Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Toast to 2015/2016

Call me what you will, but I am so stoked for school to start again. It’s my high school senior/college sophomore year, and a lot is going to be happening over the next twelve months. So, I am proposing a toast to the 2015/2016 school year.

*To late night homework sessions and warm cups of coffee,

*To six hour days in the studio getting covered in charcoal and paint,

*To the last two math classes I will ever have to take in my whole life,

*To the study parties with peers in the Student Center, with Skittles positive reinforcement,

*To new YouTube projects and learning how to edit videos properly,

*To finishing a manuscript,

*To my possible last year of performing in four-six musicals a year,

*To my piano students, who I hope to continue to teach to the best of my abilities,

*To getting a solid portfolio together for college applications,

*To finishing my Associates Degree strong,

*To growing relationships with old friends,

*And to meeting incredible new friends along the way.

May this year be full of laughs, joy, learning, and growth.

Cheers ūüôā

During the school year, I hope to be doing regular videos on my YouTube channel along with once a week blog posts here. Here’s a link to my channel if you are interested in behind the scenes rehearsal vlogs, book talks, and random thoughts from me:¬†https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN2X7tCWxVG8Ltz3QJPKtZQ

I’m very excited to see how this year progresses!

Until Next Time,

Abby

The Legend of CYTKC High School Camp

Legend tells of a place called CYT Kansas City. Once a year, when the warm winds and humidity comes, creatures called teenagers gather together to do the unthinkable: learn a musical in a week. Guided by the wisdom of the Great Milbourn and her trusted team, these students sing, dance and sweat for hours upon hours, putting together an incredible show for all to see. Those who have experienced the final product of these fabled camps are astounded and amazed, while those who haven’t question whether this legend is true. They scoff at the idea of something so extraordinary being a possibility, even though through God, all things are possible.

It has come time once again for the high schoolers to gather in the Great Hall to work together to tell a hilarious and entertaining story involving love, betrayal, and the word, “pee” being said many, many times. They will push past their limits, and then push a little bit farther, and because of their hard work, they will put on an incredible show. And though they work hard during the daylight, in the evening, they come together and do something even more beautiful than performance; they worship their Creator as one, huge body of believers. It is a fantastic week of growth that not only blesses the audience with a wonderful show, but the campers with a deeper relationship with fellow believers and Christ. ¬†So to the scoffers and skeptics, come see for yourself what teenagers can really do when given the chance to step up to the plate.

If you have yet to see a CYTKC Master camp, this is the show to come to. I highly suggest ordering your tickets online, because in the past, they have had to turn people away. It’s an incredible week and will be an awesome show. You don’t want to miss it! Here’s a link to order tickets:¬†https://www.cytkc.org/gettickets.aspx

I hope to see you at the show!

Until next time,

Abby

Being Jealous of My Main Character

I like to think that I’m a decent writer. I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while, and I’ve dabbled in the script writing and poetry realm. But, my biggest goal as a writer is to become a published novelist. The program that has helped me work on this goal is NaNoWriMo. I’ve mentioned this program in the past, but as a quick over view, you write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. That’s about 100 pages in a Word document. I tried back in April with Camp NaNoWriMo to write just 10,000 words for another project, and I utterly failed. This month though, I have hit the half way mark on my current project, which is rewriting the novel that I wrote in middle school called Drawn to Life.

While I’ve been working on the project, I’ve come to find out that my main character is someone I really want to be. In all honesty, she has a lot of the characteristics that I have, but as the story as progressed, I’ve become jealous of how my main character handles certain situations.¬†This is making me feel slightly crazy, because I’m the one who created her.¬†I’m the one who has made her a person who doesn’t take crap and always stands up for herself. So why am I jealous of a fictional girl of my own creation?

As a writer, I often write characters with attributes that I wish I had. For example, I once wrote a short story for a school assignment about a surfer ¬†because surfing is something I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time. I love writing about superheros, because I think having some sort of super power would be extremely awesome. So, when I write a character who is assertive and sticks up for herself, it’s a wake up call for me. It’s a reminder to me that I think about being a person that does not let people walk all over her, but sometimes, I don’t put those thoughts into action.

I guess my biggest hope to get out of writing this story is that I grow as not only a writer, but as a person. I want to learn from my characters how to be stronger, which is basically learning from myself. Man, it’s really weird being a novelist.

I made a video on this topic, so check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v

If you are a fellow writer, let me know if you’ve had any of these kinds before! I’d love to know if I’m not the only crazy one ;P

Now, time for me to go back to noveling.

Writing_Book_GIF

Until next time,

Abby

Close Shave Presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

I have been doing and watching musical theater for quite some time now, and through my years as a performer and audience member, I have come to have a list of “favorites”. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is on that list. I’ve seen it six different times, each cast being very different from the other, but Close Shave’s production of the show is by far the best version I have ever seen, and one of the best overall productions I have seen performed by high school students. But what made this cast and performance so special? Well, for starters, it was directed by teenagers. Yes, you read that right: teenagers, ranging from the ages of 15 to 19, all of who have performed in numerous musicals before, organized and led the cast (with the help of some very incredible parents). That’s not something that happens very often. Then there’s also the fact that it was a quality performance. If you’ve watched a lot of theater, you know that there are some shows that you go to where you are just gripping the edge of your chair, fighting the urge to run out the doors. The cast was fully engaged in their world; always reacting to each other and making the audience connect on an emotional level. But the reason I loved this show so much was that they made it a show about people, which can be a lot harder to pull off than you would think. ¬†Each character gives you a different perspective on competition, the value of hard work, and the importance of each individual life.

