This Thanksgiving I am grateful to be fortunate to have had several career-building opportunities this year, including:

I am also appreciative to have friends and family who are supportive of me as I pursue this crazy path.  Thank you! 


College Girl

So, as some of you may have seen, I got the voice over gig!  Yesterday I spent some time at Rumblestrip recording the copy.  This session covered a series of regional spots for Bay State College, which I didn't know much about.  However, since they liked my college sound I got to learn more about the school and meet some nice folks in the process.  The studio was more crowded than I was used to, but everyone was friendly.  In attendance were:

  • the freelance writer

  • two guys from the ad agency

  • two people from Bay State College

  • Tom (the engineer)

After some handshakes all around and a quick perusal of the finalized copy, I stepped into the booth and Tom and I worked on the levels.  In a little less than half an hour we had all spots down and rough cuts of each one hammered out.  Playback after the quick-edit is my favorite part, I think: getting to hear the prospective final version; which wilds were used; which take was preferred.  I learn a little more about me and about the profession each time I get to work. 

One of the things I like about voice over is the casual nature of the profession.  I still get to be the professional me I enjoy and everyone outside the booth (in most cases) is professional yet laid-back.  It makes work fun! 

The rumor is these spots will be making their debut sometime next week.  I'm not sure on what stations they'll air, but once I have the final versions I'll post some samples here.



Yesterday I did double-duty, with a voice over audition in the morning and a callback in the afternoon for the train commuter audition I had last week.  

The voice over audition was a trial to get to--I took the MBTA.  Clearly, I should know better by now, but I still like to hope that someday the T will be timely.  Despite my 60-second tardiness, which should have been 15-minute earliness, the guys in the studio at Rumblestrip were unperturbed.  The copy I was handed fell along the typically college-cool lines I've come to know and enjoy.  Tristan was great and I had the opportunity to give two reads, each slightly different.  And, in the world of great news, I received a call today that I'm in the running for the spot!  The client will review the finalists and make the ultimate decision.  While I'll probably find out tomorrow if I'm selected, I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  But it sure would be fun to do this spot!

I found the callback I attended in the afternoon rather unconventional.  The audition was conducted via video satellite feed with the client observing from another state.  In the waiting area I found a hoard of auditionees, many of whom I knew, including Elton from my first audition!  I was happy to see that his computer troubles had not hampered his chances at the job.  With my trusty Economist in hand, I entered the audition room as requested along with three other individuals.  We all played dutifully docile train passengers together and in only a few minutes the audition was over.  I don't know if I'll get the gig--I don't know what the client is seeking in terms of talent.  I can say with surety, based on those I saw there, I was definitely the only person there who looked like me.  While at the audition I received the following generous comment:

"I've been in this business 28 years and you've got a great look."
If I take away no job from this audition, at least I've got this positive input to tide me over to my next gig and the knowledge that my look can't be all bad.


Last Night

Last night:

  • was the final performance of the Boston Lyric Opera run of the Doucet/Barbe production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann.
  • was the last time I had to be swathed in cold, gold body paint that sounded--during application--not unlike a small puppy licking my face.
  • was the last night I had to spend 30 minutes removing flaky, gold body paint that had drifted to parts undesired during performance.
  • I realized the amazing beauty in the living art that is opera--singers, artists, musicians, technicians, stagehands coming together out of a desire to create a sentient, mobile, audible medium that can only be appreciated to its utmost live, in person and in a theatre.
  • I vowed (to myself) to seek more work with fun, talented, friendly people like those I met in this show.
  • I believed I could actually resume a busy singing audition schedule--and win auditions.
  • I pledged to make this last night only the first of many.


A Muse in Action

Photo: Jeffrey Dunn


Traveler trouble

For those of you who have noticed, indeed, work on the audition front has been slow.  Why, you ask?  Well, the economy is down and things are kind of complicated with the unions at the moment.  Here is a summary of recent events: 

Negotiations broke downContracts expired.  There has been infighting.  There has been bickering betwixt unions.  There are rumors of a strike.  A federal mediator has been requested and chosen.  Basically, it's a big mess. 

So, today I was quite pleased to have an audition for a TV commercial--the first audition I've had in weeks, I should say.

