Tuesday, November 29, 2016

post show!

What a lovely way to start my Tuesday!

Post-show of "WHY" (which will have a reprise in NYC in the new year, and elsewhere too - stay tuned) it was a delight and honor to have Cabaret Scenes in the house and reviewer/writer, Victoria Ordin write a review!

here it is!


Never had the comparison to Chita before - but I will take it and am honored to do so!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Story, The Process

Happy Sunday!

Fall is my favorite - and watching the wind blow the leaves and the sun peek through on a Sunday morning is my meditation and centering today.

My show happens in just under 3 weeks.  Three weeks today,  I will be sitting with my coffee, decompressing post show!

Thank you for all the support and emails and messages along this journey.  It means the world to me.

I have been asked during this process,  "so what's the story behind this show?"

What is this show, anyway?

It's cabaret-esque.  It's concert-esque.  It's intimate.  It's collaborative:  The energy of a show like this evolves from the energy in the room, which involves the audience as much as the performers.

The collaboration started with director,  Trent Armand Kendall.

 He is a magnificent "vision-ist" (is that a word? well it is now!)  who has the ability to stand back and see the big picture,   and then go into the work without disturbing that big overview and make a subtle and clean adjustment,  and allow something else to be seen vividly.  He is a a riveting performer himself,  as well as a writer and producer,  radio show host and more.  Ultimately,  I trust him,  and he respects and gets me.  The work and the process can flourish in that environment.

The collaboration continued with music director,  Steven Ray Watkins.

Steven simply sees honestly.   He is able to listen,  and then makes adjustments to discover what needs to be in highest relief within a song, within a musical moment, within an arrangement,  and do it immediately,  put it in his hands,  and offer it through the keyboard and then through his arrangements for the band.
He finds me in musical moments in ways that allows me to settle in,  be safe and supported,  and wraps me in magnificent musical energy.

I have my cornerstones in my work and journey and process with these two men.

For those of you who have followed the blog since the beginning, or caught up along the way,  you know a little bit about my story.

Without going into gory detail,  or in the upcoming show,  this is my return to the New York stage since before the 2011 near fatal car accident my husband, Thomas Young & I were in.

I have been on stage more recently,  but not in a concert/cabaret show that was mine to weave since that accident.

Cabaret has always been my space.   I love the intimacy of the space,  I love the permission to break the 4th wall and take in the energy of the audience and be with them.  I love the flexibility of using that 4th wall AS energy for the audience to simply have distance and observe, if need be.

In my family,  I have always been one of the story tellers:  Once upon a time...the reader of books...the lullabies to go to sleep by... whether it was to my siblings,  my daughter,  my cousins,  my nephews and nieces...

I am a believer in the story being told without value judgment.  I believe in a story that has the ability for the listener to take away whatever they can see and feel and experience.  I believe in making a journey visceral, and real.  I believe in the universality of the human experience.

My journey has just as many questions as yours.  My experiences may not have anything to do with your experiences,  but the ability to HAVE experiences brings us together.

Experiences make us question.

Questioning doesn't always reveal answers,  simply more questions.

Are we okay with that?  Do we need more answers?  Do we need answers at all?

And as my daughter, Erin Elizabeth Eichhorn,  reminds me, in her ancient wisdom: Sometimes we have to be okay to move on from the question that doesn't have an answer.

And so,  the show explores the asking,  and the choosing,  and the not choosing.  Which is choosing, isn't it?  The choice not to choose?  It explores decisions, and the decisions taken away;  it explores fear,  it explores being real with all those choices,  and with the voices that speak to those choices;

The show celebrates life;  Celebrates possibility;   Celebrates discovery;  Celebrates return,  re-discovery, re-entry, re-creation, re-lease, re-lief:  that you re-emerge into to a place you are creating NOW.

The collaboration continues, with YOU the audience.  We,  together, weave the energy of the evening!  We, together,  lean forward, and lean back,  and create the space between that allows the magic to stir..

The show is called  - Why?

because...Why the hell not!

Join us, and celebrate LIFE!

Saturday, November 12th 7 p.m.
Laurie Beechman Theatre,  West Bank Cafe
Tickets available online HERE
or by calling:  212-352-3101

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I'm back on stage in NYC!

Happy Fall!  The season and weather is glorious and I hope you are enjoying it, wherever you are!

I have been absent - but here's WHY!

I am currently in rehearsal for a one-woman cabaret-esque show in NYC.

