September 29, 2008

The land of plenty

Lindsay and I on a street in Monte Carlo.The view from the cabin! Dinner at the ship's main restaurant. Appetizer of smoked bri and a Pear in wine sauce. Favorite part of the meal. The cast's first night out, after dinner with the cruise director, music director, and captain. This morning I met with Lindsay for breakfast, thinking that was the only adventure we would be having for the day. I would like to note that I am in breakfast heaven. I eat oatmeal everyday, and whenever I travel I usually don’t enjoy breakfast because I have perfected my own oatmeal extravaganza. However, my homemade version gets a run for it’s money here – real oatmeal with flaxseeds and dried fruit, soymilk(!!), some fresh berry smoothie, and FINALLY some of the best coffee ever. Oh yes and fresh watermelon, pineapple, honeydew, mango and kiwi. There are fresh, whole food options for the freaks like me, as well as crepes, every muffin you can imagine, breads, eggs, French toast, everything and anything for breakfast. I’m staying away from all that craziness… maybe one day a cruise I can try something devilish! There is a salad bar, sandwiches, breads, cheeses, pastas etc for lunch, and for dinner there’s miso soup which has different ingredients you add youself (tofu and seaweed), as well as sushi – including 2 veggie types. I thought I would be having to eat meat for protein but there are plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and vegetarian protein options at the buffet. I am getting spoiled very fast! Tonight the cast is going to one of the nice restaurants with the hotel director (head of entertainment and activites) and the cruise director, which I’ve heard has a numerous course meal, so I’ll have to report on that. I could really make a blog all about my food adventures, which is probably going to happen regardless. I almost forgot about that singing job… I should write more about that. Our producer Mike came and sat with us for a moment in the morning before he was getting ready to go explore our port of the day – Monte Carlo. He asked if we were getting off the ship at all, and in our only response was a face of fear… we had been content staring outside of the windows all morning. He said we were ridiculous and took us on a walking excursion of the city. We had an iced coffee and shared some gnocchi at a French cafĂ©. The waiter was in love with Lindsay and kept calling her pretty girl - it was very cute! There are tons of buildings, apartments, walkways, shops and people in this city built into a mountain. I loved the architecture and how good looking the boys are... I mean… yachts. ☺ ……………… This evening, we met our captain, cruise director, music director, and producer (who is only on the ship for the next couple days to make sure our first show settles in) at the main dining hall. I was truly impressed by the vegetarian menu they offered. A 5 course meal of all vegetarian options. The portions were small and well presented which I appreciated (I do have dresses to fit unfortunately!). The wine was delicious; besides being a red I have no idea what it was. My appetizer (pictured) was a wine soaked pear with smoked brie. I also had fresh gazphacho soup with fresh basil, a salad with water chestnuts and sherry vinegarette, and an eggplant/zucchini concoction. For dessert I ordered apple tortes and Gary ordered a raspberry chocolate mousse, which we ended up trading because we liked each other’s better. I have to admit I am a salad girl who was already overly content with the concoctions I was making at the buffet, but it was fun to try some new things. The presentations were beautiful, and I might sound crazy to say this, but I don’t like 30 different flavors and ingredients in one dish. I like a whole fresh item of high quality over a mediocre item with too many flavors to mask what it really is. To be honest, my favorite part was the appetizer of sweet pear and brie. I guess the moral of the story is you can’t go wrong with wine, fruit, and cheese. Anyways, it was wonderful company, and a most beautiful day. I am so excited for our first showings of “That’s Hollywood” tomorrow!!

