Booked “Ruddigore: Or the Witch’s Curse” at Theater Ten Ten

April-May, 2009
Sierra booked “Ruddigore: Or the Witch’s Curse” at Theater Ten Ten. Combining her love of Gilbert and Sullivan with her love of puppetry, she plays both Ruth AND Matilda, two bridesmaids, in a unique twist on this classic operetta.
REVIEW UPDATE:

“The characterizations are lively and fun, and only rarely are there glimpses of the hospital personas beneath the Ruddigore characters: just enough to be funny, but not enough to distract.

One exception to this is Sierra Rein’s performance as Ruth, one of the professional bridesmaids. Ruth (also the name of the patient she plays) keeps her puppet Matilda with her at all times, singing and communicating through it exclusively. It’s so completely part of her that there is a moment toward the end of the play when you realize how artificial that unity is. The moment has the effect of watching a magic trick performed, with awe and heartwarming wonder.” – Rob Staeger, TheaterOnline.com

Read the full review here.

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” revisited at the Algonquin Salon 4/26/09

For those who have seen this video of me performing “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” in my 5th grade play “Voices From The Past,” here’s an update!

I sang the same song at the Algonquin Salon last night. The theme was “The First Time,” so I explained how this song was indelibly connected to the first moment I began thinking of myself as a singer for life, and not just as a singer for fun in my living room.

I completely missed the opportunity to thank my parents at the Salon…so I’ll do so here. Mom, Dad, Peter, Brenda – thank you for those important early years of support and love in my creative journey. Thank you for showing up to performances, for all the car trips to and from rehearsals, for never questioning my love of the craft or pushing me to become something I’m not, for all the books about MGM musicals, for allowing me to go to greatly creative schools, and for helping me get physically and emotionally where I am today. And thanks also go to my sister Lisa, cousin Elena, and Uncle Steve/Aunt Leslie for rah-rahing those pom-poms when I needed it during my early years as well.

I think I’ll cut & paste this into my Tony Award speech, when the time comes 🙂

Listen to the mp3 of the song last night here.

The Asylum opens TONIGHT! – “Ruddigore” at Theater1010!

Hopefully you can take the time to come visit me – I’m sure the nurses
will let you in so you can play with me and my puppet!

-Sierra

New Updates! Broadway! Showcases! Jon Stewart!

Another week pack-filled with fun and good work. Again, here’s a Table of Contents for the latest additions (most recent events last) to the blog:

  1. April 9, 2009 The Daily Show Taping & Rock of Ages (surprise!)
  2. April 11-14, 2009 A Weekend (and a Day) Of Showcase Music
  3. April 16, 2009 Big Night Out Composer Showcase with John Meyer
  4. April 16, 2009 TimeOut New York Magazine Answers My Question!
  5. April 19, 2009 Sounds of the Subway Session #3

Sounds of the Subway Session #3

April 19, 2009:

Alex Lo Dico Ensemble at 42nd Street
A great jazz band that certainly drew a large crowd as I made my way from one train to the other. Their website: www.alexlodico.com “Available – parties weddings etc”

Xylophone Player at 59th Street Colombus Circle
Like it sounds – a neat xylophone player!

Big Night Out Composer Showcase with John Meyer

Thursday night was my evening off from “Ruddigore” Rehearsal (April 24-May 24, 2009, www.theater1010.com!), so I enjoyed an evening out with Pete at Big Night Out, one of the two classy, laid-back open mics I regularly go for. I sang with Kay during the first act, then sat back and watched the Composer Showcase for John Meyer.

This was a unique night for Big Night Out, which usually offers a more traditional Composer Showcase in which many songs are performed by many different singers, one after the other. But this night, some classic work by Meyer was sung and played by John Meyer himself, Bill Zeffiro, Jennifer Wren, and Summer Broyhill. After singing, each performer took turns interviewing Meyer about his history, work, and experiences with some of Broadway and Hollywood’s stars (as it states on John’s website, “His songs have been sung by Eartha Kitt, Margaret Whiting and Judy Garland, among others”). It was a fantastic, classy hour of music, and I was so proud and awed by the talent onstage (oh and Jennifer Wren’s reinterpretation of Judy Garland’s “Get Happy” costume was fantastic and sexy as well).

