Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014: School Play Tryouts - add video later

I asked my kids if they were nervous before play tryouts today. They said they were.  I didn't tell them that I was WAY more nervous than they were.  

I don't know why I think it is so fun, but I LOVE watching them perform in their plays.  (Trust me, it is not because they are budding Thespians).  Brett made fun of me as I left to go to tryouts - he said, "You are going to watch??" and I just smiled and he rolled his eyes and said, "So much fun!!"  It really is!  He didn't even  know I had my video cam with me, which as I type I have already watched their tryouts 3-4 times each :)  This morning before school all the kids were singing and practicing their parts and Brett said, "I can't wait till this day is over!" I guess only a mom can appreciate it like I do!

Maybe part of the fun is seeing them stretch out of their comfort zone.  Especially Josh.  He said he didn't want to try out this year and I said that was fine. Later I noticed he took my Ipod and was back in his room singing songs while I was helping the girls choose a song to sing.  The picking a song to perform part however -  I do NOT like.  I'm not a singer, so it isn't easy for me to pick "the right song" just by what key it is in. I have to listen to them sing song after song and then try to narrow down which one fits their range/personality. Some times I can't take it anymore.  "Can I sing one more song?" "No, not right now. I just spent an hour with you. There are 3 other kids still."  "Just one more really quick?"  over and over. Or they all want to sing the same song...

However, that said, I was super excited because this year for tryouts they didn't have to sing "My Country Tis of Thee" like they have had to in years past.  None of my kids know it very well (shame on me) nor can they sing it that well due to how high it goes.  At least we had the opportunity to pick better suited songs.

So this year Anna sang, "Carrying the Banner" from Newsies because it was her right range, she knew all the words and could sing it prettily.    Anna has to work hard to get the right pitch consistently, but when she hits it, it sounds great. She loves to sing so I think we need to invest in some voice lessons for her. I listened through the glass window at tryouts today and videotaped it. I could hear her and she sounded great! Yay! 

A lady in the stake heard her sing in the play last year and months later we met up again at Girl's Camp and she told me that she would be interested in working with Anna because she loved her in the play.  I asked if she meant giving her voice lessons? And she said, no,just to work with her on her singing just for fun. She thought she was great and had a lot of potential and with a little tweaking she could be fabulous :)  I thought that was really nice of this lady. She sings beautifully herself.

The first play Anna was in (school play) she had three words as a mermaid in "Peter Pan" (3rd grade) and she opted to leave one word out (didn't want to take all the spotlight!)     

4th Grade - "Orphan Annie".  Anna got to  be one of the orphans. Can't really remember how many lines she had, but lots of stage time - and that's what matters, right?!! :)  I do remember she wore out my good black socks. It is funny because I was watching some video of this and it looked like Anna was saying all the lines. She said she memorized all the lines of the other girls just cause they heard them over and over so much.  Maybe she was hoping to be understudy of someone :)

Her 4th grade teacher was awesome and chose to also do an idividual class play, "Geology Rocks".  Anna was voted in by her class to play the part of "Earth". She had a full solo and she worked and worked at the song and I was bursting with pride when I saw her perform.  It was soooo cute and really well done by her and all on key!. I seriously love the music from that play. Still listen to it. I think my favorite cd ever would be cd of the kids singing all their different parts from over the years.

5th Grade - "Mary Poppins". Anna got to be the horse rider! Wow! Amazing :) I think she got 2 sentences  but lots of dancing around!  That was a thrilling part :)  Luckily, one of the cast members dropped out, so she also got to be a chimney sweep that had some fun dancing.

6th Grade - This year might have been the top of her career. She got to be Cogsworth in "Beauty and the Beast".  She had a ton of lines. I couldn't have memorized them.  And tons of stage time.  People raved about her personality and how funny she was on stage. Some even said, "Anna made the play!"  Aww shucks. This was a great year for Brett and I having 4 kids in the same production. It went by really fast, instead of previous years, waiting and waiting for your kid to have their one line.  I could watch that over and over (and have!)

