Kara Gibson-Slocum

Actress- Vocalist- Coach

Kara Gibson-Slocum is working in the Los Angeles area as a vocal and piano instructor, as well as 

Santa Blog

12 insights into Santa as I know him. (...or in this case “her”) 

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1. Just because Santa has finished the Christmas list, does not mean that Santa is done shopping.  

2. The earlier in the year that Santa finishes the list, the more stuff will eventually be purchased because he forgot what he already bought

3. Santa will purchase gifts for next year at after-holiday sales this year and then have no idea where to find them 12 months from now.  

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4. Santa will notoriously spend more money on stocking stuffers than on the main gifts. This year is no exception 

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5. It’s all about the stockings!  

6. Santa doesn’t need, want or expect to receive a gift... or even think about it really because he’s so excited about what he’s giving! (But don’t forget the stocking.)

7. Santa does, however, care that the paper you wrap your gifts in coordinate with the decor. (Santa is part Joanna Gaines, Martha Stewart and part OCD) 

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8. Anyone not continuing to believe in Santa gets nothing in a stocking. (“You do not believe, you do not receive.” Paint that on a plank and hang it!) 

9. Age is not a factor in number 8

10. Everyone must receive something to DO, not just wear, eat, see, on Christmas Day... preferably together. Give experiences, not things. 

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11. While Santa totally values tradition, the understanding that a cheese plate and wine is an upgrade from cookies and milk is a much appreciated twist.  

12. Santa is grateful to be able to give (because so many cannot), honored to be surrounded by love (because so many are not) and happy to do it every year (because happy is harder for many than you may think). 

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Bonus 13. If you aren’t giving something besides things, i.e. time, talent, creativity and basically being Santa to someone outside your kin, you’re missing the point. 

A SHOUT OUT to “Santa” who makes the season happen in your home each year! If you know him the way I know him, you have a few insights to bring to this list.  Feel free to comment and add. Happy Christmas! I’ll be thinking of you over my cheese plate 🤶🏻 

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Lazy Vacation Blog

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I have one more day left of vacation and you can't make me move from this pillow. You can't!  Ok, except for the laundry and packing and travel supply shopping and... 

Lots to do. Heres your lazy vacay blog update!  

 

 

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What tour looks like to this point. 52 cities, 86 shows. Yes, it's time for a break! 

 

 

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First some time in NYC

 

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 Nor Cal to meet this bundle of Love and see the fam after 5 months away.   

 

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Then to meet this bundle of fur... Brando! #grandpuppy  

 

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Time with industry family. Nickelodeon WITS Academy family night. 

 

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Breakfast at Voo Doo doughnuts

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Lunch at Universal Studios and Harry Potter World

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Dinner at Disneyland

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Dessert at The Grove, Hollywood. 

Do I know how to eat my way through vacation or what?! And no, not all on the same day! quality time with my ❤️❤️❤️. 

 

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Hollywood premiere of Genius by @NatGeoChannel and Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Starring Geoffrey Rush who is fantastic! Oh and I was in the room with them and Hans Zimmer which, for my music geek family, was the coolest part of all.  Artistic geniuses making a show about genius.  It's beautiful. Catch it! 

 

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Shopping and beach days with this beauty, enjoying my CA!  

Think I crammed enough rest and family and friends and food and CA and joy into one break as possible. Grateful. Time to get back to work! If I ever get out of this bed. See you soon, Dorothy! Miss you Lady!

 

Sooo maybe not a lazy vacation, just a lazy blog.   

Take the Job That Travels

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I am a California snob.  I know this. I own it. You cannot convince me that it isn't the absolute best place in the world. In the same way that you can't convince a New Yorker that NYC isn't the best city in the world or tell Clara (our Peggy Sawyer) that Cininnati isn't the best city in the world. I cannot understand why anyone would want to live, work, eat, think, breathe, anywhere other than the great state of California. (As I write this, a damn is overflowing in Nor Cal and wiping out thousands of homes because some government idiot didn't do his job, but that aside, and I don't blame the state itself for it...) there is a reason millions of people dream of coming to CA, vacation in CA and move there every year even though the cost of living is the highest in the country.  The population of CA is already larger than the entire country of Canada! It's true! Google it! This graphic...

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preeety accurate. 

