Post Production Over Crabcakes

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Post Production Meeting

Laura had been in Carefree, Arizona for an Art and Wine Festival, so two Sundays ago I picked her up at the Baltimore Airport and we met Lori Chapman at the Double T Diner in Catonsville, a Baltimore suburb, for our post production meeting.

Double T Diner

Lori was the Assistant Director of The Santa Diaries production of the Liberty Showcase Theatre. Laura said she had been up since four that morning and we had a busy schedule. Post production meeting and then theatre at Everyman in Baltimore at 7 p.m.

The Director, Barb Gaspar, was to meet us, but she and her husband were driving back from Niagara Falls and she phoned that her husband was sick as a dog with some sort of intestinal flu so she couldn’t join us. I was just as glad. I did not want to be exposed to anything gastro…even second-hand.

Lori said the only thing she ever ate at the Double T Diner was the crab cakes so that’s what she ordered. I had a paninni and Laura had Eggs Benedict. For a diner with a menu that weighed over a pound and easily had 1000 items, the food was pretty good.

crab cakes

Foodie Laura

Laura had a birthday when she was in Arizona and she and her husband had a spectacular dinner at Binkleys. She said it was the best meal and service she has ever experienced. Coming from Laura that is a supreme compliment and she is already planning a Binkleys pilgrimage next January. Multiple amuse-bouche offerings added to the experience. That is a tiny bar-b-que sandwich. Talk about amusing your mouth…

binkleys amuse bouche

Script Changes

Between bites of crab cake, Lori’s only suggestion in terms of changes to the play was to see if we could combo some of the scenes so there wouldn’t be so many scene changes. The Avalon handled that with the rear projection equipment, but it was more challenging for Liberty  with a shallow stage, so we knew that was going to be something we wanted to look at.

At the end of our meal Laura and I looked at each other and decided to skip the play at Everyman and head home. She had to be at work the next morning and we were both tired. Next year we’re going to get matinee tickets. The Sunday night performances make for a very long trip home over the Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore.

Another Santa Diaries Production?

Laura has designed a half page color ad to go into the American Association of Community Theatre‘s newsletter in March. We’ll make those changes to the script before the ad hits. Our hope is to have another theater produce The Santa Diaries for the holiday season 2014.

In the meantime we continue work on the movie script.

Thanks to Cast and Crew

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We Thank the Cast and Crew cast-and-crew-for-web-2

The cast and crew made the Liberty Showcase Theatre’s production of The Santa Diaries so very special and Laura and I are grateful for all their hard work. I was ill and unable to get to the last performance, but Laura attended with her husband. Despite some weather issues the Saturday evening performance and the Sunday matinee were packed. Laura said people laughed and cried. When that happens we know we’ve done our job as writers. Immediately after the last performance, volunteers began breaking down the set. In community theatre everybody gets to do a little bit of everything. My belief is that this is part of why participating in community theatre can be such a bonding experience. As some previous blogs have indicated, participation often spans generations.

Hiccups

In this production there were a number of hiccups. One was replacing the person who was to play Josh two weeks before the show opened. Although this is a male role, the person who knew most of the lines already was the female music director who heroically stepped in to fill Josh’s size twelves. Josh became JoJo and there was some hurried rewriting of the final scene in which Will calls Brandeee in the middle of the night and Josh answers. Did we want JoJo to be in Brandeee’s bedroom in the middle of the night? This was a family show, after all. Even having Josh in her bedroom was a bit of a stretch, but lines were finessed and everything worked out just fine. The snow/sleet/rain hiccup on the show’s last weekend was more problematic. The Liberty Theatre website home page was amended with the announcement: 12/14/2013 – It may be snowing outside, but the show must go on!! The Santa diaries will still be performed tonight at Glyndon United Methodist Church! Come out and get in the holiday spirit!!

People got the message and the cast performed to a full house. Last year at the Avalon Theatre the last show was on December 23. That was a burden on the cast and crew as it was so close to Christmas. The Liberty Showcase Theatre’s production ended on December 15 which gave people a little time to breathe before the last reindeer dash to the 25th.

Liberty Showcase Thanks Us

At the last show Lori Chapman, the Assistant Director, gave Laura two wrapped packages. She brought them to me a few days later and we opened them together. They were framed photos of the cast and crew of the this production. We were thrilled. On the first Sunday performance Laura and I were given one of the posters signed by everyone. Mine will go on my Santa Diaries wall! We have felt very thanked and appreciated by Liberty Showcase Theatre. The are such a professional group. We’d love to work with them again.

Post Production

We need to know how the play could be tweaked to make it better. What could be done to make it easier to stage? Liberty had a cast of about 25 as opposed to the Avalon’s cast of 65+. Most of those additional people were children which is its own special challenge, but when writing for community theatre it’s good if the cast number has some flexibility. You want to be able to showcase especially talented people and need to plan for that. Laura and I will have a post production meeting with the Director, the Assistant Director and the Producer after the holidays so that we can make useful changes to the script and notes that would help with the direction and staging of future productions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if The Santa Diaries was produced somewhere every year!

Our thanks and excellent Holiday Wishes to all the cast and crew and to the audiences who enjoyed the show. Find your inner Santa and celebrate with family and friends.

Break a Leg!

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Break a leg! Why in the world would theater people say this to one another before a show starts? I went to Wikipedia for an explanation of the derivation of this expression, but although there are many ideas, there is no conclusive evidence as to why it’s “break a leg” instead of “may you be attacked by hippos” or some other ill wish. But I will not be one to mess with traditions. Theater people are a superstitious lot.

The Santa Diaries opens tonight at Glyndon United Methodist Church. Last night was the final dress rehearsal in full makeup and costume. Assistant Director, Lori Chapman, sent me this photo of Lizzie as Marley and I just had to share it.

