Thursday, December 28, 2006


Well, I didn't get Evalita. Interestingly, Mimi got that role. I got the role of Lurlene, the religious oldest sister. Ken tells me that Jamie must see me more as pious than slutty. I guess that's good, right?

Anyway, I am happy to have gotten a part. Ken did get Orville and Ally did get Marlene. That's all the cast I know. Rehearsals will start next week.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I just got back from Daddy's Dying Who's Got The Will auditions. I was surprised by the turn out. Specifically the men. There are only 3 male roles and there were at least 10 men auditioning!

I had talked Kenny into auditioning and was glad that he came. He read very well for the part of Harmony. Really, I think he was the best one, but Zack was also good. Ken and Paul are competing for the role of Orville. I hope Ken gets it. I think he's got the emotional range for Orville. Mark March was hilarious as Buford. A couple of other guys read for Buford, but Mark really nailed it. He'd have to be aged quite a bit though.

There are 5 roles for women and 6 ladies auditioned (including me). Mimi wanted the role of Mama Wheelis, but Chris and a new lady, Betsy, are better suited for the role. Betsy read very well for the part. Ally was a scream as Marlene and had everyone laughing. She will definitely get that part. Jamie read Mimi and I both for Lurlene and Evalita. Lurlene is the oldest sister and Mimi read that part well. I'm hoping to get Evalita.

Still, even if I don't get a part, I'm okay with that. I must admit that it's been nice being home at night. I've caught up on some TV programs and actually read a book, as opposed to a script. (I do have those two books I got for Christmas...) I mean, if Ken gets a part and I don't I know I'll feel a bit left out. But I could always work and read my books backstage.

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Must Have Been Nice....

We had an absolutely wonderful Christmas. For the first time since I can remember, no one opened a present that required one of those fake "oh, I just love it" smiles.

Mallorie finally joined the ranks of teenagers across the land; she loved her new iPod. I received several jean/sweater outfits, and two books I wanted: for one more day and Persuasion.

Cade was just beside himself. I think you can understand why...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Cookies

Tonight Mallorie asked me if I could make Christmas cookies for her to bring to school for her friends. Yeah, nothing like a little advance warning. Though Betty Crocker I am not, lucky for her I did have a couple of packages of the pre-cut Christmas cookies from Toll House. Mallorie baked and cooled the cookies while I made icing.

As you can see, Cade helped out by decorating the cookies with sprinkles. Since the cookies were for her friends, Mallorie made sure of Cade's quality.

Makes you smile, doesn't it?

Monday, December 18, 2006

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

When I found out I won Time Magazine's "Person of the Year", well, I was just speechless. At first I thought it was a joke. But after seeing me on the cover. Wow! I'm just so thrilled and honored.

I just got off the phone with Time Warner. I expect the networks will be vying for interviews and I wanted to make sure my telephone line was working. I'm still not sure it is. The phone hasn't rung all day.....

Announcing the Cast...

Congratulations to the following who have been cast in Kernersville Little Theatre's upcoming production of Lying in State:

Karen Price-Crowder will play Edna. Peter Poulos will play Herb. Michael Henry Carter will be Wally. Tana Albright will play Buttons. Dick Srohmeier is Fred, Kelly Wallace will play Margo, and Lee Huggins will be Harry.

Peter and Tana are new to KLT. You've seen Karen in Cotton Patch Gospel and A Christmas Carol. For Michael, Dick, Kelly and Lee it will be a Never Too Late cast reunion. I was also in that show. Man, I should have sucked it up and auditioned.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Peace on Earth

This is one of my most favoritest (did I just make up a word?) places on earth. It's the Moravian Gift and Book Shop in Old Salem.

Now I've always loved Old Salem, in part to a former flame, but my affinity for this shop was originally my mother's doing. Several years ago she started collecting Pipka Santas, and the Moravian Gift and Book Shop was a 5-star distributor. I'd go over to the shop, usually during the Candle Tea when the shop would remain open later, and spend quite a bit of time trying to pick out a Pipka Santa that Mom didn't already have. The start of my Christmas season began with picking out Mom's gift. I felt peaceful and calm there. Even when there were groups of school children in the shop hastily trying to pick out souvenirs before the bus left, I still felt quiet there. It was like my once-a-year momentary retreat.

So it didn't surprise me in the least when two years later I figured out that Hannah, most likely, went to Salem Academy. My affinity for the Moravian Gift and Book Shop was certainly more understandable. It just felt all the more right when I was there. For the next couple of years my annual pilgrimages to the book shop were tinged with a bit of excitement. Has she been in here? Will I see her in here?

My mom has since stopped collecting Pipka Santas, the book shop has ceased being a distributor and I've since met Hannah. Still, today I went to the book shop. And while there were a great many patrons in the store, there are only 9 shopping days left, I felt as though I was the only one there. I looked at every single Christmas ornament, smiled at and petted every stuffed animal, and read the spine of every book in the shop. For the hour that I was lost there, I was at utter peace.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Lying....on the Couch

I didn't audition for Lying in State. Cade had a wicked cough Wednesday night. And, though Mallorie is a wonderful babysitter, there are some comforts that only Mommy can provide. So Cade and I wrapped up in a "blankie" on the couch and I massaged his back until he fell asleep. He was a bit hyper from the Children's Nyquil, so it took a while before he dozed off.

Cade was feeling much better on Thursday, however, I didn't feel too good at all. For most of the day I remained under the "blankie" on the couch reading scripts between naps. I had every intention of going to KLT auditions, but I simply had no energy.

So, it's water and vitamins for me for the next 12 days. I can't miss auditions on the 27th....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lying in State or Daddy's Dying..

Decisions, decisions...

Kernersville Little Theatre is having auditions for Lying in State tomorrow. There are 2 roles (Edna or Buttons) that I would love to do. My problem? Theatre Alliance is holding auditions for Daddy's Dying....Who's Got the Will? on December 27. And there are several roles (any of the Turnover sisters) that I would love to do.

Randy Morris is directing for Kernersville. I've worked with him several times, and he's directed me in 3 productions, though never for KLT. I like that he poses questions to the actors so they can discover more about their characters. Randy watches my facial expressions which, he says, adds to my characters. He also taught me how to bend over in a sexy manner!

Jamie Lawson is directing for WSTA. I've worked with him three times. He gave me the role of Latrelle in Sordid Lives which I feel was a turning point in my acting "career". All jokes aside, working for Jamie in Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical was challenging, and I learned a great deal about myself.

I know that Kelly Wallace and Dick Stroheimer are going to audition for KLT. I absolutely love working with both of them, and the thought of being opposite them on stage is very appealing. Then there's my bestest friend, Ken Ashford, who also wants a role in Daddy's Dying. Ken is a wonderful actor and I've learned a great deal from him too.

It's funny that sometimes it's feast or famine with shows and roles. Too bad I don't sing. I would have taken a chorus part in Beauty and the Beast not to have to agonize over two of my favorite directors.

Argh, decisions, decisions!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Broadway Weekend Continued...

I think Ken can now check something off his "Things To Do Before I Die" list. We saw Monty Python's Spamalot tonight. I knew that if I didn't accompany Ken, he most likely would not go. So off to Charlotte we coconut shell trotted.

Unlike Friday night's Hairspray, I did know a little something about Spamalot. A former boyfriend was an avid watcher of Monty Python and was prone to spout phrases from the series, usually after drinking. (If memory serves me correctly his favorite phrase had something to do with a penguin sitting atop a television....) To further my Monty Python "education" and to deepen our "love" I sat through "Monty Python's The Holy Grail". He laughed his ass off and I merely tolerated the movie. I just didn't find that kind of humor, well, humorous. A knight who continues to fight after all limbs have been cut off? Oh, come on.

However, tonight I was pleasantly surprised. We had great seats, row D seats 1 and 2 (d'oh, left and not center). The set was outstanding. I was very impressed with all the drops and flyies. The cast was fabulous, except for the Lady in the Lake. I couldn't decide if "she" was a she or a very good female impersonator. And much of the story followed the movie. Well, almost. After Act 3, sorry, Act 2, things got really interesting, and really funny. I actually laughed, several times in fact.

I can truthfully say that I thoroughly enjoyed Spamalot. But please don't make me sit through it again. Unless we can get row D seats 1 and 2 in the center! That alone would make a second seeing worthwhile.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Last night Ken and I went to see Hairspray. (Yes, this time he remembered the tickets!)

I didn't know much about the show, except that Harvey Weinstein played the mother on Broadway, and that's the same role that John Travolta is portraying for the movie. And I knew that Ricky Lake played the lead on Broadway. If Ken had backed out, I wouldn't have been hurt in the least. I wasn't really excited or looking forward to going. Neither of us were.

