Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Name's On The Poster! - West Side Story

I am SUPER excited to announce that the current show Patrica and I are in "West Side Story" opens next Friday, Sept. 6th! I'm even more excited to share that my name ended up on the theatre poster! Most people think of this show as a classic or cliché but it just so happens to be one of our favorites. SO. MUCH. PASSION.  Patricia is one of the sultry Puerto Rican "Shark" girls, and I am playing "A-Rab" (one of the gang members in the Jets!)
This show has been amazing to be a part of, we are working with two of our favorite directors and the results are just phenomenal! Each night we run through the show as we get closer to opening the more real the story becomes. Let me tell you if you think its a roller coaster to watch, its even more so to act it out. This role has been very different for me, I'm mean. haha and in real life I'm not very mean or intimidating at all. But as soon as I put on my head band and roll up my jeans, I'm in a street gang its and its a hot Manhattan summer in 1957 with racial tensions boiling over to the point of exploding. You wouldn't want to cross me or my Jet brothers. Fist fights! Goodness i've been in more fist fights in this show than I have my entire life, we get in close and throw very real punches. Although we are just acting, we try very hard to make it as real as possible (I've had the concussions to prove it.) I am fourth in line as far as gang leaders go behind Tony, Riff, and Action (when the show starts) and by the end of the second act Action is our leader and I am his second in command.

I can honestly say its the first show I've been really excited about in a long time, This is definitely not the happy go lucky guitar plucking "Doody" I played earlier this year in Grease. This is real, and leaves me emotionally drained after a performance because it takes that much to bring this show to life!

I do hope you all will try to come and see it! We'd love it if you did!

I'll have a "set" post later in September, the theme and beauty of this show has been "urban decay" and I'm having a ball getting things just so.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Summers End 1959

Well Readers, The "Summers Season" of the Casablanca's social calendar has come to a close.
Friends- James, John, Joy, Kate, Josh, Jenn, Jonathan, Larry, Cindy, Kelcie, Zack, Wes, Andrew (via photo), J.T., Terrace, David, Emily, Jaquelin, Lee, Emily, Mary, Sheldon, Jordan, Utah, Matt, Philip, Audrey, Margaret, Rachel, Joseph, Patricia and Corabelle!

"It's Summers End Here at Mick's!"

 It was quite the event this year! Each year 'Summers End' get a little bigger and this year we had a total of 34 guests in attendance. I was so excited because it meant we'd have our biggest table scape yet! It was a hot Texas summer day, right up until 4:30P.M.  when out of NOWHERE the Sky turned black, the wind started blowing and we had heavy rain for about 20 minuets. Then as quickly as it had appeared the rain was gone.  Now trust me, our area is in a serious drought and we'll take rain anyway we can get it! However the sudden down pour left the back yard a muddy swamp... so for the first time on record Summers End became an indoor affair.
(Jonathan, Josh, James, Audrey (Miss Casablanca 1959),
Kate, Rachel and Joseph.)
Even in close quarters we didn't let the damp, dampen our spirits! Soon paper lanterns were hung through out the house, records were thrown on the player and everyone was have a good time in close quarters.
(Wes, Kelcie (Miss Casablanca 1957), and JT passing out horderves.)
 (Ham and turkey, cheese croissants prepared by Patricia and Wes!)
 (Joy and Terrace)
The only real downer to the unexpected down pour, is that there was no way we could all fit in one room to eat. But you do it all the time at Thanksmass! I hear you shout. (well yes but that takes planning and serious furniture moving!)  So because of the seating arrangements we were not able to take a "postcard" picture this year.
 (Some were on the porch...)
(Some were in the Den...)
(others were in the living room)
(With just a few on the floor!)
("I'm on the floor, whats a matter with that?!")
Brings a whole new meaning to "a causal gathering, you know. just sitting on the floor..." It was truly a packed house!  We used everyone of our "every day dishes" and all the Tupperware tumblers to feed out guests, It was such fun and luckily the food and refreshments held out. After dinner there were lots of entertainments to partake in, there was a sing along in the livingr oom (with Joy on the Piano!).
(The Oscar Mayer Song)
(I'm A Pepper)
(This Evening brought to you in part by- Product Placement! Haha.)

