Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Movie Night

Mallorie and Cade both wanted to see this movie, so I added it to my Netflix queue. They were very excited when it came in today's mail.

It only took me 10 minutes to dislike the movie. Honestly, I was shocked at the amount of violence. From Max's outbursts and meanness to a cruel dirt clod fight. It was all I could do to sit through the remainder of the movie.

There was one saving grace. When Max decides to leave the island, Carol (voiced by James Gandolifini) is very sad. Cade was very affected during this scene and tried his best to hide the fact that he was crying. Watching him trying to "be brave" made me almost cry. After the movie I was able to have the "it's okay for boys/men to cry" talk.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's been a very nice Christmas. We've gotten some beautiful snow. Mallorie and I are staying warm and enjoying a repeat of season one of Glee. (As you can see, Lizzie is keeping Mallorie extra warm!)


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I am very proud of Mallorie. She starts her first real job tonight, a paying gig! She will be running spotlight for the Greensboro Ballet's production of The Nutcracfker at the Carolina Theatre. I helped her with her resume, but she secured the gig all by herself!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Toy Soldiers

The entire 3rd grade class will be presenting Santa's Holiday Playlist tomorrow night after a PTA meeting. Cade's class are toy soldiers and will be singing and dancing to "Just A Little R & R". I can't wait to see the show!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Me Want

(I've no idea where to find these. If you do, please let me know!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tonight's Feature

Tonight I had a Netflix date with Cade. He chose this movie and I do have to admit it was cute. We both laughed, though Cade had a few more giggle fits than I did.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tonight's Feature

I've decided to treat Netflix as a guilty pleasure, and as such I wanted my inaugural movie to exemplify that theme. I don't think there's any guiltier of pleasures than obsessive shopping.

I read the book several years ago and the movie was fairly faithful. Definitely a chic flick, and this chic definitely enjoyed it!
Because I now have an extraordinary amount of time on my hands, and due to the fact that my eyes are extremely tired from all the reading I've done for the past two weeks, I've decided to sign up for Netflix. I'm really interested to see how the "instant viewing" via the Wii goes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm filling in as stage manager for Open Space's new play production of Peepers. And even though earlier today I received the worst news ever, I still found something to smile about.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Report Card

Cade brought home his first real report card today:

B in Reading
B in Writing
B in Science
A in Social Studies
C in Mathematics

I'm so proud of Cade! Too, Mallorie deserves a little of the credit. Not only does she pick him up at the busstop, but she helps Cade with his homework every day. She takes this job very seriously. I'm so proud of both their accomplishments.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Art by Me

Well, the art is actually by Cade and is part of a school fundraiser. Everyone draws a picture and the fund raising company will turn it into a magnet, mouse pad, trivet, etc. I've got all of Mallorie's magnets and all of Cade's, except for this year.

Usually the fundraiser package comes home with a "sample" magnet. As happens every year, we forget to return the magnet and end up having to pay the $5.00. This year the company didn't include a sample magnet. Nothing to return and I'm still $5.00 to the good.

Oh, Cade says it's a picture of a bird. A tropical bird, to be exact.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Love and Support


Chris, Bill and Kathy, Myla, Rebecca, Maryann and Fran, Michael, Mallorie, Ken, Gary and Pat...

...thank you for spending some time at Kressmont's Five and Dime. I am, once again and in as few weeks, honored.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Touring The Folly

Twice a year I volunteer to be a tour guide for FS Ed and take 3rd graders through Korner's Folly. I wasn't able to participate in April, so I was really looking forward to the past two days of tours.

Each 3rd grader is assigned a role. They play Joseph, Jule, Alice, Gilmer, Dore, Aunt Dealy or one of Gilmer's classmates. Some memorize their particular script, but we have cards just in case they get a little nervous. We also have a costume item (vest, shawl, hat) or prop (doll, walking stick) to help them create their specific character. Watching them acting these roles is my favorite part of the tours.

I take them through each of the 22 rooms, and we count each of the 15 fireplaces in the Folly. We toss pennies in the Witch's Corner to distract the ghosts and goblins. I tell them about the Necessary. We compare life today to that of the late 1800's. I try to make it a fun, but educationally, filled hour.

For the most part, I love the kids. They are so excited to be on the field trip and most enjoy the Folly. Yesterday's and today's classes were a bit overly energetic and I kept having to call them down. I also got "that kid" in both of my groups. You know "that kid", don't you? The one who is loud, all knowing, has to be first and just won't listen.

Still, one little girl made both days totally worth it. She told me how pretty I was and gave me a big hug. She reminded me why I look forward to these tours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On the way home from the show last night I had a little chat with God. He knows I've been struggling with two specific issues, and I implored His guidance.

