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NEW BLOG - Inside CHIX 6 - Week 2

 

BWW is excited to present a new blog, which will follow the Early Stages of CHIX 6, a new multi-genre rock musical written and composed by Lourds Lane (lead singer and multi-instrumentalist from the national touring band, LOURDS) and directed by DJ Salisbury which is now being workshopped...

Miss week one? Click here!

DAY 5
Tuesday, August 10.   DAY OFF!  (and a FULL day off for Eric and Wendy, who are currently in Mamma Mia- Tuesday is their dark day.)

DAY  6
Wednesday, August 11
When I walked into rehearsal, I was greeted with presents!   How did people know?  Ohhhhh... facebook!  Sarah, the drummer of CHIX 6 and my band, LOURDS, got me a dog tag necklace that had "CHIX 6" engraved on it.  Of course my BFF knows where my heart is!  Gail got me a gorgeous silver necklace with a wing on it.  I wore them both proudly!  Mary came in with a wrist corsage "so everybody will know it's my special day."  I wore the single pink rose around my forearm because for some reason, my wrists are thin as pretzel sticks.   Molly got me dozen orange sweetheart roses mainly because the name of the bouquet was called "BABE" (one of the show's song titles!)   Scents, soaps, and candles from DJ and Wendy!   Danielle treated me to lunch.  And then in the middle of rehearsing the big group number that kicks off the second act, the cast suddenly switched songs and sang the most gorgeous rendition of "Happy Birthday" I've ever heard. It felt like 15 part harmony!  AND I got to blow out the birthday candle on a luscious chocolate cake!   I knew exactly what I was going to wish for!  Happy day for sure!  Wendy and V's cards almost moved me to tears.  Wendy's said, "Dear Lourds, You are in the throes of birth (but without the intense pain!) I am so happy to be in the "birthing room with you - and you are affecting many people already, bringing joy, excitement, love, acceptance, and creative freedom to us all!  Happy Birthday!  xo Love, Wendy."  It was written on a "WHOLE BODY" bag with lots of hand-drawn plants sprouting all over the bag.  I'm totally framing this!  And V had a wooden blue butterfly pinned to her card that said "Even though it is your birthday, I feel like I am the one getting presents... For Lourds who taught me to fly. xo, V"
 
Juicy rehearsal bits today!  Molly, who plays the seductress of the show, Lola Touche`, started learning how to suspend herself on a hoop.  She's a fantastic dancer, legs for miles! The moves that our aerial sequence consultant, Bobby Hedglin-Taylor taught her came pretty easily. She's a natural. Unbelievable to watch her pose, spin, suspend, and contort on the hoop!  Ron started choreographing Danielle in "Most Gorgeous Creature" and Mary in "Babe" ... and even though they were marking, both performances are already hilarious.  Ruthie brought in her accordion to start learning the solo for her first feature song, "Misfit."  When I play the misfit nerd,  I play electric violin, but Ruthie's axe might even be nerdier... I mean the accordion!  Pahahahaha!  How perfect is that?  Makes me laugh just thinking about an accordion shredding on a rock song!  A full day working on CHIX 6 with all these beautiful, fun, and creative people is EXACTLY what I want to be doing on my birthday!  I feel so grateful and happy! And to top it off, I finally signed with NEDERLANDER-BROWNE productions!  WOO HOO! CHIX 6 is taking off!

DAY 7
Thursday, August 12
Yesterday, Carrie had all four of her wisdom teeth pulled!  But she came in today on pain killers ready and excited to keep on working.  What a trooper!  And she wasn't even swollen!  If that doesn't qualify as "superhero," I don't know what is! Carrie also showed us a pose she did in pictures as a little dance recital girl: legs turned in, fist pushed into her face with a big cheesy smile. It's hysterically perfect!   She says she tries to do the pose at some point in every show.  She even did it in when she played the lead in "Mamma Mia" on Broadway. Brilliant!  By the end of this workshop, I vow to snatch a picture of the whole cast doing her "Putting on the Ritz" pose! 

