Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 36: "Don't Be a Hero" ( #IHeartIdiot )

Appropriate as our musical tells the ultimate anti-hero story.

So I have worked in professional theater for over almost six years now.  I have done hundreds if not a thousand+ performances in that time.  Tonight will go down in history for me as a actor:

The night I first called out of a show.

Here's the story:  I have a terrible history with foot injuries.  Over the holiday, I re-injured my right foot and I was hoping it would be better by our first show in Toronto.  Alas, today, it did not feel 100% percent and so it pained me (yuck yuck....get it?) to notify our stage manager and "call out".

I planned on going to rehearsal nonetheless as  I wasn't sick, just a little broken.  As I hobbled to get ready around my hotel room, I started having doomsday thoughts:  "Fuck, you're going to let everyone down."  "You are weak, your body and spirit."  "If you could just man/woman up, you could do this.  But obviously, you suck!"

I am sure that I could have powered through with a limp but I could have furthered my injury and slowed my healing.  A small voice came over my shoulder (was it St. Jimmy?) and said "don't be a hero."  Actually it was our director Michael Mayer and also several of my supportive cast members in their way.

When I came through the stage doors, there were nothing but smiling faces.  Understanding faces.  "Shit happens" faces.  Still my doomsday voice came into command, "Sympathy for the invalid!"

We had a put-in rehearsal today for Jen Bowles (fabulously joining our tour) and, for me,  Vince Oddo (one of our fabulous swings).   Someone once said ( I won't mention names-) (okay.... it was Matt DeAngelis), "watching a swing go on for you is like watching someone eff your girlfriend (in my case, my non-existent boyfriend).  But you'll get over it."  WHAT THE FUCK, MATT?!  ..... But it was kind of true.  I wanted to be up there.  Vince was my hero, the show's hero.  And I felt like the show's failure.

But then, as do all of Matt's theater philosophies that can sound blunt and unkind, it revealed it's important lesson:   Sometimes you have to watch your Ex get fucked by someone else.  In the end, it always sets this pit in your belly on fire and forces you to grow; to see things as they really are.  

Because what I got to witness, in the audience with my icepack, was Vince Oddo onstage; killing it.  I saw Jen Bowles onstage; killing it.  I saw this incredible company of actors and musicians; all fucking killing it.  This show:  I know the ending, and I proudly cried like a little bitch anyway. American Idiot can be viewed as a show full of anti-heros.  These characters live like rock stars and sometimes callously.  But the actors who embody them:  They are warm, caring, passionate people who are giving a unique voice to a generation.  Eight shows a week. 

And at the end of the show, when I walked through the audience and was recognized by some of our fans who didn't even see me onstage- they wished me a speedy recovery- they, in fact, made MY day.  They proved that this is a crazy fucked up family and that we're all a part of it; Even the broken ones; On your best days and especially on your worst.  


So, I posted a twitter challenge earlier last week:  "How does American Idiot speak to you?"  These are the responses from the Idiot family (excuse if I misspell any names, I'm hopped up on mucho PAINKILLERS!)!

Katie Marie:  "since I saw it for the first time last November, I've learned who I am and what I'm meant to do with my life. "

Aimee Kislin: "everything you jus said in your blog. I saw the show 146 times on bway and felt everything new every time. ."

Katie Fitzmorris: " because it gave me one of my best friends x)"

Katrina Harris: "truer words were never spoken about what happened at the St James. "

Cristina Moreno: "I wrote this months ago, but it's still true. "  from that and exerpt "there’s always a chance that you’ll discover something new and that is the beauty of live theater." 

Olivia Alvarado: " because it's uplifting yet realistic. The perfect, passionate mix of rage and love."

Sally:  "My heart is like a bomb! "

Mrs.VanDenburg: " I saw AI 3 times on broadway.. would have gone more but live in CT. best show ever made me realize you always have a chance to change.. best show ever. .."

Cara, awesome theater geek!:  " because my life (and that of my generation) is told every single time the show is performed."

Shelly D:  "My life was changed forever after seeing American Idiot on Broadway. Can't wait til you get to Detroit! "

Amanda, lola oh lola!:  "idiot tells the story of my life, my broken generation & hope it's given me a new family united with rage & <3 "


If I didn't have to eat, pay rent, or have dreams of one day owning my own ice cream truck, I'm pretty sure I would do this show for free.  


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 30: Some Get a Kick from Cocaine

I get my kicks from our first audience. I suppose you never forget your first. 