September 26, 2008

On my way

Sept 26, 2008 It’s really hard to sleep on this plane. The neck pillow, movies, music stations, blankets etc, have me stuck in a hazy distracted awakened state that seems to never end. It can’t help that my wisdom teeth decided to show up for the journey – started coming in the other day, and for some reason my gums/mouth are painfully sore this entire trip. Hopefully the soreness goes away in the next few days so I can sing without having that distraction. It’s hard to believe rehearsals are over and I’m peaking over people’s shoulders to catch a glimpse of a deep orange sunrise creeping into the plane’s submarine sized windows. Maybe I will just pretend I am on a submarine for the next 2 hours to bide my time til I arrive in Barcelona… This past week we had a dress rehearsal to finally get the feel for doing the choreography while wearing our costumes. For “That’s Hollywood” (songs from classic movies) the girls wear black floor length dresses, each a little different from the other. For “Sing It Swing It” (jazz/big band songs) we have 2 cocktail type dresses, one of mine is yellow with black polka dots and the other is light green with a black sash around the waste. For “Twisted TV” we have moo moos that are really funky with bright colors and flowy patterns on silk. At least It’s a change from the cowboy hat.. but I secretly miss it just a little. The rehearsal went well, and we learned there wasn’t much else we could do to improve in the studio, and that we grew out of that space – we need to run through the shows on the ship and get used to their stage and set up, as well as rehearse with the actual band. I’m glad to have people I know to travel with, and also to board the boat with – It’s good to know a few people going into something completely brand new. After I “lose:” 9 hours of my life I will begin moving onto the ship and start orientations and apparently a lot of informational type things. We are also supposed to go through “That’s Hollywood” because we could potentially be performing it on in the next couple of days. Usually there is a cast still on the ship for the first cruise, so we can watch them and get aquainted with the stage, but they are leaving before the new cycle of European cruises start, so we are being thrown into it right away. I am ready though, so it’s fine. I’m anxious to see what it feels like to walk and sleep on the ship.

September 14, 2008

A day of rest

It is finally Sunday, my beautiful day off. Yesterday the cast performed our 2 very newly learned shows for an audience of about 10 + our producer/directors. The audience included a cruise director who has seen the shows before, and commented that this was the best he had seen these shows performed. To me, there was plenty of mistakes, but I felt unity in the cast. And although we have had our differences and tension amidst the stress of learning these shows, we supported, pushed, and challenged each other. I hope we can continue to grow together. Mentally and physically past the point of exhaustion after yesterday's rehearsal, Lindsay and I grabbed dinner and watched a movie for some R&R. Being one of the few non hunger people in the city of las vegas this morning, i woke up early for a yoga class at the swanky gym next door. I've taken a few yoga classes since being here and have really enjoyed all of them. The class this morning was what i'd describe as intermediate power yoga. I had a great experience. The past couple weeks I've been surrounded by mirrors constantly, at rehearsals and the gym, and I am looking at myself all the time. It's really interesting how your outlook, view and perspective of yourself can be warped and/or changed so easily (at least for me). I don't know if I am becoming more accepting of myself or if I am just getting used to myself, but lately I see me all the time. Inspecting. Judging. Sucking in. Disciplining. I have started to ignore the mirror. I don't want to put myself under so much scrutiny. I don't want to make quick judgments. This morning we did Lord of the Dance pose (Natarajasana). We were told to look into the mirror and concentrate on our eyes for balance. My body surprised me with more balance, flexibility, length and openness then I have felt since, well, I can't remember. While my body is far from an ideal of perfection, it allows me to go farther then I should push it, and once in a while, like today, it will surpasses my expectations. When the class was coming to a close, and I was in shivasana, I felt immense guilt sweep over me. I couldn't quit pinpoint why i felt it, but then an intense happiness followed. It was the kind I wanted to burst out laughing with, and share it with all the people I loved in the world. I felt weird for having so much happiness and not people I genuinely loved with me at the time to share it with. I thought that maybe I felt the guilt for leading a selfish life that only involved myself and my own goals. That I don't let others enter easily, and I am not being open and giving enough to the world. I opened my inner light for a few moments at the end of the class and shared my discovered and happiness with everyone in the room, weather they knew it or not. I am in control of what and who I let in and out. Now that those moments in time have passed and I am looking back, I realize a lot of that guilt actually had to do with my feelings of how I view myself, particularly my body. I was able to see how it wanted to be freed from my judgments, and when it was, it could do amazing things. When I love and accept myself, I can do things that I don't imagine myself doing. Pushing, judging, and even doubting myself a great deal lately, has made me rethink how I present myself and who I am. I am loving my body today. And I do not need to feel guilty about that. It doesn't need to change, it is strong and puts up with a lot of shit. I have demanded too much from it, and yet it's still giving and supportive of me. I know that happiness is inside of all of us, waiting to be open and freed, we just have to love ourselves so it trusts us to shine in, out, and through the rest of the world. Starting new show tomorrow. Here we go again!

