quartet from the
Broadway production. It was such a treat to sing
with them again! And the score, by William Finn,
is one of my favorites.
I also got to see and hear some other great performers
who participated, like Claudia Shear, Mandy Patinkin
and the very funny, Mo Rocca.
All in all, it was a very good night.
Backstage with (from left) Stephen Bogardus,
Heather Macrae, and Michael Rupert
With the brilliant, Bill Finn
With the charming and witty,
March 7, 2011:
Yesterday was my final performance at The
Addams Family. It was a fun performance....
lots of extra energy because of all the excitement.
Being part of an original cast of a new Broadway
show is a true honor. It's what we strive for in
the theater. It can have it's ups and downs, too.
There is a lot of stress in the beginning of the
process .... meeting and working closely with new
people, trying to figure out how to tell the story,
how your character fits in, learning and re-learning
material....and then, when everyone is at the peak
of exhaustion, opening the show and being concerned
about reviews, job security, etc. Afterwards, if
you're very lucky, you settle into a long run, which
has it's own challenges (I think I talked about
some of those in my blog entry from June 3, 2010).
But, at some point you leave the show or the show
closes and you have a day like I had yesterday.
In my case, it did feel like the right time to leave,
so I didn't have any of the frustration that can
accompany the closing of a show that you love (i.e.
Parade), but there is still a great
deal of emotion. I worked on the show for a year
and a half and during that time had some wonderful
experiences. It's always sad to say good-bye to
people that you love and admire. But, that is the
nature of this business .... you get very close
to people during an intense working situation, and
then you move on to new experiences. And I will
certainly keep you posted about my new experiences.
So, at the end of this chapter I am, in the words
of Andrew Lippa (composer/lyricist of The
Addams Family) "Happy/Sad."
At the good-bye party with
Nathan Lane and Adam Reigler
With the wonderful, Zachary James
With the adorable, Logan Rowland
With the lovely new "Alice,"
Several people (including Allison, Emma, and James)
have written in from the UK and from the US regarding
a new musical called Rebecca. It's
unusual for people to hear about projects in these
beginning stages, but I guess there was something
online and in the British press about a reading
of the show that will be done here in New York next
month. I have been asked to play the role of "Mrs.
Danvers" for the purposes of that reading,
which doesn't mean I will have any claim to the
part if it gets produced on Broadway. That's just
the way these things work. Sometimes actors stay
with a project from first reading to Broadway, and
other times actors get replaced along the way. So,
you try to do the best you can with the material
in hopes that the creative team will keep you on,
if it goes forward.
A couple of the e-mails asked if it would be possible
to see the presentation of the show. Unfortunately,
these readings are not open to the public. They
are strictly done for the writers and the director
and producer to see the material and make changes.
It's a very preliminary part of the process.
Another one of the e-mails asked: What's it
like to interpret such an iconic role?
Well, it's definitely a different kind of challenge.
Many of you may be familiar with the novel by Daphne
du Maurier, or the movie, Rebecca,
directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It starred Laurence
Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and a wonderful, Australian-born
actress named Judith Anderson as "Mrs. Danvers."
She had an amazing screen presence and a brilliant
take on the part. So, given the fact that she set
the bar so high, all I can do is my version of the
role and hope for the best. I have watched the movie
again recently and I am reading the novel for the
first time. I will work on the music (something
Judith didn't have to worry about!) and the scenes
and study the accent, and all of that will add up
to a version of the character that hasn't existed
before. Here's hoping it's interesting! I will keep
you posted on the progress of the show.
Judith Anderson as "Mrs. Danvers"
Anderson with Joan Fontaine
Liese wrote to me this week because she had heard
a rumor that I was leaving The Addams Family.
She wondered what was next for me (so do I). I thought
this would be a good time to talk about that and
about why an actor would leave a Broadway show.
Yes, I am leaving at the end of my contract....my
last performance will be March 6, 2011. There are
several other cast members who are also leaving
that day: Kevin Chamberlin, Terry Mann, Krysta Rodriguez,
Wesley Taylor, and Nathan Lane. Some of the ensemble
actors have already left and more are leaving in
the next month or two.