We continued work on the big group number that kicks off ACT II.  Although some of the hard hitting song had been recorded, the way it is routined in the show is entirely different. Ron had to puzzle it out and then teach the girls aggressive Rhythm-Nation-like  choreography to a piano and only hand claps for percussioin.  Ruthie was the teacher's pet since she had all the moves tracked, catalogued and ready to spit out whenever teacher Ron needed a reminder.  Plus, we found out that one of Ruthie's many over-achieving special skills is that she actually TWIRLS RIFLES, which DJ wants to feature in this militaristic number!  Wendy went on to teach the final song "Best Friends" which leads into a reprise of "You call, We come, We're here."  The girls sound REEEEEEDICULOUS!  I decided to feature their awesomeness with an a capella breakdown section, so Wendy and I created a yummy hand-clappy moment that I think will be one of my favorite musical moments in the show.

Earlier in the day, Molly had taken a hoop class elsewhere with Bobby Hedglin-Taylor.  She came back excited to show us what she learned.  Yowsa! Second staging day and she's flipping, contorting, straddling, and twirling... WHILE SINGING AT THE SAME TIME!  Upside down even!!  She's a force of nature.

During lunch, our featured dancers Justin and Kristine (both in Come Fly Away) came in briefly to say hello. More lovey folks to add to the Elmo Room!  They are playing the combative comic book arch rivals, "Lightning Girl" and "Mi Roar," who parallel the drama between Katie and Jay, but their contracts will start a bit later in our process.

DJ continued staging with Eric and Carrie.  Revisions, revisions, and more revisions!  It's amazing what I learn when just hearing the words out loud.  DJ, Wendy, and I have so many high-fiving magic moments of perfect no-ego chemistry.  When all three of us agree, it's just right.

DAY 8
Friday, August 13

I walked in and before rehearsal had even started, Ruthie was laser-focused, diligently separating wads of tangled elastic into neat piles.  I said, "You're awesome to help out like that!  Thanks!"  Without even looking up she said, "It's important for me to always keep occupied with things to do.  Why do you think I have so many special skills?"  Hahahaha!  I adore Ruthie... and I totally relate...

We kicked right into Queen V's punk rock number, "In Your Pocket," the first rock solo in the show.  This number is crucial because Queen V's character, Blaze, is the first CHIX 6 super heroine that the audience meets.  DJ handed the girls the elastic strips that Ruthie untangled and worked his musical staging magic. The girls stretch, pull, and twist the elastic around V....  'Cats in the cradle' patterns are created as V wails with raspy rock and roll venom.  The number is FIERCE.  Afterward, DJ and I fantasized about how gorgeous a Broadway version would look-- Dang, if  99 cents per yard elastic looks this good...!

DJ then started staging "You Call, We come, We're here"... where Katie's comic-book creations come to life around the time our casting directors, Scott Wojcik and Gayle Seay stopped by to visit.  Yay!  They were mesmerized...  and excited!  When Danielle had to leave for an audition, Gayle- a Broadway performer ' in a past life'- jumped up to 'swing in.'

DAY 9
Saturday, August 14
Ruthie (covering me for the role of the nerd, "RISE") walked in wearing loud, colorful sunglasses.  I looked at her and said, "Urban Outfitters?"  She said, "Yeah!"  I have the same pair.  The parallels are creepy.

Molly was stretching intensely.  Owee!  Her body MUST be sore with all that hoop work!  She proudly showed me the 'war wounds' on her hands:  "Once they turn into callouses, they won't hurt!"  As a violin and guitar player, I totally get it.  When I can actually feel my fingertips, I know I'm not practicing enough.

At the beginning of the day, DJ started working out the last moment of Act I with Eric and Carrie.  The rest of the girls joined in an hour later. It was a tricky scene and we needed time to weave in the music.  Dialogue had to be tweaked and edited, and we created new vocal harmonies to add to the dramatic subtext.
  
There is an African dance class going on next door.  Women wearing colorful Kaftans are roaming the halls outside our studio and tribal drums seep LOUDLY through the walls all day long.  Though it was a little tricky to concentrate sometimes, our group is really laid back and awesome and Wendy did a terrific vocal clean up.  At varying points in rehearsal,  though, I believe every single one of us got down with a little African dance.  Wendy's dance was by far the best.  She'd be conducting and then all of a sudden, bend down, palms flexed and shimmy her shoulders and butt to the beat.  HAHAHA!   LOOOVE WENDY!!!  Her dance caught on fast and has become the CHIX 6 celebration dance!

