Whew! Okay, it’s been a long time since I posted something – but now I can do some updates! The content of this will be slightly all over the place, not based on date but on “theme.”
The beginning of May was pretty damned good. What with my group Marquee Five winning a MAC Award on the 4th and all…yay!…we’re starting up rehearsals again for our NEXT show (title TBD) with all songs arranged by Adam West Hemming. Since then, I have upped my audition attendance in a very mindful way, completed the school year’s job of teaching 6th graders some improv drama games at All Soul’s Church, sang for a church gig a few times, and saw Iron Man 2 on the big screen (it wasn’t that bad, and since it was our first in-theater movie in MONTHS we were hungry for anything good).
One of the things I always look forward to each week is The Salon, an open mic event each Sunday. I was particularly excited to be singing at The Salon on the 23rd for the theme of “Sondheim.” Not only was the night filled with some of my favorite music by one of the best writers alive, but the special guest was Len Cariou, the original Sweeney Todd. I sang “The Miller’s Son” from A Little Night Music. Audio of that song can be heard here! In the beginning, you can hear the lovely “correcting” of the pronounciation of my last name by the audience (I get it all the time in auditions and doctors’ offices as “Rain” when it really is pronounced “Rah-een” in the Austrian tradition). You can read my blog entry of this event at the official Salon blog here and images from the event here. At the Salon on the 30th, I sang “Mr. Snow” from Carousel and “Whatever Happened to My Part?” from Spamalot – audio can be heard of “Mr. Snow” here.
At the 6/13/10 evening yesterday, which was themed “A Girl and a Guitar” (Female Songwriters), I sang Carol King’s “I Feel The Earth Move” (audio here) and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” (audio here), as well as Goldrich & Heisler’s “Fifteen Pounds (Away From My Love).” I also sang one of my father’s favorite songs for him, “If I Loved You” from Carousel, and recorded it here for him as it is his Birthday today! You can hear my recording for him here.
On other aspects of my month: My husband Pete and I shot a few Jay & Kay videos for 12seconds.tv and on Weds the 26th, I saw my friend Hector Coris sing selections from his new live CD “Life Is Wonderful” at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Square. On Saturday the 29th, I did one of the most fun, childish, geeky things: Pete & I went to a live Lightsaber Battle in Chrystie Park, and pretend sabre-battled with him and a complete pack of strangers. You can see some pictures Pete took here and here. I was ambushed by two 13 year old kids; they cut my legs off at the knee then did a double-handed cross-bladed move to cut my head off :). Memorial Day, I had a one-on-one session with Erin Cronican of The Actors Enterprise, getting some feedback on my career choices and some structural tips on cover letter writing, then went to a Memorial Day party, fully equipped with sangria and these amazing chorizo-date-bacon wrapped appetizers.
On another creative side this month, I got to return to one of the roots of my life that has laid dormant for a while…Directing! My UCLA alum friend, Brian Alan Hobbs, invited me to direct the 20-minute BMI presentation of his 4-song version of “Calvin & Hobbes,” which had lyrics by Jeff Bienstock and music by Hobbs. It starred Adam Spiegel (another composer…more on him later) as Calvin, Brittney Lee Hamilton as Susie, Doug Shapiro as Hobbes, and myself as Mom. The presentation, which occurred on the 25th, went wonderfully and it was great seeing the other mini-musical pitches as well. I went back a week later to see Adam Spiegel’s own BMI presentation of his version of “Back to the Future,” where the ever-versatile Doug Shapiro played Doc Brown. Adam’s use of doo-wop and tight harmonies, combined with some gospel R&B (which appropriately reminded me of Huey Lewis and the News), was fantastic – seeing the scene in the soda shop (“you are my density”) set to music as the song “Lorraine” made me want to see the show in full…once it’s written in full!
On June 2, Pete & I got our geek on again, taking in the words of Neil deGrasse Tyson live at the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History, as the finale of the SciCafe series held there. He talked for an hour and a half (you can download an mp3 of the full speech here), answering questions from the audience. His humor, enthusiasm, gravitas and knowledge kept us laughing and entranced by his words. Seriously – if you like the Universe, the Earth, and Humanity’s survival listen to this hour and a half of audio (it’s a big file, be patient with the download!).
On Sunday the 6th, I took Pete out for an official Birthday Sushi Meal at Planet Sushi (very reasonable, big portions, laid back atmosphere, and then experienced what it feels like to eat an entire Shake Shack Shack Attack Shake…oohhhh the chocolate goodness!
That’s about it for now! I have an informal reading of new material by a musical theater composer on Friday (but it’s so early in the development to make any announcements), then I’m slated to sing for the Rigano Brothers in their June 27th composer showcase at the Metropolitan Room – more info on that later!
“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James