Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Show Week!

Dear Blog-followers:

Today was our first public outing and it was terrific! I am so proud of how far we have come in the last few weeks, and of course since we started this show 4 months ago!
The reviews from the Middle School and Elementary schools are in, and they were blown away by the full ensemble numbers, the dancing, the backdrop, the setwork, the quality of the transitions.
Personally, I agree with all of the observations.
As we are in the final stretch, the detail work that will happen during these next few days will be quite impressive, and add a sparkle to our show.
Though we raced through teaching the bows today, I am really excited, and think that it is a great way for us to end the show.. High energy, movement, smiles and the like really will leave a lasting impression on the audience.
Please be sure to check out each of the three nights of performance. Each time you go, try to notice different details some things to look for:
  1. Backdrop design: Alison and Gabriella came up with these designs with very little guidance and a whole LOT of creativity and devotion. Look at the detail work that they have done - when you think about the size - 800 square feet of canvas, they really went above and beyond in creating beautiful pieces of artwork.
  2. Lighting Design: Congratulations to Billy and Brendon on creating an amazing light plot. Each lighting change represents an artisitic decision that had to be made, light fixtures that had to be aimed, cabling that had to be run and a light cue created on the light board. In addition to creating a light plot, they did it all while learning how to use a brand new (read: complicated) light board.
  3. Sound Design: Joel and Kevin worked really hard on creating a "sound plot" for this show that was easy to understand for both actors and audience. Running 18 Wireless microphones this close to a metropolitan area is next to impossible, they were able to help find ways to make everyone heard clearly.
  4. Set Changes: Almost every set piece is stored somewhere on the stage even when it is not being used. Finding a hiding place for each of these set pieces that still allows that piece to be accessible for the next scene, or so that it doesn't get in the way of the actors is a challenge that Emily and the rest of the stage crew has done an amazing job with. Luckily for me, they don't let me go backstage - apparently it is flurry of activity both in between and behind scenes.
  5. Props: Everything that is not a costume or a set piece is considered a prop. Shirley, Karen Carrie and Jessica have made almost every prop by themselves. After reading the script, they came up with a list of things that the actors needed and started developing creative ideas to make each of the props come to life.
  6. Ensemble work: Even during scenes where leads are taking center stage, the ensemble characters have worked very hard to make each scene come to life. Each actor on stage has developed their own character to make the entire scene more believable and realistic.
  7. Leads: Of course much of the audience's attention will be on the person who is speaking, but from time to time, take note of reactions, and other interactions on the stage. Everything that happens on the stage is calculated and well thought out, and adds to the entire atmosphere of the show.
  8. Whole picture: All of the above (and then some) contribute to the overall generall effect of the show, and I'm proud to say that our kids have gone above and beyond in creating a realistic "1922 NYC" production.

Enjoy the show!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 Spring Musical Tiered Donors



Friend of the Show:  $1.00-$20.00 

Diane Anderson

Pontolillo Family

Matt Yarri

The Di Lavore Family


Cast Member:  $20.01-$50.00 

Superior Hair Cutting

Bill's Friendly Auto

Parkway Delicatessen

Willis Avenue Professional Dry Cleaning

Dr. Grosso

Dr. Maccaro

Donna Strein

Cindy Velez

The Flaum Family

Alicia Parendo

Vijay's Educational Supplies Inc

Celeste Rachell

Rose's General Store

Village Heros

Pine Cleaners

Marco's Barber SHop

Randi Cleaners

Meadow Drive PTA

Devra Small

Adam's Family

Monica Schlichting


Drs. Seltzer and Reing

Donna Trump

Hampton Street PTA

Mineola Middle School PTA


Pit Orchestra: $50.01-$100.00 

Mineola Music Parent

Adam's Family

PJ's Sandwich Shoppe

K's Automotive

Mineola High School PTSA

Sperry Federal Credit Union


Crew Member: $100.01+ 

Elaine and Frank Oliveri

Filipe Mendes

Oliveri Family

Mitchell and MaryEllen Williams

Jill Falcone

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GOOD NEWS! (And the rehearsal schedule)

$560.00 in DVD's
$2067.00 In Ads and donations
$890.00 Chip In Donations

TOTAL: $3517.00!!!!  WOW.. and the number keeps going up!

