24 December, 2010

Words of 2010

Throughout the course of 2010 I have collected passages from various writers that have inspired me, resonated with me, provided solace to me, taught me something, or reminded me of truth that I had known for a long time. This post contains all of them in the chronological order in which I found them. Overall I think this has been the best year of my life.

“When one door closes another opens; but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” –Alexander Graham Bell

"If you were planning a career in dentistry, archeology, or accounting instead of performing, you would not be at all surprised to learn that establishing yourself requires the mastery of specific skills, as well as the investment of serious amounts of time and dollars. Yet show business, more than any other field of endeavor, is so loaded with legends of success achieved by accident, with tales of plucky but enthusiastic amateurs winning out over seasoned professionals, that it is frequently perceived as a fantasy playground even by those who make their living in it.
Every dramatic form has glorified the waif who gets off the bus in Los Angeles or New York with little more than a knapsack, a pair of tap shoes, and a load of moxie. She then collides with the powerful producer, celebrity, or agent who, struck by her artless quality, declares, 'You're what this tired old town needs,' makes a few phone calls and, in minutes, transforms her into a superstar. Doesn't that sound like the plot of a movie you've seen a couple of times? It's a wonderful story. Let's hope you can audition for the lead when they cast the next remake. In the meantime, let's not confuse that myth with reality." –How to be a Working Actor by Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers

"We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you'll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you've already been in. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer's job is to see what's behind it, to see the unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words--not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues." -Anne Lamott

“Your favorite memories, most important moments in your life-were you alone?”
“No I guess not.”
“Life’s better with company. It needs a co-pilot.”
 --Up In the Air

“As believers we cannot always know why, but we can always know why we trust God who knows why, and that makes all the difference.” –Os Guinness 

“Just once, perhaps…listen to your heart. Sometimes the heart should do things without the brain’s permission.” –Connie Vorderman

“May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.” –Psalm 20:4

“I still believe in summer days. The seasons always change. And life will find a way.”  -Winter Song Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

“I look to the hills from whence cometh my Help.” Psalm 121

"Let your boat of life be light-packed with only what you need:
a homely home & simple pleasures,
someone to love & someone to love you,
a cat, a dog & a pipe or two,
enough to eat & to wear
& a little more than enough to drink
for thirst is a dangerous thing."
-Jerome Klapka Jerome

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” –William A. Foster

“There is an art of which every man should be a master—the art of reflection. If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all?” –William Hart Coleridge

“Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies; unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.” –Glenn Clark

“If you want trust, trust others. If you want respect, respect others. If you want help, help others. If you want love and peace in your life, give them away. If you want great friends, be one. That’s how it works.” –Dan Zadra

“Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night.” –Annie Get Your Gun

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do.” –Freya Stark

“Tell me where’s the challenge if you never try?” –Jason Robert Brown

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –Henry David Thoreau

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” –Isak Dinesen

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” –Jim Carrey

“Boy, those French. They have a different word for everything.” –Steve Martin

“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14:27a

"You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." -Joe E. Lewis

"We need mavericks and dreamers and dissenters far more than we need junior vice presidents, but we paralyze them by insisting that every step be a step up to the next rung of the ladder. Yet often the only way for boys and girls to find their proper road is to take a hundred side trips, poking out in different directions, faltering, pulling back and starting again.
'But what if we fail?' they ask, whispering the dreaded word across the generation gap to their parents, back in the Establishment. The parents whisper back, 'Don't!'
What they should say is: 'Don't be afraid to fail.' Failure isn't the end of the world. Countless people have had a bout of failure and come out stronger as a result. Many have even come out famous. History is strewn with eminent dropouts, loners who followed their own trail, not worrying about its unexpected twists and turns because they had faith in their own sense of direction. To read their biographies is exhilarating, not only because they beat the system but because their system was better than the one they beat." –William Zinnser

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine. ~Caskie Stinnett

“Life has got to be lived. That’s all there is to it.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“How different people are. Some people ski solo to the north pole – while some have to summon all their courage to cross a restaurant floor.” –Elling

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“They suffer from stagnation of the brain & that surely produces stagnation of the soul in time. To feel and think and learn-learn always; surely that is being alive and young in the real sense. And most people seem to want to stagnate when they reach middle age. I hope I shall not become so, resenting ideas that are not my ideas and seeing the world with all its changes and growth as a series of congealed formulas.” –Freya Stark

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.
...Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. "—    E.B. White

Paciencia y Fe. –Lin Manuel Miranda

18 December, 2010

This is my winter song to you...

I spent 1/3 of this year performing at a dinner theatre and living in an air-condition-less ranch style house with 12 (sometimes more) other people. It was one of the most wonderful segments of my adult life. :-) During that time I got to produce meaningful art and grow friendships with people who I now hold dear. One thing that drew us together was our love of acoustic music and harmonizing. We loved singing a cover of "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson (2 of my absolute faaaavorites). One random June day Erin's friend 'Smitty' came to town to visit. Smitty is a sound engineer and happened to have recording equipment in the trunk of his SUV. He set up shop in our living room and we recorded 'Winter Song.' 6 months later we got it back. It's bare bones--my guitar was the only instrument. Kim, Selah and Millie added on to the end for a lovely, ethereal chorus. Click here then click on 'Winter Song' to download it. I hope you enjoy. Happy Winter, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year. Be blessed.

I still believe in summer days. The seasons always change and life will find a way. 

09 December, 2010

Loving:

Discounts, Free Stuff & Perks from Work
Right now I have a collection of these from juggling multiple jobs. But I love it! 50% off at a restaurant, 40% off at my favorite clothing store & free musicals galore? Yep. Loves it.

Maps, Geography & the Grid
I love globes. I love to know precise truth. And what truth is more precise than actual locations? I love telling a friend to meet me on the southwest corner of 49th & 8th and he or she knowing exactly where to meet me. Atlases make me happy.

Kids--especially the 5 & under variety.
While they seem to carry a propensity for spreading the common cold, these people in their first years of language skills say the most hilarious and thoroughly unexpected things. I'm noticing them more often here in the city...maybe because parents are getting them out to go visit Santa or to all these holiday events I have to go to for work...Also, when Disney movies are released I'm reminded again how much I look forward to having kiddos--espeeeecially little girls.

A day off of work now & again
This past week I experienced my first entire day off of work in 6 and 1/2 weeks. I slept in, had brunch with friends, went to church and had a relaxed evening. It prepared me for a wild and busy week and I think there is much truth to the common understanding that we humans need weekends. Mmmhmm.

The Christmas Spirit
Between the inflation of the Macy's Parade balloons, the beautiful windows on 5th Avenue, and the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center in addition to the smattering of holiday decorations and Christmas music I am in the throes of Christmas cheer here in the Big Apple and it is soooo charming. See? 

04 December, 2010

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.
...Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. "
 
— E.B. White

30 November, 2010

genius: (n.) a man of endless invention

Tonight I slipped into seat 18 row AA in the balcony at the Skirball Center on NYU's campus and eavesdropped on a conversation between two of the most important voices in musical theatre. Tony Kushner, perhaps best known for Angels in America and Caroline or Change played the role of journalist to Stephen Sondheim's (West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy, Company, etc) gracious legend.

The following are a collection of quotes from the evening. I only wish I brought a tape recorder.

When asked his thoughts regarding the connection between himself and his characters Sondheim said "When people think you are your work you become a cliche."
Speaking of his characters: "They are creatures that have nothing and everything to do with me."

Sondheim pointed out that the greats of the generation before him (Porter, Hart) revealed themselves through their music. It wasn't until after Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! that lyricists were required to write music based on a story.


Regarding show material: "It's never occurred to me to write about a subject. I write about a story."


In discussing West Side Story Sondheim said that he and Jerome Robbins discussed the feeling and intensity needed for Anita's song and then "I just went home and wrote it."(By "it" he meant "A Boy Like That.")


Regarding "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy Sondheim in a fascinating turn discussed Jerry Robbins' initial concept for a ballet. Rose was to relive all the hardships of the past and struggles throughout the show up until that point. But, in large part decided by the talents of their leading lady, Sondheim and Robbins decided to pen "Rose's Turn" instead. Sondheim described to the audience Ethel Merman's response (complete with an impression of the diva): "Sounds more like an aria than a song!" He went on to say of Merman his inner monologue at the time: "She has no idea what she's doing and does it great."


