Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Good Day. They're All Good Days, These Days.

Well, the Oscar nominees are in. Can't say I care for this 'ten best picture nominee' thing. Hollywood only makes about 12 pictures a year these days, so it's become a thinly veiled marketing thing. Boo to that.

Very pleased, however, to see John Hawkes from 'Winter's Bone' nominated. Unquestionably the best piece of film acting I've seen this year. Incidentally, (name dropping here) Beth Domann, our friend from Missouri, was in that film and did a fine job in a small role. Although Beth lives in Missouri (actually she's the artistic director of 'Landers Theatre' there) and it won't help her much in Springfield, if she were in LA she could ride that kudo for several months. At the very least she'd get a few invitations to some cool parties awash in pretty girls.

Also glad to see 'True Grit' nominated. Thought the Coen brothers did a top-flight job with that remake.

I'm always a little amused to see kids nominated for Best Something, however, like what's-her-name from 'True Grit.' I once worked with the eighty year old, amazing Chicago actress Marji Bank who once lost a 'Jeff' award for Best Actress to a seven year old. At the ceremony I happened to be sitting with Marji. She turned to me and said after the announcement, "What do I say to her? Nice choices?" Funny lady and someone I miss a great deal.

I have been resting my voice since Sunday night. No talking (well, not much) and certainly no singing. That part wasn't hard because I rarely break into song around the house anyway. When I do it's usually to the tune of 'Hello, Dolly!' to one of my dogs and I sing quite loudly, 'Hello, Franny! Well, Hello, Franny! It's so nice to see you back where you belong!!!' much to his confusion.

I also sing to the tune of 'Nobody Knows the Trouble I've seen...' to Zooey...'Zoeberry knows the trouble I've seen...' Another is to the tune from 'Flipper' - 'They call him FRANNY, FRANNY, king of the ocean, king of the sea...' Or from The Brady Bunch: 'Tis the story of a puppy named Franny!' Angie's favorite is an old jazz standard I adapt called 'Joey.' I sing, 'Zooey. Zooey, Zooey. It's been TOO long since you BEEN gone...'


I felt good about Sunday's performance of ADDING MACHINE. At the risk of sounding a little hoity-toity, I felt very much 'in the moment' that night. I had some friends in the audience and of course that always tends to notch my energy up a bit because I'm a show-off. But honestly, in retrospect, I rather enjoyed myself that night.

The composer of the piece, Josh Schmidt, is flying in to see the play this weekend. A couple of weeks ago when we found this out, my co-star, Kelly Lester, turned to me and asked what I wanted to say to him. I said, "Well, first, I wanna slap him and scream, 'WHAT WERE YOU THINKING! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, DAMN YOU!'

Actually, I want to tell him that, in my opinion, he's crossed the oh, so nebulous line of 'good work' into 'genius.' I've done about sixty musicals or so in my career, all professional, all Equity productions, and only once before have I been so stunned by the composition - Sunday in the Park with George. Mr. Schmidt is in good company.

I think my wife has been energized by the recent passing of Jack Lalanne. She's nearly physically dragging me out for long 'hikes' now with the puppies into Griffith Park. Personally, I never understood the difference between a 'hike' and a 'walk.' I guess maybe it's the outfit. For a 'hike' we tend to don a more safari-influenced ensemble; boots, khaki vests, lots of cotton, a rifle flung over our shoulders, binoculars, pith helmuts. For a 'walk' we generally just go as we are.

I was talking to a buddy of mine, a very successful actor out here in LA, yesterday. He said, "Try as I might, I can't get that damn show out of my head. (referring to ADDING MACHINE) I've been thinking about your performance and the music all day. It's kind of annoying, really." Hearing that I could only smile and think, well, we did our job, I guess.

Our musical director, the freakishly good Alan Patrick Kinney, wants to bring me in for some 'cleaning' today or tomorrow. He's a perfectionist (which is one of the reasons he's so good) and is not quite satisfied with some of the liberties I take within some of my songs. Actually, calling them 'liberties' is my way of being in denial about the fact that I can't seem to count to four in front of a crowd. In any event, I'm all for it. I have never understood (see posts about PRAYING SMALL earlier last year) why a show is abandoned simply because it opens. I'm completely in favor of continuing to demand the best of ourselves even if it means a rehearsal on closing night. So...I'm going in to work on it some more.

Angie and I finally relaxed a bit yesterday after about three weeks of high stress because of the play. I played Madden (my new, great addiction) all day and she went shopping (her lifelong addiction). Later she made me a dinner fit for The Ponderosa: Pan seared sirloin with sauteed onions, fresh Italian bread, spinach with balsamic and roasted, new potatoes. Just incredibly good. She is, and I say this with complete sincerity, the best chef I've ever known or seen.

I have to go in soon for more blood tests related to my 'silent killer' of a disease, stage two diabetes. Not looking forward to that. I'm comforted, however, in the knowledge that the last time I went in for my check-up, my 'numbers' were all well within the manageable zone. Considering the 'numbers' were all so high when I was first diagnosed, it is not as frightening as it once was. I'll remember my doctor saying to me upon that first visit, "It's a wonder you're not dead" for the rest of my life.

Good news, I think: a major casting director was in the crowd Saturday night and gave his card to Ron Sossi (our director) and asked that I call him today. He's a TV casting director (has three network shows within his auspices at the moment). He told Ron, "I can get this guy tons of work." We'll see. I am learning that Hollywood is not always as truthful as one would like.

That's about it. Off for our 'hike.' Just waiting for the aborigines to show up that we hired to 'beat the bushes' for slinking, feline predators. Yes, their calypso-inspired singing as they form a great, long line in front of us, clothed only in dusty, but revealing loin cloths, is a bit unnerving for our neighbors, but I find it somehow soothing.

See you tomorrow.