So, what goes into a decision to leave a good job
like this? Well, first of all, actors can be contracted
for a certain length of time (this is usually the
case with actors playing principal roles....ensemble
generally have an open-ended contract which means
they can leave any time with 4 weeks notice) and
at the end of that time they may not have the option
to stay. It is up to the producers of a show to
decide whether or not an actor's contract gets renewed.
In the case of The Addams Family, all the
principals were offered a contract renewal, so then
it became the actor's decision to stay or not to
stay. It's obviously a very nice problem to have,
especially in this economy. Jobs in this business
are hard to come by, so why would you ever walk
away from one? Well, for me there are several factors.
I try to consider the creative satisfaction of the
role, the people in the company, the possibility
of other work, and of course, my financial needs.
Often, it comes down to the artistic frustration
of doing the same thing over and over versus the
financial reality of needing to make a living. After
playing "Alice Beineke" for a year and
a half all together, I feel that I need to move
on to something else to challenge myself. It has
been a lot of fun and the cast is really great,
but it's time to open myself up to some other possibilities.
I'm taking a chance because I don't know when or
if I will get another job, but I am hoping that
this risk will pay off.
As I was writing this, I asked some of my fellow
actors about their reasons for leaving.
Kevin Chamberlin ("Fester") said: "I've
never stayed this long in a show before. My next
longest was 8 months. It's time. Also, I really
miss home. (Kevin lives in L.A.)
Terrence Mann ("Mal Beineke") said: "I
wanted to stay on, but had a scheduling conflict
so it didn't work out." (Terry teaches and
directs at a college in North Carolina and they
needed him in March, so he wasn't able to continue
with the show.)
Krysta Rodriquez ("Wednesday") said: "I
feel at this point like I'm ruining the role, so
it's time to go." (Of course she's still wonderful
in the role, but that's part of the issue for lots
of actors....feeling like your performance is not
as good as it used to be somehow and not feeling
creative anymore.) and
Wesley Taylor ("Lucas Beineke") said:
"I just couldn't stand working with Carolee
Carmello anymore!" (We've actually become good
friends and it will be hard to say goodbye to him.
That's the nature of this business, but it's still
Of course, the best reason to leave a show is because
you have another bigger and/or better job to go
to....let's hope that happens soon for all of us.
I will keep everyone posted about my employment
after March 6th. Keep writing your questions to
me. I love hearing from you!
And Happy New Year!
Allison from North Carolina wrote: I was just
curious if you always knew you wanted to do Broadway
when you were growing up? Also, if you weren't doing
Broadway, what other career would you have?
I don't think I even really knew what a Broadway
show was when I was a kid. Although, my parents
did have a couple of cast albums (for you Allison....that's
what came before cassettes, which came before cd's,
which came before iTunes) and I liked to sing along
to them. I remember we had West Side Story,
Godspell, and The Sound of Music.
They must have had more impact than I thought. But,
I didn't have a life in the theater in mind AT ALL
back then. I never took singing lessons or signed
up for acting classes. (I wrote a little about this
in the blogs on April 17th and July 16th.)
I worked my way through school not knowing exactly
what I wanted to do, like so many people do. Sometime
in high school I started thinking about the business
world. I wanted to be a high-powered executive at
a big corporation or an attorney in a big law firm.
I suppose that's what I would still want to do if
I changed careers now.
I know lots of actors who dreamed of being on Broadway
when they were young. That wasn't me. I decided
after getting my college degree in Business. When
I finally moved to New York, I had a lot of catching
up to do. I learned from other actors at auditions,
I learned from directors and musical directors when
I had work, I went to see shows when I could afford
it, and I listened to more cast albums in my spare
time. It was a long process which continues to this
day. I wouldn't change my path, though. I think
it made me who I am. And who knows....I may still
end up in a law office someday....if only on an
episode of "Law and Order."
I worked on an interesting project this week. It's
a new musical based on a book called Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt (whom I got to meet today!) with
a script by the incomparable, Claudia Shear, and
a score by two talented writers named Chris Miller
and Nathan Tysen. It was fun to be the first to
sing this new material and there really were some
beautiful songs in it.