I arrived to find a gaggle of folks in the waiting area, which was more than I had anticipated.  I signed in and made myself at home reading The Economist.  (After all, I was auditioning to be a train commuter.  Commuters read things like The Economist, right?)  Periodically the casting director would come out and say things like, "Okay.  Bob: you'll be on the phone.  Devlin: you'll be drinking coffee.  Cory: you'll be fidgeting and bump into Devlin.  Rusty: you're the conductor.  Everyone: come with me."  And the small flock would make its way into the audition room, introducing themselves to one another along the way. 

Come my turn, the CD came out and said, "Okay... Alecia: you'll be reading a magazine.  (Convenient!, I thought.)  Elton [an alias]: you'll be working on a computer."  Elton and I proceeded into the audition room and were given additional brief direction, after which Elton opened his laptop and there was much spontaneous talking--from the computer.  As he fumbled failingly with the volume he explained that he hosts a radio show and that his friend, lender of the computer, must have been listening to it.  A forced quit didn't work.  The mute button didn't work. Tapping of various keys didn't work.  The gabfest between hosts and guest continued.  (Perhaps because it's a Windows machine?  Ahem.  I digress.)  For about a minute Elton tussled with the computer.  The casting associates looked on perplexedly.  I tried not to laugh.  Eventually, the computer was shut down and the conversation ceased.  We were able to enact our scene as calm, dignified commuter rail travelers as directed without further interruption, electronic or otherwise.


Strangers like me

As you may know, now, I used to work for Walt Disney World Entertainment.  This was one of the most happy times of my life as I was able to help many magical dreams come true for guests, entertain thousands of people daily, as well as work with fantastically talented and wonderful people.  I thought I might share with you just a few of the characters I was able to embody.

To the left is Nolka.  (Yep!  That's me!)  She is one of the trolls who live in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot.  The other is her husband Gargy.  I have played both, however it has been several years since they've been seen there, greeting visitors to the home of the Maelstrom, as well as a beautifully made film.

As a very few people know, playing Winnie-the-Pooh was my absolute favorite.  Frequently Pooh's queue was the longest no matter the locale.  Here I am in the United Kingdom pavilion as Pooh along with good friend and escort Jennifer:

With the advent of The Lion King, I was able to portray Timon.  On more than one occasion it was noted that I was "the best Timon" people--guests and cast members alike--had ever seen.  Here I am with then-roommate Jenn, who was kind enough to come and take a photo with me:

I also depicted a pair of mischievous chipmunks.  Frequently I could be found in the Land pavilion working as Farmer Dale (or Chip!) at The Garden Grill.

Another popular place at which for the chipmunk duo to appear is the Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort.  In this case, I am dressed in my best swim trunks as Chip.  (Can't tell the difference?  Check the noses!)

This post certainly doesn't cover all the characters in my repertoire, but for now it's a tempting entrée to a very interesting career. 


Theatre magic

I must admit, it's been a little while since I've worked in a larger theatre and I'd forgotten what a magical place a theatre can be.  In this instance, the Shubert is an older theatre and there are many quintessential details that contribute to the wonderment.


Thoughts on opening night

I tweeted throughout opening night last night, but I thought I might provide a sampling of the thoughts that went through my head while the show was occuring:

  1. Hm. Have those guys always been standing there holding the drape?
  2. I wonder how full the house is?
  3. Gerry sounds great tonight. Flic flac!
  4. This entrance always makes me antsy.
  5. Michèle is doing fantastic!
  6. I love that evil laugh by Gaétan...
  7. Gosh, I wish the stagehands could quit dropping things! I'm sure the audience can hear...
  8. This is going rather well...
  9. Wow, the time has flown; I can't believe it's over. What was the new curtain call?

Oh, and there is also this brief but nice review by the Boston Globe.


A Regal Commentary

What follows is the work of guest blogger and ticket-winner Whalehead King, self-proclaimed "man on the Dot", Boston Fringe Neighborhoods Examiner and governor of the Dot Matrix.

I'm not for opera and I'm not against it.  I've seen a few.  This was one of the best and it wasn't just me who thought so.  My companion rated the show as one of the nicest evenings out in a long time.  Everyone around us was in as much awe as we were as the spectacle unfolded.  At curtain call, we clapped until our hands hurt.  It was that good.  The production was top notch and everyone involved pulled out all the stops.  If November 5 was dress rehearsal, the paying public are in for a whopper.