Indeed He works in mysterious ways.

Late this afternoon I received a series of phone calls, each regarding the same problem. The first was from a co-worker, the second from an elected official reminding me he was "just a volunteer", and the third from a very concerned parent. The latter call left me crying at my desk. It wasn't that the parent was rude or nasty; she was simply disappointed. Hearing the disappointment in her voice and learning of additional failures is what made me realize that it is useless trying to plug the holes in this sinking Titanic. Her phone call provided me the answer I sought last night.

And so I am seeking an available lifeboat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love and Support

Thank you Chris, Ken, April, Nanette, Allan, Cade, Barbara and Allan, Stephen, and Claire for coming to see the show. It was such fun bringing Ellie to life for you!

Jimmy Dean Publicity Photos

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magic Hour

Mid-October, when the trees were dressed in tangerine leaves and danced in the chilly, rain-scented breeze, and the sun was a brilliant shade of gold that illuminated everything.
Here's Cade's latest story!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lending My Voice To Regula

Last week I was hired to do some voice-over work for Regula Systems. They are participating in an Expo in Las Vegas and needed some narration for their PowerPoint presentation. I went to their office today to do the recording.

According to the script, I was promoting their Electronic Welding Regulator or EWR. This product is designed to save money on use of shielding gas in MIG and TIG welding. The terminology was certainly a mouth full and I definitely had to rely on some acting skills. I had to sound like I knew exactly what I was talking about. I ran through the script once, recorded once, and within 20 minutes I was done.

Not too bad for a full day's paycheck, and have to say that I was quite impressed with the EWR. If you know anyone interested in reducing carbon emissions by about 400 kilograms per year in a one shift operation, the EWR is the perfect solution!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life in the 80's

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up. And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids, about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

2) There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there!

3) Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

4) There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to music, you had to beg a ride to the record store.

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio. The DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when side one was finished, flip it over and insert for side two. We had to be careful or the tape would come undone rendering it useless.

6) We didn't have Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal.

7) There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends".

8) And we didn't have Caller ID either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances!

9) We didn't have any fancy PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen...Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

10) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. And you had to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel! NO REMOTES!!!

11) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

12) And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove!

13) And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

14) And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly.

Kids today have got it too easy.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cade has a "Bones" test today. Let's hope this skeleton he put together (under Mallorie's supervision) will help him pass.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Note From The Divas

We’ve enjoyed our time with each of you --
(Even when you missed your cue)
Not that we want to point your mistakes out,
But make us look bad, and we’ll start to pout.

Tech week is here and the show must go on,
So we want to say thanks for all the fun!
Break a leg, and don’t block our light,
Or else we may drop a line for spite.

Have a great run!
Cheryl Ann, Myla & Rebecca

Made My Day

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Done!

I finished A Prayer For Owen Meany just a few minutes ago. As I suspected, the last few pages - indeed the last 20 - were some of the most exciting of the entire book. But was it worth my perseverance?

I'm not sure.

I get that the book's about love, destiny, and faith. Still, I didn't particularly care for the narrator of the story. By the end John Wheelwright was a rather weak and whiny character.

Overall, the book, for me was simply....meh.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Double Rehearsal

My usual pattern is to be in a show while rehearsing another one. So I don't readily recall there being a time when I've rehearsed two shows simultaneously. Tonight, for the first and hopefully the only time, I had to attend rehearsal for both shows.

At 7pm I arrived at the Cissna's for a run through of Act 2. I'm not completely off-book, so I still clutched my script, though I did get through most of 2.2 without looking. My least favorite part of rehearsal is the stumble throughs so I'll be spending the weekend learning and running my lines. We're at that point when nothing much else can be done until scripts are out of our hands. (And I'm one of the few that still needs the crutch!)

A bit before 8pm I departed for my first "Five & Dime" rehearsal at Open Space. We blocked from my entrance to the end of Act 1, which also means that Act 1 is completely blocked. We ran the 20 or so pages and we were released.

An Evening at the Theatre

Last night Chris, Mallorie and I saw just how beautiful life is at the Cabaret. For Theatre Alliance's revival, it's less beautiful and more dark and gritty.

Gray Smith revived his role as the Emcee, and he was outstanding! Danya Bray also reprised her role as Fraulein Kost and I was impressed with the nuances she brought to her questionable character. Tim Brown returned to the Cabaret, though in a different role. For this show he portrayed a despicable Ernst. Cheri Van Loon was the only returning Kit Kat Klub girl.

Jaye Pierce assumed the role of Sally Bowles, and I'm enjoying watching Jaye grow into these leading lady parts. Jaye has a wonderful voice, and while vocally she nailed "Maybe This Time" and "Cabaret," she stood too stiffly behind the mic. I kept hoping she'd let loose and allow the music to power these solo performances.

