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  • February 28, 2015:
    I know I've probably mentioned it before, but I don't LOVE rehearsing. That may seem weird for an actor ... isn't that the creative part, the exciting process of the art? Well, maybe for some people (hmmm ... sounds like a song cue ...
    Some people might like to rehearse,
    Making their choices for better or worse.
    That's peachy for some people, for some ....

    oh, you get the idea)
    but I really enjoy the day when we say goodbye to the rehearsal room and move to the theater. Well, that's today!
    We did some good work here at 42nd Street Studios thanks to the amazing direction of Diane Paulus, but after 4 weeks in the same room 8 hours a day, we're a little stir-crazy. Now we're getting a little closer to my favorite time ... playing it in front of an audience! We will have our first preview performance on March 15th at The Lunt-Fontanne Theater. I can't wait to see what the reaction will be. I'll keep you posted.

    "Press Day" at the rehearsal studio with (from left to right)
    Back row - James Graham (book writer), Mia Michaels (choreographer),
    Kelsey Grammer, Eliot Kennedy (song writer)
    Second row - me, Sawyer Nunes, Laura Michelle Kelly, Diane Paulus, Matthew Morrison, Teal Wicks
    Boys in front - Jackson deMott Hill, Hayden Signoretti, Alex Dreier, Chris Richards,
    Noah Hinsdale, Aidan Gemme

  • February 2, 2015:
    This business brings with it lots of hellos and just as many goodbyes. This week I have both.
    I'm excited about opening night for the world premiere of Tuck Everlasting in Atlanta. I've been involved with readings and workshops of the show for almost 5 years, and being able to perform in the first real production has been very satisfying. Unfortunately, the production dates overlap with another show I've been working on....Finding Neverland. So, the only way to do both is to leave Tuck early, which means I will open the show on Wednesday, and finish my run on Thursday. Crazy! I will miss that cast and that role a lot. (After I leave, the role will be played by the amazing, Tony Award-winner, Beth Leavel.) It's been really fun and I hope this is not the end of the Tuck family, but as I say goodbye this week, I really don't know what will happen.
    On the hello side, I flew in last night to be at the first day of Finding Neverland. I will miss a few days of rehearsal this week so that I can be in Atlanta, then I'll be back full-time. It's always exciting on the first day ... it's like a musical theater pep rally! I think part of the excitement comes from the feeling of possibility ... this could be great ... only time will tell! And you guys will let me know what you think.
    I'll try to keep you posted.
    Speaking of posts: I now have a Twitter account and Instagram, too! Go figure! @CaroleeCarmello


  • December 9, 2014:
    I had a rehearsal last night with 212 lovely men from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. I'll be singing a couple of songs at their Home for the Holidays concert on Dec. 19th, 20th, and 21st. It was a real lesson for me, because after more than 30 years in this business, I can feel kind of jaded about work sometimes. But last night I saw people who were singing for the love of it, and having the time of their lives doing it, too.
    They seemed so happy just to enjoy the company and the music and the fun of it. It was infectious. I will try to carry that feeling with me into the holidays and into my upcoming jobs.

    If you're interested in sharing the fun, check out their website ....
    Hope to see you there!

    Notice my professional use of the "air microphone!"

  • October 9, 2014:
    Sometimes, a song is more than the sum of its parts. This morning I sang on Kathie Lee and Hoda's hour of The TODAY Show.

    It was a song written by Kathie Lee and David Friedman for a young woman who has been battling breast cancer for years. Her mom wrote into the show as part of the "Everyone Has a Story" segment. She talked about her daughter's strength and courage while fighting the cancer and raising her young son as a single mom. It was a wonderful celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month and I was honored to be a part of it.

    Moments like that remind me of how lucky I am that my children and I are healthy. It was really inspiring.

    If you want to hear the song, you can use this link to the video.

    It's worth watching just for her adorable son, Devan! He steals the show!


  • September 14, 2013:
    Ok, so I've been asked to do a Twitter chat! I feel kind of stupid, because I've never done one before and I'm not sure how, but I'm going to give it the 'old college try!' Speaking of college, it's happening in conjunction with a concert I'll be doing this month at my college, The University at Albany. I'm excited (and nervous) about being back there and performing for so many friends and family. That's always been harder for me than singing for strangers. Anyway, I'd love for you guys to join in the conversation, if you're interested. It's going to happen on Tuesday, September 17th at 8:00pm. ( Use #AskCarolee to join in! )

    This will be fun, if I can figure it out. But, hey ... I went to college, right? Yes! I can do this! Wish me luck. Talk to you soon!


  • July 11, 2013:
    Hey everyone, Just a short post to say that I'll be at the Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, July 16th to sing a couple of songs and sign copies of the Scandalous CD. I'd love to see you there. Kathie Lee Gifford will be there too, and we can chat and take photos ... maybe some of those photos will end up on this blog the next day! It's quite possible!
    The Barnes and Noble is at 150 East 86th Street (at Lexington Ave.) and the doors open at 5:30pm.
    If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and say hello!


  • June 9, 2013:
    So, how did TONY night feel? Well, I've said this a lot, but I felt grateful. Truly grateful.

    I was so excited to be able to do Scandalous in New York at all, and even though it had such an untimely end, I was really still thanking my lucky stars that I got to do that role-of-a-lifetime (and it really was) 8 times a week. So, to have been remembered during award season was a bonus! I know how unlikely it is to receive a nomination for a show that opened early in the fall, closed quickly, and didn't receive such nice reviews... so my hopes were not high. But (and here's where I felt more gratitude) when I did get nominated, I was thrilled!
    The night started off with some hectic press on the red carpet ... lots of photographers, lots of video interviews, and lots of controlled chaos. We moved into the theater and got to the snack bar just in time to be told they were closing up and that we should take our seats. (I begged for a cup of tap water, because I was so thirsty from talking for the past 45 minutes, and I finally found one girl who took pity on me. Thanks to you, unnamed snack bar girl!)
    I had a great time sitting next to my daughter during the show. She's very funny and I love hanging out with her. It was a great chance for us just to be together for a few hours. I thought the broadcast went well. The numbers were fun, the speeches weren't too long, and Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant as always.
    The party afterwards at The Plaza was lovely. What a beautiful, elegant, and charming New York institution. I love it there. I got to say hello to some friends, including Patina Miller who won Best Leading Actress in a Musical (a category near and dear to my heart). We had a great time doing Sister Act together, and I was really excited for her win (even though there might appear to be some mixed feelings .... see photo below). All in all, it was a thrilling night and I was counting my blessings to have been a part of it. It was a great topper to the whole Scandalous experience.

    Posing on the red carpet ... so fun!


