Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No more tears, only laughter. We'll be happy ever after...

Well, folks. Cry-Baby closed this weekend. It's an emotional week for me, but I finally feel the gumption to give you my closing thoughts on the whole experience. I was just going to send this to the cast and crew of the show, but I decided to make this an open letter to the Cry-babies so you can see just how much a production can have an effect on someone's life. We performers and our tons of "feelings"...good golly.

To my Cry-Babies,

This is something I wanted to say last night before the show, but I was afraid of totally LOSING it and ruining all my makeup, haha. As most of you know, I'm going to be relocating my crazy ass to Chicago in the upcoming months. It may not seem like a big deal to most people for it's only a few hours drive, but to me it's a really huge deal. It's a GIGANTIC life change for me being someone who has not strayed more than 20 minutes away from the nest. It's been an extremely difficult few months mentally and emotionally coming to this decision. It's kind of like...feeling that I'm in the deep end of a pool and my head keeps dipping under water. I struggle to swim and stay afloat, but sometimes it gets too be too much and I start to sink.

I needed you all to know how important it has been for me to be able to come to rehearsals and the performances to help cope with it all. From the stress of change to long days at work; I was able to have an escape. It has meant THE WORLD  to me to have you all to come to. When I needed a hug or a good laugh- I had you: a group of people who all love this same experience and come together to do so. I have looked forward to every rehearsal, every run through, and every performance. The amount of SHEER JOY I experienced during this time would make you blush. I haven't been this attached to a show since I did HAIR back in 2008. That took me some serious time to get past. Must be something about you insane NewLiners...

Of course this also means that even though I won't be far away and will frequent the Lou, this means that this may be the last show I perform in St. Louis for some time, or at all (at all until I get on my feet in Chi-town). That really struck something in me. The theatre community I've become a part of in St. Louis is so important to me, not being in the thick of it is going to be really friggin hard...

I've mentioned the "post show depression" to people before and they've scoffed. But, anyone that's involved in theatre and anyone that KNOWS anyone involved in theatre, totally gets it. I've even had family members check on me after shows to see how I was doing because they know how much it effects me. The only way a story is going to be interesting and engaging to an audience is if they can truly believe the relationships. Sure, not everyone becomes best buddies in a cast, but the only way you are going to make your character attract any type of interest is if you can feel something for them- be it hate, love, respect, pity. This happens through connections and relationships developed within the cast. One of the reasons I was able to give Pepper life was from the engagement I had amongst the Drapes. I love them dearly and have a unique relationship with each of those cast members that gave me the ability to interact with them and create a deeper story on stage. Ryan, our Cry-Baby, when speaking of his experience on Facebook, described us as a family. It's the truth. We are nothing less than a family and you all hold a special place in my heart.

There is a certain magic that happens in the theatre. It's not about the loudness of the applause and it's not about the compliments you get after the show. It's bringing something new and interesting and beautiful to people- an idea or an experience. From the director to the designers to the band to the stage manager to the cast, they have all come together, each with their own creative prowess to bring about something incredible for people to experience. The energy in a live audience is addicting. Be it the look of engagement, terror, joy, or confusion on people's faces- it's amazing to connect with such a large group of people-mostly strangers, really. 

I know these shows can't last forever and that's part of what makes it special. But, honestly I could continue on with this very show for a long time. As I was pouring my heart out to my mom Sunday night about how much I'm going to miss it, she reminded me that I shouldn't be sad that it's over, but be grateful and appreciative that I will have this experience for the rest of my life. I really am. And I just needed you all to know it.

Thank you, Justin and the band. Thank you, Amy. Thank you, Don and Trish. Thank you to everyone who came to see the show. Thank you to my wonderful loving and supportive family. Thank you to my wonderful cast. And the biggest thanks of all to Scott Miller.

I can't WAIT until I work with NewLine again...until next time, my darlings...

Love and watch your ass,

Pepper "Baby Mama" Walker

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Joy, Bliss, and GLEEEEE!!

OPENING WEEKEND, YOU FANCY PANTS FREAKS! And what fun it has been! This cast knows I adore them. I am SO damn proud of the work they are doing. And I don't just mean the cast. Scott has created something really original and fun. You don't get this sort of opportunity often! I LURVE. Justin, our fearless band leader really brought us out of a tough spot this week with only some of the band receiving the correct music 2 or less DAYS before the start of the run! Because of the score changes (for a smaller band ) the writers had to do for our production, some things got a little lost in translation. But, "have no fear, the coast is clear" we are up and running!

And speaking of the the writers...some decided to make an appearance at our show last night. O.O That's right. The composer Adam Schlesinger actually came to see our show. Welp. Just about peed my pants when I heard that one. Along with the orchestrator. I couldn't freaking believe it. It's so cool that these guys were enthusiastic about their material enough to come and see our show! They were very complimentary and actually loved our production. That's a great thing to hear from the people who helped WRITE it. Very rad.

Gettin' all snazzied up!
It's been interesting to see how audiences react to this show. I mean, WE all like it, our director, band, costume designer, sound guy, set guys, and stage manager all like it. They've been our audience thus far. But, it's the ones' we've been practicing for I'm curious to hear from. One thing I've heard through the grapevine of audience members was that they were captivated by listening to the lyrics. That makes me happy. I think the lyrics are way too funny and clever to pass up or just listen to idly. Haha, had a few brain jarring moments whilst french kissing and catching the gaze of an old couple. AWKWARD TURTLE. I also looked directly at a guy during "Girl, Can I Kiss You With Tongue?" that straight up put his program over the bottom part of his face, giggled, and glanced around uncomfortably. *Dusts hands* my work here is done. I've just had absolutely NO idea how people were going to react. It's been the majority positive, but I still would like to hear some actual feedback. I love the mix of confusion, curiosity, and laughter on people's face.

You never QUITE feel like you know all your lines...
I believe we are all feeling a bit of the heat. At the ending of a long tech week and opening, we're all pretty exhausted BUT, it doesn't make me any less excited to arrive at that theater and start getting ready with the rest of my cast. Sleep? I don't know what you're talking about. I'm only young and resilient for a a short period of time, right? Let's do this, my babies.

See you at the show, darlings.
You better watch your ass.