Sondheim defines genius as "a man of endless invention" and gives that title to only one man he's known in his life: Jerry Robbins. Sondheim discussed the "games parties" he used to host. (Can you imagine?) He said that Robbins would invent games on the spot. One such game involved the party goers sitting in a circle and Robbins making sounds behind them (the click of a lighter or an umbrella opening) and guests would try to identify the noise. "Jerry was listening to things we heard but never noticed." Genius.


In a hilarious recount of the 80th birthday special Kushner compared Mr. Sondheim to Christ "complete with an ascension." (Kushner's sense of humor and low-key demeanor strikingly reminded me of an older Michael Cera.) Sondheim said "but Christ didn't openly sob in public."


Regarding his modesty Sondheim said "I know how good I am and I know what my flaws are."


When asked whether he goes where the music takes him or has an end goal with each song Sondheim said "a lyric is such a short form that you better know where you're going."


"Rhyme helps to prevent you from being trivial...It's about focus."
"Lyrics have to convey on first hearing what is going on."
"Lyrics must be surprising but not so dense they can't follow it."


Kushner then discussed Merrily We Roll Along and the role of politics in Sondheim's work. When asked whether he was optimistic about the future Sondheim said "I do believe in the goodness of man but I don't know that good always triumphs. But goodness does."


Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts then joined the conversation and asked Sondheim about his role as teacher. He noted that in Sondheim's new book Finishing the Hat he had a very pedagogical tone. "My life has been saved through teachers. It is the sacred profession." "Art is a form of teaching. That's why I'm so pleased to be an artist."

Sondheim proved further inspiring as he went on: "Art is conveying something about humanity...it [should] enlighten." Kushner expressed that in his view art is not necessarily teaching. Sometimes it is meant to "confuse them," he said in a joking tone.

The final topic asked of Sondheim to discuss was his view on critics--a timely topic given the painful reviews hurled at Spider-man after its first preview last night. "Critics have a stewardship to this vulnerable art form. It's not just about being honest about your opinion but knowing your role in the art form." Sondheim pointed out that without the luxury of advertising dollars critics have the power to see a show sink or swim. He expressed his delight that critics can't kill a book (speaking of Finishing the Hat) but they certainly have killed plays.

At the conclusion of the discussion the Public announced that Alec Baldwin will be hosting the next Public Forum on Tuesday December 14 entitled "Afghanistan After America".

20 November, 2010

some different things I've been thinking about this week...in no particular order.

-A positive mindset is so important.

-When I meet someone extremely immature or reckless in New York it boggles my mind as to how they get by. You really can’t be a child flailing through this city and survive. You just can’t.

-Speaking of children—I’m making a pact to myself to stop dating them. (*I mean “children” in the figurative sense)

-The “best” art is that which highlights the human spirit…that characteristic that is in each of us, across the board no matter our opinions, gender, religion, sexual preference or race. That moment of astonished resonation in which you say “What? You too?!” One common theme I notice in art I like is this: Pursuing dreams is important. And I think we all have this pang within us to achieve goals. But more basic, more foundational is the need for love and relationships with others. We need community. We need to need and be needed.

-New York really does attract a certain kind of person. There’s something fearless about a New Yorker. But something sort of masochistic as well….

-I’m reminded through my work here that I don’t ever want a job where I deal directly with the raising of money or selling a product. These are not things I enjoy. They take the air out of my tires, the wind out of my sails if you will.

-Is there a chartable change that happens within friendships when you hit 25? Some of my oldest/closest friends have disappeared on me lately and I wonder what has changed that was the same a year or two ago…it’s not like we were in college then…but maybe people are more over their college memories by now? Do some of us live in the past for those first few years after college and then we get to a point where we just move on?

-I am fascinated by the implications of social networking. I can’t help but wonder how it has and is affecting us as a society. This fascinates me so much I may study it in graduate school.

-I have felt so spoiled getting to see (on average) 2 Broadway shows every week (usually) for free. The word “delight” comes to mind.

-I feel inspired to write. I saw a play reading on Friday about writers and I just feel inspired to write. I felt inspired before that too. I don’t have a specifically magical idea but I think that whole concept of sitting down at your desk until words come…I think there’s major truth in that. I like to write essays…I’ve written some monologues, lots of lyrics, some songs, and blogs (clearly) but I kind of want to write a story or a play. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll pencil in some sitting at my desk time (the figurative desk).

-Also, I’m reading Freya Stark’s biography and it’s deliciously written and so intriguing. It’s about this British girl who ended up being a travel writer in the Middle East in the early 20th century. Kind of unheard of right? Well a person who does that with her life has a unique set of circumstances that sets her up for doing such interesting work. I’m still only at the beginning of her life in the book but she has already gone through sorrowful heartbreak (her fiancĂ© marries someone else) and a painful separation of her parents. In addition she has a passion for reading and writing from her earliest days and by the age of 25 she is fluent in 5 languages. I haven’t even gotten to the part where she goes to the Middle East! But I did underline a beautiful passage Freya wrote (I’m assuming after the aforementioned heartbreak):

“No crime short of murder can be comparable to the crime of destroying in another the capacity to love: and this happens sometimes through the rashness of parents, or the sight of misery in adolescence, but more often through some bitterness of experience when youth is defenseless…and wounds leave a scar difficult to heal.”


That’s all for now. There’s a glimpse into how many different random thoughts I have swirling through my mind at any given moment…oh also,

I’M SO EXCITED THANKSGIVING IS THIS WEEK!!!

14 November, 2010

As they say...wah wahhhhh.


What a learning experience.

The first Broadway show I'm working on (as a street team and TKTS booth promoter) is ending its run a month early.

I've been bummed when other Bway shows have closed but they haven't exactly hit this close to home.

So if you hear about any work 'round here hollar! Thaaaanks!

08 November, 2010

I think a lot of actors are awful human beings. But...this nonetheless rings true...

"I think that perhaps the people who call us neurotic or vain or exhibitionistic are unaware how many talented actors are that way only because they are without work opportunities, and therefore release their need for expression in alcohol or unreasonable behavior--or perhaps these people are jealous that when we do function we can do what they only dream of doing."

-Uta Hagen Resepct for Acting

05 November, 2010

NYC...looking back. 3 weeks in. Season 2. (Still too much to cover to really get very detailed...)

"Being in NYC gives you your swagger back." -Pink

I couldn't have said it better myself.

3 weeks ago today I returned to the City that had been my dearest friend and worst enemy, a city that in the past has disgusted me, intimidated me, inspired me, mocked me, and made me feel like I could conquer anything.

As some of you know I left last time because I just couldn’t do it anymore. Literally. I was out of money and I had no decent housing options. One night I was folding shirts and I had this epiphany that I foresaw no certain end to my life of folding shirts. As an auditioning actress I couldn’t predict when daily routines of mindless monotony would end. I had to get out. Simultaneously I was going through the pains of a broken heart. New York was suffocating me and I needed a change. So I left. That was 1 year and 3 months ago.

Since then I lived with my Grandma, dyed my hair dark, began dating around (for the first time in 4 years), moved back to Nashville, out of Nashville, worked at that store some more, moved to VA, secured a consistent freelance writing job, performed for 4 ½ months professionally (euphoria), began writing music again, met some of my now dearest friends, spent 2 glorious weeks exploring Europe with my only sister, and led music for a small rural congregation for a month.
(And trust—this summary only covers some of it.)

Now I’m back. The time is right. I can financially afford to be here, I have a happy living situation with a friend, and I’m having a dramatically different experience. I am interning in the marketing department in a Broadway/Off-Broadway producer’s office (Fun fact: I’ve had Ken’s blog as a link on my blog for years. (Who I once admired from afar I now work for!) I’m learning tons about the business. I’m also learning a lot about what I like to do, what I have to offer and what work I find fulfilling.

Beyond that I have had the pleasure of seeing a number of plays and musicals: Memphis, A Life in the Theatre, Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage, Freckleface Strawbery, Wicked, & Macbeth. And 4 of the 6 I got to see for free! Not too shabby…

In addition to that I’ve gotten to reconnect with a great deal of friends, make a few new ones, go to a concert, spot Laura Linney on the street, smile at T.R. Knight in the green room at the Schoenfeld Theatre, eat way too much Chipotle and read 2 books.

