Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Underwoods Hit New York!

New York better watch out, cause they're here!

Here are some pics from my 21st Birthday weekend with my family. Bunch of us went to this awesome little Mexican restaurant/bar down near Union Square called 'El Cantinero', Happy Hour $4 drinks all night! Well, I thought Happy Hour was only 5-8, so I started drinking at 6.45. Eventually crawled out of there, (some had to be carried! Bless!) at around 2am. So whats that, over 7 hours of Margharitas, Sangria, Pina Coladas, and Sex on the Beach - no ice! Well, it was my Birthday! We also got a free buffet with the Happy Hour, and all-you-can-eat Mexican dishes down stairs in the restaurant for only $10.95. I was running backwards and forwards between having a nice meal with my family, and then sucking down Tequila slammers with my mates upstairs. I got the best of both worlds! I handled myself pretty well I must say. It wasn't till I was sat on the train home that I fell asleep!

I think my sister was a little bit worse for wears the next day - but it was worth it!
Next evening, (Oh yes, its not called a Birthday week for nothing!) we hit the most awesome Supper Club in town, 'Swing 46', with a live swing band, free swing dance lessons, amazing food, and amazing dancers! $12 entrance fee to dance all night to a live band - I'm pretty sure a couple of us will be working on our moves and strutting our stuff there again soon!

I decided to take the family on a nice little boat ride in Central Park, as the weather is amazing at the moment, and Julia and myself love doing it every so often. So really, it was in homage to my darling who is currently away, kicking ass in Rhode Island. We'll be up there soon!

So yeah, all has been good so far with the family!

Just one last little thing - I last minute had to cat-sit for a friend. However, I don't think the cat was too happy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Dignity, always Dignity"

In the famous words of that immortal bard, Don Lockwood, as he was about to be led to the premier, "Dignity, always Dignity".
I got my first New York Shakespeare review for the role of the 'Dauphin' in the Drilling Companys production of Henry V.

Robert Weinstein,

The production is being received very well, and has really evolved into a great little piece.
I think that is the best word for the process, evolving. The projections we use on the wall behind us are fantastically cool - playing with a live camera feed at points to show a Live News TV feed, with the chorus serving as a news reporter, live at the scene of the action. Really cool!

Whats nice about the Parking Lot, in which we perform, I really feel that there are no judgements, no outlandish expectations (except those from the actors, and even then, they are only the usual, personal expectations or standards we all carry within us). Its an environment where you clearly see actors doing what they do best - playing and storytelling. I really feel that there is a atmosphere that hangs in the air that anything can, and usually does, happen. I mean, for instance, having a car parked in the middle of the stage you are performing on is not an ideal situation, but, handling ourselves onstage with no pretentiousness, moving with the circumstance, going with the flow so to speak, and knowing that sooner or later the person who owns that car is going to want to move it, and then when they do, we have to pause, clear, then carry on, I feel we earnt an everflowing sense of trust and respect from the audience. It is an organic beast! There is always room for play and creativity - it is encouraged, within the confines of the staging of course.
All this 'atmosphere' and 'creativity' talk stems from my most recent read, To The Actor by Michael (Mikhail) Chekov. After recently finishing Uta Hagens, Respect For Acting, I am amazed at how two major acting gurus can have such 'polarized' theories on acting, whilst sharing the same exact concept - how to deliver, inspire and create truth. Uta Hagen is very grounded and technical with the exercise styles, whilst Chekov (nephew of the playwrite, Anton) really dealves into the psychological and imaginative depths of the actor. Two completely different paths leading, ultimately, to the same location. I really connect with alot of Chekovs theories, particularly that of 'radiation' and 'psychological gesture', and am inspired by his almost 'mystical' view of the actor and his process. All in all, a good read. Both.

Julia is having a blast so far - which I am so glad about. The cast and creative team love her, and shes kicking butt (of course!). No pics yet, but will try and get some soon.

Family come at the end of the week, the its the big B-Day next week - 21! Looking forward to it! We're gonna hit 'Swing 46', a great restaurant/club with a live swing-band - Can't wait!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gotta Dance...