After lunch, DJ worked on the musical staging of "Babe," adding some of the other girls to be Mary's kick-ball-change boogie woogie sidekicks.  Amazing!  Then, Ron continued choreographing Danielle's number, "Most Gorgeous Creature."   I can watch Danielle marking the same number a million times and that girl STILL cracks me up!

The day ended with staging "Amor" which meant Molly was singing upside down in the hoop!  It's a serious spectacle!

Day 10
Sunday, August 15

African drums beating through the walls at Chelsea Studios!  Wendy was out doing a double with Mamma Mia but her spirit was there!  Danielle and I started the day shimmying our shoulders, doing Wendy's African dance. DJ then had everyone (including me and Jana!) do an ensemble building theatre game as a warm up. Tricky at first... but by the second time, the group was really getting a flow and learning to operate as a unit.  FUN!

The cast reviewed the staging of the last scene of Act I with the song, "The Only Thing Constant," a piano driven song.   I jumped on the piano to show Jana the driving feel I was looking for and then we revised some harmonies at the end of the song.  I took time with Ruthie to work out her accordion solo for "Misfit."  On an accordion, less is more... and funnier.  We worked out the right hand melody and then built up to an offbeat "oompah."   I told Ruthie that picking up an accordion during a rock song is already HILARIOUS, so in the end, it's really all about the "rock" faces she makes, her tongue sticking out, and the Pete Townsend windmills rather than the notes.  But I have a hunch she'll give us notes, too.

Day 11
Monday, August 16
Not having not slept for the fourth night in a row, I walked into rehearsal DELIRIOUS.  Each night, I've been going straight to the studio after rehearsal to produce a demo for a talented young indie rock band. Extra cash. Yeah, I know, I'll stand to gain a lot when CHIX 6 becomes successful... but as of right now,  there's rent... and bills.  And yeah, I'm pretty burnt from double duty.  Mary is feeling burnt too.  She goes from rehearsal to the Midtown Theatre every day to wail 80's rock songs in full-on leather Lita Ford gear for her show "Power Balladz."... so fatigue was in the air.

And of course, today was the most intense day of all!  My brain needed to be fully functional as we put together ALL of ACT I. Thank God for coffee... and more coffee... and double expresso. Seeing the whole thing straight through, we all learned many many things.  I stayed slumped over my computer like a mad scientist making revisions and more revisions.  And no lunch break for me...too much work to do!

After lunch, DJ continued to fine-tune the first act.  Then more theatre games!  They started with the "Yes" game we learned yesterday... but now with more rules!  I gotta say, there was definitely a "flow" with the CHIX 6 group.  Go team  At one point, everyone was speeding past each other in the circle like a well-oiled machine!

Then it was 'character exploration' improv time.  DJ asked everyone to "mingle" as their CHIX 6 character and describe their superpowers to one another.  Next, everyone stood in a circle and shared thoughts about their character's relationship to the other characters given what they know from the script.  The final task was to have all the CHIX sit in a circle and plot out how they will remove "Jay" from "Katie's" life.  The things that came out of these girls' mouths -- priceless!   Danielle said, "My superpower is that  I can make everyone's ass clap in the room!"  Ruthie responded excitedly by saying, "That was you?!"   What amazing exercises for the cast... and even for me as I continue to tweak the script.  After the enriching fun, DJ  asked that they look for ways to integrate what they'd learned about each other whenever they interact onstage.

Finally, the team chant... all hands on top of one another in a circle... "CHIX 6 ROCKS ... OCKS... OCKS ...OCKS... OCKS!!"
Week number 2 is ends on a high note!  Two more weeks to go!

Miss week one? Click here!



Carrie & Eric


Lourds works with Ruthie


Mary


Molly and V


Molly


Ron Teaches Hip Hop to the Chix


The Chix Surprise Katie


V Writhes


Wendy and Lourds

Miss week one? Click here!



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