We were so glad we sucked it up. I was absolutely blown away, from the moment the curtain rose. I used to think Jamie's curtain calls were something. Imagine Jamie's curtain calls as every single musical number and there were a bunch of them since the storyline involved a local TV dance program, much like American Bandstand. The cast sang and dance and danced and sang. I kept thinking that by the end of the tour, the actress playing Tracy Turnbald would be skinner than a Victoria's Secret model. What a work-out!

The show is, hands down, one of the best shows I've ever seen. If the tour comes through your town, make sure you see it. It's a great show with a great message. And one helluva rockin good time will be had by all.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tale as Old as Time...Redux

Three months from now, Mrs. Potts' song will once again get stuck in my head...

The Little Theatre had quite an audition turn out for Beauty and the Beast earlier this week. More than 80 talented folks tried out, including some very good friends.

I am so very excited that Emily Mark was awarded the role of Belle. As you know, I'm secretly in love with Emily, okay...not really, but I do admire her as an actress and as a person. There is no better Belle than Emily Mark. Trust me on this one.

I was so glad to see Gray Smith at the auditions. To me, he is the perfect Lumiere. Alas, the director saw Gray as something even better. Gray will be playing the Beast. He and Emily, together, best friends playing the leads! I'm going to have to bribe the box office manager to ensure my front row center seats.

Congratulations as well to Miriam Davie, who will strut around as a wonderful Babette; Maggie Gallagher who, in my book, is the only Mrs. Potts (her husband Bill is also in the show); Craig Faircloth, who was fantastic in Batboy: The Musical, will be Gaston; the Barnhart sisters who will be the silliest Gaston fans ever, and to Fluffer and Danny Alvarez who will, most likely, play a napkin and a utensil respectfully.

This show will be big, folks, and you will not want to miss it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

From Spicy to Edgy

Last October I went from having blond highlights to the red highlights you see on the left. I loved the "spicier" look, but it was time to visit Jennipher again.

When I walked into Total Concepts yesterday, I told her I was thinking about going darker. Maybe even black. Now Jennipher is not one of those "Yes ma'am" stylists. She will tell you in a heartbeat if your idea is crap. And she's done my hair long enough to know that I didn't mean all-over Goth black. She knew I meant black underneath with dark brown/black "highlights" on top.

That's exactly what she did, and I absolutely love the results. To be honest, I've loved every color she's done for me. Several liked my blond look better, some liked me red-headed, some like the black, and my mother....well, she just likes my natural brown.

Decide for yourself, between the red and the black. (And I'll see if I can dredge up a blond photo.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NCTC Results

Okay, okay. I won't keep you in suspense. "Grace and Glorie" will not be representing North Carolina in the regional competition in Atlanta next year. Davidson Community Player's "The Spitfire Grill" will represent NC. (And if they can't go, the second place production, Hickory Community Theatre's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" will.)

Now, Pat and I did not leave the competition empty handed. We won "Outstanding Ensemble". I cannot tell you how appreciative and how very honored I am of the award. I am extremely fortunate to have been cast opposite such a beautiful and talented woman. And while this was a "performance" award, Pat and I extend ensemble to include: Myla (the festival director), April (our production director), Bill (our festival stage manager and production light operator) and Ken (our festival crew and production enthusiast). We could not have represented Kernersville Little Theatre with such a wonderful production without each of them.

As nice as it might have been to have won Best Production and for the chance to continue on to regional competition, I must admit that I am a bit relieved. While every performance with Pat was an absolute treat, I am looking forward to retiring Glorie back to the pages of my script. There are other characters for me to bring to life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Charlotte, Here We Come!

Bill, Ken, Myla, Pat and I are off to Charlotte today. As mentioned in the right sidebar, we are participating in the North Carolina Theatre Conference Festival competition.

Today we are going down early to check out the other theatre groups. Our competition includes productions of: "K2", "Inner Monologues", "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change", and "Spitfire Grill: The Musical".

So, keep us in your thoughts and wish us lots of broken legs!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Who's at Your Door?

Guess who showed up at my door tonight? I know, you'll never guess. So I'll tell you. It was a sheriff. Yep, you read correctly.

Now, I'm not sure if you've ever had a police officer appear on your stoop, but several things ran, rapidly, through my mind as I was opening the door and listening to the sheriff ask for me.

"I'm going to jail?!!"
You see, I got a speeding ticket in September, so my first thought was that he was there to arrest me. I thought about the kids being alone (should I use my one call for a babysitter or lawyer?) and that Cade would see me taken away in handcuffs. As I wrestled with whether or not to invite Mr. Sheriff in, I realized my court date wasn't until mid-December. So at least I wasn't going to be arrested for a speeding ticket...

"Allan is dead."
Aren't cops the ones who provide next of kin death notification? As my stomach started to fall, my attention turned to Cade who was standing right beside me. I did not want him to overhear the sheriff possibly telling me his father was dead. I then realized that it was only 6pm and Allan was scheduled to work until 7pm. Though not totally out of the realm of possibility, I figured Allan's demise wasn't the reason for the cop's visit.

"Someone has broken into the neighbors' houses, or, there is a serial killer on the loose."
Since either of these thoughts provided the most likely reason why Mr. Officer was standing at my door taking out some paperwork, I decided to remain as calm and appear as helpful as I could. So I mustered up the sweetest smile....

Then he shows me his paperwork and explains that I am being subpoenaed to appear in court in two weeks. Subpoenaed? SUBPOENAED? WTF?!?!

While my smile certainly disappeared, I did remember my manners and thanked the officer. I took the paperwork into the living room and quickly scanned. Apparently I am being called to testify in someone else's!! divorce case.....

Monday, November 06, 2006

I inherited, from my dad, a love of horses. The first horse I ever got on was Shoofly. I don't have any idea how old I was, but I remember the experience. Dad tossed me on her back, and my brother was placed behind me. As our pictures were being taken, my brother and I slowly started to slide, sideways, off her back. (She wasn't saddled; we were sitting on a silky blanket on her back.) Before anyone could react, we were on the ground, falling from 16 hands high. I remember my brother crying, and me begging for Dad to put me back on her.

Our neighbors, the Penry's, had horses and Dad helped train them. I'd go with Dad every weekend to help, and that's when I learned to ride. We didn't have our own horse, so unfortunately I didn't get to ride often. The last time I rode a horse was in 1998, for my honeymoon. We were in Mexico and Allan and I took a horse-back excursion.

Lately, something has been drawing me to ride. The freedom you experience on the back of a horse as you're galloping through a field or pasture - that's what was calling out to me. I needed to go riding.

So, I did some morning googling, and headed up to Ogburn Stables. For 90 glorious minutes, Barney (what the hell kind of horse name is Barney?) and I followed trails and galloped through the pastures.

I am renewed.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

An Outdoor Wedding

I've known Rebecca just shy of 10 years. While both of us went through our fair share of boyfriends, I'm glad that Rebecca never buckled under the "you should be married by now" pressure. She waited until she found the perfect guy. Rebecca and Jeff exchanged wedding vows this afternoon in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Camp Sertoma located at Historic Vade Mecum Springs in Westfield. The mountain air was crisp, the sun was warm and autumn encircled us.

The musicians began, and Rebecca started across the wrap around porch. When she rounded the corner, I was the first person she saw. We smiled at each other, I gave her a wink and immediately started crying. I'd never seen her look more beautiful. Her dress was simply stunning.

Just like Rebecca, the actual ceremony was sweet and simple. We then stood in line to greet and congratulate the newlyweds, before making our way to Recreation Hall for the reception. Ken and I sat with Reid and Teresa (also newlyweds and a fellow DDD cheerleader) and enjoyed wonderful food and great conversation. Rebecca and Jeff cut the wedding cake and full reception festivities began.

Congratulations Rebecca and Jeff. May you always remember the love that brought you to today. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

Love from Golden Pond

Norman, Beth, Danny, Dad, Kenny and Amanda, Miriam, Jeff, Kimberly,Raymond, Brad, April and Jacob, Bill and Kathy, Dick and Carolyn, Mike, Randy, Marge, Yvonne, Mimi and Ally thank you so much for coming to the Pond.

Jamie, David, Emily, Jay, Kat, Mary, Mason, and Jeff thank you all especially for taking your Prom break and coming to the Pond.

By the way, you helped us set a record for the Stained Glass Playhouse. "On Golden Pond" was attended by 254 people, making our show the best attended non-musical in their history! Your love and support are priceless!

To those of you who could not attend, thank you for your emails and phone calls wishing me lots of broken legs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Giving Opera A Second Chance

When Mallorie was in elementary school, she and I attended a performance of Tosca, an Italian opera produced by our very own Piedmont Opera. Mallorie loved it. I hated it - the subtitles, the overacting, the extremely slow pace. I fell asleep after the second act.