People sometimes wonder how a new Broadway musical
gets started. Well, a "reading" like what
we did this week is often part of the process. The
creative team (the writers and the director) ask
a group of actors to work on the material with the
help of a musical director (in this case the fabulously
talented, Rob Berman). The Actors' Equity Association
(the union for stage actors and stage managers)
calls this week-long job a "29 Hour Reading,"
because all the rehearsals cannot total more than
29 hours. This usually means rehearsing all day
for about 4 days and then doing a presentation of
the show on the 5th day. This bare-bones performance
is normally done with scripts in hand, because there
isn't enough time to memorize everything, and with
very little, if any, staging. Because it's sometimes
hard to convey what's happening in a scene, often
someone will read stage directions. This means that
the actors will be reading the lines in a scene
and someone will interject a narration such as,
"She opens the window and climbs outside"
or "He raises his gun and points it at the
little girl's head" or "The set revolves
to reveal a large tree" (all of which were
said at the Tuck reading!).
This process is helpful to the writers because they
get to hear their work read and sung and they can
step back and decide what changes to make. It also
helps the director to better envision the show.
And it's a lot less expensive than doing a full
production with sets and costumes. The "audience,"
sitting in folding chairs in the rehearsal room,
usually consists of producers, designers, general
managers and investors (also known as "backers,"
which is why these readings are sometimes called
"Backers' Auditions"). Now, the actors
don't get paid much and it's intense, fast-paced
work. You might wonder why they would agree to do
this. Well, sometimes it's because they want to
have the chance to work with a particular director
or writer. Sometimes they want to get in on the
ground floor of a new project in hopes of being
hired to do the real show someday (like working
on 'spec' in other businesses). Sometimes they haven't
worked in a while and just want to feel creative.
(There's a high rate of unemployment in this business,
and it can be good to keep your game up...like training
during the off-season.) Anyway, it's an interesting
part of the theater business. We do so many of these
readings and most of them will not become
Broadway shows. But, I always wish the best for
the creators of these pieces. They put their hearts
and souls, not to mention years of toil, into their
work and get very little encouragement. So here's
to Tuck Everlasting making it to a theater
finally got to work with the delightful director,
with great actors is a perk!
(clockwise from bottom left: John Dossett, Jeremy
Jordan, and Andrew Keenan-Bolger)
the award-winning author, Natalie Babbitt, and
Matthew Schechter, and Rozi Baker (our amazing
Well, today was a fun day here at The Lunt-Fontanne
Theater. I felt very special and I just wanted to
say "Thank You" to a few people who made
me feel that way. I wasn't really looking forward
to doing two shows on my birthday, but it turned
out just great! First of all, I am very grateful
to have such a good job and to work with such interesting
and talented people. "Thank you" to those
friends in the cast who went to The Red Lobster
with me to help me celebrate. (I picked that restaurant
because we have a joke in The Addams Family
about The Red Lobster....and there were lots of
other Red Lobster jokes that didn't make the final
script ....I thought it would be a fun place for
us to have a little party.) We had a fabulous server
there called Mike who made us feel very welcome...."Thanks,
Mike!" Before the second show, there was a
gathering on the stairs (that's where we have birthdays
here at The Lunt) with a full-voiced Broadway version
of "Happy Birthday To You" and there was
a delicious birthday cake, baked by Katy. "Thanks,
Katy!" Throughout the day, I received some
sweet phone calls and flowers and gifts from family
and friends (even a birthday tiara from my hairdresser,
Kevin). I also got a package of goodies at the stage
door from Ronda with treats and a wonderful book
of letters from fans, put together by Jen. So "Thank
You, Jen and Ronda!" And "Thanks"
to everyone who wrote such lovely letters for that
book....I really was touched. And when all was said
and done, I went home to my children and my husband,
who are the best gifts of all. Wow, I better wrap
this up....I'm sounding like a Hallmark movie-of-the-week.
I do think birthdays are good days to sort of take
stock and remember all the good in my life and remind
myself of how truly fortunate I am. At the end of
the day, I felt like a very lucky birthday girl
(well....birthday middle-aged woman)!
The Red Lobster with Jackie, Krysta, Wesley,
Merwin, Zachary, and Kevin
a wish! (behind me, John from wardrobe valiantly
trying to get work done....Sorry, John!)
Emma sent me an e-mail this week and in it she said
that a show I did called Lestat is one
of her "guilty pleasures." She also wrote:
"I wondered if you have any musicals that you
rank as guilty pleasures." I had to really
think about that one. I don't have cast recordings
that I listen to all the time...or ever, really.
