Saturday, March 13, 2010


opening day, today, of "isabelle and the pretty ugly spell." my new york off broadway musical debut. the day went very well, i believe. after every day rehearsal for the last three weeks, we finally put it up in front of an audience. now, this is children's theater. this means that the average age of our 11:00 am performance was about two and half years old. they are beautiful, of course, but not quite so sophisticated when it comes to clever lyrics that advance the plot. however, they love all the colorful costumes and whenever we move around. and let's face it, they loved izzy, the extremely cute fairy godmother. and the princess, the equally cute daughter of the king. and the grand fairy, rounding out the cute trio of ladies in our cast.

i'm sure they also enjoyed the other fairy godmothers, played by two very talented actors who had to sing in falsetto the whole time. that's hard work! and they loved clyde, our once and future prince who had all kinds of fun gadgets that he "invented". i suppose they may have enjoyed myself as king but only because i took up the most space and had an awesome cape on.

after the show we all signed autographs and the children had two main questions for me: was my beard real? and was i a real king? i answered both questions in the affirmative, of course. wasn't sure what else to say, really. my beard is mine, and i'm kind of the king of my little apartment in midtown. and i've been king of the backgammon game on my iphone, so... is that a stretch?

the vital theater company is where this took place. it's on broadway at 76th street. so in a way, it was a broadway show. :) actually, though, there aren't enough seats to make it a true broadway show. it takes more than the 108 that vital has, but it's a great theater with a green room and dressing rooms and everything that an actor could want. even those mirrors lined with big bulbed lights so you can see every line on your face that you seek to cover with base and rouge.

the other thing it has is a small backstage, but this just makes things more fun. all the set pieces that aren't on stage are behind the curtain...along with all the actors...and the rack of clothes for between-scene changes...and the crew of interns who help with set changes and actor clothing changes. this means that we all bump into each other quite a bit. it was during one of these encounters that i felt a tinge of frustration that i couldn't move without running into something or having someone run into me. and then, almost as quickly, was struck with another thought.

it was almost a wave of thoughts all at once. a mixture of "mark, chill out", and "just move over a little", " it's no big deal." but the predominant thought was that of being privileged. privileged to share this new york, off broadway stage with such talented people. privileged to be a part of a great opening day performance and to hear the applause of entertained people. privileged to be doing something that seemed like a crazy dream just two years ago. privileged to be standing in this crazy crowded backstage in which so many would love to be standing.

what a gift. 31 more shows to go!

Monday, February 15, 2010


so, my first new york musicals are coming up. if you're near the city, i believe you'll enjoy either or both of these shows.

the first is a children's theater show through the "vital theater" that is very family friendly and just a fun twist on the cinderella fairy tale. i play the king with a lovely daughter princess. so lovely in fact that an ugly spell was cast on her as a baby that must have a young suitor's kiss to break the spell by her 16th birthday. "isabelle and the pretty ugly spell" will be great fun for children and adults alike.

opens march 13 and performs at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm every saturday and sunday through april 25th. lots of opportunity to see it.

show number two is called "celluloid" and is about a film company in the late 70's that is struggling to produce a hit to stay on their feet. i play a character named joe who through some personal loss, learns to trust his co-workers and find new love. all the music in this show is jazz based and fun. this original musical is making its new york debut in an off off broadway midtown venue with hopes of going to the next level. your support would help!

opens may 13 for six shows only!
may 13 - 7:00 pm
may 14 - 7:00 pm
may 15 - 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
may 16 - 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm

would love to see you in the city for a performance of one or both of these shows. let me knok when you're coming so i can get good and nervous!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


in april of last year, i worked background on the season finale of ugly betty. it was a great scene. awards banquet when one of the characters seems to see the ghost of his just deceased wife. if you follow the show, you probably know what i'm talking about.

the shoot took place in the lovely waldorf-astoria hotel on park ave between 49th and 50th. you simply have to see this place! it really is magnificent from the entry way to the lounge and restaurant, the shops and, i would assume, the rooms. we shot in the entry way for the arrival of the guests to the banquet. then used one of the ballrooms for the banquet scene.

the usual routine for background actors is to be on set for the shots, of course, and then be in one of two places: holding, or crafty. the holding area is a designated space where everyone chills when they're not needed on set. people talk, read, sleep, and generally just relax. you meet a lot of people in holding and most of them become your facebook friends. this, by the way, is one reason that actors have so many "friends" on facebook. we want to keep up with other actors and facebook is the networking tool.

the other place you find actors is craft services, affectionately referred to as "crafty." this is the snack bar of any film/tv shoot. it's usually outside on a nearby sidewalk (in this case, on the corner of park ave. and 50th street) and has all kinds of food, all through out the shoot. some healthy, some not. some hot, some not. some tasty, some...

it was during one of my excursions to crafty that a man and a woman in business attire happened to catch me with some food in my hand and asked a question. from their perspective it must seem strange to have a bunch of tuxedo wearing men, and formal gown wearing ladies, stuffing their faces on the sidewalk outside the waldorf. i'm sure i'd ask some questions, as well. so, these two did. i was the one that happened to hear them and respond.