I try to down play that little blue section so people don't hate Californians. Or maybe so I don't over sell it and make them want to move there too. More than Canada?! Seriously!  But it is true that there is no good Mexican food outside of CA (Maaaaybe TX and AZ) and I seriously question any sushi from a land locked state. However, I'm on a bus in the middle of Ohio... Indiana? Illinois? I honestly don't know.  We're covering them all today en route to Iowa. Our tour a week ago looked like this.. 

 

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courtesy of friend (and our Bert Barry) Steven's app.  We've added about 5 more cities since then in AL, GA and  SC. And now we're back north to the cold weather.  I'll update this sometime.  Updating an app like this is just the kind of detail that stresses me out so I just mooch off of his awesome techy side.  Thanks Hun! So while I love the place of my birth I'm spending a lot of time not being there... and this is a great thing. 

Travel! I first learned this important life rule from my parents who traveled a good deal and continue to do so.  This was mostly for work when I was younger.  They traveled nationally and internationally. I rarely know where my Dad is and this year's vacation jaunt is taking them to Russia and Scandinavia so Mom can see Norway, the land of her people! I specifically remember their first trip to Asia when I was young. They left my sisters and I in the care of friends and family and I got dangerously ill with strep and was hospitalized. Timely illness is always my forte.  I survived, their trip was great and it was a memory for all. We were also one of those families that Dad shoved into the back seat, or as the youngest and before seatbelt laws, under the dash board of the front seat, (wow, that sounds like child abuse now) of an unairconditioned car every other summer to drive across the desert to visit family in the mid west.  Well, so I'm told. By the time I was old enough to remember this we had air conditioning and I was too big to fit under the dash. Anyway, this afforded us many window views of much of the country and random stops at historic and semi-historic sights: Grand Canyon, Baseball Hall of Fame, road side fruit stands. One summer we stopped at every little church along the way and bought/were given their church cook book. This was a big fundraising thing for churches when I was little and my Dad was convinced that the best recipes were homemade church cookbook recipes.  They have a whole collection of them. Looking through them now, it's hard to find anything in there that doesn't require a can of cream of mushroom soup. Bleh. That's the Mid-West for ya. All of this means that I was able to see a lot of our country at a young age. I was also fortunate to study abroad in England my Sophomore year of college.  I traveled out from there to surrounding countries and found so much value in new cultures, new people, foods, languages, etc.. It's a perspective you don't value until you travel and a value you don't see unless you do. Everyone loves where they're from, or that place that was most impactful on their lives. Travel shows you more beauty and more respect for the world and at the same time teaches you to value your favorite place even more.  Even within your own country.  Examples

New Yorkers are not angry, scary people.  (Common stereotype) They are loud and passionate, like their city. Just because they're yelling doesn't mean they're mad. They're happy to give directions from the subway, discuss 9/11, debate the best pizza and, as in Little Italy, compliment you ("Que Bella! Bellisima!") all at full volume and with plenty of expletives.  It's passion.  Get it or you don't get NY.  

The South, and by south so far I mean anything Virginia and south-er.  First, you cannot get a vegetable that still looks like it grew out of the ground.  Everything is fried.  Conner (our Billy Lawler) ordered a salad as he is pretty healthy eater too.  It came with fries... mixed into the salad! Yup. With the greens.  I guess they're a veggie? You can get vats of boiled nuts at every truck stop and convenience mart. Ew.  They're usually right next to the jars of pickeled animal parts; feet, claws, snouts.  (Yes, this was AK and KY)  I know you think I'm kidding.  Really wishing I took a picture of this. Next truck stop. However, they know how to barbecue an animal and Buffalo a chicken and brew a great beer or whiskey like no other place in the world.

People in the south are super friendly! They greet you happily and are chatty and will know where you're from and how many siblings you have by the time you're done at the check out counter.  However this also means that it takes forever to stand in line anywhere because they do this with everyone! Ugh! The rest of the world does not move on CA/NY time.  