In fact there are some c.d.s that I sang on that
I haven't listened to yet. (I find it very hard
to listen to myself....plus, when I have time to
listen to something, I don't usually listen to music....I
guess I get enough of that at work.) Anyway, there
are a couple of shows that I've seen more than once
(which is rare for me) and I think they could fall
into that category.
starring Jen Laura Thompson and Jeremy Kushnier
When my daughter was about three years
old, I took her to see Footloose. She was
crazy about it! And since she had so much fun, I
did, too. I took her back to see it several times.
I thought the performances were really good. I knew
some of the actors, including Dee Hoty and Catherine
Cox, and that always makes a show more fun. Years
later I was lucky enough to work with the lovely
and talented Jen Laura Thompson in Urinetown.
She was so terrific and I felt like I knew her right
away from all that stalking I did during Footloose!
starring David Engel, Guy Stroman, Stan Chandler,
and Jason Graae
The other show that I can think of
that I saw again and again is Forever Plaid.
Those original guys were so amazing! I had a blast
and I loved all that four part harmony....the vocal
arrangements were fantastic. I saw it a few more
times when friends of mine were doing the show and
it always made me smile! I guess I was born in the
Anyway, thanks Emma. I'm glad you enjoyed Lestat.
I'm sorry the recording was never released. People
ask me about it and I really don't know what happened.
I know we recorded the whole score and I think it
sounded pretty good. Maybe someday they'll release
it....and maybe I'll actually listen to that one!
July 16, 2010:
I just got a very nice e-mail from Amanda, who has
been performing and studying dance for years, but
has less experience with singing.
She asked: "If what I've read is true (that
you never took voice or acting lessons) .... how
do you build up your confidence enough to go out
and audition and feel good about it?"
Well, Amanda, it's true that I never had any
formal training in singing or acting. My degree
is in Business and I....wait I talked about all
that back in April when I was answering another
question on the blog (so I'll try not to repeat
myself), but there certainly are many successful
actors who did study theater, like you're
doing, and feel like they got a lot out of it. I
guess I learned by watching and listening to other
people. I saw shows when I could afford it, and
I listened to cast albums, and I learned from musical
directors and actors I worked with....on the job
I can really relate to your concern, though, from
the opposite perspective. I usually felt ok about
singing, but never liked to dance at auditions
because I was sure I would lose the job. That was
one of the hardest things I had to get used to when
I first started auditioning in New York. I didn't
know the dance terms, I couldn't pick up the combinations
quickly, and I felt like a big clutz! I took myself
to some dance classes right away and tried to make
up for lost time, but I soon realized I was never
going to be a great dancer. No real surprise there,
but I still had to get through the auditions. Well,
I suppose I did what it sounds like you are
already doing. I took some classes and some baby
steps that added up to a couple of jobs, which gave
me a little more confidence at the next audition.
I guess I would tell you what I tried to tell myself
back then: keep at it and try to remember that sometimes
personality is more important than technique and
that being well prepared will take away some of
the nerves. Pick a song or two that suit you well
and work on them until you can sing them without
feeling a knot in your stomach. Also remember that
the people on the other side of the table really
want you to do well....they're rooting for you!
Try not to be too hard on yourself. And the more
you audition, the easier it will be. I promise.
If I can do a time step, you can sing an up-tempo!
On a separate note, I just want to say thanks to
everyone who came to the CD signing at Barnes and
Noble yesterday. It was fun to meet all of you and
to be a part of the assembly line of autographing!
Henry Ford would have been proud.
Barnes and Noble for the CD signing of The Addams
Family cast recording
right, Zachary James (Lurch), Krysta Rodriguez
(Wednesday), Andrew Lippa (composer/lyricist),
Me, Wesley Taylor (Lucas), Jackie Hoffman
(Grandmama), and Adam Reigler (Pugsley)
June 3, 2010:
I got an e-mail this week from Jordan G. who has
been doing a show for about 7 months and asked:
How do you have the energy to do the same show
8 times a week? Like, how do you not get bored?
Well, Jordan, that's a tough one. I have been
in several long runs in my life, which makes me
fortunate, I know, but it is a continuing struggle.
Some actors don't do long runs for that very reason.