September 9, 2008


Day 2 of "Twisted TV" and we are learning blocking and music simultaneously this week - as opposed to the last show, where we learned all the music first then added choreography.  This show is much easier to pick up, there's a lot less harmonies and mostly solo parts.  It's just a lot of acting, lines, and comedy, which is going to take more independent studying and memorizing.  I am really being challenged in this one!  I'm having a lot of fun with it though.  I am slowly learning to let go of the inhibitions four years at an overly critical music school has instilled in me.  This gig is so easy going in the fact that the "voice coach" can't really play the piano and we usually sight read our parts before she can figure out what key we are in... it's quite frustrating but in the end I remind myself it's just music and I need to not take myself and singing so seriously!  
Enough of this show nonsense... Our producer Mike informed us today that he got us comp tickets to see Mamma Mia tomorrow.... I loooovveeee broadway and can't wait to see this show.  Marsha (another girl from the cast) was just saying last night how bad she wanted to see the show but the tickets were $110.  We are so incredibly lucky to be able to go.  THEN our music director came in to tell us that he could get us Jubilee tickets for a discounted price and we are going on Thursday.  So my wish of seeing some shows in Vegas is being granted.  
Even though these rehearsals are intense, physically exhausting, and the memorizing is going on 24/7, I'm so thankful for everything that's happening.  I'm reminded to take a step back and be thankful for people taking a chance on me, being patient, teaching me, and believing in me.    I *think* I've come so far.  Things are becoming clearer, but these surroundings remind me how much harder I can and need to push myself to get to the destination that's made for me somewhere down the road.

September 7, 2008

Vegas baby.

Hello friends, family, and the rest of the world in a web,
Welcome to my public diary - a documentation of my journeys.  One of my greatest loves in life is a good adventure, and I am certainly on a great one right now.  I currently find myself in Las Vegas, NV in a hotel room where I am residing in for 4 weeks.  Despite my previous summer schedule of going to bed around 4am and waking up at 1pm, for work at 5pm, I now find myself incredibly exhausted and sleep deprived at 11pm - after week 1 of rehearsals here in one of the greatest entertainment cities I have been to so far.  Today was my first day off, and it's safe to say Las Vegas kicked my ass this past week.  Just 2 and a half more weeks then I am shipped off to Barcelona for life on a boat. 
I arrived last Saturday - (August 31) and met my new cast of 2 boys and 2 other girls.  They are ages 27-37, and all incredibly talented.  I am already learning a lot from the extra years of performance experience they have on me.  We spent our first week learning the show "sing it, swing it" with 5 part jazz harmonies and some dancing.   All of us are very different in every way, but together I think we make a great team and compliment each other.  Our voices are unique and different to each other's very much, but we blend well in the harmonies.  I am thankful for jazz/pop/rock background from berklee being put to use in this particular show.  I surely have the least musical theatre voice compared to the rest of the cast.
Last night I went out to see our voice coach in her all girl band - I really loved it!  I already miss being in a band.  It's a completely different ballgame sharing lead with 4 other people. But I am excited for this experience and what I will gain.
Anyways, then I went out to a dueling piano bar with Lindsey from my cast, her boyfriend, and his friend who lives here in Vegas... It was fun, but I'm glad I don't have that job... I can't imagine having to play sweet caroline every day to swarms of drunk people.  Then again $100 tips probably keep them going strong.  So far guys in Vegas are polite and buy drinks for girls :-) 
Tomorrow we start learning the show "twisted tv" which makes fun of t.v. shows and has more acting.  
Vegas is really really hot.  I do love all the entertainment here, and am trying to pick a show to splurge on while I'm here - I think it's going to be the cirque du soleil show Zumanity.  I am also a fan of the no humidity phenomenon and though my skin is feeling really dry, my asthma and psoriasis on elbows is really minimized here.  I might be made for the West coast!  But probably not Vegas - I like grass too much, and the lawns made of gravel and human planted palm trees don't really cut it.