same old story, not much to say

Now that Aida is done, I've returned to a normal work and play life. Though our evening Parent Night performances for P.E.A.C.E. Signs begin tomorrow, so my weeks will be interrupted by late hours and out-of-town trips. My gym routine has gotten back on track, and my body seems to be very happy about that. I'm starting to give singing lessons this Friday, to a current AiR member, who is willing to tolerate my first try at being a singing teacher in exchange for dinner. I think it'll be okay, and it will give me something to keep my self occupied until I can start regularly rehearsing and performing again, on a full-time hobby kind of basis.

Rehearsals for ACLO's Grand Masquerade have begun, but I don't have my first music rehearsal until next weekend. This is ACLO's first annual fundraiser dinner, and it's pretty high profile. I feel very fortunate to have been invited by our Artistic Director to perform because not everyone gets to participate. I'll be singing two choral pieces - "Masquerade" from The Phantom of the Opera and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen - and a duet with a fellow Aida cast member - "Lady Marmalade" from Moulin Rouge. We even get our own little dancing entourage for the duet. I'm excited to have the opportunity to continue working with ACLO. I really enjoy the people and have made some great new friends. And everyone is extremely talented.

Other than that, it's been the same old, same old. Cathy's performing as Kim in Miss Saigon once again, and a whole group of us are going to watch her next Saturday. It'll be a nice mini Aida cast reunion. Here are some of my favorite pictures of my cast mates, by the way.

Me and my dressing roommates: (L-R) Judy, Matt, Jaye, and Martha

Virgos! John and me

Alex as Mereb (center), Nick and Mike (L-R) as Nubians

Josh as Zoser, the creepy bad guy, and me

Kelsey, my first ACLO friend, and me

Me and Lisa at the Aida cast party

Spencer and me at the Aida cast party


p.e.a.c.e. signs

The show I'm in charge of booking, P.E.A.C.E. Signs, opened today. It's about four elementary school kids and their student teacher, who uses the Stoplight Model to teach them about conflict resolution and violence prevention. The model encourages the kids to follow five steps in order to make better and healthier decisions when conflict arises: Stop, Feel, Think, Choose, and Act.

The show itself was amazing. I know that I might be a little biased because it's my troupe, but I'm not lying when I say that P.E.A.C.E. Signs is my favorite Educational Theatre Programs show that I've seen thus far (I've watched 4 of 5). The set is elaborate, colorful, and eye-catching; the acting was superb; and the singing (which I had the opportunity to help with) and dancing was solid. It was such a great feeling to see my work in action. I had spent most of the past month and a half trying to finish booking shows for the fall semester. Finally, I got to see the results of my endless phone calls and faxes, orientations and consultations. The students in the audience responded incredibly well, particularly to the difficult topics presented in the show - gang and domestic violence. They absorbed all the information and provided positive alternatives to violence when asked by the Performer Educators. It was enlightening to see how much of a difference our one-hour performance made on these children. And it was exciting to know that we have the opportunity to reach out to so many of them this year and help to improve the quality of their lives.

In summary, I love my job! And almost unbelievably, I feel like it's going to get a thousand times better in the weeks to come.

ETP's P.E.A.C.E. Signs troupe on opening day at Cleveland Elementary School (Oakland)


weekend review

Today was the first day I took off from my job at Kaiser. I didn't want to because I love my job and because I know there are a lot of things that need to be done at work, but having survived last week's rigorous rehearsal schedule, I reasoned with myself in the early hours of this morning and decided that for my health, it is necessary that I take a day off to rest and recuperate. Besides, if I didn't take a day off, this cold would only get worse, and the rest of this week will be spent traveling and doing site visits for work. I'll be needed in the office.

Though I've been stuck at home with a headache and a sore throat all day, I've been feeling really happy otherwise. My birthday weekend was incredible, thanks to a handful of new and old friends alike. I spent most of Saturday cleaning the apartment in preparation for the mini birthday party I was planning for Sunday evening. Though it might not sound all too appealing to others, I really enjoy cleaning and didn't mind having to do some of it on my birthday. I went out to dinner with the family at Jack London Square, then proceeded to Alameda High School for the opening of Aida. When I got there, I was thwarted by castmates and their birthday greetings. They all sang me "Happy Birthday" during vocal warm ups, and I was surprised with a cake constructed of brownie bites and strawberries, topped off with a candle. I learned that my dressing roommates had gotten brownie bites, cookies, and strawberries for the entire cast. Our room also brought bottles of champagne to celebrate my double deuce and the opening. At intermission, I was taken upstairs out of the dressing area and into the hallway adjacent to backstage. I was surprised with a Finding Nemo birthday/show opening cake that read "Break a Leg, Gina!" and had candles spelling "Happy Birthday" along the edge. I blew out the candles and served cake to the cast, crew, and orchestra right before the second act. After the show, which was amazing BTW, I headed out for margaritas with the cast. Certainly one of the most memorable birthdays I've ever had.

Sunday's matinee was followed by a Target-sponsored backstage tour for youth. I stuck around to see the tour and watch kids get tattoos painted by cast members. I greeted my grandma, aunts and uncle, cousins, and friends, all who came to watch the show and take the tour. They took me out to dinner, which was nice because it had been a while since I saw them all. I then made my way home to a small party with some friends and my housemates. I got Apples to Apples as a gift from my roommate Joe, and we broke it in by playing a couple of rounds that evening. Unfortunately, I had to cut the party short because the cold that was threatening to arrive all week had finally hit me. Regardless, I had a great time, just as everyone else at my party did.


Here are some pictures from the Sunday matinee, thanks to my cousin Sheryl. I'm really bad at taking pictures to commemorate things myself, so I'm happy that I had her around.

Backstage Tour

Demonstrating how props work

Lola and me

With the family


not an ordinary day

Aida opens tonight! Finally! After a torturous week of 6-hour rehearsals (immediately following 8-hour work days, mind you), the show has really come together. We fully intend to rock the house for the entirety of our run. This evening will be met with excitement and celebration, to commemorate all our hard work and effort.

Oh yeah, and the fact that it's my birthday.