Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An Elephant Tranquilizer and I am Still Awake

Dan and I are gearing up for "The 7-Year B*tch," our new show - well, kinda new. It's billed as "an anniversary concert of two never-was has-beens," and it's playing at the NY Musical Theatre Festival on Monday, October 1. We are in it. It's a revue of our stuff and kindofa "tell-all" about our experiences with Like You Like It and the theatre career for the last seven years. Becca Ayers, David Perlman, Amy Rutberg and Joanna Young have been doing a great job in rehearsals. James Donegan, who was also in the cast, was cast in Forbidden Broadway, so we replaced him a few days ago with Nick Dothée.

The show is sold out. Things are going well.

But for some reason I cannot sleep.

So I took some "helpers." In the meantime, I updated, and in October — close to the anniversary of going to Cardiff (and the birth of my work-wife Kelly's daughter Lillian - my workdaughter, perhaps) — there will finally be video footage on from the TUTS/SHSU production. There will also be new pictures frm teh production. Already there are many of the castmembers' pictures floating around facebook.

AND We will post our wacky '80s-style music video of "Be a Little Wild."

We have a big meeting tomorrow about a future prospect for Like You Like It, so keep fingers crossed.

In other news, I still can't sleep.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Like Y'All Like It

Okay, here we go - a new adventure in a strange place called Huntsville, Texas, fo rhte next installment of Like You Like It. I will post more as it goes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wait - what time zone am I in?

So we are back.

To say the least, it was an amazing trip.

The professional experience was so reaffirming and exciting. The show was beyond gratifying and in the week of meetings in London reinvigorated our excitement.

When I last blogged, it was Wednesday night after a tourist-packed day. We did something kinda ballsy (Be a Little Wild came to mind) that day. We had heard about a theatre south of the Thames that sounds basically like the London equivalent of The Vineyard here. Well, Dan and I were walking from the Tower of London to the Globe along the London Bridge, and when we crossed, we noticed a sign leading to this Vineyard-esque theatre. I needed the contact info for the artistiv director, so we went to the theatre to get info - figuring we would get it from teh box office and be on our merrry way.

Well, this theatre is connected to a restaurant, so we told the guy at the front that we wanted the Artistic Director's phone number. Well, said guy disappears into the offices, and the A.D. himself walks out. We were all shocked - I freaked out inside because we were not exactly planning on a meeting. And we were unprepared (ie, no packet on hand - though we had been carrying them all week). So the guy tells us to email him. He was clearly a tad unnerved, too.

So we head to the Globe and I am a wreck - did I do the right thing? Did I come across as obnoxious or unprofressional? I had mentioned the names of the people we had met with and how they had mentioned his name, but made it clear they were not REFERRING us to him (i am a bit oversensitive to this issue), so it took me a while to get over myself. Dan was very reassuring that we did the right thing. So we will send the A.D. a packet, though he said the theatre is committed for two seasons. Could have been a "don't call us, we'll call you moment." but either way, we did something bold, a sequel to the day before's journey to the Theatre Museum...

Dan and I sang Be With Me in front of the Globe Theatre and video recorded it.

I also sang a song from Yeomen of the Guard, my favorite Gilbert & Sullivan show, at the Tower of London, on video as well. Poor Dan had to listen to me sing Yeomen songs all day (I thought I was using my inside voice) - the show takes place at the Tower, so I was in G&S overdrive, especially after going to the Savoy Theatre the day before (where G&S presented their shows).

By the time we got to Big Ben on Wednesday night, we were beyond beat - and it was raining, so we took a few buses home (we later realized we only had to take one of them straight through, not transferring), but we did sleep in a bit on Thursday.

Thursday was a magical day and the perfect capping off of the two weeks.

We had a meeting at Cameron Mackintosh's company with a very nice and helpful man who had seen the show in Cardiff. He gave us a lot of great advice. And, um,


which is gorgeous. We were int he conference room, sitting on a couch in the buttprints of famous people.

Dan and I separated for the day. He had an adventure at the Handel Museum with a garrulous shopkeeper, which postponed Dan;s trip to Fortnum & Mason. Dan also revisited Marble Arch, where he was almost arrested 20 years ago.