Now  LETS EARN IT:  Rehearsal schedule:

Monday: 3:00-8:00 Crew
Monday: 6:00-8:00 Cast – Act II Scenes 1-5  WITH SET MOVES. 
        Scene i: Office. Forget About The Boy, Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life/I'm Falling in Love,
        Stenographers, Speed Tappists, Miss Flannery, Millie, Mr. Graydon, Jimmy, Ms. Dorothy,
        Scene ii:  Window Ledge.  I Turned the Corner, Falling in Love Reprise
        Jimmy, Millie, Mr. Graydon, Ms. Dorothy, Ching Ho
        Scene iii:  12th Floor of Hotel Hallway
         Ms. Dorothy, Mrs. Meers, Ching Ho, Bun Foo,
        Scene iv:  Cafe Society.  Long as I'm Here with You
         Muzzy's Boys, Muzzy, Millie, Jimmy, Dishwasher
         Scene v:  Muzzy's Dressing Room, Gimme Gimme
                Muzzy, Mathilde, Millie

Monday: 8:00-9:00 Cast – Solo Dance Couples for Nutcracker 

Monday: 8:00-9:00 Cast – Act II Scene 7 and 8
        Scene vii: Hotel Lobby
        Mrs. Meers, Muzzy
        Scene viii: Dark Hotel Hallway
Ms. Dorothy, Ching Ho, Mrs. Meers, Bun Foo, Muzzy, Mr. Graydon, Jimmy, Millie, Priscilla Girls

Tuesday: 3:00-6:00 Crew
Tuesday:  6:00-8:00 Cast – Nutty Nutcracker EVERYONE involved in that scene
Tuesday: 6:00-8:00 Dancers (Ms. B)

Wednesday: 3:00-8:00 Crew
Wednesday: 6:00-9:00 Full Cast Act I Run-Through
Wednesday:6:00-9:00 Boys will work on Choreography with Ms. B when not busy.

Thursday: 3:00-8:00 Crew
Thursday:  6:00-9:00 Full Cast Act II Run-through

FRIDAY:  During the day.. TBA
FRIDAY:  CREW: 3:00-10:00
FRIDAY: CAST: 5:00-10:00.  RUN THE SHOW!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Picture day!

Everybody put on your nicest cardigan and bring your pocket combs to school... pictures will be taken for the publicity board starting tomorrow (most likely, finishing tomorrow, too..)

<3 (read: Less than three, or heart...)

Hey Everyone...
Congratulations on a GREAT first pit rehearsal on Friday night.  Your preparedness of the first act has paid off.  Now it's time for act II, which is less ensemble intensive, and will be blocked entirely by Saturday.

This is really it.. crunch time..
Here is the rehearsal schedule for this week and next.

Monday:  3:00-4:00 FULL CAST (I'll tell you what you're doing when you get here)
Monday: 3:00-5:30 ACT II Scene I, Forget about the Boy (stenogs, Flannery, Graydon, Jimmy, Ms. Dorothy) We will do the scene first, so Graydon, Jimmy, Dorothy can be finished first. Graydon and Ms. Dorothy will then Block Falling in Love)

Tuesday: 3:00-5:00 Crew - Backdrop painting day - set moving day, other crew activities.
Tuesday 6:00-8:00 Nutty NutCracker ensemble

Wednesday 3:00-6:00 Act II, Scene I

Thursday 2:45-4:00
ACT II Scene v: Muzzy's Dressing Room, Gimme Gimme Muzzy, Mathilde, Millie
ACT II Scene vi: Cafe Society Mr. Graydon, Daphne, Dexter, Millie, Jimmy,
Thursday: 5:00-8:00
Scene iv: Cafe Society. Muzzy's Boys, Muzzy, Millie, Jimmy, Dishwasher

Friday 3:00-8:00 Crew
Friday 5:00-10:00 
5:00-6:30 Act I Review
6:30-10:00 Act II Run Through with Pit.