By the end of "Whatshername",  we leave whatever energy we have left right there on the stage, but I snuck a peek into the front row-  those faces...  I was suddenly recharged.  Broken hearts, joyful hearts, angry hearts, laughing hearts:  But all were OPEN Hearts.  I am so thankful to be able the share the theater with THEM!

If I never got a chance to walk on another stage again, last night would have been enough. 

Fortunately this is my life for the next 6 months.  I think with a show like American Idiot, it is easy to think of it as a spectacle; just another rock show.  It is part of my responsibility to never allow that to happen. 

Is the show gorgeous to look at?  YES
Are there some fierce rock singers?  YES
Is this just another musical?  HELL NO.

I hope you all already know how special this theatrical experience is.  The best part of my job is that there is always something new happening onstage.  Not one performance looks like the last.  And with that, not one audience is the ever the same.  Even for those who've seen the show a hundred times- every day you get something FRESH-  well, that is my personal challenge and I know it is a sentiment shared by this spirited cast. 

My lesson from the show this week:

Where there is light, there is darkness.  Where there is darkness, there is also light.  Neither one can exist without the other.   (Appropriate for tech right?)

But what that means to me-  Absolutes don't exist.  When you step into a room, you can feel the energy of where everything and everyone is at.  It is most times obvious and palpable.  I challenge myself daily to discover what is "deeper";  what is beneath it all;  what is being said without being said.  There is often where the beauty lies.  

My twitter challenge for those who read this (tweet it at me @kelvinmoonloh) : 

How does American Idiot speak to you? 

Hashtag it #IHeartIdiot

It's cold here in Utica!  Good thing I found this awesome new glove!

Utica Preview Playbill!

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 25: Hurry Up and Wait! (#UticaRocks)

Okay, this year I'm not waiting around for someone to fly in a helicopter...  Instead, we have flying gypsies, bomb explosions, couple dozen tv screens, shopping carts, cellist on staircases, and of course "Penelope" our scaffold bus. 

TECH!!!  For the non-theater folks, this is the week that we finally get to put everything together for the first time.  A hundred people running around with very specific jobs to do and trying to make the cogs of the American Idiot machine work without a hitch. 

So what does that mean for me as an actor?

1.  I sign in.  Let people know I'm here (and ready to WERK!)
2.  Wait in my dressing room in my cozy new robe (wait til I get my hands on a bedazzler).
3. Get called to stage, put on a costume and get to my place (-ish).
4. A lot happens around me.  Lights, sound, set, people.  I wait.
5. I wait some more.
6. And then some more.
7. Look around the theater (sigh...).  I wonder, "is this my life?"
8.  Try on some costumes, get my hair did, y'know.
9. We do a couple little dances, sing a couple songs.
10.  Rinse.  Repeat.

 The professional theater is no joke.  The amount of time it takes to mount a show is countless.  Especially with the technical demands of American Idiot, I am glad to work with a bunch of freakin' geniuses.  It is unbelievably worth it in the end.  I cannot wait for our first audience in 4 days!  Utica, get ready to have your minds friggin' blow.  POW!

Our First Stop!  Utica, NY!!!

This chandelier is the size of the entire mezzanine.  Huge and spider-like.
Makes it official?  I'm traveling with American Idiot!  Want one?!?!

Will understudy outfit!!!

Only way to keep sane in Tech.  SNACKS!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 22: Small Gusts Turned Tornado

Ready to hit a town near you.

It's been the craziest week of finalizing everything in NYC.  Everyday has been more jam packed than the last. Currently stealing wifi from the tour bus (no, we will be flying the rest of the way) towards Utica to tech tech tech.  Long days ahead but thankfully with the most entertaining cast.

More photos to come, but some highlights from this week:

-Run-through for our friends and family.  xoxo, Trish Paul Chris Nikki
-The Broadway cast comes and see our final studio run.  And I was reduced to the biggest fan boy once again (I have the biggest crush on.... shhhhhh).  There is a photo somewhere that I'll post as soon as I get my hands on it!
-A visit from  Exclusive Rehearsal Photos
-Invitation to a private screening of Michael Mayer's SMASH
-Sitz Probe with the most badass live band.

Final night in NYC was emotional as I got the sweetest send off with my favorite New Yorkers.  Hitting the road, I wish myself and the company:  Safe Travels, Healthy Minds and Body, Well-Deserved Bruises, and Many Proud People left at home. 

See you when I return home when "I've got lies to tell!"

So much free booze and Kat McPhee.

