Backstage at Evil Dead the Musical

Yep, more Evil Dead. This time I did a tour of the theater! Our set was super simple but really well-designed, especially my little cellar where I spent about 80% of the show. I also filmed our greenroom area, where we kept all of our props and costumes. And of course, our blood props. Lots of blood for this show!

Let me know what you think! And ask any questions that you have about the show or the production, I’d be happy to answer them!

Get Ready With Me! Evil Dead: The Musical

Y’all, I LOVED being part of this show. I have at least two more Evil Dead videos coming too! But first, here’s a Get Ready With Me video. I filmed this backstage before our last performance and I had a blast. Leave a comment if you have any questions! (Please, y’all…ask some questions. I want to make some new friends!!)

(also you can read some more about my experience in the show here)

Makeup Products Used:

Benefit the Porefessional Primer

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer

Benefit Benetint

Maybelline Fit Me! Powder

TheBalm blush in Palm Springs

Benefit High Beam

TheBalm Mary Lou-manizer highlighter

Elf Matte setting spray

Nyx Tres Jolie Gel Pencil eyeliner in black

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded

Urban Decay Naked Palette (Sidecar on the lid, Naked and Buck in the crease, Darkhorse in the outer corner)

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (Naked 2 in the crease, Foxy on the browbone)

L’oreal Infallible shadow in Iced Latte (inner corner)

Ciate London Fierce Flicks black liquid liner

Benefit Bad Gal mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retroglam mascara

Tarte Light Camera Splashes! mascara

Colourpop liquid lipstick in Bumble

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown had always been one of my top choices to direct when I started teaching- it’s a really accessible show, fairly simple to sing and simple to stage. So when I was working for a school that wanted to invest as little as possible in its arts program, it was a solid choice, especially when I found out they had done it about five years earlier and we had some key costume pieces in storage! Life was a lot easier when I realized that Schroeder, Charlie Brown, and Linus already had their shirts.

While the show only has a few cast members originally (Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, and Snoopy) I decided to expand the cast to include more kids. Because that’s what needs to happen for a middle/high school production, especially when there’s only two shows a year and you want to give as many kids as possible a chance to be part of a performance. Woodstock was added (a nonspeaking role for literally the most precious second grader you’ve ever seen) along with several other birds from the elementary school, and then an ensemble of older kids that, while they didn’t have lines, were all chosen from Peanuts characters- Peppermint Patty, Frieda, Patty, Marcy, Violet, the Little Redheaded Girl, and Pigpen. Most of my kids had minimal to no stage experience, but they were absolutely fantastic. All of them hard workers, all of them super eager to learn, and it turned out to be a great production. If it hadn’t been for the garrulous music teacher (which is a whole ‘nother story, but for reference please picture the Queen of Hearts from the animated Alice in Wonderland and you’re just about there) it would have been perfect.

The boys were very easy to costume. Since, for the most part, their shirts were pulled from storage, it was a matter of them bringing in the right shorts and sneakers from home. Pigpen had a brown shirt that he brought from home as well, but again, super easy to get. My philosophy (pun accidental) when costuming is to either make everything my cast needs, or have them bring in items they already own; I don’t like sending my actors to buy costume pieces. Which is what made it even more miraculous when my Charlie Brown found a pair of yellow and black striped pajamas that worked perfectly for the opening number.

Snoopy’s costume was also fairly simple. I didn’t want to do a full body dog costume, so Snoopy wore white pants and a white shirt with a black and white baseball cap. With some slight makeup (mostly the black nose) he was perfectly believable as Snoopy. For the Red Baron sequence at the top of act two, he added goggles, a flight cap, and a white scarf pulled from my sister’s costume collection.

The birds were also very simply costumed- yellow shirts, black shorts, and sneakers. Woodstock also wore a yellow tutu and we tied yellow ribbons in her pigtails. She was literally the cutest.