Saturday: 9:00-3:00 Crew
Saturday: 10:00-4:00 Full Cast, Everything will be blocked by this day!!!

6:00-8:00 Nutty Nutcracker  solo couples.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Relive Les Mis?

Hi everyone..
Just wondering if anybody was interesting in attending Chaminade's production of Les Mis.
I believe that a good date would be 14th (Saturday) Lemme know if you want to go!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow week...

So unfortunately, we got snowed out of today's rehearsal...
This week will be very busy, as will the rest of our production period. We have some catching up to do... There will be some late rehearsals, please ensure that you're getting your school work done!

This week's rehearsals will be as follows:

Tuesday: 3:00-5:00 II:iii II:v, II:vii. All arrive at 3 please.

Wednesday: 3:00-5:00 Full Cast: Speed Test and Nutty Nutcracker.

Wednesday: 6:00-8:00 I:v, I:ix Priscilla Girls, Chinese II,iv Muzzy's Boys, Muzzy, Millie, Jimmy, Dishwasher

Thursday: 3:00-6:00 Speed Test (office workers) 3:00-5:00 FULL CAST (to do speed test stuff.)

Friday: Full cast and PIT 5-10

SATURDAY: 9-3 CREW, 9-5 Full Cast (specific times to be determined)

Barbara Brenner said...
Finishing "Speed Test" in 2 rehearsals is quite ambitious...but if everyone that's in it is at rehearsal on Wednesday AND Thursday...we'll have a MUCH better chance at achieving it!! Bring your tap shoes! (If you don't have them, bring shoes you can tap in). Also...wear pants you can kick super tight jeans...unless you don't mind ripping them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Next Week Rehearsals...

The week of February 23rd will be an important week for us!
Monday - Full Cast
Tuesday - Full Cast Music
Wednesday - Full Cast
Thursday - Full Cast
Friday - Full Cast

This is the week where I hope to catch up those people who have been missing - with our show 5 weeks away, your attendance at our rehearsals is critical.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rehearsals over vacation!

Happy Valentines day everybody!

Please be aware we will be having a rehearsal on Tuesday over vacation. I have it scheduled from 12:30-4:00. I believe we will be able to get a lot done, even if people are missing.
I also plan on having anyone interested come in on Wednesday same time to work on some crew stuff.
Please let me know if you can't be there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm totally impressed with how well everyone did today with ACT I.
I guess more than impressed - I'm proud that so many of you have taken such initiative and care in beginning the process of developing your characters.
Get ready for a big month of February! Next week's meeting on Wednesday is tentative.. I'll update in a future post.
Please make sure to support the Middle School Show by going to see it this wekeend!
SATURDAY 2:30, 7:30
Rebecca and Sera (Eponine and Cosette from last year's Les Mis) are members of the show, as is Matt (who, to me isn't Matt, though he is eternally Gavroche). Mr. Deluca has done a great job with the cast and crew and they would love a full house!
Also, feel free to comment below, on your thoughts of the Middle School show, or anything else that's appropriate.

Chipping in

A special thanks goes to the Adams family for kicking our chipin off with our first donation. As you can see (to the right), as of this writing we are up to $205.00 on the Chipin. Off-line contributions are in the neighborhood of $200.00, and the advertisements are coming in for our showbill.
This is great - this money goes right to our kids and this will help us to really let the show shine.
7 or so weeks left till show time!

Good news for wireless!

Good news (for this school year!!)
I guess when put up for a final vote, congress decided to actually DELAY the transition to DTV. For us that means the 700mhz band remains free and open to use (which is great, cause in 11501 it is wide open, and will give us more mic options).
In other microphone news, after a chat with Sennheiser (our wireless mic company) they gave me some new frequencies to use for the 500/600mhz range and we are in good shape with those, as proven by the dress rehearsals at the Middle School production earlier today and yesterday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Volunteers to help?