Somebody here no likey 7am Travel Days.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 16: 90 Minutes of Sweat, Blood and Redemption

We finally ran the show today! From start to finish, without a hiccup. It's quite incredible... every number is so powerful, melodically brilliant, and just incredibly stage worthy. In the few moments I'm not onstage, I watch my amazing cast mates when I should be catching my breath. I'm a fan of my own show and I am proud of it. I am sure I will never grow tired of it.

For those who have ridiculed the show for not having a plot, I say, you suck. Those who say that these characters want nothing learn nothing.....Youth (and life in general): it is a journey where you never can know exactly what you want or how you will get it. In a life, filled with misguidance and trial by fire, sometimes you fail (most times....). But it is a tale still worth telling.

Our associate director, Johanna McKeon, talked to us about the very last speech where we look straight out into the audience as a company. This is a story about the misfits, the outcasts: to say, "this one is for you".

Yes, indeed. I can't say "as a former". As a man who draws circles and lemmings where one was asked to draw a square: I say, only crazy people with crazy ideas change the world. This one is for you, you awesome beautiful fucknuts.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 11: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

As our time winds down in our rehearsal room, we are starting to see more and more elements of the show. For show and tell ( and post) I wanted to share a few of my favorite props from the show! Enjoy!!!

Meet PENELOPE! The tour cast has named our Holiday "bus". Penelope is the cause of all my bruises. Sometimes she can be rough...and dirty...

Allegedly, Tom Kitt only works on shows with pill popping characters. And we love him for it!

Will and Heather's baby. He has blue eyes... I don't think I have that recessive gene. Now casting a half-Asian understudy baby.

Johnny's drug box with St. Jimmy on it... Every detail is incredible in the design of this show.

Penelope got a ticket; Stuck to the bottom of her butt. No worries, this Idiot would never pay a stupid parking ticket.

My absolute favorite. Cause it's the only time I ever get to relax in the show! Phew!

Wow, everyone! Over a thousand blog hits in a little over a week. If you like it, please subscribe to the right! More importantly, follow me on twitter! @kelvinmoonloh

xoxo, bitch slap, xo,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 7: Sometimes You Just Feel Broken

I don't know if it is show & it's content or if it is the show & my inner self.  Life imitating art imitating life-  I have to be honest, I have no idea what that means....

Let me preface by saying that rehearsals are going great.  Lorin Latarro is kicking our asses.  She is the keeper of movement in this show and her guidance is simply incredible.  Where would we be without her?  I already love this show, therefore my old habits of worrying relentlessly has already led me to thinking about this show ending in July and I am preemptively devastated.

So... Today:  I am physically and emotionally exhausted.  There are bruises on my shins, my knees, my forearms, my stomach, my elbows..... but none of them hurt.  I look at them with pride.  A symbol of giving it my all....  and that's when the one real bruise pounds with a world full of hurt-  My Bruised Ego.  I have this nagging inner voice, this bully, that speaks louder than every voice in the room: 

It says, "You're not fit for this",  "You aren't learning this fast enough", "How did you get this job?", "Fatass",  "You're the one person making this look like shit", "You're playing minor league ball with the big boys", "You're not dancing as hard as everyone else"....  essentially.... "Your best simply isn't good enough". 

And it hurts.  The beating I give myself hurts like a motherfucker.

I bring this up not to begin my cyber wallowing for you avid readers (of whom, I thank for taking interest).  I bring this up because right as I'm about LOSE IT and drown my emotions into a cookies and cream milkshake and a side of kush-  I remember that I am here.  This life I have now- I made it.  And it's what I got.  And that is enough.

I remember writing this in a journal right before my final callback for this show.  If I remember that and continue to work as hard I can, well, it'll come in my time.  It doesn't hurt the fact that I get to work with the most incredible supportive cast mates, one could ever ask for.  Their talents are only matched by their passion for their craft and this piece- you can see it plastered on their beautiful faces.
Lesson for me-

Not everyday can be amazing.  Sometimes you just feel broken.  But keep on running.  Keep on fighting.  And tell that bully in your head to "shut the fuck up". 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WEEK ONE: The Morning After (I Blame Matt D.)

 "Work Hard!  Play Harder!!!".....only cause you know you have the day off tomorrow....

Honestly, I have no idea if my body feels this way because of the Jesus of Suburbia choreography, which is for realz dope, or the copious amounts of hurricanes, margaritas, extra shots, and sugar free redbulls I consumed.  Definitely not from the water I did NOT drink last night.