Finished my dance show, 'Gotta Dance' 2 weeks ago. Was probably the most dramatic roller-coaster of a show ever. Tech week - shows looking great. Opening Night - Amazing! Rave reviews (unfortunately, no written reviews!). So, second night, one of my agents, Dulcina, is watching the show with her daughter. Set the scene, we open the show with a reconstruction of 'Gotta Dance/Broadway Melody' from 'Singin' in the Rain'. The band strikes the opening vamp. I take a breathe. I put my best foot forward and strut out on to the stage... and land right on my ass! Oh yeah! I literally hit the deck, and bounced right back up to carry on the number. Needless to say the casts enthusiasm turned more to cautiousness. The stage was SO slippery and completely unsafe, that not only did I meet with the floor, but about 3 other people did throughout the course of the evening. Our song n' dance tap show turned into the Ice-capades! Harry would be so proud.
However, our show did attract the attention of a few rather exciting celebs - opening night we had the Broadway choreographer Randy Skinner in the audience, Phil LaDuka, creator of LuDuka dance shoe came along, Friday night we had the Golden Girl herself Rue McClanahan in (quick funny story, in the dressing room I asked what Rue was known for. The guys all turned round in their "manliness" and screamed "She was one of the 'Golden Girls'!". Still, I had no idea what they were talking about. "Huh?" quoth I. My cast mate Drew then said, "Well, if anyone was questioning your sexuality, they just got their answer!". Yep. I'm 100% straight. Thought so!)
Then, during intermission, I overheard one of the cast mention the name "Tommy".
"Did you see Tommy?"
"Yeah. 3rd row back on the SR aisle."
"How can you miss him?"
I find out that the One and Only (clever!) Tommy Tune, Broadway director, choreographer, and song n' dance extraordinaire decided to show up to our lil' shindig!
"Thanks for not telling me", I said, "I would have messed up for sure!".
Well, I didnt mess up in the second act. I took one step out of the 'stage door', turned a corner and this giant of a man grabbed my hand and started shaking it.
"Thankyou. Thankyou so much. I'm Tommy Tune."
To which I replied, "Yes. Yes you are aren't you. Thankyou. ThankYOU so much."
Incredible! I'll never wash this hand again!
My other agent, Barry, was watching from the sidelines as this happened. As we were heading to the subway together he said, "Well, if anyone doesn't believe it happened, I saw it with my own eyes!"

Had a lovely elderly lady come up to me and told me that I reminded her of an actor.... she never said who, but it was sweet!
There was also a big whoo-pee that Liza was going to turn up for the last show (yes, Minelli). My other agent Margaret was so excited, as she was going to be at that performance also! Never happened!
All in all, the show went down amazingly well. Learnt alot from my cast mates. Greg Schanuel really gave me alot of useful advice and knowledge, particularly as he was like me when he was in his twenties, Baby face! Tim Kasper really kicked my ass into gear with lots of yoga, pilates and new stretches to help work out my weaknesses. Tim made me sweat! Lars... well, I mean, I love Lars! And plus he got to do the 'Begin the Beguine' number, which I was always watching from offstage and reconstructing in the dressing room! And, he taught me the one trick to keep my in the good books of all choreographers I work with - "Whats your favorite number?". Dana Moore is one of the most vivid storytellers ever, and boy did she have some stories! Plus it was great to see that two professionals can have a great marriage and a family, and still be top of their game! (Dana and her husband that is!). Patti and Lesley definitely taught me a lot. And then there were the rest, us, the kids! I had an absolute blast with this crowd, Marnie, Drew, Mary, and Tina; my Jane Powell to my Fred Astaire, "Oh yeah, sure!". Soon to be setting up our own company, 'Kestaire'.
Since then, Julia and myself finally moved in to our new apartment in the Heights (Non me diga!). L-O-V-E it! Cheap rent. Cheap groceries. 2 Bedrooms (now we have doors to slam on each other!). Our voice teacher lives across the street. Fort Tryant Park - beautiful! It was a long arduous process, but with the most amazing help from Julias dad, Mark, we are now living in luxury on 181st and Fort Washington!

ps. Go see this show, it is incredible!

Also began rehearsals for 'Henry V'. Love the director Laura Strausfeld. Really cool take on the show, very modern and technological. Lot of tennis analogies. Almost metaphorical of the Obama/McCain election campaigns. Cant believe we open next week. Been very short rehearsal process, but as long as everyone is on top of their own, it'll be great! Nice transition into the world of Shakespeare, playing the Dauphin. My first 'bad guy' role. Really enjoying the text. My 'French' crew are awesome, even though my "dad" is like 5 years older than me! It works!
Make sure you come see it. July 24th - August 10th. Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8pm. Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow/Broome in the East Village. FREE!

Julia leaves in 3 days to Rhode Island to play Ulla in 'The Producers' at Theater-By-The-Sea. She's down in her splits on both legs. Bought herself some LaDukas. Sounds amazing! Shes gonna be so awesome! So she goes, two days later, Andrea our friend from AMDA, moves in as my roomie. Then a week after, my Mum, Sister and Step-Dad fly over for my 21st BDay! Cant wait to see them. They are also going to make a stop in Rhode Island to see my baby onstage! Gonna miss her badly!

Saw my mate Tim who's playing Abraham in the National Tour of Altar Boyz at the moment in Connecticut. Gonna shoot up there in a few weeks to see it - looks like a great show.

Okay, I better answer the phone. Im working at AMDA at the moment, running the phones - "Good afternoon AMDA, how can I help?" - paying the rent is number one priority! There it goes again. Laters

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Ben and Jerrys... Oh God, What a Bitch!"