    About to go into Radio City with my daughter


    Giving Patina a run for her money

  • February 1, 2013:
    Today was a long day, but a day that I've been hoping would happen for years.
    We recorded the cast "album" for Scandalous! (I know it's old-school, but I can't help calling it a cast album.)
    Anyway, it was a great day. I sang for about 12 hours, with short breaks, but I was so grateful.
    I'm really glad we'll have a good-quality memory of the show. It's a show that I've been involved with for so many years and I've always wanted to do a recording of the score with full orchestrations and great voices and talented musicians.
    It was a dream-come-true. Of course, the abbreviated Broadway run was frustrating. We all wanted to have a chance to do the show for a while, once we finally stopped rehearsing. But, so many shows never make it to Broadway at all, so I count myself lucky. And even luckier now that it's been recorded!
    I hope you'll enjoy listening to it and maybe get a sense of the show, if you didn't have a chance to see the production.
    I'll keep you posted about the release date.

    In the booth where I spent most of my day.

  • October 26, 2012:
    Just wanted to let you guys know that I started shooting a video blog that's being posted on this week. There will be 8 episodes all together and as I started to think about what you might want to see in these videos, I thought 'Why not ask?' So .... I'm asking .... Write to me at and tell me what would be interesting or fun to see me cover in one of the episodes, and I will try to do it (as long as it's legal and doesn't involve my nudity... Other nude people? Sure.) OK. I look forward to hearing from you! Don't forget to say 'hello' at the Neil Simon Theater when you come to see Scandalous. I'd love to meet you!

    Rehearsing with the incomparable Roz Ryan

  • September 4, 2012:
    I really never truly believed this day would come .... the first day of rehearsals for Scandalous on Broadway! So many things can happen to derail a show on its road to Broadway, so I am beyond thrilled that we've made it this far. We had a meeting with the representative from our union (Actors' Equity), then Kathie Lee spoke and David Armstrong spoke. They are both so passionate about the show, that it's like a pep rally. Then the ensemble started working on music (there's a lot for them) and the rest of us read through the whole script. We sat around a big table and just said the words ... no singing. Here's a photo of us in the rehearsal room. There are some familiar faces and some new and exciting faces (Like George Hearn! OMG!) I am so looking forward to working with this group of people. I feel so lucky today!

  • August 26, 2012:
    As we close the Broadway company of Sister Act today, I'm thinking back on my run here and feeling very fortunate. I have really enjoyed my time with this cast. What a lovely, fun, generous group of actors! I have had the privilege of sharing the stage with two wonderful leading ladies. Patina Miller's "Deloris" was smart and beautiful and glamorous and touching. Raven-Simone was charming, lovable and hysterically funny. It's always amazing to me how two people can say the same lines and sing the same songs and give totally different performances. They each made the character believable and winning in their own unique way. It was a great run, and I'm sad to see it end. But .... I can't help feeling really excited about what's coming next .... Scandalous on Broadway starts rehearsals in a week! Wow! Stay tuned ....

    Off-stage with Patina Miller


    On-stage with Raven-Simone

  • July 19, 2012:
    Big announcement today about Scandalous coming to Broadway! So exciting! This is the show I've been involved with for 7 years or so about Aimee Semple McPherson. Some of you may have heard me talk about it in the past. I've done numerous readings, a workshop, and 3 productions of it under the titles Hurricane Aimee and then Saving Aimee. The music is by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, and the book and lyrics were written by Kathie Lee Gifford. This woman's life was so fascinating. I have so much to sink my teeth into. It really is a role I've been waiting to play for years. Aimee was a pioneer in the history of powerful women, she had three husbands (and probably a few boyfriends), she was addicted to drugs and she was an evangelist and healer. Anyway, I hope you'll come check it out in October at the Neil Simon Theater. Here's a photo from the recent production at The Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle:

  • February 19, 2012:
    Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't written in a while. Life has been a little crazy the past few months and it doesn't show signs of changing any time soon. But the good news is, I have a job! (In this economy, that's huge!) And it's a lot of fun! And I really like the people I work with (see photo below):

    Backstage with two of my fantastic cast-mates: Patina Miller and Fred Applegate

    I got an e-mail recently that made me laugh (and I'm always grateful for that). Jamie wrote: I heard you wear a wig in Sister Act? WHATTT? Do you have a picture?
    Well, Jamie, I didn't have a picture. But, your e-mail inspired me to get one. I don't wear the wig for very long. There is one scene in the second act where I am alone in my office and take off my veil and hood. (The wardrobe department calls this hood a balaclava, which is kind of like a ski mask. The word comes from the name of a town in Crimea, Ukraine. According to Wikipedia:
    "During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather."
    Other people sometimes refer to this hood as a "coif," but I digress ....) So anyway, I put the wig on right before this scene. And I take it off right after. The only way to get a photo was to stop for a moment during the quick-change and have Karen from the hair department snap a picture for me in the change area. You can see Patina's gold finale costume hanging in the background.
    The wig itself is kind of cute. It's short and boyish and gray. It seems right for the character. I was nervous when I first heard I'd be wearing a wig, because I thought it might be short and spiky. I had some memory of nuns having their hair cut off when they entered the convent, so I pictured a buzz cut! Anyway, thanks for the question.
    Stay tuned for more Sister Act fun .... Raven Symone joining the cast next month.

    The private Mother Superior

  • November 25, 2011:
    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a nice day and a good meal. I had a few messages from people who watched the Macy's parade and I just wanted to tell you about the experience.
    It was a lot of fun! It started out pretty early. I woke up at 4:30am in order to get to the theater by 5:45am. We all got into costume and make-up there and then got on a bus which took us to 35th Street (behind Macy's). At about 7:00am we rehearsed the number for the cameras and then we were ushered back to our trailers for an hour and a half wait until show-time. That was fun, too! We got to see people from lots of different shows hanging out on the street in their costumes .... it was quite a sight! It reminded me of the old movies about Hollywood backlots where you'd see people walking around in various crazy looks from different films that were shooting at the same time .... a girl dressed as a princess talking to guy in a gorilla suit .... or a man in a Frankenstein costume having coffee with a Viking warrior. Anyway, I had such a good time! And it turned out to be a beautiful day, when the sun came up.
    This has been a whirlwind of a week for me. I joined the show a few days ago on Saturday, November 19th and was barely comfortable with what I was doing when we did this different version of "Spread the Love" for the parade. But I'm so grateful to have this job. I'm just beginning to feel settled now and everyone at the Broadway theater has been very welcoming. I'm thankful for that and for all of you for always being so supportive, too.

    Rehearsing the number before the parade started


    Passing through the store to get to the performance area,
    we couldn't resist a photo. (from Right: Alena Waters,
    Audrie Neenan, Me, Danny Stiles and
    dashing out of frame, Roberta Wall)


    On the street with the adorable and brilliant Daniel Radcliffe!

