Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Grand Finale

The "Christmas Carol" curtain has fallen at the Hanover Theatre for the last time this season. I think today was our best show, yet! The whole cast seemed to be savoring every moment. There was even a marriage proposal during the curtain speech (she said "YES"). Actually, 2 minutes after the "yes", Tiny Tim (Elizabeth Brytowski) said , "What did that guy just say ask her?". When I told her the couple just got engaged on the stage she squealed with delight...just a little slow on the uptake. ;) 
Lea- our lovely walk-on role

There was also a walk-role in the show today. Lea, a high school student from Notre Dame told me her dad had won a radio contest awarding her the prize of "cast member for a day". She did a wonderful job sharing the stage with us for 3 numbers . And her dad was there to watch (I am sure he was there with many others supporting Lea's Hanover debut!).

Hopefully, Lea wasn't too bothered by our usual ladies' dressing room goofiness. In the midst of our busy and exciting weekend, we recorded two pieces from the show for the blog. The boys will probably be jealous when they see how productive we were. 

But seriously, I couldn't ask for a better way to spend the holiday season then working together with such a lovely team to share the story of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". I've loved having the priveledge of playing Mrs. Cratchit at the Hanover Theatre for the last 4 years. I hope I get to do it again next year!
Yariana Bergier and Annie Kerins

Cast Party!

Last night we had a lovely cast party at the Ceres Bistro. I was especially excited that avid theatre supporter, enthusiast, and friend, Ed Sato, was in attendance.  He has seen "A Christmas Carol" at the Hanover Theatre multiple times every year. And I am always happy when I  bump into him at shows all over New England.

Steve Gagliastro and Carola LaCoste
Current castmates, former castmates, the crew, and most of the creative team were also in attendance. It was a great celebration of the production. Everyone was dressed in their  "party clothes" , which was a big transformation from the usual petticoats, cloaks,  and bonnets we've been wearing. It's hard to believe we will only being wearing our costumes for one more show!

Christmas Past: "My time here grows short, look:"

The fancy Cratchits: Annie Kerins, Elizabeth Brytowski, Andrew Haserlat,  Connor Macchi, and Joanna Rosen 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts recently launched a new radio program titled Behind the Scenes with The Hanover Theatre on WCRN 830AM News & Talkradio. The hour long program airs every Sunday morning from 9am-10am, offering listeners a sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes during some of the hottest shows coming to the theatre. Lisa Condit, co-host and director of marketing & PR, recently sat down with some of the people responsible for transforming the classic Charles Dickens tale of A Christmas Carol to New England's largest and most spectacular production on stage at The Hanover Theatre.

Hear from costume designer, Gail Buckley, who is responsible for creating the colorful costumes for each of the characters in this special adaptation by The Hanover Theatre's executive director, Troy Siebels.

Tim Evans discusses his involvement as music director, and his favorite moments of A Christmas Carol.

Troy Siebels, executive director of The Hanover Theatre and director of A Christmas Carol, explains what he was looking for when casting a new Scrooge, and how Jeremy Lawrence landed one of the most coveted roles in theatre.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lipstick Tip!

Exactly one year ago, the lovely Ilyse Robbins shot this clip  with me. I think her advice is timeless, so I thought I'd reiterate.

Note, while Ilyse is the choreographer of "A Christmas Carol" at the Hanover Theatre, she is no longer a member of the cast as well. I DO miss her in the dressing room very much, but I am happy I got to see her during rehearsals!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cake Balls

Sources tell me that Buddy Velasco, the "Cake Boss" from TLC might have been in the audience of  "A Christmas Carol" at the Hanover Theatre today! In his honor, I put together a clip about our very own "Cake Boss of Cake Balls"-Kim Kalunian.

WARNING-this has very little to do with the show, except that it does demonstrate how passionate actors are about food, especially while performing. Yum. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tiny Tim's Opening Night

Today was the big day-our first time performing "A Christmas Carol" at the Hanover Theatre with an audience. For my fiancee, Steve Gagliastro, and I,  it was just our first time performing the show this year. Many others in the cast, though made their first appearance at the Hanover Theatre this evening. And for the lovely 6 year old Elizabeth Brytowski who plays Tiny Tim, today was her first opening night ever! I was very excited as Elizabeth and I held hands backstage during the overture while we waited to enter for "Deck the Halls". Sharing the joy of theatre with young performers is an awesome responsibility!