Sally and Lucy were slightly more tricky. A lot of productions try to copy the comics exactly and put their actresses in drop waisted dresses with short skirts that stick out like hula hoops. I ended up putting them in more 50s style fit and flare dresses, mostly because I had Sally’s dress already! I played Janice Vickery in The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds in college and made my own costume, a pink and white polka dot dress with a half circle skirt and a peter pan collar (I used Simplicity 4116, which has been out of print for quite a while, but it’s pretty easy to find comparable patterns). To make it work for my Sally, I took the dress in and made a sash and a hairbow; with frilly ankle socks, pink low top converses, and a small petticoat, it was perfect. I wanted Lucy in something similar, so I used McCall’s 4948 (their Alice in Wonderland pattern) to make a plain blue dress with puffed sleeves and a circle skirt, but I eliminated the peter pan collar to keep it looking more like Lucy and less like Alice in Wonderland. The school’s powers-that-be thought the skirt was too short (despite all my actors in skirts wearing shorts under their costumes) so I added a ruffle to the hem. I made two bows to match, and then added a petticoat, frilly ankle socks, and saddle shoes.

The other girls in the ensemble wore outfits reminiscent of their characters in the comics, mostly by colors. Peppermint Patty wore sandals, a sports jersey, a backwards baseball cap, and drawn-on freckles, and Marcy wore a sailor dress and Harry Potter glasses. Violet wore purple, Frieda wore red (and had naturally curly hair!) and Patty wore an orange and gold plaid dress that I had previously used when I directed David Ives’ Words Words Words.

The most unique part of my production, in my personal opinion, was adding the Little Redheaded Girl, the object of Charlie Brown’s affections. I had a redheaded student that I costumed in a white dress and a pink floral print cardigan, and incorporated her into the group scenes. She was there when Charlie Brown did his lunchtime monologue, and she skipped past him during the baseball song. My favorite part was the very end, when he’s holding her pencil at the end of “Happiness.” All the other actors had already left in twos and threes, and he was alone onstage with the pencil. It’s scripted that Lucy gives the final line, but instead I had the Little Redheaded Girl tap him on the shoulder and hold out her hand. He gave her the pencil back, she said “you’re a good man, Charlie Brown,” and then took his hand to walk him offstage. It was such a sweet moment and a great ending to the show!

Evil Dead: The Musical (yes, it’s a thing and it’s great)

(all photos are from Chris Bishop Photography)

(also warning: sweary words and rude gestures ahead, because, well…it makes sense if you see the show)

I had no idea what Evil Dead: The Musical was. Didn’t even know it was a thing. I hadn’t even seen any of the movies. I was doing a production of Kiss Me Kate when one of the actors asked me if I was familiar with it. I said no, and he kind of gave me a look and said “look up the part of Cheryl.”

Lo and behold, I fell in love. It turns out that the theatre was doing a production of Evil Dead in the fall, and even though it was only February I WAS READY TO GO.

Evil Dead is the story of “five college students on their way to an old abandoned cabin in the woods.” Not even kidding, that’s the first song.

(we’re in a car. you can tell because of the steering wheel.)

Now, these five college students are breaking into this cabin and they accidentally unleash a terrible evil, and people wind up as Deadites…or just dead. It’s a campy, tongue-in-cheek, raunchy musical with a lot of blood. A lot of blood.

I wanted to be in this show.

Cheryl is the younger sister of Ash, the protagonist. She’s kind of a stick in the mud, a little whiny, and she tries to convince the others to leave the cabin. Naturally they don’t listen to her, and naturally she’s the first one to get turned into a demon. So Cheryl spends the first fifteen minutes of the show cute and sweet, and then turns into a foul-mouthed demon locked in the cellar, and pops up every so often to deliver a really bad pun.

I REALLY wanted to be in this show.

I think I prepared more for this audition than any other audition- which is saying something. I sang “Dead Girl Walking” from Heathers. Ordinarily, singing a song like that is probably frowned upon, but when you’re auditioning for a character who sings lines like “I heard you fuckers laughing at me and calling me a prude/let’s see if you’re still laughing when I rip out your fallopian tubes,” you probably have a little more leeway. We did the dance call to “Do the Necronomicon” (which is a great number) and read a couple of scenes, and then we were sent on our way. And I was cast as Cheryl!

The trickiest thing was balancing rehearsals with Heathers. Luckily, the theaters were about ten minutes apart, and the directors were flexible, and my role in Heathers was considerably smaller. Heathers rehearsal was at 6pm Tuesday-Saturday and Evil Dead was at 7pm, Monday-Thursday, so on overlapping days (read: almost all of them) I would stay for the first half of Heathers and then go to Evil Dead till 10 or so. Did I mention I was also rehearsing for a cabaret at the beginning of the process too? And I was starting a new job training because Great Movie Ride was closing? Yeah. I didn’t sleep for months. Luckily Heathers was in September and Evil Dead was in October, so I had a two week span to focus on Evil Dead when Heathers closed.

