Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Martha Wainwright on Letterman

While channel surfing tonight, through the late night musical slots, I got a delightful surprise. Martha Wainwright was the musical guest on Late Night and delivered a mesmerizing reading of Leonard Cohen's "Tower Of Song". I've always wondered how a cover of this song would go over as it seems to be uniquely Cohen's with its boast, "I was born like this, I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice." No worries. She managed to make the song all her own with a singing style that very similar to Dolly Parton's. Her smooth vocals and flowing arrangement suited the song very well. I was riveted to the screen.
I've really been impressed with the batch of ladies overtaking the airwaves lately (Neko Case, Regina Spektor, K.T Tunstall). Having always been a fan of female rockers, I'm quite happy to see them claiming their place in the boys club that is rock 'n' roll. Their seductive and unique personas are a breath of fresh air in popular music.
And these women are no cookie cutter marketing scheme. They all seem to have terrific songwriting talents and wonderful singing voices. I certainly can't say the same for most of the male singers who populate bands today. Girl Power has never sounded so sweet.
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iPod Song of The Day: "Twist The Knife" from the Neko Case album Furnace Room Lullaby

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/24

Yowza! I feel like I’ve been on an emotional magic carpet ride. I’m fucking tapped.

Tonight was beautiful. It’s seems that the end (for the time being) always brings out the best in people. You (or at least I do) corner cast/crew/friends who’ve been an important part of the show and lay a bunch of heavy feelings or words of praise on them that somehow had gotten smothered until that moment. Tonight was no exception. I think it’s totally cliché to say, but we’ve truly become a family during the course of this project.
All night I’ve been grasping for words to describe the journey we’ve been through together and have consistently come up short. I just kept asking everyone involved, “Wasn’t this fun?” It somehow doesn’t seem to do justice to the experience, but that’s what keeps coming out. Wasn’t it though?
I worried throughout the show that my nervousness was getting the best of me. I felt like I somehow wasn’t able to let it all hang out. Harnessed by apprehension. I am my worst critic and hope that I’m just over thinking it. After the show, Jason eased my fears by saying that hadn’t been the case at all and was, in fact, quite pleased with the outcome. Good. I feel a little bit better.
I totally lost it during “Birthday”. Performing it directly to my mom, I attempted to fight back the emotions, but they came flooding through. You just don’t get that many chances in life to express, to an attentive crowd, the depth of emotions you hold for those who have provided you with unconditional love and support your entire life. She is my everything.
It was so great to look out in the audience tonight and see all the repeat offenders. We’ve obviously struck a chord with more than a few people and knowing that is a tremendously comforting feeling. It makes me feel like everything I’ve worked for in the last 25 years has not been in vain. Chet, Elf, CFL, & Elise, your devotion means the world to us.
And then there was Charlesanne’s mother. She was about four rows back on the right hand inner aisle, and sat on the edge of her seat the entire time. I told her after the show that she was my muse for the night. She was radiant and overflowing with emotion and energy. She cried and cried and cried. There were tears of sadness, joy, elation, and inspiration from her. Talking with her after the show filled my heart with pride.
I asked Jason at the bar last night if I could work up something extra to perform following the lobby concert to commemorate the moment. He agreed and I set about the task as soon as I got home. He gave me several suggestions and I decided on the song “Enchanted Love” which had been one of my audition pieces. The moment came and it was an experience I’ll remember the rest of my life. The feeling of having the crowd hanging on every nuance of the song was nothing short of total bliss. It was a dream come true.

Finally, I raise my glass to my fellow cast and crew members. We fucking did it. And we did it bigger than any of us could have imagined. I’m so fucking proud of you all for fighting the good fight and bringing a beautiful thing in to the world. That is priceless and will live with us forever. I’d also like to thank Jason, Tony, Tamarie, Troy, Wayne, and Lisa for their tireless efforts and vision. You guys are amazing and I feel so lucky to have you guys on our side. Thank you all for making my dreams come true. Hang on to your loving feelings!