Elizabeth Brytowski and Andrew Haserlat
However, Andrew Haserlat (Bob Cratchit) and I were both a little nervous for Elizabeth because there were a lot of adjustments given to her earlier in the day at our final dress rehearsal. Some of her entrances and choreography changed along with subtler notes related to her text delivery. This 6 year old had a lot to keep track of so Andrew, myself, and the Child Wrangler (her Mom!) did our part to remind Elizabeth about little details along the way.  She nodded her head like she was listening, but I've worked with kids enough to know that can be deceptive! To our relief, Elizabeth WAS listening. She remembered all of her changes and notes. She even tried some smaller suggestions with ease and was not at all thrown by the audience. I was a proud Mamma today as I watched Tiny Tim in the last scene limping downstage to say "God Bless Us" before being whisked up onto Scrooge's shoulders. I hope she is loving every minute of "A Christmas Carol"! I am :D

Thursday, December 13, 2012

10 out of 12s

Tuesday we finally set foot on the stage of the beautiful Hanover Theatre and looked out into the 2300-seat house we will be playing in for the next 10 days. And I do mean "playing" in many different ways because at heart the act of pretending to be someone else is a playful activity. At the same time, this is a company of professional actors and at the moment our job is to bring to life the story of "A Christmas Carol" to the patrons of the Hanover Theatre starting this Friday!

Andrew Ross Crowe and Andrew Haserlat
We have survived our two 10 out of 12 rehearsals, which is a 12 hour technical rehearsal with a 2 hour dinner break. There is a lot of stopping and starting at this kind of rehearsal, while the actors wait for the lights, sound, and set to coordinate the perfect moves at the perfect moments!

Sometimes we get a little goofy waiting at this rehearsal. Here is a picture of Bob Cratchit balancing all the hats on Fred Scrooge's head at 11pm last night:

Despite appearances our show is coming together. I can't wait to open!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Rain in Spain... DIALECT WORK

Christine Hamel, Dialect Coach
This weekend the cast was visited by the wonderful, Christine Hamel! She's the dialect coach for the the Hanover Theatre's "A Christmas Carol". There's a cast of 31 this year and most of us do multiple accents in the show. We spend a good deal of time talking about what class levels our characters come from. For example, the guests at Fred Scrooge's party are a higher class and therefore mostly speak in a Standard Upper Class British accent, also known as RP (Received Pronounciation). Whereas, lower class characters like the Charwoman & Old Joe speak in a Cockney accent. Some of the actors even use Irish accents in our show.

After taking notes on our run-through this Friday, Christine coached both the Youth Ensemble and the Adult Ensemble. She also worked privately with cast members. One of my personal notes from Christine involved the word "odious"; she reminded me Mrs. Cratchit needs to say "aye-dias" instead! Also she asked me to raise my class slightly by adding the "h's" back to my dialogue. So listen and make sure I apply the correction :D

To read more about Christine Hamel, check out:

Andrew Haserlat, Peter Adams, Andrew Sellon, and co. practice with Christine Hamel

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Christmas Carol ON ICE

This week, Mrs. Fezziwig  (aka Kim Lamoureux), organized " A Christmas Carol ON ICE" on the Worcester Commons. What I mean is that a group of us from the cast of the Hanover Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" enjoyed Lunch Time Skating at the newly opened rink in front of Worcester City Hall. The weather was perfect for the ice, my rental skates fit and the veggie hot dogs were delicious! (That's right, veggie hot dogs.)

It's wonderful to share such unique bonding opportunities with your co-workers.   And in this case, it's extra nice when those opportunies have the ability to add depth and color to your work. Lunch Time Skating on the Commons is, as we say in the show, "Seasonable for Christmastime."

I can't wait to go back again!

Kim Lamoureux, Andrew Ross Crowe, Annie Kerins, Tyler Bellmon,
 Meredith  Stypinksi, and  Andrew Hasserlat,  at Worcester Commons

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The New Future

Troy Siebels Operates Vinny Two's Left Hand
You may have heard the buzz; there is a new Scrooge in Worcester--this year the role is going to be played by the fabulous Jeremy Lawrence. But did you know we also have a new Future? That's right- the Ghost of Christmas Future is getting a makeover! My past 3 years performing in the show, the actor who played "Christmas Future" would wear tall stilts covered by a long skirt, he also wore a small backpack-like attachment which formed the ghost's head. This suit (not the actor) was affectionately referred to as "VINNY" --I am told that was the name on the box he lived in between shows!
Vinny Two

When I walked into rehearsal yesterday, designer Nathan Lee was in a meeting with director Troy Siebels. Nathan is the current Technical Director at Worcester State University and,  I am told, has done touch ups for "Vinny" over the past 3 years. For this year's production, Nathan has made a new Future. Our stage managers are affectionately calling him, "VINNY TWO". He is a much larger metal frame attached to a backback-like harness and has 2 huge foam-metal hands. Main difference= no stilts.  Intially, the difference might be undetectable, but upon further examination, you may observe that VINNY TWO is a ghost who moves with more freedom and ease. Scrooge will certainly be shivering in his boots when they share the stage!

Vinny in 2010 with Dale Place