BWW BLOG EXCLUSIVE: CHIX 6 Hits Comic Con!
Hello again, Broadwayworld! It's Lourds Lane, book/music/lyrics writer of CHIX 6, and also performing as the violin playing misfit, RISE, in the show. We've had 3 weeks of shows and it's clear that CHIX 6 is resonating with audiences. We've received standing ovations every single show. This is more of an accomplishment than you might realize since we've played many shows to the Queens Theatre subscription audience where the average age was 80. No joke. In the first two weeks of performances, it felt like the Saturday matinee crowd would tell their parents to see the show which made Sunday matinee crowd even OLDER. The cast, who are mostly all Broadway veterans, have schooled me that typically, old folks don't stand up, even if they like the show. But with our show, these octogenarians jump to their feet without fail. "Oh my gawsh, these kids are so tehhhlented!" As for the teenagers in the crowd, who've been showing up this past week, both girls AND boys have become rabid repeat fans. People wait outside the stage door weeping. Something is clearly working.
Yep, we've had 3 weeks of shows and we haven't done the same show twice. This 5 week process is to develop the show and prepare it for Broadway next year, so as a result, the show is never really set. Every day, we make script changes, lyric changes, music changes, and lots and lots of cuts. But, the show keeps getting tighter and better. On day one, our show was at 2 hours and 45 minutes. Now, we are less than 2 hours and 30, including a 17 minute intermission. Today, we will be in rehearsal to completely change the musical ending to Act I and perform it later tonight. The process is intense and challenging yet I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work on the script and music in front of a live audience night after night. I'm especially grateful for our amazing cast, crew, and creative team for their commitment to the development of this show and to excellence. I wake up every morning feeling extremely blessed.
A challenge for me sometimes is being a creator as well as an actor in the show. Last week after the country number, "I Hate Your Guts," I was backstage taking off my lime green crinoline skirt and at the same time, I was listening to how the freshly changed dialogue was flowing on-stage. Distracted, I just starting taking off ALL my clothes... my shirt, my skirt, my belt, my tights... Wardrobe supervisor, Erica Giles (whom I just adore), finally stopped me from stripping any further. "What are you doing?!" Umm... I don't know. She calls that my "toddler" moment.
Another challenge is the location of this theatre and the fact that the Queens Theatre in the Park has never had an extended run before. With a capacity of 465 seats, the crowd has been light on some shows, albeit ALWAYS enthusiastic. QTP typically does one-off shows and performances. Our developmental run of CHIX 6 is the biggest, most technologically advanced show the theatre has ever put up by 10. Doing a 5 week run with our show was an experiment. Although the brand new artistic director is doing his best to bring awareness to the theatre, it's a bit of a road trip from Manhattan and a little tricky to find. It's going to take a lot more time, advertisement, and promotion for folks to rush out to Flushing to see a new show, and unfortunately, it probably won't happen in the course of our run. But being off the beat and path is serving our creative process tremendously, and it's not stopping high rolling investors from seeing and investing in our show one bit. So, although performing to a half filled theatre might be uninspiring for the actors, in terms of carving out a clear path to Broadway next year, it's been a win for us.
So remember the wigs that crushed our skulls that I talked about in the last blog? Yeah, those were made by our costume designer who didn't deliver the costumes he was commissioned to design in a timely manner and then held us hostage to whatever he designed in the eleventh hour, causing undue stress within the entire company. Do I sound bitter? Well, three weeks into the run of the show, and we are STILL missing costumes while others are falling apart. (Hot glue is just not enough, folks). We had to buy and/or create our own costumes to Make Up For his complete lack of professionalism. To throw insult to injury, our costume designer watched our show just ONE time... and that was last week. But I'd rather MARCH far away from this sore topic and talk about the good stuff...... like Calli Carvajal, who is our hero. Calli created outrageously colorful wigs that are made of actual hair, as opposed to plaster and rubber. Thank God Celina Caravajal, who plays the punk rock super heroine, Blaze, told us about her genius sister. My character, RISE, is supposed to be youthful, high energy and upbeat. With the old skull-crushing helmet wigs, I walked around with a constant scowl and pain in my neck, feeling like an angry munchkin. With Calli's wigs, I'm light as a feather... and happy!!! Hip hip hooray!
Speaking of Celina, her voice is inhuman. She has a limitless, rock and roll, raspy upper register that will make you instinctively throw your metal horns up... AND... she can dance! The first superhero scene, which has been changing weekly, is now a rock and roll dominatrix tango between Celina and the fabulous Ellenore Paige Scott from "So You Think You can Dance." HOTTTT!
Nicolette Hart as sassy super heroine, SEVEN, looks into her red "cyber-glasses" and sees the truth behind the words of an unsuspecting audience member whom she pulls out of the audience. But what happens when her mark is a boy scout, a perfect gentleman, the most sincere puppy dog of a human, not capable of lying? What happens when there's just nothing for her to pick on? Well, Nicolette keeps her cool. She says, "What do you know? We found a real live unicorn right here at the Queens Theatre in the Park!" Hahaha! Genius!
Danielle Lee Greaves sings the most raved about show-stopping number in the musical, "Mama's Lookin' for a Sex Slave." In this number, "Mama-Mazing" shimmies seductively into the audience and flirts with the men in the crowd. Without fail, the audience ends up uproariously laughing. Watching her from the stage on the upper scaffolding, I'm grateful that it's not out of character for RISE, the nerd, to be chuckling out loud... because I just can't help myself.
Molly Tynes is simply a freak of nature. How does she sing THAT good straddled and upside down, suspended from a hoop? It's so mesmerizing that I need to concentrate to NOT look at her while she's doing her aerial magic.
Our ingénue, Carrie Manolakos, has the strongest vocal chords in the business. She says the vocal demands playing Katie in CHIX 6 is harder than playing Elphaba in "Wicked." Yowsa! But, boy, she's nailing it! She sings a run in "What are You Doing Right Now" that will make you scream so loud, you may burst a blood vessel in your neck. This is just a warning.
Ooh... and yesterday, I found out that our music director, Julie Mc Bride plays so hard that she bleeds on her keyboards. How rock and roll is that!!?
Now I need to mention my backstage faves... Bobby Hedglin Taylor, our aerial consultant, who just makes my day whenever I see him, Harvey Rubin, who has the best positive attitude in the world, Meg Friedman, who is the most responsible, and most nerdy (and you know I have a soft spot for nerds) ASM ever, and of course Erica Giles, the who saves me from toddler moments on a regular basis. I friggin' love you guys.
Talk about life imitating art... The big climax to CHIX 6 is when Jay, played by the amazingly talented, Brian Gallagher, sings live at the Javitz Center at COMIC CON in NYC. Last Friday, we, The Chix 6, sang a medley at the real NYC COMIC CON at the Javitz Center! Our autograph booth was next to Eliza Dushku, Kevin Sorbo, and Mark Hamill. Pretty cool! Check out some pix from the show below!
Come see us before we head to Broadway in 2012! We've got two weeks left to go! CHIX 6 is now playing only until October 29 at the Queens Theatre in the Park (http://queenstheatre.org)!! DON'T MISS IT!!! SOMETHING BIG IS HAPPENING!
CHIX 6 facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/chix6rocks
CHIX 6 website: http://chix6.com
CHIX 6 Twitter: http://twitter.com/chix6rocks
CHIX 6 Youtube: http://youtube.com/chix6rocks
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