In the Making

New York, New York!!

Posted by cjaxon on August 26, 2011

So now I’ve made the big move! It’s been an interesting and emotional process. People would say “Oh, that’s so exciting!!” And sometimes I was excited about it, and many times I wasn’t quite. I really went back and forth between excited and nervous. I just kept telling myself that I would be fine once I got up there and started doing it. And so far, I was right.

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A Chorus Line

Posted by cjaxon on August 26, 2011

This was probably my favorite show of the summer season, although not without its troubles. Fortunately, (most) of the cast and crew were fun and eager workers, so in spite of adversity we pulled off a great final product.

Let me start at the beginning. Everything went well for the first week or so. In fact, the first day of rehearsal was really only music. At the end of the day we reviewed choreo for the opening number, but didn’t set it until the next day. The day after that, the first Friday, was one of the hardest days, because we learned the entire Montage – a massive eighteen-minute piece in four parts. The choreography itself wasn’t so difficult, but there were so many individual pieces and layers, and people had specific moments that just required piecing together slowly. We would spend two hours learning two minutes of choreo. It was just mentally exhausting to stop and start over so many times, and it took a good day and a half. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by cjaxon on July 24, 2011

Hairspray ended up being alot of fun… once we got past opening night. Overall, it was actually a very stressful process for me. It’s a big show, there were so many dance numbers, and just a lot to keep up with. I was very frustrated through tech weekend, even through the first performance, because I kept forgetting steps or missing things. It felt like grasping to hold on to a rollercoaster, instead of really owning it. However, Wednesday I didn’t have to go in for Ragtime rehearsal – it’s the one show I’m not doing this summer. So instead I sat around all day with my friends Jeremy and Kaleb, and generally relaxed. Wednesday night, and for the rest of the performances, I had great fun.

Nicest Kids in Town

We called ourselves the Blue Crew. All these costumes were homemade by our costume department!

Our incredibly talented Trio, the Dynamites.

Meanwhile, the rest of the company continued rehearsals for Ragtime, which turned out beautifully. And Chorus Line rehearsals started on Wednesday. So far, so good. We’ve learned two of the three huge pieces, being the opening audition and the Montage in the middle of the show. They’ve both got their challenges: the opening is physically tiring to do over and over in rehearsals. The Montage isn’t so physically demanding, but it’s very intricate, and everyone has individual pieces. There are several layers to the whole thing, and it’s just mentally draining to spend so much time putting together a 5-minute segment.

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Theatre 2-a-Days

Posted by cjaxon on June 24, 2011

I meant to post something earlier this week about opening night, but this is literally the first time I’ve been able to sit and write. The first show went off without a hitch. The party afterward was at a Chinese restaurant, with free sushi! And then Wednesday morning we started Hairspray, and hit the ground running. Instead of beginning with music rehearsals like most shows, we staged all of “Good Morning Baltimore,” the dance at the gym (“The Madison”), and the first part of “Nicest Kids in Town” – three very intricate numbers. Then we scarfed down dinner and went back to the Civic Center to perform Oliver again. From my point of view Wednesday night felt even better than Tuesday, although we were more tired.

Here I’ve got to give a shout out to my father who drove all the way up on Wednesday to see it and drove back on Thursday morning. Mom and Sarah stayed home because Sarah’s getting ready to leave for a mission trip for about a week and a half. Missed them, but I totally understand.

At some point soon I’m going to write down all the crazy stories from these kids in the gang, or “squids” as some of us refer to them, semi-affectionately. You just never know what you’re going to get. Most of the time they’re harmless, but they’re always interesting. Like when we’ve told them to react to what going on in the scene, and they keep their adlibs fresh, but then they start waiting until everyone else has finished speaking and then say their adlibs in the dramatic silence before the next line. Or like when they start ranting backstage about Patti LuPone being “a hag,” because she’s so short, or she’s so tall, or whatever she is. They admit they have no idea who she is, but she’s must be a hag. Or when they accidentally knock over a bench at the beginning of the scene without realizing it and then three of them sit down but fall over backwards.


But back to Hairspray.

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Posted by cjaxon on June 18, 2011

So we’re two weeks in to rehearsals now. Which means we’re two-thirds done with this first show!! I’ve never worked on a full-blown production at this pace, and I’m loving it. We had it all blocked and choreographed, a 2 and half hour show, within the first week. And it’s gonna be BIG. We’re doing Oliver! first. The set is HUGE. There are two bridges going across the stage, up to 20 feet in the air. There are giant pieces that roll on and off for different scenes. And we even have actors going up and down from the orchestra pit, as well as a pasarelle (fancy word for walkway) going around in front of it. We literally fill the stage, front to back, side to side, from below to way above.