I went to the British Museum. Unbelievable. I did not have a lot of time, so I did the highlights, but I must have covered at least a mile of their purported 2.5 miles of gallery. When I was looking at the exhibition of French painters' sketches (some Seurat! and a whole room from an amazinfg Israeli artist whose last name eludes me - Avigdor is his first), my cell phone rang. It was someone else who had been in Cardiff, with whom we wanted to meet. She was unable to meet but we had a phone conversation. Again, helpful. AND expensive - I was on the cell for a while, not to mention I had to call her back after her intial call (I did not want to be the Ugly American on the cell phone while looking at the Seurat.

But I was unsure of the dialing code, since the caller ID on my phone confused me. So I may have spent half of my budget on wrong numbers...

After the British Museum, I went to St. James Park, walking and walking (Thursday was less exhausting than Wednesday, though I think I did the same amount of walking), to Buckingham Palace, down to Parliament/Big Ben/Westminster Abbey. Lots of pictures - and a gorgeous day for it (though the rainy night pictures turned out pretty well).

I went to Picadilly to Fortnum & Mason (I missed Dan by about two hours) to get some gifts (and a FREE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE), then needed to get in touch with our friends who were also in London (one of the other Cardiff show writers, David Arthur, and his friend), so I went to their hotel. And as fate would have it, they were at the front desk getting change so they could call me. Talk about timing.

Speaking of timing, there was a panel Thursday night about festivals that the woman who did the Cardiff fest was on, along with all the people we emailed post-Cardiff. Alas, it was the same time as Billy Elliot, for which we got house seats.

Anyhoo, David and Pat and I walked to Leicester Square, and I went off to the Natl Portrait Gallery. I was able to see all of it (at least the free parts - which is more than half). I felt like the eyes on the portraits were going to follow me and that the busts would suddenly come to life. I was not blown away - then I was. A lot of the museums on this trip were like that. I should clarify" I felt in each one of them the OCD tendency to SEE IT ALL, but knew I couldn't. So I would ay to myself "I have seen enough," only to turn the corner and see something even more incredible. So at the Portrait Gallery, I felt like I was done, until I started with the Victorians and through to rest of the 20th Century. And I had an Ugly American moment when I said to myself "Wow, all these portraits are of British people." yeah, um DUH, Which nation is in the word National?

Time was waning before I needed to get to the theatre, but I wanted to see a shop that was in one of the guides, so I took the tube up to Oxford Circus, only to stay there for five minutes and take the Tubne down to Victoria Station near the theatre. The store was not my speed, and to make it worse, crossing the street took more time than the Tube ride. There have got to be more people in London than in New York - though they seem more civilized. Much more.

Got to the theatre with a bit of time for a snack (we had plans to go out with David and Pat for post-dinner). I had a pasty - a meat pie. Steak and Stilton.

Who am I? Did I have any vegetables in the last two weeks? I mean, other than peas and carrots?

The show was a mixed experience - it was very "British Music Hall" with very broad musical numbers. But, um, it's about coal miners in a strike and the boy who dared to be himself. When it was about the kid and his dancing (with a STUNNING second act sequence when he dances alongside his "older self") the show was amazing. Toward the end, when Billy is packing to go away, his Dad teaches him how to fold a shirt. I got weepy. Then totally lost it when the ghost of the kid's dead mother comes to say goodbye.

In fact, for some reason, my Mom was on my mind the whole two weeks. I would see something to buy for her as a gift, only to remember she is no longer with us. Especially when I went to "Hotel Chocolat" yesterday -- a store which sells, well, you guessed it.


I went to Portobello Road (yesterday was a lot of walking), as well as some other stores around Kensington, then Dan and I had our final - and most expensive meal - at The Orangery in Kensington Gardens.

Dan took the tube to the airport while I took the express train,.

And wehn I checked in and got through security, I beheld the wonder that is Terminal 3 at Heathrow. Anyone been? IT IS A HUGE TAX-FREE MALL where everything is less expensive than it is in the city (Fortnum & Mason included).

here is what happened earlier in the day:

We had to pay the hotel in cash. I had sent in a deposit of the amount which was half of what I would owe.

I had to withdraw some cash to pay the rest. And when I did, I was thinking of the $ amount, not the £ amount, so I ended up having 70 extra pounds.

I SPENT ALL OF IT at Heathrow. I did NOT want to lose money exchanging the pounds for dollars, so I shopped and spent about 140 bucks so i would not have to spend the 25 or so I would have lost in the exhange.

Good news is: more gifts for friends.

As I unpacked last night (this morning), I realized I did not buy anything for me.

