Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Shuttle Launch

This is Ben's video, I just managed to capture it. Mine is still having difficulty downloading from my DVD that I took. Enjoy! Sorry about the expletives... it was exciting.


video

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A good day.

Not great, but good. Okay, better. Again, a long day, but worth the length. I got blocked into most of the Moments to Remember show. It helps to know the music, can I tell you? It went so much quicker, because there were songs I actually knew the words to! Very exciting. I need to brush up on my Brian Setzer new fangled Swing stuff, as those are some weird words in there...

I will try again to upload last night's video of the shuttle launch. I have been having difficulty getting the info from the DVD onto my hard drive and into some sort of uploadable format. Go figure. Like I mentioned before, I am no rocket scientist.

I need to get some work done on my play. The powers that be are asking for it. I have not done all that much word on the rewrite, as you can see... like I have had even time to breather over the past three weeks... anyhow, that's what tonight is for. Tomorrow is going to be spent doing laundry and running and pounding lyrics into my head. I am also going to watch the dvd's we were given and try to put myself into as much of Shimmy as I can. We shall see. When i get depressed all I want to do is sleep, and lately, I have had a dickens of a time getting up in the morning.

Can you tell I have been hanging around with a bunch of Brits? They have such a way with words. The other day in rehearsal, one of the dancers passed gas just as his partner was inhaling to start a dance step. Her remark was that it was so gross she could "taste the poo particles." Makes it sound so civilized, doesn't it?

Makes me laugh.

Talk later. Good night all, and Gaby, get your homework done! If I have to do it, so do you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

AMAZING!!!

Tonight was amazing. Today, not so much, but tonight... absolutely. We watched a shuttle launch! Absolutely INCREDIBLE! We have been waiting to see it all week, and finally, at 11:59 pm tonight, they launched the shuttle Discovery. The 30th mission.

The cast all walked down by the water to get an unobstructed view. We could see the lights of the launch pad across the bay, and I had Mom on the phone in one ear, my video camera in the other hand, and then the entire sky lit up. Then the ball of light from the rockets were seen... wow. I was speechless, to think that there are seven people on board that thing going into space. Wish I had done better in math class.

I will try to upload some of my footage onto the website here, but I have no idea if it will work. I looked at what i filmed, an unfortunately, all you can see is a big ball of light. The focus doesn't work all that well at night, I guess, and since it is a new piece of machinery for me, there may be some user error.

The run through today was the next best thing to a disaster, but a good one, if that's even possible. The show didn't totally fall apart, so that's a good thing! We ended up singing with the tracks only, and not the voices we had been used to. Kind of a sink or swim method of seeing what we know and what we don't know. I did pretty well, only messed up three songs. That I know of.

Then we got notes, as our company manager watched (yuck... stress!). He made some really not so pretty faces as we were running things.

Then I worked with PGT's wife. We sang through the shows, and ended up only making it through two of the six. She helped sort of, but in the long run, I am the one who has to do the work, so it all comes down to me. Found out that our first show will be Piano Man, so I am going to start focusing on that one a little more. There are some great songs in that show, again, most of the melodies I know, but not the words.

More later. Got paid today, sent the paychecks home to help my starving bank account, and maybe stave off the bill collectors for a while, but i doubt it. Funny how they call you with a computerized system, and when you answer, they give you a number to call back, and then when you do, they put you on hold for ten minutes. I finally hung up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

an "M-M" day

What a day. Long day. Exhausting day, mentally and eventually, physically. Had rehearsal at 11:30, went and worked on finishing the choreography for Save The Last Dance. We have a run through of it tomorrow at 2pm. Might be scary, but hopefully it will go better tham my mind makes it out to be.

My leading lady and I worked our butts off drilling most of the material from memory, and it seemed to go pretty well. unfortunately there are two sections that are so similar in choreography, that I keep doing one instead of the other. My leading lady has to throw me around sometimes, when it should be the opposite. Anyhow.

The "M-M" today was a "minor meltdown" this afternoon. For the last week, my phone has been ringing at the most inopportune moments and it is always bill collectors wanting all of the no money that i have. Today it was for my house payment, and it just really got to me. They are charging me late payments for the past three months because the post date didn't get there in time. Schmucks.

