A Little Muuuusing on Enthuuuusiasm…

One of my late (and great) acting coaches, Al Mancini of The Beverly Hills Playhouse – he passed away in his 70’s about 3 years ago – once told my class that the word “Enthusiasm” comes from the latin for “energy from the Gods.” A quick jaunt over to Wikipedia provides something closer to “possession” from a divine being, while dictionary.com adds that it might be defined as “any of various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy.”

I have been self-proclaimed a geek. I have worn sci-fi makeup to movie screenings (oh Darth Maul, you were the best thing in The Phantom Menace!). I enjoyed collecting all 200 episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and love talking passionately (often with the use of my hands) about music, musicals, art and puppetry. I have been to Renaissance festivals in costume and when someone I know and love the work of performs, I want to market the hell out of them on my own time. I say nothing is better than enthusiasm, that feeling from inside – or outside sometimes – that spurs one on to do over the top, seemingly ridiculous, often foolhardy things. What I liked about the above dictionary.com reference is that enthusiasm often creates a break with orthodoxy.

We as artists need to have enthusiasm, that feeling that you *have* to do something unique, passionate, often financially risky (as in the pursuit of being an artist in the first place), and do this in the face of the often discouraging orthodoxy of one’s family, school, church, community or friends. The enthusiasm can start with a general “I want to do this field of artistry” and grow (or narrow) towards a specific “I want to do this work in this city with these people and discover this about myself” statement.

And we have to feed this enthusiasm despite the things other people say to us. I’m not saying we shouldn’t allow our enthusiasm to get in the way of logic, but we shouldn’t allow the things people tell us to create fear. Fear gets in the way of enthusiasm, usually because the fear we create is baseless or based on falsehoods. We fear talking to our agents, we fear bringing a new idea to a Producer, we don’t put our inner enthusiasm out for all to see because we fear that it will be rejected, ridiculed, and harmed. But real enthusiasm is from the Gods, remember? Enthusiasm comes from a never-ending fount of energy, impervious to any real damage. I have a friend who just got her play picked up and produced out of the blue, after years and years of development hell. But she was still enthusiastic about the project, and I’m sure the producers felt that!

If you’re enthusiastic about a project, a role, an idea – talk to other people. Your enthusiasm is probably similar to another person’s enthusiasm. I read blogs on a daily basis of enthusiastic people, read the Facebook feeds of friends who I know are pro-active and enthusiastic, and am now gluing images of my inspirations on a large piece of paper on my wall to remind me where my enthusiasm is meant to be focused. Remember, enthusiasm is like a virus – it spreads.

Achoo!


Pic of my then-boyfriend Pete, at the 1st 3am screening of The Phantom Menace.
Hell yeah, I married him! I think that’s my hand upper right.

Cheers,

Sierra Rein
“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Some “How-To Guides” from Backstage.com

Some very simple “From the ground up” articles on Backstage.com about acting, producing, and the Industry.

The How-to Guide: Pre-Audition Tips <-- Back Stage's guide to everything you need to know before you head into an audition.

How to Guide: Do It Yourself <-- Richard Skipper & Sydney Myer are quoted in this one for producing a Cabaret or Comedy act!

How to Guide: The Audition <-- A lot of "Don't's", but it's basically "be a nice person" at the audition.

How to Guide: Social Networking, Marketing & Representation <-- Important info on how to present yourself to the industry via mail, and how to best keep your presence and personality safe on the Internet.

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

New Video: Marquee Five at The Salon “The Travel and Weather Together” Medley, April 25, 2010

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


I threw this together after finding the image on the web. The mother in this painting looks an awful lot like my mom 😀

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

New Video: Sierra Rein sings “Merry January” by Paul Farinella

Just in time for the Summer, a song about the ending of December!

Sierra Rein sings “Merry January” by Paul Farinella.

Performed at Big Night Out Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by Jennifer Wren & Bill Zeffiro.
December 17, 2009 at Don’t Tell Mama, New York.

www.bnonyc.com

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Mother’s Day Weekend – RIP Brenda Rein May 2, 2010

Today is the first truly bittersweet Mother’s Day in my life. I learned a week ago last Sunday that my step-mother, Brenda Rein, passed away from esophageal cancer (after battling with it for years). Yesterday, I would have sent her a Mother’s Day card. Today, my Dad, sister, and Brenda’s family/friends in Oakland, CA are having the burial. I’m not there to take part, but I sit here in my New York apartment and think of her.

She was a dynamo of a lady – intelligent, beautiful, classy, stylish, well-read and well-traveled. Before my dad, she was married to an ambassador to Turkey, she spoke middle-eastern languages and I always remembered how she would stick her well-manicured, blood-red nails out the window to practically force cars to let her into their lane on the freeway. She matched her outfit impeccably with scarves, earrings, rings and brooches and knew how to dress a dining room table with ever color under the sun. She decorated the house with paintings, masks, decorations, flowers, pottery, books and sculpture. She was an incredible cook and even when she couldn’t eat solid food in these past few months she would cook huge pots of jambalaya and deliver it to others. She threw wonderful parties and knew how to feed people and be a gracious hostess. She was incredibly supportive of my career and inspired my husband, Pete, to write his 6-part fiction novel series just by handing him a book on alternative Templar Knight history. Pete and I were inspired to be married outside Edinburgh because of that book. She raised two extremely intelligent and successful children, Vincent and Pamela (I remember visiting Vincent in London, where we drank from a bottle of wine that was MY age at that time, and driving through the fields of mustard flowers in his convertible).