I was most surprised by Gesh Metz, who played Fraulein Schneider. She breathed such real life into her character, I couldn't take my eyes off her! Except when Mark Armstrong joined her onstage. This was Mark's second time at the Cabaret, though this time he portrayed Herr Schultz. Gesh and Mark were perfectly matched and heartbreakingly sweet. I so loved watching them. (Unfortunately the erroneous Pineapple Dance during "It Couldn't Please Me More" took me out of such a beautiful, romantic number.)

It is a Theatre Alliance show, so of course, there is token nudity. The finale, I could tell, bothered Mallorie. Not because of the boobs and butt shots, but the depiction of the fate of the Jews.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Facebook Message

  • Conversation started November 13, 2009

  • Jay Equality Smith
    Catfish Moon

    Hello Guys and Gal. I am directing a Play at the Open Space Cafe Theatre. The play is called Catfish Moon by Laddy Sartin and the production will be in June. I don't have the exact show dates or rehearsal dates yet, but I wanted to get my cast together as soon as possible. Because of the short rehearsal process at OSCT, I wanted to be sure that we made the most of the time once we got into the space. I am wanting to have some rehearsals for read-thrus and table work before we actually get into the theatre and maybe some blocking stuff, so I wanted to get this production on your calendars as early as possible if you are interested. Please reply to this message and let me know if you are interested and I will be in touch soon.
    Thank you so much and I look forward to working with you all.
    jay

  • Neil Shepherd


    Oh, HELL NO! I wouldn't work with you people if my life depended on it. What a group of no-talent hacks...
    ...Lord, I can't even keep a straight face on FACEbook!!!!
    I guess I'm interested...when is the casting couch session, again?

  • Ken Ashford


    Definitely interested. Not sure whether I have a conflict though. I'm committed to doing "Rounding Third" at Theatre Alliance over the "summer" -- that's a revival of something Scott Stevens and I did last year at Open Space. But Jamie asked Scott and I about our availability for a May production, so... there it is. On the other hand, Jamie hasn't finalized his scheduled, so it may not happen at all!!
    But DEFINITELY interested. I'll even tolerate Neil if I have to.
  • November 14, 2009

  • Jay Equality Smith


    Just an update... I talked to Joe last night and he said that the production dates are in September. I looked at the calendar and I'm thinking it would open on the 16th(Thursday) and run that weekend and the next, closing on Saturday the 25th. Sorry if this caused any confusion. I know you had all gone out and cleared your calendars for June in anticipation. Just wanted to give an update. Thanks
  • November 14, 2009

  • Cheryl Ann Roberts


    Christmas has come early! Oh, Jay, what a grand gift!
    I may have a conflict. I work for SETC and we hold Fall Auditions the weekend after Labor Day - which may run into first tech. I'm contracted for these auditions, so I may be able to negotiate.
    I'm definitely interested....it's a beautiful script. And the chance to work with such talented men...priceless.
  • November 14, 2009

  • Facebook User


    I'm glad I waited until today to reply... I was all ready to compose my decline letter, but it looks like there should be no conflicts in September. I had the entire month of June booked.
    So, I'm not saying "no" yet, but need to check with the boss and compare schedules. What kind of a rehearsal commitment were you thinking? How soon do we start and how often do we rehearse? I need to see the script; I've only read the basic premise on line.
    Oh, have I mentioned that I am incredibly flattered, Jay, and that I'm honored to be considered to be in the ranking with Cheryl, Ken and Neil!!! Sounds like the dream team, to me.
    I'll get back, soon, I can talk about this with Elizabeth tomorrow night.
    Thanks!
    Andy

  • Ken Ashford


    September is good for me.
  • November 18, 2009

  • Jay Equality Smith


    Cheryl, with this much notice, I'm sure we can move the tech rehearsals if we need to. There is not really going to be much tech for the show anyway, so I don't anticipate having much to deal with. We'll make it work.

  • Neil Shepherd


    I don't know, Cheryl...it depends on how many pteredactyls he's gonna make us push around the stage.

  • Jay Equality Smith


    there are no periaktois in this one. And I don't know what Neil's bitching about, he didn't have to move a single piece of set in CoE. But if he doesn't watch it, he may get to move the whole pier.
  • November 18, 2009

  • Neil Shepherd


    No, you are correct, Mr. Directorman. I didn't move a single pteredactyl...just had to sit for HOURS while you blocked them! And I've got your pier... Love you, Boo!
  • November 18, 2009

  • Facebook User


    Hello All,
    I officially CAN'T do the show. I hate that I'm going to miss this opportunity to work with you all, and was really looking forward to working for you, Jay, but I'll have to pass. I know you can find another 40-something actor to take my place.
  • November 19, 2009

  • Jay Equality Smith


    I'm very sorry to hear that Andy. I am upset however that with notice this far into the rehearsal process, we may not be able to find a suitable replacement in time;-). And when it comes to Andy Lopina, there is never a suitable replacement, there is just a replacement. Do any of you have any ideas who I could call. I really don't want to deal with auditions for 1 part and I would like it to be someone who everyone is comfortable with. ideas?