Madama Butterfly came to Greensboro this week. Heather and Jeff were in the production, and because I happen to like all things Japanese, I decided to risk the potential for torture. Since misery loves company, I also roped Ken into accompanying me. We had front row balcony seats and Ken even purchased opera glasses. I was kind of excited and eagerly anticipating a much better opera experience. I should have paid closer attention to the "Life is short...opera is long" t-shirts being sold in the lobby.

The set was outstanding. The geisha costumes were absolutely gorgeous. And I was completely mesmerized with the beautiful lighting. But I've never in my life wished so hard for a Jamie Lawson dance number!

I realized tonight that I am just not an opera person. The aesthetics are beautiful, but I just can't get past the agonizingly slow pace and the overacting. I think I'll just stick to musical theatre.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tricker Treat!

No, that's not a misspelling. That's exactly what my 4-year old son has been saying all day. Cade doesn't understand that upon the opening of the door he just knocked on, he's supposed to be giving the occupant an option of Trick or Treat. I guess these days the treats are expected so no one really plans what kind of trick to play.

As I walked around with Cade and Mallorie tonight...yes, I said Mallorie, and yes, she is 14 years old. She wanted to go and I agreed, as long as she wore a costume. (I always took exception to the obvious teenagers that wouldn't even bother with a disguise, but had no qualms about holding out their bags for my candy.) She put on her pajama bottoms, wore her purple fuzzy bathrobe and fluffy slippers. I had to agree to no photos if she wore her hair in pigtails. After listening to her gripe about the pigtails I decided against drawing freckles on her....

As I walked around with Cade and Mallorie tonight, I was struck by how much each has grown. Mallorie was an excellent big sister. She watched out for Cade, let him ring the doorbells and made sure he said his thank yous before heading to the next house. Cade practically flew from one house to another, and I got tickled listening to him shout "Tricker Treat!" This Halloween Cade's bag pooped out long before his legs did.

Huge bowls of candy were left out on the stoops at about a third of the houses we visited tonight. I found this occurrence extremely interesting. Do people really feel that obligated to provide candy to the annual trick or treaters? Some inhabitants were clearly not at home, but apparently still felt it necessary to leave the porch light on and a bowl of candy on the steps. Or are some people so lazy that they can't get up and answer the door to feign fright and/or excitement at the sight of monsters, princesses/ballerinas, superheroes, pirates, and animals? Some inhabitants were clearly could see socked feet propped up by the Lazy Boy and the TV blaring. Obligated and/or anti-social. I'll be interested to see if this "trend" spreads next year.

Still, no matter how Cade and Mallorie received their candy, this year they received quality candy. Following ancient family tradition when we returned home we dumped out the contents of both bags (in separate piles...the earth's rotation would surely halt if Cade's and Mallorie's candy got mixed) and we took out all the crap candy. Oh, come on. You know the crap candy....the caramel cubes, the black and orange chewy wrapped (peanut butter??)candy, the no-name chocolate disguised in foil as pumpkins, Frankensteins, and eyeballs. Oh, and the hard candy in the cellophane wrappers. Last year the crap candy ended up in a ziploc bag and brought in to work in January. This year there were less than 10 pieces of crap candy. Now that's progress!

Here are the Tricker Treaters with their bounty.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Performance, On Golden Pond

Craig Dixon, who plays Charlie, had a previous commitment for tonight's performance. So, Ken, who also directed, understudied the role. He was Charlie tonight.

I watched his first scene peeking behind the backstage curtain. I did a silent cheer as the scene went off without any hitch. Karen and Bill handled the new Charlie beautifully. And Ken brought a real honesty to Charlie. I was impressed and a bit nervous about our scene together.

Ken and I have done a few shows together, but this is the first time that we actually had a scene together. I had a bit of a time getting him out of his wet jacket. Craig and I are about the same height, so I had to adjust for Ken being taller. Once we settled on the couch and began to reminisce, the scene flowed comfortably.

I enjoyed playing opposite Ken, and very much hope we can again soon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Enrico Fermi High School Prom

I just got back from the Prom, and let me tell you, I had a nuclear blast!

I simply cannot say enough about "Zombie Prom". The cast made up for lack of plot with plenty of energy and loads of enthusiasm. Gray Smith was a riot as Delilah Strict. (The wig he wore in Act One was the same wig I wore as Latrelle in "Sordid Lives".) Gray and John Bennett, as Eddie Flagrante, had the most entertaining number and danced me into near hysterics. Kudos to the students of Enrico Fermi High: Mary Barnhardt (Candy), Kathryn Kratzer (Coco), Amanda Martin (Ginger), Sarah Negovetich (Nutmeg), Jeff Aguiar (Joey), Michael Ferguson (Jake) and Mason Reich (whose Josh wore the same nerd glasses that I wore in DDD). They were all wonderful, and I was absolutely amazed at all the choreography they had to learn and execute. Jay Smith as Jonny (notice the missing H) had some memorable zombie numbers as well. The cameo appearance of David Joy as the janitor was a hoot, as were the appearances of many well-known monsters during the curtain call. Oh, yeah, the curtain call. One word: WOW!

But I must say that the highlight of the entire show was Emily Mark as Toffee. I am absolutely at a loss of appropriate adjectives to describe her triple threat talent and my sheer admiration. I'm trying not to sound like a love-sick lesbian (because I'm neither) but, simply and honestly, when she sang she knocked my bobby socks and saddle shoes right off.

If you can, go see the show. This is the last weekend. You won't have to think, just sit back and be purely entertained by a phenomenal cast.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Is the Post Office Working?

Exactly two weeks ago I graced the Lewisville Post Office to mail part of my past back to Greensboro. You see, I had been wrestling with varied thoughts and emotions concerning a recent re-introduction, and the subsequent silence, of someone from the past. Faith and trust finally ran out, and I realized it was high time to put the period on the last sentence in the final chapter of our book. As such, I felt really good about my decision to return a box full of history.

Again, it's been two weeks, and I have no idea if the intended recipient even got the package. Granted, I could have requested a return signature, but being the ever so thoughtful person I am, I didn't want to unduly burden the other party. Normally I wouldn't be so concerned with whether the package was received, except that I asked for the return of a very significant item. An item that I purchased, against my gut instinct.

I have not received the item, nor any communication concerning pickup of requested item. I also have not received the package back. So, here I am left to wonder if the Lewisville Post Office failed me once again. (Remember the problem with my severance check?)

I should have known better. FedEx is the better way to go, and always request a signature confirmation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pics from Grace and Glorie

A 4-Year Old and His Beloved Nemo

Look at the pride on that little face!

Two weeks ago Cade went to the fair with Allan. They played the "Ping Pong Ball" game. (You know the toss a ping pong ball and hope it lands on the jar and not between the jars.) Cade nailed the jar on his first try! Allan thought Cade had won a little stuffed animal. He was totally surprised when the carnie handed him a bag of water containing a goldfish. Cade was thrilled! Allan, however, was less than pleased as he had to carry the fish around the fair for 4 hours. (Cade's 4 year old exuberance was too much for the goldfish who wouldn't have made it out of the parking lot alive if Allan hadn't intervened.)

Cade greeted each morning with a cheery "Hello, Nemo. I love you" and ended each evening with "Good night, Nemo. I love you". Cade would carefully carry Nemo's bowl to into the living room whenever he played cars or watched TV. Cade loved Nemo.

Last night the inevitable happened. After Cade went to bed, but before I turned in, Nemo went to forever swim in that big pond in the sky. Now, this would be Cade's first real experience with death and I wasn't sure what to do. Having seen how gross dead fish get (the beta/plant crazy a few years ago), I decided to flush Nemo and explain to Cade in the morning.

This morning before Cade could make it to the kitchen, I took his hand and led him to the living room. I sat him on my lap and told him that Nemo had died during the night. Cade sniffled, and in a very quivery voice said, "But I loved him so much." He then buried his head on my shoulder and I waited for the sobbing. Cade straightened up and asked me if I threw Nemo away. "I flushed him down the toilet." Cade said "Ok", hugged me, and told me again how much he loved Nemo.

And that was it. Cade then got down from my lap and got dressed for school. There were no tears and no further sadness.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Things that Go Bump in the Night

I was up late last night, or early this morning, depending on how you look at it. I have frequent bouts with insomnia, and last night I was still awake at 5am, sitting on my living room couch. The TV was on (a rerun of CSI: Miami from earlier that night) and I was playing Bejeweled 2 on my laptop.

I felt the vibration in the same instant I heard the "boom". (Though it really wasn't a boom, that's the best word I can come up with.) I think my heart actually stopped for a second. I've heard people say that their "blood turned cold" and yes, that's a very accurate statement. At the time my blood froze every hair on my body stood straight up. I was terrified.