There were cards in the Den, and a game of charades in the Lounge. Everyone was having a jovial time! Around 9:00 we tried to set up the Drive-In for our feature presentation, but the humidity and unexpected arrival of bloody thirsty mosquitoes hindered our viewing. Until I remembered we had an old white sheet and with a little re-arranging
(Welcome to the Palace Theater- a la the living room!)
We settled in as pop corn popped, and awaited our double feature. Normally, we watch some kind of old movie (Doris Day, or some big splashy MGM musical) this year however, with the passing of our dear friend Andrew we decided to show home movies of theatre shows he had been in. Our double feature included, our production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat. It was a (minor tearful and) happy way to remember our friend and sing along.

Kudos to friends Terrace and Wes in this picture, In a moment of brilliance Terrace had friend Zack run into the house and grab the new 5x7 picture of Andrew and held it up during the group photo, So Andrew did make it to Summers End after all!

Now begins the Fall Season at the Casablanca. Lots to look forward to- Labor Day, the "West Side Story" cast party, the 1959 Halloween Costume ball! It's going to be swell...


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Andrews Memorial Service

Well readers it has been an intense week since last Tuesday.  I know most of you pop in to read the fun and fabulous stories the crazy cast of characters here on the blog. We miss Andrew so much, his passing has been really hard on all of us. Last Friday nearly 900 people gathered at our local theatre for a memorial service. Not only that, but the "Remembering Andrew" post here on the blog received an unprecedented 26,000 views in three days time. That makes Andrews story the most viewed post on the blog EVER. Friend were sharing it on Facebook, friends of friends were sharing it, the cast of the musical "Texas" read and shared, people I've never met before from all over the world shared the post to help in remembering Andrew.  (If "The Casablanca" wasn't a household name before last week, it is now.) This video is an hour and a half long, but I ask if you've been a long time member of "Mick's" to take the time to watch the video and get to know Andrew as we do. The first 30 minuets is a theatrical tribute to Andrew and a few of the shows he was in, the last hour is a contemporary worship service with a slide show of pictures.

Andrew Duncan Memorial Service (854 x 480) from Dwayne Jackson on Vimeo.

There were many highs and lows during the service, I had no idea that they were going to ask me to display a DVD copy of "Casablanca" in the tribute part of the program. Everyone said it was fitting (it was one of Andrews favorite movies, and places!). I am honored to say I along with many of the friends of the Casablanca sang in the choral numbers "One Day More" from Les Mis and also in "Benjamin Calypso, One More Angel In Heaven." from "Joseph and the amazing technicolor coat".

The council members of the Casablanca came together and sent flowers to the service and to the family.
(Standing Spray)
(Crystal Cross table arrangement)
There we so many flowers at his service, it was beautiful! I apologize for my absence here on the blog, but it didn't seem right not to post the memorial service for you all and just go about regular blogging.  I can tell you Summers End 1959 is going to be different without Andrew with us. He was supposed to be coming home this weekend after a crazy summer of working in the musical "Texas" and join us for this last party of summer. He will still be with us, just in a different way now. 
Andrew Raymond Duncan
(Dec. 24, 1992 - Aug. 13, 2013)

"There's one more angel in Heaven,
There's one more star in the sky,
Andrew we'll NEVER forget you.
It's tough but we're going to get by.
There's one empty space on our stage now,
there's one more tear in our eye.
But Andrew the things that you stood for
like Joy and Light never die."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Remembering Andrew Duncan.

I never thought I'd be writing a post like this, it is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes dear Readers that I have to tell you of our beloved friend Andrew's passing. We have lost one of our own.  You will have to forgive my uses of "is" and "was" in this post, its still pretty unreal and I'm not sure which is appropriate. Andrew is a Life Time member of the Casablanca, he is also an active council member.  He was killed in a car accident along with five other people Monday August 12th around midnight. All of us at the Casablanca and Wichita Falls theater community are heart broken.