  • Neil Shepherd


    Andy...you have officially broken my heart. I totally agree with Jay...there are no suitable replacements...just a replacement.
  • November 19, 2009
  • Facebook User
    Facebook User


    You guys really make me feel good about myself. I'll file your e-mails under "Open when having suicidal thoughts."
    What about Mark Armstrong or Tim Brown?

Update: Ultimately I wasn't able to to Catfish Moon due to my contract with SETC. As it turned out, neither Ken nor Neil did the show. Jay did direct, and although I wasn't able to see it, I heard it was very good.

I hate I missed out on working with Neil and Ken again. And it was very nice to be contacted by Jay.
According to Goodreads I've been reading A Prayer For Owen Meany for 28 days. 28 days?!?! It feels like I've been reading this book For Ever!

Several people I know have listed this book among their favorite books of all time. I borrowed the book from the library for this reason. I just began Chapter 8 last night, and I honestly don't get it. With each turn of a page I keep hoping why it's such a revered book will become clear.

Mallorie has suggested I return it and read the summary in SparkNotes. As tempting as that sounds, I simply can't do that. I've invested 28 days of my life with John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. It's now my mission to finish this book, and by the end of this month.

I'll only be slight perturbed if all I should have read was the last 5 pages.

Crazy Odd Facts

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. (Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (Now that's more like it !)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet. (O.M.G.!)

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Don't try this at home, maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off. (Honey, I'm home. What the...?)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still want to be a pig in my next life...quality over quantity.)

Butterflies taste with their feet. (Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmm......)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people. (If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. (Okay, so that would be a good thing!)

A cat's urine glows under a black light. (I wonder who was paid to figure that out.)

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that too.)

Polar bears are left-handed. (If they switch, they'll live longer.)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about that pig??)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kay Award Winners

While I did not win in my category, I am excited that Anthony did. Congratulations!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Currently I own this phone. I have absolutely loved it, up until two weeks ago. For whatever reason, the touchscreen crapped out which makes the VCast Mobile TV application spaz out. Now in order to make a call or send/receive texts I have to flip the phone open and use the keyboard. This sudden, albeit minor, inconvenience sent me to the Verizon store.

The bad news is that they can't replace my Voyager. The good news is that since I've had it more than 12 months I can upgrade. The other bad news is that I'm still 6 months away from a $100 credit toward a new phone.

Ugh. I've no idea what to do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Cast of Conversations In A Cafe

Carl Wilson - Scott Terrill
Ellie Bledsoe - Cheryl Ann Roberts
Meredith - Carson Elizabeth Gregory
Gina - Mary Lea Williams
Joshua Martin - Michael Shapiro
Brad - Brad Phillis
Jenny - Rebecca Clark Mills
Don Jenson - Cameron Williams
Susan Porter - Kathy Anne Cissna

I'm extremely excited to be working with this cast. I've only worked with Rebecca previously. I've seen Kathy, Scott, Mary Lea and Cameron on various stages across the Triad, so I know how wonderfully talented each is. I'm looking forward to getting to know Carson, Michael and Brad.

First read-thru is tomorrow night!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've Been Nominated!

Theatre Announces Kay Award Nominations
8/15/2010 9:56:28 AM

The Hickory Community Theatre’s Kay Award Gala, a free event, open to the public, will highlight more than sixty nominees for acting accolades in seven categories. The awards are being given on the Jeffers Theater main stage Saturday August 21 at eight pm. Hal Row of WHKY is the emcee for the evening.

Leading with Best Actress in a Leading role the nominees are Frances Bendert, Denise Bernstein, Jennifer Collins, Bonita Ferretti, Cheryl Ann Roberts, Viki Ryan, Shannon Underwood and Beth Woodard

Nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role are Peter Bost, Daniel Breuer, Bill Morgan, George Page, Brian Plemmons, Eric Stafford and Trent Yoder.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominees are Carrie Deleary, Kelly Dowless, Carol Anne Hartman, Kimberhly Hopkins-Hood, Delene Huggins, Courtney Hardy, Joy McManus-Rodgers, Carmen O’Neil, Meredith Potter, Viki Ryan, Leesa Schoeberle, and LeeAnna Teague.

Nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting role include Mark Atkins, Daniel Breuer, Christopher Honsaker, Ben Melnyk, Joshua Propst, John Rambo, Robert Reynolds, and Cody Watson.

Character role nominees are: Best Character Actress - Molly Bass, Penny Bost Schrum, Penelope Hewitt, Delene Huggins, Jennifer Kirby, Edyth Pruitt and Hollie Sherrill. Best Character Actor nominees are Steve Austin, Blake Comby, Craig Gaffney, Timothy Gordon, Ron Jernigan, John Koval, Anthony Liguori, Jeff Mingus, Eric Phillips, Mike Pruitt, Brian Stone and Terry Wilson.

Special category awards include Best Newcomer with Nominees Meshal Al-Faisaal, Blake Comby, John Fish, John Gann, Preston Gann, Davey Huffman, Delene Huggins, Faith Miller, Eric Phillips, Donna Louise Powell, Surge Ridriguez, Trey Ross, Robert Sherrill and Caleb Stirewalt. Awards are also given for Volunteer of the Year and Technical Volunteer of the Year.

The evening features musical numbers from the upcoming musical “Cabaret”. There is a cash bar and there will be dancing on stage after the awards.

Everything from fancy dress to casual wear is appropriate for the event, in the Jeffers Theater, 30 3rd St NW in downtown Hickory. Please call (828) 327-3855 for more information.

The Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Creation Celebration

City Arts will host its Second Annual Creation Celebration, Sunday, September 12 (2-5 pm) at the Greensboro Cultural Center. Admission is free!

There will be free mini-classes and free performances. Come downtown and find out about all the learning and performing opportunities available to you through City Arts and our numerous programs.

Instructors and staff will be on hand to answer questions about the Drama Center, The Music Center, NC Dance Project, Art Alliance of Greensboro and Caldcleugh Multicultural Center.

It will be a great way to get back into the swing of the season!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Catfish Moon

Unfortunately, I will not be able to do the role of Betty. And I'm really disappointed.

I was so blown away last year when Jay Smith, the director, sent me a FB message asking me to do the role. Even more exciting was the three other guys that received the email: Neil Shepherd, Andrew Lopina and Ken Ashford. Wow! To be asked to share the stage with such powerhouse actors - I was on high for several days. Then Andy had to drop out, and Mikey Wiseman was added. Still a dream cast!

Eventually Ken had to drop out, Mikey moved back to Texas, and my job got in the way of this dream role. (SETC Fall Auditions are being held in Atlanta during opening weekend.) Very. Sad. Day.

I saw Jay the other night and he has assembled a great cast via auditions. Lianne Holmes will be playing Betty and she is very good. The guys in the cast were not familiar to me. Still, I'm definitely planning on seeing the show, after I get back from Atlanta.

A Night At The Theatre

Last night I had the privilege of watching Mahalia! The Mahalia Jackson Musical, at Open Space Cafe Theatre. The show was directed by my good friend Robin T. Rich McGhie and I had worked with half the cast on Fences. In truth, when I found out Hayden Crawford was in this show I knew I had to see it, so I volunteered to be a host.

Pre-show I spent silently freaking out. It was my first time hosting and I was extremely nervous. The show was sold out which meant reservations cards on every single table! I rushed to fold programs, add inserts, fill and light the table candles, and create a seating chart cheatsheet. The house finally opened and I was relieved that there was no extensive line of folks waiting to be shown to their tables. I began to relax and found that I enjoyed hosting.

Robin's daughter, Akenya, played young Mahalia. The last time I saw Akenya on stage was in 2005 when she played an orphan in KLT's production of Annie. I must say I was extremely impressed with how much she as grown as an actress and singer. She had such a presence on stage! I caught myself beaming as if she were my daughter.

As Aunt Duke, Michelle White, Parisenne as we called her during Honk!, was once again a pleasure to watch. She has a great knack for comic timing. Woodrow Bumbry was sly as Thomas A. Dorsey and his performance made me smile. Jonathan D. Whitfield, who was new to me, played Cousin Fred and other minor roles. Hayden Crawford played the blind James Herbert Francis and I was impressed with his commitment to that character. Hayden also played Dr. Martin Luther King. I enjoyed seeing Hayden play a more serious role.

The remaining cast were absolutely outstanding. Cynthia Kelly played Mildred Falls and she was just delightful to watch. LaShon Hill played Mahalia and her voice was simply breathtaking.

While the pacing suffered in a few scenes, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The gospel number heading into intermission was rousting and unforgettable. LaShon Hill had the entire audience on its feet and in the palm of her hand.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The World's Newest Play

Yesterday Chris and I participated in The Dramatists' Playground. While it was vastly unorganized, I did have a really good time. We started out with everyone warming up with some improv games. From there we broke into teams and did more improv games. Right before lunch we determined our groups for the show and we then got our playwright assignment. Chris and I ended up in the same group. Our playwright was Grace Ellis, who also acted as our director.