So that was a bit sucky. Put my day down to about a 3.

But, working on the stuff to make sure we both knew it was awesome work, and it put my day at about a 7. Everyone is so patient with me.

The new cast arrived yesterday for their rehearsals, so there are two casts in rehearsals simultaneously, which is driving everyone crazy since the rehearsal studio was built for one cast at a time... imagine a bunch of legs and arms all moving in every direction at once... that is what it reminds me of. Thankfully the dancers were working alone today. Tomorrow, i have no idea what is going to happen. i do know that on Sunday, which is supposed to be my day off, the rest of the cast is going to Disney World, and I get to stay at the Dixie and rehearse!!! Actually, it's not a complaint. It is the only day for me to get caught up on material, and it saves me about a hundred and some odd dollars on admission and food for the day.

So, I am a little too pooped to pop tonight. Gonna say good night, and to all those on the Bunnicula reunion party... I miss you and wish I could be there.

Shuttle launch on for tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The sequence of my days...








a 6!

Hi all. Not too bad of a day today. Was actually a 6 on the scale. Got tons of work done on the Save The Last Dance show... so now I only have one more number to be put in, and then I have learned 2 entire shows. Learned, but i don't KNOW them... they have only been taught. We'll see how the whole retention thing goes when we have our run through at some point. It is a fun show, though, and I get to sing some great songs, including In The Mood, Pennsylvania 6-5000, I Know Why and So Do You, Quando Quando Quando, Save The Last Dance For me, and In The Still of the Night. Should be fun.

Tomorrow I don't have to go in until 11:30, and of course, I have no idea what i will be working on, so I have absolutely no way to prepare for the day ahead of time. Ah, life. Is grand, no? Sheesh.

Shuttle scrubbed yet again. Not sure why this time. Hoping tomorrow at 12:22am it will finally go into space so I can have some other form of excitement in my life other than stressful ones.

Had two egg white sandwiches for dinner, and a Dr. Pepper. Okay, i had yogurt for breakfast and an apple for lunch. I also found a farmer's market that i walked around in on a break. I happened upon an ice cream shop and got a cup of double chocolate chip ice cream. Stepped outside and it was immediately mush. So I pretty much drank it.

I don't know why my shift button does not seem to want to capitalize any of my "I's." very frustrating.

So, i checked emails tonight, and there are some funny ones from PB. Lovew a sequence of pictures taken through skype over the past 8 days. You know when they say a picture is worth a thousand words? This is what they mean... I will try to upload the sequence and post it on here.

I am very tired tonight, and a good night's sleep is long overdue, so I am going to keep this kinda short tonight. Besides, i don't want to jeopardize my semi-good mood and have it jinxed for tomorrow. Got tons of work to do yet on the whole memorization, but things are going better. Sorta. Well, today was better. Sorta.

I will also post a song memorization countdown. The whole NASA thing is rubbing off on me, i think.

More later. Thanks for dropping by!
JM

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This is the painting that M.S. gave to me while i was visiting Fire Island. I love it. I will get artist information and post it when I get it... enjoy.

Popping Bubbles

Wow! I have NINE followers! Does that make this a cult? Anyway, welcome all newbies.

Today was a fair day. On a rank of one to ten, today was about a four. Still having difficulty with the whole memorization thing, so what else is new. Worked from 10 am until about two on the swing section of Save The Last Dance... choreographed In The Mood and Another Cha Cha... okay, a word about this song... nowhere in my score, or on any of the CD's the company gave me does the melody of this song exist. And I was expected to have it memorized? Uh... another cha cha out my butt, guys!

Had lunch back at the cast apartments ( a stromboli from Stouffer's...yummy). Then went back to rehearsal to work on Sway with the dancers until about 7:15. How many times can the verse change? Geez, it is driving me crazy.

Got home after visiting the post office, only to find that the stamp machine is out of order AND being removed from the post office. The closest place to buy stamps is now the Wal-Mart or the Winn Dixie... thought those went out of business, but okay. Got tons of phone calls today from bill collectors, well, over the past week, I have spent a lot of air time on bill collectors. Trying to make ends meet is a full time job in itself. Hence the stamp to send my paycheck home to help pay for bills so my credit rating is not all shot to blazes.

