Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Alright guys, we are going to stay in this room, but guess what? We get to go on vacation to the beach today!"

One week from right now, I will be on a plane that is flying West toward Denver International Airport. An aircraft that will be taking me away from the summer of a lifetime and some incredible people. You know what that means? AN EPIC 168 HOURS ARE AHEAD OF ME. Let's talk about the last 140 or so though. Anything from sleepless (in every positive sense of the word) to adventurous to downright awesome. I saw some familiar faces, encountered some new ones, and was viciously an inanimate object. Trust me. It's possible. Ooooo! Look! Foreshadowing!

Sunday: After calling Mom and Dad and Kelly and talking to them about their last day on the beach, I headed to Union Square and bought some street art! There is this really cool photography/drip art vendor who had some pieces I really liked, so I bartered to have another little memory of my trip! I ended up getting one of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Not only do I love the physical piece itself, but it's somewhat of a symbol of my trip! I had talked, and talked, and talked about this trip for the longest time and finally I was tired of simply talking about an idea and took action by sending in my application with my headshot and resume. Before I knew it, I was headed to NYC. I took action and followed through on something that I really wanted to do. From the first time I got here, I saw the Brooklyn Bridge in my first taxi ride from La Guardia and I told myself that I was going to walk across it at some point during my time in the Big Apple. It's down to the last week. I've let myself talk, and talk, and talk about going to the Brooklyn Bridge and I haven't taken action, until earlier this week! I made a plan for Monday or Tuesday, when, after CAP James and I are going to the 9/11 Memorial (with reservations this time) and then after to the Brooklyn Bridge! So in a cheesy way, I look at this street art as a symbol of the incredible and unique local culture of Union Square and as a reminder that I need to be a person of action, rather than just a person of words. There you go. There is your cheesy, meaningful comment of this blog post. #theremightbemore Around 6, James and I meet our friend Tess at a Thai restaurant called Spice and have dinner family-style, sharing entrees and enjoying the variation of choices we made as a brave trio. It's nice that we can be this close! Then the three of us are joined by another wonderful friend Kelan and the four of us go to an experimental theatre show called Fuerza Bruta. If you've paid attention to my blog, this is my second time to this show, but it's worth it! REALLY cheap tickets and an incredible show that's like Cirque du Soleil but in a club! And...SURPRISE! Steven Tyler just happened to be there with us. He looks just like you think he would in real life. We leave Fuerza and people are giving us the strangest looks, most likely because we are soaking wet. The end of Fuerza Bruta consists of a huge dance party on the club floor with tons of sprinklers turned on at full blast above the audience, and everyone enjoys it like there's no tomorrow! We decide that we have no shame and head to a frozen yogurt place called 16 Handles and sit for a bit, while we enjoy the occasional wondering eye that stops on the small group of 20-somethings that are beginning to cause a small pool of water to form on the floor. After we split our separate ways, I find myself enjoying a bit of homework and the pillow that could really use a bit of fluffing. Don't worry. I fixed that.

Monday: The official beginning of Week 5. I think this is the day that is also known as the day of productivity. Ballet and Jazz I really focus on getting technique. We started this really cool Fosse dance in Jazz to All That Jazz from the musical Chicago! It's a blast! Really specific and different than anything else I've done here this summer as far as dance goes. Ballet has been a lot of time figuring out where my true center is and how to always keep it lifted! After lunch is Audition Technique where I get an interesting note that I've never received before. My teacher said that I have a dirty cockiness behind my innocent eyes and smile that I need to bring out. Take that for what you think it means and deal with it. I'm still not sure what that means. Music theory is the same old song and dance, without the song or dance part. I can appreciate it for sure, but there is a reason I'm not a music major. The gym makes me feel better, and I do homework while listening/researching more music I can sing for the remainder of the program. The gym is getting to me. ZzzzZZZzZZzz.

Tuesday: I have a 9AM rehearsal to start of this great day, then I get right into Tap which has all of it's usual peppy awesomeness that it usually does. Vocal tech flies by as I enjoy listening to my classmates have breakthroughs and sing their individual songs. This week in vocal tech, we are getting time to work individually with the teacher which is an AWESOME opportunity. I'm excited for it! Vocal Performance is after lunch and my performance is alright. I have a sudden realization. I think I have a legitimate phobia of high notes. What is wrong with me?! Every time I sing up into my upper register I psychologically freak myself out and make myself believe that I can't sing that high, even though I know that isn't true. I've proved it to myself multiple times before. My performance was alright, but I wish it could have gone better. I sang a hilarious song about putting in a personal ad and the responses I got from the ad. It was a challenge and I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on my comedy! It's something I'm really looking to grow in, especially with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels coming up in the fall! Acting concludes the day where I have my scene performance with Kelan. It's a little rough on my end, but for some reason this scene just won't stick in my brain! I've tried and tried but for some reason memorizing this scene has been really difficult for me. Another gym day with weight-lifting and cardio and then homework later are enough to make my eyes heavy enough to sleep. But you know, if I'm exhausted I must be living each day to the fullest, so I must be doing something right.

Wednesday: To be honest, this is the first time in the entire four and a half weeks that I've really struggled with waking up and getting out of bed. I don't know what it is. I mean, I didn't sleep well last night at all. It was one of those nights where you constantly wake up and my AC unit stopped working for a bit, but CAP is waiting for me, so I plant my feet on the ground, force myself out of bed, run through the shower (metaphorically of course), and get down to 18th street! Ballet and Jazz wake me up a bit and after lunch is one of my favorite classes: Musical Scene Study. We have an incredible warm-today, and then we see some INCREDIBLE scenes! I love my talented classmates! It's awesome seeing a scene all the way through once, and then having our teacher go through and fix things which enhance the scene and take it to a whole new level. They are subtle changes, but a raised sternum and deep breath followed by a full exhale dramatically changes circumstances in certain cases. Business of Theatre class is really interesting today when we talk about agents and managers and how to get them! I RUSH out of CAP as soon as I can because I am off to see some wonderfully familiar faces. My Aunt Paul and cousin Colleen are in NYC and they invited me to see Harvey with them, a Broadway show with Jim Parsons based off of the Jimmy Stewart movie. We grab dinner on 54th street at a Mexican restaurant called Iguana and caught up! It sure is nice to see family! We get all caught up on each others' busy lives and then head to the show. It was quite the theatrical experience! I really enjoyed Harvey and was so grateful that Aunt Paula was generous enough to treat me to such a wonderful evening! We leave the theatre and want to see Rachel, one of Colleen's friends whom I've met before when Colleen was traveling with her across the country (they stopped into Baylor when they drove through Texas. We are trying to get a taxi when we realize that Colleen's phone is dead, so we don't have Rachel's number. We don't know the actual name of the wine shop where Rachel works. We also cannot get Rachel's number off of her Facebook because it's not on there. Hmmmmmm. *DING* Earlier in the summer, Dad emailed me Rachel's number because she had found out I might be headed up North sometime soon, and so much to Aunt Paula's and Colleen's disbelief, I'M actually the one who was able to contact Rachel. It was hilarious in the you-had-to-be-there sense. We get to Foragers and some shenanigans go down, which was expected because a couple of crazy Wilson cousins are together in NYC with some other REALLY COOL people too! Let's just say the "Youhooooob", a harmonica, and "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Island" were all involved. I take the nice 10 block walk home because Foragers is close to where I live! I'm pretty sure my extra-long twin bed has never been so comfortable.

Thursday: The trend of exhaustion continues, but you know what? I've decided that I will allow myself to slow down and sleep on August 5th, when I am depressed about the lack of my new close friends in my life and being out of NYC. I really am happy here and wouldn't want to be anywhere else this summer. It's been a dream, and is going to continue to be! Tap starts the morning which loosens me up a bit, but then in Vocal Technique, I think I got nervous to perform for the first time. But this isn't your everyday mild nerves. This is the kind of tense-up, locked knees, short-of-breath, cold hands sort of nervous tension that is preventing me from thinking straight and singing correctly for my performance today. DANG IT! I only have one more shot at getting individual attention from our awesome Vocal Tech teacher, and I feel like I kind of blew this chance! It's alright. At least I get a second pass! I'm singing Man from The Full Monty, by the way. Acting and Vocal Perf are the classes that complete my Thursday at CAP, and I'm already in love with the new song I was assigned! It's called Larger than Life, and it's WONDERFUL! It sits in my voice really nicely and the music/melody is BEAUTIFUL. I love when the right melody and accompaniment combine to make a gorgeous song, especially when I am the one who gets to sing it! Unfortunately, i come to the realization that my gym membership has expired! No longer will I be running or biking at the New York Sports Clubs I'll have to make up for that with push-ups and sit-ups this week. I'll put a little extra into dance classes as well! I decide that a night to myself is a nice idea because I could use a little extra rest, so I grab dinner on the way home and a little dessert because I earned it this week, and then enjoy a relaxing night in. With good reason too. New York is getting drilled with some crazy weather. A tornado even touched down somewhere! Luckily, I just experienced intense thunder and lightning and crazy rain. I'm listening/researching the musical Parade, which my scene from Musical Scene Study class originated. I'm doing the scene with "All the Wasted Time" and if you don't know it, listen to it! It's beautiful! And the true story of Leo Frank is really tragic! I didn't know it was based on a true story! That's intense! I'll just stick to the beautiful song I get to sing and probably end up singing it in my sleep, which comes easily tonight.

