lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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

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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…)

 

Attack of the Pretty People March 27, 2017

I have a fear of makeup stores. Yes, I’ve worked in makeup before. Yes, I wear a pound-and-a-half of makeup for shows eight (or more) times a week. Yes, it’s just a store and I shouldn’t fear human interaction. But I can’t help it; I’m terrified of makeup stores.

There’s something about walking into the bright lights that show every flaw in your pores, and then the heads of the pretty people in black swivel toward you like they can scent easy prey. They descend like hyenas, telling you how they can fix the bags under your eyes, or the wrinkles you’ve never even noticed on your forehead, and you just want to scream, “All I need is eyeliner!”

I needed white shimmer eyeshadow for a show a few months ago, and I put off finding any for weeks. The concept of facing the black-clad pretty people was too much for me. Lucky for me I have a friend who is an awesome professional makeup artist. Really, she’s amazing, and you need to see her work. So I asked her to tell me what to ask the pretty people for. She laughed and said she could do me one better; all I had to do was go into the tiny Bare Minerals specialty store and ask for snowflake. So I did.

I walked right into that tiny store, and when a lady who looked like an elf asked me what I wanted, I said, “Snowflake!” a little too loudly to be considered socially acceptable. She asked if I wanted anything else and I said, “Just snowflake!”

And she put it in a bag, and I gave her money and got to leave. It was like a freakin’ miracle!

But then I broke my blush and my dark eyeshadow last week! (more…)

 

The Trouble with Trampolines March 22, 2017

Once upon a time when I was a bright-eyed youth, I worked for a summer stock theatre that performed all their shows in the round. For non-theatre folks, that means that the audience is on all four sides of the stage. We did somewhere around seven shows in twelve weeks or something crazy like that, and one of the shows was the musical Swing!

I love Swing! It’s a great show. Just a bunch of happy, dancing frivolity. I will say it’s an ambitious endeavor for a summer stock. That many dance numbers to put together in a two-week rehearsal process with the entire cast currently performing another show? Not really the ideal situation.

But it was fine. Nobody died. (A few close calls, but we all survived.) And in all this super intense work, they even decided to do a trampoline number.

It was a normal swing number, except we were bouncing off our trampolines and throwing ourselves at our dance partners. It was pretty terrifying. (more…)

 

Flying With Footwear February 27, 2017

I went to college halfway across the country, so I was always flying back and forth to school. As a dance major, I would always pack a carryon with all my dance shoes and leave less important things like clean underwear to fend for themselves in checked baggage.

It was always fine, and since my checked bags usually arrived three days late, a pretty great system. Until it wasn’t.

I was flying back to school after a summer of theatre and had my tap shoes in my little rolly bag. I popped it up on the conveyor belt and sent it through the X-ray. For the first time in my life, the guy at the end pulled my bag aside, saying there was something suspicious they needed to examine. Fine, whatever. I don’t mind being searched if it keeps people safe.

The man grabbed out my tap shoes and sent them back through the X-ray. They were super fancy tap shoes, so under the tap was a thin layer of metal to create better resonance. But this man didn’t know anything about tap tone quality; he just thought my beloved and expensive shoes were a threat.

He reached under his counter and pulled out a screwdriver to unscrew my taps and check beneath them! (more…)