New York never stops and I’d never wish for it to…Now that I’ve lived here and lived other places I recognize that if you’re right for NYC nowhere else really satisfies. You kind of forget that when you’re gone…but then you come back and you find your swagger again. And you can’t believe you ever wanted to be anywhere else.

22 October, 2010

NYC Season 2 Episode 1 in Numbers

Days in New York: 7
Shows seen: 3
Jobs acquired: 2
Friends reconnected with: 10
Mice seen in apartment: 1
Rats seen on subway tracks: 3
Chipotle eaten: 2
Dresses worn: 1
Celebs spotted: 2
Mace purchased: 1
Book read: 1/2
Dates: Classified.


View from Weehawken, NJ taken on Tuesday night.

14 October, 2010

Worth sharing:

1. I can't stop listening to this song.



2. I found this dance to be incredibly moving.



3. I go to New York tomorrow. I'm sure there will be stories quite soon. I feel so much older/wiser/better prepared this go around. I'm not even nervous or stressed! I'm just...ecstatic.

05 October, 2010

PS! My Twitter highlight of the week...

Last week I happened to respond to one of the many New York Theatre Tweeters I follow. I commented on "Love Never Dies," the new A L Webber show I saw in London a month ago. Little did I know my passing tweet would make it into an article! Lesson learned...if you don't want the world to know "weirdo" makes a regular appearance in your mental lexicon don't put it on twitter. Here is the article nonetheless:

http://thefastertimes.com/newyorktheater/2010/09/27/week-in-new-york-theater-tweets-41/
Well, the countdown is on people! I leave for NYC a week from Saturday! Between now and then there are a host of happenings. Let's do this chronologically.

1. I'm heading in to the studio to do some voiceover work with the guys from Hello Marketing. I'm really excited to learn this entirely new (yet related) craft.
2. It's Homecoming Weekend!! And now that the bff Leslie Hagar has hit the big time (eek. I just pictured my liberal family members clicking there. Don't do it!) she's been asked to join an alumni panel and speak to Public Relations students. So not only is that impressive and is it fun for her to come for the weekend but it's also great because she gets to come a day early!! See you Thurday Hags!!
3. This weekend will be the final of 4 weekends that I've helped out with music at Radford Church here in VA. It's been overall a pretty great experience. Driving out to the...shall we say...rural parts is not my favorite but it's been wonderful to help out where what I do is useful. The things I'm good at are not usually those "come in handy" skills so when they are, it's nice.
4. I'm taking the GRE next Tuesday. Yikes. I'm prepping to apply to grad school. For real this time! More on that later...
5. One of my best friends is having a BABY this weekend. A BABY. Love you KGweese!!


Kristin and Leslie came to see me in "The Sound of Music." The one on the left is Kristin (the one having the baby this weekend.) And the one on the right is Leslie (the one coming in town this weekend.)

01 October, 2010

After working on it for the better part of 2 months I'm pleased to announce that I've finally got a website that is one-stop shopping for everything I do. Check it out at HilarySutton.com. And If you know someone who may need someone like me point em in that direction! I so appreciate it!

18 September, 2010

Hey pals.

How do you feel about the fact that is pretty much practically fall? If you’re in Edinburgh it’s pretty much practically winter. But luckily I live closer to the equator so I can ease into that fall weather one tiptoe at a time. Did you know sunset is one minute earlier every day here these days? Bring on the changing leaves, the crisp air. I love this season. Maybe it’s cause I’m an “autumn”.

Here’s some stuff:
1. I got a random call to help lead worship through music at a church around these parts for the next month before I return to NYC. I feel pretty honored to be using one of my passions to do something good. I think church is good. It’s crazy cause I haven’t done anything of the like in 5 or more years. I’m excited.
2. I’m in Lynchburg for the next month and I gotta be real with you. (Many of) The people here are Awesome. My friends here make my life better. They make me happier. And obviously too, my awesome parents are wonderful to be around. I’m getting to help my Dad get a new book off the ground and I’m happy to lend my skills to a worthy cause.
3. Sara Bareilles’ new music is GOOD.
4. Easy A was HIGH-larious. I laughed, I cried. It was great. The only parts I wasn’t impressed with were 2-fold: 1) Amanda Bynes acting. Eek. 2) The boring depiction of Christians. I’m so over that stereotype! Other than those 2 things the movie was a delightful gem. Go see it! Emma Stone is a star. Roger Ebert even said so.
5. I’ve been writing some music and I’m gonna play it for whosoeverwantstohear on October 2nd at a house show/get-together thingy in Lynchburg. Get in touch with me if you want some details. I feel major anxiety about this endeavour. I’m totally used to belting out Rodgers and Hammerstein’s music but my own? With a guitar? My own inner stuff out in front of other people for them to either like or feel complacent about or hate? Yikes. I feel in my gut that I need to do it so I’m gonna. Eek.
6. I’m getting so stoked for spending the fall in New York. An amazing living situation all but fell in to my lap. It will be great to audition again and be a little older, a little wiser, a little more street-smart if you will, this time around. Right now I’m just committed til Christmas time. I may apply to grad school to begin in the spring. Then again I may stay in NYC for a year or more. ☺ Who. Knows. !
7. I recently got some photos taken by the talented Duck Duck Collective. Here's a couple:




I think that’s all for now…what a great day to be alive. Also, if you smoke I think you should quit. Alright. Peace out girl scouts.

13 September, 2010

10 September, 2010

That European Blog!

Well, hello.

You may be thinking—OMG HIL. YOU’VE BEEN TO EUROPE. WHY THE H HAVEN’T YOU BLOGGED YET?!

Or not.

Well the truth is things have been a little wacky since I’ve been back. I’ve hit the ground running assisting my dad with a book project and I’ve been on a crazy new schedule in which I get up and work at 7:30 am and I’m useless by 10 pm (thanks European timezones!). Quite the opposite of my show life schedule (that was more like Noon-2 AM). So I’m making a priority now to write about my travels before I forget them even though I’ve got things to do. Ok, reflections on 2 weeks abroad:

1. Edinburgh was amazing. I spent a week walking the streets that my sister and brother-in-law have walked on a daily basis for 3 years and that was so cool. The architecture there is breathtaking and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the.bomb. We saw 2 shows worth mentioning: Fair Trade (a show produced by Emma Thompson educating audiences about sex trafficking) and Edges by Pasek & Paul (a duo who are quickly emerging to be the hot new thing in musical theatre writing here in the States and apparently all over). Both shows were well-executed, not boring and thought-provoking. The Festival was a delight and I’m so glad I can say I’ve been to it.
2. London felt like a notquiteascool NYC but it was still great--namely because England is where so many of my favorite artists and writers are from: The Beatles (my favorite band), John Keats (my favorite poet), Jane Austen (my favorite novelist), C.S. Lewis (my favorite theologian/explainer of spiritual matters), Cath Kidston (my favorite producer of all things cute), Andrew Lloyd Webber (my favorite composer of dramatic musical theatre). You get the point. The highlight of our time in London was probably getting to see the West End production of “Love Never Dies” Webber’s sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera.” The special effects and music swept me away. It’s soooo dramatic and I love that Webber guy for it. Sierra Boggess played Christine and she is everything I could ever hope to be as a vocalist. 2 thumbs up.
3. Paris was awesome. We were on the subway above ground randomly and Ashli said “Look!” (I was looking out the wrong window). When I turned to the other side of the car and saw the Eiffel Tower staring back at me I involuntarily gasped. It was SO beautiful. The city’s culture and style are just inspiringly laid back and encompass the essence of European flare. I’m determined to have a grasp on the French language when I go back next. I felt kind of out of the loop not understanding anything written or spoken. I want in on the secret!
4. If you do go to England/Scotland you won’t regret exploring the smaller towns and villages scattered throughout. Possibly 2 of my favorite days were exploring the Highlands and St. Andrews in Scotland and touring Windsor Castle in Windsor at the very end of the trip. The UK’s small towns are amaaaazingly charming (especially compared to the US version of a small town). We got to eat the fish & chips voted best in the UK in Aberdeen and I got to snoop around St. Andrews College (where the princes attended). You really get a feel for what the country is like by going off the beaten path and by far the most breathtaking scenery was found in the Scottish countryside. I loved it!