  • November 1, 2011:
    I got an e-mail today from Allison asking: I know there are some rumors going around about you taking on the role of Mother Superior in Sister Act in the near future and was just wondering .... Yes, Allison, it's true. I haven't started to rehearse the role yet, so it doesn't quite seem real to me, but it is official. I'm excited to get back to work. I just got home yesterday from Seattle (where I finished the run of Saving Aimee at The 5th Avenue Theater) and I don't have much time off, but I'm glad to have the job and excited to get started. I will begin rehearsing this Thursday and work with the Stage Manager to learn the scenes and with the Musical Director to learn the songs. Then my guess is that I will have a "put-in" rehearsal with the cast the day I go into the show. That may be the only time I work with some of the other actors before I'm actually on stage with them. It's a little crazy, but that's the normal routine for replacing someone in an existing show. It's a little like working in front of a green screen when filming a monster movie ... you're acting in a bit of a vacuum, but you hope it looks ok in the finished product! So, wish me luck! It should be fun .... eventually .... when I learn my lines! I'll keep you posted.


  • September 30, 2011:
    Well, tonight we'll do our first preview of Saving Aimee.... we'll have a real live audience! That's usually a thrill and a nightmare all at once. And this is no exception. The scary thing is that at this point so many things are not solidified. The set changes have not been completely worked out, the costume changes are still a bit hectic, and the script changes keep coming. We're on shaky ground, but there's no turning back now.
    This is pretty normal for a show at this stage of the game .... especially a new musical, which is constantly in flux. I have to remind myself that it will get better. Maybe not tomorrow, or the next day, but things will settle eventually. The rough spots will get smoothed over and after a week or so of previews, we'll see if we have a good show on our hands.
    So wish us luck! We'll need it.

    Talking over yet another script change with Kathie Lee
    (Hope I remember them all.)


    Sitting on the witness stand in the courtroom scene
    (notice all the stairs on this set .... precarious with a long gown!)
  • September 19, 2011:
    Just wanted to let you all know how rehearsals are going for Saving Aimee out here in Seattle. As with most new musicals, the process is long and winding. I have been involved with this show on and off for about 7 years, and the writers have been working on it even longer. Each incarnation (whether it has been a reading or a workshop or a regional production) has changed the piece. This one is no exception. Every day when we start rehearsal, we all get a stack of changes and new pages which we have to incorporate. This week, the goal of the writers (Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman, and David Pomeranz) and the director (David Armstrong) was to cut at least 10 minutes out of the second act. It's tricky because they are trying to preserve as much of the story as they can in the shortest amount of stage time. That means that sometimes things get cut that people were really attached to .... we try not to take it personally. Tomorrow we're moving out of the rehearsal room and into the theater itself. That's always exciting, but also a big adjustment. It takes time to get used to the set, costumes, microphones and lights .... there are a lot of new elements to deal with in the next few days. So as we move out of this phase, I thought I'd share a couple of photos with you. I'll try to post another update soon.

    Rehearsing the "Garden of Eden" scene with (from right to left) Ed Watts and Billie Wildrick (as Adam and Eve), and Mara Solar (on ladder). Notice my make-shift rehearsal costume .... the cast thinks the cape makes me look like a vampire!


    Discussing the script with Joel Fram (musical director) and Kathie Lee Gifford. She is always entertaining!
  • August 10, 2011:
    I received a photo today from Tom who happened to be at Citifield on Monday when I was lucky enough to be singing the National Anthem for the Mets' game. It was a lot of fun! I brought my kids along and we got to stand right on the field by home plate. It was a real honor. Singing the anthem is always an emotional experience for me, and it's a real challenge to sing, as well (it covers a wide range). I've found that the trick is to make sure you don't start too high. If you choose the right key you'll be fine. The problem is that usually you are singing a capella, which means that there is no instrument to help you choose your starting pitch. If you choose incorrectly, there's no one to blame but yourself! In a big stadium like Citifield, there's also the "delay" to contend with .... you hear yourself sing each note about 2 seconds after you sing it.... very distracting. All that being said, I love doing it and I'm so grateful to the Mets for inviting me. P.S. They won the game, too! That was a bonus!

    Luckily, I was facing away from this giant image of myself. Yikes!

    This is the only way I'll ever get on a major league ball field.

  • July 30, 2011:
    I was thrilled to receive not one, but two e-mail messages from Europe recently! It's so exciting and flattering to know that people from across the Atlantic are writing in! Jamie from Ireland asked: ....When you do a long run in a show, do you constantly have to remind yourself of your next line or does it come to you naturally? That's an interesting question, Jamie. When I do a long run, which I have been fortunate enough to do a few times, most of the hundreds of performances go by without a hitch. I don't think about the lines or the lyrics before I go onstage, and they just sort of flow easily. There are times, however, when I have done a show for a very long time and suddenly, for no apparent reason, I will "go up" and forget what I'm talking about in the middle of a scene. It's easy to get distracted by something in the audience, or something the conductor is doing, or something in your own head, when you've said the same lines over and over, eight times a week, for a year or more. When you do mess up, it certainly tests your improvisational skills (to get yourself out of the jam), as well as the concentration of the other actors in the scene with you. It wakes everybody up! And of course it's harder to get out of a mistake in a song because there's usually a rhyme involved!

    Bernard from the Netherlands wrote in to say: Hope to see you on (a Broadway) stage real soon .... any chance of that happening? Well, I certainly hope to be back on Broadway in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, I will be reprising a role that I have performed in several past productions (and workshops and readings). The show is called Saving Aimee and I play real-life evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson. She led such a fascinating life and I always having a good time playing the part. The show is being produced at The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, and we start rehearsals in August and performances in September. Here's hoping it goes well and makes its way back to New York. Stay tuned!

    Preaching as "Aimee" at The Signature Theater (2007)
  • May 23, 2011:
    Well, unemployment has it's advantages. I have been able to spend more time with my children and also do some readings and workshops of new shows. Then there are the benefits. So many organizations and causes are struggling for funds right now .... theater companies, too .... so time between gigs offers a good chance to help out a little.
    Tonight, I was performing at one of the many fund-raising events that happen all over New York everyday. This dinner was honoring Broadway director and writer, James Lapine, and it was raising money for The New York Theater Workshop.
    One of the nice things about participating in events like this, is reuniting with friends from years ago. Back in 1992, I was lucky enough to be directed by James in the Broadway production of Falsettos. It had been about 19 years since I had sung "Unlikely Lovers" with the original quartet from the Broadway production. It was such a treat to sing with them again! And the score, by William Finn, is one of my favorites.
    I also got to see and hear some other great performers who participated, like Claudia Shear, Mandy Patinkin and the very funny, Mo Rocca.
    All in all, it was a very good night.