The shuttle launch was scrubbed again tonight because of fuelling issues... now, wouldn't you think that since last night the thing was supposed to go off, they wouldn't need to refuel? I dunno... obviously I am NOT a rocket scientist!

So I found out that my biggest frustration is this: I am a singer. The lead singer. Male Guest Entertainer. But I do not get a rehearsal with a musical director for ANY of the six shows I am expected to learn. I am expected to learn them from listening to CD's and watching videos. I guess this is normal? Here's the thing... I finally did have a sit down with the musical director, and he told me who sings what in each of the shows. Okay... well now here is where it gets interesting. The stuff he told me doesn't match what is on the CD, nor what is on the DVD, nor what the choreographer is teaching us. What the hell am I supposed to be doing? Oy!

Pardon me as I step off my soap box...

Okay, feeling better. Watched Saving Grace tonight. It was a repeat, but a good one.

Then I read my blog comments and found out that I have been lied to about the whole Glenn Miller thing. Man, I hate that. I guess I will have to write a screenplay about a band leader who writes a song for his wife and dies before he gets a chance to play it for her.

Maybe at some point I will know the truth about the story.

Heading off to bed now, I am tired and frazzled, and stressed and depressed. I have thousands of words going through my head all at once, and none of them make any sense. I hope I can sleep.

Serenity Prayer. Big time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Update

The shuttle launch was scrubbed due to inclement weather. I guess they have weather here. We will try again tomorrow night. Buh-bye.

First man to go to the moon, right, Mom?

Interesting day today. I had every intention of getting up at 7 am, taking a nice long jog around the area with my heaphones tuned into my music... ended up pushing the snooze button about ten times, which got me out of bed around ten am instead. Ugh. The road to whatever is paved with good intentions, right? Wrong.

Got to rehearsal around 11:00, and we worked on more of Save The Last Dance for Me. We did the disco section, which is going to be fun. Do A Little Dance, Make A Little Love (don't I wish) Get Down Tonight... etc. During my down time, I managed to make a check off list of all the songs from the six shows I am supposed to have memorized by the time I leave here in two weeks.

There are 99 of them. Yes. Ninety-nine. Like the red balloons. ninety nine freaking songs I have to learn by the time i get to go to Australia. Of the ninety nine, I already know....

Fourteen. Okay, I lie.

Sixteen.

Man, I am in TROUBLE! The good news is that I already know the majority of the melodies, it's those darned words that have to throw everything off. The good news is that I have a checklist now to show my progress. Hopefully every day I can cross off another four songs off my three page list.

Who knew that In The Mood and Pennsylvania 6-5000 had so many words? Not to mention the endless verses of At The Hop... those recording artists were able to have the music with them as they recorded the songs, right? Maybe I should become a recording artist.

In the meantime, I am waiting for one of my childhood dreams to come true. To see a shuttle launch live. Right now it is raining over the launch pad, so things are a no go. It is 1:13 am, and the shuttle is supposed to launch at 1:36. I hope it goes. First man on the moon, right mom?

Oh yeah, we also did a run through of Extreme Country. Let me tell you, I know what i need to work on. Those moments where i was standing there with egg on my face, looking like a deer in the headlights. Pretty much the entire second half of the show. I totally missed a dance break during Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy. I thought I was supposed to stand there and sing... forgot there was a dance to go with it. It didn't even look at all familiar when everyone BUT me was doing it. Hmmm.... tomorrow, maybe.

I have to go in at ten am to do the opening sequence of Save The Last Dance, as well as the Viennese section, which should be a treat, seeing as how I have no clue as to what any of THOSE words are.... wow. Life just doesn't get any better, does it? Andsomewhere in there, i have to learn the words to "Another Cha Cha", the likes of which do not exist on any of the CD's the company gave me to learn the shows by. I guess I get to make up a melody? Hello? Really?! (insert dramatic music here) Good night, y'all. See you on the other side to tomorrow!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Now I had... the time of my life

Blocked the Dirty Dancing section of Save the Last Dance for Me today. Got up early, well, I tried. Got up around ten, then had breakfast, went next door to sing through stuff with my leading lady, and then while we were singing, we found out that we would be delaying rehearsal for an hour. No problem. More time to sing. Then we went through the Dirty Dancing stuff... that is about three songs, including Time of My Life, Do You Love Me, and one other that I am not in. The dancers came in later and then we worked through (plug and play) some of the Big Band stuff. I officially have a new song I KNOW I am going to love to sing...

