White Snake is over!  Wow.  What a roller-coaster of a process.  It was a darn good show, it was well received, and in the end I don’t think the teachers from China were dissatisfied with my work.  Anyhow, I was interviewed by a journalist who’d flown all the way from China to see the show, and he assures me that I’ll “be famous in China” though he may have been joking about that.  Also, one of my teachers insists I need to go study in Nanjing, though I can’t really wrap my head around that idea at this point.  Right now what’s actually going through my head is that I’m now halfway through my MFA and really, really need to get my butt in gear with the paperwork for my first committee review.  Erm… I should probably go do that now.  hugs to all- EGD

Um.  Yeah.  The third semester of my graduate-student career has struck.  Rehearsals.  Classes, too, but oh the rehearsals!  So, y’all are going to come to see this show I’m more or less killing myself for, right?  Right…?

Rocks.  Totally rocks.  Oh… my… gosh.  So, I went to the Ben Vereen and Honolulu Symphony concert at the end of last month, and woah.  Seriously.  I almost can’t describe.  The symphony opened (they played the first half hour sans Ben Vereen), and they were pretty good.  It was excellent as symphony pops concerts go, actually.  They called that half hour the “first half,” though, and this strikes me as silly because Ben Vereen performed for two hours straight.  And get this: he only got better as the night flew by.  He performed excerpts from a musical about his career (he’d been working on it with the Honolulu Symphony’s conductor, you see), he performed tributes to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., he sang songs about Hawaii, shared anecdotes about times he spent hanging out with Don Ho (same for Bob Fosse), and did a ton of the the signature Ben Vereen stuff like “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” and “Jesus Christ Super Star,” and “Defying Gravity.”  He danced, he sang songs that featured various instrumentalists, and he generally charmed the daylights out of the audience.  Let’s just say, if you get a chance to see this man in performance, by all means, find a way to go.  I doubt anybody in his or her right mind (erm… who likes song and dance) would regret it.

And seriously, TWO HOURS!  ONE MAN GOING FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT!  That’s a real showman for you.  40 years from now, I hope I’m still going that strong.  Wow.  -EGD

(P.S. if you don’t know who Ben Vereen is, SHAME ON YOU!  Go get your hands on the first season of the Muppet Show or on the movie version of Pippin and get back to me later)

Ok, so I’m barely coherent at the moment, but get this: we got out of Jingju class early today so we could go see Ben Vereen talk in the temporary dance building on the other side of campus.  A) As we all know, the man is one of the greatest greats Broadway ever saw (have I mentioned I have a BA in musical theatre?), B) MAN OH MAN can the man tell a story, C) I got a free ticket to his show this Saturday, D) HE SIGNED IT!!!!  E) He said I have beautiful eyes (SQUEEE!).  I also got a picture with him and a few of my friends from the theatre department.  I may post that later when I have my camera cable and stuff handy.  I’m totally going to frame this ticket with that picture if it turned out at all well.   Yeah, I’m really hyper-high at the moment, and now I need to go play an elegant female Jingju part in rehearsal in something like ten minutes.  We’ll see how that goes.  In the meantime, OMG BEN VEREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Dang.  Wow.  -EGD

Ah, the back to school sales!  Ah, the bills!  Ah, the coming of a time when holding down a full-time job is not physically viable!  Ladies and gentlemen, school starts on Monday.

As I sit here at work, staring at the usual tools of the IT operator (coffee, 15 computer monitors, eight keyboards, three phones, worn console notebooks, rack upon rack of tapes and the gigantic tape machine), I find myself wondering “um… how am I going to cope with the pay that comes of only doing this for 16 hours a week?”  The answer is, clearly, that I need to sell off all those bodily organs I’m not using.  Anyone need a nice, clean kidney?

Alternately, I’ve got hundreds of thousands of words sitting around on my external hard drive, and by gosh, most of them are neatly arranged into novel-length manuscripts.  This may be a more useful thing to observe, though, if I actually had the time and energy to expend on convincing publishers they’re worth something while holding down the hours of a full-time theatre MFA candidate with a part-time job.  Ok, so we’re back to that kidney.