You see, I wasn't really sure what had happened. While it felt like a car had hit the house, there were no headlights or car engine noises. Then I thought someone was trying to steal the cars and had backed into the house. But my dog, Roxie, wasn't barking. Then I thought perhaps they drugged Roxie or killed her. Then I started thinking about serial killers and supernatural phenomena. I was too afraid to move from the couch. I simply sat there, in the glow of the TV and my laptop, and focused on breathing and curbing my escalating thoughts. Hey, Mallorie's bedroom was right above me. Maybe she fell out of bed?

After a few minutes of listening to nothing (I had muted the TV) I began to wonder if I had just imagined the episode. I was playing Bejeweled, and the gems do shake when you have no more moves...

Deciding I was beyond tired, I did go to bed. Mallorie left for school without saying anything and Cade never mentioned anything this morning. The cars were still in the driveway and the house was intact. All day I kept telling myself that I must have dozed off during Level 6 of Bejeweled. Even with that logical excuse I still felt uneasy. Am I losing my mind?

It was Mallorie that finally validated last night's occurrence. Apparently it was all they talked about in school today....

A 2.6 earthquake classified as "micro" rattled the Triad area this morning, though there were no immediate reports of structure damage or injuries, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

One resident said the 4:56 a.m. quake felt like a large boom that lasted just a second or two. The epicenter was estimated at 3 miles east-northeast of Winston-Salem.

"We haven't heard of there being any damage or anything, and typically you're not going to experience that" with a quake this small, said Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist with the USGS in Golden, Colo.

She said though unusual for North Carolina, a quake of this magnitude would not be noticed in earthquake-prone California.

Well, good. I'm not crazy. Still, I think I'll lay off the late night Bejeweled sessions.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gainfully Employed

So, today starts my third week of gainful employment. Third week? Yes, I wanted to wait to see how things went before I announced to the world.

I am the Advertising and Sponsorship Sales Director for The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. It's a very impressive title, isn't it?! Someone asked me how many people I get to "direct". Actually, there's only one. Me. I'm the Sales Department. I will be the one who will canvas Winston-Salem asking businesses to purchase ads or become show sponsors.

Now this is a very interesting position for me, in the sense that I've no previous sales experiences. (Well, except for that year I sold Girl Scout cookies.) I was told that I didn't really need sales experience, that my background as an actress and my passion for theatre will seal the deals. And the fact that apparently I'm a bit easy on the eyes doesn't hurt either....

So, if you know anyone that would like to advertise in the Show Playbills, please ask him/her to contact me. I'm listed on the Contact Us page at

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Night At The Theatre

Last night, Ken and I drove to Greensboro to see a touring production of The Producers.

The show was a bit delayed in starting. Apparently the crew was running behind schedule due to an extended strike of Barney Live! We also did not get our Playbills. Word was that they had been shipped to the wrong address. There were also several instances when the backstage crew, and lighting crew screwed up. One crew member opened the door anticipating changing the scene only to learn the scene wasn't over. I'm used to seeing these errors in community theatre. I was very disappointed with these mistakes for a Broadway touring production.

The show itself....well, I hate to admit it but I was bored. I had already seen the movie musical and the touring production was exactly the same. I just was not impressed with the two leads who were acting more Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick instead of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rehearsals, On Golden Pond

Here are some photos I quickly snapped off during last night's rehearsal. Our director, Ken, is standing in as Billy.

And oh yeah, we open next Friday!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What You Missed, A Grace and Glorie Review

By Ken Ashford

In the local community theater scene, there are several companies from which you can expect a quality production: The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, The Community Theatre of Greensboro, etc.

Then there are other smaller companies (from smaller communities and/or church groups) which lack the budget and personnel and so-on who mount reasonable shows, but it is sometimes a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes the show they've selected is overly ambitious, given the space or caliber of the cast.

But once in a while, the right mix of cast and production come together and one of the smaller community theaters presents an evening which can rival the best in the area.

Grace & Glorie, presented by the Kernersville Little Theatre, was such a production.

I caught the show in its closing weekend.

The Winston-Salem Journal described the play as follows:
Grace and Glorie is the story of Grace, a 90-year old woman who is dying of cancer and Gloria, her hospice worker who has moved to the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia from New York City.

Gloria volunteers at a hospital to help terminally ill people, and Grace is her third assignment.
Well, yes. That's the general plot. But there's more to it.

Grace is an illiterate religious hardy woman set in her ways. She has lived her quiet life, never traveling for more than 50 miles from her home, and never seriously contemplating her life's value or her legacy.

Glorie is a contemporary secular "power" woman who left the fast lane (with her husband) following the death of her son in an automobile accident (she was driving at the time).

In their own ways, both characters are coping with death -- Grace with her own impending demise, and Glorie with her son's tragic end. But other than that, they share almost nothing in common.

And while Glorie is looking for answers surrounding the meaning of life (and death), Grace never even thought about the questions.

The culture clash between the two women provides for most, if not all, of the humor between the two women. Glorie introduces Grace to hair mousse, lobster salad and video cameras; Grace introduces Glorie to pot-bellied stoves and Velveeta cheese sandwiches.

But somehow, the two stubborn characters manage to connect, find some common ground, and learn from each other. To the credit of playwright Tom Ziegler, this is achieved without weepy sentimentality (although the show is a tearjerker).

Still, a "talky" play runs the risk of becoming boring and preachy. This is where the cast of Grace & Glorie really shined. Pat Shumate (Grace) and Cheryl Ann Roberts (Glorie) worked exceedingly well together, and whether they were sparring with each other or comforting each other, you really believed every moment and every word. It's rare (and nice) to see such rich and developed characters, and even more difficult to portray them for over two hours. But both actresses rose to the occasion, each sending the audience into emotional roller coasters of hilarity and sadness.

The KLT production was in Koerner's Folly, a perfect venue for such an intimate show (the Folly seats only about 60 people).

I would tell you to go see it, but the production is closed. Your loss.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Shave and a Haircut

Look at Cade! He is smiling so proudly because this morning he decided to cut his own hair. You can see the patch that he "buzz cut" with the scissors. Apparently he decided he no longer wanted bangs.

I couldn't help but laugh. I've heard stories and seen pictures of friends' and coworkers' future hairstylist and barber kids. It's a rite of passage and all that.

However, Cade's father didn't think it was one bit funny. Apparently he, nor his 4 siblings, EVER cut their own hair. Right.....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Final Performance, Grace and Glorie

I really don't like matinee performances, and I despise closing a show on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday matinee audiences are usually more sedate, which usually means the actors don't have the needed energy from which to draw. Making it worse is the Folly's restriction concerning black curtains over the windows. As a result our stage never gets dark enough, and we can't tell when the lights go up or down, are on or off. Still, Pat and I ended the run on a good note. Today's performance was solid, as evidenced by the sniffling and tears.

Tomorrow I will trade Glorie in for Chelsea as I head over to "Pond" rehearsals. Neither Grace nor Glorie will forgotten. Pat and I will resurrect both for the NCTC competition in November.

So, it's not goodbye, but see you soon!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Last Weekend, Grace and Glorie

Pat and I are finally comfortable with our lines and we've hit our stride. It is an absolute honor working with Pat. She is a true professional.

Take tonight, for example. After the show was over, Pat came to me and started laughing. She was so tickled she couldn't even speak. I started laughing too, and soon she was laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face. She finally calmed down enough to regain speech.

During the make-up scene, I talk about Eve and the "forbidden fruit". I am supposed to say, "So she cost us our cushy berth in paradise." I apparently flubbed, instead saying "bushy curth". It never registered to me, and hopefully not to the audience, but Pat definitely heard me. For the rest of that piece she fought hard to keep from giggling on stage.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Performance, Grace and Glorie

For some reason tonight's performance really got to me. I've tried to be very careful about pushing myself emotionally. As an actress you want your performance to be believable, but submerging yourself in emotional depths can be detrimental to the real psyche.

During Act One's finale, I could feel myself starting to really breakdown. I was afraid that if I started crying I wouldn't be able to recover in enough time for the second act. As soon as the lights went down, I ran down the stairs, through the ballroom and into the kitchen, which also serves as our dressing room. I didn't speak to anyone, just stared out the window, trying to regain control. The volunteers and crew sensed not to speak to me. Even Pat left me alone so I could shake it off. It took me 10 minutes to talk myself back.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Before we began brush-up for Grace and Glorie April asked to speak with Pat, Mike, Elaine and me. She told us this year the North Carolina Theatre Conference Festival was going to be held in Charlotte. NCTC hosts a community theatre competition, and April feels our production is worthy of competition. Wow!

Now, bias aside (she is our director), April works for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. She has seen many a festival competition and has judged similar competitions. She knows what is needed and what the judges look for. April thinks we've got a great shot at winning the state title.