I Know Why (and so Do You) by Glenn Miller. What an amazingly beautiful song. The words are sinple and perfect, and the melody sits in a great place for my voice. I am gonna love it. The story behind it is also very special, and it adds to the total sentimentality of the piece. Glenn Miller used to end his radio shows with Little Brown Jug, which was his and his wife's song... for Christmas one year, he wrote I Know Why, and told his wife to listen to the broadcast that night, as there would be a surprise. The night of the concert, Glenn Miller's plane went down, and he was lost forever. The band went on and played the song for his wife, but he never had a chance to hear it, or see his wife's reaction. Isn't that cool? Very sad, but it adds so much to the acting of the piece. It's nice to have some dramatic moments during a non-dramatic revue show.

Got home tonight around 6:30. Today was Sophie Jo's birthday, so we threw her a little surprise but not party. Ordered pizza (bleah) and I managed to stuff down two pieces. Waiting for the cake announcement now so I can go chow down on some sweets! I would love to go for a walk and listen to my ipod and songs I have to learn, but it is raining cats and dogs right now. Gorgeous sunset tonight, too... not an hour ago, it was so nice and so many colors layering the sky. Purples and oranges and pinks, some reds and yellows. Really amazing.

It's weird. Today I felt like things might finally work. Like I am making progress. I wish I felt like a part of the cast, but hopefully that will come. I am taking things way too seriously, i think, and that has put some people off, as it makes me look like I have an attitude or am really stuck up. I'm just freaked out, folks. Bear with me, and I will get better, I promise. I really can be fun to be around. Just homesick and stressed right now. Got the zit to prove it. Dammit.

More later, probably tomorrow. We are doing more of Save the Last Dance, and then a full run of Extreme Country. I would love to be off book for it, but I seriously doubt that's gonna happen. How I envy these kids who only have to dance. I know that's not a fair statement, as they are really working their little tushes off, but when it comes to learning words AND choreography, I think singers have the short end of the stick. Nice group of people, though. I think I might have a crush on one of them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kick Off Tonight

So. Today. First off, I got up hoping to get some rehearsal time in with me and my script and my ipod. Not the case. Got up on time, as I wanted to, but my ipod was being a poopy. It took an hour to finally get the show tracks onto it. I guess all my musical theatre stuff took up all the memory, and there was no more room for the stuff I need. So I deleted Mamma Mia in Spanish, as well as a few of the other soundtracks I won't be listening to right away, and eventually, all six of the shows fit onto my ipod.

Well, then it was almost noon, and the cast that is heading out on Monday had their "presentation", which I guess is like their exit audition to show the big wigs what they have been working on so that they can get on the ship all prepared. Their presentation was incredible. Their shows look like so much fun. And it was music I knew... why can't I do THOSE shows? Anyhow, we then went to lunch to celebrate Sophie Jo's birthday, and I got a bland caesar turkey wrap. looked better on the menu than it did on the plate. Saved half of it for lunch tomorrow, as I did not get the chance to go out and get food for the week... gotta start rationing, I guess. Then I had every intention of going back to the Dixie Motel to study my music. Put my headphones on, and almost immediately conked out. Woke up when a flash thunderstorm came over and started shaking the roof. Got up, and then it was time to get ready to go to Peter's house. Peter as in Peter Grey Terhune... this big guy who I am working for. Very nice guy, so down to Earth... knows several folks that I do, so it was nice to be able to chat about mutual connections.

The party at his house was for the cast(s) that are going out next. Since we have two casts in simultaneous rehearsal, the party was for both casts. It was really nice! His house is on the water over on Merrit Island. Amazing house, with his yacht parked out on the canal... it was fully catered, open bar, with a jazz combo. I actually got up and sang "When I Fall In Love" because apparently, it is kind of obligatory that the lead singers from the casts get up and sing for their supper, so to speak. It went well, though I made up some words (so what else is new). One of the singers reminded me so much of Lormarev... but Lo has a much better sparky personality. I miss you, Lormarev!!!!