    Backstage with (from left) Stephen Bogardus, Heather Macrae, and Michael Rupert

    With the brilliant, Bill Finn

    With the charming and witty, Mo Rocca
  • March 7, 2011:
    Yesterday was my final performance at The Addams Family. It was a fun performance.... lots of extra energy because of all the excitement.
    Being part of an original cast of a new Broadway show is a true honor. It's what we strive for in the theater. It can have it's ups and downs, too. There is a lot of stress in the beginning of the process .... meeting and working closely with new people, trying to figure out how to tell the story, how your character fits in, learning and re-learning material....and then, when everyone is at the peak of exhaustion, opening the show and being concerned about reviews, job security, etc. Afterwards, if you're very lucky, you settle into a long run, which has it's own challenges (I think I talked about some of those in my blog entry from June 3, 2010).
    But, at some point you leave the show or the show closes and you have a day like I had yesterday. In my case, it did feel like the right time to leave, so I didn't have any of the frustration that can accompany the closing of a show that you love (i.e. Parade), but there is still a great deal of emotion. I worked on the show for a year and a half and during that time had some wonderful experiences. It's always sad to say good-bye to people that you love and admire. But, that is the nature of this business .... you get very close to people during an intense working situation, and then you move on to new experiences. And I will certainly keep you posted about my new experiences. So, at the end of this chapter I am, in the words of Andrew Lippa (composer/lyricist of The Addams Family) "Happy/Sad."

    At the good-bye party with
    Nathan Lane and Adam Reigler

    With the wonderful, Zachary James

    With the adorable, Logan Rowland

    With the lovely new "Alice," Heidi Blickenstaff
  • February 22, 2011:
    Several people (including Allison, Emma, and James) have written in from the UK and from the US regarding a new musical called Rebecca. It's unusual for people to hear about projects in these beginning stages, but I guess there was something online and in the British press about a reading of the show that will be done here in New York next month. I have been asked to play the role of "Mrs. Danvers" for the purposes of that reading, which doesn't mean I will have any claim to the part if it gets produced on Broadway. That's just the way these things work. Sometimes actors stay with a project from first reading to Broadway, and other times actors get replaced along the way. So, you try to do the best you can with the material in hopes that the creative team will keep you on, if it goes forward.
    A couple of the e-mails asked if it would be possible to see the presentation of the show. Unfortunately, these readings are not open to the public. They are strictly done for the writers and the director and producer to see the material and make changes. It's a very preliminary part of the process.
    Another one of the e-mails asked: What's it like to interpret such an iconic role?
    Well, it's definitely a different kind of challenge. Many of you may be familiar with the novel by Daphne du Maurier, or the movie, Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It starred Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and a wonderful, Australian-born actress named Judith Anderson as "Mrs. Danvers." She had an amazing screen presence and a brilliant take on the part. So, given the fact that she set the bar so high, all I can do is my version of the role and hope for the best. I have watched the movie again recently and I am reading the novel for the first time. I will work on the music (something Judith didn't have to worry about!) and the scenes and study the accent, and all of that will add up to a version of the character that hasn't existed before. Here's hoping it's interesting! I will keep you posted on the progress of the show.

    Judith Anderson as "Mrs. Danvers"

    Anderson with Joan Fontaine
  • December 26, 2010:
    Liese wrote to me this week because she had heard a rumor that I was leaving The Addams Family. She wondered what was next for me (so do I). I thought this would be a good time to talk about that and about why an actor would leave a Broadway show. Yes, I am leaving at the end of my last performance will be March 6, 2011. There are several other cast members who are also leaving that day: Kevin Chamberlin, Terry Mann, Krysta Rodriguez, Wesley Taylor, and Nathan Lane. Some of the ensemble actors have already left and more are leaving in the next month or two.
    So, what goes into a decision to leave a good job like this? Well, first of all, actors can be contracted for a certain length of time (this is usually the case with actors playing principal roles....ensemble generally have an open-ended contract which means they can leave any time with 4 weeks notice) and at the end of that time they may not have the option to stay. It is up to the producers of a show to decide whether or not an actor's contract gets renewed. In the case of The Addams Family, all the principals were offered a contract renewal, so then it became the actor's decision to stay or not to stay. It's obviously a very nice problem to have, especially in this economy. Jobs in this business are hard to come by, so why would you ever walk away from one? Well, for me there are several factors. I try to consider the creative satisfaction of the role, the people in the company, the possibility of other work, and of course, my financial needs. Often, it comes down to the artistic frustration of doing the same thing over and over versus the financial reality of needing to make a living. After playing "Alice Beineke" for a year and a half all together, I feel that I need to move on to something else to challenge myself. It has been a lot of fun and the cast is really great, but it's time to open myself up to some other possibilities. I'm taking a chance because I don't know when or if I will get another job, but I am hoping that this risk will pay off.
    As I was writing this, I asked some of my fellow actors about their reasons for leaving.
    Kevin Chamberlin ("Fester") said: "I've never stayed this long in a show before. My next longest was 8 months. It's time. Also, I really miss home. (Kevin lives in L.A.)
    Terrence Mann ("Mal Beineke") said: "I wanted to stay on, but had a scheduling conflict so it didn't work out." (Terry teaches and directs at a college in North Carolina and they needed him in March, so he wasn't able to continue with the show.)
    Krysta Rodriquez ("Wednesday") said: "I feel at this point like I'm ruining the role, so it's time to go." (Of course she's still wonderful in the role, but that's part of the issue for lots of actors....feeling like your performance is not as good as it used to be somehow and not feeling creative anymore.) and
    Wesley Taylor ("Lucas Beineke") said: "I just couldn't stand working with Carolee Carmello anymore!" (We've actually become good friends and it will be hard to say goodbye to him. That's the nature of this business, but it's still difficult.)
    Of course, the best reason to leave a show is because you have another bigger and/or better job to go to....let's hope that happens soon for all of us. I will keep everyone posted about my employment after March 6th. Keep writing your questions to me. I love hearing from you!
    And Happy New Year!

  • October 24, 2010:
    Allison from North Carolina wrote: I was just curious if you always knew you wanted to do Broadway when you were growing up? Also, if you weren't doing Broadway, what other career would you have?
    I don't think I even really knew what a Broadway show was when I was a kid. Although, my parents did have a couple of cast albums (for you Allison....that's what came before cassettes, which came before cd's, which came before iTunes) and I liked to sing along to them. I remember we had West Side Story, Godspell, and The Sound of Music. They must have had more impact than I thought. But, I didn't have a life in the theater in mind AT ALL back then. I never took singing lessons or signed up for acting classes. (I wrote a little about this in the blogs on April 17th and July 16th.)
    I worked my way through school not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, like so many people do. Sometime in high school I started thinking about the business world. I wanted to be a high-powered executive at a big corporation or an attorney in a big law firm. I suppose that's what I would still want to do if I changed careers now.
    I know lots of actors who dreamed of being on Broadway when they were young. That wasn't me. I decided after getting my college degree in Business. When I finally moved to New York, I had a lot of catching up to do. I learned from other actors at auditions, I learned from directors and musical directors when I had work, I went to see shows when I could afford it, and I listened to more cast albums in my spare time. It was a long process which continues to this day. I wouldn't change my path, though. I think it made me who I am. And who knows....I may still end up in a law office someday....if only on an episode of "Law and Order."