And then it hit me. I bought myself an invaluable gift: the whole experience of going to Europe.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Must... Not... Lose... Ability,,, To,,, Walk

Um, yeah.

Last night: Jack the Ripper tour

Tower of London
Shakespeare's Globe
Tate Modern
tooling around Picadilly, Trafalgar, Fleet Street (I could not get a shave but we found a sign advertising fresh pies and hair cuts, so that is close to Sweeney Todd.

We are about to go on a night tour of "Oh look, there's Big Ben."

If I can maintain vertical posture.

More later - we are at an expensive (though very hip) internet cafe.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Satan's Office in in the Basement

It has been one heck of a day. My feet and lower back are exhausted, and I have abot 20 minutes left in the internet cafe before it closes, so here goes:

We walked up and down and around the many streets of Soho and Covent Garden before and after our meetings today - I saw the Savoy, where Gilbert & Sullivan did their shows (wearing a Houston G&S tshirt, of course: The Mikado). We went into the Covent Garden and the Theatre Museum.

At the latter, Dan and I took our main character's advice from Like YOu Like It. You should have seen us Be a Little Wild.

There was an awards reception going on in one of the rooms in the Theatre Museum, so we debated if we should just go in there as if we belong and as if we had been at the ceremony. Dan then had a brilliant idea: Leave one of our LYLI packets there, which he did on someone's coat. Meanwhile, I "mingled" and took some of the hors d'ouevres, mainly because I wanted to tell about it in the blog.

Which comes first - the experience or the blog?

After leaving the museum (with fears of being tailgated by the security guard) we headed to a Turkish restaurant (I found it in a handy dandy guide).




The painted murals on the bathroom were racy = positions that would make the Kama Sutra look tame. And some of the art on the walls near our table were, well, a bit creepy - there was a papier mache devil with a phallus. Yes, a phallus.

They didn't mention that in the guide!

I have renamed the Turkish place "Rosemary's Kitchen."

Dan saw a sight to behold on the street: a homeless guy under a blanket who was checking voice mail on his cellphone.

Oh - random: I told you my Dad's name in Welsh means exit. Dan means fire.

Our meetings went well - one of the people we met got us house seats to Billy Elliot. In the other meeting, I read Hebrew off the Israeli poster of Guys & Dolls and Sound of Music.

Well, they are blinking the lights in here - so I have to sign off.

Jack the Ripper tour
The Tube

Monday, November 06, 2006

Jane and Michael Banks

We are staying in Kensington. I half expect Mary Poppins to appear on our street.

My Bloody Bag

So it's 10pm, I'm in Kensington at an "Easy Internet Cafe" where Dan has gone to at least five computers to find one that works.

My afternoon and evening have been great - I must have walked the equivalent of my apartment to Macy's today.

Dan's day was a bit different.

Dan wanted to make sure his Dad got on his plane back home today so Dan accompanied him to Heathrow after we arrived in London at Paddington Station. The train from Cardiff was late (nail biter because we wanted to make sure Mr. A had time to get on his plane - luckily I was not too stressed out, thanks to the wonders of little pink pills). We did not ride firts class, but Dan's luggage did.

When I got to the BnB tonight after my lovely day, Dan told me about his.

They made it in good time to Heathrow to check his Dad in, but Dan lost track of his father once he got through security. So Dan did not have a chance to say goodbye. Mr. A disappeared into thin air. He was on an escalator, Dan went around to see him, and his Dad was gone. Salvatore Houdini Acquisto, I guess. So Dan's Dad is probably on the plane, not knowing where Dan is (since Dan found out his father indeed did get on the plane. Dan called his Mom to see if his Dad called her (after he was sure his Dad was on the plane) - the ambiguous conversation certainly did not sit well with her, but it would have been worse if Dan had called before he found out for sure (imagine this conversation: Hi Mom, I lost Dad at a very large airport. Has he called?).

I forgot to mention what Dan and I received from the Festival people All five of the shows were represented at the festival by their writing teams. Each show received a handmade glass plate at this reception (all of us thought the plates were out to house hors d'oeuvres, but now, they are pieces of art ,not tableware. I am a klutz and cannot have nice things, so Dan will keep the square, beveled glass red plate with white diamond shapes on it 0 it is a lovely gift, though the thought of the glass and the bubble wrap and the trip back is daunting - hence my asking Dan to take it.

