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!

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xoxo, bitch slap, xo,