(Cheryl becomes a demon because she gets raped by evil trees. Yeah. That was an interesting scene to block.)

The rehearsal process was smooth yet daunting. Smooth, because our director, Tad, had played Scotty in the Las Vegas production of the show for two and half years and he knows the show super well. Daunting, because I have never played a role so physically demanding. The show starts off fairly standard, just a nice little opening number and opening scene in the cabin. The next time I came onstage, I got raped by trees (which was done with the guys playing Ed, Jake, and Fake Shemp dressed as blacklight trees picking me up and tossing me around). Then I ran offstage and had about ten seconds to take off my hairbow, my glasses, my coat, and my long skirt so I could run back onstage covered in blood. (We did some of the blood before the show while I was putting my makeup on, and then we touched it up every time I ran backstage. Which wasn’t often.)

Then Alex (who played Ash) and I had to run around to the top of the house to come down the side stairs for the bit with a bridge and I sang an overly dramatic song called “It Won’t Let Us Leave.” Honestly the inspiration for my facial expressions for that number all came from this Youtube video with multiple dramatic impressions of “On My Own” from Les Miserables.

After that I had an extremely short scene to run around to the back, get my blanket and my mask, get some more blood, and run onstage for the sequence of events that nearly killed me. I sang the first half of my big number “Look Who’s Evil Now” (where I dramatically revealed myself to be a demon, complete with a super awesome mask)…

  

…collapsed on the floor, then immediately came up to sing another verse and attack everybody else…

…then got picked up and tossed in the cellar (which was TERRIFYING and I genuinely fell more than once. Plus the time Alex slipped on the stairs and almost dropped. Also I was screaming and shouting while they carried me around.)…

…and then popped right back up for some dialogue and then backing up Shelly on her verse…

…and then I had a two minute song to catch my breath before my next song, which involved singing along with a demonic puppet moose. Did I mention that I was screaming and/or belting for most of this? No wonder I was so tired after every performance! The first time we ran this sequence on the set I literally had to get my inhaler. It was insane. But still, so much fun.

I spent most of the show after that hiding out in the cellar and popping up to say something inappropriate or a pun (sometimes inappropriate puns). It was great, and my thighs got an insane workout from all the squats I was doing in the cellar. You can see from the photos of the set how small the cellar was; I had enough space to sit cross legged without hitting my head, but not much else space. We also tried putting metal chains over the top of the cellar door, but that ended quickly- they were too heavy, they were too loud, and they kept getting caught in the cellar door.

My favorite bit, gross as it sounds, was spitting on people. It took some doing to get it to look good onstage (who know there were skills involved?? I’m putting it on my resume). Our blood techs made me a special little bottle of spitting blood that was kept in the fridge between performances, and I would set the bottle with my props in the cellar at the top of the show. It was made mostly from strawberry milk liquid flavoring and corn syrup, and at the right cue I would take a swig, crouch under the cellar door, and pop out.

I spat on Ash and bit Ed; for Ed I would mostly let the blood dribble out of my mouth (ONE NIGHT I MISJUDGED AND A GLOB WENT INTO MY BRA. WHAT A MISTAKE.) but for Ash I would take a literal spittake. One night I spit too hard and it shot right into his mouth and I felt so bad, but he was like “no, that was great!! Do it again!!”

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I spent most of the show in the cellar, but I did come out at the end as part of the Deadite backup for “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed By Kandarian Demons” (which I adore and is now a potential audition song in my book). And then I died (so I popped squib #1)

I then came back to life and sang “Do the Necronomicon,” “It’s Time,” and “We Will Never Die” with the rest of the Deadites- all really fun songs.

(also JUST LOOK AT THAT CHAINSAW. Alex rehearsed with a sock over his hand until we got the chainsaw; we called it Lil Nubbin)

We also did a really great, extremely bloody fight scene. I got the last death and the last line, which is from the original film series- I got to stumble back to my feet, flip Ash off and scream “hey Ash- how ’bout I make like a tree, and fuck you!” And then he shot me over his shoulder and I died dramatically. (squib #2)

(However- every single night I popped the squib right into my hair. Once I popped it so hard against my collarbone that I bruised my boob. And multiple times I popped the squib into my mouth, and the blood was like 80% soap and it was SO GROSS. And there was a night that I was lying dead on the floor and Alex slammed the butt of the shotgun on my forehead. And there was a night he stepped on my hand. And one time he slammed the cellar door on my head and knocked me out for a few seconds in the middle of a performance. We really are friends, I swear.)