My brand new fabulous Kipling book bag (on sale at Filene's) is definitely mine now. It has my DNA on it. My hands were very raw this week and one of my cuticles started to bleed. A lot. I was pulling something out of my bag during the gush (I swear, it is a small finger, but it was not pretty. My finger looked like - say it - say it - say it: CARRIE.

So the bag is mine. Good hting I had the intention of keeping it and not returning it.

Our first meeting is tomorrow at 11 then at 3. I want to wake up early and be touristy. I of course have chosen a few places to eat tomorrow (word to the wise: Harvey Nick's food arcade is not as nice as Harrod's, where I took a picture of the Krispy Kremes. Yeah, you can't wear jeans at Harrod's but you can get a Krispy Kreme).

Might do the Jack the Ripper tour tomorrow night.

I just had a hot chocolate and am a little buzzed but need to wake up early (heck, full English breakfast is included at the BnB and they close at 9). Dan and I have an amazing picture from the show we want to print for the fols we are meeting, but we may end up showing it to them on his camera

Clonopin is a Beautiful Thing

We are in London. What the heck am I doing blogging? I am on my way to Harvey Nick's after a gorgeous stroll through Kensington Gardens.

I have been in London for two hours and am loving it. The cab drive from the train station was surreal, because he dropped me off on the wrong street, though it has the same name as the street we are staying. Huh?

Luckily, I have been medicating my sleep with a lovely cocktail of Clonopin and Sonata, so the anti-anxiety effects of the former have carried on during the day.

So the festival is over and I have such a sense of post partum.


It was a mixed experience, mostly wonderful for us. We had a great time with our cast and director, as well as our colleagues and friends from BMI. Having our Dads there added tremendously - in a lot of ways, they acted like our agents. They even took some of our business cards and demo CDs and were going to stroll around Cardiff hawking for an audience.

The audience is the locus of most of our disappointment. Teh black box theatre was never quite full, and the first two performances had tepid audiences, though an inordinate amount of people responded quite well to the show, comign up to us or our director. We have a few meetings tomorrow and maybe can set some up for later in the week.


Yesterday was the best performance of all of the shows in our programme and the most enthusiastic audience for Like You Like It. It felt great to visit this show again and have a great time with it again and have all these people, who have never seen it before, love it. It reminded us why we have been toiling at its wheel.

Will something happen with it? I don;t know. On Friday afternoon, when the audience was NOT LAUGHING and fumbling in their seats, I thought I made a big stinky and why did I come all this way (both literally and metaphorically), but it subsided. Again, Clonopin is a wonderful thing.

Cardiff is a great compact city. The Welsh are not very good at giving directions and estimating distances. Dan and I have been travelling with our Dads, who are not as fast-paced as we are, so when you hear (in a think Welsh accent) that "it's only up a pace" and find yourself a mile down the road walking and exhausted, it can be a problem.

Our landlady is so kind - she did our laundry and IRONED Dan's shirts! It was cool to come hom eto all of our clothes drying everywhere along the three stories of the house - on radiators, racks, rails, etc. We got to hear quite a bit about her family. Dan's Dad felt ill one day, and she drove him and Dan to the doctor. What is the Welsh word for Mensch?

The Welsh word for exit, by the way is my Dad's name, Alan (though they of course mispell it with two L's - lots of double-L'ing in Welsh - and I think it is a vowel...)

We had some dining adventures =- not as exciting as the Haggis moment, bu some good cuisine. Service, however, um.


We ordered starters as our main courses and some of us ordered main courses and the waiter AND manager could not seem to understand the concept. In this society that does not rely too heavily on tips, now we know why. Ironically, at a pub (where you usually get NO service), we got great service./ Of course, it was my Dad who went up to the bar to sweet-talk a woman into serving us.

We had Indian food twice in a 18-hour period in Wales. AMAZING.

One thing I must say about the currency here other than the obvious "DAYAM IT'S 'SPENSIVE" is because one pound comes only in coins, you can go through them like pennies. Like a two-dollar penny.

I have been fairly responsible financially for the last ten days, but now


Most important plans:

Get a shave on Fleet Street.
Go to the Tower of London and sing Gilbert & Sullivan "Yeomen of the Guard" songs to myself
And as soon as I post, Harvey Nick's. I hear it is, pardon the pub, Absolutely Fabulous.

Dan is meeting me later at our BnB. Our accomodations have only gotten better and better. We are however on the FIFTH FLOOR without an elevator - I didn;t have to travel 3500 miles for that. Though here in London at our BnB there is no slope in the floor nor does the roof leak, so that is a plus.