Wasn’t that fun?!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/23

For the first time in the run, I firmly believe that WE drove the Speeding Motorcycle tonight rather than letting it drive us. The energy of the cast/crew was at record levels tonight and the show reflected our determination and spirit. Even the speed bumps that occurred weren’t enough to derail our momentum. That is an amazing tribute to us. Like Jeff Spicoli on the crest of a tasty wave, we caught the X-factor and made it our bitch.
My excite-o-meter had already been pushed in to the red before the show even started. At my request, my big brother had flow in from New Mexico especially to see the closing weekends performances. As with my father, I’ve not had a whole lot of opportunities to perform for my brother over the years and that made it very special. And the cherry on top was my mother accompanying him on the ride.
The first stumble came pretty early on in the show during “Life In Vain”. As the band came in during the second verse, the rhythm for a bit funky and it threw the band off for a few bars. Cathy said during intermission that she did several looks back and forth between the band and myself, finally concentrating on me, which calmed her down allowing her to keep her cool. That made me feel nice that she felt I was a calming force on stage. In fact, very nice. I felt us all get off for a few bars but didn’t feel like it took away any of the emotional impact of the song. Proving we were in the drivers seat.
The last few nights I’ve been pet sitting in a beautiful house located in West University. They own an incredible baby grand piano that I took full advantage of while there. In running through “Peek-a-Boo” on it, I had some great emotional discoveries and attempted to incorporate them during the performance. I was more than please with the outcome especially the final note that is pounded out at its conclusion. I found that if I release the echo pedal just as I strike those last notes, a desperately hollow feeling is produced.
Kyle continues to outdo himself with each new performance of “Funeral Girl”. In fact, Chris Bakos had a brief discussion back stage about which was more powerful, “Funeral Girl” or “My Baby Cares For The Dead”. While Chris argued for the latter, I favored the former sighting its changing tempo that offers the best of both worlds. Chris agreed. However, we both came to an agreement that the acapella nature of “My Baby” had to be more difficult to perform. Kyle’s performances of both are mystically sublime and have more soul in them than I thought possible for a rural white boy. He’s an incredible showman and never fails to inject every ounce of energy he’s got in to everything he does. Bravo!
The crowd tonight was stupendous. I got more laughs from them than I have any other which provided me with an even greater desire to please than I had arrived with. They applauded after “Peek-a-Boo” and created a tremendous roar following AJ’s “Don’t Let The Sun” and Kyle’s “Funeral Girl”. They even gave us a standing ovation following “Loving Feelings”(our second of the run).
Speaking of “Loving Feelings”, I’ve come to crave the raw emotion emoted by Joe during this song. Plain and simple, it’s “the truth and nothing more”. It’s inspiring, beautiful, and never fails to re-fill my emotional tank. Every person I confronted with during the second half looked me straight in the eye and seemed to feast on the wisdom contained inside the lyrics. I can’t properly express the spiritual high I get from such a reaction. It cuts deep.
Last week, Jason loaned me the master soundboard copy of our Rudyard’s performance from a few weeks back. After listening to it, I realized I should approach “Brainwashed” with a lighter feel rather than the forceful country twang I formally had performed with. It too felt a much more truthful in its delivery and even had me choked up at its conclusion.
Tony’s piano work on both “True Grief” and “Rock This Town” should make him a shoe in for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. At the climax of “True Grief”, Kyle turned to me and said, “I think he’s fucking it (the piano)!” Turning back toward the stage, Tony began a series of manic pelvic thrusts that confirmed his suspicions. Kyle and I nearly collapsed on top of one another with laughter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/17