Rehearsals have been going well. They told us in the beginning that this is an easy  ensemble show. It’s basically divided into two groups – adults and “the gang.” (I’m in the gang.) And it’s divided in a way that both groups don’t usually work at the same time. So for the first few days, I wouldn’t have to go in until later in the day, or I’d get released a few hours early. Technically, I’m in the “ensemble,” but I do have a featured bit or two as Charlie Bates, the leader of The Gang. (Or at least, that’s the role I’ve created for Charlie 😉 I’ve had fun even with a small role like this, because since it’s not a major part, there’s a lot of creative freedom. I can do almost anything I want within the world of the show, as long as it makes sense for the character, and doesn’t draw away from the scene.

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Unemployed… and loving it?

Posted by cjaxon on May 31, 2011

It’s been almost two weeks since I came back from New York.

And it feels like a month.

New York was a sort-of vacation, with a relaxed pace, but a definite agenda. I still got up early, went all day, and stayed up at night. We worked hard, and played hard. It was a great week and a half, but still a project unto itself.

The day after I got back, I crashed. My body knew that I finally had no responsibilities, no major work to do, and it took over. One morning I slept until 11 am… which isn’t a big deal for some people, but for me that’s late. It took me forever to get things done, even just moving my clothes into the room I’m staying in, or going to get groceries. My friend Andrew came to visit that Fri-Sat, and we just hung out around town. It’s nice every now and then to have such luxurious times.

But only for the first week. I’m slowly starting to lose my mind.  Read the rest of this entry »

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My Week in NYC

Posted by cjaxon on May 17, 2011

So I’ve spend the rest of the week just living in New York, getting a feel for staying here “for real.” Except, this experiment wasn’t entirely accurate, the main reason being the people I came with. No offense to them, but because we were all here for about the same amount of time, for the same purpose, we ended up hanging out together a lot. Which often translated into shopping during the day (I’ve been to three different H&M’s, and three different Urban Outfitters), eating lunch and/or dinner together (but I love that there’s sushi places EVERYWHERE), seeing a show at night (I’ll give mini-reviews in a minute), and sometimes seeing something afterward.

Keep in mind that I’ve been staying in Queens, across the river from Manhattan. So I have to get up earlier than everyone, bring everything I’ll need for the day, and trudge home at night.

The reason this is all unrealistic to when I move here is that I won’t be going out with people every day and every night. I just don’t have the stamina, or the money. I mean, by the end of the day I’m beat. But once we finished the showcase, we all decided this is a miniature vacation. I’ve taken it easier this week because when I move in August I’m going to focus and get to work. I’ll be able to go to bed earlier, eat dinner at home, and spend time preparing for auditions. I’m finding that although I love visiting with my friends, I do appreciate a good deal of alone time.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Showcase 2011

Posted by cjaxon on May 11, 2011

Sunday: Big Kid Choir Trip

Sunday morning about 7 of us got up early and took the same 9 am flight out. It was really nice to travel in a group, and it reminded us of those high school choir trips. Except there was no chaperone. And we wished we had thought to make matching t-shirts. We got to New York around 4:30 and went our separate ways. I had dinner with my friend Angela and another guy in the showcase came over. Angela works for a talent agency, as in the kinds of people we’re showcasing for. After dinner we talked more about the whole process, about who would be there, about to talk to first if they were interested.

At that point I stopped worrying about it all, because I realized that the work had been done, and stressing would only make things worse. I would perform better if I loosened up and just enjoyed myself than if I actually tried too hard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wrapping it up

Posted by cjaxon on May 3, 2011

So this past month was strange. I went from relaxed and not much going on to really busy. It was pretty disappointing because I was really hoping to just coast through these last two weeks of school. Instead I ended up with projects and commitments, and worst of all, homework. Yuck. I went from having nothing to tell you, to having too much to do to talk about it. Oh well.

It started when we got back from Spring Break. We had two weekends in a row when everyone and their mothers gave Jr. or Sr. recitals. Some days had as many as 5 or 6 recitals in one afternoon! We want to be supportive of each other, but there’s no way we could have seen everyone.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Spring Break NYC

Posted by cjaxon on March 27, 2011

The week before last was spring break. It couldn’t have come soon enough. I spent mine in New York, participating in OCUNYC for my third year now. OCUNYC is a great opportunity – the alumni living in New York prepare workshops and classes with industry professionals, from dance classes with the captains of broadway shows to masterclasses with casting directors, to audition prep and teaching us about Equity, the Actors’ Union. We also get to reconnect with recent alums we may have gone to school with, and network/meet new people. This year it was held in Chelsea Studios, a space where auditions take place all the time.

The best part is: it’s all FREE. One of the benefactors of OCU graciously donates to cover all the expenses of bringing faculty, renting out the studios, and even providing a meet-and-greet dinner on Monday night. We have to pay for transportation and any other meals that week, or entertainment and fun things, but even lodging is often taken care of. Our alumni network asks for volunteers to loan a couch or if a roommate is temporarily out of town, to put students up for the week.  Read the rest of this entry »

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