There is really just so much I could write about the trip I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. I think travel and the exploration of other cultures is essential in really Living life so I feel so blessed that I got to do this at such a young age and with my sister. We had a grand time and I’m so grateful to her for taking time out of her life and being my tour guide. We had quite the adventure and made wonderful memories. The stuff of life folks!

21 August, 2010

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine. ~Caskie Stinnett

I'm spending the next little bit visiting my sister Ashli and traveling along side her. Many stories to be told I'm certain. As for today--PACKING!

11 August, 2010

I took a yoga class today. I am terrible at yoga. I'm not flexible and I'm not strong. So maybe that is why I only attempt a yoga class every 6 months or so. Anyway, at the end of today's class the teacher told a biography she read in 5 chapters:

(This is my fragmented summary.)

Ch. 1 Walked down a road. Fell in a hole in the road. Took me forever to find a way out.

Ch. 2 Walked down the same road. Ignored the hole in the road. Fell in. Took me forever to find a way out.

Ch. 3 Walked down the road. Saw the hole. Fell in. Knew it was my own fault for falling in. Found my way out quickly.

Ch. 4 Walked down the road. Saw the hole. Walked around it. Avoided falling in.

Ch. 5 Chose to walk down a new road.

06 August, 2010

Beach! Ahhhhhhh.

Hi! We're enjoying a couple of days in Gulf Shores, AL before celebrating my grandparents' 60th anniversary! This is the view from our balcony:




The oil spill didn't do much for tourism but the weather, water and sand are all perfect and as you can see we're (practically) the only ones down here enjoying it.

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”
-Isak Dinesen

30 July, 2010

A Weekend of Solitude


Warm greetings friends.

I write to you from a idyllically quaint cabin in Princeton, West Virginia.

And ok, the cabin to the left isn't exactly the one I'm staying in but listen-it's not a a far cry. This place is enchanting. I thought the picture was pretty. And when I googled West Virginia that's what I found.

This cabin is on loan to me for the weekend.

I’m using the time and inspiringly beautiful surroundings to pray, think, and write.

And funny, without other people and much in the way of distractions I’m quite ready for bed at 10:26 pm. ☺

Since I last checked in I’ve been in Lynchburg with a 2-day jaunt to Raleigh. There I met Andrea McArdle who is hilariously living across the breezeway from my recently-relocated Grandma. Andrea is a Broadway star who originated that little ditty “Tomorrow.” (Yes, she was the original ‘Annie’ in 1977.) Because she is being considered to play the role of Miss Hannigan in next year's revival of 'Annie' on the Bway she's doing a little 2 week test run of the part at North Carolina Theatre. (Lucky little regional theatre!) On my way (literally) out of town I actually got to meet her and found her quite lovely. She signed a cd for me “love and luck, andrea.” She indeed was lovely and I indeed felt lucky to meet her. It was cool. See the Today show piece on Andrea here.

This past week I’ve been transcribing a textbook my dad is writing and I’ve spent a good deal of time reconnecting with friends who cycle in and out of Lynchburg. There is no more transient town than this one. Kind of an odd place to live.

I finally bought a domain name so I’ve been working perfectionist-like hours trying to make it look somewhat appealing.

I’ve also been reading a lot about writing. And I just bought a biography of a most fascinating 20th century travel writer named Freya Stark. Freya was a single British woman in the 1950’s who spent her life discovering Middle Eastern culture and receiving the ever-present raised-eyebrow at her audacity. I love that!

This weekend my focus is on solitude and the clarity that can be generated from it. I can’t help but feel a little Walden-esque here so I leave with you a Thoreau quote of course:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –Henry David Thoreau

20 July, 2010

A few pics from XOXO Gossip Girl

The only photos I got were of my wardrobe/hair/makeup, etc. I guess you'll have to tune in to the new season to see more!


18 July, 2010

I went to New York and ended up on Gossip Girl.

What. A. Week.

Where to start?

I arrived in New York on Sunday and then I promptly ran into Zach Braff. I wanted to tell him how much I appreciate his film “Garden State” and how it encapsulates a year of college for me but we passed briefly in Union Square and in that moment all I could do was gasp. No words really. Maybe he’ll google himself and find this post.

Moving on…

Monday: I attended 2 auditions. They went well even though I feel a little audition-rusty. That first audition after a job ends is always a little depressing. Back to this again. Oh that’s how the accompaniment goes. Oh yeah. Oy.

Tuesday: I already told you about wandering around and the deep thoughts and the William Zinnser quote.

Wednesday: I attended another audition-this time for Phantom of the Opera. I basically auditioned for the company that produces the Broadway production and the touring production. As I was waiting in line to get into the Equity building at 7 AM I had a flashback to my Junior year of college when my boyfriend at the time and I were on the internet and happened across an audition for the Broadway production of Phantom. I remember talking about how awesome it would be to ever actually go to an audition like that. 4 years later I was there. Standing in the rain. It was kinda full circle and kinda cool.

Thursday: I was an extra (background actor) on Gossip Girl! Not a joke! We filmed a party scene on the sidewalk outside of the Diane Von Furstenberg store in Chelsea on 14th Street and 9th Avenue. It was a pretty thrilling and fascinating experience. So interesting and SO boring simultaneously. From around 11 PM until 1 AM I was going bonkers a bit since I was merely standing around. The first few hours of filming were interesting as I was watching the production assistants control the crowds, the director choose shots, the stand-ins pose for camera angles, Diane Von Furstenberg appear for less than 5 minutes for a cameo. It was amazing seeing the hair and wardrobe the stars wore. It was hilarious to be fussed over by hair and wardrobe people myself. I was standing on set at one point and a hair stylist was brushing my hair—as if I was SOMEONE! (hilarious.)

One of the craziest aspects of the experience was that we were filming on a street in Chelsea so paparazzi and fans clamored at the barriers. At one point there was a mad frenzy of photographers attempting to snap pictures of Ed Westwick. I was on set standing opposite them so I saw the entire scene from the celebrity’s point of view. It was mind-boggling. What is it like to get THAT much attention? Strangers screaming your name and trying to take pictures of you? I can barely imagine. It’s not the kind of attention I would ever ask for. Weird, weird, weird.

Oh also, Ed Westwick looked great and was in a gorgeous suit. Maybe he was just in character or maybe he’s really tired of Gossip Girl but he was brooding nonstop. I stood near him during one shot and the only thing I heard him say was (in his ridiculously delicious British accent) “It’s hot as f*%!”

It must be so hard being him.

Friday: I shopped around town and bought some incredible earrings at a market in Soho. I also got to see Bernadette Peters star in “A Little Night Music.” Is it too dramatic to say her performance changed my life? It might have. I WEPT as she sang “Send in the Clowns.” If you have an opportunity to go to New York before December and see a beautiful piece of theatre GO SEE “A Little Night Music.” If you’re not into the art of theatre it may not be for you. It’s really a brilliant piece of commentary on relationships and it’s sung and acted ravishingly. I wish you’d go.

A very poignant line from the play is said by Frederik to Desiree when he chooses not to be with her against his better judgment:

“I’m sorry. I never should have come. To flirt with rescue when one has no intention of being saved…Do try to forgive me.”

How heartbreaking.


* * *


New York weeks are infinitely MORE than weeks other places. MORE exciting, MORE wonderful, MORE terrible, MORE fascinating, MORE intense. This week (luckily) was primarily MORE fantastic. While getting back into the grind of auditioning can be a bit overwhelming, I found myself inspired to live life with more vigor just by walking along the sidewalks of that city. Getting to observe the goings-on of filming a scene of “Gossip Girl” was fascinating and witnessing a paramount performance by Bernadette Peters was inspiring to the point that I couldn’t shout my applause for her during the curtain call because I was too moved. What a wonderful week in a wonderful city. What a wonderful life.

17 July, 2010

13 July, 2010

Having Faith in One's Own Sense of Direction

Today has been a glorious day of solitude in Manhattan. I slept in and was forced to stay in hibernation until the rain let up around 2 pm. I ventured down to Starbucks on 16th and 1st and enjoyed a bagel and coffee and perusing the (now free!) internet. After that I wandered over to Union Square and pawed through all the fashions at Forever 21 while simultaneously making mental notes of the fashions on the bodies around me. I worked my way over the square to Barnes and Noble and continued to people watch and look at books. I picked up 2 on writing and decided to investigate their prices on Amazon.com before purchasing. I saved $10 by doing that bit of research. Yeah! I ventured on to Sephora, Chipotle, Strand Bookstore and then finally Crumbs. Talk about some of my favorite establishments.