Saturday night’s magic was the kind that comes from hard work and determination. Everyone showed up to the theater with their A-game in tow. After Friday nights less than spectacular show, the unspoken phrase on everyone’s mind was, “Let’s kick some mutherfuckin’ ASS!” And kick some ass we did.
Having the first solo song of the show, I tried my best to set the tone for the night. Without saying a word to each other, Kyle definitely was in the same frame of mind as he performed the most soulful version of “Dream Scream” I’ve heard so far. The game was afoot and I’m always up for a healthy competition.
Cathy and I had some great moments of “staged” flirting during “Life In Vain”. The audience was very attentive and I could feel them soaking up the show and its moments of truth that flow throughout.
As Cathy & I sat behind the closed curtain prior to “Life In Vain”, we were perplexed by the action going on stage right. Tony had quickly hopped up from behind his piano and was pacing about in a controlled panic. We both looked at each other and shrugged it off. It wasn’t long before he composed himself, sat down, and took a deep breath. We later found out that he had realized that the “falling baby” hadn’t been pre-set in its box and would have to be thrown onstage by a band member. It all worked out, too. It didn’t get as big a laugh as it usually does, but did receive a very respectable reaction from the audience. It was our only snafu of the evening.
The rest of the show was a good as it gets. The crowd was fantastic and had a great time from top to bottom.
The lobby performance was where we really let our hair down. All the songs were delivered with passion and fire. I had told Jason, several weeks earlier, that I was bound and determined to perform “Brainwashed” sans amplification (stealing a page from the Elvis Costello play book). I was feeling bold and did just as I promised. It felt fucking great! Stepping up to the front of the stage, the chorus of dancing girls all gathered at the lip of the stage and enthusiastically joined in.
“True Grief” had Tony bitch slapping his microphone and “Rock This Town” found Johnny Freedom doing his best Pete Townshend impersonation. His antics included several deep knee bends and climaxed with a karate kick to an unsuspecting music stand. HI-YA!
Long time IBP supporters Bill & Sarah Stewart were in the audience and I did a good portion of my performances straight to them, including the entire “Birthday” speech. Over the years, they have become like grandparents to me. Super- cool, fucking-rad grandparents who are in their late 70’s. I’ll never be able to erase the image of Bill doing the pogo (with his hands above his head) during the rock show portion in the lobby. If this show can do THAT to a senior citizen, the terrorists have truly been defeated
The highlight of the evening, though, was talking to my high school acting teacher, Bob Singleton, following the show. He was overflowing with pride and had nothing but terrific things to say about the show and its performances. He’s one of the few educators in my life that I hold in high esteem and whose words of wisdom mean more to me each and every day. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to thank those who’ve had that kind of an impact on your life and recognizing the moment, I did just that. It was the perfect end to a perfect night.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/16

Mr. Toads Wild Ride continues....

Well, it's been a week like no other. First, the New York Times writes us a love letter and the cherry on top comes in the form of another rave review from the Houston Press. Needless to say, my expectations for the show have far exceeded what I could have imagined.
Friday's show had a few stumbles, resulting in an uneven second act, but our spirits were not dampened and we all pushed ahead and delivered the best we could.
A few technical difficulties and a lapse in my memory(during Living Life) left something to be desired from Friday's performance. A faulty microphone chord left us without amplification for all of act II and took the wind out of our sails in the process. As much as I tried, without a mic to pose behind, the finale fell flat on its face. The band did their best to help, but without their fire I felt I was just marking time throughout Loving Feelings. Nevertheless, the audience seemed pleased and was as appreciative as they've been for any other night.
As soon as I walked in to the lobby following the finale, Mossie turned to me and expressed her amazement at my ability to "wing it", despite the mechanical failures that plagued the act. That was really sweet.
The highlight of the evening for me was, once again, True Grief. The songs title said everything I was feeling after the rocky road that was the second half. The songs climax found Tony on his knees before the ivory God as he guided the band though a powerhouse rendition. The "rock show" portion was probably our strongest effort of the night. In our defense, we all managed to rise above the post intermission difficulties and maintained a consistent energy level that sent all those who remained home in a great mood.
During the beginning moments of the "rock show", many people approached me and complimented my performance. But the one that stuck out the most was a young lady whose reply to my, "Thank you for coming.", was an astonishing, "Thank you for BEING." Uuuuuh, GADZOOKS! That one took me by surprise.
Jennifer Mathieu was in the audience and her smile was beaming from start to finish. You can't help but have a great time when someone like that is returning every bit of energy you are delivering. Mad props to her. Though I did notice she had no problem taking her attention away from the action mid-stage to let her eyes travel stage right in hopes of catching a glimpse of her husband in the band. Newlyweds...whatcha gonna do?
The most pathetic sight of the night came just as we were leaving the dressing room to take our places for the first act. Alone in the lobby stood Chet & Erin, our biggest fans, having been shut out of the sold out performance. The poor saps. Following the show, I spotted Chet and asked if they had managed to get seats following intermission. "No", he replied, proudly explaining they had just come back minutes before in order to catch the lobby performances. Now that is some badass dedication. My hat is off to you both.
As I hung out after the show, I was handed a green piece of paper that had a hand written message that stated, "I platonically love your fire hydrant." It was signed, "Love, the whole world."