For me, the key is remembering that most of the
people in the audience are seeing it for the first
time. No matter how many hundreds of times you have
said that punch line, or sung that song, for them
it is totally new and they deserve your best. Everyone
has their own way of dealing with this issue, though,
so I thought I'd ask some of my cast-mates at The
Addams Family for their opinions about this
Rodriguez (long runs- A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening,
In the Heights) said : We play games onstage....try
to keep things new....try to attack the scenes in
a new way.
James (long run- South Pacific) said: I do
lots of outside projects like readings and workshops
of new shows and concerts. During the performance,
I keep myself entertained between scenes by watching
movies on my computer in the dressing room.
Johnsen (long runs- La Cage aux Folles, Mamma
Mia!, 42nd Street) said: I try to notice something
different onstage every night....like a lighting effect
or a particular musical instrument, or someone's make-up.
Mann (long runs- Cats, Les Miserables, The Scarlet
Pimpernel, Beauty and the Beast) said: When I
get really bored, I try to start really listening
to the other actors onstage....like I'm hearing everything
for the first time.
Sutton (long runs- Wicked, La Cage aux Folles)
said: I try to re-invent! Try something new every
when I asked Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu, Hairspray)
"How do you stop yourself from getting bored
doing 8 shows a week in a long run?" She said:
She's right, of course. It's inevitable. I truly
believe that no matter how much you love doing
something, if it becomes your job and you have
to do it every day for a long time, you will get bored.
And you'll get frustrated. And you'll get tired of
it. But, there are also moments when you'll have fun
and the time will fly by and you will be very grateful
to be employed....just like at any job.
- May 20, 2010:
I recently got an e-mail from Jerry S. who wrote:
....I just have to tell you what a pleasure it
is to listen to your rendition of "Anytime"
from the Elegies cd.... .....Who played the
piano on your song?
Thank you, Jerry, for the sweet message. I do love
that score. I adore Bill Finn's writing. I think he
is so brilliant! He can create a scene that makes
you laugh while it also touches you profoundly. I
have had the amazing luck to perform so many of his
songs, and "Anytime" is one of the most
memorable. Singing it was, hands down, the hardest
thing I have ever had to do in a show. All I had to
do was stand upstage center and sing, but the emotion
of it would overwhelm me every time and I had to hold
on with all my strength just to get through it. As
soon as the song was over, I would exit and start
sobbing. Then I would go to my dressing room (which
I shared with Betty Buckley) and clean up my face
and get ready for the next number. One night at that
moment, Betty told me that I should never apologize
for those sobs, that I should always enjoy that emotion.
(By the way, she always made me sob when I watched
her sing "Only One." She's amazing!) I am
glad those songs were recorded. It was a great cast
and wonderful music. The pianist on the recording,
and during the run of the show, was our very talented
musical director, Vadim Feichtner.
Jerry also asked: So how do we get you to do an
album of your own?
I would love to do an album at some point. Part of
the problem is finding the time. Between my family
and my 8 shows a week, it's a challenge to fit in
other things. But, the bigger issue is: What would
I sing? I really want it to be something other than
just a random group of songs. I want it to have an
idea behind it, some kind of structure. That's what
I'm stuck on. If anyone out there has an idea for
a theatrical album that hasn't been done yet, write
it in....I promise to give you credit in the liner
|Cast of Elegies:
(from left) Michael Rupert, Me, Keith Byron Kirk,
Betty Buckley, and Christian Borle
May 13, 2010:
Rachel S. and Kari N. each wrote lovely e-mails
..... Thank you both very much for all the sweet
things you said. They each talked about Parade
(a show I did at Lincoln Center) and they also asked
about getting started in show business, auditioning,
First of all, I am so happy that Parade
is still being done around the country and that
actors can perform those beautifully written songs
and scenes and that audiences can experience a show
that meant so much to me. I felt so incredibly lucky
to work on the role of "Lucille"....I
don't think any piece of theater before or since
has been quite the same for me. It was challenging,
satisfying, thrilling, devastating and even fun
all at the same time. I still remember that feeling
I had back in 1996 after doing a reading of the
show for the first time. I had done quite a few
readings of new shows at that point (some of which
had been produced, many of which hadn't) and I kept
saying to my cast-mates, "This is really good.