Bookstores always remind me of how much I don't know. And remind me how much knowledge there is that I'm dying to learn. I want to read about starting my own business, cooking, travel writing, new media, memoirs, Shakespeare, foreign languages, classics that I missed out on during school. There is so much more to know, yall.

And I'm reminded when I'm in this city that there is a great big world out there that I don't know anything about. There are languages to learn. Continents to visit. People to meet. I have this insatiable desire to explore.

I am currently reading this book "Writing About Your Life" (which I know sounds narcissistic) by William Zinnser (but really! here's the justification) 1. My favorite books are memoirs. 2. Zinnser's other book "On Writing Well" is one of my faves! Anyway this is a portion of an essay reprinted in "Writing About Your Life" that Zinnser wrote for a column in 1967 pleading for the right to fail--'one of the few freedoms America doesn't grant its citizens, especially its young people':

"We need mavericks and dreamers and dissenters far more than we need junior vice presidents, but we paralyze them by insisting that every step be a step up to the next rung of the ladder. Yet often the only way for boys and girls to find their proper road is to take a hundred side trips, poking out in different directions, faltering, pulling back and starting again.
'But what if we fail?' they ask, whispering the dreaded word across the generation gap to their parents, back in the Establishment. The parents whisper back, 'Don't!'
What they should say is: 'Don't be afraid to fail.' Failure isn't the end of the world. Countless people have had a bout of failure and come out stronger as a result. Many have even come out famous. History is strewn with eminent dropouts, loners who followed their own trail, not worrying about its unexpected twists and turns because they had faith in their own sense of direction. To read their biographies is exhilarating, not only because they beat the system but because their system was better than the one they beat."

Long live side trips.

11 July, 2010

The Curious Tale of the Soccer Cheerleaders (and Their Ardant Admirer)

I can picture it vividly. In fact, it may be one of my earliest memories. I remember sitting in the bleachers at the Donelson-Hermitage YMCA in 1988. I was a forced fan of my older sister’s soccer team. (Now the thought of 5-year-olds “playing soccer” sounds kind of hilarious to me.) The team was in large part male-dominated but the Sutton clan believed in learning the value of the “team sport” early—before other girls even started playing I guess. I, being a mere 3-years-old, was no avid sports fan and had no real interest in joining the other kids in either running the field or kicking the ball. I did however light up one day when I heard the announcement that the soccer team would be acquiring a squad of cheerleaders to root on the home team. I have some distant memory that perhaps the parents were just looking for another activity to engage the siblings of the players on the team. Soccer cheerleaders. Now as an adult I realize at that time I had never heard of soccer cheerleaders and I’ve never since heard tell of them but all I wanted in 1988 was to be one. These girls ran out to the fields in beautiful costumes (in sports they’re known as “uniforms”) and got to do a show for the crowd! What’s not to love? To admire? To utterly die to be a part of?
Now it might have been the idiocy of “soccer cheerleaders” or the fact that I was but 3 or that I was never properly invited but I did not become a soccer cheerleader that year.
The snapshot in my brain is of the soccer cheerleaders running by skirt pleats flying in the breeze. One such cheerleader spots the look of longing in my barely non-toddler eyes and exclaims to me “You’re so lucky you’re not wearing this! I’m freezing to death!”
In that moment, all I wanted in my 3-year-old world was to be freezing to death three pleats to the wind.
Not only did those girls get to perform and look cute doing it but they were doing something together! They were all focused on the same goal. They were really a part of something. I’ll never forget longing to be a part of something.
22 years later that same. feeling. crept up in me again!

It was the day of the first dress rehearsal for Grease.

Backstory:

As you may or may not know I spent February-June at the Wohlfhart Haus Dinner Theatre in Wytheville, VA. I originally signed a contract to play “Liesl” in “The Sound of Music.” In those days I was applying for arts marketing internships in Washington D.C. for the summer. I had every intention of playing that amazing role in that amazing show and moving on to start a career off stage. What I didn’t plan on was being turned down flat by the theatre companies to which I applied. (All of them.) So I looked for my next best possible employment. I auditioned for Grease at WHDT—the show next on deck to be produced. After giving (and this is by no means an exaggeration) my WORST audition attempt ever I somehow got lucky and was cast to cover the role of Patty for the 2nd half of the run. So after SOM closed I attended rehearsals for Grease even though I wouldn’t be performing with the cast for an additional month.

Ok back to dress rehearsal. All the women in the cast were getting ready to perform “Beauty School Dropout.” You may know that in this dream sequence the girls wear exaggerated salon gear that is reminiscent of Vegas showgirls: headpieces adorned with curlers that add a foot in height, shiny white capes trimmed with feathers. It’s dramatic and a bit silly.

But what wasn’t silly to me was this strange longing to wear this costume. As I sat in the audience and saw my fellow cast members all looking strangely alike wearing the same thing I had a flashback to the soccer field. I just wanted to be a part of it. I felt like one might run by me and say: “You’re so lucky you’re not wearing this! I’m freezing to death!” Perhaps illogical, I felt transported to 1988. 3 years old. Not cold. And dying to be.

Maybe that’s a really universal sensation. Or maybe it’s that longing that draws the unique and colorful to a life in the theatre. I remember the moment that I actually and finally DID get to put that most disgusting costume on (it was made of shower curtains and I don’t know if you know this—shower curtains do. not. breathe!) and I felt so privileged to do so. I felt like I was a part of something. A team. A cause. A show. I felt grateful to be performing, grateful to be delighting an audience, and grateful to be alive.

09 July, 2010

Heading to the city that never sleeps on Sunday by way of the nation's capital. The anticipation is killing me!!!

To Do List:

Go to some auditions--I've got 4 that I'd like to hit.
Eat Crumbs Cupcake while watching the puppies in the Union Square dog park (never gets old).
Attend Broadway in Bryant Park (free entertainment and free suntan!)
Catch up with a passel of friends--many of my most inspiring friends live in NYC--it attracts those types.
Eat Chipotle and Cosi.
Be stimulated and pushed to be better just by walking down the street.

More later...

01 July, 2010

Casting Little Women? Wanting to know what I did with my days off last week? Neither? Read on!

Last week I had the joy of performing "Some Things Are Meant to Be" with one of my best friends Selah Grace. Little Women is one of my favorite musicals, favorite books and is the story of one of my 2 favorite literary heroines: Jo March (do you know who the other one is?)

I'm ending my time in Wytheville on Sunday and it is bittersweet in a hundred ways. What a joy it's been to perform these shows and to meet people who have made such an impression on my heart. Time is always chugging along and chapters are meant to end so you can get to the next one. As I've mentioned before I feel change so deeply in my soul. It aches in me. This song is a beautiful representation of the sweetness that this experience has been to me.

Life in the theatre is both tragic and joyous. Nothing lights my soul ablaze like a meaningful performance. And the performances always end. Shows close and new shows open. May we never stop telling stories that touch and inspire hearts.

23 June, 2010

I had Coldstone today. It was DELICIOUS. That has nothing to do with this post.

Reflection time!

I sit on my mom’s pristine white couch in this house that represents where I come from. Clean floors. A big comfy bed. Quiet. Comforting. Consistent. Tomorrow I drive back to the cast house at Wytheville which is a perfect representation of my life currently: full of loud, dramatic people. Bugs, No A/C, and lots of living for the moment. It also ends July 4th. A week and a half from now. Then it’s back to square 1. Luckily I’ve saved some money and I’m giving a lot of thought to what I want out of life next. I’m looking before I leap, so to speak. It’s been 3 years since I finished college. Lynchburg to Orlando to Roanoke to Nashville to New York to Nashville to Lynchburg to Wytheville to…?

This next step is a pivotal one. It’s a real life next place. It’s signing a lease. Having a door—a door that’s really mine not one I’m borrowing for a month or two.