Exciting, huh? But herein lies the problem. The competition is November 17-18, the second weekend of Dracula. I formally accepted the role of Maid Wells yesterday.

So, Pat and I talked. She's competed before and walked away with a Best Actress award. Her concern wasn't the competition, but the impending birth of her grandchild. I hadn't invested any real time with Dracula and thought that Juan would probably understand my reason. In the end Pat and I decided to do it.

We're all going to the Queen City!

The Journal Review

Grace: Two-woman play captures beauty of friendship
By Melissa Hall
The Kernersville Little Theatre opened its 2006-07 season with a show about a friendship that develops between two women who are polar opposites.

Grace and Glorie is the story of Grace, a 90-year old woman who is dying of cancer and Gloria, her hospice worker who has moved to the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia from New York City.

Gloria volunteers at a hospital to help terminally ill people, and Grace is her third assignment.

Pat Shumate plays Grace, and Cheryl Ann Roberts plays Gloria. Both women are on stage together for most of the play. Grace and Glorie are the only two characters, and Shumate and Roberts carry the show very well.

The play is a blend of offbeat humor and sadness as the two women finally come to respect each other and the worlds they come from.

Much of the humor in the play comes from Grace trying to understand things that Gloria takes for granted. Gloria puts hair mousse in Grace's hair.

Grace asks her what it is and then replies, "If I lived another 50 years I would never have thought of putting meringue in my hair."

When Grace continually calls Gloria Glorie, the volunteer asks why she does that. Grace said that Glorie comes from an old hymn that her mother taught her.

There was almost a full house at the Korner's Folly Theater on opening night. The intimacy of the small theater, which seats about 60 people, is a good choice of venue for this play. The audience almost becomes part of the play.

Because it is a two-woman play, the dialogue is more conversational than most plays. Shumate and Roberts bring their characters to life without getting too sentimental.

Roberts and Shumate are veterans of the theater, and their experience shows. Roberts takes a character that could easily become a bore and keeps her fresh and funny.

Shumate's performance of an elderly mountain woman who has never been more than 50 miles from the farm where she lives is moving and funny without turning into a caricature.
• Melissa Hall can be reached at 996-6601 or

• Performances of Grace and Glorie are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sept. 28, 29, and 30 and 3 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 1. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for senior citizens and students. Reservations are required. Call 993-6556.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Auditions, Dracula

I drove out to Burlington tonight to audition for The Gallery Players' upcoming production of Dracula. Juan Fernandez is directing and I worked with him on The Curious Savage for KLT.

Tonight was actually the second night of auditions, and it became clear that many had auditioned last night and had been asked to return. Juan read me for the part I wanted, Lucy Seward, and I felt I did pretty well. That positive feeling lasted until Juan asked Kathy C. to read the same part. Kathy C. and I were in Jake's Women and I've seen her in several shows. She and I usually compete for roles, but tonight was no competition. She read Lucy perfectly. Juan read me another time for Lucy and then he read me for Maid Wells.

We took a break and Juan and I quickly caught up. After beating around the bush he asked me if I would consider taking another role. I winked and told him only if Kathy gets Lucy. He smiled an affirmation. I'll be Maid Wells, which will be a nice character role. And I get another chance to work with Juan and Kathy. I'm pleased.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Performance, Grace and Glorie

Most of the time actors and actresses rely on audience applause as an indication of performance appreciation. Most of the time complete silence is devastating to an actor or actress. Most of the time. But with a show like Grace and Glorie, non-traditional clues are the better indicator.

I have two very emotional pieces in the show. In the first piece, I'm recounting the car accident that killed Danny. I don't have much time to recover from that piece before Grace realizes Glorie's true intention. It is the gut-wrenching pleadings to God and Grace that leave Glorie, and me, raw and shaking.

In performing on the Folly stage, you cannot help but look into the audience. The Folly is a very intimate venue. Tonight I saw tears streaming, heard noses sniffling and felt the anxiety of futile searches for tissues. Some matched my (blank) stares while others looked away. The volume of emotional outpouring and their final understanding of Glorie's true desire left them breathless and speechless. They sat motionless as I exited the stage. There was no applause after Act One.

And I was pleased. Applause was not necessary. I knew they were right there with me, they were in the moment with me. As an actress, I had done my job.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Preview Night, Grace and Glorie

Our preview audience consisted of 24 invited guests. Among them, Allan and my mom, and Allyson and her daughter, Sara. If it's true that a bad dress rehearsal bodes well for opening night, we should be set for tomorrow!

Between the first and second scenes I have a very quick, full costume change. I go from a business suit and to a black dress and change jewelry. I change from medium heeled shoes to high heeled pumps. Since I don't have time to head to the dressing room, I make the change directly backstage. Tonight, as Mallorie headed out for prop changes, she threw back the curtain. I looked up and saw my mother and Allan. The guy sitting beside Allan was leaning over to get a better view - of me. There I stood in bra and panties, backlit in blue light.

The heels I wear in scene two are my own. I've worn them before; I'm very comfortable in heels. I've worn them in rehearsals all week and haven't had any problems. Not so tonight. As I headed over to the "kitchen", my heel got caught between the stage and the extension. I had to pause so I could work my shoe loose. I continued with the scene, stooping down to get a pot from underneath the "sink" and pumping water from the old fashioned water pump. I've no idea how it happened, but as I moved to place the pot of water on the stove, my heel got caught in the skirt around the sink. I ended up hopping across the stage to get out of the material!

And as if that wasn't bad enough, my heel got caught in one of the worn spots of the old rug and I tripped. Luckily Pat was prepared with an ad lib, "My heavens Glorie, perhaps you shouldn't wear heels when you visit me."

The remainder of the show went fairly well. After, my mom came up to me, barely able to speak for her tears. Allyson was a bit speechless too. Sara kept dabbing her eyes with a well-worn tissue.

Despite the obvious flaws, the audience stayed with us and thoroughly enjoyed the show...Grace and Glorie, not my stripping.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Final Tech, Grace and Glorie

Usually by tech week, I know my character and lines well enough that I don't have my nose in my script. I keep it handy in my bag, to write down director's notes or for quick refreshers. My philosophy was that if you didn't know your lines by tech week, you'd never know them. Well, my nose is still in my script. I am still spending hours reviewing lines. With just Pat and I on stage, I can't afford to go up on my lines. And what makes things more difficult is that some of our lines are very similar in each scene.

Take what happened tonight. I'm sitting on the footlocker having a conversation with Grace. Pat delivers her line and I respond appropriately. We continue the dialogue but something just doesn't feel right. I turn to Pat with a quizzical look on my face; a poor attempt to signal her that something is off. I finally realize that we've jumped from Act One to Act Two! It took some fancy talking to get us back on track. If there had been an audience, I don't think they would have noticed anything.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Cast of...

Bill Pfefferkorn is Norman Thayer, Jr.
Karen Robertson is Ethel Thayer
I am Chelsea Thayer Wayne
Scott Spencer is Bill Ray
Tyler Canada is Billy Ray
Craig Dixon is Charlie Martin

I am especially excited to be working with Karen. She was Mattie in LTWS's production of Walking Across Egypt and she was outstanding! Craig and I haven't worked together since WSTA's production of Sordid Lives. He and I play childhood sweethearts in this show, so that will be fun. And working with Scott is always interesting.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When Opportunity Calls

Tonight I received a phone call from Ken, who is directing On Golden Pond for Stained Glass Playhouse. Two nights of auditions apparently didn't produce any viable Chelseas. He wanted to talk to me about doing the role. My concern was that due to the physical challenge of Debbie Does Dallas and the mental toll of Grace and Glorie I just wasn't sure I would have anything left in me to bring Chelsea to life. In the show, Chelsea is estranged from her father. One of the most memorable scenes is them finally coming to terms. My own father and I have periods of estrangements, which is sometimes difficult to deal with. I just wasn't sure I could tap more into my emotions.

After talking it over, I agreed to do the role. After Grace and Glorie closes, I'll move right over On Golden Pond.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

From the Physical to the Emotional

I've been remiss in keeping you updated on "Grace and Glorie" rehearsals. We started rehearsing on August 14, which was also tech week for "Debbie Does Dallas". April and Pat have been wonderful to work around my DDD schedule. Most of the rehearsals only lasted about an hour and a half so I could get to DDD, and we rehearsed a bit on Saturday.

Yesterday I wasn't able to make it in to rehearsal. Four nights of cheerleading, record store O's, and leing paying customers along with several hours of bending over picking up nails, pieces of wood, and hoisting heavy flats took its toll. I stayed home hopped up on Advil and doused in BenGay.

I walked in to rehearsal tonight, and we took about 30 minutes trying on costumes. We agreed on a few outfits. I am happy that I can go back to eating pizza for these costumes.

