The Bridgeport Boy's Choir rehearsal went well this weekend. I had a chance to sing with them at a shelter in Bridgeport at Thanksgiving and it really affected me. These boys gave up part of their Thanksgiving to sing for folks who were standing in line for their dinners at the shelter. At an early age they are learning to use their talent to help others. Mr. Camp, their director is a great influence on them!
At their rehearsal on Saturday I rehearsed and coached two of the little one's "letters to santa" as part of the last scene and I also went over the "Mr. and Mrs Santa scene" where two of the Boy Choir teens play "Elves". Daniel wrote a Santa (W)Rap that is great! He took the bull by the horns and got it done ahead of time, memorized it and is raring to go. It will steal the show!
Some of the NPT mentoring that is connected to the Lockwood Mathews Mansion and Museum gig on Dec 16th is with Rowayton elementary school. We are on our 2nd session of "Broadway Bound" classes with 10 adorable kids who are learning through movement, voice and acting.
They are also working on "auditions" to be included in the Lockwood Holiday show as part of the "Letters to Santa" segment.
Today we talked about the "technical" side of theatre as well and I decided that I would include their "set designs" as part of the Bijou Holiday show in the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" reading, by Scott Bryce, our host. The children drew pictures that corresponded to ten different parts of that story.
Since the Bijou is also a lovely movie house with a screen for the entire back wall I had at first just wanted to have slides of a book shown as he was reading the story. Then I thought, why not have the kids draw the pages? And so....see below for some of the cutest pictures that also taught the kids about set design, color schemes, and ....deadlines.
I had to have them today when we left the class.
ps big thanks to 2nd grade teacher, Lisa Benedetto LaRusso, who really lined everything up for us and is at every session!
Our show, for non profits, always feature singing waiters when possible. They have often been my home students or college kids and now our Youth Board gets in on the act. See below for video footage from my Iphone of Matt Sweeney and Kelsey Llewellen who performed for the CT Humane Society's gig.
They got "tipped" after they sang and turned that $ into the Humane Society. Sometimes the kids sell raffle tickets for the charity. They are very respectful and adorable.
Had to share this great costume for my appearance as Mrs. Santa in our Bijou Holiday show Dec 1 and Dec 2.
I bought the bone of this dress at SAVERS and it was majorly enhanced by the super talented designer, Drew Mancuso. He is also the wardrobe master for New England Ballet (who does a spectacular Nutcracker every year) http://www.newenglandballet.org/
See the picture below. I wish I had taken a before and after because you would be so impressed with how much he did on this outfit! I love it!
Just so you know, one of the scenes in our show is with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Jerold Goldstein is MR. and he's on the phone with our agent, when I walk in. We have a cabaret act in the "off season" that has been going on for years, despite the fact that Mrs. Santa really can't sing.
So she's all set to find the latest "theme" for their show. We both have two elves (two young men for the Bridgeport Boy's choir) and Mr. humors me by trying out different songs for themes (opera, pop, country) and finally my elf (Daniel) comes up with a "Santa rap" (he wrote it!) and we go off rapping that. Or "wrapping" as Mrs. Claus calls it.
Karen, the owner of Village Vogue Boutique (one of my fav places to shop) hosted a fashion show Wednesday night at Indigo restaurant for The Sunshine Kids - a charity dedicated to helping children with cancer. She asked me to model a gown I had already bought from her shop and after teaching till 6:45 I scurried off to model at 7pm. Karen is also graciously supplying the gowns for the three Broadway gals in our Holiday show at the Bijou Dec 1 and Dec 2, as well as the Miss CT girls ala "Holiday Hollywood". Can't wait to see what they will look like. Since we are in a movie house, we are going to show Karen's logo behind the women as they model her fashions while we sing Santa Baby. Product placement made easy. Movie's do it. Sports arenas do it. Why not theatre? Today we are singing for the CT. Humane Society. Custom building a show just for them in Westport. When I met with the organizer she threw out adjectives and ideas like "love songs", "journeying" and "forever home". So I wrote a show that Fred and I will sing "love songs" ...to our dogs. :) And the journey we take with them through our lives. Bringing photos of my pound puppy Benny to sing "My funny valentine" to as well as Fred's english bulldog. :) They are honoring Mary Tyler Moore and she may be there. Here is picture of our final outfits for the fashion show.
Doing lots right now in the name of "mentoring"and tying it all in to NPT.
Gave a master class for the National Association of Teachers (CT) this weekend. I really love that kind of class where they sing for you, and you can give them feedback and really work with them on their "audition".
Auditioning is such a different beast than performing and if you get good at it you will probably perform more than those that are just average. Richard Sabellico's class is great "Audition Therapy".
Thrilleddoesn't begin to describe how I feel about our very first Youth Board meeting tonight. We had seven very enthusiastic and social media savvy teens who elected a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary and also discussed topics from fund raising to selling tickets to the upcoming Bijou Theatre show.
Matt Sweeney is our president and he took charge immediately gathering emails and telephone numbers as well as taking notes. Nathan, our VP was great with suggestions. Our secretary Kelsey was great too and treasurer Kevin created a special facebook event page while the meeting was in session on his Iphone!! Additional board members, Shelby, Shay and Shaina have actually already been a part of some of our activities from singing waiters to designing flyers.