Isn't it? I think it is. It's special." They
agreed, but we all knew in this business, nothing
is a sure thing. Sometimes the shows that you think
will be successful, are not, and the ones you have
no faith in, become hits. Well, it took a few years
to make it to Broadway, but it did. I cried the
first day of rehearsal listening to the ensemble
sing "The Old Red Hills of Home." I cried
even harder, though, when we had to close the show.
It was so frustrating to see something so good come
to an end so quickly. I'm glad we made the C.D.
(which almost didn't happen because the money had
run out) .... it helps the show live on. I can't
listen to it, though, because it's still too emotional
for me all these years later.
now to the second half of this blog. Wow! People create
websites and write entire books devoted to auditioning
for the theater. Obviously, I can't offer much in
my little paragraph here. I guess what I can offer
is a couple of things people said to me when I was
first starting out that stuck with me. Beyond the
straight forward advice like... be on time for your
audition, dress appropriately (but not in a costume),
have your material well prepared, make sure your sheet
music is easy to read, be confident, don't let the
hallway gossip intimidate you, make sure you warm
up, etc... I think there are a couple of things I
1. Be professional and polite to the people you work
with and the people you audition for because you don't
want to get a reputation as a difficult actor. The
competition is too stiff to risk losing a job over
someone's hurt feelings. Also, you never know which
production assistant or chorus dancer or casting associate
may be making tomorrow's decisions!
2. Offer to be a "reader" at any auditions
that will have you. You can do this if you have a
friend who is directing a play, or you can mention
it to a casting director that you've auditioned for,
but make it known that you will volunteer your time.
It is incredibly helpful in understanding the process
and in seeing what works and what doesn't work in
the audition room.
3. Audition as much as you can.... don't assume you're
wrong for a part. Just go in and do your best. They
may have a different idea about the part than you
think, or you may change their minds because you bring
something unique to the role, or they may think of
you for another project they're doing someday. But
even if none of that happens, you will learn something
from that audition that will help you in the future.
4. Try not to take any of it personally. So many people
audition for every job and most of us don't get it.
So often, it has little to do with your talent. It
may be your hair color, your age, your height, or
your similarity to the director's sister! Whatever
it is, you probably will never know, so try not to
dwell on it after the audition is over. I know that's
easier said than done! We all struggle with it, even
after years in the business and lots of Broadway shows
on our resumes! If you're passionate about theater
(like Kari and Rachel), keep working toward your goal
and don't get easily discouraged. See you on Broadway!
May 6, 2010:
Dan F. from Chicago wrote a very sweet e-mail. In
it he says:
.....I hope the company isn't discouraged by
the Tony results. Many of my friends saw the show
here and we ALL adored it....
Thank you, Dan. I really appreciated everything
you said (especially about Parade and Elegies, which
hold such wonderful memories for me). Well, award
season in the theater community is such a microcosm
of this business. The highs are thrilling and the
lows are devastating. I can't say we weren't disappointed
by the nominations. The mood at the theater has
definitely been strange. Everyone here, on stage
and off, works so hard to make the best show we
can. That's true of any new Broadway production.
The road to opening night is often long and arduous,
so it's hurtful when the response is not what you'd
hoped. It's a part of this business that can be
very stressful. On the other hand, the audiences
that have come to The Addams Family have
been terrific....and thousands of people continue
to buy tickets despite the reviews and the Tony
nominations and the gossip columns. Part of why
an actor wants to be involved in a new show is to
be a part of that creative process, and also to
be "noticed" by the theatrical community.
But it's a double-edged sword. You put yourself
out there to be judged and....guess what....you
are! That can be scary. I suppose that's probably
true for anything worth trying. If you want to grow,
you have to push yourself and try new things. Sometimes
you will benefit in ways you aren't expecting. I'm
really grateful for the opportunities I've had in
this business. There is quite a bit of luck involved
and lots of things are out of your control. All
you can do to stack the deck in your favor is to
offer up your best effort in each situation. On
a happy note: Today I was celebrating at the Drama
Desk Nominee Reception....where The Addams Family
was appreciated (8 nominations!)
|With Addams Family
nominees: Julian Crouch, director/designer (left);
and Andrew Lippa, composer/lyricist (center)
May 1, 2010:
Caity from Illinois had lots of questions. She saw
The Addams Family in Chicago and wondered
about the things that have changed since then. One
of Caity's questions was: Do you miss any of
the cuts that were made between Chicago and Broadway?