  • September 24, 2010:
    I worked on an interesting project this week. It's a new musical based on a book called Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (whom I got to meet today!) with a script by the incomparable, Claudia Shear, and a score by two talented writers named Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. It was fun to be the first to sing this new material and there really were some beautiful songs in it.
    People sometimes wonder how a new Broadway musical gets started. Well, a "reading" like what we did this week is often part of the process. The creative team (the writers and the director) ask a group of actors to work on the material with the help of a musical director (in this case the fabulously talented, Rob Berman). The Actors' Equity Association (the union for stage actors and stage managers) calls this week-long job a "29 Hour Reading," because all the rehearsals cannot total more than 29 hours. This usually means rehearsing all day for about 4 days and then doing a presentation of the show on the 5th day. This bare-bones performance is normally done with scripts in hand, because there isn't enough time to memorize everything, and with very little, if any, staging. Because it's sometimes hard to convey what's happening in a scene, often someone will read stage directions. This means that the actors will be reading the lines in a scene and someone will interject a narration such as, "She opens the window and climbs outside" or "He raises his gun and points it at the little girl's head" or "The set revolves to reveal a large tree" (all of which were said at the Tuck reading!).
    This process is helpful to the writers because they get to hear their work read and sung and they can step back and decide what changes to make. It also helps the director to better envision the show. And it's a lot less expensive than doing a full production with sets and costumes. The "audience," sitting in folding chairs in the rehearsal room, usually consists of producers, designers, general managers and investors (also known as "backers," which is why these readings are sometimes called "Backers' Auditions"). Now, the actors don't get paid much and it's intense, fast-paced work. You might wonder why they would agree to do this. Well, sometimes it's because they want to have the chance to work with a particular director or writer. Sometimes they want to get in on the ground floor of a new project in hopes of being hired to do the real show someday (like working on 'spec' in other businesses). Sometimes they haven't worked in a while and just want to feel creative. (There's a high rate of unemployment in this business, and it can be good to keep your game training during the off-season.) Anyway, it's an interesting part of the theater business. We do so many of these readings and most of them will not become Broadway shows. But, I always wish the best for the creators of these pieces. They put their hearts and souls, not to mention years of toil, into their work and get very little encouragement. So here's to Tuck Everlasting making it to a theater near you!

    I finally got to work with the delightful director, Casey Nicholaw Working with great actors is a perk!
    (clockwise from bottom left: John Dossett, Jeremy Jordan, and Andrew Keenan-Bolger)
    With the award-winning author, Natalie Babbitt, and
    Matthew Schechter, and Rozi Baker (our amazing leading lady!)
  • September 1, 2010:
    Well, today was a fun day here at The Lunt-Fontanne Theater. I felt very special and I just wanted to say "Thank You" to a few people who made me feel that way. I wasn't really looking forward to doing two shows on my birthday, but it turned out just great! First of all, I am very grateful to have such a good job and to work with such interesting and talented people. "Thank you" to those friends in the cast who went to The Red Lobster with me to help me celebrate. (I picked that restaurant because we have a joke in The Addams Family about The Red Lobster....and there were lots of other Red Lobster jokes that didn't make the final script ....I thought it would be a fun place for us to have a little party.) We had a fabulous server there called Mike who made us feel very welcome...."Thanks, Mike!" Before the second show, there was a gathering on the stairs (that's where we have birthdays here at The Lunt) with a full-voiced Broadway version of "Happy Birthday To You" and there was a delicious birthday cake, baked by Katy. "Thanks, Katy!" Throughout the day, I received some sweet phone calls and flowers and gifts from family and friends (even a birthday tiara from my hairdresser, Kevin). I also got a package of goodies at the stage door from Ronda with treats and a wonderful book of letters from fans, put together by Jen. So "Thank You, Jen and Ronda!" And "Thanks" to everyone who wrote such lovely letters for that book....I really was touched. And when all was said and done, I went home to my children and my husband, who are the best gifts of all. Wow, I better wrap this up....I'm sounding like a Hallmark movie-of-the-week.
    I do think birthdays are good days to sort of take stock and remember all the good in my life and remind myself of how truly fortunate I am. At the end of the day, I felt like a very lucky birthday girl (well....birthday middle-aged woman)!

    At The Red Lobster with Jackie, Krysta, Wesley, Merwin, Zachary, and Kevin Making a wish! (behind me, John from wardrobe valiantly trying to get work done....Sorry, John!)
  • August 12, 2010:
    Emma sent me an e-mail this week and in it she said that a show I did called Lestat is one of her "guilty pleasures." She also wrote: "I wondered if you have any musicals that you rank as guilty pleasures." I had to really think about that one. I don't have cast recordings that I listen to all the time...or ever, really. In fact there are some c.d.s that I sang on that I haven't listened to yet. (I find it very hard to listen to, when I have time to listen to something, I don't usually listen to music....I guess I get enough of that at work.) Anyway, there are a couple of shows that I've seen more than once (which is rare for me) and I think they could fall into that category.

    Footloose starring Jen Laura Thompson and Jeremy Kushnier

    When my daughter was about three years old, I took her to see Footloose. She was crazy about it! And since she had so much fun, I did, too. I took her back to see it several times. I thought the performances were really good. I knew some of the actors, including Dee Hoty and Catherine Cox, and that always makes a show more fun. Years later I was lucky enough to work with the lovely and talented Jen Laura Thompson in Urinetown. She was so terrific and I felt like I knew her right away from all that stalking I did during Footloose!

    Forever Plaid starring David Engel, Guy Stroman, Stan Chandler, and Jason Graae

    The other show that I can think of that I saw again and again is Forever Plaid. Those original guys were so amazing! I had a blast and I loved all that four part harmony....the vocal arrangements were fantastic. I saw it a few more times when friends of mine were doing the show and it always made me smile! I guess I was born in the wrong decade.

    Anyway, thanks Emma. I'm glad you enjoyed Lestat. I'm sorry the recording was never released. People ask me about it and I really don't know what happened. I know we recorded the whole score and I think it sounded pretty good. Maybe someday they'll release it....and maybe I'll actually listen to that one!