Been a ridiculous last couple of months since the laptop crashed! Busy Busy Busy!

Flew back from Florida a day early to surprise Julia (there were many tears!), and decided to spend my first week back just chillin', getting back into the swing of city life without school! So there we were, Friday afternoon, getting some Ben and Jerrys ice-cream, and this guy taps me on the shoulder...
"What do you to DO?"
"Um...we're actors"
"Good. How old are you?"
"Excuse me?"
"Oh, I do apologize. My name is Tom Hulce, I'm one of the producers of Spring Awakening on Broadway. What are you up to tomorrow morning?"
(In this last part, myself and Julia eye each other, quizzically. Not to mention that this guy just told us he was Tom Hulce - the guy from 'Amadeus'. Love that movie!)
"Nothing" (LIES!)
"Would you mind coming in to audition for the show?"
So, fast forward one hour, Julia and myself are standing in the Roundabout Theaters casting office getting sides. Fast forward 16 hours, we are in Chelsea Studios singing our 16 bars and reading from the show. Fast forward one hour, I am standing infront of Carrie, (the casting director) Tom Hulce, (the producer) and Michael Mayer, (the director). After 3 consecutive day call-backs, plus a one-hour workshop with Kim Grigsby, (the musical director) fast forward to Monday afternoon, and its everyone behind their laptops on their desk. Including Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater. Awesome! Had an amazing audition, read in my British dialect (West End production!)... and all thanks to 2 little men. Ben. and Jerry!

"Ben and Jerrys.... where Broadway producers search for the next big thing!"

Well it wasn't all chill-axing with ice-cream and the Broadway community! Straight into rehearsal for a new play, 'Gerry', in which I played "Mo Mackey", a young,British War-Poet in the Battle of Ypres (pronounced "Ee-p" in England!) who takes a German soldier captive in the middle of No-Mans-Land. Actually got this play through my monologues teacher at AMDA, whose wife, the very talented Sheri Graubert (also a Brit!), wrote and directed the play. This short one-act was part of 'Hero', an evening of new works as part of the Drilling Company. Great people! We performed at the 78th St. Theater Lab, to critical acclaim on, and the producer, Hamilton "Joe" Clancy, has now offered me a role in his production of 'Henry V' this Summer. One of my aims was to do a Shakespeare this year, and I get to do it in the city is awesome. Plus, its being done Greek-style, out-doors, as part of the 'Shakespeare in the Parking Lot' series. Literally, in a parking lot in the Village. How good!

I was also, and still am currently, in rehearsals for a Dance showcase, 'Gotta Dance', with NYC Dance Makers, a non-profit company that specialize in re-creating the once lost classic choreography from all those old MGM movie musicals. Yes. Finally I get to bust the moves of Bob Fosse,Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly - for real! Headed up by the very talented Patti and Lesley Lockery, and featuring the one and only Miss Dana Moore as part of the very talented cast, this show is going to be incredible! Last week of June at the Hudson Guild Theater, 26th St. NYC. Be there... to see this...

My best mate Jamie flew into the city from LA for a week. Was crazy busy with rehearsals and a show that week, plus Jamie got Tonsillitis, but apart from that had a fantastic time chillin' out in the city!

Another little project that I just finished doing was a new workshop of Jim Rado's, the creator of the hit cult musical 'Hair', new piece entitled 'American Soldier' at the L.E.S Festival.
And, I have just recently landed the work-shop for an off-broadway revival... but I can't tell what the show is, because I had to sign a confidentiality agreement! More to follow on that one!

Myself, Julia, and her dad, Mark, are currently shipping all our millions of pieces of (free!) furniture all the way up to 181st this week - out of the cute, yet pokey Chelsea studio, into the spacious, yet electrically confusing, 2-Bed in the Heights! All we have left is the mattress, the TV, and the sofa. What else does a guy need?

Decided that we are definately headed back to homeland this Xmas. Cant wait to see the family again. Plus I think me and Julia are putting on a little show when we get there - keep the Mum happy!

I think thats pretty much it! Julia's off soon to play Ula in 'The Producers' at Theater-By-The-Sea in a couple of weeks. But for now, its just hitting the auditions, keeping busy, paying the rent (ha!) and loving it! And then its off we both go in September for the last leg of the Seussical tour, playing Mayzie and Wickersham#1/Mr.Mayor! Fun fun fun! Really excited to be able to tour together for a few months before we head over to England for the holidays. Plus, getting to work with Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Josh Walden again is an absolute pleasure and delight!