Friday: There are those days where you really realize how blessed normalcy is...and brushing my teeth made me realize that I really enjoy when I can brush those pearly whites and for nothing to go wrong. But there has to be a day like today to make you appreciate the normal days, right? Yes, here comes the story of my violent, vicious account of the battle with an inanimate object. My bathroom is decent size, but I have little counter space. I store most things inside my mirror. I took out my trusty Colgate brush and paste so that I can start my morning right with some good old fashioned personal hygiene. I put a little water on my brush, then squeeze out the minty white stuff onto the bristles. I notice that there is less toothpaste in the tube than I expected as I close my mirror shut again, but I planned this right to be running out at the end of the trip. I set it down on what little counter space I have and, of course, I over-estimated how much room their was and it falls to the floor, naturally I bend down to pick up the tube while I continue to brush my teeth, and my ascent back to the counter is when the predator in this situation, also known as the mirror that swings open, decided to pounce on it's prey, also known as my right eye. Luckily my guardian angels, also known as my brain and peripheral vision, allowed my eye to dodge the sharp fangs of the bottom corner of the metal-framed mirror. Unfortunately, the crest of my cheek was not quick enough to come out of the battle unscathed. But it's alright. Nothing a damp Kleenex and 5 minutes of pressure couldn't temporarily fix.  I finish getting ready and head back to CAP in the summer of blood, sweat, and tears. I have a quick rehearsal for my MSS scene, and then Ballet begins. WHAT IS THIS CLASS?! Suddenly I know where my center is, and if I can work on my turn out just a little bit more, my pirouettes are going to be fantastic! I did a double today!! As for Jazz, during the warm-up we have a bunch of exercises which involve our bodies being stretched over our legs with our head hanging heavy. I came up from a stretch, and my teacher let out a little gasp, which is when I realize my epic battle wound from this morning had re-opened. It's alright, a run to the bathroom and a band-aid fix that and I'm back in time to finish the warm-up! Musical Scene Study is great today. During the warm-up, we went to the beach. I'm not going to explain that, but it happened. And yes, this is one of those weird theatre school things. Deal with it. My scene with the incredibly talented Megan Martin went pretty well! It was a decent attempt at a first pass! I'm glad we have a second opportunity next week though! Audition Technique finishes out the day, and this class goes really well for me! I bring out a couple of audition bugs and fix them, and I really enjoy the work I did in class today. OH. AND I didn't freak myself out of the high notes in my audition cuts. SUCCESS! A group of 7 of us, Steven, Megan, James, Malik, Jonathan, Kelan, and I, go to grab sushi at a local Japanese restaurant which is DELICIOUS. Hits the spot! We all split and do our own thing for a couple of hours, because we are going to freshen up and get together later tonight! I don't have a TV here so I can't watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but I sure see a TON of Facebook statuses about it. Sounded really cool. Maybe it'll still be on DVR when I get home! I decide that I could use some fresh air and I don't want to have to pay for a cab, so I walk to Megan's apartment where we are getting together. After about 22 blocks, I realize it was a little farther than I remembered last time. Oh well, this makes the cookie I ate for dessert an okay thing! I have a really nice, laid back night with my friends and we all have some wonderful conversations. I met some new people, including a fellow Baylor Bear! SIC 'EM! Maybe we'll see each other on campus back in Waco! I share a cab with James home and get ready to sleep. Brittney ends up calling me at 2:30 in the morning and we catch up for a bit, because apparently the middle of the night is the best time for us to do this. We are crazy! This is when it hits me. A week from tomorrow is the end. I'll be on a flight home. You know what. Let the weekend begin.

I'm going to be doing some incredible things this week. I'll maybe get 2 more blogs in, so look for them soon! I need to overwhelm myself with NYC experiences so that I can survive on them until I come back next time! And there WILL be a next time! Whether that is a visit or whether that means I decide that I want to live here, we'll cross that bridge when that time comes closer!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"HELLO. My name is Elder Price. And I would like to share with you the most amazing book."

        ---Many portions of the following blogger's entry contain cheesy comments. The blogger wants to let you know that you have to deal with it. Enjoy.---

For those of you who don't know, the title of this entry is the opening line of the hit musical The Book of Mormon. And as most of you have realized, I happen to look like a stereotypical Mormon: blond hair, blue eyes, clean cut, incredibly good looks (credit goes to Mom and Dad for that one), etc. I've been waiting for the moment I would get to see this show since it debuted nearly two years ago. THAT MOMENT CAME AT ABOUT 5:12 YESTERDAY EVENING. Don't worry, I'll get there. One dream did come true yesterday, but this whole week (since my last blog post) has been an amalgam of unforgettable experiences and memories. #SATword #stillremembermySATvocab I'm learning that my favorite quote from UP, the Pixar movie, is more true each day. "Adventure is out there!" Only I don't have to go and find that adventure. I'm living that adventure.

Thursday: It's a nice morning! I'm ready to stop coughing because this cold I have is persistent, but I'm going to power through it. Because I HAVE to. I can't waste one week of CAP. I get to CAP early so I can relax a bit, stretch while listening to music, and clear my mind so I'm ready for the day. I finally organized my book so I will look a little more professional! For those of you who are confused thinking I'm trying to sort a library or something, a performer's "book" is his collection of songs in his repertoire for which he would use in an audition. That typical three-ring white binder from WalMart filled with sheet music in anti-glare sheet protectors for the convenience of each accompanist. You've gotta be thoughtful to EVERY person involved in your audition because you never know who will be your pianist or what role they hold in casting. I'm ready for the day and off to a LOUD start with Tap! There are quite a few people absent, probably because of the torrential rain! But that didn't stop me from swimming...I mean walking to class. We all own umbrellas for a reason. USE THEM. Speaking of using things, I'm starting to use the tips and technique that I've been taught in Vocal Technique, my next class! I have a small breakthrough today, though it was really a spark rather than a full blown light bulb. It'll take practice, but for the first time I sang pretty dang high without clenching with my jaw or throat! Lunch time comes around and on the call board we have our new material! I will be performing "All the Wasted Time" from Parade with my friend Megan! AWESOME. I don't know it, but i'm sure it will be great. Everyone keeps saying they're really excited for it, so it must be good! Acting and Vocal Performance finish out the day, and it's an observation day for me. I don't have any performances, so I will be learning by watching my peers and what the teachers tell them. I'm taking so many notes! A bunch of us rush to dinner at a nearby diner called Big Daddy's Diner for dinner before the cabaret that our whole group is going to later tonight. We are looking at the menu, and my good Australian friend James is determined/really excited about a really, really AMERICAN meal. He comments on anything that is so American. It's pretty hilarious. He had an Oreo milkshake, chili cheese fries, and a Mac 'n' Cheeseburger. I didn't even know that was a real thing, but apparently it's so American! What does that say about our country? #foodforthought Aside from the heaps of food, the service was really slow and all around pretty awful. On top of all that, here we go again with not being able to split the check! What is this?! I don't understand the big deal, though I'm not in the restaurant business so I can't judge too much. Maybe someday I'll get into the family business of The Fish Market though and figure out the issue! If you haven't been to The Fish Market in California, GO! It's my Grandparent's restaurant! #shamelessplug Once dinner is figured out and paid for, we rush back to CAP21 for the cabaret put on by Karen Mason. This was a completely pleasant surprise! It was a touching story and wonderful music. It was kind of like Christmas in July, with that spirit in the air where everyone seems to be a little bit happier. There was just something in the air. I get home to do a little work and get to sleep, but in the elevator on the way up I met some HILARIOUS people complaining about laundry. Each stranger keeps batting away the idea that people in NYC aren't really that friendly! Everyone I have met has been incredibly friendly and nice to talk to! I love it here!

Friday: I made it to the end of the week! This hits me as I'm doing my grand battements in ballet, and suddenly I hear a "Good. That's it Kevin."........excuse me? What? I'm doing ballet CORRECTLY? I don't enjoy it particularly, but apparently I'm getting better at it! Cool. Jazz is next and always great because the teacher is so determined to make us better dancers. Musical Scene Study is incredibly because I've discovered my scene. It's some HEAVY material. Yes the script is huge, but I mean emotionally heavy. I'm excited for this challenge. And Megan is so talented! I'm lucky to be performing with her! All of my scene partners have been phenomenal, and the trend continues! Afterward, I am hanging in the hallway when SARAH SMITH shows up! Hey there stranger! She just graduated from Baylor Theatre in May! We are pretty close because she was my first friend at Baylor! I met her when I auditioned for the program, and she did CAP21 last summer, so this is a really cool place to be having a reunion! It's nice to briefly see her, and then I go into Audition Tech. It's funny, because sometimes your ears can break. What I mean is your pianist can start in one key which happens to be the correct key, and I can hear the beginning pitch they give me and COMPLETELY MISS THE KEY. I also learned that can happen 3 times in the same audition. Let's just say it was a little rough, but I got through it in the right key eventually. Once the nightmare audition is over, James and Steven go with me to Times Square to Second Stage Theatre to get tickets for Dogfight! We grab our tickets and receipts and run to get pizza because the show is in 40 minutes. We are sitting eating pizza when an awful feeling comes over me. Not because there was too much grease on the pizza or the pepperoni wasn't cooked enough, but I had a sort of epiphany. I threw away the receipts a couple of blocks ago...but that trash can now also contains my ticket for the show. Way to go Kevin. That's one of the basic rules of theatre. DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET, OR IN THIS CASE THROW IT AWAY. As James and Steven are laughing at my panicked frenzy, we pass by Snoop Dog on the street. Hey there celebrity! We get back to the theatre and luckily they are able to print me another ticket because they remember me buying it 40 minutes ago. Dogfight beings and the show is great! I didn't know anything about the show going into it, but it was great, especially Lindsay Mendez! There's a Friday night bash at my friend and new scene partner Megan's apartment. She has an incredible fire escape! I share a cab with James on the way home and hit the hay because I'm exhausted, which means I'm doing something right!