7th Grade -"The Little Mermaid".  Anna was "Scuttle," the annoying bird, and had another whole song solo which she nailed.  This part required a goofy personality and she did it perfectly. Lots of stage time and lines too. There even was a very realistic scene with Josh (LeFou) and her arguing on stage. She also had to kind of be in charge of the group she worked with cause I think the directors knew they could count on her to be responsible and know when she was on stage and off. 

                        I love Anna's expression here!  One of the very few un-blurry pictures I got!

   Just chilling backstage with her buddy Lily and "the Voice"

8th Grade - I get butterflies just wondering what part she will get (all of them!). The play is one of the reasons she did not want to be home-schooled even though she asks me all the time if I would home-school her.  I say,  "Ask your dad," and then he says, "No."  This year the memo about the play said, "If you are cast, the fee is....." which they never have said before. Everyone always gets a part. So that is a little nerve wracking, but also exciting because Anna has proven her talent/abilities in years past and I know she won't be cut.  She said that Mr. Stern said her expressions were very refreshing. So I'm pretty sure he liked what she did. He knows her from choir and school.

Okay, now Joshua's play history :)

3rd Grade - He was a chimney sweep in Mary Poppins and did some awesome dancing with a broom.  They were all dressed in black and spinning around so it was hard to spot him all the time, but I was amazed that he got it and looked so cute!  

4th Grade - LeFou in "Beauty and the Beast".  When he saw that was his part on the list we didn't even know who LeFou was. We thought it was a singing piano (someone said that) and we were laughing about that.  But then we realized he was Gaston's side kick and had a major role. We were shocked  because this was only his 2nd play.  He had a ton of lines to memorize and I had to do special practices with Josh and Duncan (Gaston) to bring some life to their characters. Josh has it in him, but it has to be stretched out of him - sometimes very painfully.  But boy, was that a performance to remember. He had the solo, "Gaston" ("No one fights like Gaston, douses lights like Gaston....." and seriously, it was a show stopper. I thought they were the most boring Le Fou and Gaston so I told them I would make super duper ice cream sundaes if they made Mrs. Preece cheer.  Anna told me that Josh was really "boring in his part" so I went to rehearsal to watch and she was right. Duncan (Gaston) was cast perfectly (his real personality) but he was dry as the sand too. It was so disappointing to watch them!   So I got them to rehearse at our house a few times and explained that they were a team and they needed to play off each other.  I discovered through this experience that in my previous life I was a play or film director. NOT an actress, but a play director :) It was so much fun.  We found some fun moves off the broadway play and incorporated some neat moves and added some other things and worked on expressions! :)  They were afraid the play director (Tara, the principal and Mrs. Preece) would tell them not to change anything at this point (3 more rehearsals before show time).. I told them yes, they would say that if you didn't pull it off and do it the RIGHT way with lots of good acting!  Believe in your new moves!  I convinced them that the directors would die of shock and start cheering if they actually did everything we rehearsed.  And it happened! I was so proud of those boys.Another good side effect of those rehearsals is that Duncan was nicer to the kids after that. He used to swear at them during rehearsal and act mean and they were actually afraid/intimidated  by him.  However, just getting him into a different setting, he was the nicest kid. Anna even said, "I actually realized he is nice!" (He is her grade level).

This is Josh doing his Steve Martin King Tut imitation after his solo. He shocked everyone with an amazing a job.  It was Brett's idea to incorporate some of  Steve Martin's antics. He showed Josh the "King Tut" video  with Steve waving his hands above his head.  It took a lot of convincing (and bribes) but Josh got it down. I know inside the actor in Josh is screaming to get out and Josh wants it to come out, but sometimes needs someone else to pull it out of him and then it is easy for him.

5th Grade - Grimsby in "The Little Mermaid"  Another part where we didn't know who Grimsby was. He is the old man that is prim and proper and funny. Grimsby is always trying to get the prince to do the right thing. Again, a lot of stretching, but he did great. Josh always gets mad when we correct or suggest things, but after he watches himself on video, he makes a change. Then he is a champ!  He said to me once, "I thought I was acting way more than that!" (in ref to a practice video). He was an amazing old man Grimsby. Dashing, arrogant, snooty and funny all in one!   