Had a pork chop and some fruit for dinner, a couple glasses of Coke and then switched over to water... I made it a double. Sheila was there... she is a trip and a half! She works in the office, and we had spoken on the phone several times, but we had not met formally. The first thing she said to me when we met was "Oh! I didn't recognize you without the mullet!" I didn't know what to say exactly. Apparently, my passport photo is really horrifically bad, and since I had long hair, it looks like a mullet. She gave me a hard time for the rest of the night. The other folks at PGT are also giving me a hard time just because I am still freaking out about the material to learn, and the time or lack thereof to learn it. They don't seem concerned, and they are telling me not to fret. I guess I won't fret as much as I normally would. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding?

Not really sure if anyone is reading all this junk, but here it is anyway. Life in Cocoa is hot, sweaty, and stressful. Welcome to the new era of Cruise Ship Entertainment! More later... gotta go listen to some Extreme Country! Followed by Shimmy! followed by Save the Last Dance For Me... see y'all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Four

Today we got put into the Extreme Country show. It went well, and though I am still majorly overwhelmed with all the songs I have yet to learn, it seems to be finally taking shape. Okay, I lie. I am still very petrified of having to do six shows in three weeks. Man, that's a lot of words to memorize. I wish I had paid more attention to the lyrics of the big band era... what am i saying... Oy. Sigh and sigh again. It will come. It will come.

Oh yeah, I also have a play to rewrite before i leave for Australia... when the heck is THAT gonna happen? Thanks to M.S. for dragging me away at the most crucial time. Trying not to harbor any resentments, because those will get in the way of my learning process. I love and adore the above said M.S. ... just bad timing, dude. Next time, please let me make the decision.

Okay, I am pooped and bitter and gotta go to bed. Tomorrow is another day of rehearsing and rehearsing and then going over everything yet again. And again, and again. And that's my day off!

Day of despair

Woke up this morning feeling very overwhelmed and questioning for the first time if this is the right thing to do. What am i doing here, trying to fit in with a bunch of 20 year olds? My brain does not want to work, and I know it is only day three or four, I am really scared. Pay day today. Missed the van ride to get groceries for the week, so that doesn't help my mood any. No one told me what time it was leaving, so my bad for not asking. This sucks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sorry, Lormarev... I spelled your name wrong... But here it is correctly... once I post, I can't go back in and fix anything... sorry, sweets! Hope your rehearsals are going well... you rock my world.

I am ... overwhelmed.

Day two of the new adventures of J. Michael Down Under. I once avowed never to do another production contract, and these rehearsals are reminding me why I made that promise to myself. Could they jack up the keys to any songs any higher? Holy cowabunga, man. I am singing in the stratosphere, it seems, using every available note in my range, and thankfully, I at least have most of them. But... on a good note, it is stretching me to the limits of everything I know and hold dear and sacred.

Rehearsed the past two days without the help of a music director, which was rather really kind of annoying and frustrating, as we have been put into one show already, and no vocal rehearsal. How does that work, exactly? Who knows. Apparently, it does here with PGT Ent. Anyhow, Dan was kind enough to work on some of the music and notes for Shimmy! with us, and I am feeling less stressed out about the whole ordeal. I just wish there was some remote part of me that was African-American, so that my "soul" didn't sound so "white bread" (Lomarev, that's for you, sweetie!) She would get such a kick out of listening to me try to belt out Ray Charles and Ike and Tina Turner. Not sure yet if I want any of the family coming to see me on the ship, as this is really freaking me the hell out. My memory is not working the way I would like it to, and I am irritated enough at myself for not doing more of the homework I was supposed to.

I feel like Liza Doolittle... "Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words..."

I miss the kids at Wakefield. I miss my cats. I miss Peggy, Michael, Mom and Dad, Amy and Gaby and Bill and Bella, Kim and all my other buddies. I miss being able to get in my car and drive somewhere, even if it is just to go around the block. I wish i had had more time here, like I had requested. But... since things are not ideal in my little world, I must deal with the things as they are. I will be fine, just allow me this first of many freak outs, ok?