Additionally im not adjusting well to being called "Ma'am". The first time this happened on this tour was at a hotel where we were for several days. Most of the employees were African American and they called me Ma'am.  This bothered me on a racial level.  It felt like a race thing because I am a white woman. I'd give them my name but they still call me Ma'am.  Then I had a dresser at the theatre.  These are local hires who work with wardrobe and backstage with costume changes and without whom we cannot get through a show.  They are 90% of the time, awesome! They love their town, their theatre and what they do.  They are also experts on where to go and what to see or eat locally. I had a sweet 25ish year old dresser who responded with "Yes, Ma'am" after everything I said or asked or mentioned. I felt like I was giving military commands.  Her name is Leanne and she was a great dresser.  I told her to call me Kara or Dorothy or even 100 (my wardrobe number) whatever was easy to remember. Her response "Yes Ma'am. I'll try to do that Ma'am" suffice it to say that I was Ma'am for the rest of our run there.  Now Leanne was white so that was not a racial thing, maybe age? An authority figure thing? Anyway I was really confused last night when my dresser who is about 10 years older than me still called me Ma'am.  So I'm just gonna get over this whole Ma'am thing and respect it as an endearment... or something.  I'm just so not a Ma'am! My Jammie's have teapots all over them! Whatever. 

We don't always have time in every city to see it but when we do, we do! Tips for travel? Simple: Eat the food, Listen to the music, talk to the people.  That's the heart of the culture.  

When the view outside my front door 300% of the time is this,  

 

 

 

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And I'm being generous here.  This is a very good day on a very specific week most likely in the month  of April.  

Then sights like these... 

 

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Niagra Falls NY

 

Rainbow Row Charlotte SC  

Rainbow Row Charlotte SC  

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Key West FL

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NY NY  

are just the beginning of how amazing a varied and beautiful and surprising our nation is.  Still don't wanna live anywhere but CA, but I have a joyful understanding of someone else's love for these places.  just valuing my perspective. It makes me believe that home actually looks like that picture more often than it does.

ps If you ever get the choice, take the job that travels.  

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

Mom is asking for another post and I'm currently on an 8 hour bus travel day traversing Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky with an ultimate goal of Dayton Ohio. Yup, four states in one day.  Haven't done that since I was a "tiny little girl" (Dorothy quote) and Dad packed us in the unairconditioned car every other summer to drive non stop from CA to IL to visit relatives. I think I was about 8 years old the last time that happened. In CA you can drive 8 hours north and still be in CA! Anyway, this provides a little time for blogging.  Here ya go, Mom!

We've just finished our second full week of shows. We are generally booked 8 shows a week the entire tour.  We will have shows 17-24 in Dayton. Yay! A sit down! (Some term explaination here for Mom, who will ask, and anyone else who needs to know.) A sit down is when we are booked in a city/theatre for more than a day or two. We are in Dayton for a week. That sounds awesome when you realize that the following two weeks is entirely one nighters.  Yup. A new theatre in a new city every night.  This means travel, show, sleep, repeat x14, or something like that. I haven't counted.  I don't keep track. It can be daunting. A sit down can be exhausting too as it means that you usually have a two doh shay or two. (That's "Willy Wonka" speak for 2 show day) This term is pretty apropo as your brain can get turned around by show two due to exhaustion or the feeling of de ja vu.. Didn't we already do this scene? Am I getting in or out of this costume? However, sitting in a city also allows you a bit of time to get your laundry done, shop, explore a new part of the country, get to a doctor or buy a new phone because yours died. (Gah! Yes, it died!) 

I'm getting one question very consistently from you lovely friends and family so I thought I'd blog the answer this way.  You are all asking: Are you enjoying this? Are you happy? Is it fun? Or something to that effect. Let me say that touring would not be for everyone. You are not the master of your own time, ever. You live on a bus and sleep in a new hotel room nearly every night. You wait for a bus call time by email every night to tell you what time to be on the bus the next day for travel or at the theatre for show. You eat when the bus stops and allows you to eat, where it allows you to eat.  If you need to get anywhere else, uber is your best friend or you walk. You are no longer a name, but a number. This is for wardrobe mainly but girls start with 100 (Me) and up, boys are 200 (Julian) and up. This is so all the locals who dress us can help but don't actually have to learn who we are. Yes, and learn to like public nudity. Theatre people know this. You just change where you can as fast as you can. And thank god for awesome wardrobe dressers! You are told what to wear (for shows) when to change (8 costumes changes a show), how to look, where to stand, how to move, when to breath, what to say and how to say it.  Additionally, you do this with 50 other people from whom you cannot escape so you better like them. We live together on a bus and in hotel rooms.  I am one of only two cast members allowed their own room and bus seat.  Believe me, I don't take this for granted.  Having time to get away from people can be very valuable to me. I'm grateful. You are also far from family for a very long time.  Thank God for Face Time and modern technology but it's not being there.  There aren't many married or family types on the road and there's probably a reason why.  Those who are, are on their phones constantly.  It can be rough on them.  Sooo.... Am I enjoying it? Completely. 