If anything, Blockheads remains true in my memory bank.  You should be renamed, Block-Off-Tomorrow-Cause-All-You'll-Feel-Is-Your-Head..... damn cheap tequila margaritas, I can't resist you. Especially since it was abnormally warm in NYC and allowed the cast to have a post-week cocktail or six.

The rest of the evening I blame on Matt D. aka "Cruise Director", aka "Trouble"....coming to a city near you.... 

I cannot believe we sang through the show yesterday. 
Alas, WEEK ONE!  You are done!  I am done, and all I want is take out.

***UPDATE*** How could I forget!  So Day 1, we got a message from Billie via Michael....pretty awesome.  Yesterday we got an email from Billie telling us that (I'm going to paraphrase here) "[we're] going to be a smash.  Not like a smash "hit".  But like smash the heads of the audience."  Cause the show rocks.  How awesome is that? 

He may have also mentioned that he may be seeing us sooner than not.  Okay, I don't believe in Santa Claus-  So, all I want for Christmas is Billie Joe in my stocking.  Do I have to be on the naughty or nice list for that?***

***Oh, and I did order that take out.... ;-) ***

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 5: Morning Routine (and musings...)

I am not one for routines.  I hate them.  But this show has forced me into one and perhaps I'll enjoy being a morning person......  NOT!

But here it is nonetheless what my new Idiot Morning feels like:

-8am Alarm.  I swear at my Iphone
-8:09 snooze re-alarm.  I crack open my eyes still swearing.
-8:18 I finally turn off the alarm.  I stare at my Iphone and check my email.  All spam between last night and now.
-8:30 I stare at the ceiling and assess what part of my body hurts.  Answer?  All of it.
-8:35 I steal cup of my roommate's coffee, water it down so I can drink it faster.
-8:40 I shower.  I stare at the tile and grout.
-8:50 I blowdry my hair til it stands straight up/get dressed in the dark.

All the while, listening to the AI album trying to sing the harmonies and not the melody like I have for years!!! 

But the point of this blog was not to vent about mornings but my thoughts on why, I now know, the show meant so much to me when I first saw it.  In working with Steven and Lorin, I realized that the show becomes highly personal in it's development of movement. 

For the fans of the Broadway version,  be prepared-  a lot of the choreo will be different.  It's not for economy sake but because each move has a story, a story that has been created by this new tour cast as an ensemble.  As an actor, this is an amazing gift.  (Nicci's blog has the girls story down, so perhaps I'll report for the boys)  While the girls were doing a little Letterbomb, the boys went to learn Boulevard. 

I remember this number in particular.  It's the first time the world of American Idiot slows down, a new city that is infinite.  In the choreo, each hand movement was crafted by us as ndividuals to represent a moment of loneliness.  Let me tell you-  It goes there.  The movement never becomes mundane when it's attached to some very real roots. 

Just a morning musing.  So my morning routines continues:

-9:00am:  I slam down a cup of orange juice and a multi-vitamin
-9:05am:  I leave my apartment, elated because it's to go to work!

Have a great day, peeps!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 4: Thanks, Idiot!

After only three days of rehearsing, we had our first day off to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I had high hopes of going to parade this year, but instead, I rested my sore body and ate mashed potatoes for breakfast!   Then a little Turkey Time with the Loh's, Fung's and Cheng's (Yup, Chinese Thanksgiving) of Greater New York.

 "I Don't Feel Any Shame, I Won't Apologize"

Today, I felt like a million bucks, which leads me to be sincerely nervous about next week when we don't have a  mid-week recoup day.   This show is not for the feint of heart!  It was a Lorin and Johanna day and they kicked our asses royally.  Looking around-  everyone is loving the abuse!  :-)

Ou! We added our guitarist and drummer to rehearsal.  Our opening number is STAGED!  What?!  It sounds flippin' amazing to have these guys here and I'm looking forward to sharing the stage with these awesome musicians.

And now what you all must be dying to know-  What am I THANKFUL for w/ American Idiot?

-Gaby's Brittany Spears Impression
-Ability to cancel my gym membership
-Jarran's Pecan Pie that he "made"
-My body not crumbling beneath me
-Tom Kitt.  Period.  End of Story.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DAY 2: On A Clear Day... (you can see your cellulite melt)

Steven Hoggett is no joke.  More sprinting.....and then chest and arms.  I am reduced to a bowl of jello.  I guess it's only up from here and I'm enjoying the physical challenge that AI is providing.  Really exciting news is that the choreo we improvised yesterday will most likely be incorporated as our choreo for (I believe?) "She's a Rebel".  I knew already, but it is reconfirmed, that this show will be completely artistically fulfilling to be a part of.

