Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bangkok

I am here in Bangkok, which reminds me a lot like Manila. We arrived wed night on the 10th, and Thursday was my first shooting of a television show. We arrived in the lobby at 9:00 am. a little far from the times I have normally been getting up. Once we arrived at the station I was straight to hair and make up. I think i was in the chair for what felt like a hour. After five layers of foundation I was primped and pampered into and airbrushed goddess. Well something like that. We shot our interview portion first with Lea. They asked us questions like, where did we go to school, did we enjoy pushing lea around on stage. I was nervous the whole time staring back an forth from host to host while they spoke tai and I smile until they asked me something in English. It was fun! we had lunch, a retouching of the make up and then we waited in the studio whilst lea sang and Pat sang (oh Pat is a star here in Thailand and she was on the show as well with Peter, Lea, Brandy and I. Really nice lady she sang reflections for Mulan) Lea and Peter sang and then it was Brady and I's turn. The crew did a complete set change for each number. It was kind of amazing to set the back side of a TV show. We got one run through and then they taped the second one. Brandy and I had to perform a third one as well, they said something happened to the camera. It was a full 8 hr day by the time we got back to our hotel. I didn't even notice the time I was having to much fun. The show is called Star Stage and airs on Sundays.

Last night was our official opening in Bangkok. It was one of the best shows I have ever done. I audience was amazing. They laughed at everything they got it they were with us the whole way. I have never worked so hard for and audience that wanted it so bad. and that's how I feel about that. They threw us a great opening night party ( I wore a long black dress) I walked in with people taking pictures on me asking for my autograph, something has never happened to me before. I was very humbled by the whole thing. And then I turned around an there was an almost life size picture of me on a wall. I just was shocked and in awe. The wine was great the food was great. All and all It was such an amazing night.....I love Bangkok!

Friday, September 26, 2008

China Thus Far

So I know I am not good at keeping up with my blog, so I though I really need to get myself up to date at least, and fill in later.

Here I am in China now. I have been here for a month now. We started out in Xian (she-on) sitting around a seeing the sights for a good week and a half before we performed. I took a lot of time resting, since it was our first real break since we started rehearsals for Cinderella. I shopped around a lot and started to pick up the language (just a little). you know key words to get you around such as thank you (shey shey), no (boo), I don't understand (woh boo dong), don't' touch me (be-a pon wah). I've used them all!

Our hotel was close to what is called the grey goose pagoda. A very large worshiping stone thing, that was great to see. The thing I though about china before I even got here was how dirty it would be and how poor a country it would be. It exceeded all my expectations. It was more about the history. Very clean and everywhere you looked were places of history or something that had history before the states were formed. It blows your mind just to think about it that way. Ok moving on

First performance in China, of course we had subtitles and I just assumed it would be like me watching an opera in the states. They were silent a lot and I half expected it (them not to get all the jokes). It toke a lot more on my part to put forth the energy that Portia admits on stage. It feelt a little like I was working with a blank wall. But then they started to loosen up and they were more than appreciative in their applause in the end. The run in Xian was a smooth one. And after 3 weeks we left for Jen Jo. Not even close to how it's spelled but that's how you pronounce it.

Oh I forgot to mention that everyone here smokes, EVERYWHERE! So you rooms constantly smelled like smoke and hallways, and well lets just say I got a bad cold right before we left Xian and it followed me to the performances in Jen Jo.

Jen Jo, well we were only there for 5 days and 3 performances. Smokey as well, but such a beautiful hotel did we stay in. I mean gorgeous!! We had rehearsal on Sat and then 2 shows on Sunday and one on Monday. I lost my voice after rehearsal Sat night. That was scary. I went on vocal rest for most of the rest of the time there, but pulled through and made it though my performances with slight altercations. Of Course I couldn't yell at Lea full out, so you know how much that disappointed me.............LOL. No but all was well, and Lea was amazing as always.

So about 4 days ago we traveled to Guan Jo (misspelled) and here I am wandering around seeing the cites. I had a Marketing thing for Cinderella the other day. The producers took us to an ancient temple and the interviewers were going to take pic of us seeing the sights. After we were done a reporter interviewed us asking the stepsisters (brandy & I) this question. " As stepsisters it looks like you would do absolutely anything to get the prince. Do you do that in real life as well?" LOL really I just couldn't stop laughing. Guan Jo is also the culinary cap of China, so I have had some great American dishes. Mexican YES, Italian, and even a Steak with rosemary wine sauce. Oh I can't wait to buy a camera to record all this.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tal Volcano










I took one of my first day trips here in the Philippines to see the Tal Volcano. It was one of the biggest adventures is have ever done, and my first near to death experience. Here is the story of the whole day.