Dan has some amazing stills from teh show. Between him, our Dads and me, we must have 1000 photos. I'll post some when we get back - or maybe we will have some time over the next few days to download and post.

Yeah, right. Time?


Okay, I must go explore...

One thinig

Friday, November 03, 2006


It is awfully cold in Cardiff as it was in Glasgow. So glad I am wearing the winter coat.

Today is the first show. I have been very pleased so far with the cast and direction. It is so strange how similar these kids look like a lot of our friends and colleagues. Our Oliver here looks like our Touchtone from NYMF. Our Orlando here resembles our Orlando from NYMF. In the history of Like You Like It, we have had a Rebecca, a Becky and a Becky play Rosalind. Well, here we have another Becca. Some of the kids have Scottish and British accents, but half of the cast is from North America (ORlando is Canadian. He says "tomorrow" like Pat Kiernan on NY1: "too-MORE-oh." Oh - and another small world story- our "new Becca" was born in Houston.

The show is staged with a lot of electricity. Choreography in places |I never knew where the show could dance. And some on the floor (hence my new word at the top of this post).

So a word or twelve to finish up my Glasgow travelogue.


We went to a tea-room designed by famed Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I ordered the eggs and smoked haddock - Dan and his Dad had the French toast. Their meal was exquisite (of course I mooched). And mine - oh mine - oh yes.

Now, as a nice Jewish boy who loves Zabars and Russ & Daughters, I was expecting a few slices of fish a la lox.

THEY BROUGHT ME AN ENTIRE FISH!!! It was, as they say here, brilliant.


I have done tons of research for this trip (especially restaurants - imagine that). I wrote down a place called "The Butte" which was purportedly down the street from our place in Glasgow. We get there and there is so Butte. Just a place called The Butterfly and The Pig. I must have had an A.D.D. moment when I left of the rfly... when I wrote down "Butte."


Imagine a police blotter:

Caucasian man, 2 metres tall, with paper bag full of torn paper, veering from public trashcan to public trashcan, and in Sauchiehall Ln, littering the street as he tosses said paper in the rubbish.

Okay, an explanation:

While I did pack rather lightly, I carried with me a few scripts which I read on our first flight. IMagine about a ream of paper. Fearing I would surpass my weight limit on my bag,I had to dipose of the paper before packing it in the bags.

So I tore it all up into tiny bits and, because there was some valuable intellectual property on the pages, I distributed the disposal. Some of the shreds blew away, and OCD me had to pick them all up and toss them - and quickly find a place to wash my hads.


After an egregiously early flight (let's just say the folks in LA reading this would have been going to sleep as we boarded) with the cast, our landlady drove us home.

Back up: My bags must be heavy, because I packed fewer items of clothing than the Acquisto boys but was charge £45 (more than the flight) more my overage.

That should give you an idea of the amount of baggage the Acquistos and I were carrying.

We all packed in to our landlady's car: Please remember it is Europe, home of the card that even Lilliputians would feel like Gulliver.

Three bags in the back, one sitting in between Dan and his Dad in the back, and my 25-pound carryon on my lap in the front (with our landlady's bag in front of my long legs.

We could have joined the circus in our clown car.

The house is gorgeous. Our landlady's late husband did alot of work on it. The master bath has a tub set into an old fireplace,with a canopy on top. Dad's and my room is very cold (it is also about 37 degrees outside) but spacious - which is good, since my friend Bruce stays with us tomorrow night. Dan and his Dad have a two-room flat.

The place reminds me of Cabaret - in fact, I expect our widowed,upbeat landlady to break out into the song "So What" at any minute.

The people here are helpful beyond compare. I feel like an out-of-place tourist (and sometimes a target) but on the whole, we are able to find our way and find good sights to see - and food to eat.

Dad and I have eaten breakfast two days in a row at "Hell's Kitchen" run my Jan,an accomodating, friendly proprietress. She even gave us free Welsh cakes (very buttery and sugary, though raisin-y too).

We went to Castle Cardiff yesterday (we only had about an hour of show-related work to do). This morning, well, I am here, since I have to be at the theatre for the final dress, the show, and the second Programme of shows tonight. Will be a long day.

And I will wear my canvas Vans. It is nice to wear them after two years of not - kindofa metaphor of our show being out in the open after a hiatus.