It only took seven months, but I finally edited my Evil Dead vlog! I hope you like this peek into our backstage shenanigans!
I absolutely *love* what’s in my bag videos. I’m not sure why, but I do. So I filmed one of my own!
This is what I carried in my performance bag for Evil Dead 2.0, but I filmed this right before the last weekend, so you’re getting a great look at what an actress looks like at the end of the run versus the perfectly packed bag at the beginning.
Question for you- what do you carry in your performance or rehearsal bag? If you’ve made a video, send me the link, I’d love to see it!
Here’s a little behind the scenes, mostly from the first week of rehearsals for Evil Dead! You even get to hear me sing a little bit in this one!
In 2017, I played my boldest role yet: Cheryl Williams in Evil Dead the Musical. You can read all about that first adventure here!
In 2019, I got to return to the cellar and play her again!
The show was a huge hit for our theatre the first time around, and not only did patrons want to see the show return, but most of cast wanted and was able to come back. I reprised my role and so did our Ash and Jake, but we had an all-new Scotty, Linda/Annie (this time the roles were combined), and Ed. We also had a new fake Shemp (this actor plays a variety of roles including an Evil Tree and Annie’s Ghost Dad) and this time my boyfriend Shane joined me onstage for the first time!
I was honestly so excited to come back as Cheryl. It’s my favorite role I’ve ever played, and I feel like the two years in between really gave me a chance to work on my voice and my stage presence, so I think I was even stronger this time around. Plus, I was definitely a lot less nervous of dancing around in my bra onstage.
We had a pretty short rehearsal process, but a lot of it was getting the new actors caught up to speed and cleaning up what we’d worked on before. It’s interesting to revisit a role- I really focused on how I could improve my performance from the first time, which funny bits to keep and which things to try differently. It really helped to work off of some new actors though! Jeffrey, who played Scotty, played the role completely different and gave me so many different choices to work off of.
I made a new costume this time around! Still with unicorns, though. I kept the same jacket and hairbow too, and the Glee messenger bag, since those pieces seemed so completely Cheryl to me, but I got new sneakers (the old ones never fully recovered.) You can tell that I tried out two different shirts- the lime green was the winner, even though it rapidly got more and more tattered as the show went only. Although maybe that was a good thing! I also sacrificed my old extensions and wore them for this show- they are now exclusively my Cheryl extensions (I’m really really hoping to play her at least one more time in my life.)
I also made Annie’s tearaway dress! It was definitely not perfect at all and I wish I’d had more time to really nitpick it, but the reality is that we were constantly fixing it before each performance. But that’s what happens when you tear, bloody, and wash a dress over and over and over again, I suppose!
What helped this time around it that we didn’t do a 7pm and an 11pm show again. That was way too much for me! Cheryl is a super demanding role, particularly for act 1, and being able to run and scream and belt like that for two shows back to back was ex-haust-ing. We stuck Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night performances instead and it was perfect!
I absolutely loved bringing my favorite stupid bitch to life again (Broadway World called me a “lovable scene stealer”!) and I hope I get at least one more change to play her. That being said, I filmed a whole bunch during our run, so stay tuned if you’d like to see more antics from the cabin in the woods!
(Want to see more of my 2017 Evil Dead shenanigans? You can watch them here!)
It took months, but I finally edited and posted my vlog about performing in Noises Off! I had a blast with the show and ended up getting a really nice review of my performance in a local paper, which was super exciting. Let me know what you think of the vlog!
(want to see me audition for Noises Off? You can see that too!)
I actually participated in NaNoWriMo this year, which is already crazy.
Even crazier? I vlogged it!
If you’d like to watch me flounder through writing a novel for the first time in years while also performing in a show and starting a new job, here’s the playlist!
I think most of the time people consider straight plays to be easier than musicals. And to some extent, I think that’s correct. Musicals have all that singing and dancing and whatnot. But I think Noises Off could give a musical a run for their money.
Noises Off is a farce, a very zany play that involves a lot of running around. In act one, the cast of Nothing On is in their final rehearsal and everything is going horribly wrong. In act two, it’s a performance in the middle of their tour and everything is in even worse condition- especially since now the set is turned around and the audience is watching the pantomimed antics backstage. And in act three, it is the final performance of the run and nothing at all is going the way it should.
I auditioned not knowing which role I should go for- Poppy, Dotty, Belinda, or Brooke. I was lucky enough that the first or had me read for all four roles multiple times. (I actually filmed my audition prep process if you’d like to see it- comment below if you think I should post it!) In the end, I was cast as Belinda.
(Side note: my costume might look familiar. It’s part of my Dapper Day Elinor ensemble!)
I’ve done some challenging shows in my day, but this was probably the most fun challenge I’ve experienced in a while. The first hurdle was that I missed the first two weeks of rehearsal because of A Chorus Line- but the director knew that before I auditioned and cast me anyway. (Always post your conflicts on your audition form!)
