Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By
A lengthy title, yes, but utterly descriptive of this little volume's contents. So far, I've learned that chariots pulled by lions or elephants are best, that I'm not the only one who thinks bathing caps have a certain charm about them, how to make luscious pin curls, and that once upon a time, parents revealed how they felt about a daughter's suitor by use of something called a "courtship candle." I'm currently on "fountain pens."
Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage
This book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend at a birthday party in the wee hours of the morning as we discussed to two very different red wines we were drinking. Gaiter and Brecher document the years of their relationship through the wines they drank and, later, their "Tastings" column for The Wall Street Journal. So far, it's been engaging and very personable, and I look forward to making my way through Louis Roederer Cristal 1974 and Franzia Chablis all the way to Collery Brut Champagne.
The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture
For months, this title sat in my Amazon cart unpurchased. In a last-minute Christmas shopping spree, it made it to my abode and now sits on my makeshift bedside table. This topic falls particularly close to home as I contemplate joining church (officially) with a certain measure of wanderlust still pervading my heart and mind. I've not made it far so I don't have much to write except that my previous experience Wilson-Hartgrove's work has benn thought-provoking and challenging so I can only hope that this book will prove equally so.
2012 will be an adventurous year in books. My goal is to finish what books I have before buying more. In the past, that has meant a temporary (and short-lived and highly unsuccessful) moratorium on book-buying. Perhaps I'll just attempt to keep myself occupied with those hundreds of long-neglected titles on my shelves before moving on. Perhaps I'll have to avoid bookstores like the plague, as they say. We shall see.
In any case, there will be reading!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Follow the dreams here: 15yearsofdreams.com and on Twitter @15yearsofdreams.
Dream-blogging begins January 1, 2012.
Monday, December 19, 2011
For the first time since we started staging the ballet in 2009, the tech happened the way it is supposed to. This year, it was even more precarious going into opening on Friday night, with just one rehearsal in the theatre with tech, and that a disaster like none we've had the past two years, including the first in 2009. Nearly everything went awry, but we did manage to open the magic box and close it without injuring anyone. Hooray!
Although the audiences could have been larger, the show itself was positively stunning. I say that with a bit of a bias, but I've heard from other audience members that it was better than it's been in the past. New costumes increased the production values, and the addition of Mother Ginger and her Bon Bons provided a laugh mid-way through Act II.
Many thanks to Cheryl Pompeo and Oglebay Institute's Youth Ballet Company for your spectacular performances. You have truly outdone yourselves this year, and it was a pleasure to watch both shows from the wings.
Thank you, too, to the dancers who came out to auditions and shone for the first time in the WSO's Nutcracker.
Congratulations to Maestro Andre Raphel and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra for superb performances (even in the face of late arrival and little time to warm up)!
Another Nutcracker is over, and it is time to move on, looking forward to next year's holiday season and (hopefully) the return of this beloved tradition.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
On October 24, 2011, Maestro Andre Raphel visited resident Bernie Brosky at Wheeling Hospital's Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Continuous Care Center. Maestro Raphel invited Mr. Brosky and his family to attend the Wheeling Symphony's November 11 Masterworks II concert--An American Salute. At the concert, Mr. Brosky will be recognized not only for his service to our country but also as the Honorary Conductor of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Raphel also invited Mr. Brosky to conduct the orchestra in John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever" at a rehearsal for the WSO's Masterworks III concert in March of 2012.
|Second Wind Dreams National Director of Membership and Chapter Development Laurie Labishak chats with Bernie about his love of the orchestra.|
|The Wheeling Symphony's Maestro Andre Raphel leads Bernie through a conducting pattern.|
|Maestro Raphel applauds Bernie's conducting prowess.|
|Maestro Raphel and Bernie discuss the finer points of conducting and Bernie's upcoming trips to see and conduct the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.|
For more photos, visit the Wheeling Symphony's Facebook page.
The Wheeling Symphony gratefully acknowledges the support of Second Wind Dreams and Stages, Inc. (who will provide a dress suit for Mr. Brosky to wear to the concert) for their assistance in making Bernie's dream come true!