After this scene, though, all the Deadites had to run backstage, rip off our masks, and put on goofy hats to play random S-Mart patrons, while Ash tied a blue S-Mart apron on. Yes, we were all still covered in blood. It’s fine, don’t question it. Pretty much everybody used multiple hats, but I used the unicorn one every time just because I really liked it. And then we sang the last number, “Blew That Bitch Away,” and that was that!

I’ve worked with the Moonlight theater several times already (I’ve done Seussical, Kiss Me Kate, and The Mousetrap there) and usually their shows run for four weeks- Friday night, Saturday night, and a Sunday matinee. Evil Dead was a little different. We ran for three weeks with Friday night, Saturday night, Saturday at midnight, and Sunday night. That’s right- we did a performance at 7pm on Saturday, immediately dispersed to get all the blood off ourselves and our costumes, and came back for another performance at 11pm. It was super intense. Luckily a couple of people lived nearby, so we would split up to shower, and then come back to do another show.

Honestly, even though this show was so crazy and intense and chaotic, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Cheryl is up there with one of the top roles I’ve ever played, and I definitely want to play her again. And we had such insane audience feedback- we had people who came back five times and people who drove from towns and states away, even a group that came from fourteen hours away! We took photos with the audience afterwards too, and it was just so much fun. Out of twelve performances, we sold out eight, and the rest were 85% full or more.

Here’s hoping I get another chance to go to the cabin in the woods again!

(Do I look like a crazy person in this curtain call photo? Absolutely. Do I look like I’ve had the time of my life? Absolutely!)

(Also you can see squib #3- we popped them into the audience for curtain call. #blessed)

Kiss Me Kate

Sometimes shows are great. Great director, great cast, great team, smooth sailing and joy for all. Sometimes it’s…a little more of an uphill battle.

Kiss Me Kate has never been one of my all-time favorite shows, but it’s a classic, it’s Cole Porter, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to audition. I knew I wasn’t right for Lilli/Kate and only slightly right for Lois/Bianca, but the ensemble is extremely active and I knew it would be a lot of fun.

If you haven’t seen the show, Kiss Me Kate is a show-within-a-show based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The main crux of the plot is centered on Lilli, former theatre actress turned Hollywood star, and Fred, a well-renowned stage actor. Also they recently got divorced and they hate each other. They’re performing as the already contentious characters of Kate and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, and it’s a hot mess. Also Fred’s new girlfriend is also in the show, and there’s a case of mistaken identity that involves a pair of bumbling gangsters causing trouble. All in all, good times are had. The show was originally produced in 1948 and revived several times since then, including a very well-received 1999 revival. (This will be important in a moment.)

I was actually cast as Hattie, a supporting role. Hattie is Lilli’s extremely loyal assistant, and I ended up having a lot of fun with the part. I played her as very sassy- lots of shade, lots of side eye. And of course she hates Fred because Lilli hates Fred. It was a great time, especially since I ended up being in part of the Shakespearean ensemble as well with three of my favorite theatre friends (Lauren, Raven, and Erin were part of Seussical too so it was great having a reunion in the same show). But…then, my friends, the fit hit the shan.

The director was adamant that we were doing the original 1948 production, which is, admittedly, extremely dated and had some material that needed a change. But we plugged away at it steadily, waiting for the day our vocal tracks would come in. But lo and behold…our vocal tracks were from the 1999 revival and they were drastically different. Nothing matched the sheet music we’d been rehearsing, timing was off, some songs (like Lois’s big act two number) were in a completely different key. As Hattie, I was singing lead on the opening number, which is a fairly well known musical theatre song.

NOTHING MATCHED. I was trying to sing the 1948 version to the very different 1999 version, and nothing aligned, especially towards the end with all the vamping. The director didn’t hear the difference and kept scolding me for not singing it correctly, and we didn’t have a music director (another layer of stress), and when we did have someone to come in and clean up music, he was like “…just do the best you can.” So I made it up. Sorry, Cole Porter.