Saturday: You know that feeling when you wake up and you know that it's going to be your day? That's how I felt after only getting 6 hours of sleep and feeling completely rested. I have no idea what today has in store, but something great is going to happen. I look at my phone and my Uncle Ric has sent me a text. I had posted a Facebook status about wanting to see The Book of Mormon but having trouble getting tickets, and he has a connection that could help me get a ticket! WHAT?! This is an amazingly awesome and lucky chance! I have some cool people in my family! I'm going to have to see when I can figure out Book of Mormon tickets, but as for now I'm going to go see a show by myself that I've needed to see for a long, long time. I'm walking to the subway to Times Square, and realize the weather is perfect. It feels like Colorado. There isn't high humidity and it isn't too hot. I'm in jeans and a couple of shirts and completely comfortable in the light breeze! Like I said, today is going to be a great day, especially with such a great start! I am off to see Wicked. It's the standard musical that most people think of when they hear the word Broadway. I've felt like seeing Wicked is initiation for becoming a true theatre kid, and of course I've never seen it. I've never had the opportunity or strong desire to see it, but today is the day. I want to see it! I'm walking to the theater and pass the Book of Mormon theater, which is overflowing with people trying to get tickets for the matinee that will start at 2PM. There's no way I will get tickets to that show while I'm still in NYC. It's alright! I will see it someday and it will be just as good! I get to the Gershwin Theater and enter the lottery along with close to 150 other people. My friend James is nearby, so he decides to enter the lottery for me to help me out for a better chance to win tickets. Of course, HE WINS THE TICKETS FOR ME! Did I not say today is going to be a good day? I have a couple of hours until the show, so James and I walk through Fossil to look at watches and grab some food! I'm back at the Gershwin in a flash and I walk into the doors of one of the largest theaters i have seen yet in NYC. The set is incredible. It's hard to describe it and do it justice, but I sure felt like I was in OZ. Yes, Wicked is an extended version of The Wizard of Oz with the good witch and wicked witch of the west as the main characters. I walk to my front-row center seats and sit right behind the conductor. The overture starts, and suddenly I get it. This show really is magic. It redefined a lot of things about Broadway and the story of Oz. But you know what, I get it. It was phenomenal. I got chills throughout the whole thing! This show has been running almost 10 years and it's still as magical as when it began! Spectacular show, and now I'm officially a theatre kid! Hooray! The actress who played Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) was a phenomenal singer and performer. Bravo to her! I'm waking back toward Times Square to decide on plans for tonight and I happen to pass the Book of Mormon theater again. 2 different people asked me if I was in the cast and if I would sign their playbills because the matinee had just gotten out. Are you joking?! I look so much like I fit the part of the show that people asked me if I was in the cast. THIS IS CRUEL! I keep walking when I see the first person in the Standing Room line is a fellow student at CAP. I was just going to say hello, when she offers me a deal I can't refuse. The rules with Standing Room is that you are allowed to buy one or two tickets...and Alex offered to by me a ticket for Standing Room. She had been waiting for nearly three and a half hours and here she is offering to fulfill one of my DREAMS. WHAT DID I SAY?! TODAY IS GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY. I'm going to see The Book of Mormon. It's really going to happen. I'm going to see the show that I'm convinced was written for me! I get the ticket, and I'm not sure I've ever been so OCD about checking if it was with me at all times. The overture starts, my stomach drops, and a dream came true at 8:06 when the curtain went up! Though it is kind of crude, the show was even better than I expected. I'm still convinced and confident I'm made for this show. It's fantastic! Who knew that when I woke up today would be such a good day? Oh, right, I did know that. After I meet the cast and my Book of Mormon high subsides, I head to another CAP get together with my friends! It was a perfect way to end a perfect day. Of course I was out late, but I think the shock of everything that happened today is keeping me awake. The subway with friends home concludes a wonderful day.

Sunday: Continuing the trend, I'm up early this morning to meet my friend James in Union Square so that we can have some NYC adventures today. But today is a really relaxed day! We don't have official plans until tonight, so we can really be flexible. We head to the 9/11 memorial which I have been really insistent on seeing, and when we get there we realize that you have to have a reservation to go in, especially with the high amount of security. That's fine! We will come back another day, but I got some great pictures of the New World Trade Center. The architecture is amazing and this is a really interesting experience. I will always remember where I was on 9/11, and it's strange being here. Somber, but hopeful with the beautiful memorial and impressive new building. I really want to come back and spend time here to appreciate what happened here more than 10 years ago. James and I walk to Battery Park, which is where I realize that today is a really sensory day! I'm noticing the sights, smells, sounds, and feeling of everything a ton today! You might know the feeling when you can smell the ocean on the air, with that tinge of salt water and ocean mist. I love that smell/feeling and it was so refreshing to see the ocean. I even saw the Statue of Liberty at a distance, but I'm saving that visit for another day! The sun on my neck with the mist off the ocean makes me really miss Del Mar. That's when it hits me. I'm LITERALLY across the country from my family. They are on the California coast on the beach in Del Mar, and I'm on the coast in New York! A legitimate coast to coast separation! That's just kind of cool! But I miss them a ton and cannot wait to see them in a couple of weeks! James and I keep walking around talking about school and we are just continuing getting to know each other, which is really nice! We end up wandering through Wall Street, which is pretty cool! I saw the American Stock Exchange building and things like that. Including the forty seven Starbucks locations around the area. James and I finish with this area of town and head back toward Union Square. On the subway, we make a list of things we want to do before we leave, because we only have one weekend left in NYC! WHERE DID THIS SUMMER GO?! There are quite a few things on that list, but I think we can get them done. I've gotta go out swinging right?! We get to Union Square and pass some really cool street artists. One of the artists does a combination of painting and photography, and I think I'm going to buy one of his pieces later today! They're really cool and it'll be a nice souvenir to remember the amazing culture that Union Square holds! As for now, I have to get to work! In this city, you work hard and play hard. This weekend has been a ton of playing hard, so I have to fulfill the other half of that phrase. I'm excited for tonight because I'm going to a really cool Thai restaurant tonight called Spice before going to Fuerza Bruta again! That's the cirque du soleil-esque theatrical club thing. I'll never be able to explain it. That's alright. You just have to see it because the Youtube videos are strange! I am also really excited for Week 5! It's supposed to be Lightbulb Week, so there are usually alot of breakthroughs this week. I'm not going to expect to make any, just in case, but I'm really excited to work hard this week. Bring it on! I want to end this New York experience with a BANG.

I'm so blessed to have this summer here with these incredible people and experiences.

I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Everyone enjoys watching a good train wreck, and you did it so well!"

Halfway through Week 4! Time keeps whizzing by, almost as fast as the cabs in this city. Luckily, I haven't been hit by one, yet. I've been exhausted this week, but before I shut out the lights tonight I figured you could use an update, and I figured that I could think about the amazing memories I'm making here! You know that feeling when you look around and realize that you are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? It's complete contentment and that hit me at some point in this process, but I'm just now realizing that I've known all along that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing this summer.

Saturday (Part II): Another feeling I know well is being annoyed with every single tourist. I was sitting in a Starbucks reading a play that I had picked up from the Drama Book Shop while passing the hour of free time I had before I was going to meet my friends, which is when I heard the thunderous thud right next to me. I understand that most tables were taken and it's nice to be able to sit down. What I don't understand is somebody literally taking a table out from under me. This family of four from a European country said that if I was reading, I didn't need the table. Oh? I thought that was my mistake...On the flip side, it was really cool that I can consider them the tourists and myself the resident! (Even if the terms of residency are only temporary) No big deal though because before I knew it I was walking to 34th and 7th Ave to meet my small group of friends to embark on a lengthy journey. Well, that's a bit of a stretch. We had to navigate Penn Station and get ourselves on the proper train to Long Island for the weekend! And yes, the confusing signs and insane amount of people that we see in huge stations like this may be stereotypes that we see in the movies, but stereotypes evolve out of SOME sort of truth, right? After the labyrinth and mental trials, we get our tickets and begin our mini-vacation. On the train, we got one of those sets of benches with 3 chairs that face each other, so we had some hilarious moments in the 45 minutes to Manhasset. We (Jenn, James, Megan, Jonathan, Kelan, and I) are headed to our friend Steven's house on Long Island, which was a complete surprise to me. I didn't know what to expect, but there is a complete difference between the buzzing pavements and highrises of Manhattan versus the serene trees and spaces that are found in Long Island, more specifically Hicksville where Steven's house is located. AND WHAT A HOUSE!! I am blessed to have been able to experience such a beautiful place, especially with such a beautiful family. You know, being in a family setting again was interesting, but if anything it just made me realize the differences of the fast-paced life I've been living on my own. Being in a home again rather than a temporary room was really comforting. The only other thing I can use to describe it is the feeling you get when you breathe in as much air as you can, hold it for a second, and then let out a nice long sigh. Steven and his family are incredibly hospitable, providing an amazing dinner and welcoming us into their amazing home. I will say, THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD. ALL THE TIME. It was so generous of them! Generally, my friends and I just hung out in the pool playing the classic games like 'Marco Polo' and 'Categories' and never feeling the slightest bit immature! Those games never get old, and it's always nice to be a kid again anyway! Besides the flips off the diving board and random pool trick contests, I loved getting to sit in the hot tub and just talk to my friends and make some wonderful memories while we relaxed in a beautiful place. After a while, we had an epiphany. What would any co-ed gathering be without a little Truth or Dare?! We played for a while and just hung outside among the mosquitoes and lightning bugs, enjoying the silence of the night which might as well be a stranger to us inner city folk. Before we end a wonderfully unforgettable day, we play a game called Essences. This is where someone picks another person in the group and tries to capture the essence of their spirit and person by answering creative questions like, "If this person were a kitchen appliance, what would they be?" It's really fun because everyone sees each other differently, and it's interesting to see how others perceive the essence of the being that you put out in the world for others to enjoy. Around 4AM, we decide that going to sleep would be a good idea, and the next thing I know I was waking up.