We get to do what we love! Plus travel! And with people we love and have quickly become family.  You become family so fast when doing a show.  You have to.  Like each other or not you are a team that has to trust each other with your life, basically, on a stage every day. Your job is to make everyone on the stage look good.  Not just you.  If you're out there for just you, it shows.  The audience knows it and your cast does too.  You have to trust each other to keep the ball in the air., catch the line that was missed, the fly that didnt come in, the costume quick change mayhem backstage, the cue that failed, whatever! (Not that ANY of these things EVER happened in 42nd Street! 😉) As our family grows off stage our characters deepen on stage and it shows in great ways. Our characters take risks because we trust eachother more and more.  You don't mind the tight schedule because you want to be on time and on stage prepared.  You don't care that you have to change your clothes 100 times a week because you are being dressed in Roger Kirk creations that make you look like an incredible Diva! (Pause here a moment and gasp.  And the best one isn't even here! ((Mostly because I'm afraid that Adam would kill me for posting them. Come see the show!))) 

 

 

 

#divadorothy

#divadorothy

Selfie just before my phone died!!!  

Selfie just before my phone died!!!  

My #Billylaaawlerrr addiction!  

My #Billylaaawlerrr addiction!  

How spoiled am I? Who could complain? Oh, BTW, I got to see the original signed sketches of my costumes as they hang in Bramble's beautiful home too!  

Habit, Dorothy and Billy, as above.  

Habit, Dorothy and Billy, as above.  

Regency, Dorothy  

Regency, Dorothy  

Seriously...   And you should see the dancers! Gah! They look so fabulous! Follow 42ndstreettour on twitter or Instagram for more pics. 

You also learn everyone's habits, likes and dislikes: Clara likes pop tarts, David enjoys a good bourbon, Carlos is a Harry Potter/video game/power ranger nerd deep down, etc. and on top of it all we get to do what we love for sold out, appreciative audiences every night with a show that is actually really really .good! Maybe great! As actors get to know eachother a common question is usually "What's the favorite role you've ever played?" Most often this answer ends up being sentimental.  Our favorites are the show where we met our spouse or got our big break or, for me, A Little Night Music, Ragtime, The Sound of Music, Oliver, where I shared the stage with my beautiful children.  However, this crew agreed that the best answer is THIS role.  THIS show.  whatever THIS is is the right answer.  Whatever show you are lucky enough to be in right now for any actor is your favorite.  Because you are employed.  When you are an actor/musician/tech you realize how fortunate you are to be in a job that pays you to do what you love to do every day.  "Nice work, if you can get it" We know that.  I know that. I'm grateful.  

Fittings

Multiple costumes for 40 people!  

Wardrobe at Big League Productions 42nd Street

Wardrobe at Big League Productions 42nd Street

19 days in and the first part of this adventure is already over! Rehearsal in NYC: Done ✔️ We learned the entire show in under three weeks; the dance ensemble did their part in just two. And they are amazing! They are all young and beautiful and energetic and smart and quick and I'm in awe as their talent for tapping makes me tired just to watch them each day.  BTW tapping just makes you happy! You can't help smiling... that's a whole other post, as is my love for NYC. (Coming later)  I'm California through and through, and have been told so by many a northerner.  I guess it's the tan, blonde thing? IDK but I do know my way round Manhattan by now and I'm not tired of it yet.  Im not sure I could live here forever, but I'm sad to be leaving for a while. We'll be back to NY during the tour. 

 

These opening couple of weeks, to me, have been primarily about fittings. Costume fittings, shoe fittings, wig fittings... yes, those all happened. Great skilled people all over the city are seeing to it that I look and feel my best and that's so cool.  Very grateful. 

These are not my beautiful feet. They are Geo's or Mallory's or one of our other lovelies. Follow the show on Instagram or Twitter as above! 