Rona Peretti, played by Olivia Schneider, brings a light hearted take to the Bee. Once a champion herself, she is played opposite Evan Phillips, who plays Douglas Panch, the school’s Vice Principal. Very dry, very funny, Phillips brings a comedic energy to the stage while Schneider is loving and understanding of the kid’s feelings during the competition. Mitch Mahoney, played by Erin Cangelose, is a “comfort counselor” doing community service while on parole. She is “on” while on stage; constantly reacting snidely to the events of the Bee and every now and then, yelling at an uncooperative speller.

Chip Tolentino, played by Andrew Ascher, is the picture of a “good, all-American kid”. Boy scout and past spelling bee winner, he gives the example of how it you don’t always get your way, how you react shapes you into who you are. You can let situations that don’t really matter in the long run destroy your self esteem, or let them build you up. Ascher brings a very charming yet still innocent take to Chip’s character, which can be difficult while singing about… well, a distraction (My Unfortunate Distraction).

Leaf Coneybear, played by Ryan Beard, is a character that has a very positive outlook. Homeschooled, he is, quite frankly, really weird. But unlike Chip, he is constantly optimist through the story, and is a happy-go-lucky character. It’s interesting to see his reactions throughout the Bee, because unlike many of the constants, he is just super happy to be there, and is hoping to prove to his gigantic family that he is more than they think he is (I’m Not That Smart).¬†Beard is hilarious, and is excellent at playing the stereotypical homeschooler with his impressive comedic timing.

Marcy Park, played by Faye Rebottaro, is the polar opposite of Coneybear. She’s the girl who can do it all, which is something that is a heavy weight on her shoulders. She has a reputation for winning and being incredibly well rounded, and I feel that her character conveys one of the biggest points of the show: Winning isn’t everything; even Jesus, played by Tyler MacSweeny, didn’t care if she won the Bee or not. Rebottaro is fantastic at playing the straight laced character, never breaking her stone face demeanor, and is also very entertaining with her tricks on stage (I Speak Six¬†Languages).

Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre, played by Alyse Berger, was the character that pulled on my heart strings the most throughout the show. She is the youngest speller in the bee and the adopted daughter of two gay fathers, played by Randy Jackson and Daniel Verschelden. They are the definition of helicopter parents, constantly pushing her to be the very best, stressing to her that “God hates Losers” (Woe is Me).¬†Out of all the times that I have seen this show, this was the first time that Logainne’s character made me cry. Many people can connect to Berger’s performance of a child who is trying their very best to live up to ridiculous expectations and who is scared to death of failure.

William Barfee, played by Zach Faust, is one of the more eccentric characters in the cast, with his funny voice and his spelling technique (Magic Foot). Though he loves spelling (and being right), he is also a lover of science, which is not encouraged by his step-mother. He has a hard outer shell, but has a softer side that comes as the show progresses. Faust, who is on his second run of playing this character, brings a hilarious boy who struggles with major nasal issues and people skills into a new light from other productions, and is an actor who is the glue on stage for his fellow cast mates.

Olive Ostrovsky, played by Libby Terril, is the sweetheart of the show. A very shy, timid little girl, she is dealing with the absence of her mother, played by Olivia Schneider, who is in India to “find herself”, and the emotional absence of her father, played by Christian Geil. There is the underlying idea that she is being abused by her father, who is angry that his wife is gone (The I Love You Song), but through out the show, you see the character gain confidence that was buried inside of her. Terril makes you feel for this little girl, and you as an audience member, you want to see her succeed.

Putnam made me feel for these characters. Every one of them had a life outside of the Bee, but all of their lives came together in the school gym. Each was very different from the person sitting next to them, but all of them were extremely important. This show gives a powerful message: People are very important. We often get so swept up in ourselves that we forget how special and valuable other people are. I will never look at this show the same way after watching the performance this afternoon, and I highly suggest that you take the opportunity to go see this incredible cast tell a powerful story about people. Below, there is a link listed to order your ticket online. It is HIGHLY suggested that you order online, two shows are just a few tickets away from being sold out.

Thank you, Putnam Cast, for putting on such an incredible performance. It is one that I will hold in my heart forever ūüôā

Until Next Time,

Abby

SHOW TIMES ARE 2PM, 7PM, AND A NEWLY ADDED 10PM SATURDAY, JULY 11TH! ORDER TICKETS NOW!!!!

http://closeshave.storenvy.com/

Photo credit to Cameron Pratte, the Director of Advertising for Close Shave Productions https://www.facebook.com/closeshaveprod?fref=ts