Sunday: It's another pool day after an incredible breakfast! Definitely better than the Clif bar and Gala apple that has been the routine for the last couple weeks. It's mostly the same as our pool shenanigans yesterday, but none of us care because this vacation is exactly what we need at our half-way point in the program. Wait. Halfway? When did that happen? Well, we don't have to worry about that now because we have amazing hospitality and amazing company. Basically, this feels like home, or the next best thing right now! These people feel like my home in NY, because I trust all of them completely and I feel like they know a majority of who I am. That's pretty incredible by my standards because we've only known each other 3 weeks. Around 5PM, a train back to reality is filled with a lot more laughter, especially because of an adorable baby who was across the aisle of the train from us who kept looking at us and wanted us to entertain her. Her mom was really friendly, and we got talking for most of the ride. Even still, I haven't met one person who has been exceedingly unkind or unfriendly who is from NYC. That really impresses me with all of the "warnings" i received before my arrival here, and I could not be happier that those preconceived notions are false. What is NOT a lie is the amount of food that my friends and I consumed over the weekend. I grab a small dinner after hitting the gym and realizing that I'm a little sunburned. I'm actually not too upset about being sunburned because it will turn a little tan soon and it's nice to know that I was outside! I run some laundry later that night and got hit on in the elevator! Hey, what can I say, I guess a guy doing his own laundry is pretty attractive. I mean, I do what I can ladies and there is plenty more where that came from! After this day, I better get some rest to prepare for Week 4!

Monday: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I had trouble with Staples in the past printing sheet music, but I figured that I should give them a second chance. Apparently, Staples is the kind of establishment that would like to accommodate you in every way EXCEPT the way that you need to be helped. Yes, I again went to 3 DIFFERENT Staples locations and left the store empty handed. On top of that, I'm sick! NO. I'm determined to not waste a single day of CAP, so I'm going to power through it with Vitamin C pills and as much water as I can drink. My scratchy throat isn't ideal, but I know that I will be able to at least do some of my vocal exercises. But I'm determined to have a good day! I'm learning in all of my classes! Through Ballet and Jazz I am really focused on sharpening my technique. Then in Audition Tech we have 3 rounds of the same audition so I am determined not to use me being under the weather as an excuse! I take direction from my teacher Randy and really start understanding some things about Auditioning! I end the day with my music theory class, and I now know that I have more knowledge of theory than I thought. Class is over, and I chill at CAP for an hour while I wait for my new acting scene partner so we can rehearse from 7-8! It's nice to actually relax in the place where I'm normally always on the go. I got the chance to really take in where I've been studying my craft for the last 3 weeks. After rehearsal, I took a quick stop into Barnes and Noble to look at plays, but mostly the rest of the night consisted of homework, AC, and Facebook, of course!

Tuesday: My throat still hurts and I feel pretty sick, but a Refresh tea from Starbucks gets my morning off on the right foot. Tap starts and I've realized that I'm really proud of my tapping skills! In Vocal Technique we are having something called Vocal Health Day, where we learn about all of the scary things that can happen to our vocal chords if we don't use proper technique. Who knew there were so many physical ailments for people who sing improperly! Good thing it is more common for girls to get nodes than for guys to get them. *knock on wood* However, the anatomy of the larynx and throat so that I really understand what's happening when I sing! I know I'm not even close to 100% with my voice...but I have a Vocal Performance song to perform today. The show must go on! Let's just say, that comment that my teacher gave me was, "Everyone enjoys watching a good train wreck, and you did it so well!" or something to that extent! It really was meant with the best of intentions, and I'm happy that I didn't apologize for forgetting a lyric or for missing some notes because I wasn't vocally at my best. It's alright, I get a second pass at this song and I REALLY like this one that I have! It's hilarious! My acting performance goes well and I'm out the door on my way home. I go to the gym to see if I can work this weird summer bug out of me, and I get tired! I grab a small dinner and get to bed because I know I need rest!

Wednesday: Last night was rough. I feel completely rested, but I woke up every 15-45 minutes for a majority of the night and I was convinced that it had to have been 750 degrees in my room. My AC must have not been working very well, but that's alright because I know that today is supposed to be a WARM one. After a really productive 9AM rehearsal with Lyndsey for "I'll Know" from Guys and Dolls which goes up in Musical Scene Study class today, I head to ballet. The combination of the work I do here and Jazz next is where I really start to understand what/where my core and center are. It's not your abs, I'll tell you that! Another thing I really learn is the BLISTERING heat! Today must be breaking records, because one person in our class even had to stop dancing because she was too hot and a little dehydrated! No fun! After lunch is over and I spiff myself out in dress slacks, a white button down, and my nice skinny tie. I'm feeling the umph that Sky Masterson needs to have, when I go to Musical Scene Study class. This is a very special class. I HAVE SO MANY BREAKTHROUGHS!!! First off, our teacher Aimee told us, "There are enough critics out in the world ready to judge you, so don't add one more by judging yourself!" That's something that most people forget. There is no sense in criticizing yourself. Know that what you bring to the table is worthwhile and your being has great value! I had preforming breakthroughs too! I don't know how to describe them, but for the first time I was truly interacting as my character with another character and not conscious of what 'Kevin the Actor' was doing. I was merely having fun, fulfilling the role, and being in the moment. It sounds like something that isn't very substantial, but it's really hard to do! I was also told that I breathed confidence and sex appeal! That's a new one for me! I leave that class on a bit of a performing high, and go right into Business of Theatre which still fascinates me! We individually go through the class' headshots and resumes, where I learn a ton about the professional world and how you present yourself. I learned that my physical look in my headshot is too old for my personality and performing style. It can be mature, but I need to accentuate my youth! Good to know. HOWEVER, my resume was really good. A stand out! THANK YOU STEVEN POUNDERS. I owe you because you made me really work at that in Auditioning class this past year! By the way, everyone knows who Steven Pounders is up here. I have him as a professor at Baylor. That is SO COOL! What is not cool is the weather today. Not only do we have record breaking heat, but the afternoon decided that it wanted to rain and hail cats, dogs, and frogs. picture a faucet in the sky. Now turn it on. Oh yeah, also picture my umbrella on 23rd and Lexington. My physical location is at 18th and 5th. You do the math and after some subtraction you might get that I was in for my second shower of the day, only this time I would be fully dressed with my backpack on. Soaking wet, I get onto the subway and head to Queens to hang out with Grace for the night. We eat at a place called The Burger Garage which got great reviews by locals, and they were right! It was nice to have a good old hearty burger! We head back to Grace's place and watch So You Think You Can Dance? which was kind of strange because I haven't seen the show in so long, which means I'm really behind. After all of this, I head home on the subway. Week 4 Realization #22: I really like the subway. I'm comfortable on the subway. I know where I'm going 99% of the time on the subway. It feels natural on the subway. Anyway, I take it a while to Union Square so that I can stop by Whole Foods and refill my stock of Clif Bars and Gala apples. I run into my Australian bud from CAP, James, as he is buying bananas. See? Even in a huge city, I can't go anywhere without finding someone I know! I guess you could say it's one of my hidden talents. I stroll home down Park Avenue in the still drizzling evening and I enjoy the cool air that came as a package deal with the rain. It's been a great day! There's only one thing....I'm still not completely positive what the area I live is considered! Is it NOHO? Is it East Chelsea? Is it the Village? Who knows. Whatever it is...I like it. Goodnight! Have a good rest of your week! I know I plan on it!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Conquering A Fear and A Competitive Biker

This week has been completely chaotic in the most wonderful way. I have hit that point in my CAP21 experience, the half-way mark. I have no clue how I've been living in this city and studying my passion here for 3 whole weeks, and it feels like I only blinked. Now, I did have to neglect my blog a bit so that I could fully experience this week and make sure that I was really on top of things, but now it's Saturday and I have 45 minutes free to catch you all up. Yes, even though it's the weekend, I'm on a schedule because I have already made plans! (Would you expect anything else of me?) This whole experience has gone by in a flash, and I need to REALLY live in the moment every single day for the next three weeks. This kind of lifestyle has the speedometer set at "flying by in a new york minute." I now fully understand that term, but I'll take a pit stop to be reminiscent of how amazing this week has been for me.