These are not my beautiful feet. They are Geo's or Mallory's or one of our other lovelies. Follow the show on Instagram or Twitter as above! 

 

 

But also rehearsal fitting: fitting into a scene with other actors and a director, fitting line and lyric memorization into your head, fitting a song into your range with a great music supervisor (Andrew Graham and conductor (Matt Lowy), fitting into choreo design (Randy Skinner, Stephanie Brooks) with 40 people on stage, fitting into the mold of an iconic Diva of a character and finding how she fits into you, fitting into a new city, fitting into a new social group of people who, like it or not, are your family for the next six months.  

 

 

Adam Kidd (director) and Mark Bramble (Writer and Tony revival winner) giving notes after final rehearsal run.  

Adam Kidd (director) and Mark Bramble (Writer and Tony revival winner) giving notes after final rehearsal run.  

We have run the show every day this week with varying degrees of success and improvement every day. This has included visits from the original writer and choreographer from the tony winning revival of the show to give us the history of this piece of theatre of which we get to be a part.  42nd Street hasn't stopped running somewhere in the world since the day it opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in NYC in 1980.  There is a Paris cast now.  London cast opens in March and we are carrying this tradition in the US.  What an honor. Tomorrow we move to PA. Yes, that's Pennsylvania, for a week of tech. It's the next step in the game.  We tech the show in a full sized theatre with a tony winning lighting designer (Ken Billington) and sets (Beowulf Britt).  Lots still to be done. Things still to be fitted.  Characters, lines, choreo, etc. are still being polished (Adam, if you ever read this, "Loves old song WILL be new" WILL! WILL!) and its time for tech to fit. We have an audience in a week.  It's time.  Pieces are fitting. People are fitting... like a glove... a shoe, a wig... whatever! 

 

Cast emergen-c toast before our first run together.  Healthy, happy tour! Cheers!  

Cast emergen-c toast before our first run together.  Healthy, happy tour! Cheers!  

My Life Doesn't Fit in a Suitcase

What this week has felt like... 

Actually an art installation by Lovejoy

Actually an art installation by Lovejoy

So I am moving to NYC and then becoming a traveling, performing vagabond for 6 months and I'm allowed one suitcase. One! They clearly don't know me at all! It's not that I have the fullest closet of any woman or that I'm the ultimate fashionista but ... kinda. I mean, a little? I pack a large case for a weekend. I like to be prepared! I like options! My kids call my theatre bag the "Mary Poppins" bag. Everything is in it. Need 4 colors of lipstick? It's in there. Need a safety pin, bobby pin, extra tights, duct tape, mic tape? It's in there. Need tea, ibuphrophen, tums, a band aid? It's in there. Need a snack, a coat rack, a ficus plant? It's in there! And that's just for a couple hours! This is 6 months! 6 months of on and off planes, trains, buses, subways, cold weather, hot weather, rehearsals, performances, whatever. How does this Mary Poppins pack for that in one case?  

 

I did get some sufficient notice before leaving to shop for warm clothes (something this California girl has really never had to own) and luggage (tip-  bigger bag isn't necessarily helpful as you can still only pack 50lbs in it even though it will fit like 100), do Christmas shopping and wrapping, put meals in the freezer so the fam doesn't starve or think that I'm just forgetting them, and actually do some research on this show and start learning Dorothy (my new alter ego). Its also been holiday time so there have been opportunities to see family and friends before heading out. Coffee and dinner and shopping with beautiful friends, 

 

Movies with my film buff boy... 

Movies with my film buff boy... 

One last use of my Universal Wizarding World of Harry Potter pass

With my favorite Gryffindor and Ravenclaw... 

With my favorite Gryffindor and Ravenclaw... 

Thanksgiving with family  

Jordan Ann and Joe Martone, me, Phil, Kennedy and Carter.  

Jordan Ann and Joe Martone, me, Phil, Kennedy and Carter.  

Traditional Christmas candy making  (My sister offered to host so my kids wouldn't miss out on it while I was gone through the Christmas season 'cause she's really awesome like that!) 

 

Hand made candy with cousins and the new Doyle beeb bump! Auntie B's cheese tasting. Best traditions!  

Hand made candy with cousins and the new Doyle beeb bump! Auntie B's cheese tasting. Best traditions!  