6th Grade - We shall see. I'm hoping that since he has blown every rehearsal (forgot the words to "My Country", sang an octave too high (and definitely too high for him!) and when asked to pick another song, couldn't even get out Old Yeller (a song he knows well) and still gotten really good parts, it might be okay this year. This year he picked, "I'll Make a Man out of You!" from "Milan" much to my chagrin,  but when it is the night before and he is comfortable with it, what do I say?  He sang it nicely, but without any movements, oh wait, he pointed once to himself and once out to the judges and kept his  body pretty much in the same position.  He said Mr. Stern asked him to sing it again with expression......Okay! Still hoping his charm and good looks will carry him through. I'm hoping they still  vividly remember his roles as LeFou and Grimsby.  Please........:)

Claire and Eliza- for the sake of space/repeating info, sorry girls, but you get lumped together again :) 

This was their Kindergarten Play. We decided it was not really worth all the after school practices to walk on the stage and sing a song! :)

Their REAL stage debut began in 2nd grade doing "Beauty and the Beast".  Claire was Belle, just kidding! Claire was villager and barmaid.  I must say she looked adorable in her turquoise peasant skirt and white embroidered blouse (and brightly colored scarf) but enough about that.  Claire is just funny to watch.  She really gets into her acting.  Eliza was a fork(even though in her audition she told the judges she was trying out for Bell). And a sparkly, gold fork at that. She had some elaborate dancing moves and definitely was the shiniest fork on the stage. They were just lucky, actually, to be in the play being 2nd graders.  

3rd Grade: Being seasoned actresses, they were awarded even more impressive parts and got to be the tentacles in "Little Mermaid". Yes, you read that right. The tentacles!  Now that got a big laugh when we found out. At first they were slightly annoyed that their talents were not being noticed.  However, as rehearsals started, they realized how often they were on stage with Ursula and that good acting does not always mean lots of words. They were VERY expressive in their wiggly moves along with their angry, sneaky, foiled again expressions.  

                                   Can you see Claire really shaking her head and getting into it?
                                (A lot of comments from others were how funny Claire and Eliza were in their parts and how they loved their expressions.  Claire and Eliza got a little "frustrated" with the back tentacles actresses for not "getting into their part" lol.)

For tryouts this year, 4th grade,they both wanted to sing a song from "Newsies". (Yes, Anna passed on that obsession to the rest of the kids, and actually, me too!)  

I'll start with Claire. She had a few songs in mind, but when she sang, "I'm the King of New York" I knew it was a winner for her.  She is hilarious with all the actions she adds to it. She and Eliza had a cute routine down together with all these actions, but that wouldn't work for the audition because she  needed to do it on her own.   When Claire performs you can't help but laugh.  She's this little, skinny girl that is all over the place and very animated, but in a good way :)  She is also really good as listening to critiques by siblings and parents, so she is a quick study.  

Eliza could not make up her mind and so we had to narrow it down to what would showcase her voice the most. She is lucky cause she has a really good ear for being on key and a pretty wide range.  So despite the fact that her first choice was "Santa Fe" (a slower, love ballad) Anna and I both thought, "That's Rich" would be the best one.  During her audition (as I was peeking in the door) I saw the directors/judges pop their heads up when she started singing. They also were laughing when Eliza sang the part, "But I ran out my luck getting stuck on some dope!" then she half sings, "Hey baby, I was just talking about you!" and points at Mr. Stern and continues to sing, "Now listen sport, this life's too short to waste it on you!"  The words are just pretty funny and she totally carried it off. I think it is pretty surprising how well she can sing at this age and I think they were not expecting it. So we'll see....By the 4th audition, I wasn't afraid to peak my head in the window as much :) 

Luke - would  not tryout period.  Lucky for him he is in 1st grade and it is for 2nd -8th graders. I told him he had to try out cause I was moving him up to 2nd grade, but he still refused! That is okay, I won't be too pushy.  He was willing enough to sing in sacrament last week and that was great.  He'd rather sit and play with his legos or Pokemann cards (which I'm about to burn/toss) One of Josh's buddys gave him a whole box of them and now he is obsessed :)

Add short videos of their songs.......

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