Monday: Staples is a very interesting and resourceful establishment. However, things get complicated when their software on their computers is older than me. Maybe that's a tad hyperbolic, but my generation knows technology pretty well and it's not complicated to UPDATE your computers, especially if they are for public use. I'm at Staples at 7:30 to print off sheet music for my Audition Technique class that afternoon, and I buy the sheet music online, but then printing the sheet music is where the nightmare begins. "The action you are attempting to perform requires a more updated version of Adobe Software. Would you like to download this free software now?" Thinking I would be helpful in that most people update their Adobe software at home to work with corresponding technologies, I clicked 'Download and Install Now'. After 5 minutes of waiting at a screen that looked like it was doing nothing, I minimized the screen to find a notice that said "You are not authorized to perform this action. An administrator on this computer must perform this action." I ask for help, and after 3 employees didn't know what to do, I head to another Staples because this is NYC and I know that there has to be someone who can help me. Besides, other stores will probably have more updated computers and I'll be able to get on with my wonderful morning! 2 Staples later, making a total of three incompetent stores later, I give up and head to CAP. Luckily, I was smart enough to budget extra time in my morning for something to go wrong thanks to my parents raising me to be prepared. I get to CAP 45 minutes before class and ask the front desk desperately for help. She reluctantly said I could use her computer, but after all this, I GOT THE SHEET MUSIC! No harm done, except maybe a lowered opinion of the establishment known as Staples. I guess there's a reason it's not called PrintMasters. Anyway, classes go really well today! Ballet, Jazz, Audition Tech, and Acting! I keep realizing how wonderfully talented my peers are and I am so beyond blessed to be amongst them! Class gets out and a bunch of my group decide that we want to go get sushi! We find this really cool, lofted Japanese restaurant and sit down for a nice meal. Then I walk the 15 blocks home and hit the gym. I'm loving all this physical activity! Everything is so accessible on foot and I'm young and could use the exercise. Today was wonderful, but I feel a little homesick. ESPECIALLY because I'm not at home to help celebrate my wonderful mom's birthday! To try and make up for it, I called her and sang her a song, which I NEVER usually do because I'm self-conscious about that sort of thing. However, it was really nice to catch up with the fam and I owe my mom a special day when I get back! I also got to talk to my brother and Skyped my best friend Patrick! As usual, I do homework until I realize I'm exhausted and it's after midnight.

Tuesday: With coffee and an early start to my morning, I head to CAP just to take in the city with the leisurely walk there. The smells, the people, the architecture, the cabs that nearly hit you even though you have the right-of-way on the crosswalk. I love it all and I try to create a mental montage of what my walk is like every morning, taking in the physical sensations of the 15 to 20 blocks there. The Walgreens on the corner of 23rd and Park Ave where that strange man with the green hat and shopping cart sometimes is, the line out the door of Starbucks on 23rd next to the stairs to the subway, the 3rd grate that I always walk over that clicks when I get over the second half of it because the weight shifts, the sidewalk that is always wet from being hosed off every morning, etc. A simple walk, but so much to take in. I get to CAP, stretch, and dive right in to Tap. I love this class, and I'm pretty darn good at it! I go downstairs for Vocal Technique when I have my first light bulb. We are learning about singing in our higher ranges and opening our palette/equalizer tubes when I finally understand what it feels like to properly sing really high. I only get it a couple of times, but I get it. FINALLY! It'll take some work, but I need to keep striving for that proper singing technique. Vocal Performance is later in the afternoon and I have another light bulb moment. I'm singing a song and REAL emotion actually comes out. SUCCESS. The whole class was crying in everyone's songs. This is awesome! Then I go to acting to finish the day, walk home, hit the gym, and head to bed.

Wednesday: I'm beginning to feel that physical lifestyle take it's toll. I'm an active person normally, but here it's like that amount of physical activity has been put into hyperdrive. I get to CAP by 9AM and have a really nice rehearsal with my friend Lyndsey for our Guys and Dolls scene later today. Then it's off to dance class again. In Ballet, I'm really beginning to show some growth. My turnout is decent and my technique is getting better and better. Meredith would be so proud! (That's my dance prof. at Baylor for those of you who don't know.) Jazz is HOT because the AC breaks again, and this city sure does like the warmth. It's alright, I'm preparing for the fall in Waco, which is usually hotter than this. Lunch at the local natural market Sunac which I really like, and then we're off to Musical Scene Study. Every MSS class, we begin with this warm up that always inspires me. Picture an inspirational soundtrack to your life which is live-streaming from the piano in the room by our wonderful accompanist while our other teacher is motivating us to be the best we can be. One thing she said that really stuck with me was, "Believe in yourself. You are an incredible artist and you offer something to this artistic community that nobody else does, so own this summer's experience to the fullest. You have to believe you belong here. Even if you're self-conscious, you would not be here if you didn't think you had something extraordinary to offer." WOW. Now read that quote again and put on some sort of inspirational music. Don't worry, I'll wait to continue the story for when you get back.......Welcome back. I hope that was as inspirational for you as it was for me. MSS class is awesome, and that warm-up happens twice a week! To finish the day, I head to Business of Theatre class which is really incredible. It's fast paced and I'm going to learn a ton. After, I go to a diner with some CAP friends I don't normally spend much time with, and I'm always up for meeting new people! We go to pay the bill, and they won't split the check. WHAT?! We all have to get cash out and somehow figure this out. I've found this a common trend with most restaurants in the city. It's kind of silly once you think about it, though. In the same era where we have touch screen phones and personal TV screens in the seats on airplanes, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to split a check at a diner in NYC. How does that make sense? Who knows. To end our night on a positive note, we go to a frozen yogurt place called 16 Handles which was delicious. I walk a pretty long ways home and decide that I want to go to the gym and memorize lines. I find an open stationary bike and get myself situated. Another guy comes to the stationary bike next to me, and we begin to bike at the same time. I'm sitting there working out, kind of zoning out while I memorize my lines, when I realize that this guy next to me is starting to compete with me. Are you kidding me? What's the point? Is this really going to prove you are more macho than me or more in shape than me? I continue on my merry way on this bike while I memorize my lines, but every time I speed up because I realize that I'm getting lazy, so does this guy next to me. I'm not indulging in the competition, and the best part is I still "won." I guess that's what you get growing up at 7000 feet and dancing 3-4 hours a day, STAMINA! Feeling kind of happier that I didn't compete and still out-lasted this guy, I finish my 10 miles on the bike (I lost track and didn't mean to go that far! I wasn't going to stop until I had those lines memorized!) I get back to my place, shower, do homework, and that pillow has never felt so GREAT!

Thursday: You know, in a Starbucks that is more narrow than usual and crowded to the New York limit, it's alright that they didn't get my coffee order right. What was interesting was that I didn't say anything about it. I knew it wasn't right...and I didn't correct them. Small lesson learned: If you want something fixed, you have to actually speak up and kindly point out a mistake. Oh well, I tried something new and found out I kind of liked it! I head to CAP around 9 as usual for another rehearsal for my acting scene with Jenn. It goes really well and then I'm going to Tap. The rhythm in my body is a little off, but that's alright. Everyone has off days! Vocal Tech I learn another difficult but AWESOME lesson. Then I head to Acting to perform my scene, which went well, and I finish the day with Vocal Performance. I cannot say enough, as I'm sure you've noticed, how WONDERFUL my group is. Everyone keeps blowing me away with their personal stories and talents. We get new scene partners today because this is the week of new material, and I get paired with a girl named Kelan! She's AWESOME and I'm excited to work with her. I hit the gym, drop by the restaurant I consider "my place" to grab food to go, and I eat dinner in my room. I wanted a really relaxing night, and I got one! I catch up with one of my close friends Brittney back in Texas, and I have a really nice night to myself!

Friday: I think it's funny how as human beings, we surprise ourselves with out capacity to grow in our potential. I never thought I could be a good dancer, but I'm getting better! I keep learning and surprising myself when I correctly do something I thought was really difficult. It still is difficult, but what surprises me is that I am capable of doing it without thinking it is a hard task. One of my favorite parts of the day is Musical Scene Study class. We do a warm-up, but this isn't like any that we have done before. It's much more emotional. Our teacher points out that we are half way through this program. WOW. This is it. This is the end of Week 3 and I'm half-way through CAP. It's a bit of a shock, and it's amazing how close I am to my Group 4. She tells us to audibly and loudly make 3 promises to ourselves so that we will not have any regrets about this summer, whether they involved CAP or not. She reminded us of how precious each day is and we don't have time to waste any of them. Then we had to get in a circle and admit to each other what our hardest promise to make to ourselves was. There were alot of tears for people, but we all feel so close to each other and so connected, that nobody cared at all. In fact, it almost felt more special because we have only known each other 3 weeks yet we are all completely willing to be open with each other. That's hard to do! Audition technique finishes the day, and I go to Times Square with a bunch of my friends to see if we can grab tickets to a Friday night show! It's Kelan, James, Steven, Jenn, and me, all still with our CAP21 stuff in backpacks stuffed to the seams. We get tickets to the Gershwin classic Porgy and Bess which was PHENOMENAL. An amazing story and some incredible talent. Audra McDonald won the Tony for Best Actress in the role of Bess, and I fully understand why! She was GREAT! After the show, Kelan, Steven, and I head to our friend Megan's apartment to hang out for the night. We get there and spend a long time just hanging out with to other people in our group, Megan and Jonathan! I'd say this was a GREAT day.