And finally we got to squeeze in the new season of Gilmore Girls with my girls just hours before boarding my flight. Thank you Netflix! This has been a staple in my girls growing up years (like many other moms and daughters of good tv taste). Most of our conversational references come from this show ("Oy, with the poodles already!" "Copper Boom!" "Only with my oxygen" etc.) or Friends, Parks and Rec, but def GG! 


With "coffee coffee coffee" 

With "coffee coffee coffee" 

All in all the actual packing of the suitcase took maybe an hour but the leaving took three weeks.  So, no, my life doesn't fit in a suitcase. Thank God! Thank God that I packed for 6 months away and still left a closet of clothes at home. Thank God that I have friends left at home supporting me. Thank God for family that don't fit in a case even though I'd love to bring them along. Thank God they have active, thriving lives where they are and we can be in touch constantly with technology whenever we want. In this month of being grateful, I'm grateful for all the things and people I have in my life that would so overflow a suitcase. There aren't enough suitcases. (Refer to Lovejoy photo. That's how I feel) Not everyone has this, I know. Ive happily packed as much of them and as much of me as I can carry in one Mary Poppins bag (OK, and a carry on). Grateful. Ready.

Hi Ho The Glamorous Life...

First, I am under no delusions that this blog will be followed by a great many people or have a lasting impact on the world, the theatre world, even the room in which I currently sit. I'm blogging more as a journal of my own memories and as a way for my family and any friends who have a spare minute or two while sipping their coffee and have already exhausted twitter, tumblr, Instagram, and FB, to have something to read to keep up with a friend who is away for the next few months.  I remember when I went to school abroad in Europe, I wrote numerous letters home recounting all visits and studies, and my parents kept each of them in a file for me.  They stand today as a journal of that adventure and I value them.  So here is my new, higher tech, file of letters as I begin a new 6 month journey, for anyone who cares to pay any mind. Where am I going? Well... 

 

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Honored and thrilled and excited and nervous and yay don't cover it! More about that later.  

Second, about the title, Hi Ho the Glamorous Life...

Anyone who is a Sondheim fan, as I am, totally gets this. And anyone who has done any real theatre knows how tongue-in-cheek this title is. Or rather how glamorously unglamorous the acting trade and touring can be. It really is so much lights and facade and make up and pretend; everything you thought dress-up was when you were a little girl, and yet, didn't you feel just as glamorous anyway? It didn't matter that your high heels were mom's and 4 sizes too big and your lipstick was all over your face and the cheap feather boa shed all over your bedroom floor, you were glamorous! 

If you are unfamiliar with this song, it is sung by Frederika in the musical A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim and beautifully, eloquently, lovingly illustrates how a little girl both grieves and idolizes her actress mother who is constantly away working. I have been amazingly blessed to work near my children while they are young... partly out of the choice to put aside jobs in deference to motherhood and partly out of embracing teaching as an opportunity to continue to refine skills. Plus we have an active local/regional/professional theatre community here in LA where I live that allowed me to work a bit nearby. Now, there are lots of great moms who work full time and in theatre! I just knew that I wanted to be home with mine and made that the priority. Also, I was really fortunate to have had that luxury.  (Yay! For the full time working mom who is being all things for all her kids! We can do it ladies!) It's not easy. What worthwhile is? Anyway, one of my great opportunities has been to play Desiree to my daughter's Frederika in a lovely production of A Little Night Music with Cedar Street Theatre directed by my dear friend Lane Williamson.  

Desiree and Frederika, at the piano 

Desiree and Frederika, at the piano 

Photocred: Tyler Joy Bannerman

Photocred: Tyler Joy Bannerman

We sat frozen in this pose forever!  

We sat frozen in this pose forever!  

 

Hearing my daughter brilliantly (IMHO) perform this piece every night (its no easy feat) while accompanied on violin by my other daughter and with my son in the audience cheering, made me both want to be and not be everything this song was simultaneously - everything they would admire and yet here for them every moment they needed me; every mother's constant struggle no matter what job industry. So for all the great working actresses and working moms out there, I'm grateful for this job at this time. I'm grateful for a lifetime of work with my children and supporting them. I'm grateful they are my greatest work. I'm grateful for this glamorous life! 

 

THE GLAMOROUS LIFE -Stephen Sondheim  

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