Best known for the Off-Broadway musicals, "The Last Session," "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" and "New World Waking," a song cycle for peace and justice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm So Mean.

I was really mean to Kim Kardashian in my previous post about the Celebrity Nullification Game. I'm sure she's a very nice lady. I think I'm just allowing her to embody the kind of TV celebrity most of us love to hate. Hey! They put themselves out there. Jeering from the sidelines is part of the show, isn't it?

So I was mean. But it totally subverts my angelic sweet guy image.

In acting class, I learned that I've not been speaking with my real voice. That what I think is my real voice actually sounds like a phony voice and me speaking in very low tones is actually my real voice which sounds like my fake voice (to me). It's a trick that played by your cranium.

That's why we hate recordings of our own voice.

So, I need to find my true voice! It's so weird to think that my real voice is not my real voice, but a phony voice that's hiding the real voice.

Today, we were at a memorial service for a Broadway actor named Kevin Gray. I didn't know him. But there's a kind of communal spirit in theater that's similar to church. Traditions they hang onto that tell them who they are. These memorial services are done sparsely. Usually in an afternoon. By permission or even a donation by the theater owners and performers. No one is ever "introduced" before coming onto the stage. They just come to the mic and speak: co-actors, friends, family.

The story they told of Kevin was that he was a most fearless and powerful singer/actor/dancer who changed a lot of people's lives in the theater by being a generous actor, and hilarious and fiercely professional. The stunning revelation was a video of him with Marie Osmond in The King and I. She was fantastic! And there's a clip where she talks about how he really just made her so comfortable. In the clip, I saw it. The way his King was more aggressive in taking Anna's waist. Pulling her closely with a strong jerk. Taking control. Brilliant.

When your entire life depends on going from show to show, stage to stage, as a gypsy, you find these rare people who simply make you happier because you get to be around them. A community is passed on, one person at a time. His death was shocking. A heart problem. He was still young and about to go into teaching, and he dropped dead shoveling show.

The heartbreak in the room was palpable. This was one of the good guys.

While waiting for Jim, who was having lunch with his Character Man team over a bowl of soup at the Polish Tea Room, I paced in front of the Majestic Theater, and like a prayer, recited my Richard II scene in my low voice. I sent Jonathan Marro an email about it and he said he was also practicing his very low tones. We're both looking for our real voice and we're gonna find it.
I wasted time and now doth time waste me
For now hath time made me his numbering clock
Yes! Do it now! 
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