For the rest of the afternoon our group played some more improv games to help us create a theme for our play. After that we discussion character and then scenes. This process was also unorganized. There were some difficult times as our playwright was having a hard time being the director. Chris and I surreptitiously assumed the roles of AD and SM respectively.

Chris had invited Quiana and Brian to come see the show. The closer we got to show time, the more I wished he hadn't invited anyone. I was terribly nervous!

We finally presented our World's Newest Play and I didn't die! Actually, after seeing the other plays, ours was pretty good!

While there were some annoying times, I did enjoy the experience. I'm not sure I'd do it again, unless I came back to keep things much more organized.

Oh, and I did get a very nice Facebook message from Randy today:

Randy Morris
Dramatists Playground
Hey Cheryl, Somehow I didn't get to speak to you last night after the show. I thought you did a great job in your play. I also enjoyed watching you play the improv games. You were hilarious as the "Nun Having Fun."
My only regret about last night is that you were not in my group. However, that was the "luck of the draw" and the group I had was really good. We had a lot of fun.
It was great having you and Chris at this year's "Dramatists' Playground." I hope you'll come back. Peace, Randy Morris

Friday, July 30, 2010

Open the curtain, tie the knot

"Cliff Bayer and Caroline Miller are getting married Saturday in a novel wedding ceremony at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center. They plan to exchange vows as part of a two-act play. The couple are selling tickets to the play in lieu of traditional wedding gifts."

Read more about their wedding performance, and what people think, here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I've got a date tonight.

Yep.

Someone I've had my eye on for quite some time and I finally got up the nerve to ask him. And he said yes! (Insert girlish screeching here!) So I'm sorta on Cloud Nine right now.

Who is the lucky fella, you ask?

I'm not sure I should say. I mean, you know him, and he knows you, and you know how that goes.

You really wanna know? Okay. It's -

CADE

Hahaha, you silly goose! Yes, Cade and I have a date to watch So You Think You Can Dance tonight. (Kinda like my dates with Mallorie to watch Gilmore Girls in the early years.) I've been promoting the show to him this season since there are such strong male dancers on the show. I've been asking him to watch it with me and he finally said yes.

I. Am. So. Excited!
Chris Daughtry's new music video, "September," filmed at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem on July 1.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Email from Steven!

From: Matijcio, Steven
Sent: Monday, July 19, 2010 4:52 PM
To: Amy Daluz; Cheryl Ann Roberts
Subject: thanks!

Hi Amy, Hi Cheryl Ann,

I'm just catching my breath now after last week, and wanted to send you and everyone in the Paper Lantern Theatre a huge note of thanks for your performance the evening of July 15. You contributed a truly unique, vibrant and thoroughly unexpected element to the evening, and amidst my conversations, I heard numerous people talking about the performance. It provided an important piece in what became a historic evening in the history of SECCA - thanks so much for helping us to celebrate.

It was a pleasure to work with you and everyone in the cast. I'm sorry I didn't have the chance to speak with you that evening, but please pass along my best to Cheri and all the performers. Their passion and energy were unmatched.

Thanks again,
Steven Matijcio
Curator of Contemporary Art
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Memorable Quotes

This is from Magic Hour by Kirstin Hannah

"We're pushing 40, but you still act like you're the homecoming queen, waiting to be swept off her feet by the football captain. It's not like that. Love rips the shit out of you and puts you back together like a broken toy, with all kinds of cracks and jagged edges. It's not about falling in love. It's about the landing, the staying where you said you'd be and working to keep
love strong."

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the Journal

Art center resumes mission to challenge community with an ambitious set of goals

By Mary Giunca | Journal Reporter
Published: July 16, 2010
(Journal photo by David Rolfe)
By 6:30 last night, Marilyn Burke had settled herself onto a grassy spot in front of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art with about 20 other people. "I thought half of Winston-Salem would be here," she said. "I've been waiting all year for this."

By 7, about 150 people lined the stone walk into the museum, awaiting the cutting of a ribbon and the chance to see the newly remodeled SECCA for themselves.

Eighteen months, $1.8 million and a new owner -- the state of North Carolina -- has transformed the gallery.

Larry Wheeler, the director of the N.C. Museum of Art, welcomed the crowd. "This is a new SECCA for a new time in a new North Carolina," he said. "It's going to charge up the community."

People snaked through in an orderly line peering around, as if afraid to miss anything. They took in the polished concrete floors that replaced the old carpets. They dropped business cards into a basket in order to make a live sculpture pose.