"what's going on?" they asked. i explained what was happening and then engaged them a bit on what they were doing on the sidewalk late at night. they were two maritime lawyers who had been at a conference in the city. patrick was kelli's boss, i think, and they shared a bit about what they do. i didn't realize there was such a crowd of lawyers who focused only on laws surrounding ships, etc.

i told them about how i had come to be an actor in the city and i think they felt sorry for me since the best food i was getting was this little stand on the sidewalk with a small canopy keeping the rain of the cornflakes and other snacks. very kindly, patrick offered to buy me a steak the next time he was in town. i, of course, agreed completely to this plan and took his card. i sent him an email a couple days later.

well, last week, patrick wrote me to say that he'd be in town and was inviting me to a little dinner party he was throwing...9 months later! i was overjoyed! getting a balanced meal is a rarity for me so i started the whole evening already grateful for god's provision in my life. we started the evening with some drinks at the yale club on vanderbilt ave. across from grand central station. here i met some of his friends and colleagues. one of them was a retired ship captain with lots of interesting stories about buying his way through the suez canal with cartons of cigarettes. who knew?

from the yale club we went to a nice restaurant called avra on 48th street between lexington and 3rd ave. the ship captain's wife met us there. she and i spent much of the dinner talking about buddhism which she practices. jeremy and francesca were the other couple. they are young and fun with tremendous energy and intellects. it really was a great meal. the steak was great but what mom would be happiest about is that i ate my vegetables. a side of broccoli ...smothered in feta and garlic! mmmmmmmmm! :)

thanks, patrick, for a great balanced meal with great people!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


i had a new realization recently that has caused me to rethink a previous thought. not really sure if i've written about this, but new york is full of people that seem to work out their relationships in public places. there have been a number of times riding the subway that i'll see, and hear, a couple hashing through the finer details of who was self centered, and who is paying for it. occasionally it happens on the sidewalk under my window. those are the best ones...good and loud! every now and then i think i should offer my services as a certified prepare/enrich counselor of couples.

it's not hard to understand why various public venues become the location for these discussions. we all live on top of one another, so it's either inside the apartment next door with the thin walls, or in the open air, or taking advantage of the public transportation. i think people use public space because whoever hears you air your matrimonial displeasure will never see you again. but your neighbors who hear you through the walls will always be aware that something is not going so well.

anyway, i have a new explanation for public relational conversation. my new explanation comes from a personal experience on 57th street between 5th and 6th avenue at the wonderful rizzoli book store. i'm shooting a small web series there right now called "blank paige" and having a lot of fun. very fun cast and as soon as the first few episodes get edited, they'll be on youtube for fun viewing.

this past tuesday morning, several of us were waiting outside the book store and running lines for the day's shoot. my character, dewey, has a scene in which he is confronted by rosemary about something that happens in the store. as we ran our lines, the confrontation became heated. of course we were just acting, but it was on the sidewalk outside the public. heads started to turn.

that's when it hit me. all these couples i had seen managing their relationships were probably just actors running lines for some one-act they were doing, or a scene study for a class, or a student film they were getting ready to shoot. i mean, the city is full of actors. i'm sure that's what i've been seeing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

true yorker

well, i'm a few steps closer to being a true new yorker it seems. i hadn't really thought about it and i guess it has a way of sneaking up on a person. we all want to adapt to our surroundings and feel a part of things, accepted, etc. this is normal, right? i mean, i'm sure there are some things we shouldn't adapt to, but on the whole, blending in is not a bad thing in itself.

so as i was undressing the other day, i took off my black wool coat from austria that my sister elaine gave me. then unzipped my black lululemon shell that my friend kerry gave me. then pulled off my black long sleeve t-shirt that is a bit form fitting to try and sell myself a little more around here. of course, before all this, i kicked off my black shoes that footed my gray/charcoal jeans. yeah...three layers of black just on top along with all the rest. not to mention my black scarf loosely and fashionably wrapped about my neck. i've almost arrived...

now, if i could just say "fogedduhboudit" right...