And we’re off…

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Sunday, 13 November ~ Rehearsal Week One!

Tuesday, 8 Nov
Assessments, assessments, assessments…
On Tuesday, it was back to assessments – this time vocal and side readings from scripts.  I tried my best, but vocally just wasn’t where I wanted to be… hoping I sounded better than I thought I did.  That night, we received our casting for the first show we’re rehearsing, all about Disney’s villains, which we began rehearsing Wednesday.  I’m playing one of the 3 Fates (from Hercules) – that’s puppet work – and am also the lady pirate in the Hook scene; understudying Cruella de Vil (so much fun!) and the Evil Queen from Snow White, as well as some other smaller parts, in addition to offstage ensemble singing.

Wednesday, 9 Nov
More new experiences…
Today was puppet work and vocals.  Puppetry is pretty cool – but hard work!  The first exercise was really fun – “singing” along to pop songs with googly eyes on our hands 🙂  It was strangely exciting to do!  Then we moved on to the real puppets, which was quite a bit harder 😉  Getting used to the stance and weight of the puppet, then learning the scene and moving correctly is going to take practice!  We’ve been working hard on it since, and seem to be progressing.  But my hand/arm are still a little sore 😉  The rest of the day was spent on vocal work, just assigning and learning ensemble parts.  One of my new friends taught me a great vocal exercise for belting/mixing – it’s a 1-3-5-3-1 arpeggio saying “Hi, my name is Kim” in a very nasal/forward place.  Works great and is now in my arsenal of vocalises 🙂

Thursday, 10 Nov
Puppets, vocals, read-thru, and moodiness…
Today was a long day.  Several hours of puppet work interspersed with some vocals and finishing with a read/sing-thru of the show.  That was pretty cool – nice to get a feel for timing and things.  I’m just antsy to find out what my main parts will be in the other shows… hoping I get the ones I really want… trying not to think about it, but it’s hard, especially since I wasn’t pleased with how I did in my vocal assessments…

Friday, 11.11
Ding, Dong, the Stench is Dead!
Today was a relaxing and renewing day!  Had most of it off from scheduled rehearsals, and it was great to be able to practice on my own and also take care of some necessary evils (laundry, dishes, exterminating the burnt-rubber stench in my room… caused by an area rug, which has mercifully been removed!).  In the afternoon, reviewed puppets with a scene partner, then went to a Cruella de Vil rehearsal with our director for character development and blocking.  What a fun scene!

Saturday, 12 Nov
Characters and Pirates
Rehearsals are becoming more and more fun now that I understand more what we’re doing/how things work and we’re actually putting scenes together!  And… costumes arrived for our fittings this weekend (mine is Tuesday)!  It is SO exciting seeing the garments of some of my favorite characters and knowing I’ll get to wear some of them! 🙂

Our morning was spent with the entire Main Stage cast (singers and dancers) learning about Character Greeter responsibilities.  We will each have about 7 hrs/week of escorting the characters to meet and greets around the ship.  I can’t adequately describe the morning, but it was motivational, emotional, fun, and ended with some surprise visits from our Disney friends!  The rest of my rehearsal day was spent mostly on staging the Pirate scene, which was a blast!  It’s finally starting to feel like this is real – I’m actually performing for Disney!!  I’m really excited about the new skills I’m learning – we’ll be doing some sword fighting in this scene, which we’ll learn another day – and my choreo involves being flipped upside down… all kinds of excitement   Our scene finished a little early, so I managed to make the end of my understudy Evil Queen blocking rehearsal.

We celebrated our first full week of rehearsals with another birthday party, which was a blast!  It’s so much fun hanging out now that we’re getting to know each other better 🙂  What a great cast!

It all started with a mouse…

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Saturday, 5 November

Rehearsal Day 1
Our first day was really fun!  First time meeting everyone, general information, facility tours, then on to assessments (basically, they evaluate us together as a cast based on skill, height, look, and sound to determine final roles, which we will find out at some later time… talk about anticipation!).  We started with dance, which normally would’ve intimidated me, but I actually enjoyed it, probably because I had the security of knowing I was already cast 😉 Later in the day we had a height evaluation (I was surprised to tie with one other girl as tallest girls in our cast), and then an acrobatic assessment!  We were taught some basics of Spanish web then each climbed up and down once, then progressed to climbing, securing ourselves in the safety loop, posing, and spinning.  I was pleasantly pleased to find that not only was I able to do it, I really enjoyed it!  We rounded out the day with some going over some music for the vocal assessments to come.  Errands with friends made a nice finish to the day 🙂

Sunday and Monday
Since our Dream 3 cast of 44 (singer/actors, dancers, and character performers) is rehearsing alongside the Fantasy 1’s cast of 44, we’re switching to 5 day work-weeks, instead of the usual 6.  Our days will be longer, but it should be nice to get 2 days off.  This weekend brought rest, unpacking, skyping, practicing, walking tours of the city, and getting to know people better 🙂

Living the Dream…

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Friday, 4 November

Leaving on a jet plane…
Overwhelming excitement, some nerves, sadness at saying goodbye to my husband, our kitties, and our comfortable life in a city we love… and general sleepiness – that’s what I felt as I left San Diego to come to Toronto for rehearsals for the Disney Dream cruise ship.

Pre-dawn at the San Diego airport is a busy time with long lines.  After dropping off my 2 gigantic bags and schlepping the rest of my stuff through security, I finally made it to my gate – feeling quite disheveled, as I always do when I haven’t gotten much sleep and am wearing my glasses.  Amidst gate checking my small carryon, I was relieved to meet a fellow cast mate!  In Minneapolis we connected with 3 other new friends and set off on our adventure.  We were welcomed to Canada by possibly the grumpiest customs official I’ve ever encountered (our Disney smiles did not help), retrieved our bags, and were eventually whisked away by a stereotypical taxi driver who brought us to our new home in Toronto’s Theatre District.  After hurriedly depositing my luggage and attempting to improve my appearance a bit with the addition of lipgloss and a thorough hair-brushing, I headed to our contract signing meeting.  Woohoo!