Just a brief reminder, that if any parent is interested in helping, and is available tonight, I would love to meet for a brief 30 minutes to talk about what assistance you may be able to offer.
We will meet at 7:00 (30 minutes prior to music parents start)

Initial thoughts -
refreshments/candy grams
Fundraising help (T-Shirts, etc)
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Please let me know if you are unable to attend this evening, but would like to assist.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Alumni things...

I love to hear when alumni are doing well... I also love when they come around to visit! Recently Alex Eisen (a.k.a. Marius '08) came around to let us know about his upcoming performance of Cabaret at Five Towns College. The show goes up April 22-24th at 7:30pm, April 25th at 2:00pm, and 7:30pm and April 26th at 2pm. Tickets will be $15. Let me know if you plan on going, I am, and I'm sure it's going to be great. Any other alumni (or current student for that matter) doing outside work should comment below, or write me an email and we'll come check out what you're doing!

p.s. Cabaret, by the way, is the first stage production I ever saw. I was in fifth grade at Meadow Drive and saw the preview, and went to see the show that weekend at Mineola High School. (1990, I believe.)

Rehearsals and other info...

Hi Everyone,

Due to the Middle School Musical this week, and their need for sound help, I’ll be there a lot.
SO here is what’s up…

TODAY IS OFF BOOK DAY FOR ACT I (wow that came fast…) and there is no rehearsal.. so spend 2 hours working on your lines.

TUESDAY 2/3: RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL until 4:00. Act I Scene 10, Speaking parts only… Be Memorized
WEDNESDAY 2/4: Mrs. Messina Solo/small group stuff
FRIDAY: 2/6: Go see Middle School Drama
SATURDAY 2/7: Go See Middle School Drama
MONDAY 2/9 Full Cast Dance
WEDNESDAY 2/11 Full Cast Dance
THURSDAY 2/12 Full Cast Dance

WE WILL BE HAVING REHEARSAL OVER VACATION, Probably Monday Tuesday. For some dance and Act II Stuff.

Please turn in Who’s Who and boosters by Friday.
Please notice the attachments above.

ALSO.. There will be a brief parent meeting for anybody who is interested in helping out with our show this Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00. This is 30 minutes prior to the start of the music parents meeting. Anyone unable to attend, but interested in helping me should write me an email, or give a call (237-2575).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Auditioning for college and otherwise...

Hi again... I found another good resource.  If you plan on auditioning for a show in the future, or auditioning for college, check out this website:

Also, click through some of the links on that page for more info on performing ettiquete and other stuff...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

To Belt or not to Belt...

Hey all... we spoke of belting in today's rehearsal, and I looked around and acutally found this Wikipedia entry to be rather appropriate.  Below is a direct copy - the author wrote it with some jargon, however,  I put what I thought would be important to you in pink italics ..(at least I think it's pink... you know I don't do colors...)


The term "belt" in music means the use of "chest" voice in the higher part of the voice, rather than using the "head voice," etc. However, the proper production of the "belt voice" involves minimizing tension in the throat and modulation of vowels and change of typical placement of the voice sound in the mouth. In a higher range all vowels are modulated to one of two vowels: "eh" as in "ape" or "ah" (bright vowel) as in "ChicAgo." Depending on the range of the singer, the vowels will be more or less modulated. Hence, in a male voice, a belted A-flat might not have the same amount of modulation as a belted B-flat. In males, belted voices often sound similar to classical, or "legit" singing techniques, such as Bel Canto or Speech Level Singing. In females, classical methods are not similar as the higher range of a singer in classical singing in females is done in head and falsetto voices.

In addition to the modulation of vowels, the belt voice sound is produced by properly placing the sound in the mouth. The soft palate is raised and the vowels brightened toward the front of the mouth. The jaw is open (but not fully open) so that a few teeth are typically showing on the top and bottom of the mouth. There are various techniques and vocalises to accomplish this sound. The result is a kind of "soft yell."

It is possible to learn classical vocal methods like Bel Canto and to also be able to belt, in fact many musical roles now require it. The belt sound is easier for some than others, but the sound is possible for classical singers, too. It requires muscle coordinations not readily used in a classically trained singer or female student of Speech Level Singing, however, as these muscles are generally used only during high chest voice production or when making straining noises which singers trained in these styles are told not to do.

