Considering the fact that June 22 was my last post, I'm sure you can imagine that much has happened since. Of course if I just started posting about where I am and what I'm doing, some important facts may be lost along the way and the millions of blog fans I don't have will be lost in a haze. Lucky for them, I feel the need for a blog post to segue into whatever will become of my new year. So here goes:
I had an absolute blast working on Curious George Live, but while we were in New Orleans (best stop of the tour, I miss it so much) I got a call from the casting director for Avenue Q, offering me my dream role as Princeton/Rod in the touring cast.
...I took it.
I jumped at the chance. No, seriously, I jumped...you can ask my fellow cast member from CGL who was putting his makeup on in the dressing room when I checked my voice mail.
Anyway, I left N Avenue (that's where Curious George lives...for real, watch the show, it's actually quite good) to move to my new life on Avenue Q.
Right before rehearsals started, I was lucky enough to take a puppetry workshop lead by none other than John Tartaglia himself...it was fantastic and I hope very much to be able to study with him more when Q is through. Though he was not working with us on the show, I was able to visit him at his office after rehearsal one day, to talk through the show, the role, puppetry in general and so much more in so little time...he is as fantastic as you could ever have imagin(ocean)ed he'd be. (Oh puns that only a few people might get...)
We started Q with a 3 day puppet re-cap/boot camp type deal, lead by the puppeteer I actually credit for having been most responsible for my interest in puppetry, Peter Linz.
Fun fact: Because I didn't have cable growing up, I watched a lot of PBS, The Puzzle Place became a favorite of mine, and his character (Skye) was probably most responsible for my interest in puppets (I thought he looked so cool).
Unfortunately, Peter could not work with us for the entire rehearsal process because he had to go shoot the new Muppet movie, as the new lead puppet friend of Jason Segel...poor baby. I can't wait to see his work on the film. He's great and very patient. Thanks Peter.
Speaking of patience...We were very fortunate to receive Jennifer Barnhart as our rehearsal puppet coach in his absence. She had to deal with me for longer than Peter. Together they combated the poor habits I'd taught myself over the years. The main thing...simplicity and trusting in stillness. I'm still working to rid myself of said habits, but I've noticed a huge difference already thanks to them.
You can be sure that many a time in rehearsal, I stopped to look around and think to myself..."This is my life?"
I'm in awe everyday.
Rehearsals were good, but hard...I had a lot to learn and very little time to learn it. We played two previews in Charleston, SC then went on a MONTH break while the set was shipped to Japan for our opening.
Japan = cool. MONTH BREAK = SCARY!!!
We got to Japan, ran through the show once in the lobby the next day, then in front of a preview audience the next morning (the first time we'd been on stage on the set, with the puppets, in costumes and all that fun stuff - IN A MONTH!!!) and then we OPENED THAT NIGHT!!! Needless to say, it was not as polished an opening as one would hope for. Most of the cast has been part of the tour since last season...they were fantastic, but yours truly still has his work cut out for him...even after 16 performances in Tokyo. I'm getting much more comfortable, but I wish more than anything I could see what I look like with the puppet in my hand. It would help in the polishing process.
Now, we're on another break, waiting for the set to ship back to the States. We open in Anchorage, Alaska later this month and despite the cold temperatures and lack of day light...I can't wait to perform there for American audiences. While we fell in love with the Japanese audiences (beautiful beautiful people, so kind, wonderfully welcoming), I hear great things about the reactions we can get here in the states. As an actor who loves more than anything, the connection between actor and audience during a show, I can't wait to feel what I've been told can be one of the most exhilarating performance experiences ever.
That folks, is only a little bit on a whole lot...but there will be more.