  • July 16, 2010:
    I just got a very nice e-mail from Amanda, who has been performing and studying dance for years, but has less experience with singing.
    She asked: "If what I've read is true (that you never took voice or acting lessons) .... how do you build up your confidence enough to go out and audition and feel good about it?"
    Well, Amanda, it's true that I never had any formal training in singing or acting. My degree is in Business and I....wait I talked about all that back in April when I was answering another question on the blog (so I'll try not to repeat myself), but there certainly are many successful actors who did study theater, like you're doing, and feel like they got a lot out of it. I guess I learned by watching and listening to other people. I saw shows when I could afford it, and I listened to cast albums, and I learned from musical directors and actors I worked with....on the job training!
    I can really relate to your concern, though, from the opposite perspective. I usually felt ok about singing, but never liked to dance at auditions because I was sure I would lose the job. That was one of the hardest things I had to get used to when I first started auditioning in New York. I didn't know the dance terms, I couldn't pick up the combinations quickly, and I felt like a big clutz! I took myself to some dance classes right away and tried to make up for lost time, but I soon realized I was never going to be a great dancer. No real surprise there, but I still had to get through the auditions. Well, I suppose I did what it sounds like you are already doing. I took some classes and some baby steps that added up to a couple of jobs, which gave me a little more confidence at the next audition. I guess I would tell you what I tried to tell myself back then: keep at it and try to remember that sometimes personality is more important than technique and that being well prepared will take away some of the nerves. Pick a song or two that suit you well and work on them until you can sing them without feeling a knot in your stomach. Also remember that the people on the other side of the table really want you to do well....they're rooting for you! Try not to be too hard on yourself. And the more you audition, the easier it will be. I promise. If I can do a time step, you can sing an up-tempo!
    On a separate note, I just want to say thanks to everyone who came to the CD signing at Barnes and Noble yesterday. It was fun to meet all of you and to be a part of the assembly line of autographing! Henry Ford would have been proud.

At Barnes and Noble for the CD signing of The Addams Family cast recording From right, Zachary James (Lurch), Krysta Rodriguez (Wednesday), Andrew Lippa (composer/lyricist), Me, Wesley Taylor (Lucas), Jackie Hoffman (Grandmama), and Adam Reigler (Pugsley)
  • June 29, 2010:
    Dawn, you were so nice to send me all those great photos! I really appreciated it and I hope you don't mind if I share a few here in the blog. You don't? Great! You're swell.

    Anyway, Dawn sent me a bunch of pictures from various shows and events that I've done in the last few years....many of which were Mamma Mia! related because that's where I've spent the last few years! It reminded me of a question I got last week from Amy who asked if I would ever reprise my role as "Donna" in Mamma Mia!

    I get asked that quite a bit. I suppose it's because there are so many fans of the show and because I spent almost four years playing that role. Well, the answer is a definite maybe.

    I made some really good friends during those years (some of whom are still doing the show) and I do miss them. Mamma Mia! was a great place to work....the cast was fun, the Stage Managers are nice, and the audience usually has a great time. It's a good feeling to know that in some small way you are helping people let loose and forget their troubles for a few hours. The show has been running since the fall of 2001 and it is still going strong! I'm sure it will be around for many years to come. I can't deny that it's nice to have a new role to play after all those years of repetition, but I am not going to rule out the possibility that I might find myself back at the Wintergarden someday. In this economy, actors (along with so many others) are just so grateful for a steady job. And that was a fantastic job for so many reasons....not the least of which is that it was an incredible workout every night! There's nothing like jumping around in platform boots and spandex to get your heart pumping!

  • That "megamix"  always wore me out!
    Onstage with Liz McCartney (left) and Judy McLane (right)
    At Broadway on Broadway concert with Joan Hess (left) and Gina Ferrall (right)
  • June 3, 2010:
    I got an e-mail this week from Jordan G. who has been doing a show for about 7 months and asked:
    How do you have the energy to do the same show 8 times a week? Like, how do you not get bored?
    Well, Jordan, that's a tough one. I have been in several long runs in my life, which makes me fortunate, I know, but it is a continuing struggle. Some actors don't do long runs for that very reason. For me, the key is remembering that most of the people in the audience are seeing it for the first time. No matter how many hundreds of times you have said that punch line, or sung that song, for them it is totally new and they deserve your best. Everyone has their own way of dealing with this issue, though, so I thought I'd ask some of my cast-mates at The Addams Family for their opinions about this tricky subject.


Krysta Rodriguez (long runs- A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening, In the Heights) said : We play games onstage....try to keep things new....try to attack the scenes in a new way.


Zachary James (long run- South Pacific) said: I do lots of outside projects like readings and workshops of new shows and concerts. During the performance, I keep myself entertained between scenes by watching movies on my computer in the dressing room.


Clark Johnsen (long runs- La Cage aux Folles, Mamma Mia!, 42nd Street) said: I try to notice something different onstage every a lighting effect or a particular musical instrument, or someone's make-up.


Terrence Mann (long runs- Cats, Les Miserables, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Beauty and the Beast) said: When I get really bored, I try to start really listening to the other actors I'm hearing everything for the first time.


Charlie Sutton (long runs- Wicked, La Cage aux Folles) said: I try to re-invent! Try something new every night!


And when I asked Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu, Hairspray) "How do you stop yourself from getting bored doing 8 shows a week in a long run?" She said: "YOU DON'T."


She's right, of course. It's inevitable. I truly believe that no matter how much you love doing something, if it becomes your job and you have to do it every day for a long time, you will get bored. And you'll get frustrated. And you'll get tired of it. But, there are also moments when you'll have fun and the time will fly by and you will be very grateful to be employed....just like at any job.

  • May 20, 2010:
    I recently got an e-mail from Jerry S. who wrote:
    ....I just have to tell you what a pleasure it is to listen to your rendition of "Anytime" from the Elegies cd.... .....Who played the piano on your song?

    Thank you, Jerry, for the sweet message. I do love that score. I adore Bill Finn's writing. I think he is so brilliant! He can create a scene that makes you laugh while it also touches you profoundly. I have had the amazing luck to perform so many of his songs, and "Anytime" is one of the most memorable. Singing it was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever had to do in a show. All I had to do was stand upstage center and sing, but the emotion of it would overwhelm me every time and I had to hold on with all my strength just to get through it. As soon as the song was over, I would exit and start sobbing. Then I would go to my dressing room (which I shared with Betty Buckley) and clean up my face and get ready for the next number. One night at that moment, Betty told me that I should never apologize for those sobs, that I should always enjoy that emotion. (By the way, she always made me sob when I watched her sing "Only One." She's amazing!) I am glad those songs were recorded. It was a great cast and wonderful music. The pianist on the recording, and during the run of the show, was our very talented musical director, Vadim Feichtner.

    Jerry also asked: So how do we get you to do an album of your own?

    I would love to do an album at some point. Part of the problem is finding the time. Between my family and my 8 shows a week, it's a challenge to fit in other things. But, the bigger issue is: What would I sing? I really want it to be something other than just a random group of songs. I want it to have an idea behind it, some kind of structure. That's what I'm stuck on. If anyone out there has an idea for a theatrical album that hasn't been done yet, write it in....I promise to give you credit in the liner notes!
Cast of Elegies: (from left) Michael Rupert, Me, Keith Byron Kirk, Betty Buckley, and Christian Borle
  • May 13, 2010:
    Rachel S. and Kari N. each wrote lovely e-mails ..... Thank you both very much for all the sweet things you said. They each talked about Parade (a show I did at Lincoln Center) and they also asked about getting started in show business, auditioning, etc.