(The local news story about his passing.)
I am still in shock, we all are, it is so unexpected. Everybody liked Andrew! He was the goofy one in our group, infamous ladies man, gentleman, and scholar. He had a laugh like nothing else and was always smiling and happy to see you. He is a fantastic friend and someone that I always loved coming to parties and my home.
(Always in some kind of comedic trouble!)
Andrew- 20 years old, is an Eagle Scout, he was a junior at West Texas A&M, studying dance and was just finishing up a role in the Canyon TX musical, "Texas". He is an AMAZING dancer!  He is a big part of the theater community, we did several shows together since we first met in "Pirates of Penzance" back in the summer of 2010. He is so loved by everyone that knew him. That's why it is triple hard in grieving over the loss of a wonderful friend, actor, and council member.
("Hey Baby, how bout a smoke?"- Andrew.)
There is no possible way to do Andrew's life justice here in a blog post. I have several pictures spanning our friendship I could post, some every day, some top secret, and some "Oh God, please don't show my Mom!" But I am finding it hard to go through pictures and type with out completely breaking down and crying.
He was such a character and loved making everyone laugh! We all were really looking forward to seeing him next weekend at "Summers End 1959" out at the Casablanca.
(Andrew dancing with friend Terrace back in "1957")

Andrew, there are not words for how much you are loved and missed. I detest goodbyes, so I hope to see you again someday. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and all of our friends.You will always have a place at the Casablanca.

Here's looking at you kid!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Walt Disney's "Cinderella" - On Stage Production

This illustration comes directly from a 1951 Walt Disney 'Record and Read Along' book Dear Readers! The book I own gives no credit as to who the illustrator was, so I will assume that the drawings were from the original renderings of the 1950 film. (The work of Marc Davis and Eric Larson). I adore the work of Davis and Larson, the simple yet always elegant drawings have made this story one of my life long favorites.
For this children's production of "Cinderella" I wanted to try myself with a challenge that I've not mounted in a while, I wished to attempt an "as close to life replica of a drawing" with the set work. With the help of volunteers we were able to produce a close matching result!
(My representation, of the 1951 illustration.)
As you can see, the wainscoting and detail work on the walls are exact replicas of the drawings. I did not have a Louis XIV gilt-side cabinet as shown in the drawing, but I gave its representation by marbling (using a coarse sponge roller) and embellishing the fireplace with metallic gold.
(Fireplace prior to paint effects.)
(After paint.)
For the metallic "gold leaf" embellishments I simply took a piece of white chalk and sketched out the designs. Then using masking tape I outlined the the patterns and used gold spray paint to finish the job. I am pleased with the way this part of the set turned out, very close indeed!

(Friend Jacqueline on set as Cinderella!)

Other parts of the set also included the interior of a court yard-
The Volunteers and I used rollers and brown paint (on a base coat of white) to form stones, then went back and applied black "mortar" using a sponge. The Urns with flowers (pictured above) I drew free hand using chalk, then painted using a brush, sponge, and my fingers.
(Urn before paint, in chalk drawn stage.)

Along with a garden in which the Fairy Godmother turns a pumpkin into a beautiful carriage- 
This is of my own design, starting with a light green as base coat, then using a darker shade of green (applied with the sponge roller) to finish the greenery effect. I let dry, then using a 2"x4"x8' board and a 1"x6" board as a spacer I created the iron fence, using white paint for an added pop!
The most laborious part of the fence was the spacing, and making sure my straight edge of the 2"x4" was ACTUALLY straight! After the basic lines were up it went pretty swiftly, using free hand and a 1" paint brush for the Fleur-de-lis's on the top and bottom of the fence.

For these sets I definitely went with Larson's rule of "simplicity" because unlike the bigger flashier shows we do at the Theatre, this one is about the fantastic kids and their emerging talents! 

So many things I love about this show! The story itself, the fact the animated motion picture took nearly 10 years to make and debuted in 1950, the wonderful score, featuring favorites- "So this is love", "Sing sweet nightingale", "The work song", and of course "A dream is a wish". Then my goodness Miss Ilene Woods, (One of Walt Disney's favorite vocalists.) one simple doesn't hear a voice like that every day! 

"No matter how your heart is grieving,
If you keep on believing,
The dream that you wish will come true."