Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hairspray Photos... finally

All pics were taken by Curtis Brown of Curtis Brown Photography. He done did a good job... enjoy.

Closing night of Hairspray

Kind of a bittersweet evening. Our final performance of Hairspray is tonight, and it has been such a wonderful experience. From day one, the cast has been amazingly talented, and when we got into performances, it seems as though everyone has such an amazing passion for this piece of theatre that has brought the audience to it's feet each and every performance.

I will have some pictures later to post, so be patient when it comes to that.

I think my favorite moment in the show (okay, there are 2) would be when Jannie sings "I Know Where I've Been" at the end of Act 2 and then the moment following. I stand offstage with props in hand, and there is the coolest sight... on one side of the drop is the musical number "Hairspray" happening, and on the other, there is a scene change happening. A fascinating dichotomy of action and color and basic blue light. Really cool. Unfortunately I can't get a photo of it. Only those of you in the theatre could possibly understand. It is magic.

Next on my plate is a production of Annie Junior at Raleigh Little Theatre, and then the day after that closes, I head to Los Angeles to join the Dawn Princess yet again. It seems like I have been working non-stop since I got off the Dawn Princess in May. Oh yeah, I have! But it has all been worth it. First BARE, then Hairspray, then Annie Junior, and then back to the land down under. What an amazing life I lead. I would not trade it for anything.

I will talk more later... I have some amazing ideas for Annie Junior and I hope they work onstage. It is a kids camp performance, and it will be chock full of trials and tribulations, no doubt. More soon! JMB

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hairspray tech rehearsals

It's that time once again. I am sitting here in my dressing room... and for the first time in a LONG time, I actually get my own. Thank you Equity Principal Contract! It is nice and cozy, and I can make it my own little man cave for the time I am at the auditorium. The show goes up in two days, and last night we had our first rehearsal with the band. They sound fantastic. I got some soundclips, so although I don't know if I can post them I will try at some point. In the meantime, I am waiting to hear that voice over the PA system to "Mic up!" Which basically means, sit and relax for another ten minutes or so until they call my name to come get my microphone.

Everyone seems very excited today, and I am suffering from a bad case of indigestion from a very late night dinner. No more Burger King french fries at 1am for me.

The tinkle of piano notes are coming through the pa system in my room, and it all is starting to become very very real that we actually open in two days. I am still somewhat shaky on a few of my lines, but only because the language of them is odd, and not something I am used to coming rolling off of my tongue.

Our lighting designer, Craig, was associate lighting designer for Wonderland on Broadway, and he gave me a copy of the video of the show last night. It looks like it was a lot of fun. I can understand why it didn't do well, but at least the lighting and technical effects were amazing. Book kind of stank, tho. Hmmm... a good thing to have in my back pocket for bargaining over wanted internet items.

Anyhow, I will write some more later as rehearsal progresses. We are in one of two "ten out of twelve's" which means a ten hour day which we work ten of them. Equity allows two of them in the production process of thie type of contract, and though it is a hellish schedule, it is so necessary to pull all of the technical elements together.

They are starting to call all the principals for mics now, so I need to get going. I will write more later and keep you all informed as to how this whole technical process happens!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hairspray begins

Day one of Hairspray rehearsals.

Started my day by getting up late. 10am, and then again at 11. Headed to shower, then to Mary Katherine's to listen to a potential Annie Junior candidate for a show later this summer. The girl has a beautiful voice, but I don't see her as an Annie. Grace, maybe. But pretty voice. Mary Katherine has done good work with her as a voice teacher.

Then I made my way to North Carolina Theatre Studios. There was a non-mandatory meet and greet for the cast and producers. It started at 1:30. I got there around 1:35. Sat and met the cast and producers. Then Carolee, (producer) comes up to me and says something to the effect of "Thanks for staying with us and not going to work for _____!" Which was odd, because I had not mentioned to her that I was being offered a job with ______. Interesting, right? Not sure how I should handle this. Apparently, another producer friend of mine called this producer and asked her to let me out of my contract with Hairspray so I could go work at his theatre. Behind my back. Not really sure what to do and how to handle this. Long story short, I guess I did the right thing. I am still doing Hairspray, and I will stick to my contractual obligations and let my reputation stick for itself. Done and done.

So. How was rehearsal? It was fun. Long, but fun. We did two scenes that I am in. The first was the "Detention" scene, where I play the Principal of Patterson Park High School. Basically, I walk on and say a line then exit. Then I come back in, say another line and then exit. Don't read into this that I am complaining...because I am not. It is fun. I got a laugh from the director, which is a good sign, right?

Then I had some time off. Paul came by to drop off some BARE flyers, which I handed out. Also bought a new pair of reading glasses, since my other ones broke in the Hong Kong airport. Ten bucks. Ugh. But now I can at least see my lines.

Had three hours to kill. Went to the mall for dinner, then rehearsed the "Nicest Kids In Town" scene, where I play Harriman Spritzer, the owner of Ultra-Clutch Hairspray. He is a clueless dork. Typecasting if you ask me. It was fun. My "Leading Lady" (Velma) I performed with in Sound of Music, so there is a familiar face there. I think we will make a fun team.

Had a music rehearsal from 9 until end of day (10:30pm), where we worked on Good Morning, Baltimore" and "Welcome to the 60's." I am singing in the stratosphere. Why did I tell our musical director I would sing tenor? DUMB choice.

Tomorrow, I have a costume fitting at 2pm, followed by a 4pm "Good Morning Baltimore" which lasts until dinner, and then back until 7pm. Then I have two and a half hours off until I am in the "I Can Hear The Bells" song. Should be fun.

Going to see BARE one last time on Friday night, and hopefully the cast of Hairspray will carpool out there and enjoy the show. I wish I could get them a group discount. Maybe Paul will let them have twofers, and I will pay for the remaining balance. We will see. They have a brush up tomorrow and Wednesday, and then go back into shows on Thursday night. I wish them well. I did post a video of some show clips on youtube. Just look for "justjmichael" in the search box and it should come up. Enjoy. Hopefully more tomorrow. I am pooped. Heading to bed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well hello again, all. It has been too long, and I have been all but silent during this empty time. I have been uber busy, though, directing and choreographing a show that is absolutely one that I could do over and over again, and I hope I get a chance to direct and choreograph it over and over again.

The show is called BARE: A Pop Opera, and it is about a group of Catholic high school students and their teen angst and reactions to sexuality, body image, and overall faith. It is really an incredible show, and I hope more people come to see it this coming weekend than did the past one. It is a show all Mothers should see, and Dads, too. In my opinion, if you are not moved by this show, you must be either 1) dead or 2) made of stone.

I will try to attach some pics of the show taken by our lighting guy, Stevan Dupor. The lighting is amazing, and there are not enough positive adjectives to really and accurately describe the experience this has been for me.

I have video, but the file is too big to post on here, so i will try to post it via my youtube account. I will pst a link when and if it happens. In the meantime, come see the show! Visit for more information!