    First of all, I am so happy that Parade is still being done around the country and that actors can perform those beautifully written songs and scenes and that audiences can experience a show that meant so much to me. I felt so incredibly lucky to work on the role of "Lucille"....I don't think any piece of theater before or since has been quite the same for me. It was challenging, satisfying, thrilling, devastating and even fun all at the same time. I still remember that feeling I had back in 1996 after doing a reading of the show for the first time. I had done quite a few readings of new shows at that point (some of which had been produced, many of which hadn't) and I kept saying to my cast-mates, "This is really good. Isn't it? I think it is. It's special." They agreed, but we all knew in this business, nothing is a sure thing. Sometimes the shows that you think will be successful, are not, and the ones you have no faith in, become hits. Well, it took a few years to make it to Broadway, but it did. I cried the first day of rehearsal listening to the ensemble sing "The Old Red Hills of Home." I cried even harder, though, when we had to close the show. It was so frustrating to see something so good come to an end so quickly. I'm glad we made the C.D. (which almost didn't happen because the money had run out) .... it helps the show live on. I can't listen to it, though, because it's still too emotional for me all these years later.

    with Brent Carver

    OK, now to the second half of this blog. Wow! People create websites and write entire books devoted to auditioning for the theater. Obviously, I can't offer much in my little paragraph here. I guess what I can offer is a couple of things people said to me when I was first starting out that stuck with me. Beyond the straight forward advice like... be on time for your audition, dress appropriately (but not in a costume), have your material well prepared, make sure your sheet music is easy to read, be confident, don't let the hallway gossip intimidate you, make sure you warm up, etc... I think there are a couple of things I would add:
    1. Be professional and polite to the people you work with and the people you audition for because you don't want to get a reputation as a difficult actor. The competition is too stiff to risk losing a job over someone's hurt feelings. Also, you never know which production assistant or chorus dancer or casting associate may be making tomorrow's decisions!
    2. Offer to be a "reader" at any auditions that will have you. You can do this if you have a friend who is directing a play, or you can mention it to a casting director that you've auditioned for, but make it known that you will volunteer your time. It is incredibly helpful in understanding the process and in seeing what works and what doesn't work in the audition room.
    3. Audition as much as you can.... don't assume you're wrong for a part. Just go in and do your best. They may have a different idea about the part than you think, or you may change their minds because you bring something unique to the role, or they may think of you for another project they're doing someday. But even if none of that happens, you will learn something from that audition that will help you in the future.
    4. Try not to take any of it personally. So many people audition for every job and most of us don't get it. So often, it has little to do with your talent. It may be your hair color, your age, your height, or your similarity to the director's sister! Whatever it is, you probably will never know, so try not to dwell on it after the audition is over. I know that's easier said than done! We all struggle with it, even after years in the business and lots of Broadway shows on our resumes! If you're passionate about theater (like Kari and Rachel), keep working toward your goal and don't get easily discouraged. See you on Broadway!
  • May 6, 2010:
    Dan F. from Chicago wrote a very sweet e-mail. In it he says:
    .....I hope the company isn't discouraged by the Tony results. Many of my friends saw the show here and we ALL adored it....
    Thank you, Dan. I really appreciated everything you said (especially about Parade and Elegies, which hold such wonderful memories for me). Well, award season in the theater community is such a microcosm of this business. The highs are thrilling and the lows are devastating. I can't say we weren't disappointed by the nominations. The mood at the theater has definitely been strange. Everyone here, on stage and off, works so hard to make the best show we can. That's true of any new Broadway production. The road to opening night is often long and arduous, so it's hurtful when the response is not what you'd hoped. It's a part of this business that can be very stressful. On the other hand, the audiences that have come to The Addams Family have been terrific....and thousands of people continue to buy tickets despite the reviews and the Tony nominations and the gossip columns. Part of why an actor wants to be involved in a new show is to be a part of that creative process, and also to be "noticed" by the theatrical community. But it's a double-edged sword. You put yourself out there to be judged and....guess are! That can be scary. I suppose that's probably true for anything worth trying. If you want to grow, you have to push yourself and try new things. Sometimes you will benefit in ways you aren't expecting. I'm really grateful for the opportunities I've had in this business. There is quite a bit of luck involved and lots of things are out of your control. All you can do to stack the deck in your favor is to offer up your best effort in each situation. On a happy note: Today I was celebrating at the Drama Desk Nominee Reception....where The Addams Family was appreciated (8 nominations!)

With Addams Family nominees: Julian Crouch, director/designer (left);
and Andrew Lippa, composer/lyricist (center)
  • May 1, 2010:
    Caity from Illinois had lots of questions. She saw The Addams Family in Chicago and wondered about the things that have changed since then. One of Caity's questions was: Do you miss any of the cuts that were made between Chicago and Broadway? For example, I will forever mourn you and Bebe doing the Tango together in "At Seven."
    That is definitely one of the things that I miss, too, Caity. What a thrill for me to be dancing (or at least trying to dance) with Bebe Neuwirth! That scene was really a highlight for me. But, that's par for the course of a new musical. Things are cut and moved around and new things are added and later's a crazy process. The trick is not to take it personally. The director and the writers do what they think will be in the best interest of the show. Sometimes that's good for you and your character, and sometimes it's not, but you have to roll with the punches. Anyway, the new little scene I get to do with "Lurch" in the 2nd Act is an added bonus since the Chicago production. Zachary James (who plays "Lurch" so beautifully) is a great guy and so terrific to work with....and what an amazing voice!

Bebe and I rehearsing a scene (that was later cut!)
Cuddling up with Zach backstage
  • April 25, 2010:
    Sue C. asked a thought-provoking question: If you could have dinner with any three people - past or present (family excluded) - who would they be and why?
    I really used up some brain cells thinking about this one, Sue. My answer is related to some theatrical experiences I've had over the years. I have been fortunate enough to play some very interesting historical figures on stage. It's a challenge to portray someone who is not just a creation of a writing team, but is based on a real-life woman. I always studied and read what I could about the person, but also looked to the script to make sense of the character within the story of the show. I worried about living up to their real legacies and honoring them without trivializing their lives. There are still so many questions I would love to ask these women about their experiences. So my choices for dinner companions are: Abigail Adams (no relation to Morticia!), whom I played in the revival of 1776 ; Aimee Semple McPherson, whom I played in Saving Aimee ; and Lucille Frank, whom I played in Parade. They were all strong and smart and willful and fascinating! Sounds like a great dinner party.... I may be too excited to eat.