Hope all are well, and really will try and be better from now on!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


So my laptop is dead. Following a drunken night with Chardonnay (the wine, not the local hooker!), Jon Lee's incredible hit recording entitled 'Soul Sensor', and being offered a ride home by a bleach blonde guy in a black pick-up truck ("thats when I realised..."), my laptop decided to freak out on me, presenting me with only a blue screen error. Done my research - theres no hope! Ofcourse my windows xp cd would be all the way back in England wouldnt it! Why would I do such a stupid thing like bring it with me to America on the off-chance that my system needed re-booting? Crazy! Since this lack of computering has occured, I hav found time for more fruitful things in life, such as reading, even more of it! Gone through 3 Steven Berkoff play, 'East', 'West, and 'Greek', Jeff Daniel's beautiful piece 'Apartment 3A' - a must for everone to read, and now half way through 'Glass Menagerie'.

Our director threw us a "cast" party the other night with a few! of his friends - never been in a room with so many Gay Miami Men in my life! Fantastic home on the river view, complete with yauchts, swimming pool and heated jacuzzi, great food (best shrimp ever!), personal bartender (and free bar!), and to top it all off we had a lovely little sing-song around the piano, featuring a personal rendition of 'On The Street Where You Live'! Then we decided that we should make our night even more 'gay', so off we went to the hottest gay club in town, entitled quite appropriately, 'Boom'! I mean, it was karaoke night, so why not... right? Had a real blast, hanging on closely to the bar, and we all took a turn at grabbing the mike. Jon Lee seduced us all with his incredible vocal stylings of 'Open Arms',followed by Jessica Davis's rendition of 'Before He Cheats', and not forgetting my enthusiastic performance of 'Hot Fudge' - I was asking for trouble wasnt I! I'm pretty sure we rolled back into cast housing at around 2.45am, fell asleep for 30 mins, then woke back up to munch on some 'Denny's' egg's and hash browns - I swore I never would again, thats what alcohol does to you!
Woke up that afternoon at 1.30pm, dragged myself into the shower to try and regain some consciousness - defiantely wasnt going to be a beach day! Sat infront of the box, trying to resusitate my Dell, whilst watching a mini-marathon of 'A Haunting'! Hit the gym. Back to normality.

Awesome news yesterday, Julia got cast in an Off-Off-Broadway long running play, 'The Best Party Ever' - YAY! More news to follow.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

More Pics!

As promised, more pics, including 'Millie in the Moment', 'The Asians' and my personal favorite, a picture of the Stageand from 'Baby', Tiffany, playing the role of the! And finally, the dress rehearsal of 'Speed Test'. Excuse the ladder in the way of Tim Dolan's speed tapping. Enjoy!
Love from Florida - which is cold at the moment by the way!

Singin' in the Rain?

Well my dream nearly came true the other day when severe rain storms caused a lovely little leak on stage during our Thursday performances - never thought I'd get to play Don Lockwood for a good couple of years yet! It really added a new dimension and reality to the fact that I am meant to be singing a song whilst dancing out on the window ledge of a high rise building, so a little rain probably didn't look that odd - you think?
Finally finished 'The Other Boleyn' - thank God! Great read though, I would seriously recommend it to anyone. Then went on yesterday and read the entire play, 'Cat on Hot Tin Roof', in homage to the new african-american Broadway cast opening. Beautiful play - having read and studied 'A Streetcar Named Desire', I have been a fan of Tennessee Williams's work for a while now, and this one also blew me away with such poetry. I particularly love the way that he describes the mood of the scene or character in his stage directions, "A speech of this kind would be antipathetic from almost anyone but Margaret; she makes it oddly funny because her eyes constantly twinkle and her voice shakes with laughter which is basically indulgent", (very similar sounding to Blanche DuBois!). His characters have so many layers and complexes that even when, as Maggie does, a character gets a long winded 2-3 page monologue, a good actor will be able to hold the audience with it. From the get go of the play the conflict/tension is already in place and never lets up till after the curtain falls. His attention to detail between relationships, which is what his plays focus on, as well as the downfall of the Southern Aristocracy, is moving to read - I cant wait to see it in the flesh. As a playwrite, I feel he gives a lot of direction already in the script. I find this helpful as an actor to get a more defined picture of how to honor the playwrite and, of course, the play. A new role I would someday like to play, Brick. And my new aim for the Summer; to read all of his plays. I think I'll start next with 'Glass Menegarie'.
Had my old director from England, Matthew Chandler, fly over last night to see the show. Was great to see him again - taught me a lot about the business. Talked with him for about an hour after the show, then managed to get myself locked out of the theater with my keys, wallet and phone in my bag still in my dressing room - which was fun!
Introduced the movie 'Singin' in the Rain' last night to some cast members who hadn't seen it before - still blows me away every single time I watch it! Oh, and youtubing some other great inspirational dance numbers, below is another legend defying gravity - if you haven't seen Bob Fosse battle it out with Tommy Rall, its a must!
Right, off to work I go! Saturday Matinee here I come