There were a lot of other roadblocks- a lack of men for necessary roles, portions of songs getting cut down while other songs got all of their reprises and encores, endless choreography changes, a set that didn’t function well for what we needed, a leading man who never learned his lines so it was an adventure every performance. And the costumes. Dear glory, no one was in the correct era. The 40s scenes were pretty good; the ensemble had a pretty good handle of the right clothing. But the Shakespeare costumes were all over the place. Erin’s was nice; it looked like one of Danielle’s peasant dresses from Ever After. Raven wore what we called “Party City Rapunzel” and Lauren wore a dress that looked like she was waiting for the Civil War to be over. It was quite a time.

I ended up making both of my costumes. My 1940s dress was made from Simplicity 1459, with two key modifications. The original pattern calls for a side zipper, but I had too many costume switches in this show for that nonsense. I changed the side zipper to a very very long back zipper, to make it easier to get in and out of the dress. This also meant the back of the collar was separated instead of one continuous piece, which didn’t look as clean and pretty, but oh, well. I had a 30 second costume change before “We Open in Venice” in the middle of act one, and I didn’t have time for side zippers.

Processed with Rookie Cam

(Also just look at all the sass in that picture.)

I used a nice cotton floral print for the body of the dress and a maroon cotton for the sailor collar and sash (which was sewn to the dress, because I also did not have time to tie and untie a sash). The maroon buttons were stitched to the front of the bodice as well, because I didn’t want to take the risk of a button popping out in the middle of the show.

I honestly can’t remember now if I changed the cut of the skirt from the pattern version or not. I think I kept it. In any case, it is an extremely full circle skirt, and I borrowed a chiffon petticoat from the theater to pop underneath. And I wore my black character shoes.

Processed with Rookie Cam

(It’s a blurry picture from the audience, but you can see how much volume my skirt had!)

For the Shakespeare dress, I modified an out of print pattern, Simplicity 8735. It’s the original version of the Ever After dress patterns (and I suspect that Erin’s dress was made from the same pattern). I wanted the look of a chemise/skirt/bodice, but without multiple pieces because costume changes. I used a brown linen for the bodice (unlined), white muslin for the sleeves/bodice inset/underskirt, and a very light pink cotton for the overskirt.

(Erin is on my right with a truly epic facial expression.)

I inverted the bodice so it pointed down instead of pointing up, and lengthened it instead of leaving it an empire waist. The lacing is stitched directly to the bodice, and the (extremely wide) sleeves are trimmed with extremely wide eyelet. I also stitched eyelet trim to the neckline as well.

Processed with Rookie Cam

The skirt is in two layers, a white muslin layer and a pink cotton, and they’re both plain dirndls with a lot of width. I do mean a lot. This thing swirled like it was its job. Which, well, it kind of was. I also made the cap from the pattern from the same pink of the skirt; I stitched a clear plastic comb at the top so it could slide right into my hair and decorated it with pale pink silk roses.

Have I mentioned that I had to switch shoes in these costume changes too? I had black character shoes for the 40s and nude character shoes for Shakespeare. Oy.

(me exchanging a look with Lois, played by Merissa, who later played Shelly in Evil Dead. Also isn’t Erin the cutest? She made her yellow floral dress from a vintage reprint McCall’s pattern that I almost used.)

Was this my most successful show? No. Was it my favorite show? No. Did I learn a lot? Absolutely. Even if you’re in a show that puts you through a lot of struggle, you can always take it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Plus, I got to pretend I was Rachel Berry for a while.

Plus I got to do a show with some of my besties. And that’s always worth it. #memegirlsquad

I also rocked some pretty great 1940s style hair and makeup, so comment below if you’d like to see a video tutorial!

“great pate, mom!” (that one time I finally did Heathers)

HEATHERS. IT’S THE DREAM, RIGHT??

I discovered Heathers on Pandora about two years ago- I was playing my Broadway playlist on my way to work, as one does, and “Beautiful” came on. Well, it’s a long song, so I sat in the parking garage at work listening to the end (and was almost late clocking in, oops. But so worth it.) I just don’t understand why more theaters don’t do it- I’ve been waiting for someone to put it on in my area ever since.

Luckily, not only was CTCO doing it (fifteen minutes away from where I live!) but my friend Taylor, who played Horton in Seussical with me, was directing it. So I was over the moon to audition. I sang “What It Means to Be a Friend” from Thirteen and called back for the ensemble. Was I disappointed to not be called back for a lead? Absolutely. But a lot of incredibly talented people auditioned. And I also went into this knowing that I was probably going to end up in Evil Dead, and the rehearsal schedules would overlap. There was no way I could feasibly play leads in both shows. The callback for Heathers was a lot of fun, and to my surprise Taylor held me to read for the role of Veronica’s mom. I ended up getting the part! Usually Mrs. Sawyer is doubled with Ms. Fleming, the teacher, but we went with this instead and it was a blast!