Saturdays performance? Now that was a WHOLE other ball game....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Neko Case on Letterman

Neko made a musical appearance on Letterman tonight and she was stunning. This lady has it all. Not only is she equipped with terrific musical talent and fantastic looks, but she also has a voice that could slay a giant. Her music is kind of a folksy/country mix with lyrics that are both sultry and haunting. I'm convinced she's the Emmylou Harris of this generation and it's only a matter of time before she conquers the world. She's been in a band called The New Pornographers for a number of years and started a solo career about 5 or 6 years back (as far as I know). I've gotten several bootlegs of her solo concerts and she's charming and captivating in her live show, just as she is in her recordings.
Her performance on Letterman of "Maybe Sparrow", from her latest release, was perfect.("The Needle Has Landed" is my favorite off her newest) Dwarfed by her Gibson guitar, she strummed dutifully away as her band held down the fort. A drummer, banjo, lead acoustic guitar backed her along with a stand up bass and female back up singer. I can hardly wait to see her live in concert, but I don't expect that to be anytime soon. She's traveling extensively this year in support of her album and isn't coming anywhere new Houston. However, I will get to see her with The New Pornographers at Lollapalooza this coming August and that's almost as good.

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The late night talk shows were awash with female singer songwriters this evening. Regina Spektor did a wonderful job on Conan tonight. I don't know the name of the song she performed, but alone on a grand piano it was wispy, light, and fun.
K.T Tunstall performed on Leno with an acoustic guitar that had "This Machine Kills Fascists" written on it. Although I appreciate the nod to Woody, her song was the weakest of the ladies three. She did have some cool tricks with loop pedals that aided her performance, though. And did I mention that she stomped on a tambourine while she strummed her geetar? She did. It was rad.

iPod Song Of The Day: A 38 minute version of The Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" from the bootleg entitled, The Quine Tapes