Monday, October 17, 2011
That's Davina Sowers with her band, Davina and the Vagabonds. The band ended their recent tour with a stop in Wheeling on October 14 for the Wheeling Symphony's Mad About Swing. If you were there, you know it was a super-fun evening with a fantastic band, a full dance floor, and some yummy cookies and other things to eat.
Fingers crossed, it won't be the last of the symphony's swing dances with awesome live bands. For more Davina, check out the band's website and their YouTube channel. For more symphony swing dances, tell the WSO how much fun you had by writing on the Facebook page.
Many thanks to the WSO Board of Directors, Davina & the Vagabonds, the WSO Staff, dance instructor Jamie Carney, the lovely ladies of the Capitol Theatre Ballroom and, of course, a big huge thank you to everyone who danced the night away!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Two weeks ago, I saw a spectacular production of The Velveteen Rabbit at Towngate Theatre here in Wheeling. The cast gave impressive, lively, energetic performances, Dave Henderson's set was imaginative and full of charming details, and Tim Thompson's visionary direction was evident throughout the show.
On October 15, the WSO is hosting a swing dance with Davina and the Vagabonds, a band from the Twin Cities. There will be a lesson from 7-8 and dancing from 8-11 in the Capitol Theatre Ballroom. Tickets are just $25 and include the lesson, the dancing, and food! They can be ordered by calling 304.232.6191 or commenting below.
Tomorrow (October 2) is the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra's annual Bluegrass Barbecue, with food catered by Ye Olde Alpha and music by Out of the Blue and Bluegrass Express. The event is sponsored by Main Street Bank and Bachmann, Hess, Bachmann & Garden, PLLC. It will be held at Hess Shelter at Oglebay Park from 3-6 PM. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 5 years of age are admitted free of charge. Tickets will be available at the door.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
After a bit of a disastrous cue-to-cue on Tuesday (during which the orchestra managed quite well but the rest of us stumbled through set changes and ended up in spotlights accidentally), we shone in a strong final dress rehearsal last night. Now, we must make sure not to be overly confident or we'll find ourselves making silly mistakes. In any case, we are ready to show the world (or at least the northern panhandle of West Virginia) what we've been doing this summer. Maybe I'll finally have pictures . . .
Break a leg, all!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Last night, I strutted about in my one fabulous burlesque-ish costume, raising a few eyebrows and causing the King to comment that all of the palace staff should wear that. (It's quite an outfit, but worry not - it covers everything.) No comment from the director. That means I can wear it for the show, yes? Probably not, but I'm amused. With a pair of ostrich feather fans, I could put on a striking dance number, but it's not really appropriate for a children's show, I suppose.
In other news, my family welcomed the first great-grandchild last month. My cousin Melanie gave birth to Landyn Joshua on June 28 at 6:13 PM. He is a precious little bean and already spoiled by his many loving aunties and uncles and cousins and grandparents and great-grandparents. Mel's sister Jena is due in September, and we are all looking forward to meeting her baby girl. This weekend was the baby shower, and she is sure to be the best-dressed gal around, just like her mama.
The summer has also provided a number of opportunities to go dancing in Pittsburgh. Lots of new and old friends, including a rather comical moment of "That looks like Patrick from Tampa, but why would he be here? No, wait, that is Patrick from Tampa, but why is he here?" As it turns out, he's not really from Tampa but rather from nearer by. Huh. Lately, the dancing has taken a backseat to "I'm exhausted and really need to do laundry and I just don't want to go out tonight," but soon, there will be lindy hopping in my life again. :)
Kind of a boring update perhaps. It's all much more exciting than it reads. You can catch some of the excitement by coming to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, presented by the Strand Theatre and directed by the somehow-still-smiling-and-saying-please Ryan Ferrebee, with music by Justin Jones, choreography by Renee Zelinski, and sets beautifully painted by Ruth Keim. Hope to see you there!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
|As part of Summer-at-the-Museum (SAM) Camp this year, campers learned about recycling.|
|Helen is the CMOV's Chilean Flame Tarantula.|
|King Charles is a South Florida King Snake. His eyes are cloudy because he is preparing to shed his skin.|
|Kid Construction Co. is one of the museum's most popular exhibits. It has blocks, giant tinker toys, tools, and even work gloves and aprons.|
|SAM campers and counselors created colorful new wall art to brighten up the museum.|
|More wall art and the space habitat that campers built out of old newspapers.|
|Step into the art box to make your own collage or draw a picture to take home or leave on the walls of the art box for others to enjoy.|
|Buddy is a bearded dragon. He looks quite regal here. Check out the video of him stalking his weekend meal below.|
Friday, June 24, 2011
The constant reminder written on my hand put a smile on my face and in my heart and helped me to keep a positive attitude throughout the evening. I also had some encouraging words from the director which are buoying my spirits and filling me with warm fuzzies.