For example, I will forever mourn you and Bebe doing
the Tango together in "At Seven."
That is definitely one of the things that I miss,
too, Caity. What a thrill for me to be dancing (or
at least trying to dance) with Bebe Neuwirth! That
scene was really a highlight for me. But, that's
par for the course of a new musical. Things are
cut and moved around and new things are added and
later cut....it's a crazy process. The trick is
not to take it personally. The director and the
writers do what they think will be in the best interest
of the show. Sometimes that's good for you and your
character, and sometimes it's not, but you have
to roll with the punches. Anyway, the new little
scene I get to do with "Lurch" in the
2nd Act is an added bonus since the Chicago production.
Zachary James (who plays "Lurch" so beautifully)
is a great guy and so terrific to work with....and
what an amazing voice!
|Bebe and I rehearsing
a scene (that was later cut!)
|Cuddling up with
April 19, 2010:
Jen B. asked: Isn't Alice your first character
that you were able to "personalize?" I'm
not sure how to word it, but I hope you understand
what I mean.
I do understand what you mean, Jen. I suppose
if we were fancy theater types, we would use words
like "originate" or "create"
a role, but I think "personalize" is a
great way to say it! The composer and lyricist and
book writer and director (not to mention costume
designer and, most important of all, hair designer!)
certainly have lots of input about what the character
will be like, but being the first person to perform
a role on Broadway is still really cool. I guess
because you're a part of theater history, in a way.
Yours is the voice and face and attitude that will
first be associated with this person. Sometimes
in the making of the show (rehearsals, previews,
etc.) you have an opportunity to make suggestions
about lines or music...and sometimes they even take
your suggestions and put them in the show. That's
exciting. I've been lucky enough to go through this
process a few times before The Addams Family:
in a show at Lincoln Center called Parade,
in an Elton John musical called Lestat,
and I guess you could say Falsettos (although
a woman named Janet Metz played the role Off-Broadway.)
I was also involved in a bunch of new Off-Broadway
shows over the years, which were great chances to
"personalize" roles, too.
Also, in the case of a Broadway musical, you usually
get to be on the original cast recording. That is
what we've been doing all day today! In a recording
studio in midtown, we all got together (cast, orchestra,
conductor, arranger, stage manager, composer, etc.)
to sing through the score of the show. It gets recorded
in one long day, but then it is produced in the
weeks that follow, until it is ready to be released.
It's an exciting, albeit pressured environment....
you get to do each song only about two times, sometimes
in pieces, and then you're done and your performance
is in the hands of the editors (usually the composer
and the record producer) and you hope for the best!
Rarely, if ever, do you get to listen to a take
while you're in the studio. We hear the finished
product when you do, after we rip open that cellophane....why
is that stuff so hard to take off???
fun with....(from Left) : Rachel de Benedet, Alena
Watters, Jessica Lea Patty, Matthew Gumley, Samantha
Sturm, Liz Ramos, Valerie Fagan, Charlie Sutton,
Clark Johnsen, Morgan James, Carolee Carmello,
Fred Inkley, Erick Buckley, Merwin Foard, Colin
Cunliffe, Jimmy Borstelmann, and Barrett Martin.
Francesca asked (among other things): Why didn't
you go into the Business field? What made you choose
theatre over the dream you were trying to achieve throughout
your early life?
April 17, 2010:
The winner of the MOST-QUESTIONS-ASKED contest is
.... Francesca! She numbered them, but I lost track
after about 35! Anyway, since she put so much time
and effort into her e-mails, I thought she should
get at least couple of answers to her many queries.
Francesca, that's a really good question....one
I have asked myself often over the years (especially
when I've been unemployed). I guess the answer is a
combination of things. One of them, relates to another
one of your questions, actually.
You also asked: Do you have any big regrets in life?
One of the main reasons that I chose to pursue a career
in theater was to avoid a big regret later in life.
See, I was just about to graduate from college with
my degree in Business Administration and I found myself
at a fork in the road. I suppose that fork had more
than two tines: one that led to more schooling, either
an M.B.A. or a Law degree; one that took me straight
into a job in a big corporation; and another that followed
a dark path into the mysterious forest of show business.