The hardest part for me once we got into rehearsals was remembering which cue lead to which line. Belinda’s bits tend to be non sequiturs, so there isn’t a good set up to trigger the next line of dialogue. And since all three acts follow a similar structure, the same cue line in all three acts could lead into completely different responses. I literally made myself little cue cards to keep in my skirt pocket to prompt myself through tech week. I was fine without them once they opened, but the sense of training wheels has been very reassuring.
Belinda is also a challenging character to play. She’s a perky optimist, so how do you keep her from getting boring? She’s a major gossip, so how do you keep her likable? She’s saying all these nice things, but is she completely genuine or a little bit sarcastic about it? It’s been fun to play a character with so many options.
The show was booked for a three weekend run, nine performances total. After last Friday, performance number four, the guy playing Lloyd broke his arm, so for the Saturday performance the actor playing Tim stepped in to play Lloyd and one of the stage crew stepped in to play Tim. I described it as “a very sweaty performance.” It was nervewracking for sure, especially since it felt like I had just hit my stride, but the actor now playing Lloyd is delightful and I worked with him last summer on Charley’s Aunt, so I was happy to have scenes with him this time.
Tomorrow begins our last weekend of performances; I’m planning on vlogging my way through the last three shows. Stay tuned, I may have more edits to this post as we wrap up this run!
Apparently 2018 was the year I did shows that no one else ever does. Charley’s Aunt was written in the 1890s and was incredibly popular then; it even got turned into a musical later on. But…no one ever does it.
It’s super cute though. It’s a fun British farce about a couple of college boys who want to invite their girlfriends over so they can propose, but of course in this era they need a proper chaperone. Originally Charley’s aunt (wow, the name of the show!) was going to chaperone, but she doesn’t show up, so naturally the boys dress up their classmate as the aforementioned aunt. Comedy ensues.
I played Kitty, one of the pretty girls hoping to get engaged. I really liked this show because I got to play a cute ingenue, which I never get cast as, plus I got to use a British accent. However…the show is long. So long. Tremendously long. I think that might be the main factor why it’s rarely produced. The bulk of my scenes were in acts one and two; I spent most of act three in a ballgown sipping brandy and saying “isn’t that lovely!”
Speaking of costumes…guess who made her own costumes again?
This show is set in the 1890s, so I needed a full set of underwear. I made myself a chemise and bloomers, and wore a corset from the costume shop. Unfortunately, because I’m short, the corset was far too long for my torso, but with some creative lacing we made it work.
I wore an afternoon dress for most of the show. White muslin was very popular for wealthy women, but I lined mine in pink for a little extra something, and to make it a little less stark onstage. I used McCall’s 7071 and followed it pretty closely on the bodice, but I used the skirt pattern from Simplicity 2207 for a more simple shape. I didn’t wear extra petticoats or a bustle, but I gathered the dress a little bit more in the back to make it a little more full.
My act three dinner dress was a dream. I bit the bullet and ordered the Phantom of the Opera film pattern from eBay- long discontinued, but absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth it. It made a beautiful off the shoulder neckline. I made it as one piece instead of two, however, and cut the waist straight across instead of into a point. I also added the sleeves from Simplicity 1873. I used a pink polyester from Joann’s Casa Collection and lined it with a cream colored cotton bedsheet from Walmart.
The bustle was sewn the way it the pattern calls for, but I bustled it higher to make sure I didn’t get stepped on (spoiler alert: I still got stepped on. Frequently. The perils of being five foot nothing in a floor length ballgown.)
My favorite part was that my mom came all the way from Nashville to see me! She came to Edwin Drood in the fall, too- but she saw me in the same costumes, because I ended wearing all my Charley’s Aunt pieces for Drood. It worked out!
I’m really glad I ended up doing this show. It went over really well and I had a lot of fun with the other actors- four of us from Wedding Singer went straight from Wedding Singer to Charley’s Aunt, and that made it a really great experience to be with friends. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to do this show again, but if you get the chance at least to see it, go see it!
The first thing that I learned about doing an Agatha Christie show…is that they’re long. Long and wordy. Long and wordy with a lot of repetitive phrasing so often you’re wondering if you’re picking up with the correct line, or you’re just going around in a circle. But the plots of an Agatha Christie are so good that you soldier on until you’re rewarded with the reactions from the audience when they figure out the secrets of the plot.
The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the world- it’s been running nonstop in London’s West End since 1952 and it’s a popular choice for local theaters. Even then, I went into the audition a little blind about the story. Well, that’s not necessarily true. I studied the characters and the story, but I decided to not read the ending of the play unless I was cast, or whenever I went to see the show. Luckily I was cast as Miss Casewell and got to be surprised by the murderer’s identity at the end of our first readthrough.
Miss Casewell is an incredibly fun character to play. I usually play rather sweet and cute characters; Miss Casewell is a tremendously independent woman who travels on her own and speaks her mind. And I got to wear these amazing wide legged suede trousers and a sweater vest and oxford flats, so I was super super comfortable.
I loved being part of The Mousetrap. It was a difficult rehearsal process with the number of lines and the number of available entrances and exits on the set (so many! So many options!) but it was a great show. Plus we had a standing direction of “if you don’t know what to do, go to the bar,” so I spent a good part of the show slouching on a windowseat and nursing a drink (of strawberry juice, everyone picked out their favorite drink and that was mine). I don’t know if I’ll do another Agatha Christie any time soon since they’re wordy and complicated, but it was a lot of fun.