Not a whole lot more to report except that we were generously invited by our producers to see On A Clear Day on the Broadway starring Harry Connick Jr.  It's a really beautiful production with a stellar new book with dynamic honest performances.  There is a new gender/sexuality story created for this revival and I think exploration of this altered incarnation will provide a more provocative and poignant dialogue amongst contemporary audiences.  The classics songs and their new orchestrations are amazing and the highlight for me!....still a music nerd. 

 Hellooooo Nurse! .... I mean Doctor.
A lot of the cast members went and it felt like it was one of the first "family outtings".   Michael stopped up to the mezzanine to say "hi" during intermission and someone commented how surreal it was to be talking to the director of this major new Broadway musical while rehearsing another of his pieces.  Surreal it is!

Tomorrow we're staging the top of the show through "American Idiot".  Crazy right?  We're moving fast, because, well.... these people are amazeballs.  Yup, I said it.  Amazeballs. 

PS. Not expecting to blog everyday but it's what you do when you are a soft insomniac.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 1: New York City (First Day of School)

It's a little before 9pm and I am BEAT!  Rehearsal started off with a bang-

I have to geek out for a moment; No Billie Joe yet, or anyone from the Green Day team but it would have been overload seeing them and also sharing the room with three serious theater greats:  Michael Mayer, Tom Kitt and Steven Hoggett.  Is this really my life?  I'm a crazy fan of all their works and well- when I go to talk to them, I'm reduced to a babbling college freshman. 

It was a get to know you day.  Meet and greets and trying to retain everyone's name.  I am already enamored by this cast.  First off, everyone is just BE-A-U-TIFUL.  The energy feels just right;  honest, warm and raw.   Steven had us, at one point, sprinting (mine, a light jog) across the room as an exercise shouting each other's names, then choreographed our own routines in groups.  Oh, and a serious abs warm-up- ouchies, I'm discovering a muscle group that doesn't really flex unless we're at taco bell. 

Then some music time with Tom and our awesome music director Jared Stein.  These guys are going to have us sounding baller in no time.  Catching sound bytes of everyone's voice in rehearsal-  making that sound for the first time as a group-  I have to remind myself that I have to sing and not just listen to the awesomeness that is this group of rockers.

Alright, time to do a little memorization homework and unwind with a little American Horror Story-  behind on my all my shows!

 Considering I got dressed while barely awake,
no clean laundry after Orlando, I think I looked presentable 
for first day!
 This book holds all the secrets.  Pure genius within.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day Negative 2: Picture Challenge

Traveling with Nikki, we have discovered a new fun game that I think I would love to take on the road. PICTURE CHALLENGE!!!

Here are the rules:

1. Pick a prop, statue/sign/landmark, unique locale, and/or street character.
2. Scream "Picture Challenge"
3. Be the fiercest model ever. (daring and obscene highly encouraged)
4. Everyone gets a turn. (group challenges on occasion)



Winning photo gets 7 years of awesome bedroom luck... Or some bullsch like that!

Stay tuned!

- Posted from my iPhone

Location:Carrier Dr,Orlando,United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day Negative 7: Hello Mickey Mouse vs. Harry Potter

In preparation for 6 months on tour, I decided to treat myself to a little vacation to Orlando with my BFFie, Nikki MacCallum (of VH1's Why Am I Single fame).

The new Hilton Parc Soleil (thanks Dad!) is pretty posh but we drop the F-Bomb entirely too much in this family establishment.  We are in fact legit profresh drunks/cheapskates as we went to the liquor store, made our own tropical drinks with little umbrellas and all to sunbathe.  Highlight of the day was getting 2nd place in the poolside newlywed game.  We beat couple married over 25 years....suckers....

Start rehearsal in exactly a week and it's all I'm thinking about.  I always look forward to starting a new project but American Idiot.... let's just say I'm really excited. 

A little fun fact:  My college pocket-change-making-job was an usher for Broadway shows with the Jujamcyn organization.  I, in fact, was an usher for American Idiot when it was playing at the St. James.  Sitting and watching this amazing production, I said, "I will be in this show". 

Alas, I could not be more grateful or honored.  Tomorrow as a worthwhile distraction.... Harry Potter world.  Upon entering the park, I will have a cloak and a wand to galavant with in about 3.5 seconds.  "Accio Amazeballs Time!"