The way this crowd spreads news is exactly how we want our theatre's advertising to work. They talk to each other, text, post it, and spread the fun fast! We already came up with incentives to any of their friends who sells 10 tickets or more. A special raffle that allows the winner to have a walk on role in the Bijou Holiday show with us. :)
The perks of being on the Youth Board are not only Volunteer Credit hours, but also they are the first to be included in all VIP activities, from rehearsals with the stars, sitting in on auditions, meeting and working with the tech folks, producing a web show that we will be launching after the holidays, monthly board meetings, singing waiter opportunities, meeting stars that we book for shows in person and for dinner and getting a "board member" credit on their resumes.
All of this is part of our "mentoring" program and some of these members are also going into the schools with me when I do master classes and the "Triple threat" workshops for elementary schools to help out. Building self esteem, public speaking, marketing etc skills through the arts.
This meeting turned out to be so much more not only because of the kids, but also the parents were here at our home and were equally supportive, with ideas and positive thoughts.
Here is the latest press release I have been working on. Always best to be a month in front of any press, but the hurricane is delaying things, so this weekend is my crunch time. I included a whole "perks" section that probably won't go with the press release but that will be in a newsletter I have been creating. It seems to me that if you can get the "early adapters" to engage and invite groups of their friends, it's better than just selling one ticket at a time. Plus, each perk furthers part of our "mentoring" or "engaging your tribe" idea.
The Bijou Theatre presents: AHoliday Extravaganza: Bringing
Broadway to Bridgeport!
all the stress and strife of “Sandy” the Bijou Theatre and Broadway performers
from The New Paradigm Theatre bring an uplifting and enjoyable event to the
Bridgeport, CT (November
1 2012) –
Bringing Broadway to Bridgeport.
Thinking outside the…holiday box, the Bijou Theatre and The New Paradigm
Theatre Co (NPT) have found an “all-in-one” way to benefit the community and
create a an uplifting holiday
tradition. Broadway performers from The
New Paradigm Theatre Company will perform a NY-esque customized Holiday show for Bridgeport and the surrounding area Dec
1 and Dec 2nd at the Bijou Theatre.
Created just for Bridgeport this show not only entertains with Broadway
singers, instrumentalists and Santa, but it comes with a mentoring outreach that allows the Broadway performers to teach
young people in weeks prior to the show and gives a few lucky Bridgeport
students the chance to be featured on stage with the performers for the
exciting Holiday extravaganza. Some will
even have a chance to help write part of the show with the Broadway performers
as guides! Adding to the glamour and
fun are title-holders from the Miss CT program (including a cameo by Miss CT),
the Bridgeport Boy’s choir will be featured onstage with the performers and The
New Paradigm Theatre’s “So Ya Wanna Be a
Broadway Star” Junior and Senior winners will also be featured. Finally, proving that it takes a village, the
“Village Vogue Boutique”, in neighboring Milford, will be supplying all the
gowns for the event. Connecting,
uplifting and mentoring the community
through this “Holiday gift” to Bridgeport.
Bijou theatre: (203) 332-3228
Perks for early ticket buyers (before Nov 16th) include:
1. VIP pass to the “Invited dress rehearsal”. 2. “Talk back after the show with the
stars”. 3. Dinner with the stars.
Group ticket sales for senior centers
and homes (10 or more)
receive the above as well as a visit during December by Kristin Huffman (BWay
performer and Artistic Director) with a young crew of carolers for your own
“Sing along” and caroling door to door at your Center.
Group Ticket Sales for Schools (10 or
more)include : 1. VIP pass to the “Invited dress
rehearsal”. 2. “Talk back after the show
with the stars”. 3. Dinner with the stars. 4. Master class on auditions/bway with
Kristin Huffman, Bway performer, Artistic Dir and college professor. www.kristinhuffman.com
Group Ticket Sales for Businesses (10
or more) include: . VIP pass to the “Invited dress
rehearsal”. 2. “Talk back after the show
with the stars”. 3. Dinner with the
stars. 4. A “Caroling Day” at your office during December by Kristin Huffman
and some young stars! Treat your employees to an hour of caroling in the lobby
or door to door at the office!
FINALLY: All EARLY buyers (before November 16th)
will be entered into a raffle for a WALK ON ROLE IN THIS SHOWand
will be featured with the Broadway stars on stage!!!!
The New Paradigm Theatre Company (501, c 3) non
profit, creates a professional theatre experience that promotes a defined
interconnectivity and sense of community. Embracing a new paradigm shift by
“breaking the fifth wall” we enlist those formerly known as the “audience”
transforming them into a tribe of promoters, “stars” and assistant “directors”
who interact with the professional actors we feature in our productions.
Through social media and Internet marketing we benefit local businesses, other nonprofits and educational
institutions as we mix “stars” in the community with the stars of Broadway, TV
and film. Utilizing our experienced press corps, we are the community’s best
PR. By mentoring emerging leaders to think progressively utilizing innovative
arts education we set the pace for more than just “art for art’s sake”.
·NPT has also helped many other non profit groups
raise funds this year including, The Bruce Museum, The United Way, The Leukemia
Foundation, The Volunteer Ctr of SW Fairfield County, AT HOME in Greenwich, as
well as many gigs coming up to help other non profits and schools.