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/9-10

So, we started out the weekend with some pretty heady news. Before the show, Jason took me aside and confided in me the unbelievable news that a reporter from the New York Times would be in the house for Friday night’s performance. Although this information did have me on pins and needles for the first half of the show, I'm really glad he told me in advance. It gave me all the nervous energy I needed to perform at my best and helped me focus on the show after our longest break since opening the show. I guess it wasn't enough that Daniel's parents would also be in attendance. They would end up leaving during the intermission because of a problem we were having with the air conditioning. That sucked.
No having the knowledge of their departure, I approached a group of elderly people following the show and thanked them for coming out. I later found out they were a cast members grandparents and were in no way related to Daniel. Doh! It was cool of them to hang out during the entire rock show following the main stage performance, though. The elderly woman in the group had a priceless reaction during Kevin's " that marijuana" line, but ended up dancing by the end of the song. They were very sweet and, I believe, our biggest group of older people to come to the show. Good for them!
Another priceless Lisa Haymes moment tonight. While walking through the lobby during the middle of the show, I couldn't help but notice Lisa laying flat on her back as she was sprawled out across the couch while staring up at the ceiling. I think the thought of Daniel's parents and the biggest newspaper in the country there, all in one night, was a bit more that she could handle.
My best friend, for over twenty years, was also in attendance Friday. He had flown in from New Jersey that afternoon and I could not have been more excited to have him in the audience. He's been through a rough year and has maintained a brave face despite getting some horrible news just that day. He was a bit in shock following the performance, as he was not aware of my role in the show. He explained that he expected my role to consist of "tree stage left" and little more. To hear his praise of my performance and the show in general made my heart fill with joy. He's such a wonderful guy and I'm so lucky to have him as a part of my life. I love him dearly for the strength he has shown in character as he treads across the rocky road that has been thrust before him. Love ya, Omi!
The sold out performance was again littered with many friends who are appreciated more than words can express. Chet & Erin have been there nearly every night and have been more than generous in their praise of the show. Both have commented on how they have enjoyed the evolving performances from night to night and how they've discovered new moments/songs each evening that elevate their enjoyment with each viewing. Jeff Miller and Jo Bird were also repeat attendees and sat right up front. They are the definition of "cool couple".
Joe's performance of "Rock 'n Roll EGA" has grown each night and I was blow away by it on Friday night. He's approached each night with a tremendous enthusiasm that is to be admired and respected. We've had a moment together, following them main stage performances, the last two nights that have found us both on the precipice of emotion bliss. I think we both have discovered an emotional state this weekend that we've not inhabited before. The only word to describe it would be, ecstasy.
Christa came to the show tonight (Saturday) and was an emotional wreck the entire night. I kept from making eye contact with her until the final number for fear of completely losing my shit on stage during the show. She's seven months pregnant and is more beautiful than I've seen her ever look (and she is one hot mama!). She really made the show for me tonight and I told her as much following the show. She was nothing short of radiant in her front row seat and her blissful energy made it all worth it.
With that said, it was a bit of a weird night. This morning was the first of four days, over the next two weekends, which we have set aside to professionally film the show. As a result of the early day, I think many in the cast felt some fatigue. There were no major "fuck-ups" or problems with the show, I just think the energy level was a bit askew (I know mine was) and results were a somewhat lopsided performance. I felt the second act was as strong as it's ever been, but it took the majority of the first act for us to get our feet firmly in place. I don't know that others felt this way. Perhaps it was just me.
More good friends in attendance tonight along with a second viewing by the playwright, Lisa D'Amour, who has been commissioned to write our first show of the next season. She's way cool and had nothing but great things to say about the show. I hold opinions in highest regard.
Jason got in my head tonight and I think it resulted in a weird performance of "Peek-a'Boo". As I was running through the song on piano before the show, he tossed out a note concerning the emotional climax of the song and it got the best of me. I performed a slower and quieter version in hopes of squeezing something new from it tonight and I was not convinced of its results. Oh, well. You can't win 'em all.
I did have a ton of fun performing "Living Life", though. I've discovered a new vocal approach that really allows me to inject some soul in it and have had a blast ever since.
We celebrated Mossie's sweet 16 before the show and it was great to see her expression as the curtain opened to reveal a table full of sugar filled goodies illuminated by candles. She's a tremendous talent and has a wonderful maturity to her at such a young age. She's really stepped up to the plate during this show and has held her own with people who are twice her age. With that attitude, she can expect to go far in this business.
Some meaningful comments from AJ the last two nights following the show. I heart that. Friday night, she got her biggest ovation for "Don't Let The Sun" yet. Woot!
Highlight of the night, aside from Christa's emotional wellspring, was during "True Grief". At the climax of the song, rather than kicking over his piano stool, Tony performed a wonderful circus act as he leaned back on his heels while managing to balance his chair on its two back feet.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/3