The actor life is a weird one. Especially the regional theatre route. You pick up and go to this theatre and this living situation where you potentially don’t know anyone. And then all of a sudden it becomes your world. It’s your personal life, your work life, your passion, your well…almost, everything. And then it ends. Sometimes it doesn’t end fast enough and sometimes you’re dreading the end. I guess in this case in my life right now I have a little bit of anxiety about the sudden halt of an income and ya know, going through a big life change again but I also feel ready to go. I didn’t accept the job performing in The Sound of Music with the intention of moving permanently to Wytheville. I’m not a small town girl—I’m DEFINITELY not a Wytheville girl. But more than that I need to…what’s the least melodramatic way of saying this…find my real self again? When the sphere of your world becomes no greater than say, 30 people life situations seem more desperate, more dramatic. It’s like bumping around life in the dark a bit. There have been moments where I felt more in touch with my own soul and with God during my stay in Wytheville. By no coincidence it was when I was performing a show that pointed the audience towards God. Every night during The Sound of Music Psalm 121 was quoted: “I look to the hills from whence cometh my Help.” Now, Grease is definitely fun and is a joy to perform but there is something profound about performing a show that deeply moves its audience. For actors the show can absolutely affect their personal lives…even emotionally and spiritually. So I guess we should choose our work wisely, eh? Back to the point. I have so much togetherness with this group of people that I didn’t select for myself that I’ve become strongly affected and influenced by them. I need to get outta there and find my own way again. I’m so grateful for some of the friendships I’ve gained through the experience but in large part that is what I want them to be: friendships. Not constants who I’m surrounded by at home, at work, when I socialize, etc, etc. My time at that cast house, in that theatre, is up for the time being. I think the experience may have been sweeter if it had been shorter. I guess that’s a hypothetical statement. I’m looking forward to what’s next however uncertain it may be.

What is most immediately next is a 2 week stay in New York and a 2 week visit to my sister across the pond. I’m elated for both trips. I’ll be assisting with my dad’s latest project—a new textbook while I’m in NYC. I’ll also be auditioning a lot so while the trip will be incredible it won’t be 100% vacation. My trip to Great Britain though will be vacation + +! Ashli and I are in the process of scheming stops in London, Paris and 1 destination TBD. This summer has already been blissful (albeit HOT) and it’s only gonna get better from here. Thanks for allowing for my streamofconsciousness ramblings. Word.

15 June, 2010

I wanna write songs like this

Saw Crazy Heart last night. This song has been in my head ever since. So poignant to me! So poignant I'm not using complete sentences. Booyah.



I was goin’ where I shouldn’t go
seein’ who I shouldn’t see
doin’ what I shouldn’t do
and bein’ who I shouldn’t be

a little voice told me it’s all wrong
another voice told me it’s alright
I used to think I was strong
but lately I just lost the fight

funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while
funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while

I got tired of bein’ good
started missing that old feeling free
stop actin’ like I thought I should
and went on back to bein’ me

I never meant to hurt no one
I just had to have my way
if there is such a thing as too much fun
this must be the price you pay

funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while
funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while

you never see it comin’ till it’s gone
it all happens for a reason
even when it’s wrong
especially when it’s wrong

funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while
funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
for a little while

I was goin’ where I shouldn’t go
seein’ who I shouldn’t see
doin’ what I shouldn’t do
and bein’ who I shouldn’t be

14 June, 2010

The best of times is now.
What's left of Summer
But a faded rose?
The best of times is now.
As for tomorrow,
Well, who knows? Who knows? Who knows?
So hold this moment fast,
And live and love
As hard as you know how.

And make this moment last
Because the best of times is now,
Is now, is now.
Now, not some forgotten yesterday.
Now, tomorrow is too far away.
So hold this moment fast,
And live and love
As hard as you know how.
And make this moment last,
Because the best of times is now,
Is now,
is now.


Congrats to La Cage Aux Folles for winning Best Revival of a Musical! These are some lyrics from the most famous song from the show. The take-captive-every-moment message of the lyrics is right up my alley. Happy Monday!

12 June, 2010

Children Will Listen

This week I had a long talk with a friend who is battling an eating disorder. Her mother (who is her only family) has an eating disorder of her own and expresses approval of her daughter when she is a certain size. This has devastated my friend. Her mother may think in some twisted way that she is encouraging her daughter to live a better life or be more successful but her size-based approval has done nothing but cause pain in my friend's life. I've never been a parent but I have 2 great ones. There's no greater influence in a child's life. I'm so grateful my parents have loved and supported me unconditionally. One area of my life that they've lent constant support to is my career in performance. I made an audition video this week and included one of my favorite songs by Stephen Sondheim. Within the musical "Into the Woods" a mother who has lost a child sings this number. My interpretation is from an adult child's standpoint--finally telling her mother what she's needed to express for all these years. Hope you like it.

29 May, 2010

"Let your boat of life be light-packed with only what you need:
a homely home & simple pleasures,
someone to love & someone to love you,
a cat, a dog & a pipe or two,
enough to eat & to wear
& a little more than enough to drink
for thirst is a dangerous thing."
-Jerome Klapka Jerome


Things are good here in Meville. The Sound of Music ended, I went to Raleigh and to Orlando. I came back and performed the role of Cha-cha in Grease. I went to Pigeon Forge and saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I came to Lynchburg for a few days. I'm going to NYC next week for a couple of days. I'm going to start playing Patty in Grease next weekend! I have a little over a month of time left in Wytheville so I'm beginning to scheme about the next place and the next phase. It's about that time that I stick to one spot for a while. Nothing's nailed down yet but I have a good feeling about a good place. I'll let you know when it's time...

11 May, 2010

Florida. Songs. Family.

Hey yall!

So what’s cool/new/interesting/noteworthy…

1. I write to you from sunny Florida! (not at the moment, as it’s 11:26 pm) I had time on my side so I came down to my favorite southern state (no offense, everybody) and have had a b-last. I attended an audition, caught up with various friends, experienced the nightlife, went to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and spent the afternoon poolside. Oh and I finished off the trip with cheesecake. It has been a splendidly perfect little mini-vacay. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, ya know? I know I do. Since I live/work/hangout/spendallmytime with the same set of people (and have for the past [almost] 3 months) I needed to get out of the Real World Wytheville for a bit and see different faces and smell different places. So to speak. Anyway, it’s been good to recharge and enjoy all the goodness Orlando has to offer. I only lived here 6 months but there is something so familiar and homey about this place to me. I made close friends very quickly here. Orlando is also very nostalgic for me because my first taste of grown-up was here. I packed my bags and moved here 2 weeks after graduation. I can’t believe that was 3 years ago…but yes, I can because so much LIFE has been lived since! Oh the living and the learning…

2. I don’t know if you know I play guitar. I actually started playing when I was 13. My mom (the author of “Near Perfect Parenting”) was brilliant and saw that my previous passion—cheerleading (HA!)—was not what we’ll call my shining star talent. She knew I loved music and thought maybe I needed a hobby or something that could help with my textbook youngest child needs. So she signed me up for guitar lessons! With a burst of self-esteem and a new found love I learned to play every church praise chorus in existence. I then moved on to writing some of my own stuff. When I got in college my songwriting slowed down a lot. I think it was in part because my focus shifted almost entirely on to musical theatre. Also, in college I may have gotten a bit downtrodden on the whole singer/songwriter thing as I saw (almost) every peer of mine going for the same thing. After leaving my guitar in Nashville and living in Orlando and NYC I picked it up again last fall. I had forgotten how satisfying it was to learn how to play a song I liked. To minimize giving you all the unnecessary details I began to play even more at the cast house in Wytheville. My friends and fellow cast members seemed to genuinely feel moved and enjoy the music. 2 of them even went so far as to give me a new journal for the express purpose of writing music again. So it’s been about 5 weeks since my birthday and I’ve completed 2 songs. It’s so. so. satisfying.

3. 3rd of all you should know that May is the month of family. Did I ever tell you about how I decided in January that each month of 2010 is going to have a different focus for me? I opted to organize things that way instead of having some laundry list of goals/resolutions. The May focus is to invest in and nurture my relationships with family. And that I have been doing! My amazing sister see HERE spent the last 2 weeks in the States and even came to Wytheville to see the Sound of Music. We had slumber parties both there and in Raleigh during our cousin Talia’s epic Bat Mitzvah weekend. The one sad thing that happened lately is that my Grandma had a looot of damage to her house due to that crazy flood that swept through Nashville. The entire ground level of her condo is pretty ruined. Thankfully my mom and her siblings have really rallied together to support her through this horrendously difficult situation. Can you imagine being in your 70’s and all of a sudden losing everything? Not me. If we’re spinning this in the positive light (which we always do) we’re just glad Gram is safe and that Stanley is too. Sharing the Bat Mitzvah events and Mother’s Day with her was extra special this year.

