A Detour Down the Yellow Brick Road – Just improv It

I drive 30 minutes for my callback audition for the composer only to discover he’s not available due to an emergency.  The director arrives 15 minutes later but he doesn’t play the piano.  So, there  is no one to put me through my paces.  Instead, the director goes over the dialogue and shows me some of the music.   I explain I’m going out of town and won’t be available for a week and we part ways.  The director writes me an email a few days later offering me the roles, I say yes and wonder how I’m going to keep my voice over business, my blog and my podcast going during the rehearsal process.  I must be suicidal.

The director contacts me in early August to schedule a meeting with the musical director to put me through my paces with the music.  When I arrive, I discover the musical director has car trouble and cannot join us.  The director and I go over the Aunt Emily dialogue.  He hands me the music and says “look it over”.  I sit down at the piano and plunk out the notes along with the key chords.  We continue to look over the music, some of it hand written with a reggae beat notated.   I can’t even read what half the notes are so that’s a bust.  Then, he hands me “recit” which is sung dialogue (for those who have never been to an opera).  But, its just the words, no music.  The director says “just try it, make something up”.  Wow!  I have not done musical improv in years.  Its the double jeopardy of improv, make up whatever notes sound appropriate and stay in the vicinity of the key you’re going to eventually.  He likes it and asks me to do it again so he can play it for the arranger.     He says maybe I can change it up from show to show.  Holy crap, double jeopardy every show!

Rehearsals start this week.    Oh boy, the adventure begins in earnest.

The Witch Arrives Soon

The Witch Arrives Soon


A Detour Down the Yellow Brick Road

I received an email in late July from a local director looking to cast a musical.  He liked my smile from my head-shot on Stage 32 a new networking site for those in film, theater and voice over.  Would I like to audition for the Wizard of Oz?  Intrigued, I said sure.  He was looking for Aunt Em and Locusta, the Good Witch of the North.  You see, this musical is based on the original books and the 1902 Broadway musical, not the MGM or Wicked version.

Website for The Wizard of Oz

I read Aunt Em not like the Aunt Em in the movie.  No screeching Dorothy’s name and sounding old and haggard.  He liked it. I kind of thought of Glinda while I read for Locusta.   But, well, more about that later.  He recorded the audition as I sang a couple musical numbers I still managed to remember a few bars to, like Sondheim.  I went home and thought how I would have killed for a role like this 10 years ago.  And the chance falls into my lap without my doing anything in particular now.  I concentrate on voice over and film because theatre is a huge black hole for time.  Once you’re sucked in, you only come out the other end after the run is finished.

A week later, the director asks if I can come by and sing for the composer.  He loves my voice but wants to put it through its paces.  I say sure.  This is unusual as most musical theatre directors and producers do not like my voice.  Its too operatic, I don’t belt and my low voice is weak to name just a few things.  The problem has always been I’m a high soprano, like really high, and I like it.  In the world of musical theatre, I’m supposed to look like an ingenue, to be a soprano.  Pretty shimmering voice goes with very pretty face.  If you’re a character, like me, with a funny face, you have a loud low voice.  Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

I am still wondering how I’m going to fit the musical and everything else in my life for these next couple months.  I decided to chronicle my journey to Oz on my blog.   Will I survive?  We’ll find out.

Makeup Stop

JJ, Benny and I crossed the street and nearly tripped over this pile. It lay neatly abandoned very near the crosswalk and stop sign. I gazed around for an owner but the street was empty.

Make up Sidewalk

Ok, let’s see. The scene went down like this. Jillian, with a pink cover up draped over her bathing suit clad body, juggles her makeup case, brush, and sunscreen. She intends to look nice for Brad all day long. Jillian is always running late and her friends left without her last time. She doesn’t want to walk down to the lake alone again.
Just as she reaches the cross walk and stop sign, Brad drives by with his 2 friends. Brad stops. Jillian beams at Brad and they begin to chat. It’s really hard to talk with a makeup case and stuff in your hands so Jillian lays them down at her feet. Then, Jillian decides to show off her new bikini to Brad so off comes the cover up.
Brad tells her to hop in the car so they can all hit the beach. Jillian is thrilled. She jumps in the car and Brad cruises down the hill to the beach.
So, how sun burned will Jillian get? What does Brad really think of her new bikini?
Of course, this may have nothing to do with Jillian and Brad. It may be Henry‘s newest Cosmos game for those M World ladies. Henry is stoked about this game because none of the M World ladies wear makeup or cover ups. He just knows it will take the ladies thousands of light years to find this one. He will go down in Cosmos game history.
What do you think?