Tonight was a very liberating experience. While nervous energy can be a helpful tool, it can also cause a strangle hold on your ability to be loose and keep you from surging ahead, free of inhibitions. I think tonight a great majority of us broke free of the tension we held for the last week and were finally able to take the fun level to new heights. It was one of our best shows, without quesion.
Kyle was footloose and fancy free tonight. His showboat moment of the evening was (and has always been as far as I'm concerned) "Funeral Girl". Each night he seems to get a little bolder with his vocal performance and tonight was no exception. His voice was strong (if not downright powerful) and I think he has officially become a member of the Pointer Sisters with this evening’s powerhouse rendition. Kyle es muy en fuego.
Following the show, he told me of a sort of backhanded compliment he had received from a female fan who expressed her desires toward him. Poor Kyle. Paradise lost. Although, on the up side, Mike seems to be getting affection from women who have less than 20/20 vision and have mistaken him for Kyle. One man gathers what another man spills.
Got nice comments from both Chris B and Tony about tonight's "Peek-a-Boo". Chris noted a "growl" I had during the middle eight section. I try to attack that song with a "feeling the moment" kind of thing and that's what came out tonight. It felt good.
I could see the reaction Jason had mentioned last week during the line, "Don't you think you could do better?” in "Loving Feelings". A woman in the first row and a man in the second row both nodded to themselves during their personal revelation. I also got a reaction after the line, "Don't you wish you knew the truth and nothing more?" A man who I had confronted with the question quietly mouthed the reply, "yes".
The girls in the booth have taken to dancing and clapping their hands above their heads (like they just don't care) during the finale as well. Go girls.
I should also note that during the finale, as I approach Kyle and Joe with the opening lines, both have been giving me looks of self revelation. Not sure if I'm imagining this or not. Either way, that's some good acting fellows!
A man on house right wearing a Daniel shirt was on the edge of his chair the entire performance. Literally. Also noticed him singing some of the songs. I mistook him for Mossie's father, who was also wearing a Daniel t-shirt, but was corrected by her following the show.
The first people to approach me, following the show, were a couple who wanted to know what the deal was with the head gear. Told them of the "Joe the Boxer" character and I think that helped them understand. I'm can't be sure, though.
The next person was the very same twentysomething kid who later approached Jason about the Rudz "Don't Let The Sun..." performance. He asked if it was going to be performed (ala Rudz style) during the rock concert. I told him unfortunately "no" and he proceeded to tell me about the impact it had had on him during the Memorial Day show. When I told him Daniel had been there the night before, a sudden "Oh, shit. I missed the boat", look came over his face for a moment before he quickly shook it off and told me of being shut out by the sold out opening night performance. I directed him to AJ's scooter with the "flying eyeball" doodle by Daniel (which is now legendary) and then pointed out Jason and told him to inquire with "the bald guy" about "Don't Let The Sun..." He later reported back that the scooter drawing was "fucking rad".
A slowly moving old man walked in front of the dancing girls during the rock concert with both hands covering his ears on his way to the front door.
I distracted Jenni during her performance of "Monkey In A Zoo" and caused her to forget the words. She said I had rekindled her ADD.
A very nice girl had a look of stunned disbelief on her face when, after offering to buy me a beer, was told that I didn't drink. Mossie then said, "You don't drink?!?"
Fantastic performance by The Misfires following the show. Mike and I were trying to figure out when exactly it was that they had graduated from "power pop" to full out "rock-n-roll" band. The encore of "Loving Feelings" was, well...interesting. I'll leave it at that.
The show, and its performances, just keeps getting better and better. In the words of The Beatles, "To the toppermost of the poppermost!"