That's all for now. If you want to hear some great music you should probably go look at youtube.com/jeffcarl. Jeff is a close friend of mine and an inspiringly profound musician. His cover of 'Brooklyn' is my lullaby tonight.

20 April, 2010

So it’s 1 AM and I’m listening to She & Him and playing on my computer. I have a deadline tomorrow for an article I’m writing for a local magazine. I’m not going to bed until I finish it…which of course directly correlates to why I’m being all introspective and bloggy and distracted. This is one of my first nights being the only one awake in this house. I’ll have you know that 12 people live here right now so the chances of me being the last one to bed are ya know…only 1 in 12. Anyway.

I just looked at this picture of my sister dressed up BEAUTIFULLY for a wedding she went to in Oxford, England this weekend. And I was reminded that we’re grownups. I was once again reminded that life has been happening. This is my life. I’m sitting in a cast house. My job is performing plays. I’m continually growing and learning new things.

Tonight I prayed out loud with some other people in a non-church, non-blessing food setting for the first time in a long time. I can’t even remember the last time I was involved in a situation like that where I was the one praying out loud. It may have happened on some tragic day or a wedding day. I don’t remember. That’s how long it’s been. It used to be a pretty standard part of my life. Safe to say it happened more than once every week 5+ years ago. Hmm.

I watched the film “An Education” again tonight. I was gunning for it when 4 of us girls went to the Redbox. I love this little monologue midway through the film:

My teacher says action is character. I think that means that if we never did anything we'd never be anybody. And I never did anything before I met you. And sometimes I think nobody ever did anything in this whole stupid country apart from you.


Sometimes if you delete certain people from life you find that the life sparkle is gone all of a sudden. You really only recognize it if you’ve ever had it. I know that’s sort of the inversion of what that quote says but nevertheless it’s true.

I realized today that I knew that I loved smart people—intellectual people who know a lot about things like politics and nuclear power and music history. But I kind of had this epiphany that when it comes to someone to spend my life with I’ve really got to have someone with a really high emotional intelligence too…somebody who feels really deeply and understands that part of me. I think if you don’t have that you can’t even really recognize it in other people. Maybe I’m speaking to a subject that I don’t know enough about to make definitive judgment calls on…I don’t know.

Alright, ok, I’m gonna finish this article now. By the way, I totally referenced OSHA in paragraph 4 and I’m personally impressed by that. Carry on…

19 April, 2010

Lately I've been thinking...

all this time I should've been sitting around strumming Beatles songs.

13 April, 2010

Grease Lightnin'

New news!

I've been cast in Grease at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre! I'll be playing Patty Simcox from June 12th-July 3rd. The character is a complete detour from Liesl and I'm STOKED. To jog your memory Patty is the prudish, high energy so-nice-she's-mean cheerleader who takes Sandy under wing. I'm so excited to play this girl who would've driven me bonkers in high school. :)

Come for a visit!

01 April, 2010

this 'n that. just sayin hey...

Hey! Know what I haven’t done lately? Blogged. Know why? I’m not really sure. The scenario is that I’ve been performing in the Sound of Music for about 3 weeks now. It’s been a busy time including going back to Nashville for Bonnie’s wedding and taking a couple of quick trips to Lynchburg and Washington DC. But I don’t think that’s why I haven’t gotten around to blogging. I aaaactually think it’s because I live in a house with 10 people. And I work with them. And I’m just rarely alone. I don’t have a lot of time to be contemplative. And if I did have things to say they might be analytical thoughts about psychology and relationships and my hangups with the "actor's life." The problem with that is then I’m blogging about people. And that’s not a good idea. And actually I just haven’t been using my computer quite as much as when I lived in Nashville or Lynchburg. And I guess I wrote more in NYC because I had NYC to write about. Cha know?

Anyhow.

I’m loving life here in the Sound of Music world. Unfortunately the show closes a month from tomorrow and then I’m back to square one. (PLEASE COME SEE IT BEFORE THEN!!!!!!) Such is the life of the actor. Within this cast I’ve actually made some amazingly deep connections. I foresee these friendships persisting far beyond the end of this contract.

I’ve had to make a conscious effort to keep reading at the rate I did when I had far fewer roommates. (For an extrovert like me, having the opportunity to hang out with people 24/7 means 19 times out of 20 I’m hanging out with people.) I’ve just begun “The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller. So far I love it and will have more comments after I’ve read more than a chapter and a half.

So I turn 25 next week. I really like the sound of 25. So far 2010 has been a great year. I foresee it getting better and better. By the way, apparently I play 16 pretty convincingly. I got hit on by a 17-year-old after one of the performances. I said “I’m older than I look.” What is age really? If people can believe that I’m 16? And I’m really 25? I mean. The 20’s are weird in and of themselves. Post-college expectations vs. reality… But then to walk on stage and virtually erase 9 years of life? No conclusive thoughts on that…just odd. Aging. Growing up. Getting older and but looking (pretty much) the same. Weird.

17 March, 2010

I love this on 3 levels.

Level 1: I LOVE A FLASHMOB!

Level 2: My (most amazing expat) sister is going to Belgium this weekend!

Level 3: (the obvious) THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!!

It just marries a bunch of things that I love. Enjoy. And feel free to dance around a bit yourself.

16 March, 2010

Perception.

I liked this blog post so much I'm sending you over to my friend Connie's blog to read it. This Way to Joy

07 March, 2010

a more detailed explanation of rehearsals

I came to Wytheville to begin rehearsals for “The Sound of Music” 2 weeks ago and life has been but a blur ever since. I hardly know where to start on filling you in…

From the beginning my fellow castmembers were warm, sweet and encouraging. It’s atypical to completely gel with every member of a cast so the fact that this cast (especially the ones living in the cast house with me—[some live here in Wytheville so they don’t live in the house and I don’t know them as well]) gets along and even enjoys hanging out all the time is such a blessing.

I’ve also been really impressed with the acting in this show. As you can probably guess the quality of a show like “The Sound of Music” hinges in large part on the talents of the actress playing Maria and I’m certain I’ve never worked with a more professional, talented leading lady. You can check out Selah’s website at Selahgrace.com if you wanna get stalk-y.

The rehearsal process has been an unusual one since there are 3 casts of Von Trapp children. Because we have several matinees a week that conflict with school there are 18 children playing the 6 roles. (I play Liesl all the time cause I’m done with school. Yay!) So picture it. In rehearsals one cast of kids is taught the blocking and choreography and notes for “Do-Re-Mi” and let’s be honest, that already takes 3 times as long as it would take adults. Then you do it all over again with another cast of kids and then ANOTHER cast of kids. My patience has definitely been tested during this process—but in a good way! I absolutely want to have kids in the future…just not 18 of them.

It was pretty amazing to pick up my paycheck Friday afternoon. Although I’ve been “working” every day since February 22 I haven’t felt like I’ve been working at all. There have been multiple times over the past few weeks that I’ve just looked at the ceiling and thanked the Lord that I get to do something so rewarding and joy-filled.

The show opens Thursday night and my grandparents and parents are coming Friday night! I am delighted for them to see the show that I’m bursting-at-the-seams proud of. Pictures to come!

My heart will be blessed with the sound of music. And I'll sing once more...

04 March, 2010

rehearsals...

You can rest assured that the reason I haven't blogged since beginning rehearsals for "The Sound of Music" is because I've been very busy and having a blast. I've been so "present" here I haven't been very good about keeping in touch or reflecting on things as they occur. I'll try to write in more detailed fashion over the weekend but just know that I feel that I'm a part of creating something breathtakingly beautiful and meaningful. I am loving it. Talk to you soon...

19 February, 2010

Hi!

So today is Friday and rehearsals begin Monday! As Sondheim put so perfectly in a scenario like this I’m “excited AND scared.” It’s been a while since I did a show. It’s been a never since I did a show with this collection of people. I hope they like me! I hope they’re talented! I hope the housing is not roach infested!