I think, perhaps, I need to find me an enthusiastic literary agent who doesn’t restrict him/herself to one genre bracket.  I couldn’t tell you why, exactly, but I write pretty much everything but romance/erotica, and I write stuff for all ages.  Shoot, I’ve even written picture books, I’ve written plays, and I tried to write a novel in Japanese once, long ago, when I was feeling insane and ambitious.  I write rock songs on napkins.  I write travelogues that number in the thousands of pages.  I have some quite nice graduate-level research papers, including one on modern Brechtian Broadway musicals that I’m partial to.  I’ve got a historical fiction cold-case murder mystery in the works.

I really wish I could make effective use of all of this to support my theatre habit.  Lately, acting causes more bills than it pays, and writing doesn’t cost me more than paper and hard drive space.  It says a lot about my life that it might have actually been simpler if I’d fallen head-over-heels for the novel writing trade instead of for live theatre.  Novelists often have it just as rough as actors, only novelists make their own working hours.

Still in all, I want to act, and I am giddy with anticipation for this semester.  I’m learning how to be a Beijing Opera (Jingju) actor from the very best Chinese master actors!  SQUEEEEEEE!  Dang, I love my graduate program.  Now, if only it were free like that lovely musical theatre BA for which I had a National Merit Scholarship…

Ah, well.  Kidney anyone?  Kidney?

So, since I’ve not been here for a while, let’s back up for a bit.  The end of September was total and utter chaos.  I visited my primary care physician, who sent me to an ENT, who sent me for a CT scan, and this all happened between Monday and Saturday in the last full week of September.  Chaos, I say!  On top of that, that very weekend I went to four auditions.  On friday, I auditioned for Miracle on 34th Street, and that went very well, and the director asked me to swing by the next day to help with the Saturday auditions, which I did… after I got that CT scan and auditioned for Musical Theatre Southwest’s production of Scrooge the Musical.  What started to get freaky was that I got called back for Scrooge the Musical for Sunday.  This would have been 150 different kinds of awesome if both of these plays didn’t run on two out of three of the same weeks, six of the same days, six of the SAME EXACT TIMES.  I started to get antsy because the director for Miracle said I might land the leading lady role, and I’d been called back for (check this awesomeness) Mrs. Cratchet and the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooge the Musical.  When I got back from the Sunday call-backs, I was confident that I’d been cast as *something* in Scrooge, but I wasn’t going to hear back from that director until Monday or Tuesday, and I’d gotten a call from Miracle’s director while I was *at* the call-back to tell me he wanted to cast me as Miss Adams instead (which is still a huge and awesome role that had me giddy).  It was stomach wrenching.  I couldn’t tell him yes right away with Miss Adams as I would have with Doris, but I really wanted the role.  He was kind enough to say I had until the end of the evening to call him with my verdict, so I called Scrooge’s director and begged to know my odds, appologizing the whole time like a Japanese secretary who’d forgotten to refill the loose tea canister on the day of a business meeting.  What followed was an hour and fifteen minutes of waiting by the phone for a call from the director of Scrooge that tied my nerves in twisty little knots.  He’d said he’d call me back “in fifteen minutes,” you see, and when that didn’t happen, I agonized about whether or not it would seem pushy to just call him again.  When the clock ticked past 8:00 PM, I threw up my hands and *did* call him, and he said he wanted to offer me a role in the chorus (not what I’d auditioned for specifically, but cool just the same), which I REALLY WANTED, but for the first time in my life I had to turn down a role, and I had to think on my feet, and I told him I was going to take the role in Miracle on 34th Street.  I then called that director back and had done with it.  Soooo…. yeah, I’m Miss Adams, the Kris Kringle cheerleader secretary of Doris who bounces around and shouts in the courtroom as though the legal preceedings were a sporting match.  But man, that was hard.  I’ve never, ever turned a role down in my life, and who would have thought that *I* would go and turn down a musical theatre role for a non-musical theatre role?  After all-summer of rejection, who would have thought I’d wind up having to do some rejecting of my own?

Anyhow, I still haven’t heard back about that CT Scan.  I’m assuming this is a good sign.  If there were an abnormal growth in my sinuses or brain, I’m pretty sure someone would have told me by now.