Giving the Horn

I’m pretty easy going and not easily goaded into anger by dumb asses. Except yesterday while driving to the gym along the lake shore, I was sorely tempted. The weather was a scorching 90 degrees. No one here has A/C so anything above 85 is unbearably hot to us. The lake shore road was busy with beach goers, cars and a bicyclist. The cyclist walked instead of peddled, shirtless and sweating profusely. He reached the street I wanted to turn on to the same time I did. So, I flicked on my turn signal, stopped and patiently waited for him to slowly walk his bike across the road.
The dumbass behind me didn’t like this. I guess he wanted me to run over the cyclist. He laid on his horn.
The cyclist turned quickly and fixed a menacing glare on me. He screamed, “You honking at me!” I yelled back, “No, it’s the guy behind me.” He didn’t hear me and instead glared at me once again, shaking his head.

Giving the Horn Toon
I’m miffed. I go over my options. 1. Honk the horn and say, see that wasn’t my car’s honk. It’s likely the bicyclist will run over and punch me if I go this route. 2. Give the finger to the driver behind me. He’s already pissed so that’s definitely not the way to go. 3. Turn after the bicyclist clears the street and drive away.
I chose option 3. The horn sitter behind me dove right and raced around my car at high speed. May he race by a waiting cop and get a ticket, that’s my wish.

My Own Sagebrush Park

The woman sits on the rustic bench, overlooking the valley.  It’s a beautiful view with the wide river flowing through the brown hills.

Valley View

Her dog, a black lab capers nearby, off leash.    The lab runs along the fence, teasing the 4 dogs trapped inside.  The hound, the terrier, the blue heeler and the Jack Russell raise a ruckus.  My mother’s neighbor wonders what the ruckus is all about.  She sees the lab terrorizing her dogs and then the woman sitting on the bench.

She asks the woman, “What are you doing?”   The woman replies, “Just enjoying this wonderful little park and off leash area.  The trails on the other side of the hill are so busy and I can’t have Buster off leash.”  My mother’s neighbor informs her, “This is not a park, it’s my land and that is my bench.”

The woman doesn’t reply.  She sits on the bench a few more minutes and then leaves with Buster racing ahead of her.  My mother’s neighbor mutters to herself, “Now I know who let their dog poop in my orchard.”

Be careful where you put your bench with a view.     If it’s on scrubland even this sign

No Trepass Sign


Will be interpreted as Welcome to SAGEBRUSH PARK AND OFF LEASH AREA.

Right of Way

The bus jerks to a sudden halt, and I slide around in my seat. We stop where the road intersects the biking/hiking trail which runs north of the city. The driver opens the front door and says calmly to the female biker who sits on her bike within inches of the front of the bus, “You have the stop sign, not me.” The biker grimaces and looks pissed but no retort is forthcoming. There is a big red


To her right.

I smile. It’s nice to hear the bus driver patiently remind a biker about the rules of the road. I just try to avoid bikers and always give them the right of way even when it doesn’t belong to them. Better safe than sorry with regards to bikes and I avoid getting the finger, too.

A Box Of Parts

JJ, Benny and I notice this box on the morning walk.  I look around but there is not another soul on the street.    There is no “free” sign on the box and looking at the parts I don’t think “free” is a good deal for them.  Now why would you leave a small box of parts on the parking strip?

Box of Parts

Ok, so Arnie and Connie live in the house to which the parking strip belongs.  Its Friday night at 6pm and the sink begins to leak.  Connie yells at Arnie to fix it, but he is not mechanically inclined.

Arnie says “I can’t fix it and we can’t get a plumber at 6pm on Friday.  Well…..maybe we can but I’m not spending that kind of money.”

To which Connie replies “So, do we have a bucket?  You can get one of those on a Friday night. Or we can call your Uncle Ernie.”