Tonight, dancing for fun with friends in Pittsburgh!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Today, the verse is written on my hand, in the hope that the constant reminder, closer than an index card on my computer, will burn the verse on my heart. Above it are listed the fruits of the Spirit, as defined in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. They will be before my eyes as I dance, impossible to ignore.
An unfortunate side effect of writing something on the back of my hand is that it is also constantly bringing to mind Professor Umbridge's punishment of Harry Potter, during which the lines he's writing are carved into the back of his hand. So I guess I can also remember "I must not tell lies."
Although there were challenging moments, much of rehearsal was actually rather fun. We're getting the hang of the opening number and adding character layers. During the gavotte, too, we are breaking out of the "oh, no, I don't know what comes next!" mentality and beginning to enjoy ourselves a bit. The waltz is another story altogether, and the ability to sing while dancing is proving to be as elusive as ever. Practice, practice, practice, right? I'm relishing the refinement of my character and next will be exploring how she moves and what exactly makes her move that way. It is an interesting challenge of a different sort than that to which I am accustomed.
Tonight we're running the whole show. Waltzes, gavottes, and singing, oh my!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
And failing that, I shall think of this smiley fellow:
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
It was a bittersweet visit. Roaming the halls of someone else's school, no matter how very like your own it may be, is not at all the same as roaming the halls of a place that holds so many memories, as the Mount does for me. Still, sitting in chapel with the other alumnae, singing hymns while Sister Joanne played the organ, held a kind of joy.
I look forward to future visits to Georgetown and am grateful to have been able to chat with the sisters and see the campus that I may now call home, as the mother superior there has said.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Over the next several weeks, I'll be writing the comedic tale of my Cinderella summer in the person of my character. In the script, her moniker is "Second Girl," but I've decided to call her Eloise Esterhazy Weaver. You can read more about her over here. Of course, the actual events of the rehearsal process will be adapted to Eloise's peculiar little life, but it should be much more interesting than a day-to-day review of what really happens at rehearsals.
Monday, June 6, 2011
I’ve gotten spoiled playing lead roles in the past couple of shows I’ve done. In October of 2009, I was Lucy van Pelt in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and just this past January, I played Beauty in Beauty & the Beast (the play by Warren Graves). So when I went to audition for Cinderella on Friday, I had some high hopes about how I’d be cast. Those hopes were dashed when I awoke Saturday morning to find the cast list in my inbox and my name in the list under “Chorus.” My reaction was . . . unbecoming, to say the least.
I spent much of Saturday stewing, quite pathetically, over this revelation. Then I had a few wise words of encouragement from a few fantastic friends. So here are some things I’m trying to keep in mind throughout this production, some of them relevant to the above and others not at all:
- There are no small parts.
- There could be no show without the chorus. (Thank you, Megan!)
- No one can be in the spotlight all the time.
- Everyone deserves a chance to shine.
- Singing in the chorus is a marvelous challenge vocally and physically (dance-wise). It will make me a stronger performer all-around.
- I’ll still get to see a certain someone fairly frequently over the next couple of months.
- There will be plenty of time for me to (finally) learn to drive.
So there you have it (or perhaps I should say “there I have it”): seven optimistic things to think about being in the chorus.
I hope you’ll join me for the show on July 28-31 at the John Marshall High School Center for the Performing Arts in Glen Dale, WV. Visit the Strand Theatre website for more information and stay tuned for pictures and updates.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Friday night, Towngate Theatre's production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead opened. With Jeremy Richter and Vincent Marshall in the title roles, the show soared. Its expert pacing and wonderful supporting cast provided an entertaining evening worth seeing. The run continues through Saturday, May 7. Tickets are $12.50 and are available at the door or in advance by calling 304.242.7700.