April and I ran the first Act, which includes the big emotional scene. Let me just say that by the end of rehearsal, April and I were both spent. I cried all the way home. I wasn't particularly sad about anything. I think I just needed the release.

I spent a lot of time telling you how physically demanding my role was in "Debbie Does Dallas". And I knew the role of Glorie offered a nice emotional range; that's what attracted me to the part. But I totally underestimated the emotional impact. From a physically demanding show to an emotionally demanding one. I just hope my next role will be a senseless comedy!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Debbie Does Dallas Costume Pictures

Since you heard all about the various costumes I had to wear, I thought I'd post some costume pictures.

Daisy duke shorts, tight blue tank top complete with a star in the center. I had a difficult time keeping the hat on!

Ah, the famous pink tutu outfits for "The Candle Song." Notice that my wig is just a bit off. I should have bangs like Rebecca.

Yes, the banana costumes. Enough said.

Big shirts, angel wings and silver cowboys hats. I loved those wings!

Debbie Does Dallas Pictures!

"I'm going home to study because I want to be in the Senate."

Discussing how to raise $$ to get Debbie to Dallas.

"One act of generosity can change the shape of the world, Donna."

"We've all got bananas."

The jocks wanna do Debbie.

"Ah, ah, ah, yeah!"

The entire cast and crew!

Love and Support

Clara and Dawson, Kathy and John, Kevin and Miriam, Myla and Paul, Eric and Ryan, Craig, Jeff, Chad, Kimberly, Kris, Raymond, Cathy, Michael, Mark, Jim and my Mom...

Thank you so much for see the show. Thanks for your emails and phone calls tell me how much you enjoyed the show. Your love and support are priceless!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ok, Bye

Debbie has done Dallas. Lisa, Donna, Roberta and Tammy have left the building with sad little "Ok. Bye." back leg kicks. The guys tossed their last passes. It's over.

Closing a show is always bittersweet. I will not miss stressing over the Intro Cheer, the Candle Song or worrying about the finale. My dignity will return after being chased away by some of the costumes. (Okay, just for the record, I got over the pink tutu outfit. But the banana costume...For those of you that saw the show, need I say more?) I certainly won't miss the aches and pains that continuously reminded me I was much older than the 18 year old I was portraying. And I am looking forward to the healing of the bruises on my knees so I can wear shorts again. (Think about it and you'll get it.)

I've been home from closing/strike for two hours and I already miss my castmates. I know it's not like I'll never see them again. Emily is Toffee in Zombie Prom and David is Brick in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. I hope to be able to catch David's show. I'll see Emily's for sure. Heather is choregraphing My Fair Lady and Ken is directing On Golden Pond. I hope to be able to see both shows and hopefully Heather and Ken will be there, respectively. Derrick is working with sound on some show in Greensboro that I also hope to see. Teresa and Rebecca are getting married. (Wait! No, not to each other!) I'll be in touch with both of them - offering congratulations on their new adventures, respectively. Still, we all won't be at the same place at the same time laughing and cutting up. That's what I will miss the most.

As far as the crew, I know I'll see them again during the next show. Jeff, Mark, Tim, Gray, Rebecca, Kelly, Marge and Ray are all dedicated Theatre Alliance volunteers. I bet I'll see most of them working backstage on Zombie.

Well, it's time for me to take my Advil and slather up with BenGay for, hopefully, one last time. It's time for me to put my "Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical" script away and concentrate fully on Grace and Glorie.

Ok. Bye.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

High School at Last!

Mallorie started 9th grade yesterday. Oops! I mean...Mallorie entered her freshman year of high school yesterday. We had attended Reagan High's Open House on Tuesday and met all of her teachers. I was impressed with the new school and Mallorie's schedule. Her freshman year will be a very academically challenging one.

Upon her belated arrival home (typical first day bus issues), I asked Mallorie how her first day went (as I've done for the past 9 years). She replied, with her eyes blazing and braces fully displayed from her wide smile, "It totally rocked! I am loving high school!" She practically skipped upstairs to her room! I was left grinning, albeit a bit dumbfoundedly, on the couch.

First off, I haven't seen her that animated about school since she came home from Kindergarten! Usually it was the "Twenty Questions" game to find out her first days. Not this time. Mallorie raced back downstairs, sat down beside me (which, for teenagers to sit that close to a parent, is a feat in and of itself!), and shoved a bunch of papers for me to read and sign. At the same time, with her hands gesturing wildly for emphasis, she explained that cell phones are allowed at school (though they must be turned off between 8:50a and 3:30p), she may start bringing her lunch because the cafeteria line was too long, and if you finish eating before lunch period is over, you can just hang out until your next class!! Back to her room she bounded. Ah, yes, the "freedoms" of high school. I remember them well.

As I was remembering my high school years, I couldn't help but think of Mallorie's "I am loving high school!" admission. I know she feels this way now because it was her first day. High school is far different from middle school. I sent up a small prayer that she would continue to "love" high school. After all, she's got 4 years of it. And the next 4 years will be some of the best, and worse, times of her life.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Perfect Lead Actress

I just read Heather Hamby's latest blog entries, and I must say, she is an extraordinary person.

Heather, of course, is our lead in "Debbie Does Dallas". The media "frenzy" seems to have been singularly focused. You've seen her licking that huge lolly in all the photos, you've heard her interviewed on WFDD radio, you've read her name in the Journal "review".

As the lead actress, she certainly is entitled to this "top spot" in the media. And we've all seen and read about how catty lead actresses can be. But Heather isn't at all a "stereotypical" lead. What sets her apart is her big heart. From her blog:
I absolutely hate that I have been the only one mentioned in pretty much every single article. It is unfortunate because everyone is working their tails off.

In my opinion, I have to say that the show is awesome. It is very funny and everyone is so great in their roles. Emily is amazing as Lisa and I love her singing God Must Love a Fool maybe even more than Mary Catherine (from the original cast). Teresa, Rebecca, and Cheryl Ann take their moments and run with them. That is to me, the primary reason that the show is so funny. Teresa particularly is a riot in her candle scene and with all her "Oh shit" moments. I still can't bring myself to look directly at Rebecca during her banana scene. I'm worried I will totally lose it and not be able to finish the show, but judging from the reaction of the audience they loved that scene and I'm sure the site of the rest of us in banana costumes doesn't hurt. Cheryl Ann delivers some of the funniest lines in the show with some real punch. I love the brief scene that we have after the Bang Bang cheer. It is so great to work with such an awesome actress. The guys get tons of kudos because they do a majority of the work by changing costumes every 3 seconds. I said it last night, but I will say it again that I think Ken Ashford is one of, if not, my favorite actor to work with. I've never seen anyone who was funnier onstage and to be able to share that stage with him is just a blessing. David is so very funny as Rick. I tend to take him for granted because I have work with him for so long, but he really is a great performer and his I Wanna Do Debbie solo is just perfect. Derrick may be the funniest person ever. He is really so great in every single one of his roles and he makes them all so incredibly different. I'm very glad to be doing a show where I get to work with a wonderful combination of old friends that I have been on stage with many a time and new friends who I otherwise would have never met. It is a shame that no one has taken time to give them the praise they deserve.

Heather, your sentiments mean so much more than you know! You're beautiful and I love ya!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cinberry is Back!

It's official! I finally got back my personalized license plate! I surrendered my CINBERRY tag when I traded in my Jeep and just haven't felt the same driving the Honda with a generic plate. Now the Honda finally feels like mine! Yipee!

Oh, and because I know that you are wondering...

"Cin" is short for Cinnamon, a nickname I was given in 1989. "Berry" is short for blueberry, a very tasty treat!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I Am So Not 18 Anymore

Seven days of cheering, dancing, and throwing "stop, drop and roll" tantrums, in addition to one late night cast party, have finally wreaked havoc on my 37 year old body.

After today's matinee I decided to use the early evening to run a few errands. I should have gone straight home, as I was barely able to walk into Home Depot and out of Food Lion. After lugging a gallon of Ultra Pure White paint to my car, I decided to forgo the "5 for $5.00" 2-liter drink special at Food Lion. I made it home, bribed Mallorie into bringing in all my stuff, grabbed something to eat and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

Two hours later, I hobbled over to the medicine cabinet and downed some Advil. Then I dragged myself to bed to further rest my ragged-ass body. Unfortunately I couldn't find a comfortable position, and, thanks to my two hour nap, I was no longer sleepy. Of course there was nothing on TV.

So, here I am now, in bed, with my laptop. I'm hoping reading emails and AOL news will eventually lull me to sleep. I've got a full bottle of wine on my nightstand to assist the Advil in dulling my aches and pains. And the tube of Ben Gay is just within reach...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Reviews Are In: "Debbie" Is A Hoot!

After all the frustrations with learning dance moves and wearing questionable costumes, the show opened last night and we all rocked! We had a great audience, many who had purchased the Fantasy Kits and were definitely participating in the show.