Saturday: Finally, a morning to sleep in. I did some homework this morning, but I'm really excited for my weekend plans! I'm going to go spend some time in the Drama Book Shop off of Time Square to see if I can find a scene from a play to direct this fall at Baylor, because I need to have one by August and what better place to look than a store filled with plays in the city of theatre? After that, my group is going to have an adventure and we are going to Long Island for the remainder of the weekend! One of the people in our Group has a house there and they are hosting us! I'm looking forward to some AWESOME memories here! I love these people! I love this place! I love my life!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"There's More To Life Than Perfect Hair, Man!"

Y'all. IT HAPPENED! I had my first encounter with a Times Square heckler! It was exciting, kind of like a rite of passage for NYC. What was better than that? I was asked for direction 3 times this morning, and I knew where to tell people to go. I FINALLY GET IT! #proudtemporaryNYCresident I can't believe that 2 weeks is over, and Week 3 starts tomorrow morning. I have to keep using my time wisely! I'm positive I exhausted this weekend for all it was worth because I saw 3 Broadway shows, walked through Central Park (Again! I can't get enough of it!), worked out, did homework, and saw friends both old and new! It's alright Mom, I can sleep when I'm not in the city that doesn't sleep! Here's the breakdown!

Friday: I start the morning with Ballet. Joy...and yes, I'm being sarcastic. At least, that's the mindset I had going into it. We begin exercises that focus on balancing on the ball of one of your feet while the other is in a special ballet position at your knee. This is called passe releve which is the basic position for a pirouette. I've never been able to do them well, and definitely not with good form. But for some reason I was determined to actually get this. I'm here to learn, and though I'm not the largest fan of ballet, I know that it's something I need to work on. I do the exercises to the best of my ability leading up to practicing pirouettes and my teacher said I did a REALLY nice one. FINALLY! Then we start to get into pirouette practice, and I can't do it. WHAT?! This is frustrating. I'm not giving up that easily though, so I ask my teacher to help me adjust and I show her what I think I should be doing. When I show her, what happens but I do what she said a great pirouette. And it was, nearly perfect form and the right energy and momentum. I try again after my teacher leaves, and I do it again! I'm so thrilled I go for a double and successfully do that as well! Now, those are the only three that I can do all class...and we try for a little while longer. But that's OK because I did something I've never been able to do before! GROWTH! Proof right there! Ballet is still not my favorite dance...but I'm a little more open minded about despising it so much. Jazz is next, and our normal teacher is out to judge some national Jazz competition, so we have a substitute. She's CUTE, and she has an even cooler story. She tells us that she feels bad that she doesn't know our normal combination, but she has something fun to teach us. She is going to teach us the opening chorus number of Evita with the Broadway choreography...why? Because she's currently in the cast. This takes a second to sink in. This woman is currently performing in a BROADWAY show. And she's going to teach us the Broadway choreography. I'd say today is looking like a good day. I talk to her after we have a blast learning her combination, and she invites a couple of us to the matinee tomorrow and then she'll take us backstage. No big deal. That's buzzing through my mind as I go to lunch and then venture into Musical Scene Study and Audition Technique. I cannot stress enough how PROUD I am to be performing with such talented people. Group 4 has some of the best performers I have been blessed enough to be in the presence of in a long time, and some of them are YOUNGER than me. I gotta get workin' to get better even more than I am now! I know I'm growing, but I'm so motivated and hungry to grow even more than I think I can this summer. I have the resources to be the best performer I can be, so why not use them? After class, I rush home, grab a quick shower, and run to Times Square to meet Grace because we have tickets to Once tonight! The show is incredible. The music, the blocking, the performers, the story, etc. It's clear why they won the Tony! And the cast is so incredibly nice in person! Elizabeth A. Davis, the Tony-nominee who is also a Baylor Theatre alum, was so happy to meet us at Stage Door and she spent a good 20 minutes talking to Grace and I after she signed autographs! She's the nicest person and I'm so proud to go to the same school that she has gone to! #SICEM To end the night, Grace and I adventure even more uptown and go to Serendipity to grab some of the famous frozen hot chocolate just like in the movie. The cold dessert was a much welcomed change from the blazing heat! Today and tomorrow are scorchers! 100 degrees and up with some crazy humidity! Once we leave Serendipity at 1:30AM, I drag myself home to get some much needed rest.

Saturday: I wake up a little bit early to go to the box office so I can get good seats to Evita! Two friends, Nicole and Kate, and I go to the Box Office and get 8th row ORCHESTRA seats for the center. I'd say we are in for a great day. Then I find out that CYNTHIA BOOKER is in town! She's a close friend from Baylor who graduated in May and is exceeding expectations at a competitive theatre festival called the Williamstown Theatre Festival! I meet her in Times Square and we head to Central Park to hang out and grab snow cones. It's incredibly hot, but it's so good to see Cynthia! Plus, I found a dollar on the ground. How can you not be in a good mood when you find a dollar on the ground?! We end up seeing the Time Warner Center, Lincoln Center, the Met, and Julliard! It's just like in the movies, only in the movies it's not 102 degrees. Like I said in earlier posts...people don't always believe in air conditioning in NYC...and it was over 100 degrees with humidity...I think that's enough said. I head back to Evita and see an awesome show! Then we go to stage door and meet our substitute jazz teacher and she takes us backstage.


And it was everything I wanted it to be. It's not quite like you would imagine when you see an actor in a movie step onto a stage and they look out into the audience. It was so much more than that. I'm determined. This is sure not to be the last time I step center stage on Broadway. It can't be. I need to do everything I can to get on a professional stage. It's my dream! Not necessarily Broadway, but some well known professional stage in this country. It's so strange that we are taught as kids to follow our dreams and our passions no matter how crazy or out of reach they feel, but dreams never really seem like they are possible. We are holding onto them for that "someday" when we will achieve them. That's why they are called dreams. Sometimes being a professional performer seems so out of reach, especially with all of those people that tell me I'm getting a degree in waiting tables which I know is nowhere close to true. But more and more this summer it seems like I can do it. Being on that stage, being in this program, being in NYC. It seems possible. It seems more tangible than it used to seem. I'll get off my soapbox now.

After I come back down to the real world, we head across the street to enter the ticket lottery for Ghost, which is based of of the Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze movie. I actually WIN the lottery, so we get front row center tickets for $25 bucks! While we wait for the show to start, we look for a place to eat in Times Square. We get stopped in our tracks by a heckler for some sketchy-looking comedy club that supposedly is the "best in the city." That's interesting, because every other heckler said the same thing! Interesting! He isn't taking no for an answer, but i'm not a fool, so we eventually shake him and one of his buddies calls after me, "There's more to life than perfect hair, man!" which I ignore. I'll take that as him saying, "I'm desperate to get people to come to my weird comedy club. Oh, and you have really nice hair. No, you have perfect hair." Thank for the compliment Times Square heckler! It was funny and got the three of us laughing, so it was an interesting encounter! We see Ghost, and as cheesy and predicable as the plot was, the illusions/special effects and the music were INCREDIBLE. Some people hate Ghost, but I really enjoyed it! The two stars of the show could really belt out those songs, and it was impressive from the center of the front row. I finally get home and get in bed. Living the NYC life is exhausting, but completely unforgettable!

Sunday: I allow myself to sleep in a little and recover for Week 3 because I don't have any more weekend days to do so! Sunday is low-key with a morning workout, 3PM rehearsal for my acting scene with Jenn (who is great to work with because we really broke the scene down today), and a phone call home! It's great to catch up with the family! My internet is down at my place, so I head to Starbucks and indulge a little in a cold coffee because it's another HOT day. I use the free wifi to do homework and research for the upcoming week. Tess Jonas, a friend who is a member of Group 4 at CAP (and no, no relation to "the Brothers" for anyone who caught that reference), invites me to dinner in Union Square! It was really nice getting one-on-one time with her to get to know her a little more! We talk about all the normal "get to know each other" information and then walk around Union Square for a while. There's so much culture there, and it was a blast getting to know Tess! She's wonderful! I'm getting closer and closer to these amazing people! As I walk home, I call Patrick just to catch up because he is about to take a trip and I'm not sure how much I'll be able to talk to him for a while! As for the rest of the night, it's just been relaxing a bit and doing homework in preparation for tomorrow! I'm excited to keep working and really motivated to not get overwhelmed with the amount of new material we are going to get this week! Week 3 is where we get new stuff, but have to keep working on our old there's a possibility that I'll need to be working on 6-8 songs at once! That's a little stressful/chaotic...but I know I'm capable of it! Here's to a blessed week for everyone!

PS: It's my wonderful mother's birthday tomorrow, July 9th! I'm bummed that I can't be there to celebrate her, but I'll make it up to her when I get back in August! Everyone send her some happy thoughts because she is the BEST and deserves a day that is as exceptional as she is on a regular basis. I love you, Mom!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Generous Subway Guards, The Theory Of Air Conditioning, and The 45th Floor

I'm telling you, laundry really is a time where I can sit down and think about how MUCH I do in a couple of days. Luckily, I keep a running list of highlights from each day on my phone so that I can remember to post it on here! So much has happened this week (which I am finding will be the norm for me each week) and I'm loving how busy I am! I can't believe that tomorrow night marks the completion of the second week I've been in NYC. It finally seems real, though strange because I had imagined coming here for so long. CAP21 is incredible. I cover the highlights of my CAP days for y'all to read about, but every moment on the 5th and 6th floor of that very warm 18th street building, I am learning and experiencing new parts of performance and technique that I didn't know I was capable of! It's amazing to think of the potential in everyone, and how the right education or experience is the key to letting that potential out of the box. I'm not sure if I've found the perfect key, but maybe I discovered a crowbar instead.