The sets and the costumes are dazzling, kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory,  Opera is the polygamous marriage of all the forms of theater: acting, singing, choreography, music, comedy, drama, tragedy, stagecraft, lighting, and in this case, puppetry!  Every scene had puppets and this simple art was anything but childish.  It added magic to the show.  It is all in French, that language of love and passion, and what better language for this story?  Titles are projected on screens to the side of the stage but you don't need to read them all, the story is easy enough to follow and even if you don't want to follow it the pageantry is enough to delight both eye and ear.

The Tales of Hoffman follows the love life of a drunken poet.  As his muse says in the prologue, "I love this foolhardy Hoffman despite his love for unworthy women."  Act I is a comedy piece, reminiscent of something that would take place in Oz.  The green of the stage and the costumes make a perfect backdrop for the brass, silver, and gold of the robots (!) who are the main characters.  Hoffman falls in love with a woman that isn't real.  Act II is more simply psychological and melancholy, cast in shades of gray.  Hoffman falls in love with a woman who sings herself to death. She has the voice of an angel. 

Act III is voluptuous tragedy starting with courtesans and their gentleman customers decked out in black and pink before the scene shifts to black and red and Hoffman commits his soul for the love of a woman.  The epilogue brings the opera back to the present in a neat cycle.  The segue is a showstopper I can't describe.  Like the rest of the show, it needs to be seen to be experienced.  The chorus at the end swept everyone in the audience to rapt attention: "Love will carry you through your years.  Love has made you more strong, stronger through your tears."  The applause at the end was like thunder clapping.  It was that good. No one wanted to leave.  We lingered and discussed what we had witnessed.  There wasn't a negative opinion in the house.

The Boston Lyric Opera production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann runs November 7, 9, 12, 14, 16 and 18 at the Shubert Theatre in Boston.  

Notes to self

  1. Look for the pen, Alecia. Look! Look!
  2. Watch out for his arm when you cross down right. Being bonked in the forehead is not cool.
  3. The new, later second entrance in Act II should not be as late.
  4. Listen to the violin and don't anticipate the tremolo.
  5. Look at all prop tables for the Lyre; props may not have moved it.
  6. Wait by the stepwell in Act IV to avoid the chorus.
  7. Beware of props set not-quite-right.
  8. Get some sleep.


Picture this!

Recently, at one of the Boston Lyric Opera dress rehearsals of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Boston Globe photographer Josh Reynolds was hovering about backstage, prolifically photographing nearly everything that crossed his path: people sitting in hair and make-up; chorus members primping one another; ASMs doing final checks; supers reading the newspaper; techs reviewing cue sheets; props being set; wardrobe making adjustments to costumes; costumed singers making adjustments to wardrobe; spike marks being moved; entrances; exits--you name it, he probably photographed it.  What happens backstage at a larger show like this one is an amazing orchestrated feat.  The number of people and objects in motion backstage at all times, the management of timing, the nearly foreign language of the cues, the audible communications--it's really another show occurring simultaneously with what is transpiring onstage.  Think, perhaps, of Noises Off

At one point during the first half of Act II, whilst in the wings, I ducked into the prop room stage right and quickly began to drill my nostril with an auger of a paper towel.  (My nose was running, you see, and I couldn't afford to smudge my golden façade by blowing.)  Mr. Reynolds followed like a bird of prey encroaching upon the final minutes of a dying animal.

Noticing his approach, the large claw of a flash in his left hand, I looked to my right, tissue up my gilded nose, eyes large, and I said half-begging, "Please, don't take a photo of this."

With scarcely a moment of thought, astutely and intelligently he quickly quipped, "I came back here so you could see I wasn't going to take a photo of you."  And he didn't.  We both chuckled.  I thanked him grinningly.


A winner is chosen!

(Though, I will state for the record, I *really* enjoyed the sonnet Michael.  Your cachet is surely ensured, now, if not so already.)


Better than a Bond Girl?

Coming soon to a theatre near you.  (Or, at least the Shubert Theatre.)