I’ve made perhaps a not-good move. I’ve started 2 books simultaneously. This choice does not lend itself to finishing either. (Ask Leslie.) And I was just given a 3rd that I’m interested in too. I have a feeling that after the show opens I’ll have all the time in the world. (Wytheville is no booming metropolis. Although they do have a Starbucks. And a Sheetz.) So on my to read list is:



and



I’ve started both and they are GREAT. More to come later.

Meanwhile I have to tell you that I (finally!!) saw the Princess and the Frog—the new animated movie by Walt Disney Studios. I love love loved it. And by that I mean, it was no lionkinglittlemermaidbeauty&thebeastaladdincinderella. BUT! It was every bit as witty as anything Pixar has released in the past 10 years. And the animation was beautiful and the music was fun. But more than any of that it was heartwarming major! (As Posh would say.) I involuntarily let out an “Aww!!” multiple times throughout the flick. I do wish the romantic leads had a duet. (They needed one.) But Anika Noni Rose (who we know from Caroline or Change and Dreamgirls) sings beautifully in this hopeful little ditty. Ps, who doesn’t love an animated picture that has Oprah in it?! That’s what I thought.



PS, can I get a head count of who is ridiculously OVER this winter weather? I think one winter in Florida ruined me for winter forever. COME ON SPRING!!!

15 February, 2010

Getting excited about the new gig...Telling you about a book I read and a talk I heard.

Things are in transition around here and I’m loving the smell of new. This is my last full week in Lynchburg before I start the Sound of Music adventure and I’m thoroughly excited. I love meeting new actor friends and singing beautiful music and getting paid for the whole shebang. The pay off of the misery of auditions is absolutely when you land a gig you love. Saturday night I watched the Sound of Music for the first time in probably 15 years. The vast majority of the music came right back to me and I got more thrilled about my role in the show by every scene. It’s funny to pay attention to Julie Andrews’ acting choices and to watch the way the actress playing Liesl decides what to do to communicate her innocence (She was actually 21 when she played the part). Truthfully it’s just funny to watch Liesl and to be 8 years older than her as opposed to 8 years younger like I was the last time I watched it. I do think as a kid Liesl did play some part in what I thought being a teenager was all about: running out in the rain to be kissed by a 17-year-old boy..dancing in gazebos during thunderstorms…things like that.
It really will be such a joy exploring who Liesl is every night for 7 weeks. I already feel like I know where she’s coming from to a degree (I was once 16) and it doesn’t seem that long ago to me. In my mind I can jump back to that place quite easily. I need to get started on my Austrian research and the Von Traps. Did you know they were a real family? You can youtube them and see that their great-grandchildren are still singing…maybe they’re still just trying to milk the gimic but I’m ok with that. I think it’s pretty cool…

One great thing about doing a contract here in VA is that I’ll only be 2 hours drive from Lynchburg so I’ll be able to eventually (after rehearsals end) make weekly trips back. I’ll be able to stay connected with my family and friends here which is hugely important to me. And go to my most beloved Zumba class on Tuesday nights. And work a little bit at my new favorite side job: Barista Extraordinaire! I love actually knowing how to make a most delicious Caramel Apple Spice as well as knowing how to enjoy it.

What else…

I just finished a recommendable book by Lauren Winner (I believe I’ve raved about ‘Girl Meets God’ in the past). This time I read “Mudhouse Sabbath” where she discusses intertwining Jewish practices and Christian spiritual disciplines. I especially loved her thoughts on being a thoughtful eater—which to her is a primary reason the Jewish kosher laws are in place anyway. It kind of goes along with my thoughts lately on eating less sugar and drinking more water and basically trying to just eat more natural stuff altogether. Lauren’s idea is that we should slow down and think about how detailed and perfect God made things like onions while we’re chopping them up. And be grateful to Him for that. I also saw a clip from Food Inc. on Oprah the other day that made me worry about all the chicken I’ve been eating for the last 24 years. I can’t really control that but I can be more mindful and educated about what I put in my body in the future.


I also heard a great sermon yesterday about love. I went to church at Grace Evangelical Free Church here in Lynchburg. The service was very refreshing in that it wasn’t overtly westernized and youth-group-ized in its presentation. And the pastor didn’t seem to be too worried about whether the parishioners were entertained or laughing or were going to give lots of money. Instead he just said some really neat profound things. One great thing he said was a definition of love: that subtle inclination to seek another’s good. He also highlighted this verse that I understood with a fresh perspective yesterday. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I think God loves all of us that way. And I’m grateful for that. That kind of love inspires me to love others today without expectation of what they might give me back. I can just walk around doing life feeling inspired by God’s great love for me and in turn love other people. I think a lot of us are walking around not really feeling like God is on our side. I wonder what our lives would look like if we thought He was?

13 February, 2010

My Valentine's Message to You




And in case you don't know who the hilaaaarious Dave Barnes is--the last part of the above video is actually his own song. The real version is below:




Happy Balumtine'th Day!

11 February, 2010

Yay!

I got cast in a shoooooowwwwww!!







Perhaps you've heard of it?

I'll be playing Liesl at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre in Wytheville, VA from March 11-May 2.

I expect it will be a pretty amazingly full circle experience since I LIVED for this film as a child. (So much so I had a bout of insomnia in 4th grade because I couldn't stop singing the songs in my head when I was supposed to be falling asleep. The memory is vi.vid.) This should indeed be a fun spring. More info on the show here: Wolfharthaus.com

05 February, 2010

What I've been looking at.

Lady Gaga Cookies. I wanna eat one!

Advanced Style.
I LOVE this. I'm a firm believer that the more life experience an actor accrues the better his/her performances become. Why not apply that principle to fashion?

The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Michelle provides great insight about successful freelance careers. Her articles don't drone on and on and they're full of useful content.

This Readability Tool makes blogs that are a bit on the decorative side very easy to read. I love it!

29 January, 2010

Meet Tia and Naika Wilson.



These are my dearest friends Mike and Missy Wilson's newly adopted daughters from Haiti. Beauty can and inevitably does come out of tragedy. I am so grateful I will get to watch these precious girls grow up. See more here: My Life Speaks and here: Bring Tifi Home.

25 January, 2010

Wellness Experiment Update 1

Well pals, today marks 3 completed weeks of the Wellness Experiment.

As I write I'm sipping on a glass of water enjoying a slice of Quiche Lorraine at the Muse (support local establishments!) and I've just finished an hour long strength and flexibility class at the YMCA.

While I'm pretty satisfied with the status of my eating habits I am really pleased with my newfound exercise routine.

I can already feel my body taking a more athletic shape and after only 3 weeks of consistent exercise it has already become a habit. (there is that thing about 21 days to forming a habit right?) I had intended to take both Saturday and Sunday off but after 1 day away I was already craving the burn by Sunday. So. Weird. Right?

Now I don't want to paint an inaccurate picture for you. After 3 weeks I'm not sprinting 5k's or benching 150.

I am dancing (Zumba=simple salsa, chacha and hiphop dance steps [and btw zumba is so awesome it deserves it's own blog post]), jogging/speed walking for an hour at a time, and taking Pilates & strength and flexibility classes.

Oh also I've been carrying around this nalgene bottle trying to drink water. 8 glasses of water a day still feels like a massive amount but if I drink it at lunch, dinner and while I'm doing my sweaty activity of the day I get pretty close.

I also relax a little on my rules on Saturdays. Life is too short to always play by the rules right?

Speaking of eating habits the primary thing I've cut out is the massive amount of sugar. When I decided to (get crazy and) get a sandwich and a small sweet tea at chick-fil-a this weekend I was shocked and dismayed at my reaction to the sweetness of the tea. Too sweet! Have I un-acquired my taste for liquid sugar? What am I without my passion for all things sweet tea?!

Anyway.

My energy level is up, up and away. I still like long nights of sleep but my research tells me some people just require more. So my 3 week update of Wellness Experiment in summation thus far:

1. I'm starting to drink water like it's normal and it's ok.
2. Exercise is fun and the energy reminds me of when I was a kid.
3. My pants fit a teeny bit better which makes me feel GREAT.
4. I'm getting used to ingesting less sugar and I like that even though I will always identify with the sweet tea culture.

In other news I will (hopefully) have good news to report soon about certain career-related topics but for now I'm not announcing anything.

I hope you are enjoying your own renewed motivation to get healthy! I heartily recommend it.