(Sounds spooky doesn't it? Like in the horror film when
you're yelling at the girl onscreen not to open that
I had been offered a job at a summer theater in Lake
George, N.Y. by a producer who saw me doing a role in
a community theater production ( I did a few shows during
college, just for fun...never thinking about making
a career out of it.) Anyway, at that moment, I decided
to take the summer job and use the time to think about
my next step. Once I got there and started working on
the show (it was They're Playing Our Song)
I realized it was a lot less glamourous than I'd hoped,
but a lot more fun. The people were so smart and funny
and talented and they were all "professionals,"
as in, they made a living doing theater! It had never
occurred to me. By the end of that summer job, I had
decided to move to New York City and try it. I figured
I'd fail miserably, but I gave myself a year to audition
and learn what I could about the business. I did ok,
so I gave myself another year, and then another....
Here I am 27 years later, still wondering what comes
next! It's a crazy business, and I can't say I haven't
thought about quitting many times...I definitely have....but
I know that if I hadn't tried, I would have always wondered
P.S. I still think theater people are the smartest,
funniest, most interesting people I've ever met. I
feel really lucky to get paid to be around them every
April 12, 2010:
Well, this is very exciting for me! I am answering
my very first "viewer mail!" Liese was
the first to write in, so I thought it was only
fair for hers to get posted first....and she had
lots of questions. I'll try to answer a couple of
Liese asked: Do you still rehearse
all day? Are things still changing all the time?
Well, Liese, we were rehearsing changes every
day before the show (from about 1pm to 5pm) during
previews. That was pretty tiring. Sometimes the changes
were big, like a new song or scene, and sometimes
the change was just a new line here or there. Before
every show, the Stage Managers would put up a list
of the changes backstage, to remind us what was going
in that night. They would give each list a newspaper
heading to entertain us....like "The Tentacle
Times," "The Beineke Banner," or "The
Grandma Gazzette." Now that the show has officially
opened, rehearsals (and changes) are pretty limited.
The understudies will rehearse every week, but other
than that we just have to do our 8 shows a week. We
are recording the cast album on April 19th,
so there may be some rehearsal for that.
She also asked: Is the cast friendly....do
you get to play around when they're doing a scene
you're not in?
Yes, it's a great group of people. There are some
very amusing personalities crammed into that theater!
We try to make each other laugh all the time. When
we are not on stage, we all find our own ways to pass
the time until our next scene. I like to play scrabble
on my computer, Terry sometimes watches sports or
news in his dressing room, some of the more athletic
folks do push-ups and sit-ups, and Adam ("Pugsley")
and Katy (his chaperone, known in the entertainment
business as a "kid-wrangler") have made
up this entire dance that they do in the wings while
Nathan and Terry and Kevin are on stage singing "But
Love!" It's a fun place to work.
|Hanging out backstage
between scenes with Jackie Hoffman,
Terry Mann, and Kevin Chamberlin.
What a crazy month! Opening a Broadway show is a
little like giving birth, only there's no anesthesiologist
(unless you count the bartender at the opening night
party....but by that time the worst is over). I
remember when I was in previews for Parade,
I had a dream that Brent Carver and I were having
a baby.....wow....I am so obvious, even in my sleep!
Maybe before I get too far into this,
I should tell you a bit about myself. If you have
looked through this website, you probably know more
than you ever wanted to, but here's something you
didn't know: I have NEVER written a blog! Right now,
you're thinking...."duh, I could have figured
that out"....I say this by way of apology, because
I'm not exactly sure how to do this. I looked at some
other sites with blogs and those people talked about
everything from what I ordered at Starbuck's today
to what we should do about the National debt
to why you should become a Scientologist....I
was a bit confused. I kept thinking, what would someone
who is looking at a Carolee Carmello website want
to read in a blog??? Then it occurred to me....why
not ask you?
So this brings me to my request for
your help. I thought that if anyone reading this has
a question that they would like me to answer, they
could write in and I could choose one (or two or seven)
and answer them. It could be about The Addams
Family, or auditioning for musicals, or choosing
a breakfast cereal....whatever you want to talk to
me about. (P.S. Never end a sentence with a preposition,
like I just did.)
So, submit a question and stay tuned.
email Carolee at email@example.com