Rehearsals got a little bit tricky, though. Heathers overlapped with Evil Dead, which performed out of a theater ten minutes down the road, so usually I would attend the first hour or two of Heathers rehearsal and then go down the road for Evil Dead. Poor Shane barely saw me- I was rehearsing six nights a week, on top of my new job! (Because of course Movie Ride closed during the rehearsal process and I had to start training for Safaris immediately. Yikes.) And for a short time, the It’s a Date cabaret overlapped too. Ugh. No wonder I was so stressed for so long. The only way any of this worked, though, was communication. All my directors and stage managers knew exactly what was going on, and they were really flexible. So if I had to miss Heathers rehearsal completely for the Evil Dead photocall, I could, and if I needed to miss Evil Dead for a Heathers full run, I could. I’m so glad I didn’t have to pick, because I’m honestly not sure which one I would have chosen.

The music for Heathers is super complicated. Like yeah, I knew the lyrics for the most part because I’ve played through the cast recording approximately a million times. But the parts. OH LORD. “Yo Girl” is literally the most complicated thing ever; I was honestly not too upset when I found out I didn’t need to sing that song after all since Mrs. Sawyer had to be onstage for bits of it. So if you end up in a production, don’t think you can slide by since you have the OCR memorized. It’s so specific.

Our choreography was great; both our choreographer and our dance captain are Disney entertainment and they are so good at what they do. As for me? Well, dancing is not my strong suit. It’s not. I know this. So I struggled, especially since I inevitably missed rehearsal time (because I was also learning Evil Dead choreography and struggling there equally!). There was a lot of checking in with the dance captain and with a couple members of the ensemble that I trusted to make sure that I was remembering things correctly. (Usually I wasn’t. But I finally caught on by tech week. Finally.)

I ended up taking two tracks in Heathers, one as Mrs. Sawyer and one as a student at Westerberg High. The director was really great about us developing a real feel for our characters and finding unique characterizations. So of course we had the Nerd and the Republicanette and the other written ensemble characters, but we each had really specific characters for each ensemble member, which really made a difference in the strength of the show. I described my characters as “Carrie White, with no powers.” Basically me when I was in elementary/middle school, now aged up a bit- very sheltered, very anxious. I got to develop my own costume with the approval of the director, so I went with a plaid button up shirt, a denim jumper, lacy ankle socks, and saddle shoes. Originally I had a red bandana in my hair as a headband, but Taylor pointed out (and rightly so) that Heather Chandler should be the only one with red. So I borrowed a blue bandanna from another cast member instead.

Speaking of my hair, though, I had the most killer wig. I think the best way to describe it is “someone from the 80s time traveled to the 90s, saw Rachel’s haircut on Friends, and then went back to the 80s and tried to describe it to their stylist.” It was a mullet and yet not a mullet. It was stellar and I adored it.

I also had another costume for the party; in the script it actually specifies that everyone at Ram’s party is in different costumes as different, cooler characters than their school ensemble selves, so I ran with it. My dress is actually my original Eleven cosplay dress, minus the the white collar, but it looked really great as an 80s party dress. I swapped out the bandanna for a headband with a tiny bow and the saddle shoes for floral-print boots (the same ones I wore for Chris in Carrie.)

And then there was Mrs. Sawyer. My wig is a glorious Betty Boop/Betty Rubble pile of curls- they wanted me to look more like Veronica, and the blonde mullet wasn’t going to cut it. The shoes are just my basic black character shoes, and the skirt was made from fabric and a zipper I scrounged up in my stash. The shirt, you ask? You might recognize the shirt.

It’s definitely not my gangster shirt. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Heathers only ran for one weekend, but it’s a show I could do over and over again and never get tired of it, no matter what role I’m playing. But I don’t think it would be able to top the cast of this production. Everyone was so talented and brought their A game 100%. It was such a great time.

And of course people came to visit it me, including a couple of Deadites!!

I’m going to do a tutorial for Vlogmas next month about how I did my 80s inspired Heathers look; it’s going to be super chatty and I’m going to talk about the show, so ask me all the questions you have down below!! I want to answer all your questions, about the show and my experience and theatre in general!!