Lighted cases illuminated glass jewelry art. Patterns undulated on the walls. A dance troupe gathered in front of one of the works and performed. (Sidenote: The "dance troupe" was Paper Lantern, and they performed directly in front of the above pictured work.)

Over the course of the night, about 500 people made their way through the museum. (Sidenote: Many of us who were there last night feel this number is too, too conservative. We heard 3 times as many attended.)

"It's as if you've never been here before," said Mary Kerr, a longtime supporter of SECCA. "It's hard to even remember. They're really pressing your sensibilities."

Kerr said that she didn't see a lot of the people she usually saw at SECCA openings, and she said she thought that was a good thing.

SECCA's strategic plan lays out some ambitious goals for the museum, which closed in January 2009.

At the end of 2008, SECCA had about 128 members, and that year about 8,400 people visited the gallery.

By 2014, SECCA intends to sign up 1,200 members, achieve 80 percent capacity at activities and programs and increase gallery attendance 30 percent each year. In order to do that, it will need to reach out to the larger community in ways it never has before, longtime observers of the arts scene have said.

Last night was meant to give people a taste of what the new SECCA could be like.

Milton Rhodes, the president and chief executive of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, said that the community is ready for a new SECCA, one that will be a standard bearer.

"SECCA really has become a beacon for what the town is trying to brand itself as, a City of the Arts and Innovation," he said.

The community's roots are still pretty conservative, Rhodes said.

"Other places are changing rapidly against people's best wishes, but they're changing," he said. "We've got to move with that as a community."

Janice Ray is a teacher in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system and has lived in Winston-Salem all her life. Last night was her first visit to SECCA.

"For somebody like me, who wouldn't normally come to just an art exhibit, they should try to create some kind of event, where you come and stay for the night," she said, "with music or wine tastings."

Bruce Foriest, who recently moved back to town, said he had last been at SECCA 15 years ago to see Ruby Dee perform.

He wondered why those he sees at the Diggs Gallery and Delta Fine Arts had not made the trip across town to SECCA.

"I'm going to be advocating for it," he said.

Several people said that SECCA has always been too sophisticated for Winston-Salem and likely always will be. But energy, vitality and creativity were the watchwords invoked by many arts administrators and visitors.

Rhodes said that this time around, he thinks SECCA has a chance to fulfill its potential as a place for the community to gather and experience contemporary art that will alternately engage and delight, challenge and occasionally infuriate.

"I think the town has changed," he said. "The focus is on the creative class, a knowledge-based economy.

"SECCA will push us. It will challenge our standard."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grand Reopening!

Chris, Cheri and I arrived at SECCA right at 6:30p. We were a bit stunned that people were already gathering outside the doors. We simply walked in acting like we owned the place!

We headed straight for the band and helped Mike finish his set up. After ensuring everyone understood all sound cues, I went to find Pat to let her know we were here. I found her looking gorgeous and radiant. I realized that she was just as nervous as I was! I told her how beautiful SECCA looked and congratulated her on a wonderful job. She told me they upped their anticipated headcount from 500 to 750. From the people already gathering on the lawn, I replied that 750 was probably still a low number! Pat had some last minute preparations, as did Cheri, so Chris and I wandered over to the food. Unfortunately I was too nervous to even think about eating.

At 7p the doors were officially opened. Chris and I continued to wander around and I made mental notes as our performers arrived. I did take some time to marvel at two freeze artists, and Chris and I toured the Glasswear exhibit. At about 7:40p I made my way to a spot where I could oversee the performance. I couldn't believe how nervous I was, especially since I wasn't even performing! Chris was so good and kept me calm.

At 7:55p, as scheduled, the band took a break. I held my breath waiting to hear the a-weemas and literally felt my heart constrict when nothing happened. I turned around ready to race to the front of the building to find out what happened when Chris grabbed me. Above the din I heard the singing.

It was such a beautiful sight watching Chelsea, Nichelle, Scott, Tim, Alex, Amelia, Scarlet, Whitney, Serah, Cheri and Ann grooving through the crowd. As they moved into place, as predicted, the crowd parted not wanting to be part of the "improv". Upon realizing that Benji and Emily weren't in their line I began to panic. It was important for Emily to be there because her arrival is what cued the next song! I again turned to go racing over to Mike and again Chris held me firm. I saw then that Cheri was communicating a Plan B with the group and both Benji and Emily were fighting their way through the crowd. Emily finally hit her mark and I breathed.