What made the evening especially…uh…especial…was that Jennifer herself was having a “going away” party that evening itself. Cupcakes and a birthday song celebration marked the one year anniversary of Big Night Out itself, and Jennifer announced a sabbatical from BNO for a little while. In the meantime, Summer Broyhill, myself, and Alex De Souze will alternately take over Jennifer’s half of the co-hosting duties. My evening is TBD, based on my performance schedule for “Ruddigore” (April 24-May24, 2009, www.theater1010.com!). I wish Jennifer the very best days of relaxation & reinvigoration, and look forward to seeing her on the BNO stage again!

TimeOut New York Magazine Answers My Question!

So, my husband buys us muppets for Christmas via www.jay.thepete.com, and I have Kay the chanteuse making appearances at open mics. Then, I audition and get the singing/puppeteering role of Ruth in “Ruddigore.” I email TimeOut New York Magazine a few weeks later in the hopes that they might do some overall research regarding puppetry – classes, theater companies, construction, etc. And they answered in this week’s magazine, page 6 of the “You Asked for It” section!

Click the thumbnail image for a larger version.

A Weekend (and a Day) Of Showcase Music

On April 11th, I sang with Bill Zeffiro, Jennifer Wren, and Summer Broyhill on two of Zeffiro’s original music pieces at Sandi Durell’s 8th Annual Songwriters Showcase, which was dedicated to new music by contemporary composers. Bill and Jennifer solo’d and dueted to “What the Hell, It’s Christmas” and “The Road to Ruin,” while Summer and I sang backup.

We also heard music by David Conforte, Hector Coris, Alyce Finell, Annie Lebeaux, Peter Napolitano/Mark Janas/Matthew Ward, June Rachelson-Ospa/Kezia Hirsey, Brad Ross, Bill Zeffiro and Jeff Blumenkranz. Singers included: Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano, Marni Nixon, Kevin Reed, Trisha Rapier, Julie Reyburn, Sandi Durell/Trudi Mann/Donna Trinkoff, Katherine Pecevich, and Gabrielle Visser. Tracy Stark accompanied some of the artists as well. A true highlight of the evening was seeing Marnie Nixon there, singing Peter Napolitano’s original song “You’ll Never See ‘Em Again.” The lyrics are about an older woman reminiscing about the stars of the silver screen decades of the 40’s and 50’s – to have Nixon sing these lyrics was incredibly poignant and meaningful. It was also cool to see UCLA friend Trisha Rapier, who I remembered as a big-brassy-voiced singer from my College days. We also heard songs by Jeff Blumenkranz, who also creating the BMI Workshop Songbook Podcast.

On April 12th, I sang for Brian Allen Hobbs – his work was sung at the Transport Group’s Composer Showcase “Dream Makers and Heartbreakers.” After profusely thanking him for the wonderful evening the Thursday before, we enjoyed singing and watching about an hour and a half of original pieces. I sang a Country-style musical duet with Brian entitled “Gimme a Loser/I Wish I Could Be Your Hero,” which has lyrics by UCLA-buds Colin Ebeling and (Rock of Ages Director) Kristin Hanggi. Aurora Rose sang a second song by Hobbs, “That Greenwood Tree,” a gorgeous blues piece that highlit her incredibly mature voice. We also heard work by Julianne Wick Davis, Todd Almond, Adam R. Perlman (lyrics) and Margaux Stephanie Reynolds (music), Gaby Alter, and numbers from NYMF-favorite “College: The Musical” by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen.

On April 14th, I took part as a singer for the BMI composer workshop class – in particular, for composer Eric March in a solo piece. I’ll not divulge any content of the class in respect for the artistic writing process. I will say that, after just 2 hours listening to the critiques and topics raised within the group, I have a great deal more respect for the songwriting craft. I learned so much about the infinite choices a songwriter must sift through, and all the bye considering past songwriters while keeping his or her own style and individuality intact.