...and beyond.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Speeding Motorcycle 6/2

So, I've been writing an informal blog after each show in the private section of the IBP forum for the last week. Since I don't get the chance to update this thing very often, I figured I might as well waste my thoughts on the rest of the world while I'm at it. So, here goes...
Kind of a wild show tonight. There were 2 VERY drunk people in the audience who were very vocal in their responses to the first half. Both are friends of IBP who have been very supportive of us. Not only were their responses loud, some were a bit inappropriate and that threw a bunch of people (cast & audience) for a bit of a loop. I didn't really care or pay much attention to them, but I can see how it would disrupt other patrons and irritate performers. They were asked to leave during intermission and did so quietly.
Daniel came again tonight and brought members of his band, the Nightmares, along for the ride. I met Bridgette and Jason. I met another guy who had a name tag that read "Elvis", but I don't think he was in the band though. Bridgette, Jason, and Daniel were all very nice and said some terribly flattering things to me following the show. Daniel noted how much he enjoyed our treatment of "Loving Feelings" and how some people had laughed at its lyrics prior to our performing it. Well, I don't know who these "people" are, but they have got to be morons to have not been impressed by its message. It's probably one of the finest songs I've ever heard and I told him as much. I gave him a Beatles bootleg on cd and he thanked me for the gift.
The reviewer for the Chronicle came tonight and I got a kick out of seeing him make a b-line for the door as soon as the main stage portion was over. Just as he was about to reach the door, Jason stopped him dead in his tracks and informed him the play was not over. So, he sat down at a table by himself and stayed for all but the final song of the rock concert. He asked Tamarie during the intermission if the head dresses we all wear were some kind of Egyptian thing.
I went to great lengths to remember my angel wings for the opening song of act 2 and promptly forgot to wear them. Just as the curtain opened, I suddenly remembered and bolted backstage to grab another pair and made it on stage by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. Bet I don't forget them again.
I felt like "Loving Feelings" was taken to a higher level tonight. I tried to channel the feeling I get from the "birthday" monologue, which precedes it, and segue it straight in to the song. Not that it's difficult to sell that song, I just felt a little something extra was going on underneath the whole thing. It felt great and bittersweet, as it always does.
The show was very solid tonight. I was tremendously pleased with it considering the amount of time we've been apart from it (not counting the brush up, of course).
Aside from Daniel and the reviewer in the house, the show was also attended by our biggest donor (Michael Zilkha) and my father who had driven all the way down from Independence, MO just to see the show. I know he had a great time and I was very very pleased to have him make the nearly 800 mile trek just for me. I've only been able to perform for him a handful of times in my career and I did all I could to make it a special show for him. He told me later that a young lady approached him following the show to thank him for having me because I made her feel "good" whenever I was around. I'm speechless. :^)
The energy during the rock show portion of the evening was, in a word, electric. I saw Daniel in the back corner singing along to "Like A Monkey In A Zoo" and generally having a grand ole time. For the most part, the entire crowd hung out and seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. I don't think it hurts that all the girls in the cast/company get up front and dance around. I had a blast performing "Brainwashed". Don't think I've had that much fun with it before. "True Grief" was amazing. It never disappoints.
Another stream of flattering compliments about the show and performances from friends and strangers alike. I never get sick of it. It's so fucking cool to see the looks on people’s faces when you can see that a production has had an impact on them. It's like some sweet narcotic that always puts you in the right place. Gimme more. Gimme more.
I'll conclude with a few observations about Daniel.
Him sitting at the bar taking large gulps of what appeared to be red wine as Jenni bombarded him with "Jenniocity".

He autographed AJ's scooter and even drew a flying eyeball between the handle bars.

Tonights performance was advertised as a "no smoking" show. It was posted and explained to Daniel as such. I hadn't completed the first verse of the opening song before I could see that he had sparked up and was soon puffing away on a cigarette. He ain't no doughnut!

As I was leaving the theater, Daniel was standing near the door with Jason, Bridgette, and Jason Nodler circled around him. He was playing "air guitar" while making sorta half-assed Pete Townshend like windmills all while exclaiming, “I feel like Lucifer tonight! I feel like Lucifer tonight!"

Does it get any better than that?