Arnie retorts, “Yeah, so I’m cheap.  I’ll call Uncle Ernie.  We haven’t talked to the old geezer lately anyway. “

Ernie diagnoses the problem in a few minutes.  He may be old but he’s still handy.  Ernie says “This cheap crap they use nowadays don’t last too long.  We need to go to the hardware store and if we hurry we’ll make it to Ace before they close. ”   An hour later, the sink is no longer leaking.  Connie is very happy.  Arnie isn’t but will be as soon as he sits down with a beer.   Ernie is content as he carries the parts he removed out to the car.  Ernie is greeted by his old friend Joe, out for his evening walk.  Uncle Ernie sits the box of parts on the parking strip as he catches up with Joe.

And there they sit, forgotten by Uncle Ernie.

Will Uncle Ernie remember where he left them?  Will Arnie finally get his beer?

#305 Confused shoes, where went the owner?


I loved this post, so I thought a bit about the arrival of the shoes’ owner at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter: Welcome to Heaven. Before I let you in, I have some instructions.

Shoe owner: Oh man! I lost my shoes. I paid $200 for those shoes!

St. Peter: Stop right there! The little woman in white doesn’t like to leave those who overly value material things into Heaven.

Shoe owner: Little woman in white? I was expecting a big guy in white.

St. Peter: Oh boy, you do not want to go down that road. Anyway, I have lots of souls to process so we need to move along here.

Shoe owner: Ok….

St. Peter: Now, I have you down for 6 months in Heaven and 6 months in Hell. We’ll check you in to Heaven first. Hell tells me they’re totally on fire right now.,…they do have a weird sense of humor.

Shoe owner: What did I do to deserve 6 months in Hell?

St. Peter: Littering. The little woman in white is a real neat freak and you left your lunch crap on the sidewalk along with your shoes.

Originally posted on I'm curious about People:

I was brought up short by the sight of a pair of shoes. And I was trying to figure out why.

They were lying there on the pavement, in front of a bench, downtown, complete unto themselves but bereft of human.

Post-Rapture Shoes 1 copy sharp

Who leaves a perfectly good pair of shoes, unlaced on the ground? And leaves on the bench, a flattened box, possibly from some gourmet takeout place? And a napkin, used and crumpled and dropped?

The lady sitting at the other end of the bench might have known, but I can’t ask her picture.

Here’s what I think. Some man finished his lunch… and the Rapture came. See how one shoe is right side up and the other is right site down?

Half of him went to Heaven, and the other half went to Hell.

View original

A Hurricane Named Benny

I walked up the stairs this morning to find the dog bed hurled into the middle of hallway.


Dog Bed Hurl
The other dog bed hurled to the side of the bed and the rope toys lined up.


Toys Line Up

And Benny.


Hurricane Named Benny Dogtoon

Stand back!

Hub Cap Landscaping

JJ, Benny and I hustle along on our morning walk.  We pass a beautifully landscaped home.  I do not have a beautifully landscaped home.  I barely keep the blackberries at bay and wrestle with the morning glory for dominance over my garden.   I admire the picture of order before me.  Until I notice the hub cap sitting on the bank.  This hub cap just doesn’t fit in the well ordered green and flowery expanse.  I wonder if its placement is planned.

Hubcap landscaping

Hubcap landscaping

You just paid the landscaper for your beautiful new yard.  Everything is exactly how you imagined.  You awake the next morning to find a hub cap on your parking strip.  Strange, you didn’t hear any loud noises during the night, like a car hitting a huge pothole.  There are no potholes on your street anyway.  You walk up and down your street but no cars are missing hubcaps.   A neat nick you move the hubcap off your parking strip and set it on your bank.  The owner will come by and see it, won’t they.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.

Danny hates delivering pizzas but it’s the only job right now which fits his college schedule.  Danny curses under his breath as he’s out of his comfort zone in the Bryant neighborhood.  He delivers to the frat houses at the U mostly.  He flies over a dip in the road and the pizza box jumps 6 inches off the seat when the little Honda comes back down.  Why these rich people can’t fix their streets, he wonders.  He finds the house and hightails it back to the pizza joint.  When he arrives at That Pizza Joint, he says “Hey” to Timmy.  And Timmy says, “what happened to your hubcap, dude?”   Danny curses those rich Bryant pizza lovers who didn’t tip him much better than the frat boys.  He must keep delivering tonight and he’s got an early class tomorrow.  There is no time to troll that neighborhood for a hub cap.

Will Danny ever come back for his hubcap?  Are you destined to keep that eye sore on your bank?  What do you think?