Is it safe?

Some singing methods and teachers of them and related methods regard belting as damaging to long term vocal health, they may teach an alternative using the Head register which may or may not be as strong sounding depending on how much practice is done. The subject is a matter of heated controversy among singers, singing teachers and methodologies.

Despite the sound being somewhat of a "soft yell," if produced properly it can be healthy. It does not require straining and it is not damaging to the voice. Though the larynx is slightly higher than in classical technique, the vocal cords are not harmed.

However, it is thought by some that "belting" will produce vocal nodes. Nodes can show up when the vocal cords are unhealthily slapped together in a "glottal attack." Belt pulls the vocal cords very close together, but air can still pass through safely without causing a "glottal attack."

Others believe that a healthy belt technique can be practiced, and in fact belt technique can be used as therapy for vocal cords.

Physiology of belting

There are many explanations as to how the belting voice quality is produced. When approaching the matter from the Bel Canto point of view, one might say that the "chest voice" is applied to the higher registers. The chest voice is merely a description of a sound quality though and does not describe a physical activity. For many years, voice practitioners were limited to judging a voice based on what they heard. Now, thanks to many years of research, more is known about the anatomy and the physical process of singing than ever before. One of the great vocal researchers of these times is Jo Estill. She has conducted extensive research on the belting quality. Jo describes the belt as an extremely muscular and physical way of singing. When observing the vocal tract and torso of singers, while belting, the following is observed:

  • Minimal airflow (70% closure)
  • Maximum torso anchoring (activating the large muscles in the back to control airflow)
  • Head anchoring (activating the neck and head muscles for stabelizing the larynx)
  • Tilting of the cricoid (We know that the space between the thyroid and the crycoid widens. It seems that the cricoid is tilting downwards, although there might be thyroid activity as well).
  • Highest position of the larynx
  • Maximum muscular effort of the external muscles. When produced healthily, there is no tension in the vocal folds themselves.
  • Constriction of the aryepiglottic sphincter (the "twanger")

Belt (music). (2006, September 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:38, January 31, 2009, from

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digital TV Delay causes issues...

The tech-geek in me was excited when I heard that the switch to digital TV would be voted on to be delayed. The push by Obama and company would have helped us out during our show this year in terms of frequency availability. House republicans successfully voted against the delay. .. Bummer.
See below for a direct copy of the Associated Press release.

House Defeats Bill to Delay Digital TV Transition

The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 1:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- The House has defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months to June 12.

House Republicans succeeded in scuttling a bill to delay the transition, which is scheduled for Feb. 17, less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed the plan.

The defeat is a setback for the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear too many Americans are not ready for the switchover.

The Nielsen Co. estimates more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog television sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals could see their TV sets go dark next month if the transition is not postponed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chip In!!!

Hi Everyone!
This year we are going to try something new! To the right, you can see a new widget called "Chip In."
Here's how it works:
Click "Chip In," and donate money to us!
We will recognize donors who donate before the March 5th in this years showbill.
Recognition will be in tiers as follows:
$1.00-$20.00 - "Friend of the Show"
$20.00-$50.00- "Cast Member"
$50.00-$100.00 - "Pit Orchestra"
$100.00-$500.00- "Crew Member"
$500.00+ - "Star of the Show"

Donors who wish to remain anonymous may of course elect to do so.

Thanks for all of your support!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rehearsal Schedule Week of Jan 20th

Hi All,
Here is the schedule for next week:

Tuesday - 3:00-4:30 I,i. Full Cast
Tuesday - 4:30-5:15 - Priscilla Girls, Including Millie, Ms. Dorothy
Tuesday - 5:30-6:30 - Meers, Bun Foo, Ching Ho
Wednesday - 3:15-5:00 - Dance (Office people)
Wednesday - 3:00-4:00 - Meers
Thursday - 3:00-4:00 - Crew Chiefs Meeting
Thursday - 3:00-4:00 - Jimmy (Stelmach)
Thursday - 3:30-5:00 - Full Cast Vocal
Thursday - 4:00-5:30 - Millie, Jimmy
Friday - 3:00-4:30 - I,v, I,vi