Sunday Evening: I saw Fuerza Bruta. This "show" is incredible. It's the most interesting thing I have experienced in a long time. Picture: a club with a DJ and incredible lights, take away the scandalous things that go along with the connotation to the word club, add in treadmills and incredibly athletic Spanish performers, and you get Fuerza Bruta. I NEED TO GO BACK. Victoria, Grace, and I will look for tickets again so that we can go. I want my CAP friends to go with us next time! Tonight is the end of my first weekend in NYC though, so tomorrow morning is school and I finish out the night with lots of music I play from Youtube, a gallon of water, and a ton of homework. I'd say this was a wonderful weekend. Danielle Stack...this is your shout out...are you excited?

Monday: It was one of those mornings where you wake up, feel fully rested, and for some reason you feel like you can accomplish everything you need to do to the best of your abilities. I'm ready to work today. The sun's a little bit brighter, there aren't as many people honking as usual, and I throw in headphones to walk to grab tea at a coffee house nearby. I honestly felt like I was reliving Joseph Gordon-Levitt's scene from 500 Days of Summer where he's walking in the streets and is happy as can be. I head to my 9AM rehearsal to knock out I'll Know from Guys and Dolls with my scene partner Lyndsey, who's incredible. Everyone I get to work with is intimidating (but in a good way) and I am learning so much from them! Like I've been saying, I'm already seeing improvements in class, even if it's the beginning of a change in my talents and abilities. Ballet is one of those where I can see the future possibility of improvement. With a ton of hard work. And dedication. And asking questions about how you're supposed to 'turn out' without dropping your frame or 'plie' while correctly holding a strong second position. Let's just say I'm not going to be joining a professional ballet company ANY time soon. Jazz, however, is simply enjoyable. I get rhythm and stuff like that, but Jazz just makes you feel good! Especially our dance teacher, Meg. She's just funny enough and enjoyable enough to make us really like her, but also she's so passionate about dance and she's going to kick our butts until we can proudly do some great combinations and really dance. Audition Tech and Music Theory finish the afternoon...and theory is kind of a joke. I'm not challenged at all right now, but I'm not going to complain because I've never taken a theory class. I've only studied music in Choir and when I was in band in high school. It'll probably get harder. Who knows? I hit the gym just to stay loose and get some good cardio and a light lift. I'm determined that this summer is the last where I don't have abs! I'm so motivated right now, I think it might happen! I spent the night doing more homework, but what was really fun was I went and did it at a local restaurant called Schnippers. It was the first place I ate here in NYC, and it's kind of become "my place." It's so cool that I have one of those, even already.

Tuesday: Another tea and homework morning! I like waking up early and taking time to get in the right mindset for class. Being more focused has allowed me to really get in the right mindset to allow myself to absorb all of this wonderful education and apply it to my own habits and performance style. And what's best, the morning STARTS with Tap! It's always been my favorite dance, but I'm getting pretty dang good at it. We learn a couple of standard licks and riffs which are a blast and continue a combination that he has been teaching the class. That ends and I realize that I'm about to have a heat stroke. It's interesting to me because people here don't make a huge deal about making sure the AC is working really well or on all the time like in Texas. Here...people believe in AC like a Seasonal/Holiday Catholic believes in confession: it's only necessary when it's REALLY bad. Anyway, on with classes and we will all have to deal with it! Vocal performance in the afternoon I sang "Mama, A Rainbow" and it went really well! I took notes I was given and I get to apply them to a second performance of that song next week! After class, a bunch of random people from CAP and I get together and go to a local, hipster place called Chat'N'Chew, where I had the best grilled chicken sandwich I've ever seen. I called Patrick on the way home because I MISS THAT KID. He's a goober and it was nice to catch up! We are going to Skype soon hopefully! After I drop my stuff in my room, a bunch of people from my class group in CAP get together at an Upperclassman's place for a little party because we don't have class tomorrow! It's so great getting to know these people so closely. I can't imagine what we are going to be like in Week 6. It reminds me of when you first get to college, and have a Welcome Week group and then get really close with them. We are by far the closest CAP group that i've seen. GROUP FOUR REPRESENT! Then it was a nice late night walk home with James and some other friends!

Wednesday: Happy Birthday America. I wonder if this is the opposite of a holiday in England...probably not. I wake up around I slept in a bit but still have enough time to be productive before today's festivities start! I called my family, which was a really nice and much needed conversation. Honestly, I have the BEST family and I miss them alot, so more separation from them is tough, but I know this is what I have to do this summer! Then it's just a subway train to Central Park where people from Group 4 and I have a small picnic. We grab some grass and fulfill our cheesy American stereotype by eating watermelon and hot dogs and delicious patriotic foods. It's interesting, I love Central Park so much because it's such an escape from the city. There are many parts of the park that made me even forget I was in NYC! After a quick rehearsal with Jenn my scene partner, we walk over to 19th street for a 21st birthday celebration of someone in the 2 year CAP program. We don't know them personally, but anything is a reason to celebrate on the Fourth of July...and the more the merrier! After an hour and a half, we head to a restaurant called The Cafeteria which was AWESOME! Really cool basement lounge atmosphere with great company makes a great meal. We are lucky enough to have a member in our group who lives in an apartment close to the river, so we all head there to watch this show that everyone has been talking about! To be honest, I didn't know that the NYC fireworks were so highly regarded or that much different than Texas or Colorado fireworks. However, getting to this place was a real adventure. Down in the subway station, our train is pulling in as we walk in! We all rush through the turnstiles until I nearly topple over and realize that for some reason my Metrocard won't go through! WAIT!! All my friends are on the other side and walking onto the train. I also have no idea where we are going. This is just great. And the machine which reloads Metrocards is malfunctioning. I'm on a time crunch! I need to get on that train! We even tried 3 of my friends' cards, and had no luck. This is where the generous subway guard stood up and I thought he was going to tell us to not make such a ruckus or something. He walks over to the buzzer gate...and he lets me through. A FREE RIDE because he wanted me to be with my friends. God bless America, right?! Faith in humanity restored. And I just have the Wilson luck...gotta love that. We get to this beautiful building, and our friend who lives here did not do it justice. On the 45th floor, we are not even two blocks off of the river. And there are floor to ceiling windows in this BEAUTIFUL apartment. I don't understand how people can afford to live like this in NYC! It looks like it is directly out of a magazine. Also, it looked like a nice apartment that you would see in a movie that takes place in NYC. CRAZY. Props to the owner of this apartment! We all celebrate and watch the beautiful firework show. This night has been the best! #'MURRRICA

Thursday: It was one of those mornings where you wake up...and you just know. You know that you must have slept through your alarm and you are late and the whole world is crashing in and nothing worse could possibly happen to you. I'm running around my room trying to figure out what I need to do to get to CAP as soon as possible. With only my shoes and shorts on (I don't know why I thought that was all I needed), I check the time.'s 6 AM. I think I jumped the gun a little bit. But not I'm so jittery from the adrenaline that there is no way i'm getting back to sleep. This is going to be a long day. That's alright. I clean my room and do homework to kill time, when I realize that I didn't set an alarm to wake up. By some crazy chance, my body woke it self up....but better that it was ridiculously early rather than halfway through the day! Class finally gets started and I'm in love with Tap. For some reason, I was really on top of it today. I got the rhythm so well and had a BLAST doing it. Vocal Technique, Acting, and Vocal Performance finish out the day which seems to fly by, and then I have a rehearsal for I'll Know from Guys and Dolls, which is really coming along nicely! Nicely nicely that is (That is a joke from Guys and Dolls for any of you who caught that...yes i know...i'm a dork. But you're still reading, so at least i'm an entertaining dork). Finally I was walking home when I get a text from Victoria Teague that she is in Union Square and was just wondering if I wanted to hang out for an hour or so! OF COURSE. She made my night alot more interesting than I had planned, so we walked around for a while in Union Square and Union Square Park (AWESOME area. There's so much life, including street life and shops and restaurants!). I got some cheesy New York postcards which I'll send out to some people soon! To end the night, I hit the gym pretty hard and call Grace to figure out our plans for tomorrow...we are seeing the Tony winner for best musical Once with Baylor Theatre Alum Elizabeth A. Davis!! After I call Patrick to quickly catch up, I do homework and laundry, which brings us all to where I am right now. Exhausted. Ready for my next challenge. Regretting that pack of Pretzel M&M's that I let myself buy earlier and then mindlessly/instantly finished. If I want to be in shape...I need to drop that stuff. But those Pretzel M&M's are SO good. Hard to resist. Well. TGIF and I hope for the best this weekend! God bless!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"THAT was a new one for me and it was pretty entertaining..."