We started by getting up at 6:30 am to get in a taxi to catch a bus to the city Tagatay. Which is at the top of a city across from the volcano. We get to the buss station and and someone is pointing to a guy wearing a sign around his neck that says Tagatay he calls us over and says that he has a van to take us to this city (1:30hr to get there) at a price of 180 pesos per person ($3.50) we agree and get in the van. There are 2 other people in the van and we find out he has to find 2 more people to ride with us before we leave. I looked at the driver and said "if we don't leave in 1 min we are going to get out and find other means to transportation....just a heads up" We ended up getting out of a van and getting into another who drove us right away, but drove so fast I couldn't even watch. swerving around tight corners passing people. we made it there in 45 min..

so now we are in the city of Tagatay and we need to take a tricycle 30 min to the bottom of the island we were on. The tricycle looks like a motorcycle attached to a covered side car. Although we were cramped it was a lot of fun. Sara, Shawn, and I rode in the side car. While Michael, and Mat and the driver were on the motorcycle. We finally made it to the bottom where then we had to take a boat across to the volcano island. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Little did I know what was to come ahead.

Once we made it across we paid some more money to ride horses up to the top of the volcano. They were smaller than your usual horses and we had guides holding the rope walking the horse all the way to the top. Probably another 30 min. We finally got to the top, sweaty a little dirty, but the view was well worth it. At the top we could look down into the lake in the middle of the volcano. my group wanted to hike down the volcano and swim in the lake. I was hesitant but agreed to the adventure. We took about 6 guide down with us. And this is where is all happened

We started on the path (if you could even call it that) pushing through tall grass higher than my head it was pretty level for a while and then we started to go up hill. I think I yelled "aren't we supposed to be going down this thing." It was getting a little bit thicker (more jungly) and I found myself grabbing tress to help me up. when we got to the top of that section It went straight down from there, litterly. the dirt below our feet was loose and you were constantly slipping forward. It was probably at a 100 degree angle, and winding every which way. I was hold to tree for dear life. My thighs we in constant contraction. There were times I would just sit on my but and would slide down like I was on a playground slide. Although it's not as fun where your sliding on extreme hot ground with rocks and dirt. I think I was cussing a lot, saying things like. "who the F#$@ thought this was a F#$@ing good idea," and "Sorry guys but I am going to be F#$@ing cussing a lot." It was abound 4 1/2 miles down to the lake. I made it about 3/4 the way and new that If I kept going I wasn't going to make it up to the top again. I was having trouble breathing, I was constantly drinking water but I think I was having heat exhaustion. I told the rest of the group to keep going down and I would have 2 guides try to take me back up, and not to worry I would see then at the top. I rested for a while and tried to go back up. I probably walked, no was pulled up by my wrist and what energy I had, for about 2 min, before I was heaving for breaths screaming oh my god. And stopped to rest again. My 2 guides waited patiently for me and we tried again, at least to get under the shade of the jungle since we were out in open sun. I made it another 2 min before we had to stop in the shade finally. I thought I was going to throw up and pee at the same time. I told my guide I was peeing right here right now. He didn't understand me, until I drooped draws right in front of him. My legs were shaking uncontrollably, and when I was finished I just collapsed. my 2 guides broke off branches and one took his shirt off to lay on top of the branches. I laid down on them and my guide fanned my for what felt like the longest time on my life. I laid there long enough for the rest of my group to finished swimming and hike all the way back up to me. Shawn was the first to get to me. apparently when he reached me my guide he told him that his wife was laying over there in the bushes. They were all so exhausted when they reached me that we all rested for a while longer then tried to make it back up the volcano. we had to stop 3 more times. Meanwhile on every stop our local guides were taking smoke breaks.LOL. When we got to the top part right before it started to go down, they had brought us some horses to take the rest of the way back. I was so thankful. We made it back and hugged each other for a long time, we were covered head to toe in dirt, it was hot and sweaty but we all knew we had accomplished something. We took the horses down, the boat back, the tryc up and a buss home and finally and taxi to the hotel to get back. We were scraped up some bleeding from the jungle and falling, Sara was having an allergic reaction to the scraping plants. I was more than exhausted. I took a long shower and ate dinner. That night I went to bed thinking how amazing, and horrifying that experience that was. I loved it so much but you couldn't pay me anything to ever do it again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sick Sick Sicker

Oh how it has been a while since we last talked, and It's only me to blame. I do have to say it's really because What I have to write about is depressing. At least for me. I have been sick since the week before tech week, and here is the whole story.