More to come in future posts...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Can't Stop The Beat

Earlier today I made the trip to Port Washington to see John and Eric Pace in a show that they have been working on with the Roslyn Theater Company, and adaptation of Hairspray titled "You Can't Stop the Beat." They clearly spent a lot of time working on the show, and as the older members of the cast, it was clear that the younger kids in the cast looked up to them for leadership. It was a lot of fun and I am really glad that I went to see it. What made my day, however, is seeing so many of the kids from our school make the trip up to support Eric and John. 10 (11?) TMM Cast-mates were there to cheer them on. I thought this was a great example of the sense of family that we have in our group, and made me proud to be a part of the MHS Theater department.
Congrats to Eric (he played Edna) and John (he played Link) on a job well done!

On another note, we're nearing 3,000 hits - from 1,454 unique users!
The highest traffic day was the day of the cast list posting (Dec. 19th) with 294 page loads.
We have had 4 Visits from UK, 2 from Canada, and 1 from both Greece and Poland.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rehearsal week of Jan 12th

Hi Everyone!
Here is our rehearsal Schedule for next week.
It is also on the google calendar below with more details.

Jan 12 - Monday - 3pm-4:45 pm -I,iv Speaking parts only
Jan 12 - Monday - 5pm-6 pm - I,iii. speaking parts only
Jan 13- Tuesday - 3pm-5pm - I,x, Speaking parts only
Jan 14 - Wednesday - 3:15 - 5:15, Stenogs, File Clerks, Millie, Jimmy, Crew (Jimmy and Crew until 4:30)
Jan 15 - Thursday 3:30-5pm - Full Cast Vocal
Jan 15 - Thursday 5:00-6:00 - All Men except Graydon, Jimmy, Ching Ho, Bun Foo.
Jan 16 - Friday 3pm-4:30pm - I,i Full Cast

Attendance this past week was not great... Let's fix that this coming week. ESPECIALLY for the dance rehearsal and for the Full Cast rehearsal on Friday.

Let's make the "off-book deadline" earlier. Most of the dialogue is pretty manageable.
We are planning on creating a cd to practice with (this is especially helpful for those people who have work conflicts.)
Anyone who has a work conflict of any sort should email me as soon as possible with that conflict information - and I have a letter for you to give to your employer.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rehearsal Schedule

Hi Everyone!
...and so it begins, below is the first little bit of the rehearsal schedule.
For those of you new to drama, this is how the rehearsal schedule will look/work.
Capital Roman Numerals are the Act, followed by a lower case Roman Numeral for the scene, separated by a comma and ended with a period.
(i.e.: "I,i." is Act 1, Scene 1.) Everyone in that particular scene should attend that rehearsal, unless it says something like "speaking parts only."
In the Google Calendar (at the bottom of this page) each event is clickable. That will allow you to see any info that is cut off (due to box size), and who should attend rehearsals.
Additionally, the document to the right "Scene Character Breakdown" will tell you about each scene.
I have "shared" the google calendar with anybody who has given me a gmail address.
I will also have a paper copy of the schedule posted on the stage door.

3:00-4:30 - I,ii and I,vi.
4:30-5:15 - I,xii and I,xi.
2:45-3:15 - I,vi.
3:15-4:15 - Millie, Jimmy (we'll work duet scenes)
3:00-5:30 - Dance (Stenog's, File Clerks)
3:00-4:30 - CREW
2:30-4:00 - Full Cast Vocal
3:00-4:00 I,x. Check call board (SPEAKING PARTS ONLY!)

Ching Ho and Bun Foo (w/ Meers) will start rehearsals Next week, Monday at about 5:15. That should be a good lead-time to get moving on the Chinese.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just a short post to say Happy New Year! I hope 2009 brings you all the best. The rehearsal schedule will be up by Sunday night (hopefully by Saturday). I will put it on the google calendar below, and will email it to everyone on the list.
Have a good hilday, see you soon!