This week has been a whirlwind of adventure! Sorry to all of you folks who are intrigued enough to be reading these because I haven't had time to put another entry in here yet, but the laundry in the dryer has some time so I thought I would update y'all (and yes, I still say y'all. Still have pride in Texas where I go to school. And of course in Colorado, Mom). I promise I will get better about putting entries in here, but I guess it's good that I'm busy living in Yankee land so much that I don't have time to be watching TV or being on the computer! After all, I only get around 6 weeks here! Speaking of, week 1 is done, and here is how the rest of it happened--

Wednesday: On a whim I decided to join a gym! As if the average of 3 hours of intense tap, ballet, or jazz I have each morning wasn't enough for me, I decided that I needed to exert myself to lift weights and run too. I really do miss running too, and there's just too much traffic, both automobile and human, to comfortably run on the sidewalks or streets though I see people doing it. The guy at the gym cut me a deal though, $24 for 30 days when most people have to pay $150! It's either that "Wilson luck" I have that's making a ton of things work out for me, or something else that I hope keeps up! Class today was wonderful! A whole different set than the Tuesday/Thursday set which is like the system at Baylor. Jazz and Ballet in the morning with AWESOME teachers. The jazz teacher is intense, she's teaching us a Grease combination that's really fast (the scene from the Prom) and she calls me Mormon when she can't remember my name, because she thinks I belong in the musical Book of Mormon. After lunch with people whose names I'm starting to remember...I think...we have Musical Scene Study. The teacher Aimee and accompanist Joel are incredible. They make you feel so good, but I can tell they are going to help me grow so much here as a performer and maybe even as an adult. The rest of the faculty are the same way! Then Business of Acting to finish the day, which is a class where we learn the actual business and how it works. This information is going to be interesting!! After class, I got a bunch of people to go to dinner at a sandwich shop nearby. It was an awesome, hipster, underground-ish kind of place with an awesome atmosphere, but the best part was getting to know my new friends. It was so nice to have people out of their "theatre element" and out of class, and to just be getting to know people my age and what their stories are.

Thursday: We had a really interesting anatomy lesson in Vocal Technique today. An actor's body is their instrument, so you have to know how it works to use it correctly. Tap dancing an hour and a half of my life away was fun too. Acting after lunch was really interesting. We got scene partners and I'm with Jennifer! She's awesome! We are doing a Christopher Durang scene from "Beyond Therapy." We had the option between two scenes, and the other was a much safer choice, but I didn't come here to be safe, did I? You learn by challenging yourself, and if you fail, you fail. But I'm ready to work and get better! Vocal Performance concluded the school day as I'm working on my song that I was assigned. I'm going to keep this one a secret until I perform it because I'm recording it and sending it to someone special and the title completely gives it away. It's a beautiful song though, that much I'll tell you. Then I was off to dinner with Grace close to Times Square and I grabbed a play at the Drama Book Shop. A visit to the gym and sleep was all I needed to fill the rest of this day. Dang. I'm tired.

Friday: How is it the end of the week already? Class flies by, and I have one new class, Audition Technique. I can tell this class is going to be incredible. My teacher Randy is incredibly nice, but not afraid to tell you exactly what you need to work on. Not in a rude way, but he won't sugar coat anything. Basically, this class will be mock auditions, which sounds pretty great to me! Once class is out at 6PM, I rush back to my place and hop in the shower because I'm going to meet Grace at her place in Queens! I take the subway out there and we grab pizza to eat on her rooftop which overlooks the city. What a view! It was nice to get a different perspective of the city because I've been living in between tall building after tall building after hot dog stand after tall building. Grace's place, however, is one of the few tall buildings in her area and it's brand spanking new! Somehow I'll see if I can get pictures on here, because I'd love to share that view with you. After some deep discussions about Art and NYC and life in general, Grace and I begin our journey to an experimental-theatre show called Sleep No More. It's roughly based off of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and it began around 11:30PM. What was interesting was that this theatre company bought an old hotel and remade it to look like a new hotel in the 1920s. Then you get on an elevator, are required to put on a mask, and are asked to be silent the entire time you are in this place. You get out of the elevator when you want, on any of the 6 floors, on which anything can be happening at any point in the story of Macbeth. I'm not going to give too much away, but this experience was amazing. Some of the most interesting theatre i've seen in my life! Grace and I got out of this at 3AM and walked about 25 blocks to get back. We worked off that McDonald's McFlurry that sounded so good at 3:30AM when we saw that it was open 24 hours a day. What a night!

Saturday: After some much deserved sleeping in, I hit the gym and was pleasantly surprised by a text from Grace who invited me to Central Park for the day. I will say, this is one thing I have really been missing. Open space. From storefronts to high rises, I'm constantly surrounded by life and people and I LOVE it! But it is nice to escape to somewhere quiet...with grass and trees and nature. I think those theorists and philosophers of Romanticism were on to something when they discusses the human need for nature. Or maybe I'm just a bit of a romantic idealist myself. Not completely though. Trust me, I'm loving my city life. Anyway, Central Park was MORE than a breath of fresh air. It was like a completely different world there. And I still can't comprehend how large it is. Grace and I went through Strawberry fields, wandered around Sheep Meadow, and just found ourselves strolling through different sections of Central Park while we people watched and just took in all of the beauty of this area. Our favorite spot was this little veranda-like enclosure with benches. Nobody was sitting in it and it was perfectly on the edge of the Reservoir, the lake with the paddle boats and plenty of birds and turtles that most people think of when you think of water in Central Park. It was a nice break from the sun, and a wonderful place to sit and talk. We stumbled upon some sort of strange reading of Hamlet or some version of Shakespeare in the Park, which unfortunately, was not done too well. What's really interesting is that I understand what good Shakespearean technique is thanks to Baylor Theatre and Steven Pounders! #sicem #operativewords #donotstressthenot After a while, we realized that it was June 30th....which meant that Christian Borle would be performing one last show of Peter and the Starcatcher this evening! OH NO! Some of you might recognize him as the composer on the TV series Smash, but he does much more than that. He's a big deal because he won the Tony for this wonderful show that brings many people back to their childhoods as they learn how Peter Pan came to be, and this is Christian's LAST ONE. We have to get tickets. In a hopeful rush, we get to Times Square as fast as we can and head to the theatre. As we get there, who do we pass but Christian Borle himself. Grace was in shock and all she could do was scream "OH MAH...OH MAH....OHMAHGOSH! THAT'S HIM!" For those of you that know Grace...this isn't a surprise, but you know it was kind of loud and left an impression. It was hilarious and awesome. He was incredibly nice and said hello to us as he was giving money to a homeless man. I hope that if I ever "make it" someday, I have that kind of genuine class and kindness. He seemed so normal. I'm telling you. There's something to say about that "Wilson Luck" because Grace and I get standing-room tickets in the Orchestra for $24. That's CRAZY cheap for a the show that is in such high demand! I don't even mind standing, the view will be incredible in the orchestra. We run and grab dinner and are back in the theatre before we know it. And who do I find myself standing next to as I walk up the stair? Megan Hilty...the star of Smash and a long time successful actress on Broadway. I said hello and thanked her for what she does. We actually talked for a couple of minutes and it came out that I'm studying theatre at Baylor and she wished me luck! WHAT?! Finally, Peter and the Starcatcher. Honestly, this may be the best performance and best theatre I have ever seen. It was a flawless execution: the design aspect was stunning, the book (script) was hilarious and touching, and the actors knocked it out of the park. Since this was Christian Borle's last night, the company of the show did some really nice things for him at the end, and then Stage door was CHAOS. Picture Black Friday and some store has a 90% OFF EVERYTHING sign. That multiplied by 4 gets you to what I was in the middle of. I got a majority of the cast to sign my playbill, and Christian Borle signed my ticket. Dang. He's the coolest person. Grace and I told him that we were the people who saw him early and I decided to throw in a joke about Grace being the person who screamed "THAT'S HIM!" at him. He actually thought it was hilarious and said, "That was a new one for me and it was pretty entertaining. If people know who I am and say something it's usually hello, but I don't think I've ever gotten a screaming 'THAT'S HIM' before. I liked it." Again...he's the coolest person. After Grace and I let our theatre-nerd giddiness out because we met so many incredible performers tonight, I recognize some people. I turn around, and half of CAP21 is also at Peter and the Starcatcher. I guess I wasn't the only one who realized that this was his last night. Grace headed home, and I got together with my new CAP friends and we headed to a party about 20 minutes away! It was so fun to get to know everyone and just talk about things not having to do with theatre. I'm getting to know them as people outside of class and performers inside of class. This is phenomenal. I was at this party late and shared a cab home with one of my friends. This may have been my favorite day here so far! Now I better get to sleep so that I can be productive tomorrow and do all my homework but also get a decent nights sleep. I'll need it to go full out during week 2!

Sunday: I sleep a little late and remember that today is laundry and homework day. Awesome! This work is so interesting. I have to read a play, memorize two scenes, and work on 4 songs before tomorrow. I'm absolutely loving this. I've never been so inspired to work on my craft and really dig in to the potential that I have. Bring it on CAP and NYC. Bring it on. Tonight I'm going to see Fuerza Bruta: Look Up tonight with Grace and Victoria. Another new-age theatre performance where the whole thing takes place above the audience...and apparently the entire seating area is a splash zone...this should be interesting. As for now, I'm going to do homework and maybe Skype my family at some point. I miss you guys so much! And Kelly, you're wonderful! Also, maybe I'll get to Skype a couple of people in my second home, Waco. Yes Brittney and Patrick....I'm talking about you. Anyway, I'm going to keep working. I'll update you all soon!

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." ~ Oscar Wilde