In this morning's Winston-Salem Journal:
Theatre Alliance has set itself apart. It has become the area leader in presenting shows with adult themes, be they serious or fun.

The latest example in the fun category comes courtesy of Susan Schwartz's Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical, which opened last night in Dunn Auditorium at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

The presentation, which originated at the 2001 New York Fringe Festival, is based on one of the most popular pornography films of all time. But pornography is only suggested in the Winston-Salem production, directed by Jamie Lawson.

What really dominates is the kind of utter silliness that's so bad you can't help laughing out loud at it, like, all night long.

The plot, predictably, is thin, since it follows the storyline of the 1978 film. It revolves around Debbie Benton (Heather Hamby), a high-school cheerleader, trying to finance the bus fare to Dallas, where she hopes to attain cheerleading heaven as a Texas Cowgirl.

Benton has just a couple of weeks to come up with the money. Minimum-wage work won't cut it - either for her or for her cheerleading girlfriends, who want to help her out. The only thing that comes in the form of favors is offered through a company called Teen Services.

We're treated to several singing and dancing young adults playing horny high-school football players and cheerleaders and to several dirty-minded men more than willing to take advantage of young girls.

The humor is bawdy. The singing and dancing benefits from energy, but lyrics and dialogue are sometimes obscured by amplified music. Girly mannerisms and expressions are played up relentlessly.

In effect, Debbie Does Dallas has become a sequel to The Rocky Horror Show, which Theatre Alliance presented several months ago.

For just a few dollars - all of which will be donated to area charities - you can buy a
Debbie Does Dallas fantasy kit, which is a lunch bag of such goodies as a glow stick, pompoms and fake money. Instructions on how to use the ingredients (and when to scream and grunt) are stapled to the bag. The kits were a hit, making a fun show even more fun.

• Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical will run through Aug. 27 in Dunn Auditorium in the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Shows are at 8 tonight and next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. Admission is $16, $14 for seniors and students. Reservations are suggested. No one under 18 will be admitted. Call 768-5655.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Once again we danced our little hearts out at the School of the Arts yesterday. Once again my big toe hurts! But it's a small price to pay for piece of mind. I'm feeling really good about the finale. The opening cheer is going well. And we worked on the Candle Song, so I'm a bit more comfortable with that. While I'm far from perfect, I'm feeling so much better about the dances.

After choreo review I headed home to shower and then to my hair appointment. I love my hairstylist, Jennipher Ross. She is one of the coolest people I know, and she does a great job on my hair.

By 7p I was at SECCA to assist with set construction. More painting! Jamie was really pushing for the walls to be put up so I ended up staying until 11p helping out as best I could.

So that means that I've got to get moving on Mallorie's room. We've got tech rehearsal at 5pm today, so I know I won't be able to get her room completely done. But I'd like to get the big walls painted and her furniture changed out. On to work!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Surprise for Mallorie

After months of procrastination, I finally decided to work on Mallorie's room. I figure it will be easier to paint and move furniture while she is away. And I'm hoping to give her a nice surprise when she comes back on Monday.

The theme for her room is theater. Back in February I had some paint custom made to match the yellow in a Playbill. Only two walls will be painted yellow; the other walls will be white. Curtains, comforter, etc. will be black. Back this summer I mounted a "Wicked" and "Phantom of the Opera" poster on black foam board. The posters will go on her walls along with other show ads/programs that she's worked on.

I headed to Target and was lucky enough to find exactly what I wanted. I found these really cool curtains that you can tie up to make it look like a theater curtain. And they matched perfectly to her new black comforter and pillow shams.

Next I headed to Home Depot for some white paint. I didn't figure on the 25 different shades of white to choose from. I spend a good 20 minutes taking out all the white paint swatches and comparing them. I finally decided on Ultra Pure White (it was the whitest of all the whites) and handed the card to the clerk as I asked for a gallon. "What kind of enamel do you want?" Excuse me? Enamel? Isn't that the stuff on your teeth? Really, I just need a gallon of the Ultra Pure White. The clerk pointed to a list of enamel options. "Ah, it's for a bedroom so I guess eggshell enamel is what I need?" I walked out of Home Depot with a gallon of Ultra Pure White in eggshell enamel praying that I had bought the right stuff.

Approximately four hours ago I began painting Mallorie's room. Well, it took about an hour to pile her furniture in the middle of her room and then tape off windows, baseboards and ceiling. So, three hours ago two of her peachy vanilla walls became Playbill Yellow. Wow! It certainly is bright! And it's definitely yellow! I love the color and I think Mallorie will like it as well.

I've got choreo review tomorrow at NCSA, set construction and a hair appointment at 3:30p. (The red highlights I had in January have faded, so I'm getting it done again.) I'm not sure when I will find the time to get into the white wall painting...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Go Marge, Go!

I must give a big shout out to Marge, DDD's seamstress extraordinaire. She saw our distress over the "form fitting" (read: tight as hell!) cheerleader costumes and came to our rescue! She added longer zippers that will eliminate the need for the shimmy/shake into and out of our outfits. She also sewed one of the splits on the costumes, so (hopefully) the only P you will be seeing is the applique. Marge reworked the seams on my cheer skirt, so I no longer look like a stuffed cheerleader sausage. While I still don't look like Kristen Dunst in "Bring It On", I feel a whole lot better about my cheer outfit. We wore them today during rehearsal and I was actually comfortable, although I did tug the back down on occasion. Just a little bend over and you can see my bloomered ass! It just takes a little getting used to.

As far as my other costumes...well, let me just tell you that my dignity flew out the window. Geez, the things I will do for my art! During the show I will look like a pink cupcake tart and be dressed as a banana. Yes, you heard me correctly. No, I won't go into the gory details. You will just have to come and see the show. I promise, our costumes are well worth the price of the ticket. Oh, and did I mention the angel wings?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Far Away, Track 6

Tonight on my way home from rehearsal I decided to listen to my XM radio. Here lately I've only been playing the "Debbie Does Dallas" cast CD, except when Mallorie or Cade are with me, but tonight I just needed to listen to some "real" music. I was channel surfing and heard Chad Kroeger's voice belting out this beautiful ballad-y song. Now, I'm not a big Nickelback fan. I liked, and then got sick of, "Photograph" just like the rest of you, but this song seemed a departure for them. Listening to the words and Chad's voice....okay, I got teary eyed. Right then, I decided I had to have the CD. So, I stopped at WalMart (no The, Emily!!) since Best Buy was closed, and bought the CD. I had it open before I even left the store. The song is called "Far Away" (track 6 on the CD) and I listened to it all the way home. And yes, I cried all the way home. It's been a very long time since music had that affect on me.

Of course there's a reason why I was so touched by that song. And no, I'm not going to give you the details. Suffice it to say that I hope he is as touched by the song as much as I am.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Barf Bags

Was I really feeling sad last week about not working for US Airways? I came across this acticle today, and giggled like a 6 year old....

US Airways to Place Ads on Air Sickness Bags
PHOENIX (AP) — US Airways wants to make the most out of a nauseating situation. The airline plans to sell advertisements on its air-sickness bags — those pint-sized expandable envelopes tucked between the in-flight magazines and safety cards.

"They're in every back seat pocket," said US Airways Group Inc. spokesman Phil Gee. "We figure while it's there, why don't we make it multipurpose?"

Passengers should see the new, commercialized sickness bags in September, he said.

The ads are just the latest initiative the company has used to squeeze out a bigger profit. America West, which combined with US Airways last year, had the first advertisements in the industry on tray tables, the first airline gift cards and the first in-flight meals for sale.

"Little things like that work," said Michael Boyd, president of the Boyd Group, an aviation consulting group in Evergreen, Colo. "Barf bags have a lot of shelf life — people aren't barfing as much in planes as they used to."

The new bags drew a few chuckles among US Airways passengers at the company's hub at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"I would honestly pay no attention to an ad if I got sick," said Nathan Vierra, 19, a
student. "But hey, if skateboarders can sell ad space on their T-shirts, I guess why can't an airline sell ads on barf bags?"

US Airways has not decided how much it will charge for the ads, and has only begun negotiating with companies that could be interested, Gee said. The ads could be for anti-motion sickness medications or other products immediately on the mind of someone who reaches for one of the bags. But Gee said US Airways will look for a wide range of product advertisements to put on its bags.

Boyd said the trick for US Airways is to find ads that will make them a little cash without turning off customers.

"Some people don't want the inside of their cabins to look like subway cars," he said. "And the jury isn't in on advertising on tray tables as a decent way to boost revenue.

"But having an advertisement for a barf bag, especially if it's for something like Dramamine, now that's brilliant."
I can't stop laughing enough to even comment.....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical, Rehearsal Quotes

In case you wanted to know what's said behind DDD closed doors...

