Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/2/13-1/20/13: New York Rehearsals

And so it begins.

I am starting this blog to chronicle my experiences as I travel around the world as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.

So far we've been rehearsing the show the past 3 weeks at Chelsea Studios in Manhattan.  Its been great to be back in the city for a while.  I've been out and about with another tour and summer stock for so long I'd almost forgotten what its like to be in the hustle and bustle of NYC.  Most of my time has been devoted to rehearsals - the rest to preparing for the next 18 months of tour.  There's alot to think about when you are going to be away for that long and only have 3 free days to prepare.

Our cast is truly outstanding - every single member is flipping brilliant at what they do - so I know that artistically, this will be quite a journey.  The rehearsal process for me has been similar to most of the other tours I've done: filled with hard work, accomplishment and sprinkled with both moments of clarity and self doubt.  I think every actor goes through moments where they think "What am I doing?  Why did they hire me?  I'm the weak link."  For me, its all part of being a perfectionist in a creative outlet.  There is no way to be brilliant right of the bat, which frustrates me to no end.  But after 3 weeks, I am finally starting to feel at peace with the work and am ready to start adding the technical elements in - they always seem to help me refine my performance and character development.

I think the highlight of the rehearsal process has been working with our director, Jerry Zaks.  Just watching him work has been like taking a master class in acting - and the moments of 'clarity' that I've had through the process have mostly all come from the days when he was working with us.  The other highlight has been the opportunity to meet and perform from Andrew Lippa.  While intimidating to sing songs written by a famous composer who is 10 feet away from you, its also one of the single coolest things I've ever done.  It just reminds me of how lucky I am to be able to be a part of a show like this - and what a step up this is from the level of work I've done in the past.

The hardest part has been...having to shave my head.  It sounds silly I know, but having been born with a full head of hair - it was sort of traumatic to have it all shaved off.  But that's exactly what I did last night.  I think I was in a minor state of shock for about 18 hours afterwards, but I'm finally starting to be ok with it.  I'm told it doesn't look bad - which is a relief.  Now I'm just daunted at the thought of upkeeping it for the next year and a half.

The next leg of rehearsal takes us to New Haven, CT on Monday.  There we will start to Tech the show - adding in the sets, costumes, lights, makeup, special effects, orchestra, etc.  We have about 2 weeks to get the show in full running order and preview it a few times before we officially set out and start the 'tour' itself.  With one day left in NYC, I am 80% packed and uber excited to get started!  More to come from CT!