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Communication is the Key to this game!!!

Hey everybody!!!

Ok, so normally I have great and funny stories to share, but this time I’d like to take a slightly more serious approach. What I feel like sharing transcends the “theatre” world and is something that every single one of us deals with on a daily basis; sometimes we forget that our heads are attached to our necks and keep walking with our common sense left behind, lol

I think one of the most powerful statements that our director gave us in rehearsal (he having been a part of this show from off-Broadway, to Broadway, and on the first National tour) is that the fun and excitement of being on tour and performing a show is a roller coaster. There will be days when everything is amazing, and there will be days where you can’t stand anybody and still expected to perform at a high level. Well, our wonderful group definitely hit a morale low this past week in Alabama, and before I dive into my thoughts on the situation, I will say that not a single person in the audience knew the difference. We still performed our butts off despite the limbo bar of morale being too low for many of us to make it under.

Trust and communication. I laugh to myself sometimes how these two words come out of everyone’s mouth as two of the most important factors in human relationship, yet I find that well over 50% of people are not able to practice what they preach. Through observation, it is easy to make the conclusion that more often than not it comes down to the fear of confrontation. What is everyone scared of?… This is the rhetorical question to be asked because I have found, and any one who’s reading this blog that knows my mother can attest I got this mentality from her, that the quicker you are able to articulate problems and concerns that require delicate confrontation, the quicker a well versed decision can be made, and the less time you waste in worry, anxiety, anger, or contempt. If you are attempting to travel through life with the purpose of avoiding the tenseness of confrontation, you might as well put shackles on your feet and tip-toe around everyone as they watch you with brows furrowed wondering what the heck your problem is (and everyone at one point or another has looked someone in the eye and said, “why don’t you just tell them ____________?”). In many animal species you will encounter confrontation – over territory, over food, over resources, over mating, etc… and to me, the fact that human beings have the wherewithal to formulate a comprehensive argument through language, we should have no excuse to shy away from confrontation. Could you imagine a world where when we had a problem with each other we lowered our heads and tried to ram each other until one of us passed out? (That would actually be kind of funny, now that I think about it, haha)

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Never Been Kissed

So the cutest thing ever happened today!! We’re in Huntsville, AL (which is absolutely gorgeous, btw, as we drove through the usual tiny southern one shop towns through Alabama, we were surprised to end up in this little modern with pre-civil war southern roots town) and we just finished the show. Virginia (Nina in the show) had a friend of a friend come up to say hello after the show and this girls friends had come along with her. As we’re all talking, this one very shy girl’s mother and friends eventually spilled that the young girl really wanted a “kiss” from Benny… my first kiss request… I smiled 🙂 and said “of course!”… I leaned in, held a kiss on the cheek so the mom could snap a pic on her iPhone and then the girl, beaming from ear to ear, said, “That was my first kiss.”… I am not a particularly gushy person, but that might have been one of the most heart warming things I’ve ever participated in. As we were walking away to head back to the hotel, the girl ran over and gave me a huge hug before running back with her mom and friends to go to the car. Anyway, just wanted to share that cute story… Hope everyone out there is having a wonderful Friday night, and have a safe weekend!!!

Love,

Kyle

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Just Breathe

Goodness gracious!!!… This is the first moment I’ve had to myself to breath, relax and collect my thoughts since we got back to the tour on January 8th, and now that I have the sniffles I just drank a dose of Nyquil, so we’re going to see how much I recollect before I start getting drowsy, haha

Going back to the Chicago experience… we went “off to the races” “right out of the gate”, to colloquialize (yup, just made up my own word, don’t hate!) our week in Chi-town. Before we even had our first rehearsal back from break, we already had a TV appearance for WGN and had to change the choreography that we weren’t even sure we remembered, haha… all went well tho, despite the nerves and pressure of performing a condensed version of 96,000 for the WGN cameras. Two days later, Virginia (who plays Nina) and I had to perform the song “When You’re Home” for ABC News in Chicago, and that was the first time I’ve ever felt like a “Star”. We got a full size limo to pick us up and take us to the studio, we had a personal assistant meet us and take us to the green room and ask us if we wanted Starbucks or anything, we got someone to do our make-up for us… totally spoiled. As for our actual shows, the Oriental Theatre in Chicago is BEAUTIFUL and one of the most extravagant theatres we’ve been to trailing Utica’s amaaazing theatre and the purple heaven of a theatre we were in at Waterbury, CT (despite the fights and murders that took place in our two days there). Since Chicago is pretty much a mini-extension of Notre Dame, it was great to get to see and hang out with different friends throughout the week.