The Brits make me laugh. They are all outside watching the heat lightning in the distance, ooh-ing and aah-ing. "We don't get this in England" they say. "It never gets hot enough for heat lightning." Uh huh. You go, Brits.

Tonight I made a real nice pasta and fresh shrimp, and though I forgot to buy garlic and any kind of seasoning, it turned out pretty edible-ly. Maybe tomorrow when we get paid and go on our weekly grocery run I will get some of the other things like salt, to spice up the foodage situation. We'll see.

Rehearsal is from 3-9 tomorrow, which will be the rest of Extreme Country, as well as a put in rehearsal for Shimmy! which will be interesting. I have tons of homework tonight, before I go to bed, as I have a rehearsal with the music director tomorrow from 3-6. I have no idea what he is going to want to hear, so I have to be prepared to sing all 6 shows. RIGHT! Wow. The stress level is rising. Hope I can keep it all together.

Skyped with peggy tonight when I got home, and I am getting ready to do it again before i head to bed with my headphones in to absorb some of the words I have to sing... Good night, all... please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I need them. Lots. Tons, even. Majorly amounts of them. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Have Arrived! The Adventure Begins...

What a day! Got up after a night of no sleep at all... but it was nice to have the kitties snuggling up next to me again.. and got on the plane. I was running late, of course, no thanks to my irritated tummy. Got to the gate with minutes to spare, flew through the security checkpoint, got on the plane. Headed to Charlotte. Very fast flight, only 35 minutes. Then got to Charlotte. Had to change gates and planes, but had plenty of time.

I was supposed to be in the middle of a three person row, but thankfully, a woman wanted to sit near her child, so they moved me to an exit row, on the aisle. NICE! Besides, the guy next to me was not bad looking, either. The flight attendant was great. Got to Orlando after what seemed like an amazingly fast landing... never have I been on a plane where the runway seemed so short. I think our pilot was used to landing on an aircraft carrier, as he hit the runway and expected to stop immediately... anyhow.

Got in on time, but it took what seemed like forever to get my luggage. Got phoned by my leading lady, Nicole... a sweetie, from what I can gather. Forrest, our driver is a freshman at UCF (Central Florida) and wants to go into the culinary arts. Best to him, because directions and driving are NOT his strong point. Bless. He did well, though. We were the guinea pigs on his first airport run for PGT Entertainment! Best wishes to him and his followers.

So. Then off to Publix to buy food for the week. One hundred and ten dollars later, I walked out with probably enough food to feed an army, but knowing the way I eat, it won't last til the weekend. I did good, too, Michael and Mom... I bought fruits and veggies and NO COOKIES! I bought chicken and shrimp, and eggs andcereal, some lunch meat, and cheese... and other assorted oddities. I am now sitting on my bed in the apartments they have for us at the Dixie Motel! Yee haw, y'all... this is redneck livin' at it's best! There are about seventeen pickemup trucks in the parking lot, and a bunch of uys chewin' and spittin'. One guy even has his back down and is grilling pork chops on the back of his truck. I tell you, a person could get used to this!

I am also being serenaded by the girl next door who is in one of the other casts in rehearsals. She is a very very very very high soprano, and it seems like she just can't get Summertime quite right. Lordy. Hope I am not that much of a perfectionist, but you know I am! Thanks to the good Lord up above that i don't have to sing Summertime, though. More later.

Thje view form my window is stellar. I will post a picture when I get one. I miss everyone already.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Start spreading the news... I'm leaving tomorrow....

Wow. The time has flown like a banshee. Summer is pretty much gone, and it is time to head onto bigger and hopefully better things. I leave for Orlando tomorrow morning, and needless to say, I am panicking. I am not packed. Nothing wants to fit into my very small suitcase, and everything I had to do before I left is still sitting on the notepad of things to do. Time does not flow like a river... well, maybe a hugely rushing one, but not the lazy river we all wish it could flow like.

I am excited to meet my new castmates, but i am terrified that they are so far ahead since they have been in rehearsals already for two weeks. They know their stuff. i am still trying to remember the words to the simplest of country songs. I have to make this one quick, as i really gotta go try and pack again. This is attempt number four. It will all fit. It will all fit. It will all fit.