I started to feel symptoms of a really bad chest cold. I it just felt like there was a weight in my lungs and it was hared to breath. I thought I would be just fine since other people were feeling sick as well. A week went by with these symptoms still going on if not getting worst, my voice was shat, and we had started tech week which meant 12 to 1 in the morning. I went to the hotel doctor. She didn't even listen to my heart just asked me my symptoms and diagnosed me with a bacteria infection and put me on antibiotics. She said I should start to feel better in a week. This was Tuesday, and I knew we had our first preview audience on the following Monday. I let the drugs take there effect. Which was nothing. By Thursday I had no voice at all, I was still having trouble breathing and I went to Leah to get the name of her voice doctor.
I went to the voice doctor, he checked me out and I had my very first scoping of the throat. I was so nervous, so nervous. My stepmother in the show Julia was there with me, and watched him stick the rod down my throat. I am glad she was there if just to hold my hand. The good thing was that my chords were perfectly healthy. The bad thing was I still had this infection. He doubled the anti.. and put me on steroids. My voice finally got back to it's normal sound as preview night came and even opening night, was wonderful. I still feel like I am recovering from what ever it was, slowly but surely. I can't tell you how many times I just felt like screaming what's wrong with me.
So opening night was last Friday and I will blog about that soon, but for now I can say that it's wed morning and on Monday I woke up with a cold and I still have a sore throat right now.......Does this ever end.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cast Recording







On Tuesday July 8th, I made my first recording on the Cinderella soundtrack. ahhhhhh. that's really my best reaction to what happened.

I got up at 6:25 in the morning, although it felt like Christmas to me. I was waking up at every hour just to check the clock to see if it was time to get up. "I'm too excited to sleep." LOL. After finally getting up before the alarm went off I need an energy boost since I would be belting at 9:00 in the morning. I hit the gym for a little fast cardio, finished getting ready grabbed an apple and headed towards the bus.

When we reached the studio it was upstairs to drop off bags and then straight into the studio for Brandy and I to start stepsisters lament. I was trying to drink as much hot tea and cold water at the same time to put my voice in the best shape possible. Recording was a blast. everyone in the booth puts your mind at ease. You're constantly cracking jokes at whose fault it is that we have to do another take. My voice started to tire and I was thankful for a break when it was someones elses turn at bat.

At our next recording Lea was in studio with us. As I listen to her lovely voice so sweetly singing her part I waited for my turn to jump in the song with a loud nasal pitch in an extreme character voice. She is so down to earth, talking to her brother (our music director) about an oboe being off pitch somewhere. As more jokes and laughs continued we finish up our last song.
My session is over and I am internally grateful to have a part of me in this piece of history. To even share it with the other amazing voices on the album is more than I ever could have imagined.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

uptodate on me

let me get you up to speed on a few thing that have been going one. for one yesterday I had my first signs of upset stomach. after eating at a local restaurant i started to feel the turning the gurgling and the language only stomachs speak (ahgahahgaklggugugrrlrllel) well something like that. Well needless to say If you have seen sex in the city I felt like Charlotte racing to get home...only i did make it. I though this was the best way to start my new blog.LOL

So far all the rehearsals except for yesterday (I'll tell you later) have been going so great. Bobby (director) Is amazing he gives me so much freedom to play with the way my character is acting and feeling. There are just to many ideas flying in my head when told that your character is stupid and blind with out glasses and given an obstacle course to get from one point to another. Oh bobby!! I do love playing this character.
Yesterday was just an off day for me. I don't know if I was tired, not focusing on Portia, just in an emotional mood....or possibly a combination of all of the above, but it made me think. I was thinking about how so little can effect your performance, but also hows It OK to have bad rehearsal days, so you can learn from them to better your actions in your performance.
tis all for now next blog is all about the cast recording!