On the other side of the coin, Brenda also battled additions to cigarettes and liquor, two vices which ultimately became her physical and emotional downfall. It became tough for the family to see this, and it’s a tragedy that she made the choices she did. She leaves behind a lot of wake in the water, both positive and negative, but to be sure she also leaves behind hundreds of friends, and a family who loved her despite some of the chaos.

Her obituary is here. Like it says, please send donations to the American Cancer Society. I don’t quite understand how so much money is wasted on wars — while cancer is practically the largest killer in the Western world, yet so underfunded in comparison. Pete wrote a great blog entry on this – his own side of the family is dealing with it as best they can.

Rest in Peace, Brenda. I love you.

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

A Stellar review of Marquee Five’s show “We Can Make It” by Andrew Martin, nightlifeexchange.com

Read this review by Andrew Martin about Marquee Five’s debut and MAC Award-winning show…it’s breathtaking: link here

Close-harmony vocal group Marquee Five, who happen to be a 2010 MAC Award nominee, has a unique angle in their approach. It’s not just their superb blend in song, and it’s not just their perfect physical counterpart to one another; rather, it’s that they were borne from a production of And The World Goes ‘Round, the famed revue by Kander and Ebb which started Off-Broadway and became a shot heard ’round the world, as it were. As, indeed, so might Marquee Five, if they continue on the same path as occupied thus far.

Comprised of Mick Bleyer, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein and multi-award-winning chanteuse Julie Reyburn as well as Adam West Hemming (who also serves as Musical Director while the show is played solely on glorious piano by the incomparable Mark Janas), the quintet opted to present their most recent act at Don’t Tell Mama as a tribute to Kander & Ebb. Which, some might contend, would simply be an effort not to stretch their collective creative muscles and simply perform a modified version of the aforementioned revue. This, however, is not the case; it’s an utter departure from any compilation of the duo and instead emerges as an extremely purposeful show all its own.

The five segue from “And All That Jazz” into “Coffee In A Cardboard Cup” from 70 Girls 70, before Bleyer and Hemming dazzle the room on a couplet of “I Don’t Remember You” and “Sometimes A Day Goes By.” From There, Parvin, Rein and Reyburn have a beautiful moment on “There Goes the Ballgame,” before they hit it out of the park on a topnotch rendering of “Class.” And their solos are equally sensational; Hemming does a masterful job with “We Can Make It,” Rein is simply scrumptious on “Maybe this Time,” and “Isn’t this Better?” really couldn’t be better as delivered by Parvin. Likewise, Bleyer’s rendition of “Sara Lee” backed by all three ladies, and Reyburn’s truly standout moment with “Sing Happy.” They end with three group numbers, namely “A Quiet Thing,” “Cabaret” and “We Can Make It,” done as a reprise from Hemming’s earlier solo version near the top of the hour. It should equally be noted that Peter Napolitano has offered a directorial hand here that is not merely fantastic, but shows deep care for both the performers and the material they perform, and that Randy Lester has singlehandedly shown herself to be a technical director par excellence with her handling of the lighting and sound design.

At this writing, it’s unclear as to whether Marquee Five will return to cabaret with this particular show or an entirely new outing. Whatever the case, they should not be missed the next time around, by any means.

***On Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 Marquee Five received the 2010 MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Photos from the MAC Awards!

The Marquee of BB King’s:
Outside BB King’s:
This picture:
Resulted in this picture:
The official Award announcement card:
The stage (that’s Adam Feldman from TimeOut)With Mary Lahti and Adam West HemmingAccepting the award:Marquee Five, looking sharp!
Mick Bleyer enjoys an official/special MAC Martini

Playbill.com’s image of us in the winner’s area:
(Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN.COM)

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Crystal Skillman’s play “The Vigil or the Guided Cradle.”

Last night I saw the AEA Showcase presentation of “The Vigil or The Guided Cradle,” performed and presented by The Brick Theater, Inc. and Impetuous Theater Group. It was written by Crystal Skillman and directed by John Hurley. I was excited to see my first Skillman play (as I had attended the York Theater’s staged reading of her musical “That’s Andy” last year). Crystal has both the depth and the energy to write both musical theater and a play about torture with equal zest. Full disclosure: she’s my friend via the friendship between our husbands.

The play is a one-act, no intermission and ending in approximately 1 1/2 hours. But, as I told her after, I could have watched another act of the same mix of torture-and-time/dream-travel themes. The two leads, Susan Louise O’Connor and Christian Rummel, deftly “time-travel” in their own way between the Prague of the 15th Century and the Prague of the 21st Century. I really liked the “double-casting” of sorts between characters and how the director Hurley quickly switched between eras through the use of light, costume changes, and simple set design. I particularly liked O’Connor and Rummel, as they had a great realism to their acting choices. The other actors fulfilled their roles fine, but those two leads in particular seemed to really live onstage as their characters. Skillman and the production team handled the physical realism of torture well (as well as some deftly performed stage-blood violence). There was a lot of nervous-chuckling in the audience throughout, as Skillman made sure to invest some time in comedic relief (albeit from the most “bloodthirsty” of the torturers). It’s not a perfect play, but it’s such an interesting concept, one that I know can be delved into even further (I believe) for a two-act, full-length version. Skillman seemed happy that it was as short as it was, but I guess I’m just the audience member who’s truly in it for the long haul and enjoys a full meal of theater on a weeknight.

This review of the play on Backstage.com is pretty spot on, in my opinion.

You can read an interview of Crystal Skillman about “The Vigil” here and another about “That’s Andy” here.

Cheers,

Sierra Rein

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing” – William James

Marquee Five has won the 2010 MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group

May 5, 2010
Marquee Five has won the MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group. They were on hand to accept the award at BB King’s in New York. For more information about MAC: www.macnyc.com, and for Marquee Five shows and news: www.marqueefive.com