My apologies for not putting out anything informative in the past few posts. I've been very focused on "the craft" the past few weeks and haven't been focused enough to do things that aren't directly related to monetary returns. In related news, my new ebook is being edited and should be available for purchase in the next week or so. I'll let you know when it pops up.
This piece has been monumental. I've already rambled about how excited and proud I am to have gotten the opportunity to tell this story to my home state. I won't spend a lot more time rambling so I'll just say this:
I have a lot of respect and sympathy for the character of Jud Fry
And I'm very honored that people have recognized my respect for this character:
I love this show, this cast and the people who have been a part of this experience. Here's to a great final run.
This is the first time I've been awake past 1am in months. I gave myself the morning off of training and work to allow myself this experience tonight.
I lived a mountain of day today. Full dress rehearsal in the afternoon, opening night that evening. I woke up at 6am this morning to do a training session. I benched 200 x 7 for a PR, then I showered and put in three hours of work at my delivery job before heading over to the theater. I arrived early so I could finish a chapter in my book and send some emails. Operabro stuff and what not.
The Civic Center has been a part of my life for a while, but it wasn't until this week where I stepped onto its main stage as a full professional actor and singer, not just a student. When I played viola and was pursuing that as a career I thought to myself "I'll get a job with the symphony and do that while in college." Today I visited the rehearsal space on the third floor where I bombed my audition. The Curly in our production told me that it was a great place to have a "pre show poo" without wrecking your own dressing room. Wise Man.
I was a scared kid when I took that audition. 6-7 years, 4 body types, an engagement, a break up, numerous career switches and a lifetime worth of memories later, I'm a grown ass man. Hair on my face and all. My viola professor is playing in the pit. The image of the world that I stare through, once opaque seems a lot less hazy. Its by no means clear, but I have a better idea on how to get rid of the smudges.
I try not to do too much self congratulating. I feel that an actors best asset for growth is self criticism and that pride goes hand in hand with apathy. But I knew from day one that I was going to do well with Jud Fry. Not because I feel like I'm such a example of pristine acting, but because I can empathize and sympathize with Jud. I felt the same tug at my heart with Leon Czolgosz and Frank Maurrant, that they were victims in their own right. They are the kinds of people I was meant to play whether I want them to be or not. I have to tell their stories. Every night I live and die in the boots of a man who was sick since he was child with a disease that was instilled through nature and nurture and was fostered into the grizzled twisted psyche of a man that lumbers in a suit of self hatred and misunderstanding.
The feed back has been immense. I'm trying to ignore some of it, let the whimsey float in air until I'm finished with my statement with Jud Fry (at least for now) and then pick up the stars and moon beams closing night. There are still people who haven't heard this story the way we tell it and I'd like to keep it honest for them. I'll brag about crap later. I've got the rest of my life for it.
I wasn't prepared for how great of a project this was going to be. I'm still not. I'm challenged, pushed, and left with wonder and awe at the end of every day. It's been exhausting. Labor of love as the saying goes. I've made friends out of these colleagues. I saw Jurassic world with them. I admire from afar, noting all of their specifics with their choices (stealing things for later projects.) I'm trying my best to soak up the lives of others while I have the honor of being on the same earthly plane as them. Something I had to learn the hard way with the passing of Michael, and its something that I won't take for granted anymore.
Standing there, 1600 people standing, singing, and clapping along with the song you grew up singing your entire life. I felt like Garth Brooks. Hot damn we spit fire tonight.
I'm rambling. It's late. Tonight was incredible. Looking forward to the rest of the week.
Generally I like to have a very consistent Schedule of Blog posts released, a daily training blog along with my usual Wednesday and Saturday posts about training, nutrition, or general life stuff. HOWEVER, ya boy, Ol' Yeargain has been REALLY busy as of late.
Here are a few things I'm working on...
Oklahoma! at Lyric Theatre
Most of my day consists of rehearsal for Oklahoma! at Oklahoma Lyric Theatre. Which is fantastic. I'm having the time of my life. This show is VERY significant to my home state and I feel that I'm going to give a performance that's going to be very memorable to this particular audience. After all, Jud Fry is the shard of glass in the neatly combed sand and if it's sharpness doesn't impact you in some way, then I'm not doing my job. The cast is the image of perfection and the creative team is friendly, responsive and eager to help us produce a FANTASTIC product. I truly can't think of a single negative thing to say about my time with this show and this company.