"I like astroturf, just not on my nice baby ass." - Female cast member during choreography rehearsal.

"I forgot the part where I scratch my kitty, and that's why we got thrown off." - Female cast member during choregography rehearsal.

"I had to do research." - Male director of the homosexual persuasion, commenting on his stage direction for the all-girl orgy scene.

"It's so much better with them doing all the work so I can focus on my orgasm." - Female cast member, regarding her non-participation in the all-girl orgy scene/dance.

"Yeah. All the guys wrestle each other. It's, like, homoerotic, I guess." - Male cast member.

"Oh, shit. I have to have an orgasm." - Female cast member, upon listening to the original cast CD for the first time.

"Did I hurt you?"

"C'mon! Take one for the team!" - Cast member to fellow cast member whenever the latter is about to take part in an embarrassing scene [used frequently].

"No doubt we are all going to hell." - Cast member.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Big Toe...

This morning the cast of DDD met at NCSA for some extra choreography practice. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to learn that I was not the only one who was still having difficulty with some of the numbers.

The girls started out reviewing the intro cheer. This is a difficult number because the music is fast and the choreography is in double time. I had worked one-on-one with Emily on this number and, while I've still got room to improve, I'm feeling much better about it. It doesn't seem as scary.

Once Derrick and David arrived we spent a great deal of time on the curtain call number. With Gray's blessing, we modified some of the steps and ran it several, several times. I think I've got it down enough to actually check it off as "learned".

Gray simplified the tap portions of the "Candle Song" for me (The last time I took tap was when I was 6!) and we practiced some of the sequences from that number. Out of the 10 dance numbers I'm in, this is the number that I need to work on the most.

After almost 4 hours of dancing, we finally decided to call it a day. By the time Ken dropped me back home, my muscles were tightening up and the pad of my left big toe was throbbing. (You see, we couldn't wear "street shoes" in the dance hall, so I rehearsed barefoot. I've no explanation as to why my other toe pad was not hurting.) I quickly downed two Advil tablets and promptly ran a bath. Yep, I'm definitely suffering for my art.

Friday, August 04, 2006

One More Audition...

I auditioned for "Grace and Glorie" tonight. I won't keep you in suspense. I have been cast as Glorie! I am very excited as Pat Shumate will play the role of Grace. I've seen her in several area shows and her talent has always impressed me. I am looking forward to working with her and April.

And belated kudos to my DDD castmate, David Joy. He has been cast as Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Congrats, Dave!!

Debbie is Coming....Next Friday!

Yes, that one! Based on the 1970's adult film, this tongue-in-cheek spoof parodies the adult film genre. This fast-moving, sexually-charged, off-Broadway cult classic is at once a shocking and titillating tasteless treat. Contains explicit and pervasive sexual content, situations, and simulations, strong and crude language and lyrics. No one under 18 admitted.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cheering for the P's

Our cheerleader costumes finally came in. Yea. (Notice the lack of exclamation point there.) The outfits are one piece, baby blue and white, with a "P" applique. There are two slits in the skirt. Now, these slits are not on the sides, they are dead center, in the middle of the skirt, and come up as far as my....okay, come to think of it, maybe the "P" is appropriate. The fact that we will be wearing cheerleading bloomers underneath is a very small consolation.

The outfits are hard as hell to even get on. I tried putting it on overhead and got stuck trying to get it over my boobs. I tried hiking it up and had to shimmy and shake quite a bit to get the damn thing over my hips. It's made of polyester so any moisture on your body prevents it from going on easily. This concerns me most as we have some very quick costume changes from fantasy girls to cheerleaders and vice versa. I know I will be sweating after the dances. God help my dressers.

Except for costume concerns (which I hope will be addressed later) and for my part in the dances, rehearsal was okay. It was my first night off-book and I remembered most of my lines. Our set designer attended tonight's rehearsal and laughed, so the show should be funny.

And backstage costume changes should be a hoot....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Choreo Review

They say "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Well, since I'm not dead (yet), then I must be some kind of strong!

For tonight's rehearsal we did nothing but go over choreography. And let me just say that I'm frustrated and terribly despaired. I am beginning to wonder if I'm ever going to get these dance numbers down. The bane of my existence are the Intro Cheer, the Candle Song, and the finale.

While I've always wanted to be a cheerleader and I have watched "Bring It On" and national cheerleading competitions, I am so not a cheerleader. I can do the cheerleader voice. But when it comes to actual "cheering", no. I simply cannot get my arms and legs moving fast enough in this Intro Cheer.

The Candle Song is a "tap" number. While I do know what shuffle-ball-change is (because, yes, I took tap--when I was 6!)I have no clue what a "time step" is. And fuh-lap ball change? Forget it.

And the finale? I think I'm the only one not getting it.

We are having a dance rehearsal Saturday at 10am at the NCSA. This will give us an opportunity to rehearse in front of mirrors. Great. So now everyone will be able to see how bad I really am. God, if there is a dance fairy, can you send her my way tonight? I could really, really use her magic dust.

Dream Role Results

I won't keep you in suspense. I didn't get my dream role. I also didn't get the role of Mae, which is the role Sharon read me most for last night at callbacks. Wait! No need for the collective "oooh" or "I'm so sorry". I'm okay with not getting cast. Really.

You see, Kernersville Little Theatre (my "hometown" theater) is doing "Grace and Glorie". It's a two woman show with performances at Kerner's Folly. I read the script several weeks ago, and loved it. I'm just the right age for Glorie, and she's got a very nice range to her. While not necessarily my "dream" role, it is certainly a role I would love to do.

So, not getting cast in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" frees me up to audition this Friday. The last show I did with KLT was "Never Too Late" in 2005, and it's been 16 years since I've been on the Folly stage. I'm hoping it's a good omen I wasn't offered a role in "Cat".

Just keep your fingers crossed and wish me "break a leg" on Friday!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

US Airways and Bill

I took Mallorie to the Charlotte airport today, for her flight on US Airways to New York. (She's spending two weeks with Geoff and Karla.) This was the first time I've been on "US Airways" property since being, layed off.

Walking through the CLT airport, this time, was very different from all the other times I've been there. I never recognized the "superior attitude" I held previously, until I realized that I was just Jody Average Customer this time.
US Airways is no longer "my" airline and I'm no longer "their" employee. It was a very sobering day.

I did have a chance to chat with Bill Carey. For many years Bill and I worked together in Customer Relations. In an effort to remain with the company, he applied for and was promoted to a shift manager position. He left Customer Relations a week before the office closed. I hadn't seen him since. When he first walked up I didn't even recognize him! While he has lost a few pounds, what was most different about him was the lack of "confidence" you achieve when you've been at your job for several years. The whole "fish out of water" feeling was written all over his face, though he tried his best to cover it up. Bill and I have known each other for, well, a whole lot of years, and I know that he will get back that level of "confidence" he had in Customer Relations. It will just take him some time. Still, he looked great, albeit a bit tired. We talked about his job, my lack of a job, former co-workers and US Airways as a whole.

After ensuring Mallorie's flight had departed I said goodbye to Bill and left the airport. I was a bit sad on my drive home. I guess I hadn't realized how much I do miss US Airways. Say what you want about the company and it's problems, but I really did enjoy working for the airline. And I really miss Bill. Our lives seem so very different now.

Man, it sucks being, layed off.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Maggie the Cat, Dream Role

For every actor, there is one role that he or she is dying to do. For me, that role is Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".

Fifteen years ago, I was breaking in the Piedmont cafeteria and walked passed an audition notice for Kernersville Little Theatre's production. I had done my high school plays and was looking for something to do, so I decided to audition. Looking back on it now, I have to laugh. I was no where old enough, or experienced enough to play Maggie. The director called me and, though he turned me down for the role, he did offer me assistant stage manager. That's where my love of theatre was born. But, back to Maggie.

Ruthie Tutterow played our Maggie. She was, in a word, fabulous. I remember standing backstage watching her performance. Ruthie brought such life to the complex, catty Maggie. I decided then and there that Maggie was my dream role.

And so I was very excited to learn that The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem was opening their season with "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Today's audition date has been marked on my calendar, even before the auditions dates were posted on their website. (Thanks Jen, and sorry to have bugged you!)

I got to the theater a little after 7 and spend some time filling out the audition form, getting my picture made, chatting with people I knew and sizing up the other actresses. I went in to read more than an hour later, so I had plenty of time to review the sides. Then it was my turn....

I felt really good about my reading. When I came out, Pat asked how I did. (You usually know when you've messed up a reading or not given 100% of yourself.) I told him I was very pleased with my reading.

And guess what!! I got a callback! Tomorrow I will return and read with more folks. While I still might not get my dream role, I am very excited to have been called back. That's a personal accomplishment, in and of itself.