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Back to it!!!

We’re Baaaaaaack!!!… After a month off of hanging with family and friends in Northern Virginia, it’s back to the grind. I went up to NYC twice to meet with vocal coach Liz Caplan there to keep my voice warm, and now I’m ready to go!!!… So on our first day back we found out that we have two live TV performances :-)… Yesterday in rehearsal we had to rework the blocking and change a few of the lyrics (props to our dancer LD for being the FCC and finding an appropriate rap line for TV, since one of my lines has a curse word in it) to fit our TV spot on WGN News today, and then me and Nina get to sing When You’re Home for the Chicago ABC News channel. We haven’t even had a brush up rehearsal for the real show, and we have to go TONIGHT!!! Just another day of crazy changes and having to adapt to the challenges the production company puts in front of you… We have 8 shows this week in Chicago, and then we’re off to Pennsylvania; we’re already off to a crazy start!

Love,

Kyle

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…and we out!!

Well, all of our shows for 2011 are done… It was sad to end so early in December, but it only makes my anticipation for what’s to come in 2012 that much stronger. Here’s a quick recap of the last week…

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The show must go on!

Hey everyone… we’re on our break for Thanksgiving and I’m chillin in Port Orange, FL with two members of the cast at one of their parents houses. Finally, some home cooked meals, time to relax in a non-bus seating fashion, and the ability to catch up with my “To-do list”, which included finally sending my mom some information she’d been asking for for like a month… sorry Mom, hahaha.

So the last week before break was very fun and very interesting… Once we got to North Charleston, SC we were greeted with a wonderful theatre and our producers came in with a film crew. We learned a quick Christmas song arranged by our tour music director and then filmed 3 Christmas commercials to be used for Rogers and Hammerstein, some Chicago TV stations, and general holiday marketing (which is funny, since we’re not doing any shows in December, lol)… I was sooo tired from basically two days of traveling tho, so I had two small hiccups during the show that usually don’t happen… but that was just the tip of the iceberg for my flubs, cuz then we got to Florence, SC, haha.

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So Sick…

Hey!!!… It’s been a while since my last post and that’s only because I got ridiculously sick and I was absolutely miserable. There is nothing worse than being sick and not being able to take a day off and rest. Everything is great now though, I went through about 6 days where I could only sing at about 50-75% because I either couldn’t breathe out of congestion or every time I went to breathe I started to cough. Whatever little sickness I had was frustrating as heck because I felt physically fine, but all the gross stuff went straight to my chest and I was coughing all day long which inevitably led to my throat being sore and my vocal chords being tired. It got so bad at one point that for the first time in my life I went to sing notes and what I wanted to sing was NOT what was coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t actually control the pitch of the notes; I would sing and I could hear the note in my brain, but my vocal chords were weak and the muscles would fatigue and force the sound coming out of my mouth the either squeak or fall egregiousness flat. I was scared and freaked out and almost called out of a show in Waterbury, CT but I had friends who were roadtripping up from Virginia, so I enacted emergency remedies and managed to essentially falsetto my way through that show. After that show I worked hard with our tour music director and made it my 100% priority to have perfect breath and perfect mask placement of the notes so that I could sing with a little more power with the least amount of vocal effort. It paid off… I made it through that week without needing to call out. The experience definitely helped me in two crucial ways – 1. I now have a huge respect for the necessity of vocal rest. I stopped talking in order to save the muscle strength for the shows and I noticed the difference. The muscles felt more rested going into those performances that I was sick and it definitely saved me from missing a show:  2. Since I spent almost an entire week focusing on proper technique, I’m feeling the notes in a better placement now that I’m healthy again, and I can feel the growth in the way my voice sounds with this music. Loving it!

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