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The Last Few Days…

Ah, the chaos never ends. It’s a surprise that I still have time to breathe. (And blog) With two midterms tomorrow, internship application deadlines approaching, homework and office work,  I’m finding it hard to focus on writing or even find the time to jot down a few notes… Sometimes I find that I just have to separate myself from my projects once in a while. 

On Wednesday of last week (February 29th) I grabbed some Starbucks with an incredible new friend of mine, Addison O’Donnell. We’re pursuing many of the same things and have very similar mindsets when it comes to theater, music and the business of it all.  We’ve been meaning to meet for months, but because of how insanely busy we both were we didn’t have the time until now. Meeting with him was awesome.

After we talked at Starbucks we headed to a practice room over at Pace and shared some of our original music and talked about our musicals. We also chatted about our experiences with writing them, being in them, producing them and directing them.

I’ve always had insecurities when it came to my music. I am a self taught piano player and although my knowledge and skill has significantly improved it will always be something I will look to improve. I had talked about this with Addison and he told me not to fear that my material is too simple because the passion behind the words and meaning will sell it to people, not the complexity. He also said I wasn’t as much of a novice as I thought I was, coming from a musician of his caliber… I’ll take is word for it.

“SIMPLICITY IS CRUCIAL.”

Now I am finding that this quote can relate not only to business, but to art as well.

Addison is only 19 and he’s directed/musical directed over fifty pieces. He’s written many musicals and so many solo songs as well. He’s also done so much more than I cannot even recall in this moment. BUT - In any case, he is great and I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ways to compliment his character and his work! He will be a very successful person, watch out world! 

On Thursday Night (turned into morning) of last week (March 1st) I sat down with my good friend Cat Volpe and read through my musical. She has directed many plays since she was fifteen and also is a playwright herself. She gave me some of the most in-depth and critical advice I’ve ever received on this piece.

“In a story, the characters, theme or plot can drive the story. In your case the characters do.” After this bit of advice she told me to improve upon the subtext and the interactions between all of the characters. We worked on switching the meaning of some numbers and also talked about the adding and deleting of whole storylines and characters. Although this process is scary, it’s invigorating!

On Friday Morning (March 2nd), I met with Kevin Ray, creator of the NYMF musical Central Avenue Breakdown. He’s an incredibly talented musician and such an easy going, chill dude! We spoke about the process of making the music consistent throughout the show, and how to go about demo recordings… we also talked about… DUN DUN DUN – NOTATING AND ARRANGING THE SCORE! He gave me many helpful tips on all of these things. Talking with him was a confidence booster and an incredible learning experience. He also chatted to me about his new projects, and I am so excited to see what he had explained!

Friday night I took a trip back to good old Long Island to see my high school’s show, “Sweeney Todd.” It opened on Saturday March 3rd. I witnessed an incredibly eerie performance and felt the energy of opening night in every line.

My high school director Mr. Kramer, really is a genius – But he never gives himself enough credit. He always attributes the Miller Place Panther Players success to the student performers. While they are a large part of the equation, from my experience, Mr. Kramer instills much of the confidence, energy and skill into each performer, each rehearsal and eventually into each performance while he calls cues and watches from the back with Ms. Jean. I believe most of what I know about directing and the significance of theatre is from being in his shows throughout high school. I was lucky to be a Miller Place Panther Player.

I realized I finally graduated from high school when I was watching a show in that same auditorium that I had once performed. The difference was I didn’t know much of the process that had went into the entire performance. I didn’t see the callbacks, or the first blocking rehearsal, or the first musical rehearsal. I experienced this show as a true audience member, but in a different way that I have been an audience member in the past. I was watching my family up there.

My high school has an incredible department; tonight I wish them all to break legs as they perform a workshop reading of The Laramie Project.

SO, I’ve been pretty busy this last week and I don’t expect it to die down soon. I’m interning for Suellen tomorrow night after my midterms and from that point, I hope to have a relaxing and productive spring break and wish the same to all of you!

-April :)

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