(Of course, I say this as I start rehearsals for Noises Off, but that’s another story…)
Y’all. You would think I would have learned my lesson from the first time I did Wedding Singer to not costume it again. And yet…here I am.
My director for Evil Dead asked me while I was working on that show if I could costume Wedding Singer. Honestly…I wanted to be in it more than costume it this time. So of course, because it’s me, I ended up costuming and performing in the ensemble!
The great thing about costuming this time around was that I had a great shop to pull from, and I was able to borrow pieces from the first time I did the show. It also helped that this time I had a really clear vision of what I wanted. My first production of Wedding Singer really taught me that you need to know what you want before you really get into pulling and making pieces. Haphazard does not work when you have a massive cast where everyone has at least six costume changes.
201 total, actually. 201 costume changes.
I almost died.
This time I had some parts of the plot that I was really, really proud of. Like…Linda’s wedding dress. The actress already had an affinity for vintage lingerie, so she found a 1980s lace bustier (I filled in the cups to cut down on the nipple visibility; the show is only PG-13 at the absolute most) and I made her a massive poofy high-low hem tulle skirt scattered with red roses. I made her a veil topped with red roses too. I also made her a pink plaid tearaway skirt for “Let Me Come Home.”
I put all the guys in “Single” in mismatched Hawaiian shirts and honestly I was in love with it. The second I found the rack of Hawaiian shirts I was like OH GOD I NEED THESE.
Holly wore the same dress I made for the previous production, the pink swimwear dress, but without a tearaway skirt. I definitely didn’t have time for that this time around.
For “All About the Green” I did the same concept for the ensemble with everyone in matching outfits, but I dressed Glen in a blazer and a green tie that the actor already owned. Robbie’s outfit was a happy accident- I wanted it to look like Robbie was wearing the nicest clothes he owned, and one day the actor playing Robbie showed up to rehearsal wearing this great short sleeve button up with an 80s style Star Wars print. So of course I had him wear it for the show, with khaki pants and a lilac covered tie. It was a perfect contrast.
And of course, I wore a crazy combination of outfits for my own track! First up: a wedding guest/the wedding photographer in the opening number! I added puffy white off the shoulder sleeves to a dress I already owned.
Second: one of the Pop! bridesmaids. I found three identical dresses (apparently donated from a 1980s show choir, not even kidding) and hemmed them up to fit the three shortish bridesmaids so we could safely pop in and out of a bathroom stall (also not even kidding).
Third: Donatella the whiny baby talk bride. This was an absolute blast, especially since I got to wear this crazy satin wedding gown and an equally crazy veil. And then I got to punch Robbie to finish off the number before I stormed offstage wailing. Honestly a blast.
Fourth: a bar mitzvah guest. I wore this awesome drop waist velvet dress with a lace collar. I had most of my next costume underneath it to help with my next change, but I wanted some awkward kids to be guests at the bar mitzvah and it was totally worth it.
Fifth: shopping mall patron. I only wore this costume for about five minutes, but it was my favorite! I made the plaid circle skirt myself and wore my S-Mart Evil Dead shirt as a little hidden tribute (and it worked with the time period, since Evil Dead came out in 1981 and Wedding Singer is supposed to be 1986).
Sixth: a clubber! Okay, I lied, this might have been my favorite costume. I made this insane circle skirt from layers and layers of multicolored tulle. The velvet off the shoulder bodysuit was, of all things, from Target! It was a comfortable outfit to wear especially since it was such an intense dance number (did I also mention I tore my plantar fascia during a rehearsal, and did a 5k and danced through the whole run anyway? I might be a little stubborn.)
(Then we had intermission, which is when I put all my costumes away and took a breather. And luckily I was onstage a lot less in act 2.)
Seventh: Veronica the slutty secretary. A couple of us gave our office worker characters names, and I was given Veronica. And I got to do the Starbucks line in the song, which was fun.
Eighth: travel agent. I wore a black and white pinstriped skirt (which was totally *not* my old gangster costume skirt, of course not) and a royal blue blazer. This was another bit where I was onstage with a new costume for only a few minutes.
(And I don’t have a photo because I literally wore it for 30 seconds.)
Ninth: wedding guest. I brought back the pink rainbow tulle skirt! This time I wore it with a separate top made from Butterick 5695, which is the same pattern I used for Julia’s wedding dress in the first production I costumed. Comment below if you’d like to see an in depth post about my crazy rainbow skirt!
Phew! Nine costume changes, just for me!
Performing wise, I love this show. I love it so much. It’s high energy from start to finish, the characters are lovable, it’s hilarious, and the audience always has a positive reaction. And every ensemble track keeps you busy. I haven’t danced this much in a show in a very long time, and I loved it.
Will I ever costume this show again? Absolutely not. Twice is more than enough. Will I audition for it again? Absolutely! Now that I’ve done an ensemble track I don’t know if I’ll do that again, but I’ll definitely audition for Holly or Julia and see how it goes.