Tuesday evening, Wheeling Park High School's Park Players presented the first of their two musicals this season: Little Shop of Horrors. The students put on a charming show and received a standing ovation from the audience for their efforts. The show continues through Friday, May 6, at the high school's Phyllis A. Beneke Theater at 7 pm each evening. Tickets are available at the door or in advance by calling 304.243.0417. Advance tickets are just $8.
The second musical of the Park Players season, Working, will be presented on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21, at 7 pm at the Phyllis A. Beneke Theater. According to this Wikipedia article, "The musical is based on the Studs Terkel book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), which has interviews with people from different regions and occupations."
May 20 also brings the final Wheeling Symphony Orchestra performance of the 2010-2011 season. This Masterworks IV program will feature soprano Lianne Coble singing Strauss's Vier Letzte Lieder, as well as Jean Sibelius' The Swan of Tuonela and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Mahler's death. The concert will be held in Wheeling's historic Capitol Theatre. Tickets are available through the WSO office at 304.232.6191.
The Wheeling Symphony recently won a $25,000 grant through Chase Community Giving on Facebook! Exciting things are happening!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Here are the two Alan Moore pieces that make my kitchen a bright and happy place:
"Four Orange Birds on an Orange Four"
"I Think Mildred Loves Purple"
Friday, April 22, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Many thanks to our fantastic audience members, my talented fellow cast members (Pete, Dave, Erika, Lindsey, Austin, Alex, Clare, Abby & Maguire), our delightful stage manager Peggy and, of course, our phenomenal director Tim Thompson.
It has been a wonderful journey, and I look forward to working with all of you again.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
This month, I am returning to the community theatre stage as “Beauty” in Warren Graves’ adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty & the Beast. (Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the “original” tale and are stuck in the Disney-fied version, here’s the text of Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s story: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7074.) Once again, I will appear opposite the magnificent Pete Fernbaugh, a.k.a. “Beast,” under the direction of the incomparable Tim Thompson. We all last collaborated on Towngate Theatre’s 2009 production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
I’d been craving the stage. In November, I worked wardrobe on the Wheeling Legally Blonde show. In December, I was the stage manager of a local production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. Each time, I was reminded of how much I love being out there performing. Not just when the audience is there, but each night of rehearsal. Each night of discovering something new about the character or about the story. Learning lines and then bringing them from somewhere organic, somewhere real. Being the character rather than playing her. Getting to know the other actors and getting to know the crew. (There’s not much time for that in three rehearsals and two performances as in the case of The Nutcracker or a day spent ironing men’s shirts in preparation for an evening performance as was my experience on Legally Blonde.)
Maybe I had romanticized the experience a bit, having been away for over a year, but the rush is still there. I love having someplace to go each night, something to do, knowing that we’re working toward an end-product that will (hopefully) be simply breathtaking.
Last night was tough. I have this laughing problem, and while it’s improving, as it usually does over the course of rehearsals, there are still moments where I wish I could stop laughing and I simply don’t. There were missed lines (though not because of the laughing), botched blocking, forgotten cues. We started late, we ran late. A bunch of my lines all sounded the same, and I wasn’t speaking loudly enough. But at nine o’clock, I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay and work it out. Instead, I went home and couldn’t sleep because I kept saying those lines all the same every time I rehearsed them.
We open next Friday. Between now and then, we have seven run-throughs to work out the bugs. I know, I know—in live theatre, there’s no way to work out all of the bugs. There’s always that chance of the unexpected happening. There’s always a chance that Charlie Brown will say “abstinence” instead of “abstention” and Lucy will burst into uncontrollable laughter on opening night. (Yep, it happened.) But that’s part of what makes it so exciting.
Beauty & the Beast runs Friday, January 21-Sunday, January 23, and Thursday, January 27-Saturday, January 29 at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre in Wheeling, WV. Shows are at 7 pm (21, 22, 27-29) and 2 pm (23). Tickets are available at 304.242.7700.