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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Tale of Two Understudies December 4, 2018

Today, I offer you a tale of two understudies. Well, really it’s the story of two different leads who had to call out of shows. The leads were from two different titular-character driven productions. By that, I mean the show was about one character, and the rest of us were just there to dance around behind them.

The first who had to call out was a man. His voice went kaput, and he had to call out for a day. He was a great guy who knew how hard the job of his understudy was going to be. Rather than throw a tantrum about his understudy going on, he did everything he could to help his understudy succeed. Right down to being on vocal rest in the wings during the show to make sure all of the understudy’s quick changes went well. At the end of the performance, people congratulated the understudy on doing an amazing job. But they also thanked the lead for being such a gracious and wonderful person to help his understudy get through the show.

The second to call out was a woman. She waffled about calling out for several days, giving her understudy several mid-show heart attacks, then finally called out. (more…)

 

And Christmas Begins November 16, 2018

It’s Christmas!

At least it is for me. I’ve spent the last week in rehearsals for Elf the Musical, and we’ll be opening the show on Thanksgiving. I’m used to elongated Christmas seasons. Growing up, Christmas season at my mother’s inn started on November 1st. The house was decorated for tea programs, and then we just ran along in a blur of Christmas until December 25th.

There’s some good and bad to starting Christmas so early. You get to be surrounded by festivities, but you want to strangle the next person who sings Deck the Halls. You don’t have to worry about the season slipping by without notice, but you’re too busy working to visit all the cool holiday displays.

This year is stranger than most for me. Last year, since I was living on a tour bus, I didn’t get to devote as much time to Christmas as I’m used to. So I want to go all out Christmas Cheer this year. But I’m in Florida. It’s hot. There will be no snow. And everyone with common sense knows you should not wrap palm trees in Christmas lights. (more…)

 

My Bio October 23, 2018

As an actor and author, I have to write a lot of bios.

Some, like for kid’s shows, are super easy.

Megan is thrilled to be on stage again. Her favorite animal is the narwhal, and her favorite food is ice cream.

Then there’s normal show bios where you have like two-hundred words to sound impressive so you go for:

Megan is thrilled to be a part of shmanky schmoo production. Previous credits include: Blah, blah, blah, blah. Am I impressive yet? Blah, blah. Love to my husband.

But the real kicker is the author bio. Sometimes you have about one-hundred words, so all you can do is list your books and say who your agent is and you’re done.

But sometimes they want you to fill a whole page so the reader can really get to know you. This, my friends, is dangerous. It’s all about balancing honesty with interest.

I’m going to list my books, that’s a given. I’ll put in a tagline about my work as a playwright and lyricist. I’ll probably toss in a bit about being a professional performer because, for some reason, people think that’s super cool and glamorous. (I agree with the cool, but the glamorous is a lie performers like to keep up. Really we’re just sweaty messes wondering when our costumes can be washed and where the nearest ice pack is, but whatever. It’s nice to believe that fake eyelashes and sequins really do make us fancy.) (more…)

 

A Varied Penguin October 16, 2018

Life is full of variation. A life in the theatre is no different.

For those of you who don’t know, performing is my day job. Super weird, I know, but being on stage is how I make money to eat and pay for health insurance. I love performing, and I would never give it up.

Right now, I’m performing in an awesome production of 42nd Street, which is a total dream show for me. Aside from the tap shoes and sparkles, I get to tell a story about theatre eight times a week, which is really amazing.

42nd Street Musical Costumes

Also, because money is a good thing, I’m in a children’s production of Madagascar. Where I play a penguin, and a lemur, and sing about steak.

Penguins of Madagascar Live on Stage

(more…)

 

A Musical Problem October 2, 2018

I try not to get political on this blog. There are different, more productive platforms for that type of thing.

But with the mess currently happening in D.C. and the show I’m currently performing in, I had a thought.

I’m all about women’s rights, clearly. Me Too has done a huge service for our nation and for the world. Women are becoming stronger and more defiant all the time. The age of women being used as physical toys is coming to an end. But I’m performing in 42nd St, a show in which a director kisses an actor to teach her how to… act, and women are literally placed on a pedestal.

Funny Girl the Musical

Pardon me while I stand on my pedestal.

That is by far not the most problematic scene in musical theatre. South Pacific is just…whoa dude, not really okay at all. Let’s take this young girl who doesn’t speak the same language as the man and have sex with her on the floor—not great choices there, buddy. And that relationship is romanticized. (more…)

 

An Icy Oz December 18, 2017

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 2:30 pm
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The first leg of the Wizard of Oz tour is winding down.

It’s been a blast, and we’ve played a ton of great houses like the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

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And the Lexington Opera House in Lexington, KY.

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We had one crazy snow storm day.

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(Please knock on wood right now that we don’t have another…at least not before Christmas Break.)

We’ve also played a few venues that have been a little more interesting… like ice rinks.

I’m not afraid of winter, but I’m not a person who particularly likes being cold. Being a super peppy Ozian while freezing my tatas off is particularly challenging. We’re literally performing on the ice! They lay down panels to cover the ice and build up a platform as our stage. But that temperature that you bundle up to go ice skating in, I’m dancing in that with peep-toe shoes and green fishnets.

Just picture me in a purple wig, snot dripping from my frozen nose, as Dorothy clicks her heels and heads back to Kansas.

My life is nothing if not glamorous.

Icy Megan

At least my monkey costume is really warm.

 

 

A Rave Review June 9, 2017

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I wrote the lyrics for a musical! The show is called Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, and it’s currently playing at a really great professional theatre. My husband wrote the music for the show, one of our mentors created the concept and wrote the script, so the whole thing has been an amazing experience. It’s been about two years with the project now, and the coolest thing happened! We got an amazing Broadway World review!

The goal is to shop the show out to other theatres, and that awesome review is a huge stepping stone!

(Pardon me whilst I give the show folk a big ole’ pat on the back.)

The husband and I never really set out to write the music for a show. (more…)