Marley-Lizzie-for-web

The costume is wonderful as is the make-up.

So, from Laura and me goes a shout out to all the actors and behind the scenes crew…

Break a Leg!

Show Opens Tomorrow Night

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This just in from Assistant Director, Lori Chapman:

“So I have a few minutes to let you know some of the challenges we have faced this week. And there have been many. LOL.

Starting with the kid who emailed me on Monday five minutes before she was due at rehearsal and said she was out of town and might be back by Wednesday but if not, she’d see us Saturday. Did she not remember we open on Friday?

We lost our spotlight operator for opening night and are in the process of trying to find someone now. All the other shows are covered except tomorrow night. (Update…a spotlight operator has been found.)

Our Sandy really fell off the ladder on Tuesday night. He’s fine. LOL. But the crash noise was the best it’s ever been.

Trying to turn the lights on the Christmas tree in the Hawes house on and off at the right moments is proving to be a huge challenge. Nothing like turning the tree on and lighting people frantically trying to get in the right places or having the lights left on to illuminate set changes that are supposed to be hidden.

The set changes for the finished set and burned set are harder than we thought and require tall people. Hopefully we will get much faster with those. And moving set pieces on when the entire cast is exiting the stage is like running through an obstacle course.

And I didn’t even mention the teen whose dad came and picked her up halfway through our rehearsal on Monday night and didn’t tell her mom who is also in the show that he was taking her. Panic ensued when we thought we had a missing 15 year old.

Brandeee is right. Never work with kids or dogs. LOL.

Tonight we run with costumes and makeup. Hopefully things will go smoothly. Although they do say bad dress, great opening night so maybe I should be hoping for lots of problems.”

Thanks, Lori. It’s going to be a great show. Laura and I are so appreciative of all the hard work of everone on and off stage. We can’t wait to see it.

Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Show Photographer – Alan Chapman

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When I wrote the blog about the Chapman family I didn’t have the information about Alan, the husband/father in the family. So here it is…a little late.

Alan was a full time musician most of his life.  He says the music business was very good to him until his “over the top” onstage antics caught up with him.  After years of doctors trying to find out why his right hand would go numb and be painful, one finally found the problem. Three surgeries later he can now hold a coffee cup without pain; however, he can no longer play bass.  (The pink hair is because he dyes his hair pink every year for breast cancer awareness.)

Alan Chapman pink hair

Debating on what to do with his life, he decided to take up photography.  He told me he had always loved the craft, but never had time to pursue it.  Now he has shot weddings, countless bands, children, infants, families, models, head shots, and special events. He does everything behind the lens. His company is Brighter Futures Photography. Here are some of his photos. His work is very versatile and evocative.

Alan Chapman dark haired woman

Alan Chapman baby

Alan Chapman bride

Alan Chapman photo of rocker

His day job is being a preschool teacher which he has done for thirteen years.  He says he loves being able to make a difference in children’s lives.

The Santa Diaries production by Liberty Showcase Theatre is blessed to have Alan Chapman taking photos of the show. Opening night is this Friday. Break a leg, Santa Diaries cast.

Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Sanaa’ and Lizzie (Emma & Marley)

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Sanaa’  Jazmyn Jones has a proud grandmother, Kathy Herring, who sent me this photo of her granddaughter. Sanaa’ has several roles in The Santa Diaries, including that of Emma.

Sanaa' Jones

Acting, singing, and dancing since the age of four, Sanaa’ enjoys listening to music and singing. She attends Deer Park Middle Magnet School where she is enrolled in the Level 1 Theatre Arts Class, and is passionate about pursuing an acting, singing, and dancing career.

Elizabeth Feuerbach (Lizzy) has been cast as Marley in The Santa Diaries. Lizzy, age thirteen, has appeared in many productions as part of the Catonsville Children’s Theater (now the Dragonfly Theater), most recently as Patty in Grease, as well as other productions in Columbia. Lizzie is spending this year homeschooling and excels at math. She studies dance at Turning Pointe Dance Academy, including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and, as the audience will see, hip-hop. She also studies voice and hopes to pursue a career in theater. Photo below shows Lizzie with playwright Laura Ambler at a recent rehearsal.

Laura-and-Marley-1

Come see the show. It’s going to be great.

Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Be Thankful for Community Theater

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Today is a day to be thankful for many things. One of them is community theater and the people who work so hard to bring live theater art into our lives.

I blogged recently about how impressed Laura and I were that so many people do so much more than perform. It takes a lot of people to get a play to opening night and one of the important tasks is getting the word out about the show. Thatcher and Melita Brinton have two small daughters in the show and have generously donated signage made by their company, Signs by Tomorrow (Timonium location). We are thankful for the Brinton family.

Lori-Chapman-with-lawn-sign

The two-sided yard signs, one held above by Lori Chapman, are a brilliant idea.  They get information about the show into neighborhoods. We are thankful for Lori and all the others who will spend Black Friday hanging the show.

Lib-Showcase-sign-Laura-Mal

Here Laura and I are holding one of the street banners. How cool is that! I am thankful to have such a wonderful writing partner. Laura Ambler is my BBF.

Thatcher and Melita Brinton, like other parents of kids in the show, know that driving and waiting are a fact of life when you have kids interested in theatre. But they, like other parents, are doing more than just that, and I wanted people to know about their business located at 2105-B Greenspring Drive in Timonium, MD. Check out their website to see everything they do, and if you need their services, consider sending them your business. The Brinton’s can be contacted at timonium@signsbytomorrow.com or by phone at 410-252-8235.

I am thankful for Liberty Showcase Theatre and it’s production of our play, The Santa Diaries.

Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.