    Abigail Adams   Lucille Frank   Aimee Semple McPherson
  • April 19, 2010:
    Jen B. asked: Isn't Alice your first character that you were able to "personalize?" I'm not sure how to word it, but I hope you understand what I mean.
    I do understand what you mean, Jen. I suppose if we were fancy theater types, we would use words like "originate" or "create" a role, but I think "personalize" is a great way to say it! The composer and lyricist and book writer and director (not to mention costume designer and, most important of all, hair designer!) certainly have lots of input about what the character will be like, but being the first person to perform a role on Broadway is still really cool. I guess because you're a part of theater history, in a way. Yours is the voice and face and attitude that will first be associated with this person. Sometimes in the making of the show (rehearsals, previews, etc.) you have an opportunity to make suggestions about lines or music...and sometimes they even take your suggestions and put them in the show. That's exciting. I've been lucky enough to go through this process a few times before The Addams Family: in a show at Lincoln Center called Parade, in an Elton John musical called Lestat, and I guess you could say Falsettos (although a woman named Janet Metz played the role Off-Broadway.) I was also involved in a bunch of new Off-Broadway shows over the years, which were great chances to "personalize" roles, too.
    Also, in the case of a Broadway musical, you usually get to be on the original cast recording. That is what we've been doing all day today! In a recording studio in midtown, we all got together (cast, orchestra, conductor, arranger, stage manager, composer, etc.) to sing through the score of the show. It gets recorded in one long day, but then it is produced in the weeks that follow, until it is ready to be released. It's an exciting, albeit pressured environment.... you get to do each song only about two times, sometimes in pieces, and then you're done and your performance is in the hands of the editors (usually the composer and the record producer) and you hope for the best! Rarely, if ever, do you get to listen to a take while you're in the studio. We hear the finished product when you do, after we rip open that cellophane....why is that stuff so hard to take off???

    Recording studio fun with....(from Left) : Rachel de Benedet, Alena Watters, Jessica Lea Patty, Matthew Gumley, Samantha Sturm, Liz Ramos, Valerie Fagan, Charlie Sutton, Clark Johnsen, Morgan James, Carolee Carmello, Fred Inkley, Erick Buckley, Merwin Foard, Colin Cunliffe, Jimmy Borstelmann, and Barrett Martin.
  • April 17, 2010:
    The winner of the MOST-QUESTIONS-ASKED contest is .... Francesca! She numbered them, but I lost track after about 35! Anyway, since she put so much time and effort into her e-mails, I thought she should get at least couple of answers to her many queries.

  • Francesca asked (among other things): Why didn't you go into the Business field? What made you choose theatre over the dream you were trying to achieve throughout your early life?
    Francesca, that's a really good I have asked myself often over the years (especially when I've been unemployed). I guess the answer is a combination of things. One of them, relates to another one of your questions, actually.
    You also asked: Do you have any big regrets in life?
    College graduation....what now?
    One of the main reasons that I chose to pursue a career in theater was to avoid a big regret later in life. See, I was just about to graduate from college with my degree in Business Administration and I found myself at a fork in the road. I suppose that fork had more than two tines: one that led to more schooling, either an M.B.A. or a Law degree; one that took me straight into a job in a big corporation; and another that followed a dark path into the mysterious forest of show business. (Sounds spooky doesn't it? Like in the horror film when you're yelling at the girl onscreen not to open that door!)
    I had been offered a job at a summer theater in Lake George, N.Y. by a producer who saw me doing a role in a community theater production ( I did a few shows during college, just for fun...never thinking about making a career out of it.) Anyway, at that moment, I decided to take the summer job and use the time to think about my next step. Once I got there and started working on the show (it was They're Playing Our Song) I realized it was a lot less glamourous than I'd hoped, but a lot more fun. The people were so smart and funny and talented and they were all "professionals," as in, they made a living doing theater! It had never occurred to me. By the end of that summer job, I had decided to move to New York City and try it. I figured I'd fail miserably, but I gave myself a year to audition and learn what I could about the business. I did ok, so I gave myself another year, and then another.... Here I am 27 years later, still wondering what comes next! It's a crazy business, and I can't say I haven't thought about quitting many times...I definitely have....but I know that if I hadn't tried, I would have always wondered "What if?"

    P.S. I still think theater people are the smartest, funniest, most interesting people I've ever met. I feel really lucky to get paid to be around them every day.

  • April 12, 2010:
    Well, this is very exciting for me! I am answering my very first "viewer mail!" Liese was the first to write in, so I thought it was only fair for hers to get posted first....and she had lots of questions. I'll try to answer a couple of them.

  • Liese asked: Do you still rehearse all day? Are things still changing all the time?
    Well, Liese, we were rehearsing changes every day before the show (from about 1pm to 5pm) during previews. That was pretty tiring. Sometimes the changes were big, like a new song or scene, and sometimes the change was just a new line here or there. Before every show, the Stage Managers would put up a list of the changes backstage, to remind us what was going in that night. They would give each list a newspaper heading to entertain "The Tentacle Times," "The Beineke Banner," or "The Grandma Gazzette." Now that the show has officially opened, rehearsals (and changes) are pretty limited. The understudies will rehearse every week, but other than that we just have to do our 8 shows a week. We are recording the cast album on April 19th, so there may be some rehearsal for that.

    She also asked: Is the cast you get to play around when they're doing a scene you're not in?
    Yes, it's a great group of people. There are some very amusing personalities crammed into that theater! We try to make each other laugh all the time. When we are not on stage, we all find our own ways to pass the time until our next scene. I like to play scrabble on my computer, Terry sometimes watches sports or news in his dressing room, some of the more athletic folks do push-ups and sit-ups, and Adam ("Pugsley") and Katy (his chaperone, known in the entertainment business as a "kid-wrangler") have made up this entire dance that they do in the wings while Nathan and Terry and Kevin are on stage singing "But Love!" It's a fun place to work.

    Hanging out backstage between scenes with Jackie Hoffman,
    Terry Mann, and Kevin Chamberlin.
  • April 2010:
    What a crazy month! Opening a Broadway show is a little like giving birth, only there's no anesthesiologist (unless you count the bartender at the opening night party....but by that time the worst is over). I remember when I was in previews for Parade, I had a dream that Brent Carver and I were having a am so obvious, even in my sleep!

  • Maybe before I get too far into this, I should tell you a bit about myself. If you have looked through this website, you probably know more than you ever wanted to, but here's something you didn't know: I have NEVER written a blog! Right now, you're thinking...."duh, I could have figured that out"....I say this by way of apology, because I'm not exactly sure how to do this. I looked at some other sites with blogs and those people talked about everything from what I ordered at Starbuck's today to what we should do about the National debt to why you should become a Scientologist....I was a bit confused. I kept thinking, what would someone who is looking at a Carolee Carmello website want to read in a blog??? Then it occurred to me....why not ask you?

    So this brings me to my request for your help. I thought that if anyone reading this has a question that they would like me to answer, they could write in and I could choose one (or two or seven) and answer them. It could be about The Addams Family, or auditioning for musicals, or choosing a breakfast cereal....whatever you want to talk to me about. (P.S. Never end a sentence with a preposition, like I just did.)

    So, submit a question and stay tuned.


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