It's been a long road to get here - but I AM HERE!  5 years post car accident,  and it's time to stretch back onto the stage.

Would love to see you there - and if not in NYC, maybe somewhere near you SOON!

I am thrilled and honored to be working with two wonderful men:
Direction by Trent Armand Kendall
Music Direction by Steven Ray Watkins

Let's ask some big questions, and celebrate LIFE! 
Saturday November 12th 7 p.m. in New York City, Laurie Beechman Theatre! 

tickets available NOW! 
westbankcafe.com or by calling: 212-352-3101

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Putting yourself in the best light!

It's nearing the end of summer...shhhhh....

Many are in denial but there is an excitement that the fall season brings.  I won't lie:  fall is my favorite season.

So enjoy these last few days before the schedule shifts, and the evenings hopefully get a little cooler, and you have time to re-assess how you want to be seen!

How do you put yourself in the best light?

I was asked by Classical Singer Magazine to adjudicate some of the singers who applied to participate in their first Online Voice Competition.

Obviously,  the competition is working out its kinks as to how to make this idea work effectively, but for a first time, it was very successful.

However,  what was disappointing as an adjudicator is how many singers simply didn't put themselves in the best light in their recording process.

My colleague, Claudia Friedlander, graciously sent me the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange guidelines for Joyce DiDonato's masterclass series.  You can peruse it here.

For an online competition,  however,  may I suggest some things for you to consider to put yourself in the best light to be seen and heard?  These are observations,  and in our new digital age,  we are constantly learning together!

First, you do not need fancy equipment to record with.  You just need your smartphone.   Look to see what the requirements are - some competitions do not want additional microphone attachments.  Follow the guidelines.

If there is an option between a video and an audio - ALWAYS choose video.  Why?  We want to SEE you.  You are a singing actor - the story telling, the technical behavior resides in your body.  As an adjudicator,  I want to see you!

Do NOT send in a clip of a live performance.  Make this specific for the competition you are submitting for.  We don't want to see an audience member filming you between people's heads where you are not front and center in the frame!  There should be NO distractions.

Please use live piano.  This should be a LIVE recording.  Pre-recorded tracks do you NO favors.

Learn how, or get someone to edit the recording for you.  You don't want to walk in and out of the frame and send that in.  When the video opens, it should be YOU in the frame prepared to slate your name and what you are singing,  or giving yourself those few seconds to let your name/selection come up on the screen if you are really fancy and can add that feature to your finished product.

Where should you record?  Somewhere with a piano that isn't cluttered.  Again, too much distraction doesn't let us stay focused on YOU.  The piano/pianist does not need to be in the frame.  This is about YOU delivering the performance.  You don't want the focus to be so tight that all we see if your head - we want to see how you gesture and use your body.  Full body,  or 3/4 length is fine.

Make sure you don't cut off the top of your head in the frame.  Seriously.

Try to use a neutral wall/space behind you if possible.  Stand away from it - not against it.

Wear clothes and colors that enhance you!  Dress as you would for an audition:  no props, no costumes.

Get your hair off your face so we can SEE you!

Make sure the literal lighting doesn't create shadows on your face.

Give yourself a 5 second count before you start and after you finish so the recording isn't cramped or clipped.

Don't get someone to record by holding your device - even the most steady hand can get a little wobbly!  Create a flat surface that captures you comfortably.

Don't start walking around.  You aren't blocking,  you are presenting an audition-like video.  If you are moving in and out of the video frame,  this doesn't work.  If someone is working your camera for you, (as in, pressing "record" and "stop"),  they shouldn't be shifting it around to find you.  STAY PUT and know the perimeters of space you are working in so you don't wander out of the frame.

If you aren't used to doing this - practice!  Just start recording yourself regularly - so you get to know what your camera does,  what height you want your recording device to be at,  how far away/close up can it be so it captures as much of you as necessary,  what colors look good on camera,  what your "ticks" are - over-gesturing, shifting your weight,  looking down, looking up - so you can learn HOW to be in the frame and in your best light!

As an adjudicator,  I want to see and hear the best YOU - and not see possible potential that just wasn't captured due to a poor recording,  or not knowing what is expected in a general audition/competition.

Reveal yourself in the most professional way you can. We are all in your corner, but we can't do it for you.

Start researching,  start watching,  just start experimenting to see what you can do.

I am a techno-idiot, so if I can do it well,  so can you!

Put yourself in the best light you can!