The rest of the performance went smoothingly, and the crowd loved it! I was so very proud of the performers and so very honored to have been a part of SECCA's night.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Final Rehearsal

While all of the works were not installed as we had hoped on Monday, they were all in tonight. I didn't anticipate too much of a problem as I felt that our performers were seasoned enough to easily adjust to any changes. As Cheri and gang moved into formation and began the MJ piece, I noticed Chelsea was awfully close to a stalagmite looking work. Alex also got close to a work containing arrows.

Figuring that Stephen would need some reassuring, I spoke with Cheri about moving the line further back and closer to one side. It was during this conversation that Amy decided to completely take over (again!). As if she were God speaking from the Heavens, she yelled down to the cast and directed them to some pretty major blocking changes. I was extremely miffed. As the PM I had things under control! Cheri was even more pissed at the changes Amy was suggesting, and the cast was none too happy either. Fortunately we only wasted 10 minutes in determining that Amy's new vision would not work. Cheri implemented my suggestions and it worked perfectly.

After rehearsal, as we were walking back to our respective cars, Amy told me that she was just trying to calm Stephen. I didn't even respond. Her ridiculous outburst brought the entire project full circle and simply reaffirmed my decision.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spacing Rehearsal

I was extremely nervous about tonight's rehearsal. Not only was it our first spacing rehearsal (I had crossed my fingers that all the artwork was installed as promised) but Steven and Pat would be watching. True, the performance would fit the "theatrical, song, dance" clause in our contract, but it was a far cry from the Food Court video Steven had initially sent us.

I arrived and our participants were already A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh through the gallery. I greeted Steven and Pat as Cheri and the gang moved into formation and began the "The Way You Make Me Feel" dance number. My nerves increased and I took barely a breath. The dancing was the part Steven had been hesitant. As the group broke away and started the "Funk Soul Brother" piece I heard Pat giggle. I stole a glance her way and saw that she was smiling. I cautiously glanced at Steven and he too was grinning! A couple of the SECCA architects and at least one of the artists had also gathered and were grooving to our music. They all loved the "Over The Rainbow" finale.

My nerves immediately disappeared. I knew that if these few were thoroughly enjoying the performance, the Grand Reopening crowd would too.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

McDonald's Smoothie

I gotta be honest. It's their print campaign that made me want to try one. I'm a sucker for pink. The blue background and darker blue plate really make the pinks pop. My eye was immediately drawn last Thursday when I stopped by for some fries. Unfortunately the smoothie machine was being cleaned.

In trying to decided where to go to lunch today, I remembered the picture of the cool, refreshing pink smoothies. I got a Combo #5 with a Wild Berry smoothie.

Not too sweet and not too tart. I'm lovin'it!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Dramatists' Playground

Dramatists' PlaygroundThe Dramatists' Playground is an annual workshop hosted by the Greensboro Playwrights' Forum. Actors, directors and playwrights are challenged to write a play, rehearse it and perform it in less than one day. It provides a fantastic challenge for creativity and stamina for everyone involved.

The workshop will be from 10 am to 8 pm and the performance is at 8 pm in the City Arts Studio Theatre on the first level of the Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie Street.

The workshop is free to participants. You must fill out an application to be considered.

I've been seeking acting opportunities that will shake things up for me. Based on the above this sounds like the perfect thing. I mean, it's a little scary writing a play, rehearsing it AND performing it within 10 hours! Talk about challenging. Since I've got nothing to lose, I'm going to submit my application.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Going to Food Lion

By Michael Hastings | Journal Food Editor

If you like a little Cheerwine with your doughnut, now you can get the same taste without the soda.

Krispy Kreme, based in Winston-Salem, and Cheerwine, based in Salisbury, is rolling out the new, limited-edition Cheerwine Kreme Filled Doughnut Thursday.

The doughnut has a crème filling flavored with Cheerwine concentrate. It comes with a chocolate glaze and red and white sprinkles that mirror the colors of Cheerwine's logo.

The doughnut will not be sold in Krispy Kreme stores. Instead, it will be sold only in major supermarkets -Lowes Foods, Bi-Lo, and select Food Lion and Harris Teeter stores. You can't even get it at Wal-Mart.

The doughnut will only be sold in July and only in North Carolina and South Carolina.

"This is a celebration of the Carolinas," said Tom Barbitta, the vice president of marketing for Cheerwine. "These two brands have become what they are because of the people in the Carolinas. They taste like home."

The doughnuts look like they are made for the Fourth of July, with red and white sprinkles. A smudge of pink, crème filling can be seen on the outside.

The filling does taste like Cheerwine. The rest of the doughnut is another story. The chocolate in the glaze mingles with Cheerwine's signature cherry flavor in the filling to create a whole new experience.

If you like chocolate and Cheerwine, you're probably going to like this doughnut.

Of course, it helps if you have a serious sweet tooth. One of these doughnuts has 26 grams of sugar.