The Daily Show Taping & Rock of Ages (surprise!)

A friend of ours, Carrie Seo, contacted us a while ago and asked if we were available to go see a taping of The Daily Show on Thursday the 9th. Of course, Pete and I cleared our schedule. We met Carrie as early as we thought was safe to get in a reasonable place on line – we turned out to be the first ones there…was it because of Passover that there wasn’t a huge, rambunctious turnout like last time? In any event, we were first in line and certainly happy it wasn’t a cold day.


Pete and I In Line for The Daily Show

Other images:
Waiting in line for the Daily Show with our pal Carrie
Pete with his Daily Show Audience Number

The full episode of the show we were at can be seen via The Daily Show website here. Two words: Blue Penis!!!!

The taping went by swimmingly, and we all stepped out into the outside air around 7pm or so. That evening was a “date” night with Pete, so Carrie left (assumably to go home and fawn after a cheek-to-cheek picture she had taken with Stephen Colbert a week earlier!). I hadn’t planned anything with Pete on what to do, so I was content with allowing him to take my hand and lead me in a meandering way through the Theater District. We turned a corner and saw the “Rock of Ages” marquis. Three friends worked on the show: Kristin Hanggi, the Director, Kelly Devine, the Choreographer, and Brian Allan Hobbs, who was in charge of organizing the entire score.

“Awww look! Rock of Ages!” I exclaimed. Pete smiled and said, “here, let’s walk this way.” He crossed the street towards the marquis, myself following, and promptly led me into the box office. I stood for a second in the box office line with a bewildered look on my face (thinking “uh, honey what are you thinking, we can’t afford tickets, and they just opened last night!”). Pete smiled and said “I know a guy.” He then proceeded to tell me that my friend Brian had conspired to surprise me with a belated birthday present of two tickets to the show that night. Tears instantly sprang into my eyes at the thought of this wonderful gift. I had wanted to see the show when it was Off-Broadway – to be able to see it right after its opening was absolutely thrilling.

The show was ridiculous, over-the-top, crude, rude, and totally fun. Took me back to the music of the 80’s (when I was just a kid) and back to Los Angeles (which I had left almost a year previously). I could see Kristin’s mark as a Director – crude humor with a mischevous touch of tongue-in-cheek fun. People drank and sang along in their seats throughout the show. And we utilized the brilliant addition of little plastic cigarette lighters with built-in LED bulbs, waving them back and forth above our heads during power ballads. Jokes about Arby’s and Los Angeles stereotypes abounded. The singing was really good, the band tight, and the use of a huge projected video on the back wall aided in the storytelling. I loved the set design too, incorporating Los Angeles signs and building marquis like the Chateau Marmont and the billboards of Angeline.

What also struck me was that, although the entire show was cheesy in tone, the acting was pretty solid and real (albeit over-the-top) at a number of points. The actress playing Sherrie (Amy Spanger) had real tears coming down her face during strong emotional numbers, and the power ballad duet “High Enough?” gave me chills. It all was just an excuse to hear a rock concert with story, along with some amazing choreography. And one comment about the women in this show and what they were wearing: I have never wanted to go to the gym, dance class, and get my bikini area waxed all at the same time!!!

Other notes: I was able to say hello to Kelly, and I was able to hug and praise her for her work. And I also understand that the lead bassist and writer of Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx, was in the audience – one lucky young woman dressed in lovely 80’s garb and bright eyeshadow was shaking with excitement after taking a picture with him.

I just thought that the day was one for the record and memory books: The Daily Show plus a surprise Broadway show! Both made possible by the generous gift of two very nice, thoughtful friends.

You can see Pete’s picture entry of the evening here and his “phlog” entry here.

Sounds of My Apartment #1

April 3, 2009:

Drips from My Ceiling

Here is a lovely beat from the multiple drops of what was apparently Kitchen sink overflow water from the neighbor’s apartment upstairs. It was discovered as I was going to sleep, and luckily nothing was harmed. However, now serious surgery will have to be done with the ceiling and our bedroom is a bit of a mess right now. Enjoy!