Monday, July 7, 2008

History Guide


This Sunday I went with a group of my cast to visit a little piece of history in Manila. One word Intramuros. Well I am sure that means nothing to you but the best description is this. A walled in city in the middle of Manila first colonized by the Spanish (hints the Spanish architecture). but bombed and destroyed in WWII. The only thing left standing was San Agustin Church, but you wouldn't even know since the city is now rebuilt with Spanish like architecture. We went on this amazing tour of this huge church (there was a wedding going on at the time) connected to a museum. The tour guide was such a great actor, with music and great passion about what he spoke about. It was a big history lesson about manila. As much as I enjoyed learning about it, there came a point in the tour which talked about the USA. How we bought manila and tried to make them an American state and introduce our new technology to the people. In WWII the Philippines got in the middle of us and Japan and japan invaded and started to kill everyone. According to the tour guide since General MacArthur left (famous quote "I shall return") We bombed Manila and leveled the city killing both sides. Now as a proud American It's "interesting" to get a history lesson about how evil your country was and how many thousands of people we hurt and killed. By this time I was to mad and upset and guilt ridden to want to continue this tour. I am leaving out all the details of how people were killed and the descriptions of their hard times and that I was standing in the crypt of priest and people who were killed. needless to say I didn't enjoy the tour as much as I though I would. I do understand that it wasn't their intention to make you feel the way I did, but I can not deny what I was feeling at that moment. The tour after the crypt went to a mansion across the street and the mood lightened from there, which I was thankful for. So all and all I will say that the architecture was so beautiful and it was an enlightening tour, that I would never take again....unless I want to feel like....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pictures of Manila

I AM FINALLY POSTING SOME PICTURES, YEAH............I knew you wanted them!

The Dusi Tani Hotels Lobby (pic looking left then to the right) AMAZING!




















This Picture the one I took of the relaxing pool. There are golden buda sautes around the pool and....well what more can I say about how beautiful it is.
















This is my room in the hotel. King size bed (way too big) a lovely bathroom. ahhh sigh!

This hotel is Just so amazing I cant' even believe I am living here for 2 months. In the center/side of the hotel (dont' ask) there is a little water garden connected to one of the 5 restaurants in the hotel.


Just a little crab that I had for lunch one day. the seafood market was behind the restaurant. You ordered and they went out back and bought is fresh then cooked it. (photo staged by Jen)





Finally this is some of my cast as we head on the bus every morning to rehearsal. I am so lucky to have this many wonderful things in my life.........knock on wood:)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Serenade

Today was the first day of rehearsal/read and sing through. The cast is amazing, and so easy going and fun to be around. Now as I can't say much I will say this. I was serenaded by a beautiful voice that just left me in awe...really....really. How did this happen to me. Now on my side of the table, I was given reassurance of my abilities as an actress when laughter was always in the air when my mouth was open.....ahh the power of a laugh.

Manila

Well after 18hrs on a plane I am finally in Manila (Philippines if you didn't know). Currently I am still trying to adapt to the time change. I am exactly 12hrs earlier than New York. Basically, I feel like i want to go to bed at 7:30 at night and get up at 3:30 in the morning. I might need to get some caffeine in me as I am writing, because honestly I could close my eyes and go to dream land. Ok enough about me being tired. Manila is amazing...well the hotel I am living in is amazing. More than I could even dream about. I have my own room, king size bed, spa, gym. OMG!!! That's all I can say about this place. The biggest mall you can imagine is across the street, so big there are 2 malls a museum and grocery store attached to this 4 floors of shopping. It's over whelming and seriously I think i could get lost, and prob will sometime. We haven't really explored more than what's around us within the hotel and mall. What more can I say........I'm tired.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Posting

First Post to the blog. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw "hello there." It's 2:00 in the morning, I can't sleep from all the excitement, sex and the city is on my TV, and I have spent the last 3 days fitting my life into the top of my closet so someone else can move into to my comfortable normal life, in Harlem. which sounds a little like an oxymoron. Tomorrow I will be headed back to Wichita to spend some much needed time with my family and friends. I have everyday planned up until the big flight next Friday. Not sure if that's good or bad yet. I only know I have much to do before the 20th and right now it should be sleeping. So goodnight to my first blog. We will be seeing much of each other in the coming months. Stay tuned next blog is all the info on Asia....you won't want to miss it.