In the meantime, I’m going to go serve some liverwurst and pretend it’s pate.

It’s a Date! (my first cabaret)

I auditioned for this cabaret on accident.

The company was holding a joint audition for both Heathers and the cabaret at the same time; I only planned on auditioning for Heathers since I had a conflict right before the scheduled date for the show. Better to not audition for a show when you know there’s a conflict than jumping into a mess, right? (I once went to an audition where the director saw that the auditionee would be gone for the whole week before tech week and he told her basically that she could audition but she wouldn’t get cast. Yikes.) But I came in and I sang for the (large group) of directors, and one of them is a friend of mine and she was like “Why didn’t you write down you wanted to audition for the cabaret?”

“I have a conflict,” I said.

“I’m putting you down anyway.”

I got a callback for the Nerd Girl and one of the hosts, and lo and behold, I was cast as the Nerd Girl. I’m definitely never typecast ever, right?

The cabaret was a loosely scripted format that relied on improv. The first part involved three bachelors and an audience participant as the bachelorette; the hosts would ask questions and the bachelors would improv their answers, interspersed with songs, until the bachelorette made their choice and the winner sang a solo. Then the whole cast would sing “The Money Song” from Avenue Q (it makes sense in the full script, trust me) and then the same format would repeat with three bachelorettes and a male audience participant as the bachelor.

The songs were more of a challenge than I expected because, for the first time ever, I was singing as an alto in the group numbers instead of a soprano 2. As a soprano 2 I typically have some harmonies here and there, but an alto is straight up just singing harmonies. And let me just say, I do not naturally have an ear for harmonies. Your girl had to WORK for this. But at the end of the day, it was really rewarding. I got to sing in a less-utilized part of my range (I have a really strong lower register and didn’t realize it!) and I got to learn a lot of techniques I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. So lesson learned- yeah, I was really nervous at first, but it was great.

I didn’t do much in the first half of the show, since the guys were singing for most of it, but I did get to sing in the “doo-doo-doo”s for “Hey Good Lookin'” (from Dogfight). But then I didn’t do anything else until halfway through the show for “The Money Song,” so most of the time I looked like this:

(Snapchat courtesy of Rachel, who played the Princess bachelorette, and was just as bored as I was)

The three female bachelorettes were introduced using the song “I Know It’s Today” from Shrek, and this meant I got to achieve one of my life goals of singing the Medium Fiona verse. Seriously, that’s all I want. Cast me in Shrek and let me play Medium Fiona and a fairy tale character so I can sing “Freak Flag,” I’ll be happy as can be. Anyway, I got to sing my favorite part in that song and I was just like YES BLESS EVERYTHING.

The improv was very hit or miss. I could play off of one of the hosts really easily, but not so easily with the other one. So kind of frustrating, but sometimes it was super rewarding. Also, admittedly my improv skills are kind of rusty. I feel like I should take some classes. Anyway.

My big solo number…was a song I’d never heard before. I’ve listened to a lot of musical theatre, trust me, but I’d never heard of this song. And it was a challenging one for me, because by the end of the song I was supposed to unbutton my nerdy Her Universe Ewok cardigan and show off my (very modest, very unrevealing) bra to the audience. (I thought I was too shy and retiring to show off my bra to an audience. And then two months later, Evil Dead…)

Anyways, confused? Listen to the song and it’ll make sense.

It’s great, right?? I had such a blast once I got comfortable with it. It went straight into my audition book, I can tell you that much.

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(this picture was from a rehearsal so I’m not in my amazing unicorn skirt and my hair is a mess, but please enjoy my quality facial expression.)

The big problem was that after the bachelor contestant from the audience picked his winner, the two losers had to sing a duet. Good news: it was “Secondary Characters” from [title of show], which is an amazing and hilarious song. Bad news: remember when I said I struggled with harmonies? Yeah, this was not a great time for me. I won for one performance so I didn’t have to sing it that night, but I lost the second performance so…well, it was underwhelming. It was all right. It could have been worse. Let’s just say I learned a lot.

The finale was “Burnin’ Love” from All Shook Up, the Elvis jukebox musical, and that was a lot of fun. The choreography was a lot of fun for that one especially, and my solo bits were super great.

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All in all, I wasn’t expecting to be a part of the cabaret at all, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and fairly low key, all things considered. I also got to wear my favorite cardigan, my pink party glasses, and a gray and silver unicorn print skirt, so this was a win win all around!