A lot has happened already in the new year! During the holiday season I was mostly just standing outside in the cold handing out flyers to try and sell tickets for Broadway shows. It was pretty cold, but not quite as bad as I expected. It actually wasn't much different from Louisville, minus the huge amounts of snow we got from time to time. Also thanks to that job Jenn and I have been able to see a lot of shows for free, which is definitely worth standing outside freezing for 6 hours.
The first gig I got in 2010 was to be the music director of a brand new show called Young, Rich, and Pretty, which was written by two guys (Rocco Natale & Zachary Kampler) who live in Connecticut. We did a workshop reading of the show at the end of January in CT and it went great! It's a really fun show based on a F. Scott Fitzgerald short story ("A Diamond as Big as the Ritz") and it has a lot of great music that is very jazzy. I'm really excited about the show because it has a lot of potential to be a really great show and possibly (keeping fingers crossed) one day end up on or off Broadway. Right now we're in a rewriting stage, but I think the next step is to submit it for some of the theatre festivals and get another production of it started up.
Another great thing that happened is that I got involved with a group called the Broadway Artists Alliance. Jenn and I went to see Finian's Rainbow and we met a guy named Tyrick Jones, who was in the cast and is one of the directors of this group. The Broadway Artists Alliance is a group that does workshops and master classes for kids through young adults in which they have professional actors/dancers/composers/etc. from Broadway come and teach the classes. So far I've only played for some auditions and one dance master class taught by an ensemble member from The Addams Family, but now that I know Tyrick I'm pretty sure I'll get the chance to play for more. Also through Tyrick I got to play at a memorial service (unfortunately) for his manager and I got to play for him and Lee Summers, who is an original cast member from Dreamgirls. Lillias White, who is another huge Broadway star, sang as well but unfortunately she brought her own accompanist.
The only other thing I've been consistently doing is working with our new friend Thom Christopher Warren, who is the standby for Scar/Pumbaa/Zazu in The Lion King on Broadway. We've been doing some coaching and are actually in the works to start a class for actors up here to coach them. I'm really excited about it and hope that we get it started soon because I believe it will be a nice little way to get some steady income.
Ok enough about me, Jenn is doing great as well! During the holidays she worked at Macy's Herald Square, and one would think that she just worked sales, but no, she was hired as a manager for the Jewelry department the first time she ever applied. She's crazy good at interviews haha. Well basically, she worked her butt off during the holidays and was actually able to get her employment extended through the end of January. After that she applied for some more jobs, even though she really wanted to stay at Macy's. Lucky for her, a perfect job opened up and she applied and got it! So now she is the Human Resources Manager of Recruitment for Macy's Herald Square. She has an office on the 8th floor of the store where you can look out and see Madison Square Garden. It's pretty insane and I'm so proud of her!
As far as performing, we've started to work to get her book together and find her new songs so she can start auditioning, which hopefully she will eventually have time to do once she gets used to her new job at Macy's. But she did get a chance to perform this past Monday, which leads me to my next and final (I think) update...
This past Monday I music directed a benefit for a theatre in Scranton, PA for our friend Thom. Basically, Thom got all of his Broadway friends together and we took a bus down to Scranton to perform and he asked Jenn to come and sing with us! So it was great because Jenn and I got the chance to work with about 10 or so professional Broadway performers including two veterans. One of them was Alice Evans, who was in the original cast of Sweet Charity with Gwen Verdon, How to Succeed In Business..., and Man of La Mancha. The other lady is actually a big Broadway name, Loni Ackerman. She was the standby and eventually took over the role of Evita for Patti LuPone. She also was in the original cast of Starting Here, Starting Now and played Grizabella in CATS on Broadway. She was also in the original cast of George M. starring Joel Grey and Bernadette Peters. So basically Jenn and I were in awe and are still getting over the fact that Loni is now like a great friend and even wants to invite us up to her house in the summer for like a cookout. It was almost surreal to be a part of it. It was a blast though and it went really well and we have a ton of new friends because of it.
So basically that's what we've done for the past 5-6 months. We've been able to see a lot of shows and meet a lot of people and actually find work. I'm gradually meeting more and more people and getting more work, so hopefully by the next update (which I'll try not to make it so long in between) I'll have even more to report. Again, I just added everyone in my address book, so if you're on this list and you don't want to be or your e-mail has changed or whatever, please let me know. Also please feel free to write back. It was great to hear from everyone the last time. And of course, if you're ever coming up to NYC, please let us know so we can see you! Take care and we hope all of you are doing well!