After releasing my first short program/book, I grew addicted to the writing and producing process and I'm currently working on my next project. This book with be called The Opera Bro Guide to Flexible Dieting and will be a comprehensive guide on how you can diet and still eat the foods you love to eat. So far it's about half way finished and I've already written 30 or so pages and plan to write a lot more. I'm very proud of the work I've put into it thus far and I'm VERY excited about releasing it to the public. This will be my first book that I will be officially selling, so I'm going to make the product as perfect as possible. Both in terms of information and entertainment value. What's the point of reading something that's boring as hell?
Ol' Yeargain is working on LOTS of different projects. One of which isn't set in concrete yet, but is taking up some of my additional time in order to make it another big part of my life. Basically, it's education and one of the privileges that come with educating others is becoming more educated yourself! This evening I had a phone call with Tim Rogan who played Lancelot in the touring production of Camelotthis past year. We discussed many of the opera bro's favorite topics: training, dieting, and performing. He's an awesome guy and gave me a lot of insight into what he does for training and what kind of obstacles performers face when they are on the road.
Just a few days ago I finished my first ever eBook. It's titled The Beginner Gym and Diet Program.
I wrote it mostly to get the experience and the feel for writing, producing and promoting a book so I'm much more familiar with the process as I continue to write more and more over the coming weeks, BUT I also wrote it because I get a lot of people asking me "how to get started." Well, here is my guide on how to get started onto a path of self improvement. It's a journey that has meant the world to me and I believe that this program will help anyone interested in becoming a leaner, stronger, happier person start that very journey.
When I was a kid my parents took me and my brothers to the lakes that are around Oklahoma. We'd eat hot dogs, drink Dr. Pepper and bake in the sun for hours. Going in and out of the nearby bank.
The lake bed was always disgusting to me. Riddled with rocks and weeds and the like. But every once in a while we'd settle into a nice smooth, clear patch of lake. Most of the lakes in Oklahoma are man made and many of the shores are riddled with rocks. My brothers would always like to pick up the flat smooth ones and skip them as far as they could, seeing how many bounces they could muster.
My game was different. I always looked for the biggest, baddest rock in the bunch that I could lift above my head and chunk into that smooth patch of water. I liked making waves.
Today I'm still trying to make waves. Leave an impression on that lake bed, make an impact and affect everything in it's wake.
If you don't take something away from my performing, I've done you a disservice. I've failed you and I've failed my goal. When I perform for you, I'm not there to collect a pay check or to get my jollies, I'm there to make an impression. SPLASH. I'm trying to imprint memories into your brain. My goal with Maurrant was for people to fear and understand him. Check and check. My goal for Giovanni was for him to ooze sex and make a big freaking scene. Double Check. Jud will be feared, but you will pity and sympathize for him.
The same can be said about my training. If I work with you, I'm not looking to make a marginal improvement to your life, I'm looking to transform it. I'm not skipping rocks, I'm dropping boulders, and making waves. I'm looking to give you a body you love and you can maintain for the rest of your life.
I could throw a handful of pebbles all across the water, little tiny splashes everywhere. Neat. Cool Trick. No, I'm gonna drop that big boulder. Then I'm going to help you drop a big boulder. Then I'm going to help you help others pick up the biggest rocks we can hold. You, me, the whole damn team are going to make a rock island in the middle of that lake and drop boulders from the top to see how big of a splash we can make. We're leaving our mark in this world, we're making something special, something new and different, and really really freaking epic.
I probably won't post these sentiments anywhere but here. I feel strange even expressing them via this medium.
I lost a friend today. But more importantly, the world lost an incredible man today. If a person's worth can even be measured by the amount of lives he touched, he would still be priceless.
I feel an angry silence. One that cant be aimed towards anyone or anything, like my soul is a toe and I stubbed it against a chair and all I want to do is break that damn thing into powder. But what good would that do?
If my head and heart hurt this much, I can't imagine how those that were with him every step of the journey feel. I feel stupid even trying to compare my grief to that realm.
This man, his spirit, and his voice was monumental. I've often heard of people like him called "the glue" because he had a power and a presence of bringing people together. And not just in proximity, but in that closeness that only can come from glue. Those sticky, tight harmonies that filled his ears he'd have come into fruition with his voice locked with ours. And somehow by working with him, he'd make you want it more than he did. His passion was infectious.
He elevated everyone he knew, but not out of obligation but out of admiration. He had a way with compliments that made me believe he heard more than any of us could ever. He could sense the music better than anyone I ever knew, feel it breathe and take life. Some of my most prized musical memories I have are with that man. My biggest regret is not making more of them.
I don't know what I wanted to accomplish from posting this. It wasn't for sympathy, although I'll never push away your well wishes, I think those thoughts belong to his family. I'll chalk this up to a tribute, my own eulogy.