Musical Theatre Nerd Alert Goes Live!

Hey, nerds.  It has been too long.  Seriously.  Too.  Long.

Though the road to H-E-double-hockey-sticks is paved with good excuses, here are mine:  I was finishing the first year of grad school, revising my new musical, and doing two shows.  It kicked my A-double-snakes.  Sorry for the hiatus, but I do have some fun things to show you over the coming months.

In a previous post, I shared a number of photos of the MFAs creating a new web series called Musical Theatre Nerd Alert.  This series is now live, and we will be releasing new webisodes throughout the summer.  These cheeky little vids are crammed with facts about your favorite musical theatre creators along with a few–maybe more than a few–jokes.  We start with Jessica nerding out over Jerome Kern, the “Father of American Musical Theatre.”  Check it out and share it with all the nerds you know!

UP NEXT:  Episode 2–Liv on Irving Berlin

Something’s Coming: Part 7

This ends–for a little while–the story of the journey towards choosing SDSU.  A year ago last week, I was auditioning in San Diego, and a year ago this week, I was being offered a position in the 2016 MFA class.  Wild, right?   So, here are a few final journal entries that retell a small part of my process.  Sharing it has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the events of the past year, consider how I make decisions, and revel in those who have helped me along the way.  As I’ve stated in previous posts, if someone out there in cyberspace is also considering a big change, hopefully reading about my journey has showed him or her that he or she is not alone.  

March 2014--The SDSU campus on a cloudy spring audition day.  Little did I know I'd be there every day one year later.

March 2014–The SDSU campus on a cloudy spring audition day. Little did I know I’d be there every day one year later.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wow.  Having a little freakout.  No, not freakout…just struck with reality that all of this might actually happen.  Lots of thoughts, no order.  Here goes:

I kicked off the singing/acting auditions today at SDSU.  I nailed it.  Was ready.  In the zone.  Felt amazing.

The people have been really nice so far.

Saw Pal Joey last night.  Impressed with some individual performers, but all together not a whiz-bang show.

Still amazed at all of the vegetation that in Illinois would be considered “houseplants” and here is just plunked in the ground.

Strolling the campus:  gorgeous.

They are dedicating a new student union this week–which is where I’m writing–which is also gorgeous.  Everything is buzzing.  It feels good.

This is a bigger school than I imagined.  This is way bigger than Lawrence.

People actually ride skateboards here.  Like to go places!

How am I going to pay for this?

As much as I have been dreading the question “What do I do if I don’t get in to this school?” for some reason the prospect of uprooting and moving to San Diego for two years suddenly feels scary as well  I would probably be skeptical if it didn’t  give me butterflies, though.

If there’s times, Jared is going to take me to their new house in Escondido.  I think I still want to live with them.  I wonder if they feel the same.  It is a stressful time for them right now, too.

I should learn Spanish if I come here.  That would be fun.

As I’m walking around, I am wishing loved ones were here so I could show this to them.  I think that is a good sign.

And here are a few excerpts from writing on the plane home the following day:

Yesterday’s audition was exceptional.  The whole day simply felt good.  After my individual audition and my own stroll around the campus, I returned to the Musical Theatre Archive for the “group interview.”  This was a time for all of the candidates to sit and hear a little more about the program.  Everything they related resonated with me.  Paula Kalustian–the MFA director–has had a long career as both artist and educator and she–like me–said that they have always grown together.  She’s not been able to let one or the other go, and so the program is also geared towards that.

The individual interviews came after that, and once again, I started.  It was at this meeting that I was able to convey how much it seemed like the philosophy of the program gelled with my own.  Paula expressed the same.  She asked about my professional goals.  I said I wanted to “kick it up a notch.”  We talked St. Louis theatre; she had done some work at Webster.  She asked about my dream roles and about my type.  I said that as I’m about to turn 34, I would like to play Bobby in Company.  She said she has directed it four times, looked straight at me, and nodded, “Yeah.”

In summary, I felt a real click with these people.  I think this could really happen.  And…I should know in a week.  How crazy is that?!

I feel a sense of peace in that it is now out of my hands.  I have done everything I can.  Now we wait.

On March 7, 2014, I was auditioning for the  MFA Musical Theatre program at SDSU.  On March 7, 2015, I was receiving the President's Award for the Arts at the Student Research Symposium.

On March 7, 2014, I was auditioning for the MFA Musical Theatre program at SDSU. On March 7, 2015, I was receiving the President’s Award for the Arts at the Student Research Symposium.

Something’s Coming: Part 6

So perhaps the last few posts have strayed a bit into “self-help” rather than “self-discovery.”  If you’ll permit, here’s another in that direction.  I try not to proselytize, but it’s no secret that my faith is important to me.  I also carry a belief that everything will work out as it’s meant–which is, for the best.  On many occasions last year while sorting out the next chapter of my life, I had my doubts.  Here’s a taste:

Jan. 25, 2014

One week ago, I was feeling utterly depleted from the week, confused, and unprepared for what was ahead.  I had gone over to Jen’s and proceeded to word-vomit all of my worries.  She poured me a Manhattan and patiently talked me down off the ledge.  That following Saturday, I received a card in the mail from Jen.  She started the message:  “I believe in you.” Her simple words were the precise thing I needed to hear at that moment.  I had collected and carried so many concerns; her phrase allowed me to breathe for the first time in days.  One other thing she wrote was “Jeremiah 29:11-13.”  Not remembering exactly what that passage was, I grabbed my phone to search it and welled up at the first verse.


“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (12-13).

It can sometimes seem old-fashioned to have faith.  But I don’t believe we can truly have faith in ourselves without first having faith in something bigger than ourselves.  I couldn’t have made this journey without faith.  I am also grateful a friend reminded me of her faith in me at the moment I needed it most.  

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